ABC - Top Stories
Subscribe To This Feed

Tom Pennington/Getty Images(PYEONGCHANG, South Korea) -- Veteran skier Lindsey Vonn was the favorite in women's downhill coming into the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics. She'd won the last three World Cup downhill events coming into the games and has the second-most all-time wins in World Cup events with 81.

But after finishing sixth in the Super-G event, the disappointment continued for Vonn on Wednesday as she placed third in the downhill, earning her a bronze medal.

Vonn finished .47 seconds behind the gold medalist, Italy’s Sofia Goggia, and was in place for the silver until a surprisingly strong run by Norway’s Raghild Mowinkel bumped Vonn into third place. Mowinkel missed out on gold by just nine-one-hundredths of a second.

"I gave it all today, skied a great race. Sofia just skied better than I did," Vonn said.

Vonn couldn’t hide her disappointment and admitted this would likely be her final Olympics.

"It was tough to contemplate, this being my last Olympic downhill. I struggled to try to keep the emotions together, but I left it all on the mountain like I said I would," Vonn said. "I love what I do, but my body just can't take another four years. But I'm proud to be competing for my country, giving it all -- and proud to come away with a medal."

ABC News contributor Steven Nyman, who competed in three Olympics for the U.S., said Vonn may have been charging too hard in her run.

"Lindsey skied well. She was going hard -- maybe a little too hard," Nyman said. "There were a couple sections where she got low on the line and didn’t carry full speed."


"There had to be a lot of emotion in today’s race, and that finally released at the finish," he added. "We know she wanted gold, but bronze works."

Vonn talked about her grandfather, who recently passed away.

"It's been really hard for me not to get emotional for so many reasons, especially because of my grandfather," she said. "I wanted to win so much because of him, but I still think I made him proud."

Vonn, who is a four-time Olympian and a three-time Olympic medalist, did add another record to her accomplished career. The 33-year-old is now the oldest female alpine skier to win an Olympic medal.

"If you think what's happened over the last eight years and what I've been through to get here, I gave it all. And to come away with a medal is a dream come true," Vonn said. "You've got to put things into perspective. Of course, I'd have loved a gold medal, but honestly this is amazing and I'm so proud."

Vonn tweeted about claiming the bronze medal, saying it "felt like gold."

The veteran does have one more chance to medal in Pyeongchang as she competes in the alpine combined -- a combination of one downhill run and one slalom run -- on Thursday.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

0
comments



Subscribe To This Feed

Carl Court/Getty Images(PYEONGCHANG, South Korea) -- A secret meeting planned between Vice President Mike Pence and North Korean officials at the Olympics was scrapped at the last minute, an official in Pence's office has confirmed to ABC News.

An account of the planned meeting was first reported in the Washington Post. The meeting was set for Feb. 10 between Pence and Kim Yo Jong, sister of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, and Kim Yong Nam, North Korea's nominal head of state. But the North Koreans pulled out, citing new sanctions the U.S. announced before Pence's arrival in South Korea, according to the official.

In a statement, Nick Ayers, Pence's chief of staff, said North Korea "dangled a meeting in hopes of the vice president softening his message, which would have ceded the world stage for their propaganda during the Olympics." Ayers added that Pence would have confronted the North Koreans about human rights abuses and their nuclear weapons ambitions.

Citing White House officials, the Post reported that President Donald Trump and Pence had agreed beforehand that the goal of any meeting would not be to open any negotiations with Kim’s regime, but to deliver the administration’s tough stance against North Korea face to face.

"This administration will stand in the way of Kim’s desire to whitewash their murderous regime with nice photo ops at the Olympics," Ayers said. "Perhaps that’s why they walked away from a meeting, or perhaps they were never sincere about sitting down. The president made a decision that if they wanted to talk, we would deliver our uncompromising message. If they asked for a meeting, we would meet. He also made clear that until they agreed to complete denuclearization, we weren’t going to change any of our positions or negotiate.”

At the Olympics opening ceremony, Pence sat just a few feet away from Kim Yo Jong, but did not acknowledge her.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

0
comments



Subscribe To This Feed

Disney(LOS ANGELES) -- Oprah Winfrey, Steven Spielberg and wife Kate Capshaw, and Jeffrey and Marilyn Katzenberg have joined George and Amal Clooney in each pledging to donate $500,000 to the Our Lives anti-gun demonstration planned by victims of last week's shooting at a high school in Parkland, Florida that left 17 students dead.

“Amal and I are so inspired by the courage and eloquence of these young men and women from Stoneman Douglas High School,” Clooney said in a statement Tuesday morning. “Our family will be there on March 24 to stand side by side with this incredible generation of young people from all over the country, and in the name of our children Ella and Alexander, we’re donating $500,000 to help pay for this groundbreaking event. Our children’s lives depend on it.”

"George and Amal, I couldn’t agree with you more, Oprah later tweeted. "I am joining forces with you and will match your $500,000 donation to ‘March For Our Lives.’"

“The young students in Florida and now across the country are already demonstrating their leadership with a confidence and maturity that belies their ages,” Spielberg said in a statement obtained by Variety. “Kate and I applaud their efforts to take a stand for the benefit of this and future generations.”

Katzenberg, speaking on behalf of himself and his wife, said “Marilyn and I are proud to stand with the brave young leaders from Parkland, Florida, who have taken their pain and grief and turned it into action.”

The Katzenbergs will also join the Clooneys at the Washington, D.C. march.

Nikolas Cruz, 19, has been charged with 17 counts of premeditated murder in the Valentine's Day massacre. The FBI has admitted it didn't follow proper protocols in following up on tips from concerned citizens about the alleged shooter, prior to the shooting.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

0
comments



Subscribe To This Feed

iStock/Thinkstock(TALLAHASSEE, Fla.) -- Many of the students barely had time to dry their eyes as they rushed from funerals for classmates killed in a mass shooting at their school to buses chartered to take them to the Florida state capital, where they plan to lobby legislators and rally for tougher gun laws and school safety.

The two busloads of student activists spawned from the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School last week left Parkland, Florida, about 1:30 p.m. Wednesday for the 400-mile trip to Tallahassee.

"This isn't about Democrats. This isn't about Republicans. This is about us demanding change, and this is about the fact that we have already won. It's just a matter of when," yelled a student standing atop a car, firing up the group before they hit the road.

But just as the students started rolling north on their journey for justice, state lawmakers voted down a measure to ban purchases of assault rifles like the one 19-year-old Nikolas Cruz allegedly used in his attack that left 17 students and school staff members dead in Parkland.

With a 36-71 vote, Florida lawmakers defeated the assault rifle bill that would have also banned the purchases of large-capacity magazines statewide.

Several students from Stoneman Douglas who traveled to Tallahassee Monday night were in the gallery at the state capitol building when the vote was taken, and some gasped in disbelief.

Chris Grady, a 19-year-old senior at Stoneman Douglas, was not deterred by the stubbornness to change gun laws even in the face of the tragedy that occurred less than a week ago.

"I really think they are going to hear us out," Grady said as he prepared to board the bus in Parkland. Grady added that he hopes he and his classmates will change the minds of lawmakers to pass "common-sense laws like rigorous background checks."

"We are focusing on gun rights and mental health," Jaclyn Corin, a 17-year-old junior who helped organized the bus trip, told ABC News.

She said he hopes lawmakers will listen once they come face to face with school shooting survivors like herself.

"There aren't a lot of bills focusing on mental health, and we hope to change that," Corin said.

The buses are scheduled to reach Tallahassee about 8:30 p.m., and a group of students from Leon County High School there plan to be on hand to greet them as a sign of support.

State Sen. Lauren Book -- D-Plantation, Fla., who paid for the charter buses for the students out of her own pocket -- also plans to greet the students when they arrive and help them organize and meet her fellow legislators on Wednesday.

The students plan to start their lobbying efforts early Wednesday when they walk to the state capitol building holding signs reading "Never Again," the motto for their grassroots movement.

The students also plan to attend a noon rally Wednesday outside the old state capitol building to support gun safety reform.

"I'm committed to making sure no child is going to be scared going into a classroom," Jon Faber, a parent chaperone on that trip, told ABC News. "That's what they're going to achieve."

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

0
comments



Subscribe To This Feed

United States Congress(WASHINGTON) -- Last week's shooting at a Parkland, Fla., high school that left 17 dead and 14 wounded has once again brought the debate over gun control to the forefront. This time, the school's students are taking the lead in demanding change at both the local level and in Washington.

Critics, however, argue that pro-gun campaign money has more influence in the gun policy debate than victims of gun violence.

The National Rifle Association continues to be a huge force in American politics. It's made more than $11 million in direct contributions to federal lawmakers and candidates over the past 20 years. In 2017, the group's lobbying expenditures included $5 million spent pushing Second Amendment rights.

But the NRA’s real power shows up in independent expenditures. It can raise and spend unlimited amounts of money supporting or opposing candidates - as long as it doesn't coordinate with the candidates.

During just the 2016 election cycle, the NRA spent $54 million in the presidential and congressional races, nearly $20 million of which went to attacking Democrat Hillary Clinton and more than $11 million to support Republican Donald Trump. IN 2008 and 2012, the group had spent $18 million opposing Democrat Barack Obama and $10 million supporting Republicans John McCain and Mitt Romney.

A NRA spokesperson said the group spends money in elections on behalf of its five million members across America to defend their constitutional right to own guns.

In the past 15 years, the pro-gun group has spent a total of more than $132 million on ads supporting or opposing presidential or congressional candidates.

Here are the three U.S. senators and House members who have benefited the most from the NRA’s ad buys, according to Federal Election Commission records:

SENATE


Sen. Richard Burr: $6.9 million

In 2016, the NRA was determined to keep North Carolina Republican Sen. Richard Burr’s seat. The group spent $5.6 million on ads attacking his Democratic challenger, Deborah Ross. Over the years, the group has spent $1.4 million on ads supporting Burr and donated $40,150 to his House and Senate campaign committees.

Sen. Roy Blunt: $4.5 million

Sen. Roy Blunt, R-Mo., has long been one of the biggest beneficiaries of NRA money. Not only has the group donated $56,500 to Blunt’s campaign committee over the years, the group has also spent $1.4 million bankrolling ads supporting him. The NRA also spent $2.5 million in 2016 opposing Democrat Jason Kander’s bid against the Missouri Republican.

Sen. Thom Tillis: $4.4 million


The NRA was one of many outside groups that helped unseat North Carolina's Democratic incumbent senator, Kay Hagan, and elect Republican Sen. Thom Tilllis in 2014. The NRA spent $2.45 million against Hagan and nearly $2 million in support of Tillis.

HOUSE

Rep. French Hill: $1.1 million


The NRA was one of the biggest spenders in a competitive Arkansas House race in 2014. The group spent more than half a million dollars supporting Republican French Hill and another half million attacking Democrat Patrick Hays.

Rep. Ken Buck: $829,377

In 2010, the NRA spent nearly $830,000 in an unsuccessful effort to replace Democratic incumbent Michael Bennet with Republican Ken Buck in Colorado. Buck, however, was able to win the seat only after Bennet left office to run for the Senate in 2012. The NRA didn’t get involved in the 2014 race, but Buck was backed by another pro-gun group called Gun Owners of America.

Rep. David Young: $697,778

The NRA helped elect Republican David Young in an open House race in Iowa in 2014 by spending nearly $700,000 on ads in support of Young and against Democratic opponent Staci Appel.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

0
comments



Subscribe To This Feed

iStock/Thinkstock(PARKLAND, Fla.) -- The handlers behind the comfort dogs making their way through the Florida community where 17 students and teachers were killed in a school shooting last week have a saying.

"We like to say, 'Comfort walks in on four paws,'" Brenda Burden told ABC News today.

Burden and her husband, Phil, of Hilton Head Island, South Carolina, have been in Parkland, Florida, this week with their dog Sasha and others with Lutheran Church Charities' K-9 Comfort Dog Ministry.

The ministry was started in August 2008 and dispatches golden retrievers around the U.S. to help those grieving after tragedy. One dog named Jacob had traveled to Las Vegas and Orlando after the deadly mass shootings in those cities last year and the year before.

The ministry has more than 130 comfort dogs in more than 20 states has training sites in Illinois and Nebraska. The dogs are trained to remain calm and soothe people who are grieving or distressed.

According to the organization, the dogs had been dispatched to comfort residents and survivors after the Sandy Hook school massacre as well as after Hurricane Harvey.

According to Dana Yocum of Lutheran Church Charities, the ministry relies solely on donations for funding.

Burden said that 3-year-old Sasha and the other dogs were doing visits all week.

"We have been visiting the community at the Parkland amphitheater. We have been visiting first responders to thank them for their services," she said. "Today, we started visiting elementary schools."

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

0
comments



Subscribe To This Feed

iStock/Thinkstock(FOLSOM, Calif.) -- Michelle Carroll and her husband, Donald, can count nine of the same knee pillows, all in Amazon boxes, spread across their living room in their Folsom, California, home.

In fact, the couple would have had at least 14 knee pillows if they hadn't insisted that the drivers making deliveries take some of the packages back.

"Yesterday my husband chased down the driver to return two packages," Michelle told ABC News.

The couple said that they have been receiving Amazon packages since the beginning of February, but they thought the first package was a prank.

"[The first package] was a talking hamster toy and it was pretty funny at first," said Michelle.

The packages don't have a return label and all of them were addressed to Donald, she said.

After a call to Amazon, the company assured them that the deliveries didn't affect their account and they took record of the tracking numbers.

"Our review detection systems are trained to catch this type of behavior and we will continue our ongoing efforts to detect and prevent abuse. Our investigations thus far indicate that there have been few reviews written on these shipments. We have removed these and will continue to remove any we do find immediately. We will hold offenders that have violated our policies accountable," said a spokesperson for Amazon in a statement to ABC News.

There had been multiple five-star reviews of the product on Amazon, which Michelle claims could be an example of "brushing," which is when manufacturers send items to random Amazon customers and then use their names to post fake reviews on the retailer's site.

She said she left a review for the knee pillows calling them a scam.

"Do I feel like I'm a victim of a scam? Yes, absolutely," she said.

Amazon allegedly put a hold on two accounts associated with different tracking numbers that belonged to people with names that Michelle said she didn't recognize.

Despite more calls to Amazon and to the local authorities -- in addition to a sign posted to the front door asking drivers not to deliver Amazon packages addressed to the Carroll family -- the packages keep arriving.

Packages continued to be delivered because they had different tracking numbers, Michelle explained.

"I just want this to stop," she said. "It's just really frustrating that someone has our address, and our phone number is on the boxes."

She also said that Amazon told her that she could keep the pillows and consider donating them to charity.

"I'm waiting to see what Amazon will do and I want to hear from the local authorities," she said. "So right now I have no plans to do anything [with the pillows]."

She went on to add: "Our concern is what is the next package going to be. That’s scary."

In a statement from an Amazon spokesperson the company said: "We are investigating inquiries from consumers who have received unsolicited packages as this would violate our policies. We have confirmed the sellers involved did not receive names or shipping addresses from Amazon. We remove sellers in violation of our policies, withhold payments, and work with law enforcement to take appropriate action."

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

0
comments



WING WARS
Add a Comment
(Fields are Optional)

Your email address is never published.

Find Us On Facebook