ABC - Top Stories

omersukrugoksu/iStock(PARIS) -- French police fired water cannons and tear gas in Paris on Saturday to drive back protesters marking the first anniversary of the anti-government yellow vest demonstrations.

Demonstrators, many clad in black and hiding their faces, vandalized an HSBC bank at the Place d'Italie. They set trash cans on fire and hurled cobblestones and bottles at riot police while building barricades.

Several cars were also set ablaze.

Clashes broke out between demonstrators and police near the Porte de Champerret, close to the Arc de Triomphe, as protesters were preparing to march across the city towards Gare d'Austerlitz. Police also intervened to prevent a few hundred demonstrators from occupying the Paris ring road.

“In the face of thugs who target them, firefighters and police intervene to contain the excesses, put an end to abuses and proceed to arrests,” French National Police said in a translated message. “Peaceful protesters, we guarantee the public peace to allow you to freely express your opinions. Help us: disassociate yourself from violent groups.”

The yellow vest protests, named for the high-visibility jackets worn by demonstrators, erupted in November 2018 over fuel price hikes and the high cost of living. The demonstrations spiraled into a broader movement against French President Emmanuel Macron and his economic reforms.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


narvikk/iStock(WASHINGTON) -- A State Department official, who was subpoenaed to testify amid the House impeachment probe, told lawmakers that President Donald Trump asked EU Ambassador Gordon Sondland in a phone call about the status of an investigation he requested from the Ukrainian president.

David Holmes, the U.S. diplomat in Kiev, Ukraine, appeared for a closed-door deposition with House impeachment investigators on Friday. The hearing took place immediately following the House Intelligence Committee's questioning of former Ukraine Amb. Marie Yovanovitch in the second public hearing amid the impeachment probe.

Holmes, fielding questions from investigators behind closed doors for six hours, described the conversation between Sondland and Trump that he said he overheard from the ambassador's cell phone at a restaurant in Kiev on July 26, just one day after the president's second call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy -- when Trump appeared to encourage Zelenskiy to work with his personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani and Attorney General William Barr on investigations into the 2016 election and former Vice President Joe Biden's family.

"I then heard President Trump ask, 'So he's gonna do the investigation?' Ambassador Sondland replied that 'he's gonna do it,'" adding that Zelenskiy "will do 'anything you ask him to,'" according to a copy of his opening statement obtained by ABC News. CNN first reported the details of Holmes' remarks.

Holmes added that Sondland told Trump: the Ukrainian president "loves your ass."

"The President's voice was very loud and recognizable, and Ambassador Sondland held the phone away from his ear for a period of time, presumably because of the loud volume," he said, according to the copy of his opening statement.

The new testimony raises additional questions for the White House about Trump's knowledge of and involvement in efforts to pressure Ukraine to launch alleged investigations.

While Trump and his Republican allies have argued that he was working to combat corruption in Ukraine, the new account from Holmes suggested the president was more focused on an investigation into Biden's son Hunter and his relationship with the Ukrainian energy company Burisma.

Holmes said he asked Sondland if it was true that Trump didn't care about Ukraine -- and claims that the ambassador agreed, adding that "Trump only cares about big stuff."

"I noted there was 'big stuff' going on in Ukraine, like a war," Holmes said in his statement. "And Ambassador Sondland replied that he meant 'big stuff' that benefits the President, like the 'Biden investigation' that Mr. Giuliani was pushing."

Both Republicans and Democrats suggested that Holmes could appear publicly in the coming weeks to share his account of the Trump-Sondland phone call, as well as his other observations from his post at the U.S. embassy in Kiev.

"In that statement that was released there is a lot to be concerned about," California Rep. Eric Swalwell told reporters Saturday. "Particularly that more witnesses described the president's obsession with investigating his political opponents."

North Carolina Rep. Mark Meadows, said the testimony from Holmes corroborated what Amb. William Taylor said in his sworn public testimony on Wednesday about the call, and brought up more questions for Sondland.

Other Republicans downplayed the new account.

"You got some guy who overheard a phone call," Ohio Rep. Jim Jordan told reporters. "I’m sure the Democrats are going to bring him, well I’m betting they’re going to bring him for a hearing and we’ll get a chance to question him in the open."

After a week of public impeachment hearings, Jordan said he believed "things are going well" for Trump amid the impeachment proceedings.

"You know they’ve had three hearings, three witnesses with no firsthand knowledge the facts. I say this all the time but, the thing about facts, they don’t change," he said. "We have the call transcript, we have two individuals on the call, [President] Trump, [President] Zelenskiy that say there was no linkage, no pressure, no pushing whatsoever."

Sondland is scheduled to testify publicly next week in an open hearing, the first featuring a key player in the impeachment inquiry who frequently interacted with the president.

Democrats have left open the possibility of hearing from more witnesses as the investigation continues. Holmes, in his opening statement, said he decided to come forward after reading reports "noting the lack of first-hand evidence in the investigation."

"I came to realize that I had first-hand knowledge regarding certain events on July 26 that had not otherwise been reported, and that those events potentially bore on the question of whether the President did, in fact, have knowledge that those officials were using the levers of our diplomatic power to induce the new Ukrainian President to announce the opening of a particular criminal investigation," he said in his statement.

The House Intelligence Committee has five public hearings with eight witnesses scheduled for next week.

Impeachment investigators also gathered Saturday to depose Mark Sandy, a career Office of Management and Budget official, who became the first staffer from the budget office to cooperate with their investigation.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Pineapple Studio/iStock(NEW YORK) -- Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates has reclaimed the title of richest person in the world, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index.

Gates had been the second wealthiest individual in the world for more than two years, trailing Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos. As of Friday, Bloomberg's data shows Gates is worth $110 billion, while Bezos is just behind at $109 billion.

Bloomberg updates its rankings each day after the U.S. markets close.

Gates' worth has climbed in recent weeks, following the Pentagon's decision to award a cloud-computing contract to Microsoft over Amazon.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Photo by Phil Ellsworth / ESPN Images(TUSCALOOSA, Ala.) -- Alabama quarterback Tua Tagovailoa was carted off the field after suffering an apparent hip injury during Saturday's game against Mississippi State. He was later airlifted to Birmingham for CAT scans and MRIs.

A source told ESPN's Adam Schefter that there was concern before the end of the game that it was a "very serious" injury.

With three minutes left in the first half, Tagovailoa was taken down by a pair of MSU defenders. He was unable to put pressure on his right leg as trainers helped him to his feet.

He also suffered a bloody nose on the play.

Alabama head coach Nick Saban told ESPN's Molly McGrath that Tagovailoa was set to come out of the game following that drive. Saban had kept him in the game to practice a two-minute drill.

Alabam was leading 35-7 at the time.

"We've got to block them better so he doesn't get sacked," Saban added. "It's too bad."

McGrath reported that Tagovailoa was screaming in pain as he was lifted onto the cart.

Saban later called the injury "probably something that could be serious."

Tagovailoa was considered a serious contender for the Heisman Trophy this season, and could be a top-10 pick in next year's NFL Draft. Earlier this year he missed one game after undergoing surgery on an ankle injury.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


(U.S. Navy) PFAS-free firefighting foam was tested in late October at the Naval Research Laboratory in Washington D.C.(WASHINGTON) -- Testing is still at a small scale, but U.S. Navy researchers are encouraged by their work to develop new firefighting foams that do not contain the "forever chemicals" known as PFAS, that at high levels have been linked to increased health risks, including cancer.

PFAS, which stands for per- and polyfluoroalkyl, is known as a "forever chemical" because it never degrades and will remain in the soil permanently.

While found in a variety of household products and non-stick surfaces, PFAS compounds are found in large concentrations in the firefighting foams first developed by the U.S. military more than 50 years ago to put out jet-fuel fires at military bases and aboard warships.

Over time, the PFAS in the foam enters the groundwater surrounding some military bases, which affects drinking water.

The Pentagon has made tackling the risks of PFAS contamination at military bases and surrounding communities a top priority.

Part of that effort includes developing a firefighting foam that is PFAS-free but maintains the ability to put out jet fuel fires quickly.

"We have two goals. One is to eliminate PFAS, so we're working with completely fluorine-free materials" Dr. Ramagopal Ananth, a Navy Research Laboratory chemical engineer and principal investigator, told ABC News. The other goal is to "provide the same level of protection to the warfighter."

For the past two years, Ananth and other researchers have been working with silicon as a potential replacement for PFAS in the foams.

"We believe that there are certain aspects of silicon that behave like fluorine, but maybe reduce the toxicity or eliminate it," Ananth said. "And we can maybe get the same results."

The silicon is not only bio-degradable but is also "cannot make any PFAS at all," according to Ananth.

Current foams, known formally as AAAF aqueous film-forming foams, work by covering a burning liquid's film layer preventing fuel vapors from continuing to fuel the fire.

"The foam layer is the key part that we want to mimic," Ananth said.

"Past efforts have really focused on the film-forming aspect of AAAF," Katherine Hinnant, an NRL chemical engineer, told ABC News. "We think that the foam plays a bigger role in this process. So we're choosing to focus on the foam layer and not just the film layer."

"We're very excited to work with different molecules and make different molecules that might incorporate silicon," Hinnant said.

Promising results of the new foam in the test lab led to a larger test in late October at the Naval Research Laboratory in Washington D.C.

In that test, a six-foot-wide pool of fuel was set ablaze so a trained firefighter could spray the new foam to see whether it could extinguish the fire.

Video of that test showed that the fires were extinguished completely, though at various timeframes.

Researchers have partnered with universities to study if there are any long-term environmental or health impacts from the use of silicon in the new foams.

Other researchers with military services and commercial partners are also working on other alternatives to PFAS in the firefighting foams.

For now, Navy researchers are encouraged by their results, but they acknowledge a lot more work remains.

"We don't want to be forced into finding an alternative that might be bad for the environment," Hinnant said. "So at this time, we're really just doing the basic research that needs to be done to ensure that the molecules that we're putting out, the things that we say are going to benefit the warfighter are really things that we have data to back up."

"It takes time, but we're very encouraged by it and know that the work that we're doing is really important," she added.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Washoe County Sheriffs Office(SAN FRANCISCO) -- Cold-case investigators may have solved a 40-year-old murder with the arrest of a 73-year-old Arizona man.

Charles Gary Sullivan was charged Friday with open murder of 21-year-old Julia Woodward of San Rafael, California, 40 years after the woman's bludgeoned body was discovered in a shallow grave near Reno, Nevada, authorities said.

Sullivan is scheduled to be arraigned in Washoe District Court on Nov. 19, according

Woodward had left her family's California home on Feb. 1, 1979, to go job hunting in Nevada. Two months after her arrival, her body was found in a canyon in Hungry Valley, about 20 miles north of Reno.

Police said her eyes were sealed shut with bandaids, her legs were zip-tied, and it appeared that a blow to the head killed her.

"It's like if your child had cancer, you would know everything there is to know about the disease," her mother, Cecily O'Connor, told San Francisco ABC station KGO when detectives re-opened the case in 2015. "In this case, you just want to know what happened. You want to be there with her in your mind and think about what really happened."

Using DNA tools that were unavailable four decades ago, investigators tied Sullivan to Woodward's death, according to an indictment filed in August and unsealed this week.

"The defendant, Charles Gary Sullivan, in or about 1979, within the County of Washoe, State of Nevada, did willfully, feloniously, without authority of law, and with premeditation, deliberation, and malice aforethought, and/or in the perpetration or attempted perpetration of a sexual assault, kill Julia Woodward by striking her with a rock," the indictment said.

Sullivan is being held without bail, according to jail records.

This was not Sullivan's first brush with the law relating to a crime against a woman. Sullivan, according to court documents, was charged, but not convicted, with kidnapping a 25-year-old California woman. A Nevada County, Calif. jury did find Sullivan guilty of false imprisonment and making a criminal threat.

Sullivan, court documents read, picked up a woman hitchhiking from her aunt's funeral in Utah to Yuba City, California. Instead of taking her there, he allegedly zip-tied her wrists and ankles and took her to a remote area off the interstate. The woman was able to escape and fled to the road and flagged down two men driving by on an ATV.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Mark Hill/HBO(NEW YORK) -- Director Nicole Kassell is no stranger to high-profile TV projects: After all, she's a veteran of shows ranging from Claws to Breaking Bad. And now her handiwork can be seen on HBO's new hit Watchmen, the small-screen sequel to the landmark graphic novel from Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons. 

The show boasts a stellar cast, including Oscar-winners Louis Gossett Jr. and Regina King, the latter of whom Kassell worked with on American Crime, a series that earned King an Emmy.

The show centers on King's character, a law enforcement officer named Angela Abar, who also works undercover as a masked vigilante called Sister Night. Having her friend King in the lead was a major draw, Kassell tells ABC Audio.

"[T]hat's a huge part of why I wanted to do this...was to have -- you know, you see it on the poster -- it's truly radical to have an African-American woman lead in a show of this size, in this kind of character." 

That being said, Kassell admits that the presence of former Miami Vice heartthrob Don Johnson, who plays Abar's close friend, Chief Judd Crawford, on the show, made her feel like a kid again.

The filmmaker giggles, "I've had this a handful of times where someone was such a part of my childhood and living room, [that] when they walk on set and I'm directing the scene and I just can't believe it."

"You know, I've had it three times now," she laughs. "Don was definitely the most significant! I did not have the [Don Johnson] poster on my wall, but all my friends did!"

Copyright © 2019, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Listener Poll
Add a Comment
(Fields are Optional)

Your email address is never published.

Find Us On Facebook