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National News

Veteran Accuses American Airlines of Stopping Him, Service Dog from Boarding Flight

Araya Diaz/Getty Images for American Humane Association(FREDERICKSBURG, Va.) — A Marine Corps veteran says he and his dog were stopped from boarding an American Airlines flight after gate agents accused the man of pretending the animal was a service dog.

Jason Haag, of Fredericksburg, Virginia, was wounded in action and later received service dog Axel to help him manage post-traumatic stress disorder and traumatic brain injury, he told ABC News Tuesday.

Haag, 35, said Axel “saved my life.”

“He can take me out of anxiety attacks, he can pull me out of flashbacks … my dog is my lifeline,” he said.

Haag now tours the country explaining how service dogs help wounded veterans. Sunday’s dispute with American Airlines occurred on Haag and Axel’s way home from California, where Axel was named the winner in the Service Dog category at the 2015 American Humane Association Hero Dog Awards Saturday night, the American Humane Association said.

Haag said he, his wife and Axel made it through security in Los Angeles just fine Sunday. But later, a gate agent pointed to Haag and told him to come to the desk, he said.

“The first thing this guy asked me is, ‘Is that a real service dog?'” Haag said. “I just find that question kind of odd because nobody at the airport has asked me that and I fly all the time. I said, ‘Yes.'”

Haag said the agent then asked him to identify his disability, which Haag said, “Is the question that you’re not allowed to ask … The next thing out of his mouth is ‘Where is your paperwork.’ That’s another thing they can’t ask.

“The next thing they ask me is, ‘What does the dog do for you?’ I tell him the dog does a bunch of stuff for me. He didn’t really like that answer,” Haag said. “I tried to start telling him the tasks; he starts to tell me that I’m noncompliant and my dog can’t fly because I can’t produce any paperwork.

“He didn’t let me answer my questions. At that point I started to produce my ID that I have. He picks up the ID and says it’s fake.”

“I then tell him I called eight days ago, registered him with your disabilities department. I flew out here three days prior on the same airline and I didn’t have any issues,” Haag said.

Haag said his wife was crying during the ordeal, which was in front of about 200 people at the American Airlines desk. He said a manager for the airlines told them to go home and come back with paperwork, so Haag and his wife spent another night in Los Angeles and took another flight Monday.

American Airlines spokesman Victoria Lupica confirmed to ABC News Tuesday that Haag, his wife and Axel did travel with American Airlines and ultimately reached their final destination in Virginia.

American Airlines said in a statement, “We are happy to say that Capt. Haag, Axel and his wife traveled with us earlier yesterday. We have apologized to both Capt. Haag and his family …read more […]

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National News

Calif. Neighbors File Suit to Declare Boy with Autism a Public Nuisance

iStock/Thinkstock(SUNNYVALE, Calif.) — A California cul-de-sac is embroiled in a civil lawsuit aimed at having a neighborhood boy with autism declared a public nuisance.

“For us this case is not really about autism,” said Robert Flowers, one of plaintiffs. “It’s about the safety of our children. They were attacked on multiple occasions.”

The neighbors in Sunnyvale who filed the lawsuit say they don’t blame the now 11-year-old boy. They allege the problem is his parents, who they say didn’t do enough to control their son and prevent him from hurting other young children in the neighborhood.

“They have been slapped, hit, kicked, basically terrorized,” said Bindu Pothen, another plaintiff.

Flowers said, “My son on his 4th birthday was riding his bike, and the child threw him to the ground, grabbed with both hands his hair and shook him violently.”

The plaintiffs are seeking unspecified damages for the boy’s behavior, as well as an injunction requiring his parents to “prevent future occurrences of the same.”

While police reports were not immediately available to support these claims, the plaintiffs also say they are worried their property values could be affected if they ever decide to sell their homes.

“When there is unchecked violence in a neighborhood,” neighbor Kumaran Santhanam said, “it’s something that we have to disclose when we sell or rent our home.”

Meanwhile, the family of the boy at the center of the suit is no longer living in the home. They released a statement to ABC News, saying “we are … very disappointed by the non-factual and deeply manipulative falsehoods that have been spread … which we feel amounts to a modern-day witch-hunt against a small disabled child and his family.”

Autism advocates worry this could set a disturbing precedent for families of children with autism.

“I would hope that the court doesn’t rule against the family because that just creates another barrier. That is not the solution,” said Ronald Hampton, the president of the District of Columbia Autism Society.

The neighbors say they filed the lawsuit as a last resort and won’t back down because the parents who still own the home could move back at any time. They also claim the parents never apologized or took responsibility for the attacks. They are suing for damages for alleged past abuse and assurances that the boy will be better supervised in the future in an attempt to keep other children safe.

Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

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World News

Refugee Crisis in Europe: The Things They Couldn’t Leave Behind

BULENT KILIC/AFP/Getty Images(NEW YORK) — Thousands of refugees continue to pour through European borders daily, by land and sea. They leave behind their homes, jobs and communities, carrying only backpacks and bags to begin a new life.

Italian journalist Valerio Cataldi tweeted a video on Sunday of 13-year-old Alameddin playing a violin near Eridine, Turkey, in front of a barricade of police as he and other refugees walked to the Turkish-Greek border.

The Syrian boy’s music received stares and some smiles from the police facing him in the video, but he gained attention around the world once Cataldi tweeted the moment.

From violins to man’s best friend, there are some treasures people could not fathom leaving behind. The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees posted a video on Facebook of 17-year-old Aslan from Damascus, Syria. Aslan couldn’t bare the idea of coming to Europe without his adorable puppy, Rose. When asked why he would bring his dog and only a small bag, he told the U.N.’s refugee agency, “I say I love my dog!”

Aslan showed off a booklet for Rose that looks like a passport as the dog plays along and drinks water from a cup in the video. According the UNHCR, thousands of refugees bring their pets with them.

Aeham Ahmad, known widely as the “piano man of Yarmouk,” was known for bringing music to the people living in the refugee camp on the outskirts of Damascus, Syria. But when he decided to move his piano to a nearby town, he said an ISIS soldier told him the music was “haram” — as act forbidden by Allah — and lit the instrument on fire.

He said that triggered his decision to make the difficult journey through the Mediterranean.

“I want to play in the streets of Berlin like I played in the streets of Yarmuk,” he told AFP. “I would love to play in the most famous orchestras, touring around the world and conveying the suffering of those that are besieged in [Yarmuk] and of all the civilians still in Syria.”

Another 10,000 refugees arrived in Austria on Monday, carrying only a few important possessions and dreams of following their passions.

Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

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Business / Financial

Starbucks App Makes Waiting in Line for Coffee a Thing of the Past

Stephen Brashear/Getty Images(NEW YORK) — Want your venti pumpkin spice latte now but don’t want to wait in that morning Starbucks line? There’s an app for that.

The coffee chain announced on Tuesday that its app would begin supporting mobile ordering at 7,400 of its stores in the United States, giving users the opportunity to order and pay for their drinks before they even arrive at their local Starbucks.

An estimated pick-up time lets coffee drinkers know when their beverage should be ready so they can time their pick-up for when it’s at its freshest. Starbucks estimates the typical wait time given in the app will average around 3-5 minutes at most stores, with the window depending on the number of mobile orders in the queue and what a person’s order entails.

After the transaction is completed in the app, users can skip the line and instead head to the pick-up counter where they can ask a barista for their order.

Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

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Ben Carson Defends Muslim Remarks: ‘Our Real Problem Is Our Politically Correct Culture’

Sean Rayford/Getty Images(NEW YORK) — In Ben Carson’s first news conference since his controversial comments about Muslims, Carson again stood by his remarks saying the real problem is our “politically correct culture.”

“Sharia law is completely antithetical to Americanism,” Carson told reporters minutes before his upcoming rally. “We need to fix America, and we need to get people to actually start listening and being capable of understanding our Constitution.”

Carson said he has heard from a lot of Muslim-Americans, some of whom he claims he has worked with, trained and operated on who agree with his stance.

“They say we know you and what you’re saying,” Carson said at the presser.

After coming under fire from the Council on American-Islamic Relations, who has demanded that Carson drop out of the race, Carson said that he is open to a discussion with the group.

“A lot of the problem is that people get in their respective corners. It’s not helpful to have gladiator fights,” said Carson.

Carson also took time to address Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker’s announcement that he is suspending his presidential campaign.

“For some reason it just was not catching on,” Carson said. “And maybe it’s just not the right time, but I have nothing but admiration for him.”

ABC’s Tom Llamas asked Carson at the presser, “Was Walker trying to send you a message by asking for candidates to drop out?”

Carson responded, “No, he wasn’t trying to send me a message to drop out. When he said the current front runner it was clear what he was saying.”

Carson concluded his remarks by reiterating his stance on who should be allowed to hold the nation’s highest office.

“Anyone who is running for president should embrace the Constitution and should place it above their personal beliefs,” he remarked. “Anyone who can’t do that should not be running for the presidency.”

Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

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David Petraeus Apologizes for Giving Classified Info to Alleged Mistress

Mark Wilson/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) — Retired Gen. David Petraeus apologized Tuesday to lawmakers for sharing classified information with his biographer and mistress Paula Broadwell in what was his first public testimony before lawmakers since resigning as CIA director.

Petraeus began his testimony by apologizing for the scandal that led to his resignation and conviction in a federal court.

“It was a violation of the trust placed in me,” he said.

Testifying to the Senate Armed Services Committee, Petraeus said the U.S. military should stop Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s use of devastating and indiscriminate barrel bomb attacks, which most observers agree are cause for a majority of the death in Syria and the subsequent human migration.

“We could tell Assad that barrel bombs need to end or we could stop their air force from flying,” Petraeus said. “We have that capability.”

Grounding the Syrian Air Force would require the creation of a no-fly zone, which would significantly increase the involvement of U.S. military forces.

“It would demonstrate that America has the power to stand against Assad,” Petraeus said.

Petraeus did not mention the fact that Russia has deployed 28 military aircraft to its base in Syria for the purpose of helping Assad fight ISIS. The presence of Russian aircraft could complicate the establishment of a U.S. made no-fly zone.

The former head of U.S. forces in Iraq and Afghanistan also said he would establish enclaves protected by U.S. air power in Syria where Sunni forces could be trained to fight and internally displaced people could seek refuge. To support that effort, Petraeus called for U.S. boots on the ground in Syria in the form of “advisors or support elements.”

Petraeus recommended that the U.S. military change its base of operations in Iraq from Kuwait to Baghdad.

Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

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“The Intern” Star on Robert De Niro: ‘He Was So Great’

Warner Bros. (LOS ANGELES) — Robert De Niro stars opposite Anne Hathaway in The Intern, which opens nationwide Friday. Monday night, the red carpet was rolled out for the premiere in New York City.

At the event, De Niro’s co-stars gushed over the legendary actor. Girls and Broadway star Andrew Rannells said, “He was so great and he made himself accessible and he was so cool and he just made it so easy to work with him.

“Yeah, it was a real joy,” Rannells added.

In The Intern, which also stars Rene Russo, Anders Holm and Linda Lavin, De Niro plays a widower who becomes an intern at a fashion website run by Hathaway’s character.

Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

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Today on the Trail — 9/22/15

ABC News(NEW YORK) — Where will the 2016 presidential candidates be on Tuesday? Read below to find out their schedules:

Hillary Clinton and Jeb Bush are both in Iowa Tuesday. At an event in Des Moines, Clinton is expected to present her plan to bring prescription drug prices down. Bush will hold events in Cedar Falls, Gladbrook and Cedar Rapids.

Rick Santorum will also be in Iowa Tuesday, where he will attend a candidate forum luncheon in Des Moines.

Ben Carson is holding three events in the critical state of Ohio, as well as a press conference.

Carly Fiorina and Mike Huckabee will both travel to South Carolina. Fiorina will attend a national security forum in Charleston, as well as hold a town hall in Myrtle Beach. Huckabee officially files for the presidential primary in Columbia and holds two other events in the state in the late afternoon.

Lindsey Graham is in Manchester, New Hampshire attending a dinner for the Financial Management Association on Tuesday.

Bernie Sanders was expected to attend and speak at a strike Tuesday morning on Capitol Hill with federal contract workers who provide food and cleaning services in the Capitol. They are calling for a $15 minimum wage ahead of the Pope’s visit. They are also planning a “prayer action” during the protest.

Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

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Anthony Anderson: We’re Trying to Get President Obama on “black-ish”

ABC/Nicole Wilder(LOS ANGELES) — Anthony Anderson is hoping to land a couple of big guest stars for his ABC comedy Black-ish: President Obama and first lady Michelle Obama.

The Emmy-nominated actor told E! News at Sunday night’s ceremony, “We’re petitioning to get Pres. Obama on the show.”

Noting that the president and his wife are fans of Black-ish, he continued, “We know them so we’ve been dealing with them and their people and hopefully they’ll say yes.”

It remains to be seen if Obama can somehow fit a cameo into his very busy schedule.

Anderson was nominated at the Emmys for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series, a category won by Transparent‘s Jeffrey Tambor.

The second season of Black-ish begins Wednesday night.

Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

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Carly Fiorina Says Ben Carson ‘Wrong’ on Muslim President Comments

Douglas Gorenstein/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images(NEW YORK) — Responding for the first time to Ben Carson’s comment that he would not advocate for a Muslim president in an interview on NBC’s The Tonight Show, Republican presidential contender Carly Fiorina said Carson’s position is “wrong.”

“I think that’s wrong,” Fiorina told Jimmy Fallon in an interview on Monday. “You know, it says in our Constitution that religion cannot be a test for office. It is also true that this country was founded on the principle that we judge each individual and that anyone, of any faith, is welcome here.”

Fiorina went on to say that people of faith, regardless of their particular religion, “make better leaders” and spoke of how her own Christian faith sustained her during some of the most challenging moments of her life.

“I battled cancer, I’ve lost a child. I’ve been tested,” she continued. “But whether it’s a person of Christian faith or Jewish faith or Muslim faith, or other faiths, I think faith gives us humility and empathy and optimism and i think those are important things.”

Carson set off a firestorm Sunday over whether Muslims should be considered for the nation’s highest office in an interview with NBC’s Chuck Todd over the weekend.

“I would not advocate that we put a Muslim in charge of this nation. I absolutely would not agree with that,” Carson said on Meet the Press.

Fiorina’s rejection of Carson’s remarks echoes that of other Republican presidential candidates who have also condemned Carson’s remarks in pointing out that the Constitution does not include a religious test for selecting the president.

But in the face of criticism from his opponents, Carson doubled down on his opposition to the concept of a Muslim presidential candidate, taking to Facebook on Monday to answer a couple questions as part of his “Ask Ben” series that the campaign does a few times a week.

“Know this, I meant exactly what I said,” Carson wrote in the Facebook post. “I could never support a candidate for President of the United States that was Muslim and had not renounced the central tenant of Islam: Sharia Law.”

Carson reiterated that he could not support a Muslim candidate for president “until these tenants are fully renounced.”

“I know that there are many peaceful Muslims who do not adhere to these beliefs,” Carson wrote. “But until these tenants are fully renounced. … I cannot advocate any Muslim candidate for president.”

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