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Chris Jackson/Getty Images(LONDON)  -- British authorities today said they are investigating a package containing a “substance” that was delivered last week to St. James's Palace in London, reportedly addressed to Prince Harry and Meghan Markle.

“The substance was tested and confirmed as non-suspicious,” the British Metropolitan Police Service said in a statement today.

“Officers are also investigating an allegation of malicious communications which relates to the same package.” Police did not reveal details such as the intended recipient of the package, delivered March 12, but several British media organizations have reported it contained white powder and was addressed to Harry and his fiancee.

Reportedly fearing at first that the substance could contain anthrax spores, chemical experts eventually deemed it to be harmless. The package reportedly never reached Harry and his fiancee, who were informed of the incident.

No arrests have been made, the police said in their statement today.

Authorities also are reportedly working to determine whether the incident is linked to a letter, also containing a harmless white powder, sent to the Home Secretary the next day.

Anthrax is an infection that is spread by exposure to a bacterium that is dangerous to humans. It has been used in attacks via letters with deadly consequences, most famously in the 2001 U.S. anthrax attacks that started a week after 9/11, killing five people and infected more than a dozen others.

Markle has already been assigned a security team from the Metropolitan Police Service’s Royalty and Specialist Protection Command.

Beefed up security will be in place during and in the lead up to the couple’s wedding May 19, which will include a carriage ride through the town of Windsor.

There have been sporadic threats against the wider royal family recently. In October 2017, there were online threats made against Prince George, the son of Harry’s brother, William.

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iStock/Thinkstock(ASYUT, Egypt) -- Dramatic footage has emerged of three police officers in Egypt who helped catch a boy who fell from the third floor of a building last week.

In the town of Asyut, south of Cairo, on Feb. 17, a 5-year-old child was dangling from the balcony of an apartment, trying to cling to a wall, before slipping and tumbling, according to the Ministry of Interior.

Three police officers, Camille Fathi Good, 45, Hassan Sayed Ali, 38, and Sabri Mahrous Azis, 39, spotted the child as he was dangling, struggling to hold on, and grabbed a carpet to hopefully catch him.

But the boy quickly fell, and one of the officers had to catch him in his arms.

That officer sustained injuries and was treated a local hospital.

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iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Kim Yo Jong, the sister of North Korea’s supreme leader, is pregnant with a second child, according to South Korean media reports.

During her visit to South Korea as part of a high-level delegation at the beginning of the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, Kim told the South’s officials about her pregnancy, South Korean local press Chosun Ilbo reported Wednesday.

Meanwhile, South Korean government is saving breath on this hearsay.

“We cannot confirm anything,” South Korea’s Unification Ministry told ABC News Thursday.

There has been careful speculation on Kim’s pregnancy during her three-day visit from Feb. 9 to 11. Kim had a relatively protruding belly, despite her slender shape, and her careful movements led local media to guess she was pregnant.

"Even if she is pregnant, it does not have to do with the political successor of the communist state. And I am positive that Kim Jong Un already knows about her pregnancy," Koh Yu-hwan, professor of North Korean studies at Seoul-based Dongguk University, told ABC News.

Meanwhile, nothing is official. The North Korean regime never publicly announced whether Kim Yo Jong gave birth to her first child or even got married. South Korea's National Intelligence Service has said her first child was born around May 2015.

But under the premise that Kim Yo Jong is pregnant, there has been growing curiosity about the rogue regime leader's son-in-law. There have been many South Korean stories speculating on Kim Yo Jong's marriage and the spouse behind the veil.

South Korea's local press outlet Dailian reported the most likely possibility leans toward an elite who graduated from Kim Il Sung University with Kim Yo Jong, and is now a college professor teaching science in North Korea.

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iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- There was a "small explosion" near the U.S. embassy compound in Podgorica, the capital of the Balkan nation of Montenegro, at approximately midnight local time Thursday, the State Department has confirmed to ABC News.

"At 00:30, in front of the @USEmbassyMNE building in #Podgorica, #Montenegro an unknown person committed suicide with an explosive device," the government of Montenegro tweeted. "Immediately before, that person threw an explosive device from the intersection near the Sport Center into the US Embassy compound."

A subsequent tweet read, "Most probably, the device was a hand grenade. Police investigation and identification is under way directed by the prosecutor."

"At this time, embassy officials are working closely with police to identify the assailant(s)," a State Department spokesman said.

The spokesman said the investigation is "evolving."

"The embassy is currently conducting an internal review to confirm the safety of all staff," the spokesman added.

Initial reports indicate there was no impact on U.S. personnel, according to the State Department.

On its Facebook page, the embassy said visa services were cancelled on Thursday, and that "American Citizen Services will be available today on an emergency basis."

The embassy had initially announced on its website that it was experiencing "an active security situation."

The warning on the website said the embassy "advises U.S. citizens there is an active security situation at the U.S. embassy in Podgorica. Avoid the Embassy until further notice."

It listed a series of "actions to take," which included avoiding the area around the embassy, monitor local media, avoid large gatherings and demonstrations, follow the instructions of local authorities, and "employ sound security practices."

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Mikhail Svetlov/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- The Kremlin ally indicted last week as a key figure in Russia's online election influence operation is also tied to a shadowy military contractor whose Russian mercenaries recently launched an attack on American forces in Syria, U.S. officials tell ABC News.

Yevgeny Prigozhin — a Russian businessman and restaurateur dubbed “Putin's chef" by the Russian media — is deeply involved in the Wagner Group, officials said, a paramilitary firm based in southern Russia. According to those officials, the firm deployed mercenaries in Syria who tried to strike U.S. special operations forces earlier this month. The attack failed, two intelligence officials told ABC News, as the mercenaries were decimated by U.S. airstrikes during their advance.

According to a senior U.S. official, Prigozhin finances the Wagner Group’s current operations in both Syria and Africa. Prigozhin has denied reports of his connections to the group.

"Every private military contractor needs a financial backer who has good relations with their government, and for this firm in Russia it is Prigozhin," the senior official told ABC News.

The Russian Foreign Ministry denies that any Russian servicemen participated in the clash but acknowledged that Russian citizens were killed.

“There are Russian citizens in Syria who went there on their own and with different goals,” said the ministry in a statement. “It is not for the Foreign Ministry to assess its legality and legality of such decisions.”

Prigozhin’s connection to the group is important, the senior official told ABC News, as his private military work offers more evidence that he is pursuing Vladimir Putin’s global ambitions while providing the Russian leader some deniability that the actions are officially sanctioned.

In interviews with several media outlets, including ABC News, associates and relatives of some of the dead mercenaries have suggested there were substantial casualties. Russia's foreign ministry this week confirmed there had been dozens of wounded. Reuters reported that the failed attack resulted in massive casualties — approximately 300 dead or wounded — though both U.S. and Russian officials have publicly downplayed the incident.

"We're not going to speculate on the composition of the hostile force we engaged Feb. 7-8," said Col. Thomas F. Veale, the anti-ISIS coalition’s spokesman.

Other officials familiar with the incident told ABC News that the mercenaries were mostly -- if not exclusively -- Russians from the Wagner Group. Those wounded in the conflict were evacuated to Russian hospitals, giving many intelligence officials further confidence that they had acted on Kremlin orders.

Secretary of Defense James Mattis, speaking to reporters while returning from Europe last week, said he did not know if the contractors were directed by the Russian government but questioned the impetus behind the obviously coordinated campaign.

“I doubt that 250-300 people all just decided on their individual own selves to suddenly cross the river into enemy territory and start shelling the location and maneuvering tanks against them, so whatever happened we'll try to figure it out, we'll work with obviously anyone who can answer that question, but I cannot at this time,” he said.

One official monitoring the clash told ABC News that the group was extraordinarily well-armed for a unit allegedly lacking state sponsorship.

"They had tanks and towed artillery pieces,” the official said. “Kind of unusual for 'contractors.’”

According to the senior official, Syria isn’t the only battleground where Prigozhin-backed Wagner Group contractors are seemingly operating on behalf of Russian interests.

"They were in Ukraine too," one senior official told ABC News.

Former Russian military service members were first seen in eastern Ukraine in 2015 to bolster the separatist movement. The U.S. Department of the Treasury sanctioned Prigozhin in 2016 for allegedly supporting "senior officials of the Russian Federation" in the conflict.

On Friday, the special counsel charged Prigozhin with using several businesses to fund the Internet Research Agency, the St. Petersburg “troll farm” that waged the interference campaign during the 2016 U.S. presidential election.

He denied playing a role in the virtual campaign in comments to Russian state-owned news outlet RIA Novosti on Friday.

“Americans are very impressionable people, they see what they want to see, I treat them with great respect, I’m not at all upset that I'm on this list. If they want to see the devil, let them see,” Prigozhin said.

As for the attempted attack by the Russian mercenaries on U.S. military forces in Syria on Feb. 7, the American officials said the Russians made a severe miscalculation.

"They tried to hit our guys and they paid a price -- they got crushed," one official said.

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iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) --  An explosion on a ferry in Mexico has left a number of people injured, according to local officials in the Mexican state of Quintana Roo.

The explosion took place when passengers were disembarking from the ferry, according to the municipality of Solidaridad, which includes Playa del Carmen.

There were 25 people injured in the explosion, the director of Civil Protection for Playa del Carmen told ABC News. Among the injured were five foreigners: two Americans and three Canadians, the director also said. There were no fatalities.

"The priority is people. The report they are giving us is that there are people injured by shrapnel with small cuts, fortunately nothing serious, no life is in danger, they have to make the necessary protocols of medical care for what they have been transferred," the municipality said in a press release.

A preliminary indication for the cause of the explosion was "mechanical failure," according to Quintana Roo officials.

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ABCNews.com(CAPE TOWN, South Africa) --  Living sustainably borders almost on an obsession for the James family.

They grow much of their own food, only use organic products, keep chickens and have long used the many natural springs around Cape Town that provide alternative sources of water. They’ve always been careful.

But the prospect of "Day Zero" -- the day when the South African city runs out of water -- is a whole new reality.

Liesel James is busy collecting what the family calls "gray water" from around her house. That’s soapy or contaminated water that’s been used for cleaning or cooking, but can still be used elsewhere.

“I’ll collect this and put it down the toilet, or take it out to the garden for the plants," she said. "But we have to make sure we only use organic cleaning products so we don’t pour chemicals on the food we are trying to grow.”

This story is part of an upcoming “Nightline” report. “Nightline” airs at 12:35 a.m. ET weekdays on ABC.

Containers are taken from the kitchen to the garden daily, and large buckets sit under the shower to stop water being wasted.

“I can’t remember the last time I had a bath,” says Liesel, looking at the tub. “I think I’ll sell it.”

Watch the full story on ABC News' "Nightline" TONIGHT at 12:35 a.m. ET

Her three children, Tala 15, Safiya, 12 and Zenon, 9, are making adjustments too. “Our kids get very excited -- it’s become almost a challenge to see how little water they can use. I’m very proud of them,” says Liesel.

But Tala is aware of the gravity of the situation. “Lots of our parents are children of war or post-war. And now in Cape Town, we’ll be drought babies, as opposed to war babies.”

“Children of climate change,” adds Tala's father, Kevin James.

Showers are no more than two minutes long, and when using the toilet, the family subscribes to the familiar refrain, "If it's yellow, let it mellow. If it’s brown, flush it down."

“I don’t think enough people are doing this,” says Liesel. “Maybe people really need the pressure to make them think outside of the box.”

With nearly 4 million residents, Cape Town is South Africa's second-most populous city. The average Capetonian may be trying to adhere to the strict water usage guidelines, but changing fundamental lifestyle habits is a taller order. Each person is allowed to use only 50 liters (13.2 gallons) per person per day from their taps. The average American uses about 200 to 500 liters (roughly 53 to 132 gallons) per day, according to the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS).

The date the city estimates it will run out of water has changed over the past few weeks. The city announced in a Feb. 19 statement that the date would be July 9.

The Jameses are managing -- and have planned for the worst. But Liesel has other concerns. “I’m not too worried for us," she says. "I’m more worried about what might happen around us. For war.”

Over the leafy hills from the Jameses' suburban neighborhood is one of Cape Town’s largest townships -- effectively slums where millions live without regular access to water or electricity. Hundreds must share communal taps. If the water turns off, the potential for unrest is frightening.

“South Africa is probably one of the most unequal countries in the world,” Kevin says. “I believe what’s going on now is a great leveler. Because no matter how affluent you are or how poor you are -- I think the poor are possibly better prepared for the situation than the very affluent families who have taken this stuff for granted. So it feels like we are in a bit of a social experiment.

"It’s daunting," Kevin continues. “It’s the first thing we wake up with. I liken it a lot of the time to how people must feel when there’s imminent war. Where there’s uncertainty about being invaded. It is potentially apocalyptic. We have no idea -- it’s unprecedented. No major city in the world has experienced this. And I think most people have got absolutely no clue how reliant we are on water for every part of our daily lives.

"We’re about to find out."

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Diaa Al-Din Samout/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Pro-government forces pounded rebel-held Eastern Ghouta for the fourth day in a row Wednesday, killing at least 38 civilians, including four children, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a U.K.-based monitoring group said.

Since Sunday night, Syrian and Russian airstrikes and shelling killed at least 310 civilians, including 72 children, in Eastern Ghouta, Rami Abdurrahman, the director of the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, told ABC News.

“The warplanes are still in the sky,” Nour Adam, a media activist in Eastern Ghouta, who asked that his real family name be withheld out of safety concerns for family members in government-held territory, told ABC News on Wednesday. “People are in the shelters and shops are closed.”

An estimated 400,000 people are trapped in Eastern Ghouta with little access to food, water, fuel, electricity and health care, according to the UN. Many of them have left their homes and moved into underground shelters, where they spend their days and nights in hiding due to the intensity of the strikes.

The recent surge in violence in Eastern Ghouta, which has been besieged by the Syrian government since 2013, is part of President Bashar al-Assad’s campaign to seize Syria’s last remaining opposition-held territories.

On Monday and Tuesday, a total of 13 medical facilities were attacked in Eastern Ghouta, according to the Syrian American Medical Society. Three of SAMS’ medical staff in Eastern Ghouta were killed during those two days. One of them, a nurse, lost her life as she tried to escape the bombing on the hospital where she worked in the town of Arbin on Tuesday, SAMS said. Airstrikes continued to "relentlessly target the vicinity of the hospital for five hours, also directly hitting ambulances," SAMS said in a statement. At least 300 patients and medical staff were trapped in the hospital as staff moved patients to safer areas within the hospital, according to SAMS.

The United Nations secretary-general, Antonio Guterres, appealed on Wednesday for an immediate ceasefire in Eastern Ghouta, allowing humanitarian aid to reach people there. A truce should also allow the evacuation of an estimated 700 people who need urgent treatment outside of the besieged enclave, he said.

“I am deeply saddened by the terrible suffering of the civilian population in eastern Ghouta – 400,000 people that live in hell on earth,” he told the U.N. Security Council. “I know that very important consultations are taking place in this Council, aiming at a cessation of hostilities during one month in Syria, with a number of conditions, and of course I fully support that effort, but I believe eastern Ghouta cannot wait.”

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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.

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iStock/Thinkstock(PYONGYANG, North Korea) -- North Korea has changed its tune -- at least along the DMZ, or Korean Demilitarized Zone, a two-and-a-half-mile-wide buffer of landmines and booby traps that separates it from South Korea.

For years, giant speakers at North Korea's propaganda village, Kijong-dong, would blast a looping playlist of martial speeches. But since the Winter Olympics began earlier this month in Pyeongchang, South Korea, the speeches, which some American officers said they can recite nearly word for word, have given way to pleasant choral and folk music, according to United Nations Command officials.

"Instead of a lot of the hard-line speeches, it has gotten softer," Lt. Cmdr. Daniel McShane, a United Nations Command duty officer who has been posted at the DMZ for five years, told ABC News during a visit to the site Wednesday. "We've been hearing a lot more music, and a lot of it has been more classical, especially at night."

The new playlist may point to a wider thaw in the 65-year-old cold war that has dominated the Korean Peninsula since the communist North invaded the South in June 1950. Relations also appeared to warm when North Korean leader Kim Jong Un dispatched his sister and the president of the country's puppet parliament to represent him at the Olympics.

North Korea also sent a cheerleading team and a marching band, and the nation's athletes marched under a unified flag with the South Koreans.

McShane said North Korea's different musical offerings near the border "could be just because there's a good number of North Korean citizens here."

"Or," McShane added, "it could just be a coincidence. Maybe they've run out of speeches."

Not much else has changed near the DMZ. Although diplomats from both the North and South recently met at the so-called Peace House, tensions remain, according to McShane. Communicating with North Korea remains challenging. In 2013, representatives of North Korea stopped answering a hotline phone that had connected them to the U.S.-led United Nations command.

When messages must be sent -- especially complaints about armistice violations -- an American officer will descend from a command post, walk between the iconic blue huts, around the sunglasses-wearing South Korean guards, and signal for a translator who must literally yell into North Korea from the very edge of South Korea.

It often takes multiple attempts. Eventually, a North Korean officer will descend, carrying a video camera to record the U.S. officer's request. That video, according to officers on the South Korean side, is then relayed to central command in Pyongyang. Often, the North Korean officer will not even respond directly to the American who's making the request.

Nearby, to the north, an estimated 15,000 artillery pieces are pointed directly at Seoul, about 25 miles to the south.

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iStock/Thinkstock(LONDON) -- British royalty rubbed shoulders with fashion royalty Tuesday at London Fashion Week.

Queen Elizabeth II made her first ever appearance at London Fashion Week and sat front row next to Vogue’s Anna Wintour at designer Richard Quinn’s runway show.

The 91-year-old monarch sparkled in a blue tweed dress and jacket while viewing the emerging designer’s bold printed looks on the runway. She chatted with Wintour, who didn't remove her signature sunglasses.

Quinn, who started his own label in 2016, is the inaugural recipient of the Queen Elizabeth II Award for British Design, established to recognize emerging British fashion talent.

The award, initiated in recognition of the role the fashion industry plays in society and diplomacy, will be awarded annually to an emerging British fashion designer of womenswear, menswear or accessories that shows exceptional talent and originality, while demonstrating value to the community and/or strong sustainable policies, according to a statement issued by Buckingham Palace.

The British Fashion Council selected Quinn for his creative talent and for his work establishing a print studio, which offers high-quality and accessible services to students and fellow up-and-coming designers.

"From the tweed of the Hebrides to Nottingham lace, and of course Carnaby Street, our fashion industry has been renowned for outstanding craftsmanship for many years, and continues to produce world-class textiles and cutting-edge, practical designs," the queen said. "As a tribute to the industry, and as my legacy to all those who have contributed to British fashion, I would like to present this award for new, young talent."

The award was the idea of the queen’s personal advisor, Angela Kelly, who accompanied her and has coordinated her wardrobe for over 26 years.

Caroline Rush, the chief executive of the British Fashion Council, acknowledged Queen Elizabeth's role as a fashion icon and her groundbreaking effect on the industry when she ascended the throne.

"Your Majesty, it is a true honor to have you here and to have your support for British fashion," Rush said today. "Throughout your reign you have embraced fashion, using its power of diplomacy to communicate understanding between cultures and nations."

Earlier in the day, the monarch visited showrooms to meet designers.

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iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- The Syrian government and its allied forces pounded a besieged rebel-held Damascus suburb on Tuesday, killing dozens of civilians -- the enclave’s deadliest day in three years.

Airstrikes and shelling have killed at least 210 civilians, including 54 children, since Sunday night, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a U.K.-based monitoring group, said. On Tuesday, at least 66 civilians were killed.

On Monday alone, at least 127 civilians lost their lives, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.

“Every day people die and we’re used to it,” Nour Adam, 22, a media activist in Eastern Ghouta who asked that his real last name be withheld out of concern for the safety of family members in government territory, told ABC News via Skype. “But people think we are numbers. Actually, we are humans.”

During the interview the sound of an explosion could be heard in the background.

The recent surge in violence in Eastern Ghouta, which has been besieged by the Syrian government since 2013, is part of President Bashar al-Assad’s campaign to seize Syria’s last remaining opposition-held territories.

“The Syrian government is attacking all areas with all kinds of weapons -- known and unknown weapons,” Siraj Mahmoud, head of media for the White Helmets civil defense rescue force, which operates in rebel-held areas in Syria, told ABC News.

“Warplanes don’t leave the sky at all. Today, we can’t say that we have any safe areas left in Eastern Ghouta,” Mahmoud, who works under a pseudonym, added.

The Syrian foreign ministry said that militants in Eastern Ghouta fired shells at Damascus on Tuesday, killing six civilians, according to the state news agency SANA.

An estimated 400,000 people are trapped in Eastern Ghouta with little access to food, water, fuel, electricity and health care. Many of them have left their homes and moved into underground shelters, where they spend their days and nights in hiding due to the intensity of the strikes.

Save the Children said on Tuesday that 4,100 families now live in underground basements and shelters. More than half are without water, sanitation or ventilation systems, according to local aid workers.

“The bombing has been relentless, and children are dying by the hour,” said Sonia Khush, Save the Children’s Syria response director, in a statement. “These families have nowhere left to run – they are boxed in and being pounded day and night.”

The aid agency said that in some parts of Eastern Ghouta, the destruction is worse than it was at the height of the Syrian government’s offensive against Aleppo in 2016, “yet with only a tiny fraction of the global attention and outrage.”

The United Nations warned on Tuesday that the humanitarian situation in Eastern Ghouta is “spiraling out of control” and that lack of access to the besieged enclave has kept aid away, leading to severe food shortages and a sharp rise in food prices. Malnutrition rates have now reached unprecedented levels, the U.N. said.

“I am deeply alarmed by the extreme escalation in hostilities in East Ghouta,” Panos Moumtzis, U.N. regional humanitarian coordinator for the Syria crisis, said in a statement.

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ABCNews.com(MOSCOW) -- Russian police have reportedly arrested a man who has claimed to be a worker at a so-called troll factory in St. Petersburg, Russia, hours after he gave interviews to foreign journalists and lifted the lid on a secretive organization the U.S. Department of Justice last week accused of trying to undermine the 2016 presidential election.

The Justice Department Friday indicted 13 Russians it accused of running a campaign through the alleged trolling operation to undermine the U.S. election, using social media posts and fake news websites. The indictment named the company behind the alleged operation as the Internet Research Agency.

Since the indictment, Marat Mindiyarov, a 43-year-old former teacher who said he worked for the operation from 2014 to early 2015, has been giving interviews to multiple foreign news outlets, including The Associated Press and The Washington Post, describing its inner workings.

He was then detained Sunday by police who accused him and a friend of making a false report about a bomb near his village outside St. Petersburg, he told The Moscow Times.

Mindiyarov has since been released, Russian radio station Echo of Moscow reported.

Mindiyarov, like most of the workers, was not named in the U.S. indictment brought as part of U.S. special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation of Russia’s meddling in the 2016 election. The indictment Friday named people accused of overseeing the alleged trolling effort or playing a key role in the operation to undermine the election.

It also named the Internet Research Agency’s alleged owner, Yegenvy Prigozhin, a man nicknamed “Putin’s Chef” because of his close ties to Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Mindiyarov has said he was a lower-level employee, posting hundreds of comments on social media expressing Kremlin viewpoints.

Mindiyarov knew the operation’s “Facebook Department” had hired hundreds of Russians who spoke English well to take part in a campaign to influence U.S. public opinion, he told reporters.

"Your first feeling, when you were there, was that you were at some factory that turned a lie into a conveyor belt,” Mindiyarov told The Washington Post Saturday. “The volumes were enormous; there were a huge number of people, from 300 to 400, and they all wrote an absolute lie. It was like in the world of [novelist George] Orwell, the place where you have to say that white is black, and black is white.”

He is among a number of former employees at the “troll factory,” as well as undercover journalists, who have come forward in the past two years to explain what they say are the internal workings of its operation to media organizations, including ABC News.

The Kremlin has denied having any connection to the “troll factory,” with Putin’s spokesman telling reporters Monday that Mueller had failed to provide sufficient evidence of a campaign to meddle in the U.S. election.

Echo of Moscow, the Russian radio station, reported that police had detained Mindiyarov and a friend it named as Igor at an apartment Sunday, accusing Igor of having used his phone to make false reports about bombs near their village.

But, writing on his Facebook page Monday, Mindiyarov said he “is not afraid even after the events of the last night and today.”

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ABCNews.com(TEHRAN, Iran) -- Time is ticking as Iranian rescue teams search the Zagros Mountains trying to locate the wreckage of a missing Aseman Airliner that crashed there on Sunday morning with 66 people on board.

The missing plane was an ATR 72-500 twin-engine turboprop. It left the capital city of Tehran to Yasuj, a southwestern city at 4:30 a.m. GMT on Sunday, but went off the radar 50 minutes into its journey around the city of Semirom in Isfahan Province.

Relatives of those on board have been desperately waiting all day on Sunday, but are losing hope as reports say all 66 passengers are feared dead. Those on board include 60 passengers, two flight attendants, two security guards, and the pilot and co-pilot.

According to the statement of Iran Emergency Center, the heavy winds and snow did not allow a rescue team's helicopter to approach the possible location of the crash on the first day.

The rescue operation was resumed Monday in better weather, but the plane wreckage had yet to be tracked down.

To accelerate the operation, Iran has reached out to other countries for help.

“We have asked China and European countries to immediately inform us of any image they might capture with their satellites,” Mojtaba Saradeghi, deputy head of Iran's Civil Aviation Organization, told the Iranian Student News Agency on Monday.

Family and friends have posted desperate pleas for news on the missing on social media, including one from a women who listed four co-workers killed in the accident and the statement, translated as, "Do you know we have filled your desks at the office with flowers? We shared your memories, and cried."

Russia has also sent information on the possible location of the crash to Tehran via diplomatic channels, according to Spotnik, the Russian news agency.

The Iranian airliner's fleet is very old as it has been prevented from updating for years due to severe sanctions from the West. The Islamic Republic was not allowed to purchase new Western planes and spare parts for about two decades.

In 2015, the country signed a nuclear deal with six world powers (Germany, United Kingdom, France, Russia, China and the United States), based on which Iran agreed to curb its nuclear-related activities in return for the easing of some sanctions against the country.

One of the top priorities of Iran was removing sanctions on its aviation industry. While easing these sanctions has led to a major deal between Iran and Boeing for the purchase of airplanes over the coming years, the body of the fleet of the country is still worn out.

The recent crash has led to discussions on social networks about where the West and Iranian aviation stands two years after the lifting of the sanctions on the industry.

Pouyan Tabasinejad, policy chair of the Iranian Canadian Congress, was among those to criticize Canadian Sen. Linda Frum on Twitter after she slammed Boeing for selling Iran new aircraft.

However, some of those who used to blame the West for the high number of casualties in airplane crashes in Iran are now pointing their fingers at Tehran’s mismanagement for not upgrading its fleet in the past two years after the lifting of the former restrictions.

Capt. Houshang Shahbazi became a national hero to Iranians in December 2011 after he managed to safely land a 40-year-old Boeing 727 while the gear in the nose was jammed and the front wheel did not open. He saved the life of 120 passengers on board.

Before the nuclear deal, Shahbazi was a vocal critic of the Western sanctions on Iran’s civil aviation industry. But in an interview with ABC News about the recent incident, he said time to blame the West for such incidents is over. Instead, he criticized Iranian aviation officials for not being swift enough in updating the fleet.

“It is not a humanitarian crisis. This crash is the result of a political crisis,” he said, putting the blame on where political parties choose to invest the resources of the country. “Two years has passed and managers have had enough time to buy new planes and spare parts, if it was their priority.”

However, Aseman Airliner’s technician and training manager, Capt. Bahador Ashayeri, denied any technical problem with the missing ATR plane.

“This plane was of the most modern models. ... It has no problem at all,” Ashayeri said in a live TV program on Sunday.

The weather is expected to get even colder in the Zagros Mountains on Tuesday, making the search and rescue operation more difficult.

“Regardless of the weather condition, search and rescue operation will go on,” Shahin Fathi, operation deputy of Iran’s Red Crescent Organization told the News Channel.

“However, in case of a snowfall, aerial and helicopter search will not be possible and search will go on with the rescue teams on the ground.”

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iStock/Thinkstock(KARO, Indonesia) --  A volcano on Indonesia’s Sumatra island sent columns of ash shooting into the sky on Monday, prompting a "code red" warning to airlines by an Australian agency monitoring volcanic ash.

Villages in the Karo region near the volcano were covered in layers of grey ash, which settled on trees and the tops of buildings, motorcycles and cars.

Villagers were forced to wear masks.

Mount Sinabung has been erupting intermittently since 2010 after being dormant for centuries.

Thousands have been displaced in the surrounding area, and continued seismic activity has kept the alert level at its highest point since June 2015.

Mount Sinabung is one of three currently active volcanoes in Indonesia, which is located on the Pacific "Ring of Fire," an area of concentrated seismic activity due to the presence of tectonic fault lines in the region.

Last year, the eruption of Mount Agung in Bali forced the cancellation of several flights, grounding thousands of tourists and sparking an evacuation order for 100,000 residents.

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