• Yulia Skripal/Facebook(LONDON) -- The daughter of a Russian spy, who along with her father was poisoned with a nerve agent in Britain last month, has spoken to a relative and police -- the first time she has communicated since coming out of a coma.Yulia Skripal and her father, Sergei, were poisoned March 4 with a military grade nerve agent in an assassination attempt that British authorities have blamed on Russia. The two victims were found collapsed on a bench in the English city of Salisbury. After emerging from a coma this week, Yulia Skripal spoke to her cousin, Victoria, the cousin told ABC News.Yulia Skripal told her "everything is ok." On Thursday, Russian state television released what it said was an audio recording of the conversation in which Yulia can be heard saying the same and saying that she and her father are recovering.Her father has remained in a critical condition and was thought to be still in a coma. But in the recording of Victoria Skripal's call with Yulia, broadcast by Russian television, she said that he was also recovering. “Everything's ok. Now he’s resting, he's asleep. Everyone’s in ok health. No one has any irreparable things,” Yulia Skripal tells Victoria when she asks about her father in the recording, which was played by the show "60 Minutes" on Russia's Channel 1.Both Skripals were in a coma for more than two weeks following the attack, but last week doctors said that Yulia, 33, had begun to recover and had regained consciousness."Everything is fine, everything is solvable. Everyone is getting better, everyone is alive," Yulia says in the recording. “I will be out of the hospital soon." Victoria Skripal has said she has applied to get a U.K. visa to visit Yulia in hospital. In the recording, Yulia Skripal tells Victoria that she will not be allowed to visit.The recording shows that Yulia called Victoria herself and in it, her voice sounded strong. The Russian television show said it could not verify the authenticity of the recording independently.On Thursday, the British Metropolitan Police released a statement on Yulia Skripal's behalf in which she also said she was recovering.“I woke up over a week ago now and am glad to say my strength is growing daily. I am grateful for the interest in me and for the many messages of goodwill that I have received," she said in the statement, adding that she would especially like to thank the people of Salisbury and doctors for helping her and her father. “I am sure you appreciate that the entire episode is somewhat disorientating, and I hope that you’ll respect my privacy and that of my family during the period of my convalescence," the statement said.British authorities have said the Skripals were poisoned with a type of military grade nerve agent known as a Novichok, which was developed by the Soviet Union and which the U.K. says Russia has continued to secretly stockpile. The U.S. and the European Union have both backed the U.K.'s assessment that it is "highly likely" that Russia was behind the attack, saying there is no other plausible explanation. Russia has denied involvement and suggested that the U.K. or the United States could have staged that assassination to frame Moscow. Russia's foreign minister, Sergey Lavrov, this week alleged the poisoning could have been carried out by the British government to distract from the country's exit from the EU.The attack has provoked one of the most serious diplomatic crises between Russia and the U.S. and Europe since the end of the Cold War, with both sides expelling dozens of diplomats over it. The U.S. expelled 60 Russian diplomats and closed Russia's consulate in Seattle, joining a coordinated mass expulsion of Russian diplomatic staff by more than two dozen countries intended to show solidarity with the U.K.Russia has responded in kind, expelling an equal number of diplomats from those countries.On Thursday, 60 U.S. diplomats, expelled by Russia in retaliati
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  • iStock/Thinkstock(ANKARA, Turkey) -- Federal prosecutors in New York urged a judge Wednesday to send a Turkish banker to prison for more than 15 years when he is sentenced later this month for causing “immense risks” to the national security of the United States. Mehmet Atilla was convicted in January of conspiring to launder a billion dollars in Iranian oil revenue in violation of US sanctions.“At a time when the United States and the community of nations were engaged in the momentous undertaking of depriving the Government of Iran of funding for its malign and deadly activities—including its pursuit of nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles capable of delivering those weapons throughout the region and around the world; and its financial, logistical, and military support for terrorist organizations and acts of terrorism—Atilla was a key player in massively undermining those efforts,” prosecutors wrote in their sentencing submission.Defense attorneys said a harsh sentence would be unfair and urged the judge to be lenient.“Unlike prosecutions involving massive frauds and staggering victim losses, here there are no victims who suffered a financial loss,” defense attorneys wrote in their sentencing submission.The defense also portrayed Atillah as a “functionary” in a conspiracy led by Reza Zarrab, a Turkish-Iranian gold trader who pleaded guilty on the eve of trial and agreed to cooperate with the government.Whatever Atilla’s role prosecutors said his “offenses are in some respects without parallel and the immense risks that he and his co-conspirators created to the national security of the United States and to the safety and stability of the entire globe are similarly without ready comparison.”The case strained US-Turkey relations after testimony that Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan signed off on parts of the scheme. Erdogan denied it and accused the U.S. of engaging in a plot against his country based on information from followers of Fethullah Gulen, a cleric based in Pennsylvania who Erdogan has blamed for a failed coup attempt.Atilla is scheduled to be sentenced April 11.
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  • iStock/Thinkstock(PUEBLA, Mexico) -- Hundreds of migrants awoke Wednesday morning on a dusty soccer field in southern Mexico, where they have slept for the past two nights after their journey through Mexico from Central America drew the ire of U.S. President Donald Trump.They are traveling north through Mexico as part of a caravan organized each year for the past decade by the immigrant advocacy group Pueblo Sin Fronteras. But the caravan isn't heading to the U.S. border, according to Irineo Mujica, the group's director in Mexico.The plan is to reach the central Mexican city of Puebla, where Pueblo Sin Fronteras will hold an immigrants' rights conference to offer legal advice on seeking asylum and obtaining visas. Then, the caravan will continue to Mexico's capital city."After we do our jobs in Mexico City, the caravan in Mexico City is done," Mujica told ABC News in an interview in Matias Romera on Wednesday. The trek to Mexico City is hundreds of miles from the brown-grass field where they are currently camped out in Matias Romero, in the Mexican state of Oaxaca. Mujica said at least 1,000 people remain at the field Wednesday morning, including about 400 women and 300 children.Many of the migrants fled violence and poverty in their home countries of Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala. Mujica said a vast majority of them will end up looking for a job and a place to live in Mexico, rather than the United States. Although the caravan will not press on as a group to the U.S. border, he said, the members who make that attempt will do so on their own accord."People have the right to live without fear," Mujica told ABC News. "So there's nothing we can do; this is international law." The pilgrimmage has captured the full attention of Trump, who took to Twitter earlier this week to express outrage that the migrants were "heading here," saying they "better be stopped." At a press briefing Wednesday, U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen Nielsen announced Trump will sign a proclamation directing the Department of Homeland Security and the Department of Defense to work with state governments to deploy the National Guard to the border with Mexico to assist the U.S. Border Patrol.Mujica told ABC News that Trump has made a "circus" of the annual migrant trek, which Pueblo Sin Fronteras has organized since 2010."He's trying to use this as political to get his wall. He's trying to go like, 'The boogie man is coming! The browns are coming!' The browns have Mexico," Mujica said. "Mexico is also a destined place, not only a transit place." Miguel Antonio Ciguenza, of El Salvador, said he hopes to settle in Mexico City, where some of his relatives reside. He had lived in the United States for 30 years but recently decided to leave because he feared deportation under Trump's administration."I want to live all my life there ... Mexico is the best for me," Ciguenza, 50, told ABC News in an interview in Matias Romero on Wednesday. "[The United States] is very nice but the president is the terrible trouble because he try to destroy people.""It's why I decide to get to another different country to live my life in peace," he added.Miguel Ramirez, also from El Salvador, said he came to the United States when he was 14. He said he was deported "for the way I look" after living there for 20 years and raising a family of his own."Doesn't matter if we're not from Mexico or the United States, we are human beings, we have rights," Ramirez, 34, told ABC News in Matias Romero on Wednesday. "You can see over here, everybody, you see kids, you see mothers, you see parents like me. We're fighting for a better future." The Mexican government said in a statement late Tuesday that the caravan "began to disperse by decision of its members." It added that 465 migrants had requested transit visas and 230 had received them. Another 168 were expected to receive some sort of visa as well.As sunlight stretched across the sports field in Matias Romero on Wednesday mo
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  • iStock/Thinkstock(BEIJING) -- A day after the U.S. proposed adding a 25 percent tariff to $50 billion of Chinese imported goods, China responded in kind.China's Ministry of Commerce released a statement listing 106 products that it plans to tax, including soybeans, corn, beef, whiskey, tobacco and aircraft.China didn't say when its own 25 percent tariff on approximately $50 billion of U.S. imports would take effect."This measure of the United States clearly violates the relevant rules of the World Trade Organization and seriously violates China's legitimate rights and interests under the rules of the World Trade Organization and threatens China's economic interests and security," according to the Ministry of Commerce's statement. "In order to safeguard China's legitimate rights and interests in violation of international obligations of the United States, the Chinese government will rely on laws and regulations of the 'Foreign Trade Law of the People's Republic of China' and other basic principles of international law." Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.
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  • iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- The White House on Wednesday looked to downplay renewed fears of a potential trade war with China after stocks were jolted by Beijing's announcement overnight of $50 billion in proposed retaliatory tariffs against the U.S.“There’s no trade war here,” National Economic Council Director Larry Kudlow said in an interview with Fox Business. “What you've got is the early stages of a process that will include tariffs, comments on the tariffs, then ultimate decisions and negotiations."Kudlow made the comments after the stock market dropped more than 200 points upon its opening, at least in part a reaction to the tit-for-tat announcement by China of its plan to institute $50 billion in tariffs against U.S. agricultural and aviation sectors."I understand the stock market’s anxiety," Kudlow said. "I get that. But, on the other hand, don't overreact.”Earlier in the morning, President Donald Trump doubled down on his recent announcements to slap tariffs on China's steel, aluminum and technology sectors, saying the current U.S. trade deficit dwarfs any losses that would come from the current trade spat.Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross later echoed the president's sentiment in an appearance on CNBC, describing China’s $50 billion in proposed tariffs as “relatively proportionate” to the tariffs already announced by the administration and “hardly a life-threatening activity” in terms of potential impact on the overall economy."This $50 billion that they're talking about amounts to about 3/10 of a percent of our GDP," Ross said. "I’m frankly a little surprised that Wall Street was so surprised by it. This has been telegraphed for days and weeks."Kudlow went as far to suggest that there remains flexibility on both sides regarding whether the tariffs will actually take effect, depending on the result of ongoing negotiations between the U.S. and China."I doubt if there would be any concrete actions for several months. We will see how that plays out,” Kudlow said. “Nothing concrete has actually happened.” Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.
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  • ABCNews.com(LONDON) -- When a local English police force issued a police sketch of a suspect wanted for a burglary, they were hoping social media users would help them catch the suspect. Instead, the internet thought it was a prank.Warwickshire Police’s tweet on Tuesday took the internet by storm, with more than 17,000 retweets and 26,000 likes. It received thousands of replies on Twitter alone.The police sketch -- known in the U.K. as an “e-fit” -- delighted users on Twitter, who compared the image’s distinctive and cartoonish features to the Cheshire Cat from Alice in Wonderland and Spongebob Squarepants.The police said they had released the image to try to catch two burglars who tricked their way into a house in Stratford-Upon-Avon on Feb. 5.After distracting a woman in her 40s, they broke into the house and stole an undisclosed amount of money, police said.After the sketch caused a storm on both Twitter and Facebook, Warwickshire Police confirmed that it was indeed real after many users suggested it was a delayed April Fool’s Day prank.They explained the image was created from a description provided by the victim, and hoped that the attention would help them catch the suspects sooner.
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