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  • iStock/Thinkstock(CAIRO) -- The latest crackdown against Egypt's LGBT community started with a couple of rainbow flags at a concert and ended with the arrest of more than 50 people, according to human rights groups.Attendees at a rock concert in Cairo last month raised rainbow LGBT pride flags in the air, and soon after, Egyptian authorities rounded up dozens of men -- some of whom they found on gay dating apps, according to rights groups -- and charged them with engaging in or promoting "debauchery." Mashrou’ Leila, a popular Beirut-based band, was playing for a crowd of thousands of people at the Sept. 22 concert that set off the firestorm and has led to dozens of arrests. Since then, the band's openly gay lead singer told ABC News the arrests have "completely consumed" the group.The police arrested 59 people in all, including at least one woman and one minor, according to the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights (EIPR), a leading local rights group. All were charged with engaging in or promoting “debauchery,” and two of the people who police said were holding a pride flag faced the additional charge of belonging to a banned group, according to EIPR. International rights groups have condemned the detentions, and EIPR said that as of Monday, all of those arrested remained in police custody.In a conservative, Muslim country where persecution against LGBT people is not uncommon, the latest wave of arrests stands out both because of the number of people who were detained and the ongoing ripples of fear the arrests caused in Egypt's LGBT community."I was terrified when I got the news,” a gay man from Cairo in his late 30s, who is currently out of the country and requested anonymity, told ABC News. “It seriously made me feel blocked, absolutely unable to understand what ‘home’ means anymore when one could be thrown into prison on the basis of being homosexual.”The man, who requested anonymity for fear of arrest and societal retribution, said he is trying to delay his return to Egypt. Several gay Egyptians declined requests to be interviewed, afraid that they too would be detained. Some have deleted the gay dating app Grindr from their cellphones.“It feels very different. It feels that a decision is being made that will shape the lives of many people for decades to come,” the man said. “Cairo was never easy, but now, personally, I feel very threatened.”'A piece of cloth that stands for love'Over the past four years, 232 people have been arrested as part of the Egyptian government's crackdown on LGBT people, according to the EIPR. The arrests often coincide with anti-gay media coverage, the group said.Hamed Sinno, Mashrou’ Leila’s lead singer, said he did not realize what was to come when flags went up amid the crowd at last month’s show.“We saw a couple of flags in the audience,” Sinno told ABC News. “We did see them. It was quite heartwarming, to be honest, to see that kind of stuff go up and to not see any fights or any violence happen at the show.”Images of the flags went viral on social media soon after, and Egyptian state and private media outlets unleashed an aggressive campaign against the concertgoers, often referring to them using a derogatory term meaning “deviant.”One popular television anchor, Ahmed Mousa, called on the parliament to lengthen the punishment for what he called "crimes" to a life sentence, arguing that they were as dangerous as terrorism.Homosexuality is not criminalized in Egypt, but authorities often arrest LGBT people under laws against “debauchery” and prostitution.A coalition of pro-LGBT groups across the Middle East released a statement last week calling on media outlets to refrain from publishing hate speech, which it said had spurred the latest crackdown.Even after the media backlash, Sinno said, the band members “were all naively optimistic” that
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  • ABCNews.com(PYONGYANG, North Korea) -- The U.S. military conducted another show of force to North Korea on Wednesday as long-range B-1 bombers flew a nighttime mission over the Sea of Japan accompanied by Japanese and South Korean fighter aircraft.The two bombers flew to the Sea of Japan from Andersen Air Force Base in Guam.A U.S. Pacific Air Forces statement described the mission as "the first time U.S. Pacific Command B-1B Lancers have conducted combined training with JASDF and ROKAF fighters at night.""Participating in bilateral training enables the operational units to improve their combined capabilities and tactical skills, while also building bilateral confidence and strong working relationships," according to the statement."Flying and training at night with our allies in a safe, effective manner is an important capability shared between the U.S., Japan and the Republic of Korea, and hones the tactical prowess of each nations’ aviators," U.S. Air Force Maj. Patrick Applegate of the 613th Air Operation Center said. "This is a clear demonstration of our ability to conduct seamless operations with all of our allies anytime anywhere."The mission was the latest show of force to North Korea after its long-range intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) tests and hydrogen bomb test that have ratcheted tensions with the United States. Such missions have been conducted immediately after the provocations, but more recently as stand-alone events to demonstrate to North Korea U.S. military capabilities that would counter a North Korean military threat.In late September, B-1 bombers flew the first mission this century north of the demilitarized zone (DMZ) that divides North Korea and South Korea. Accompanied by U.S. Air Force F-15 fighters, the bombers flew the mission more than 200 miles east of the Korean peninsula. At the time, the Pentagon’s chief spokesman said the mission was in response to North Korea’s recent ICBM and nuclear tests.The United States has a rotating squadron of long-range B-1 bombers stationed in Guam known as the "Continuous Bomber Presence."“ 'Continuous Bomber Presence' missions ensure the U.S., along with key allies, have a credible capability to respond to a variety of levels and types of threats throughout the Indo-Asia-Pacific region,” the Air Force statement said. “These actions are consistent with long-standing and well-known U.S. freedom of navigation policies that are applied to military operations around the world.” Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.
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  • Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Joshua Fulton/U.S. Navy/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- The U.S. Navy has relieved the USS John S. McCain's top two officers for a "loss of confidence" following the deadly collision in August that killed 10 sailors.While the investigation into the collision continues, a Navy statement said it is "evident the collision was preventable.""The commanding officer, Cmdr. Alfredo J. Sanchez, and executive officer, Cmdr. Jessie L. Sanchez, of the guided-missile destroyer USS John S. McCain were relieved of their duties by Vice Adm. Phil Sawyer, commander, Seventh Fleet, on Oct. 11," said a statement from the Navy's Seventh Fleet. "Both were relieved due to a loss of confidence."On August 21, the destroyer collided with the oil freighter Alnic MC in a busy shipping lane near Singapore. The collision claimed the lives of 10 sailors and injured five others."While the investigation is ongoing, it is evident the collision was preventable," said the statement. "The commanding officer exercised poor judgment, and the executive officer exercised poor leadership of the ship's training program."Navy officials have said that prior to the collision, the destroyer experienced a loss of steering control. It is unclear whether that is what led to the collision with the merchant vessel, because sailors are trained to compensate with such a steering failure.The McCain's collision was the second deadly Navy collision in two months after the destroyer USS Fitzgerald collided with a Philippine-flagged merchant vessel, killing seven sailors aboard. Following that collision, the ship's commanding officer, executive officer and senior enlisted sailor were also relieved of their duties for a similar loss of confidence.In late August, the collisions led to the removal of Vice Adm. Joseph P. Aucoin as the head of the Navy's Seventh Fleet.The deadly collisions also triggered a Navy-wide review of ship operations ordered by Adm. John Richardson, the chief of naval operations. The results of that comprehensive review are expected to be announced in a few weeks.Cmdr. Sanchez was reassigned to commander, Naval Forces Japan, and Cmdr. Sanchez was reassigned to Ship Repair Facility, Yokosuka.Cmdr. Ed Angelinas, former commanding officer of USS McCampbell, assumed duties as acting commanding officer. Lt. Cmdr. Ray Ball, chief engineer of USS Antietam, will assume duties as acting executive officer.Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.
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  • iStock/Thinkstock(LONDON) -- London's Metropolitan Police detained a man Saturday after a car collision left several pedestrians injured near two major museums in the British capital, and later said they are not treating the incident as terror-related.Police said the collision occurred Saturday afternoon on Exhibition Road in South Kensington near the Victoria and Albert Museum and the Natural History Museum. A man was detained at the scene, police said.Peter McKenna, deputy director of operations for the London Ambulance Service, said 11 patients were treated, mostly for leg and head injuries. Nine of them were transported to the hospital."We sent multiple resources to the scene, including our hazardous area response team, ambulance crews, paramedics in fast-response cars, and incident response officers," McKenna added.Massive crowds of families with young children were seen evacuating museums along Exhibition Road following the incident, as authorities cordoned off the area.London Mayor Sadiq Khan released a statement on the incident, saying, "A number of people have been injured in an incident involving a car in Exhibition Road, South Kensington. A man has been detained by police.”Khan said details about the incident are still emerging and that he is in close contact with police and emergency services.Police have asked people to avoid the area while the investigation is underway, the mayor said.Authorities said they are still working to establish the circumstances and motive surrounding the incident.Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.
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  • iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- President Trump said he told Secretary of State Rex Tillerson that any negotiations with Kim Jong Un, whom Trump called “Little Rocket Man,” are a waste of time.In an apparent response to news this weekend that the U.S. has open channels of communication with North Korea, the president also tweeted Sunday that Tillerson should save his energy because the U.S. will "do what has to be done."
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