• ABCNews.com(NEW YORK) -- Elie Wiesel, a Nobel Peace Prize laureate and Holocaust survivor, has died at 87.
    Read more...
  • Jack Rowe(COUNTY MAYO, Ireland) -- SpongeBob SquarePants has found his biggest fan. His name is Jack Rowe, of County Mayo, Ireland.In 2007, Rowe, who is now 18, expressed his love for the little sponge who "live[d] in a pineapple under the sea" in a diary."My brother [Ted] actually was the one that came across it," he told ABC News. "He left it on the home computer."He shared the discovery with his Twitter followers, writing in part: "OKAY WHAT IS THIS???? I WAS SO MENTALLY UNSTABLE."Rowe, who started watching the cartoon when he was "about 4 or 5," said that once he discovered his childhood diary, his "face started radiating heat.""I was so embarrassed," he added.Still, Rowe has nothing to be ashamed of because the diary is pure comedy.He wrote in one entry: "Dear Spongebob, I am your biggest fan even bigger than everyone else. I love you SpongeBob."In another entry, Rowe professed, "Dear SpongeBob, I wish I was yellow like you and have holes in my body just like you. I may seem like a copycat but I am not. Maybe I can paint my face yellow and drill holes in my face."Rowe joked, "Thank God I didn't have access to drills because God knows how that would've ended."
    Read more...
  • iStock/Thinkstock(DHAKA, Bangladesh) -- Twenty hostages were killed by militants who stormed an upscale restaurant in the Bangladeshi capital of Dhaka during a 10-hour siege, the Bangladeshi government announced Saturday morning.U.S. citizens in the city were warned by the State Department to "remain vigilant" following the terror attack.The breakdown of the victims' nationalities was unknown. But the restaurant, Holey Artisan Bakery, is located in Dhaka's diplomatic quarter and is popular with foreigners. Japan said seven of its citizens were unaccounted for.At least six attackers were killed by Bangladeshi paramilitary troops who mounted rescue operations. One of the attackers was arrested.The commandos also rescued 13 hostages.Bangladesh Brig. Gen. Nayeem Ashfaq Chowdhury said troops recovered explosive devices and sharp weapons from the scene.About 35 people were taken hostage, including about 20 foreigners, when militants stormed Holey Artisan Bakery Friday night.Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina described the siege as a terrorist attack. ISIS has claimed responsibility for the attack.Gunfire could be heard as Bangladesh forces moved in Saturday morning to end the standoff in the country's capital.A man who witnessed the attack told ABC News he could hear the gunshots from his balcony.Fayad Munain, who lives two streets away from the cafe where the attack occurred, said a cafe waiter told reporters that there were about six to eight gunmen who were all in their late 20s, Munain said. The waiter described the men as unshaven and said they fired three shots into the air before a "huge explosion."Munain said he heard the explosion live and then about 5 seconds later on live television. He is an American with dual citizenship and is in Bangladesh visiting family, he said.A Twitter post circulated by Amaq, an ISIS media outlet, said that ISIS “commandos” attacked “a restaurant frequented by foreigners in the city of Dhaka.”U.S. State Department spokesman John Kirby could not confirm that ISIS was responsible for the attack.Kirby said in a statement, "Our embassy in Dhaka has confirmed 100 percent accountability of all official American personnel with no injuries reported. We are working with the local authorities to determine if any U.S. citizens and locally–employed staff were affected."“We join with the people of Bangladesh in expressing our outrage at this brutal act of terrorism and offer our condolences to the friends and families of the victims, including Bangladeshi law enforcement officials who have been killed or injured responding to the attack," Kirby said. "We are in ongoing contact with the Government of Bangladesh as the situation continues to unfold. We have offered our assistance in their efforts to bring to justice those responsible for these attacks and to combat terrorism and violent extremism."A White House official said President Barack Obama was briefed on the attack by his chief counterterrorism adviser Lisa Monaco. The president asked to be kept informed as the situation develops, said the official.Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.
    Read more...
  • iStock/Thinkstock(JERUSALEM) -- Israel is bolstering its troop presence and sealing off Hebron, the occupied West Bank’s biggest city, after a 13 year-old Israeli-American girl was stabbed in her bed by a 17 year-old Palestinian teenager on Thursday, and an Israeli man was shot and killed during a drive-by shooting Friday."The lethality of the attacks in the past 24 hours have led to a step up in the need to prevent attacks from spilling out on the streets," Israeli Military spokesman Peter Lerner told reporters on a conference call Friday.These are "the most substantial steps we've taken on the ground" since 2014, Lerner added.Nearly 700,000 Palestinians will be confined to the boundaries of the Hebron district, except for humanitarian emergencies.Lerner said that at least 80 attacks on Israeli citizens have originated from, or near Hebron, since last fall. Several hundred extra Israeli soldiers will be deployed to Hebron to enforce the closure, putting "boots on the ground" in main locations to set up checkpoints. The Israeli military did not provide an end date to the closure.The district closure will not affect Israeli settlements inside the district, including Kiryat Arba, the settlement where Hallel Yaffa Uriel, 13, was killed, or Otniel, the settlement near today's car attack.Michi Mark, 48, was driving Friday afternoon with two of his 10 children and his wife when their car took gunfire from a passing car. Mark lost control of the car, causing it to flip, killing him and wounding his wife and two children.Friday's shooting followed an incident inside Hebron at the Tomb of the Patriarchs, where a Palestinian woman was shot dead after attempting to stab an Israeli police officer. Sara al-Hajuj Atrayera, 27, from the village of Bani Na'im in the Hebron district, was reportedly related to the 17 year-old attacker who was shot dead after killing the American-Israeli teenager in her bed. On Thursday evening in the northern Israeli town of Netanya, a Palestinian from the West Bank town of Tukarem was shot dead after stabbing two Israelis.Since last September, there have been more than 250 attacks and attempted attacks by Palestinians against Israelis, killing at least 40 Israelis, according to a new report from the Middle East Quartet. At least 140 Palestinians have been killed while carrying out or reportedly carrying out attacks, and at least 60 more were killed by Israeli Security Forces during demonstrations, clashes or military operations, the report said. One Palestinian was killed today during clashes at the Qalandia checkpoint between Ramallah and Jerusalem and the Israeli military has said it is investigating his death.Earlier Friday, Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu visited the family of the murdered American-Israeli teen, telling her parents that seeing the bedroom where she was stabbed was "shocking," and that "it reminds us who we are fighting."
    Read more...
  • EmoryCollege.edu(DHAKA, Bangladesh) -- Two Emory University students were among those taken hostage and killed at an upscale restaurant in the capital of Bangladesh, the school said Saturday.Abinta Kabir, a sophomore, was visiting family and friends in Dhaka when she was murdered by militants who stormed Holey Artisan Bakery in the city’s diplomatic quarter Friday night. Kabir was from Miami, Florida, the school said.Another Emory University student, Faraaz Hossain, was also killed in the hostage situation. He was from Dhaka.“The Emory community mourns this tragic and senseless loss,” Emory University said in a statement.The school said it is offering counseling services to bereaved members of its community.Emory University president James Wagner, writing before news of Hossain's death, said Saturday that he had been in touch with Kabir’s mother who was in “unspeakable pain” upon receiving word of her daughter’s murder."Please, as you are inclined, direct your kindest thoughts and sincerest prayers in her behalf and that of her family," Wagner said in a statement Saturday.Kabir was a student at the school’s two-year college in Oxford, Georgia, about 38 miles from its main campus in Atlanta. Hossain had just graduated from the same two-year program, and was a junior at Emory's Goizueta Business School in Atlanta, the school said.ISIS, the Islamic State group, has claimed the attack in which about 35 people were taken hostage, including about 20 foreigners, during a 10-hour siege of the restaurant that is popular with foreigners. The militants killed 20 of the hostages.In a rescue operation by Bangladeshi paramilitary troops, at least six attackers were killed, one was arrested and 13 hostages were rescued.Bangladeshi Brig. Gen. Nayeem Ashfaq Chowdhury said troops recovered explosive devices and sharp weapons from the scene.U.S. citizens in the city were warned by the State Department to "remain vigilant" following the attack.Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.
    Read more...
  • iStock/Thinkstock(DHAKA, Bangladesh) -- ISIS has claimed responsibility for a deadly attack at a cafe in Dhaka, the capital of Bangladesh.Foreigners were being held in an ongoing shooting and hostage situation at the cafe in Gulshan, a neighborhood popular with foreigners. Authorities did not immediately provide the nationalities of those being held.Early Saturday morning, Bangladeshi forces rang out heavy gunfire and explosions as they moved to end the ten-hour standoff. Soon after, Bangladeshi officials confirmed that the restaurant had been cleared with at least six militants killed, some captured, and over a dozen hostages rescued. Two police officers have been killed and dozens of people have been injured, according to police. No hostage deaths have been confirmed, police said.A man who witnessed the attack could hear the gunshots from his balcony, he told ABC News.Fayad Munain, who lives two streets away from the cafe where the attack occurred, said a cafe waiter told reporters that there were about six to eight gunmen who were all in their late 20s, Munain said. The waiter described the men as unshaven and said they fired three shots into the air before a "huge explosion."Munain said he heard the explosion live and then about 5 seconds later on live television. He is an American with dual citizenship and is in Bangladesh visiting family, he said.A Twitter post circulated by Amaq, an ISIS media outlet, said that ISIS “commandos” attacked “a restaurant frequented by foreigners in the city of Dhaka.”U.S. State Department spokesman John Kirby could not confirm that ISIS was responsible for the attack.Kirby said in a statement, "Our embassy in Dhaka has confirmed 100 percent accountability of all official American personnel with no injuries reported. We are working with the local authorities to determine if any U.S. citizens and locally–employed staff were affected."“We join with the people of Bangladesh in expressing our outrage at this brutal act of terrorism and offer our condolences to the friends and families of the victims, including Bangladeshi law enforcement officials who have been killed or injured responding to the attack," Kirby said. "We are in ongoing contact with the Government of Bangladesh as the situation continues to unfold. We have offered our assistance in their efforts to bring to justice those responsible for these attacks and to combat terrorism and violent extremism."
    Read more...