• Carl Court/Getty Images(LONDON) -- The Grenfell Tower fire killed a total of 71 people, including a stillborn baby, London’s police said on Thursday after recovering and identifying all those believed to have died in the blaze.In June, London’s Metropolitan Police estimated that about 80 people had died in the fire, which started on June 14 just before 1 a.m. local time.Since then, police said they have searched every apartment on every floor and every communal area of the 24-story building and examined 15.5 metric tons of debris on each floor. The search operation is not expected to end until early December, but the police said it is very unlikely that anyone remains inside Grenfell Tower -- and all those reported missing have been found.“I cannot imagine the agony and uncertainty that some families and loved ones have been through whilst we have carried out our meticulous search, recovery and identification process,” Metropolitan Police Commander Stuart Cundy said in a statement.Detectives used CCTV footage to identify the residents who escaped the tower. The videos show that 223 people escaped Grenfell Tower that night and survived. Police believe that 293 people were inside at the time of the fire, while a number of residents weren't home."The human cost and terrible reality of what took place at Grenfell Tower affects so many people,” said Cundy. "Our criminal investigation is continuing, and we are determined to do all we can to find the answers that so many people so desperately want."Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.
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  • iStock/Thinkstock( NEW YORK ) -- Secretary of state Rex Tillerson stated that he is “deeply concerned” about the continuing atrocities involving the Rohingya Muslim minority in Myanmar’s Rakhine State. His comments came during a press conference with Burmese De-Facto civilian head of state, Aung San Suu Kyi, on Wednesday in Myanmar. The ethnic group has faced oppression in the predominantly Buddhist area for years. Since the August 25 attacks by Arakan Rohingyan Salvation Army on security forces and Muslim minorities, over 600,000 Rohingyan have fled to Bangladesh. An unknown number from multiple ethic groups remain internally displaced with limited access to food, water and shelter. As a result, Tillerson announced an additional $47 Million in humanitarian assistance for refugees, bringing the American response to the Rakhine State crisis in Myanmar and Bangladesh to more than $87 million since August of 2016. Last week, the United Nations Security Council slammed called upon the government of Myanmar to ensure no further excessive use of military force in Rakhine State, to restore civil administration and apply rule of law, and to take immediate steps in accordance with their obligations and commitments to respect human rights. In a report on its Facebook page, the Myanmar Military cleared itself of any role in the abuse of the Rohingya, reporting that the atrocities are at the hands of ARSA Bengali terrorists. Human rights organization Amnesty International has slammed the military’s report, labeling it an attempted “whitewash” of the injustices against the Rohingya Muslim minority. Tillerson calls upon Myanmar’s civilian government and military to conduct a “full, effective, and independent investigation” into the atrocities -- an investigation that Tillerson assures “The United States strongly supports.” When asked if Tillerson and the State Department would follow the United States Congress recommendation to use the term "ethnic cleansing against the Rohingya, Tillerson said "we're evaluating the criteria and the information available to us, and we'll make a determination on that probably after I return." Secretary Tillerson said he believes that the Rohingya crisis is a test for Myanmar’s new government. “Myanmar's response to this crisis critical to determining the success of its transition to a more democratic society. The key test of any new democracy is how it treats its most vulnerable and marginalized populations.” Last Week, Suu Kyi neglected to answer questions regarding the conflict while attending the Association of Southeast Asian Nation (ASEAN) summit in Manila, Philippines. During the press conference, the de facto civilian leader of Myanmar said that she watches her statements in an effort to avoid further instability in the region, "We mustn't forget that there are many different communities in the Rakhine, and if they are to live together in peace and harmony in the long term, we can't set them against each other. We cannot make the kind of statement that drive them further apart."Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.
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  • Ingram Publishing/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- The Trump administration plans to allow hunters to import trophies of elephants they killed in Zimbabwe and Zambia back to the United States, reversing a ban put in place by the Obama administration in 2014, a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service official confirmed to ABC News Wednesday.Even though elephants are listed as endangered under the Endangered Species Act, a provision in the act allows the government to give permits to import these trophies if there is evidence that the hunting actually benefits conservation for that species. The official said they have new information from officials in Zimbabwe and Zambia to support reversing the ban to allow trophy hunting permits."Legal, well-regulated sport hunting as part of a sound management program can benefit the conservation of certain species by providing incentives to local communities to conserve the species and by putting much-needed revenue back into conservation," a Fish and Wildlife spokesperson said in a statement.This change only applies to elephants in those two countries but questions about using game hunting to generate money for conservation efforts also came up during the controversy after Cecil the lion was killed in Zimbabwe in 2015.The government has not actually announced this policy change yet but it was reportedly announced at a wildlife forum in South Africa this week, according to Safari Club International, which filed a lawsuit to block the 2014 ban.It's unclear how the current political situation in Zimbabwe could affect this decision, but a blog post from the president of the Humane Society points out that poaching has been a problem in Zimbabwe over the years and that the hunting industry there faces corruption issues.A notice regarding this change will be posted in the Federal Register on Friday with more specifics on what new information justifies the changes.The finding applies to elephants hunted in Zimbabwe on or after January 21, 2016, and on or before December 31, 2018, and elephants hunted in Zambia during 2016, 2017 and 2018 for applications that meet all other applicable permitting requirements, according to Fish and Wildlife spokesperson.Savanna elephant populations declined by 30 percent across 18 countries in Africa from 2007 to 2014, according to the Great Elephant Census published last year, which put their remaining numbers at just over 350,000.The elephant population declined six percent overall in Zimbabwe but dropped by 74 percent within one specific region. Elephants saw "substantial declines along the Zambezi River," in Zambia while other areas of that country were stable, according to the census.The Fish and Wildlife Service has been talking with wildlife officials in Zimbabwe since the ban was announced in 2014. Since then, Zimbabwe officials have stepped up efforts to combat poaching, established a system to report financial benefit from American hunters, and provided more information on how officials establish hunting quotas, according to the text of the federal register notice that will be posted Friday.The census reported around 82,000 elephants in Zimbabwe. Wildlife officials set annual quotas limiting hunting there to 500 elephants in different areas.Elephant hunting has been banned in Zambia several times over the years due to declining population size but was re-established in 2015 after surveys found a larger population in some areas. Zambia is home to some 22,000 elephants, according to the census.Tourists can hunt elephants on private game ranches or specified areas in Zambia, many of which are on the outskirts of national parks. Zambian officials also carry out anti-poaching efforts and manage elephant hunting through permits and quotas, according to the Federal Register notice. In 2016, 30 elephants were allowed to be killed there as trophies but the government reported that only 12 males were killed, according to the notice.Fees paid by hunters are also used to fund the countr
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  • Tokarsky/iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- A newly discovered Earth-sized planet that "could potentially sustain life" is poised to become Earth's closest stellar neighbor in a cosmic "blink of the eye," scientists at the European Southern Observatory announced in a press release Wednesday.Ross 128 b is an exoplanet currently located 11 light-years from our solar system, but it is moving closer and is predicted to become Earth's closest stellar neighbor in 79,000 years, scientists said. It is currently the second-closest temperate planet to Earth, after Proxima b.Every 9.9 days, Ross 128 b orbits a red dwarf star known as Ross 128. Ross 128 is relatively quiet, cool and has just over half the surface temperature of the sun, scientists said, which could make Ross 128 b conducive to life. The star Ross 128 is part of the constellation of Virgo."Many red dwarf stars, including Proxima Centauri, are subject to flares that occasionally bathe their orbiting planets in deadly ultraviolet and X-ray radiation. However, it seems that Ross 128 is a much quieter star, and so its planets may be the closest known comfortable abode for possible life," ESO scientists said in the press release.A research team at the La Silla Observatory in Chile used the High Accuracy Radial velocity Planet Searcher (HARPS) to locate Ross 128 and Ross 128 b. Their full findings were published in the scientific journal Astronomy and Astrophysics on Nov. 8.More research is needed to determine if Ross 128 b has all of the conditions to sustain life, scientists said, and they plan to use ESO’s Extremely Large Telescope to explore the planet's atmosphere."While the scientists involved in this discovery consider Ross 128b to be a temperate planet, uncertainty remains as to whether the planet lies inside, outside, or on the cusp of the habitable zone, where liquid water may exist on a planet’s surface," scientists added.ESO also released a video about the new planet's significance Wednesday. Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.
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  • Hornet83/iStock/Thinkstock(VATICAN CITY) -- Billionaires, get out your checkbooks. A one-of-a-kind Lamborghini -- blessed and signed by Pope Francis -- is coming to auction soon.The Italian sportscar maker designed and built a special Huracan for the pope, who officially received it at the Vatican Wednesday with Lamborghini executives in tow. The donated car was painted to replicate the Vatican's flag colors, complete with papal-gold accents on the hood, roof and doors. Pope Francis smiled as he signed "Francesco" with a black marker on the car.The Huracan RWD Coupe starts at $200,000.Sotheby’s will auction off the sportscar, the Vatican said in a statement. The money raised will go toward several charities the pope has selected, including one that helps Christians who are living as refugees in Kurdistan to return to their communities in Iraq.The pope, who prefers to be driven around in the modest popemobile, will not take the pricey Lamborghini for a joy ride before the May 12, 2018, auction.
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  • Rainer Lesniewski/iStock/Thinkstock(HARARE, Zimbabwe) -- Zimbabwe's military apparently seized control of the southern African nation overnight, deploying tanks to the capital, taking control of the state-run broadcaster and confining longtime leader Robert Mugabe to his residence.An established Zimbabwean journalist, who spoke to ABC News on condition of anonymity, said there is an increased military presence in Harare, with tanks stationed on the outskirts of the city center. The streets were quiet early Wednesday, but overnight Tuesday into Wednesday the journalist said he heard the sound of heavy artillery firing from the military vehicles.Meanwhile, soldiers are inside the state broadcaster's headquarters and have told employees there to not be afraid, that "we are here to protect you" and to continue their work as usual, the journalist told ABC News.The journalist noted that Mugabe has had strained relations with the army in recent months, and this activity is an indication of that. Officials, journalists and residents alike are not sure what to make of it, he added.It's uncharted waters for Zimbabweans. Mugabe, 93, has led the country since its independence in 1980, making him the world's oldest head of state. Despite his age and concerns over his health, Mugabe so far has showed no signs of relinquishing his grip on power.In December of last year, Zimbabwe's ruling party confirmed Mugabe as its sole candidate for the 2018 election.Though the ongoing situation bears many hallmarks of a coup d'etat, Zimbabwe's army said on state-run media early Wednesday that "this is not a military takeover" and that the president and his family are "safe and sound.""We are only targeting criminals around him who are committing crimes that are causing social and economic suffering in the country, in order to bring them to justice. As soon as we have accomplished our mission, we expect that the situation will return to normalcy," Maj. Gen. S.B. Moyo, spokesman for the Zimbabwe Defense Forces, said in a statement on the state broadcaster."To both our people and the world beyond our borders, we wish to make it abundantly clear that this is not a military takeover of government. What the Zimbabwe Defense Forces is doing is to pacify a degenerating political, social and economic situation in our country, which if not addressed may result in a violent conflict," he added.Moyo urged other security services to "cooperate" with the army "for the good of the country," and warned that "any provocation will be met with an appropriate response."As the political turmoil continued to unfold Wednesday, it remained unclear whether Mugabe was still in power.The president of neighboring South Africa, Jacob Zuma, said he spoke with Mugabe on Wednesday morning, who told him he was "confined to his home but said that he was fine." Zuma is sending "special envoys" to meet with Mugabe and the Zimbabwean army "in light of the unfolding situation," according to a press release from the South African presidency.The whereabouts of Mugabe's wife, Grace Mugabe, were unknown Wednesday.The U.S. Embassy in Zimbabwe issued an advisory Tuesday night, urging all employees to stay home the following day and warning American citizens in the southern African nation to shelter in place "as a result of the ongoing political uncertainty.""U.S. government personnel have been instructed to shelter in their residences Wednesday night and work remotely from home. The embassy will be minimally staffed and closed to the public," the U.S. embassy said in its statement. "U.S. citizens in Zimbabwe are encouraged to shelter in place until further notice. Please monitor news and embassy notifications."The United States in 2003 imposed targeted sanctions, a travel ban and an asset freeze against Mugabe and his close associates, citing the Zimbabwean government's human rights abuses as well as evidence of rigged elections.U.K. Acting Ambassador to Zimbabwe Simon Thomas confirmed in a video
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