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US Races to Aid Japan After ISIS 'Kills' One Hostage


iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) — U.S. intelligence is focusing its efforts Monday on helping to find and potentially rescue the surviving Japanese ISIS hostage, who in a new video released over the weekend was forced to hold what appeared to be a photograph of his fellow hostage beheaded.

In the new video, journalist Kenji Goto reads a plea for his own life, passing along ISIS's demand for a prisoner swap rather than the $200 million originally demanded by ISIS.

"They are being fair. They no longer want money, so you don't have to worry about funding terrorists," Goto says.

Goto says ISIS wants Japan to pressure the country of Jordan into releasing Sajida al-Rishawi, a female attempted suicide bomber who confessed to her role in a deadly string of al Qaeda bombings in Jordan in 2005. The attacks killed dozens and al-Rishawi was placed on death row.

The new video is substantially different than previous such videos from ISIS -- missing some of the group's trademark high production qualities and the masked man who appears to have a British accent featured in other execution videos.

U.S. officials Monday are pouring over the video to exploit any potential clues.

"We are sparing no expense and sparing no effort, both in trying to make sure that we're prepared to do anything we must to try and get them home," White House Chief of Staff Denis McDonough told ABC News' This Week Sunday.

Top U.S. and Japanese treated the new video and the apparent murder of the first Japanese hostage as authentic, with President Obama saying Saturday the U.S. "strongly condemns the brutal murder of Japanese citizen [and ISIS hostage] Haruna Yukawa by the terrorist group ISIL [ISIS]."

"We stand shoulder to shoulder with our ally Japan and applaud its commitment to peace and development in a region far from its shores," Obama said.

Obama called for a release of all remaining hostages, which U.S. officials previously said includes a 26-year-old American woman.

Jordanian King Adbullah has repeatedly refused to free al-Rishawi -- whose release has been a demand from other extremists in the past -- although he has put her execution on hold. When ISIS first demanded the $200 million ransom for the two Japanese hostages, the Japanese government said it would not give in.

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Obama Feted in India at Soggy Parade of Camels, Missiles and Tanks


SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images(NEW DELHI) — It was a symbolic and soggy affair for the first American president given high honors at India's Republic Day parade.

President Obama and first lady Michelle Obama took in the elaborate pageant of military power and cultural pride from a viewing platform under steady drizzle in the capital New Delhi.

They spent much of the day beneath umbrellas as a colorful display passed before them, including bejeweled camels ridden as cavalry, brigades of arm-swinging troops, cultural dancers, marching bands, and motorcycle stunt men.

The Obamas were flanked by the Indian president and prime minister and surrounded by hundreds of thousands of parade watchers out in the streets to celebrate the 65th anniversary of the world’s biggest democracy.

Prime Minister Narenda Modi, a man who many say is India’s Barack Obama, was sporting a distinctive hat and chatted frequently with his "chief guest."

The military portion of the massive parade featured Russian tanks, American helicopters, mobile rockets and missiles.

One of the tanks turned its presumably unarmed gun turret toward the reviewing stand, likely sending shock waves up the spines of the 50,000 security forces -- U.S. Secret Service, Indian police and para-military forces -- guarding Obama. The president overruled security concerns and elected to sit outside in the open for more than two hours -- an unprecedented stretch on foreign soil.

Obama is the first American President to receive an invitation to be chief guest at the parade, an honor granted to Russia's Vladimir Putin, Nelson Mandela, high-level Pakistani officials, even the Queen of England. That an American was finally invited is considered a symbol of the growing closeness of the Indian and American people.

The budding personal friendship between Obama and Modi has also set a new tone for two countries, each looking for dependable allies in an unsettled region. At a summit Sunday, they announced closer defense ties, expanded trade and an effort to fight climate change.

The three-day Obama visit has set India abuzz with popular fixation with the American first lady, who stepped off the plane in a colorful dress made by a popular Indian designer.

Obama has seemed enthralled with Indian culture, too, from the high-stepping military review he received, to tea in a picturesque presidential garden, and his solemn visit to the memorial honoring Mahatma Gandhi, a man who famously inspired Martin Luther King, Jr.

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Demonstrations to Mark Popular Revolution Turn Deadly in Egypt


Wathiq Khuzaie/Getty Images(CAIRO) — Clashes in Egypt between government forces and Islamic dissidents left at least 18 people dead Sunday as crowds hit the streets to commemorate the fourth anniversary of the popular revolution that led to the overthrow of then-President Hosni Mubarak.

Most of the violence, which also left 50 people injured, occurred in northern Cairo.

What apparently touched off the clashes was the shooting death Saturday of an activist at Tahrir Square, which became the focal point of the massive demonstrations in late January and February 2011.

Mubarak's ouster led to rise of Islamist President Mohamed Morsi, who only spent about a year in power until he too was thrown out of office in a July 2013 military coup.

Since then, Egypt has returned to its authoritarian ways with little room for dissident and no tolerance for anti-government opponents. Morsi remains jailed along with other high-ranking members of his Muslim Brotherhood party that was outlawed by the regime of Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, who once headed Egypt's powerful military.

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Miss Colombia Wins Miss Universe Pageant


TIMOTHY A. CLARY/AFP/Getty Images(MIAMI) — Miss Colombia Paulina Vega won the Miss Universe pageant in Miami on Sunday night.

The 22-year-old student of business administration earned the title over Miss USA Nia Sanchez, who was first runner-up. Sanchez was crowned Miss USA last June.

Miss Ukraine Diana Harkusha was named second runner-up.

Eighty-eight contestants participated in the pageant, which aired live on NBC. It featured performances by Nick Jonas and Prince Royce.

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Amnesty International: Hundreds of Thousands of Nigerians at 'Grave Risk' of Boko Haram Attack


Pontuse/iStock/Thinkstock(MAIDUGURI, Nigeria) -- Hundreds of thousands of Nigerians are at "grave risk" from large-scale attacks by militant group Boko Haram, Amnesty International says.

Amnesty's Africa Director Netsanet Belay said in a statement that the latest attacks by Boko Haram "are significant and grim news. We believe hundreds of thousands of civilians are now at grave risk."

The city of Maiduguri, and its population of over 600,000, may be the next target after locals and activists say Boko Haram attacked a nearby military base and the nearby town of Monguno on Sunday.

Secretary of State John Kerry is in Nigeria, meeting with president Goodluck Jonathan and his leading opponent in next month's presidential election.

Earlier this month, Amnesty International released satellite images showing what appeared to be thousands of homes destroyed in a Boko Haram attack on the town of Baga.

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Angelina Jolie Visits Refugees in Iraq


SAFIN HAMED/AFP/Getty Images(ERBIL, Iraq) -- Angelina Jolie traveled to Iraq on Sunday to visit Syrians and Iraqis displaced in the battle against ISIS.

Jolie is a Goodwill Ambassador for the United Nation High Commissioner for Refugees and has made multiple visits to refugee camps in the region. The United Nations says more than three million people have fled the fighting in Syria and another 6.5 million were displaced within Syria. An additional 2.5 million were displaced in Iraq.

"It is shocking to see how the humanitarian situation in Iraq has deteriorated since my last visit," Jolie said. "Many...innocent people have been uprooted multiple times as they seek safety admist shifting frontlines."

"Too many innocent people are paying the price of the conflict in Syria and spread of extremism," the Unbroken filmmaker said. She also expressed her "deepest sympathy" to the family of Haruna Yukawa, the Japanese hostage who was apparently executed at the hands of ISIS.

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Pope Francis Releases Balloons of Peace in Place of Doves


GABRIEL BOUYS/AFP/Getty Images(VATICAN CITY) -- Pope Francis broke with tradition on Sunday, releasing balloons of peace in place of the typical doves during his Sunday mass.

Last January, shortly after the pontiff released the two peace doves, they were attacked by other birds. During the last Sunday mass of January, the pope traditionally released the doves to symbolize the need to pray and work for world peace, London's The Telegraph newspaper says.

In the place of the doves, Pope Francis had children release the multi-colored balloons.

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Attempt to Raise Fuselage of AirAsia Plane Fails


nuttapong/iStock Editorial/Thinkstock(SURABAYA) -- An attempt to raise the fuselage of the AirAsia flight that crashed into the water near Indonesia last month failed on Sunday.

During the attempt to raise part of the wreckage, cables being used to lift the fuselage snapped, sending it back to the ocean floor. Strong currents have made the recovery effort difficult.

So far, 70 bodies have been recovered from the wreckage. There were 162 people on board when the plane crashed en route from Indonesia to Singapore.

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Ukrainian President: Ukraine Has Evidence of Russian Involvement in Saturday Attacks


FABRICE COFFRINI/AFP/Getty Images(KIEV, Ukraine) -- Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko said Sunday that there is evidence of Russian involvement in the rocket attacks on the city of Mariupol on Saturday.

"Interception of radio and phone conversations by the Security Service of Ukraine irrefutably indicates that the given attack was organized by terrorists supported by Russia," Poroshenko said. "I consider it an issue of every country to determine its attitude to the tragedy in Mariupol and Volnovakha. Evasion of fair and honest assessments is also a support of terrorism, which is unacceptable."

At least 27 people were killed in Saturday's attacks, as rockets hit markets, schoools and homes in the city of Mariupol.

President Obama on Sunday said that the U.S. is "deeply concerned about the latest break in the cease-fire and the aggression that these separatists with Russian backing, Russian equipment, Russian financing and Russian troops are conducting." He vowed to "continue taking the approach we've taken in the past" by "ratcheting up pressure on Russia."

Poroshenko called Saturday's attacks "the most dreadful tragedy since the beginning of the war."

Vice President Biden spoke with Poroshenko by phone on Saturday expressing concern that Russia had shown "blatant disregard for its commitments under the September Minsk agreement and unilateral escalation of the conflict."

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Japan PM Shinzo Abe Condemns ISIS Execution of Hostage as 'Outrageous and Impermissible'


YOSHIKAZU TSUNO/AFP/Getty Images(TOKYO) -- Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Sunday condemned the apparent execution of a Japanese hostage at the hands of ISIS.

The video, which was posted online on Saturday, shows a still picture of Japanese television reporter Kenji Goto holding a photo of the beheaded body of Haruna Kuwana. Abe said in a statement that Japan has "been pursuing every possible means including all available diplomatic channels, first and foremost, the save the lives of the two Japanese nations" who had previously been shown in videos purportedly posted online by ISIS.

Abe said the most recent video left him "speechless."

"Such an act of terrorism is outrageous and impermissible," he said, expressing "resolute condemnation." Abe demanded that Goto, the second hostage, be released immediately.

"The Government of Japan will never give in to terrorism, and actively contribute to the peace and stability of the world together with the international community in an unwavering manner."

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Missing Snowboarder Found Without Serious Injury


SerrNovik/iStock/Thinkstock(WHISTLER, British Columbia) -- A woman who went missing while snowboarding in Whistler, British Columbia, was found in good condition Saturday after three days lost "in the backcountry," according to the police.

The snowboarder was found by search and rescue teams Saturday afternoon, the Whistler Royal Canadian Mounted Police said.

The snowboarder, identified as 21-year-old Julie Abrahamsen, had last been seen Wednesday morning on Blackcomb Mountain, according to police.

She was reported missing on Friday, igniting a police and ski patrol search.

Tracks were spotted in the snow by searchers in a helicopter, and when rescuers on the ground followed them, they found the young woman, Whistler RCMP Sgt. Rob Knapton said.

"Searchers followed the trail and at approximately 1:30 p.m. located the missing snowboarder in cold, but good, condition," Knapton said in a statement. Abrahamsen was taken by helicopter for medical treatment.

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ISIS Reportedly Executes One Japanese Hostage


zabelin/iStock/Thinkstock(TOKYO) -- A purported ISIS video posted online on Saturday claims the terror group has beheaded one of two Japanese hostages and will execute the second unless an al Qaeda female prisoner is freed in Jordan.

Neither U.S. nor Japanese officials were able to immediately authenticate the video, which did not contain many of the high production techniques seen in earlier ISIS videos nor the typical branding for the terror group.

The video shows a still picture of Japanese television reporter Kenji Goto holding a photo of the beheaded body of Haruna Kuwana.

“You have seen the photo of my cellmate Haruna slaughtered in the land of the Islamic caliphate,” a voice that appears to be Goto narrates.

Clearly reading a message written for him, the voice says ISIS no longer is demanding a $200 million ransom but will free him if the female prisoner is released.

“They no longer want money, so you don’t need to worry about funding terrorists,” the voice says. “They are just demanding the release of their imprisoned sister, Sajida al-Rishawi. It is simple, You give them Sajida and I will be released.”

The message is an apparent reference to a woman who was sentenced to death in Jordan following a suicide bomb attack on a hotel in Amman in 2005 that killed at least 60 people attending a wedding.

The voice attributed to Goto on the video concludes, “These could be my last hours in this world and I may be a dead man speaking.”

The voice also pleads for Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe to help him.

The voice also pleads for help from Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe, who called the alleged beheading "an outrageous and unforgivable act," according to the Associated Press.

In a statement, the White House expressed its support of Japan.

"The United States strongly condemns ISIL's actions and we call for the immediate release of all the remaining hostages," read the statement.

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Dozens Killed in Rocket Attacks in Ukrainian City


semakokal/iStock/Thinkstock(MARIUPOL, Ukraine) -- At least 27 people were killed following several rocket attacks in Ukrainian city of Mariupol.

The rocket attacks on Saturday slammed into markets, schools, and homes in the city, which is strategically placed on the Azov Sea halfway between Russia and Crimea.

Saturday’s attacks also raised concerns that a major offensive is underway, the biggest escalation in the war there since last summer.

A top rebel commander was recorded saying the group planned plan to attack the city, but later said they had no plans to do so.

The attacks also have dashed hopes of a recent peace deal.

Ukraine has accused Russia of sending some 9,000 troops, plus tanks and heavy equipment, into Ukrainian territory to bolster the rebels. Russian officials however continue to deny the allegations.

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“Charlie Hebdo” Protests Erupt Across Southern Asia


mjbs/iStock/Thinkstock(ISLAMABAD) -- Tens of thousands of protesters took to the streets throughout several countries on Friday in anger with the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo for publishing a cartoon of the Prophet Muhammad.

In the western Afghan city of Herat, an estimated 20,000 people protested the magazine’s anti-Islam satire.

Police on Friday also clashed with thousands of demonstrators in India-controlled Kashmir, while some 15,000 protesters denounced Charlie Hebdo, and France, burning the French flag in protest in the streets of Pakistan's capital.

Earlier this month, two gunmen stormed the office of Charlie Hebdo in Paris killing a total of 12 people, prompting international condemnation of  Islamic extremism.

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Italian Supreme Court Orders Compensation for Gay Driving Suspension


JaysonPhotography/iStock/Thinkstock(ROME) -- An Italian man is celebrating after winning a 14-year legal battle to get his permanent driver's license back after officials revoked it because he was gay.

It all started when then 18-year-old Danilo Giuffrida underwent a medical exam for the military service and told the doctor he was gay. At the time, Italy’s military banned gay men, and the doctor, disbelieving Giuffrida, told him to go register at the local gay rights organization.

Giuffrida did, but the military sent his medical records to the transportation ministry advising they suspend his driver's license because he was "troubled by his sexual identity" and lacked the "psycho-physical capacity to drive."

It took the better part of 14 years, but Giuffrida now has a licence to drive and a major legal victory.

Italy's highest court ruled on Thursday that the Ministry of Defense and Ministry of Transportation exhibited clear homophobia against Giuffrida and will have to pay high damages.

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