• US Department of Defense(WASHINGTON) -- There could be an "opportunity for talks" between the United States and North Korea, Secretary of Defense James Mattis said Thursday, if North Korea halts its nuclear tests, development and exports.Speaking to reporters during a trip to visit U.S. Northern Command and the North American Aerospace Defense Command, Mattis said that "as long as they stop testing, stop developing, they don't export their weapons, there would be opportunity for talks."But on Thursday, Chief Pentagon spokesperson Dana White gave a briefing in which she could not speculate on an apparent sudden pause in North Korea's nuclear activities. "Our policies remain to have the verifiable, irreversible denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula," White said. "So it's a diplomatic effort. We'll continue to support our diplomats and ensure that they can negotiate from a position of strength.""I think it's perilous to predict anything about what North Korea does or doesn't do," she added. "But we're continuing to monitor the situation."Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.
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  • Ben185/iStock/Thinkstock(NEW SOUTH WALES, Australia) -- More than 1,500 pounds of cocaine, worth an estimated $186 million, were seized from a yacht in the state of New South Wales, Australian police said.Three men were also arrested in Australia as part of a multi-agency investigation into drug trafficking, according to the Australian Federal Police.Investigators tracked the yacht as it traveled from the South Pacific bound for New South Wales. When it reached Lake Macquarie, in New South Wales, authorities boarded the vessel and arrested a 68-year-old man, police said.A 47-year-old man was taken into custody at a hotel in the nearby Warners Bay area of Lake Macquarie, and a third man, 63 years old, was arrested at a home in nearby Islington, according to police.When police boarded the vessel, they found “a large commercial quantity of cocaine concealed within the hull” -- believed to amount to 1,543 lbs. of cocaine with an estimated potential street value of $186 million, police said.Forensic officers are continuing to take apart the boat, as well as examine and test the cocaine, according to police
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  • claudiodivizia/iStock/Thinkstock(PARIS) -- The fallout from the Harvey Weinstein scandal has been reverberating far beyond the United States’ borders, and in France, where male chauvinism is ingrained in the culture, the allegations of sexual misconduct have inspired women here to speak out.Reports of rape, sexual assault and sexual harassment in France rose 25 percent in October compared to the same month a year ago, a spokesman for the French interior ministry told ABC News.In the wake of the #MeToo hashtag started by actress Alyssa Milano in the United States, French women invented a hashtag of their own to speak up about sexual harassment.#Balancetonporc, which translates to “Expose your pig,” went viral as thousands of French women posted stories of inappropriate sexual behaviors and abuse. According to the French research institute Odoxa, 335,300 tweets with the hashtag #balancetonporc were posted in just five days. Seventeen thousand of them were testimonies of sexual aggression and harassment.“In recent years in France, we have seen female journalists and politicians speaking up about sexual abuse,” Alice Debauche, an associate professor of sociology at Strasbourg University who specializes in violence against women, told ABC News. “But what we are seeing is unprecedented.”The fact that famous actresses kicked off the Weinstein scandal has resonated in France, Debauche said.“Women feel like they know these actresses by watching their movies and seeing them on the cover of magazines. There is sentiment of proximity,” she said. “Women identify themselves to actresses much more than to politicians, intellectuals or anonymous females.”The recent increase in reports of sexual assault and harassment show that French women are trying to change cultural norms.“Filing a complaint is always an obstacle for victims,” Debauche said. “It shows that they are feeling empowered to come forward after the campaigns on social media.”According to Claire Ludwig, a member of the French feminist organization “Stop Street Harassment,” there is definitely a connection between the rise in reports and the numerous sexual misconduct stories of the past few weeks.“This demonstrates that we are on the right path,” Ludwig said. “Fear is switching from the victim’s side to the aggressor’s.”In a study published last year, the French Institute for Demographic Studies said an estimated 62,000 women in France are victims of at least one rape or attempted rape each year. Additionally, the study said that around 580,000 women are victims of sexual violence every year in France.“Authorities need to extend this ongoing cultural debate through information, prevention and education campaigns," Debauche said. “Otherwise it might be short-lived.”The massive wave of sexual harassment and assault stories in France is having political and legal repercussions, too.French President Emmanuel Macron said during a television interview last month that he had begun the procedure to strip Harvey Weinstein of France’s highest award, the Legion of Honor. “His actions lack honor,” Macron said.The ongoing debate in France amid the Weinstein scandal might also lead to changes in the law.Marlène Schiappa, France’s minister for gender equality, wants to fine men for catcalling women in public.A task force of legal professionals, policemen and politicians are working to define street harassment. The proposed law is expected to be presented next year.“The creation of a legal framework to denounce street harassment is a victory for us,” Ludwig said. But she believes that the new law will be very hard to enforce. “Sexual harassers will have to be caught 'in the act' by police officers in order to be fined,” she said. “Is the government planning to put a police officer be
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  • Tolga Akmen/WPA Pool/Getty Images(LONDON) -- Prince William announced recommendations Thursday for combating cyberbullying after convening a task force of leading tech companies to look at the issue.The online code of conduct, called "Stop, Speak, Support," is the first in the world of its kind. Its aim is to create a safer space online for children and give them online resources if they feel threatened or lost.William, 35, brought together the world’s leading tech firms -- including Google, YouTube, Twitter, Facebook and Snapchat -- as part of the Royal Foundation's task force on the prevention of cyberbullying. The task force, which first convened in May 2016, also included parents, children and representatives from children's charities.The campaign will work with tech giants Facebook and Snapchat to initiate a trial program to support victims of cyberbullying and implement safety guidelines for online users.The tech firms that are part of the task force have also agreed to make changes, William announced in his speech Thursday."The technology company members of the task force have agreed to adopt new guidelines to improve the process for reporting bullying online and to create clearer consequences for those who behave unacceptably," he said.The online code of conduct includes a website where kids can go for support. The website teaches children to stop participating when they see negative comments, speak out to adults and/or report the bullying to the social media platform, and to support the person being bullied.Kensington Palace on Wednesday released a moving video of William speaking with a mother who lost her son to suicide and a teen girl who attempted suicide after being the victim of cyberbullying."I started to self-harm as a way to cope, to make me feel better. And then I decided that I couldn't take this anymore and I tried to end my life," Chloe, who was cyberbullied at the age of 13, told William during their conversation at Kensington Palace.In the video, William praised the women for their bravery and told them, "I only wish that neither of you had gone through what you've gone through.""I think it is worth reminding everyone what the human tragedy of what we are talking about here," William said. "It isn't just about companies and about online stuff. It's actually real lives that get affected."William said he became particularly interested in how social media can affect children after becoming a father to Prince George, 4, and Princess Charlotte, 2. William and Princess Kate are expecting their third child next April.William also became interested in this cause through his work as an air ambulance pilot, where he witnessed and responded to many young men in despair and on the verge of suicide. After hearing a story of a little boy who killed himself due to online abuse, William vowed to get involved himself."Through my work on mental health, I have spent time getting to know parents and children for whom the impact of online bullying has been devastating," William said. "And as a parent myself, I understand the sense of loss and anger of those particular families who have lost children after they were the targets of campaigns of harassment."Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.
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  • 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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