• iStock/Thinkstock(ST. PETERSBURG, Russia) -- Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Thursday an explosion at a supermarket in St. Petersburg Wednesday was a "terrorist attack."Putin made the comments at an award ceremony in Moscow for Russian military members who fought in Syria.Svetlana Petrenko, a spokeswoman for the Investigative Committee of Russia, told Interfax that an improvised device containing the equivalent of 200 grams of TNT detonated in one of the port city's supermarkets. The device included "lethal fragments" to increase casualties, the Russian Investigative Committee said.Russian authorities on Wednesday had been hesitant to classify the blast, which injured 13 people, as terrorism. Eight people remain in the hospital, with five of them in "moderately grave condition," according to authorities.Russia's National Antiterrorism Committee (NAK) said the explosion occurred at 6:45 p.m. local time in a customer locker area at the city's Perekrestok supermarket.Authorities said the suspect was caught on surveillance video leaving a backpack at the market's coat check.State news agency TASS, citing Alexander Klaus, head of the Investigative Committee's St. Petersburg office, initially reported that 10 people had been hospitalized."The wounded people’s lives are not in danger," Klaus apparently told reporters at the scene.In the wake of the explosion, Interfax said the Investigative Committee's St. Petersburg office has opened a criminal investigation into the attempted killing of two or more people.It was just 10 days ago that Putin said he had spoken to President Donald Trump and thanked him for a CIA tip which had stopped a series of bombings in St. Petersburg.Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.
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  • iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- With the collapse of the ISIS caliphate in 2017, what's left of the terrorist group in Iraq and Syria is on the run, with some fighters moving west toward Damascus into Syrian regime-controlled territory and away from where the U.S.-led coalition will work to defeat them. A two-star British general in the coalition's war against ISIS confirmed the "movement of limited numbers of ISIS militants westwards," but said the U.S.-led coalition won't pursue them because the area is operated by the regime. "The coalition will remain committed to the mission in Syria until ISIS no longer poses a threat and a [United Nations]-backed peace process is implemented to ensure lasting stability in the country," British Army Major Gen. Felix Gedney, deputy commander of strategy and support for the coalition, told reporters during a Pentagon briefing on Wednesday. But he later clarified the coalition would only defeat ISIS "in areas controlled by partner forces," leaving the Syrian regime and their Russian backers to oust the ISIS fighters that have moved west. Gedney, as well as U.S. military leadership, have long expressed doubt in the regime's desire and ability to fight ISIS. "They seem to be moving with impunity through regime-held territory, showing that the regime is clearly either unwilling or unable to defeat [ISIS] within their borders," Gedney said Wednesday. The coalition dealt a significant blow to ISIS in 2017, liberating 60,000 square kilometers of land once claimed by the terrorist group, which ruled large swaths of Iraq and Syria since 2014. The coalition estimates only about 1,000 ISIS fighters remain in that area. Last week, British Prime Minister Theresa May declared ISIS had been "crushed." President Trump went even further, saying "we've won" in Syria and Iraq. "I would say that we've had a very successful 2017 in the military campaign," Gedney said. "We haven't created a win; we've created an opportunity."
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  • iStock/Thinkstock(SAINT PETERSBURG, Russia) --  A St. Petersburg resident shared a photo on social media of blue-colored snow in his neighborhood. Some are now concerned that the snow has been contaminated with metal and toxins. Officials at Rosprirodnadzor, Russia’s environmental agency, took samples of the snow following complaints from residents. “We cannot guess what has happened and why snow is blue without laboratory results. We have sent the snow to laboratories to check it for toxicity and metals,” Gulnara Gudulova, press secretary of Rosprirodnadzor, told ABC News. The results will come in on Friday, she added. The Siberian city of Omsk has twice experienced black snow. Pollution from a local power plant was determined to be the cause of the first encounter. Then there was an August “snow” when aluminosilicate was released from a local oil refinery.Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.
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  • Chris Jackson/Getty Images for the Invictus Games Foundation(NEW YORK) -- Former President Barack Obama was interviewed for the first time since leaving office last January by Prince Harry in an interview that aired this morning on BBC’s Radio 4.The two discussed social media, with Obama warning that caution is necessary.“The former president also said people in a position of power should exercise care when posting messages and said he is concerned that social media is “corroding civil discourse."Obama did not mention by name President Donald Trump, who uses Twitter frequently.“All of us in leadership have to find ways in which we can recreate a common space on the Internet," Obama said. "One of the dangers of the Internet is that people can have entirely different realities. They can be cocooned in information that reinforces their current biases."The wide-ranging interview on a multitude of topics was conducted in September at Harry's Invictus Games but was not released until today, when Harry served as the guest editor of the BBC’s flagship morning program.Obama reflected on his last days in office and his emotions when he left the presidency. He shared that despite feeling satisfied it was “mixed with all the work that was still undone.”“Concerns about how the country moves forward but, you know, overall there was serenity there," he added.Harry focused his show on themes that were central to his charitable work: Empowering youth, providing resources, education and training for service members who have departed the military, and mental health awareness.Those are all issues the former president and first lady supported during their eight-year tenure at the White House."The things that are important to me haven't changed," Obama told Harry. "I still care about making the United States and the world a place where kids get an education, where people who are willing to work hard are able to find a job that pays a living wage, that we are conserving the amazing resources of our planet so that future generations can enjoy the beauty of this place like we did."Barack Obama and Michelle Obama were early supporters of the Invictus Games, the Paralympic-style competition Harry founded for wounded service members. Michelle Obama headlined the opening ceremony at the 2016 Invictus Games in Orlando with Prince Harry.The Obamas visited the U.K. for a state visit in 2011 and Prince William, Princess Kate and Harry reciprocated, inviting the president and first lady to Kensington Palace in April 2016. Harry also later welcomed Barack Obama back to Kensington Palace and Barack Obama joined Joe and Jill Biden in attending the 2017 Invictus Games in Toronto.Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.
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  • Wavebreak Media/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- 2017 was a tumultuous year on the global stage as world leaders confronted a morphing U.S. role in international affairs and crises across the world.President Donald Trump projected a policy of "America First" as he ceded the United States' leadership on climate change, blasted international agreements and demanded more of U.S. allies. The world banded together to fight climate change, while humanitarian crises unfolded in Yemen and Myanmar. ISIS was beat back in Syria and Iraq, but its followers unleashed attacks in Europe and across the world. Middle East machinations kept leaders busy, while the world looked ahead to next year's Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea.ABC News' team of reporters around the world has a look back at 2017, and a glimpse ahead at what stories will make news in 2018.North Korea keeps tensions highNorth Korea's provocations continued throughout 2017, followed by stronger international sanctions each time. The country test-fired various ranges of missiles repeatedly throughout the year, almost every few weeks during the first half of 2017. Its latest ICBM flew for 50 minutes and reached 2,800 miles in height in late November -- a milestone that could threaten the mainland United States once the North potentially masters the technology to top it with a nuclear warhead.The assassination of the North Korean leader Kim Jong Un's half-brother, Kim Jong Nam, at an airport in Malaysia in February is thought to have been carried out by or on behalf of North Korean authorities and demonstrated the brutal nature of the regime. Otto Warmbier, an American college student held captive for allegedly stealing a propaganda paper, was released in June in a state of coma, but later died soon after his return. Kim Jong Un was also rumored to have purged or executed numerous top officials throughout this year in order to consolidate his power.The year also witnessed a “war of words” between Kim and Trump. The U.S. leader threatened that North Korea will "be met with fire, fury, and frankly power," and called Kim the "Little Rocket Man.” The North responded by calling Trump "a mentally deranged American dotard.”The North's nuclear weapons program is expected to pick up speed heading into 2018. While tensions have remained high, experts say once North Korea is confident that it holds the bargaining nuclear power, it could come to the negotiating table to gain assurance for the regime's survival.-Joohee Cho, SeoulU.S. global role morphs under TrumpTrump’s inauguration as U.S. president at the beginning of 2017 sent shockwaves across the world, with Trump promising to enact foreign policies that put "America First.”Trump pulled the U.S. out of the Trans-Pacific Partnership and vowed to take the U.S. out of the Paris climate accord. He has demanded more of U.S. allies -- calling on South Korea and Japan to foot more of the bill for U.S. troops stationed there, for example. Commentators have debated whether Trump had passed at least part of the mantle of leadership to countries such as China and Germany.Trump frequently criticized the United Nations on the campaign trail, and at the U.N. General Assembly in September, he told other world leaders they should put their own countries’ interests first.U.N. members were overwhelmingly united, though, in rebuking the United States this month, when members of the U.N. General Assembly -- including a number of close U.S. allies -- voted to condemn Trump’s announcement that the U.S. would recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and move the U.S. Embassy there.Back at home, Trump faces calls to do more to combat what U.S. intelligence agencies have said is Russian meddling in the American electoral process. While reports have shown a concerted Russian effort to support Trump’s candidacy and oppose that of his Democratic opponent, Hillary Clinton, the Kremlin has denied interfering
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