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London attack: More arrests as detectives probe how killer was radicalized


Two Metropolitan Police officers look on during a candlelit vigil at Trafalgar Square on March 23, 2017 in London.


U.N.: Sanctions disrupt humanitarian aid to North Korea

Eric Talmadge, Associated Press 3:41 a.m. ET March 24, 2017


In this Wednesday, April 10, 2013 file photo, a North Korean man drives a small tractor in central Pyongyang, North Korea. (Photo: David Guttenfelder, AP)

TOKYO - International sanctions on North Korea are taking a serious toll on humanitarian aid activities, according to a United Nations-led report.

The report issued this week by the U.N.’s senior resident official in Pyongyang said sanctions are inadvertently hindering legitimate operations on the ground and have indirectly contributed to a “radical decline” in donations it said are badly needed by millions of North Korean women and children.

It said “chronic food insecurity, early childhood malnutrition and nutrition insecurity” continue to be widespread in the North, which it noted ranked 98th out of 118 countries in the 2016 Global Hunger Index.

More than 10 million people — or about 41 percent of the North Korean population — are undernourished, it said.

To meet the “urgent needs of the most vulnerable,” it called for $114 million in donations.

That could be a hard sell, no matter how dire the need.


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Critics have long argued that aid to the North in effect serves to prop up the government by allowing it to focus more of its limited resources on building nuclear weapons, funding the country’ million-man army or enriching the ruling elite, rather than spending on the segments of its population that are in the most need.

The report acknowledged such concerns have made getting donations increasingly difficult.

“The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea is in the midst of a protracted, entrenched humanitarian situation largely forgotten or overlooked by the rest of the world,” Tapan Mishra, who as resident coordinator in Pyongyang is responsible for U.N. development and other activities in the North, wrote in the report’s introduction. “I appeal to donors not to let political considerations get in the way of providing continued support for humanitarian assistance and relief.”

The report also noted sanctions are making it harder to conduct aid activities.

“While international sanctions imposed on DPRK clearly exempt humanitarian activities, they have unintentionally caused disruptions to humanitarian operations,” it said.

In particular, it said the “regular disruption” of banking channels since 2013 has made it difficult or impossible to transfer funds into the country. It also cited the additional requirements for licenses and the time it takes to determine what is or is not a potential sanctions’ violation as the cause of considerable delays that have forced agencies to “reprioritize” their aid activities.

It said the sanctions also have the psychological effect of making donors reluctant to provide funds for projects in the North.

“This is reflected in the radical decline in donor funding since 2012,” it said. “As a result, agencies have been forced to significantly reduce the assistance they provide … critical needs of some of the most vulnerable have not been met. More predictable funding is urgently required.”

Like previous years, the


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Jacqueline Rayos Garcia and Angel Rayos Garcia are reunited with their mother, Guadalupe Garcia de Rayos, on Feb. 9, 2017, outside the Kino Border Initiative, in Nogales, Sonora. Mark Henle/

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Texas woman rescued after surviving 5 days near Grand Canyon

USA Today Network Johana Restrepo and Jessica Suerth, The Arizona Republic 8:12 p.m. ET March 23, 2017


Arizona Department of Public Safety officials rescue a Texas woman from a remote area near the Grand Canyon after she was stranded for five days on March 17, 2017. (Photo: Arizona Department of Public Safety)

A 24-year-old Texas woman was rescued last week after she was stranded for five days in a remote area of the Havasupai Reservation in northern Arizona,  according to Arizona Department of Public Safety officials.

Amber Vanhecke was rescued March 17 after spending five days in the remote area near the South Rim of the Grand Canyon. Vanhecke told rescuers she was driving through the area when her car ran out of gas near Indian Route 18 and Anita Road.

According to officials, she was there on spring break and went to the area to hike.

Although Vanhecke ran out of gas, her car battery kept her phone charged, officials said. She was able to place a 911 call to the Coconino County Sheriff’s Office on March 17, but the call was dropped before her exact location could be specified.

The rescue

DPS Air Rescue pilot Jonah Nieves and trooper paramedic Edgar Bissonette were in a search helicopter and spotted a glare in the distance after flying nearly 40 minutes into the area. Nieves said Wednesday that he recognized this was unusual for the area and flew toward it.

"It's a very remote area. You think of the Grand Canyon, you're thinking big trees, grass. There's nothing. It's like the Sahara Desert. It's just empty," Nieves said, during a press conference in Phoenix.

This, according to Nieves, worked to their advantage because they were able to easily spot Vanhecke's vehicle.

Nieves explained that at first he thought it could be a local rancher's vehicle, but they then located a large makeshift "Help" sign.

"Right away we we're like, 'Yeah, this is our girl,' " Nieves said.

Nieves then began to look for a safe place to land. He explained that in previous missions, the minute the helicopter is nearby, people come running toward it. This time, no one came or got out of the vehicle.

Bissonette exited the rescue helicopter to look inside of the vehicle but didn't see anyone. Instead, he found a handwritten note from Vanhecke that explained she was going to try and get a cellphone signal by walking along the road.

Arizona Department of Public Safety officials rescued

Arizona Department of Public Safety officials rescued Amber Vanhecke of Texas from a remote area near the Grand Canyon on March 17, 2017, after she was stranded for five days when her car ran out of gas.   (Photo: Arizona Department of Public Safety)

Shortly after, air rescue officials located Vanhecke on the side of the road, waving her arms to get their attention, DPS said. She was rescued and treated at the scene for exposure before being transported to a trauma center in Flagstaff, officials said.

Bissonette was surprised to see that Vanhecke was alright.

"After five days I expected someone to be in a more at-risk condition


Teaching was dream job for man accused of kidnapping student

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tad cummins

Tad Cummins (Photo: Tennessee Bureau of Investigation)

NASHVILLE — All was quiet in the 100 block of Haven Drive on Wednesday afternoon, save for the sounds of birds chirping and wind, occasionally pulling on the rope in the front yard swing of the Cummins residence.

Earlier a Maury County sheriff’s deputy had come and gone. In a few minutes, a Columbia Police officer would arrive home to the neighborhood, and a child getting off a school bus would walk a block to his house.

This stillness was just for a moment, said Freda Scott, who lives next door to Tad and Jill Cummins. Scott answered the door cautiously in her robe. For days, strangers have been knocking on doors in the neighborhood — law enforcement and reporters.

Scott said she understands all the activity.

“Nobody knows why he did it.”

The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation has been on a multistate manhunt for Tad Cummins , 50, a Culleoka Unit School health science teacher. An arrest warrant has been issued for Cummins on an aggravated kidnapping charge. He’s accused of taking his third-period student Elizabeth Thomas, 15, on March 13.

Thomas’ disappearance comes over a month after a student reported seeing Cummins and Thomas kiss. A timeline and report on the school’s investigation released Tuesday followed the actions that led to Cummins' suspension and eventual termination on the same day the two went missing.

TBI spokesman Josh DeVine said Thomas may be in grave danger, and Cummins is believed to be carrying two handguns and hiding with Thomas. Multiple sightings have been reported, most recently Thursday in Texas , but he remains at large.

“It just doesn’t make sense,” Scott said. “He was the nicest man. He’d walk down the street here in the neighborhood and say hello and invite people to his church. He and his wife would take that girl to church. His poor wife is devastated.”

Elizabeth Thomas

Elizabeth Thomas   (Photo: TBI)

Scott looked over at the black manual-drive Jeep in the Cumminses' driveway in disdain.

“He took the car,” Scott said. “And she (Cummins' wife) can’t even drive a stick.”

These words by Cummins’ neighbor and public records paint a picture of Cummins as a man

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