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3DSculptor/iStock(HOUSTON) -- The history-making, all-female spacewalk that was scheduled to happen on Friday, during Women’s History Month, has been canceled by NASA.

The cancellation is due in part to “spacesuit availability,” NASA announced Monday. In other words, the agency did not have enough spacesuits sized for women on the International Space Station.

The spacewalk was supposed to be led by NASA astronauts Anne McClain and Christina Koch, with the assistance of Kristen Facciol, a Canadian Space Agency flight controller, on the ground in Houston.

Two more women, Mary Lawrence, lead flight director, and Jackie Kagey, lead spacewalk flight controller, were also scheduled to take part from Houston.

McClain, who has been stationed at the International Space Station since December, completed her first spacewalk on March 22 and discovered then that she needed a “medium-size hard upper torso,” or the shirt of the spacesuit, according to NASA.

That is apparently the same size worn by Koch, who arrived at the space station earlier this month. NASA has a limited availability of spacewalking spacesuits and there is only one medium-size top on the space station.

Koch will now do the spacewalk on Friday with a male astronaut, Nick Hague.

McClain is now expected to perform her next spacewalk on April 8 with another male, Canadian Space Agency astronaut David Saint-Jacques, according to NASA.

McClain and Koch are both part of the Expedition 59 crew at the International Space Station. They joined NASA in 2013, the year NASA's astronaut class was 50 percent female.

A spacewalk is defined by NASA as "anytime an astronaut gets out of a vehicle while in space." Friday’s spacewalk, to upgrade batteries on the space station, is expected to last around seven hours.
 
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Jemal Countess/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Ethiopian investigators looking into the Boeing 737 MAX 8 plane crash have now shared raw data from the flight data recorder with U.S. and other international parties, three sources told ABC News Monday.

The parties were able to listen to the cockpit voice recorder as well.

Information from both "black boxes" could provide key clues into how and why Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 crashed on March 10, killing all 157 people on board. Families of victims have waited nearly three weeks without a readout of information from the black boxes, though they were found and sent to France for analysis within a week of the crash.

The international groups given access to the raw data include the National Transportation Safety Board, an independent U.S. agency that investigates transportation accidents and issues widely-respected safety recommendations.

The NTSB sent three investigators to assist in the black box analysis in France, the agency said at the time, and were specifically trained to look into a key question in the crash: whether the plane's autopilot system might have played a role in the Ethiopian Airlines crash, as it seemed to have done in the fatal crash of an Indonesian Lion Air 737 MAX 8 last October.

The two crashes of Boeing 737 MAX 8s led to a worldwide grounding of the plane, one of Boeing's most popular models, and has put pressure on the company to produce a software update that would fix the plane's controversial anti-stall system.

Questions remain about how much pilot error could have factored into the crash in Ethiopia, if any, as more information came to light about the doomed Lion Air crash during the renewed focus on Boeing's anti-stall software.

In the Lion Air crash, reports found the pilots struggled with their quick reference guides in the cockpit during the crash and that a similar situation was avoided the day before because of an off-duty pilot on-board who happened to know how to shut off the malfunctioning flight management system. The problems revealed a lack of pilot training around the flight control system.

Boeing was also given raw data from the crashed Ethiopian Airline plane, as was the Federal Aviation Administration, the European Union Aviation Safety Agency and others.

Boeing, the world's leading commercial airline manufacturer, will hold a session with pilots, technical leaders and regulators on Wednesday to insure a "safe return of the 737 MAX to commercial service," the company said in a statement Sunday.

The Senate will also hold a heading on Wednesday to discuss the FAA certification process, which Boeing will have to go through to get its latest software update up and running on the MAX planes. In the meantime, the Department of Transportation announced Monday it would also look into the process through a special committee led by a former Air Force general and head of the U.S. Transportation Command Gen. Darren McDew and former Air Lines Pilot Association president Capt. Lee Moak.

Sources familiar with the matter have also confirmed that the FBI is working with other federal authorities to look into the certification of the Boeing 737 MAX. It is unclear how much of a role the FBI -- and federal prosecutors from the Justice Department -- will actually have in this effort, as the investigation is in its earlier stages.

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omersukrugoksu/iStock(TEHRAN, Iran) -- Devastating floods killed at least 18 people and injured at least 94 others in the Iranian city of Shiraz, the semi-official Fars News Agency reported Monday.

Shiraz was not the only city inundated by heavy floods in Iran in the past few days. Other areas like Lorestan and Kermanshah, as well as those on the south coast of the Caspian Sea, like Golestan and Mazandaran, were also hit by heavy spring rains, Pirhossein Koulivand, the head of Iran’s emergency medical services, told the Islamic Republic News Agency.

One person was also killed by flooding in Sarpol-e Zahab in Iran's Kermanshah Province, Koulivand added.

According to the semi-official Iranian Students’ News Agency (ISNA), the flash floods in Shiraz washed away cars.

“More than 200 cars were swept away by the flood at the Quran Gate, the entrance of Shiraz,” the head of the traffic police of the country, Col. Nader Rahmani, told ISNA.

Iranian New Year, or Nowruz, started on March 21, and Shiraz was a popular destination for many tourists from within the country.

Some experts blamed officials for poor urban development plans, which blocked the passage of floodwater at the entrance to Shiraz.

Iran’s meteorological organization in a statement warned New Year's travelers and others about more rain expected in different cities across the country in the coming days.

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YASUYOSHI CHIBA/AFP/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- The United States military will support humanitarian relief efforts in Mozambique after a powerful cyclone slammed into the country more than a week ago.

President Donald Trump on Sunday directed the military to do so, according to a statement from the U.S. Africa Command (AFRICOM), a unified combatant command of the Armed Forces.

AFRICOM said it will respond to requests from the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) for support and assistance in the flooded regions across central Mozambique. AFRICOM has assigned its Djibouti-based Combined Joint Task Force - Horn of Africa to lead the military's relief efforts.

Meanwhile, the U.S. Department of Defense will provide support at the request of the Mozambican government.

"U.S. Africa Command is actively monitoring and assessing the situation while positioning assets to support the government of the Republic of Mozambique,” Marine Corps Gen. Thomas Waldhauser, who's the commander of AFRICOM, said in a statement Sunday. “We are actively working with the Department of Defense, interagency partners, and Government of the Republic of Mozambique to provide assistance."

Tropical cyclone Idai made landfall near the Mozambican port city of Beira in the late-night hours of March 14 and slowly moved inland that weekend. The storm ripped through central Mozambique, southern Malawi and eastern Zimbabwe, bringing with it heavy rainfall and wind gusts of up to 105 miles per hour. The region's drought conditions -- bone-dry soil unable to absorb the torrential rainfall -- gave way for flash flooding.

The death toll from the intense cyclone has continued to rise in the days since, as response teams begin to access inundated communities and the scale of devastation becomes more clear.

Mozambique bore the brunt of the storm. At least 447 people have now been reported dead and more than 1,500 others have been injured, according to the National Emergency Operations Center, a unit of the country's National Disaster Management Institute. Mozambican President Filipe Nyusi has warned that as many as 1,000 people could be dead.

Over 15,000 homes in Mozambique have been damaged or destroyed by the storm, while more than 3,000 schools have been damaged.

Nearly 129,000 people have been rescued from the floodwaters but many more await help, according to Mozambique's National Emergency Operations Center.

In Zimbabwe, at least 154 people have been reported dead, 162 others injured, 136 marooned and 187 missing as of Saturday, according to the country's Ministry of Information, Publicity and Broadcasting.

There were at least 56 cyclone-related deaths reported in Malawi.

"The situation will get worse before it gets better," Henrietta Fore, executive director for the United Nations Children's Fund, said in a statement Saturday. "Aid agencies are barely beginning to see the scale of the damage. Entire villages have been submerged, buildings have been flattened, and schools and health care centers have been destroyed. While the search and rescue operations continue, it is critical that we take all necessary measures to prevent the spread of water-borne diseases which can turn this disaster into a major catastrophe."

Various humanitarian agencies and aid groups are on the ground providing relief to people in the three affected countries.

Here are some of the organizations helping those impacted by tropical cyclone Idai:

Americares has deployed a team to Mozambique to assess health needs and coordinate emergency shipments of medicine and relief supplies for survivors. You can donate to Americares Worldwide Disaster Relief Fund here to support its response to the cyclone.

CARE has emergency experts in Mozambique assessing the damage while providing search and rescue support around the hard-hit city of Beira. They are working to provide much-needed supplies to the area, including tents, buckets, tarps, blankets and hygiene kits. The organization also has teams on the ground in Zimbabwe and Malawi to assess the needs of the affected communities. You can make a donation here to support their efforts in southern Africa.

Doctors Without Borders/Medecins Sans Frontieres
has teams in Mozambique, Zimbabwe and Malawi assessing the damage, trying to reach hard-hit communities and working to deliver medical kits as well as water and sanitation supplies to those in need. You can make a general donation here.

Humanity & Inclusion has 40 staff members on the ground, including a small team in Beira. The group has worked in Mozambique since 1986, tackling issues stemming from the country's 25-year-long civil war with a focus on people with disabilities. Staff members are currently working to clear roads to rural communities cut off from humanitarian aid in the wake of the cyclone. You can make a donation to support their efforts here.

The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies has an emergency response unit in Beira that will provide sanitation for 20,000 people every day. Another emergency response unit is expected to arrive in the coming days and will provide clean water for 15,000 people a day. Two emergency field hospitals are also en route to Mozambique to provide urgently-needed medical care. You can donate to their Mozambique campaign here.

The International Rescue Committee has launched an emergency response for people displaced by the cyclone in eastern Zimbabwe. The organization has teams on the ground in the hardest-hit areas providing medical care and emergency supplies for the most vulnerable. You can donate to support their efforts here.

Oxfam has teams assessing the needs of people worst affected in all three nations. You can make a general donation here.

Save the Children has delivered at least 51 metric tons of humanitarian aid to Mozambique, including tarps, buckets and tents. The organization is also working to provide displaced families with kits for water purification and hygiene. An estimated 350,000 children in Martinique alone are said to be in dire need of immediate relief. You can donate to support their efforts here.

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Korea Pool/Getty Images(KAESONG, North Korea) -- Several North Korean officials returned to the inter-Korean liaison office on Monday, just three days after the entire North Korean staff was withdrawn due to unspecified orders from "superiors."

North Korea's seemingly sudden decision to pull its officials from the Kaesong office alarmed the region, causing speculation that North Korea might be gearing up to heighten tensions after the fallout from last month's Hanoi summit and U.S. officials' reluctance to ease sanctions.

"North Koreans said they came down, as usual, to take their shift," the Unification Ministry told ABC News. "The representatives of liaison officers from either sides held a meeting in the morning and plan to operate [the office] as normal."

The Unification Ministry added that officials from North Korea conveyed a message that there is no change in the role of the liaison office in its commitment to carry out projects in line with North-South joint declarations.

Analysts in South Korea speculate that President Donald Trump’s tweets announcing a cancellation of new sanctions must have worked to bring North Korean personnel back to the liaison office.

 

It was announced today by the U.S. Treasury that additional large scale Sanctions would be added to those already existing Sanctions on North Korea. I have today ordered the withdrawal of those additional Sanctions!

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 22, 2019

 

"North Korean leadership might have thought that it was not a good time to continuously increase the pressure on both the U.S. and South Korea when the White House announced not to proceed with the decision to add economic sanctions on North Korea," Bong Young-shik, research fellow at Yonsei Institute for North Korean Studies, told ABC News. "North's leadership may have chosen to be in a wait-and-see mode."

Some saw the withdrawal and return as a tacit statement from Kim Jong Un's and a message that North Korea is aware of public sentiment eyeing their actions.

"It seems North Korea was under pressure of being viewed in a negative light if they closed down the liaison office for good, thereby refusing to maintain dialogue," Kim Yong-hyun, professor of North Korean Studies at Seoul-based Dongguk University, told ABC News. "At the same time, North Korea is also sending a signal that they are willing to communicate with the U.S."

"It seems North Korea was under pressure of being viewed in a negative light if they closed down the liaison office for good, thereby refusing to maintain dialogue," Kim Yong-hyun, professor of North Korean Studies at Seoul-based Dongguk University, told ABC News. "At the same time, North Korea is also sending a signal that they are willing to communicate with the U.S."

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Richard Pohle - WPA Pool/Getty Images(LONDON) -- Prince Charles has helped his son and daughter-in-law, Prince Harry and Meghan, “soldier on” in their first year of marriage, according to the director of a documentary about the Prince of Wales.

During the past year, Harry and Meghan, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, have gotten married and pregnant, adjusted to Meghan's new life as a royal, undertaken a 16-day overseas tour and unveiled major charitable initiatives, dealt with a very public feud within Meghan’s family and tabloid gossip labeling Meghan as demanding, prepared to move to a new home and split royal households with Prince William and Kate.

In the face of all of that Charles, 70, has told Harry and Meghan to ignore the controversies and "soldier on," John Bridcut, the director “Prince Charles at 70” on PBS, told DailyMailTV.

Bridcut said he believes Charles would advise Harry and Meghan to "just carry on doing the job," as the Prince of Wales has done in his own life.

“He would apply himself and just carry on doing the job and soldier on and that's what he's done and it's borne fruit,” said Bridcut.

Bridcut noted that Charles has been able to use his experience of public scrutiny around his relationship with Harry’s mother, the late Princess Diana, to help guide the couple.

“There is a close relationship between father and son and I'm aware that he gets along very well with both the daughters-in-law,” Bridcut said, adding that he has seen Harry in particular "become a real champion of his father."

That close relationship spilled out in public when Meghan tapped Charles to walk her down the aisle at her May wedding to Harry when her own father bowed out after a paparazzi scandal and health concerns.

"Charles is being completely supportive -- and could be seen in the very touching way in which he was involved in the wedding ceremony itself, which was sort of all quite understated," Bridcut said. "It was all very last minute of course the way things turned out."

"But what Camilla [the Duchess of Cornwall] says in the film, that I felt very strongly when I watched it myself, with the way he held out his hand for Meghan's mother and that moment was completely unscripted and spontaneous, but totally typical of the man actually," he added. "He doesn't advertise this but he is a very sensitive man and I've seen that myself a lot."

Prince Charles takes the hand of Doria Ragland, Meghan Markle’s mother, as they move from the Quire for the signing of the registers. https://t.co/9c7Q1NnHMS #RoyalWedding pic.twitter.com/rKpXjT6AIF

— ABC News (@ABC) May 19, 2018

Meghan and her father-in-law shared a sweet moment this month when the royal family gathered for the Commonwealth Day service at Westminster Abbey. She and Charles were photographed sharing a laugh at the service.

On #CommonwealthDay The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and The Duke and Duchess of Sussex joined The Queen and Members of the @RoyalFamily for the Commonwealth Day Service at Westminster Abbey. pic.twitter.com/aTLekfZxm8

— Kensington Palace (@KensingtonRoyal) March 11, 2019

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macky_ch/iStock(MOSCOW) -- The Kremlin has responded cautiously to the conclusion of special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation that found no evidence of a conspiracy by Donald Trump's presidential campaign to help Russia interfere in the 2016 U.S. election.

Russian President Vladimir Putin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters on Monday he couldn't comment on Mueller's findings since no one had seen the report in full, and he denied again that Russia had meddled in 2016.

 "We haven’t seen the report itself," Peskov said in a daily briefing call with reporters. "We have seen a certain condensed version, a summary, which, moreover, tells nothing new, except the acknowledgment of the absence of any conspiracy."

Reiterating Russia's long-standing blanket denial that it had interfered in the 2016 election, Peskov said of Mueller's investigation, "It's hard to find a black cat in a dark room, especially if it's not there."

Attorney General William Barr on Sunday released a summary of the key findings of Mueller’s 22-month investigation into Russia's effort to influence the 2016 election. In a letter to Congress, Barr quoted from Mueller's own report that the special counsel had found no evidence that Trump or anyone associated with his campaign had conspired with Russia, "despite multiple offers from Russian-affiliated individuals to assist the Trump campaign."

Peskov rejected that Russia had sought to aid Trump or meddled in 2016 in any way. He also rejected Mueller's finding that Moscow mounted a two-pronged influence operation targeting American social media and an hacking attack that stole and then leaked documents from the Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton's campaign.

Other Russian officials' reactions were far more strident, however.

Russia's foreign ministry criticized Mueller’s investigation in a Monday statement as a waste of time and resources, and said the accusation of Russian interference was an "obvious fake."

Alexei Pushkov, head of the Russian Senate's information committee, wrote on Twitter, "The results of Mueller’s investigation are a disgrace for the U.S. and its political elites."

Mueller’s investigation saw 34 people charged, among them six Trump aides and advisers. Twenty-five Russians, many of them military intelligence officers, were indicted for their role in the hack of Democratic party institutions, or for taking part in the social media campaign. In those indictments, Mueller laid out how the Russia’s intelligence services and a so-called "troll factory" in Saint Petersburg had sought to influence the U.S. electorate.

Russian officials and state media for two years have insisted the accusations of election meddling are fantasies invented by the Democrats to be used as a pretext to sanction Moscow.

On Monday, the Russian foreign ministry also attacked the Obama administration, accusing it of trying "to discredit Trump" in 2016 by making "unfounded accusations of 'hacking attacks.'"

The Obama administration in 2016 agonized over how to make Russia's election operations public, former administration officials have since said. In the end, the Department of Homeland Security and the Office of the Director of National intelligence released a joint statement in October 2016 noting the Russian efforts, but leaving out whether the Russians had sought to help a particular candidate.

With Mueller's investigation over, some Russian lawmakers said they now hoped Trump would be able to improve relations with Russia, but most expressed doubts.

"There is a chance to reset much in our relations, but whether Trump will risk it remains an open question. We, obviously, are ready," politician Konstantin Kosachev wrote in a Facebook post, adding he hoped Trump would use the moment to begin negotiations on two key arms agreements, the Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces and the START treaties.

But Kosachev wrote he doubted U.S. attitudes towards Russia or the enthusiasm for fresh sanctions against Russia would be changed much by the end of the Mueller inquiry.

Maria Lipman, a veteran Russian journalist and editor of the Counterpoint journal, agreed.

"The antagonism between Russia and the U.S. has become so deep that I don't think there can be any improvement. I don't think we should expect any change," she said.

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omersukrugoksu/iStock(NEW YORK) -- The second-largest, second-deadliest Ebola outbreak in history has exceeded 1,000 cases in less than nine months.

A total of 1,009 people have reported symptoms of hemorrhagic fever in the Democratic Republic of the Congo's northeastern provinces of North Kivu and Ituri since ‪Aug. 1.‬ Among those cases, 944 have tested positive for Ebola, which causes an often-fatal type of hemorrhagic fever, according to Sunday night's bulletin from the country's health ministry.

The ever-growing outbreak has a case fatality rate of about 60 percent. There have been 629 deaths so far, including 564 people who died from confirmed cases of Ebola. The other deaths are from probable cases.

"Before being a public health emergency, an Ebola epidemic is above all a human and social tragedy," the health minister, Dr. Oly Ilunga Kalenga, said in a statement Sunday. "Behind these numbers are several hundred Congolese families directly affected by the virus and hundreds of orphans."

A vast majority of cases have been recorded in the towns of Katwa and Beni in North Kivu province.

So far, no cases have spread beyond North Kivu and Ituri provinces, nor across international borders. But the risk of national and regional spread remains "very high," according to the World Health Organization.

"We use words like 'cases' and 'containment' to be scientific, but behind every number is a person, a family and a community that is suffering," Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, director-general of the World Health Organization, said in a statement Saturday. "This outbreak has gone on far too long. We owe it to the people of North Kivu to work with them in solidarity not only to end this outbreak as soon as possible, but to build the health systems that address the many other health threats they face on a daily basis."

This is the 10th outbreak of Ebola virus disease in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and the most severe seen in the Central African nation since 1976, when scientists first identified the virus near the eponymous Ebola River. It's also one of the worst outbreaks, second only to the 2014-2016 plague in multiple West African nations that infected 28,652 people and killed 11,325, according to data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

It's the first Ebola outbreak in history to occur in an active war zone. North Kivu and Ituri, the two provinces where people have been infected, are awash with conflict and insecurity. Health and frontline workers are facing sporadic attacks from armed groups operating near the country's mineral-rich, volatile borderland with Uganda.

Response teams are also grappling with a highly mobile population and resistance from a local community that has never before seen Ebola.

"Every member of the community," the country's health minister said, "has a role to play in stopping the spread of the virus."

"The response begins at the level of the mother who brings her sick child to the health center and accepts that a sample is taken for the laboratory," he continued. "It is also based on the head of the family, who accepts that all family members are vaccinated after one of them has been infected with Ebola."

Since Aug. 8, more than 96,000 people have been vaccinated against Ebola in the outbreak zone in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, along with health workers in Uganda and South Sudan, according to the World Health Organization.

At least 321 Ebola patients have recovered, "but returning home is not always easy," the country's health minister said.

"Already forced to live with the legacy of the disease," he added, "these Ebola survivors also face stigma within their community."

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iStock(MOLDE, Norway) -- After an engine failure and major evacuation efforts, the Viking Sky cruise ship safely docked in the port of Molde, Norway, on Sunday, bringing a high-seas nightmare to an end.

A mayday signal was received from the ship on Saturday at around 2 p.m. local time, according to a Viking Cruises spokesman, sparking major helicopter rescue efforts that brought hundreds to safety.

After helicopter rescues on Saturday, Viking said 436 guests and 458 crew members remained on board. The vessel regained power on Sunday morning, and Viking Cruises tweeted that the ship was headed to the nearby port.

"#VikingSky is expected to dock In Molde at 1630. All day emergency states and volunteers have prepared reception. #PolitietMøreRomsdal Molde asks that people who are not in the rescue work keep themselves away from the center for the next few hours and respect traffic control."

On Saturday, four rescue helicopters airlifted hundreds of people off the ship.


"Our first priority was for the safety and well-being of our passengers and our crew, and in close cooperation with the Norwegian Coast Guard, the captain decided to evacuate all guests from the vessel by helicopter," the Viking Cruises spokesman said in a statement.

Harrowing video was posted on social media on Saturday by a passenger, showing the ship tilting back and forth, sending furniture sliding across the room.

 Danny and Judith Bates were among the passengers rescued by air.

 "Very frightening. We went up on a helicopter with a sling -- the two of us together -- and it was quite scary," Danny Bates told Eurovision.

"I felt surely, they have everything under control, it’s all going to be OK. So we just take this as an unexpected adventure," Judith Bates said.

The prime minister of Norway, Erna Solberg, tweeted on Saturday, thanking the rescuers.

"It has been a dramatic day for passengers and rescue personnel at #VikingSky in #Hustadvika," she wrote. "Thanks to talented rescuers, volunteers and others who have made an invaluable effort in demanding conditions."

The ship was built in 2017, according to the company’s website.

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Eva Frisnes(MOLDE, Norway) -- Rescue helicopters were battling severe winds on Saturday to airlift more than 1,300 people off a Norwegian cruise ship that issued a distressed call after an engine failure.

Of the 1,300 stranded, 900 were passengers on the Viking Cruises' ship called The Viking Sky, Norway's Rescue Coordination Centre told ABC News. The ship can house 930 guests and was built in 2017, according to the company's website.

The initial mayday was received by the agency at 2 p.m. local time, the agency spokesperson said. Currently, the cruise ship is close to shore and has one engine working and one anchor holding. Rescuers hope to get two other engines working.

"Our first priority was for the safety and well-being of our passengers and our crew, and in close cooperation with the Norwegian Coast Guard, the captain decided to evacuate all guests from the vessel by helicopter," the spokesman said in a statement.

Four helicopters were involved in the operations, and at least 87 people have been hoisted off, including eight with injuries, the agency said.

Danny and Judith Bates were among the rescued.

 

Still waiting for evacuation. #VikingSky #Mayday pic.twitter.com/6EvcAjf5D2

— Alexus Sheppard 🏳️‍🌈 (@alexus309) March 23, 2019

 

"Very frightening. We went up on a helicopter with a sling, the two of us together and it was quite scary," Danny Bates told Eurovision.

His companion, Judith Bates said, "I felt surely, they have everything under control, it’s all going to be OK. So we just take this as an unexpected adventure."

A tugboat is en route to further secure The Viking Sky, but the weather conditions remained harsh. The rescue operation was expected to continue through the night.

"We are in the process of updating the website with the latest information and activating special telephone numbers for passengers and their relatives," the spokesman said.

If you have questions or concerns about any guests onboard, please visit their website.

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KeithBinns/iStock(KABUL, Afghanistan) -- Two U.S. service members were killed in Afghanistan on Friday, according to military officials.

The two were killed "while conducting an operation," according to a statement from NATO's Resolute Support.

They have been identified as Spc. Joseph P. Collette and Sergeant First Class Will D. Lindsay.

Collette, 29 of Lancaster, Ohio, was with a bomb disposal unit and Lindsay, 33 of Cortez, Colorado, was a Green Beret.

They are the third and fourth U.S. service members killed in Afghanistan this year.

Sgt. Cameron Meddock, 26, was shot during a fire fight on Jan. 13, 2019, in Jawand District, Badghis Province, Afghanistan. The Texas native later died at a U.S. military hospital, Landstuhl Regional Medical Center, in Germany.

Staff Sgt. Joshua Beale, the second U.S. death in Afghanistan this year, came nine days later when he was killed by hostile fire in Tarinkot, Uruzgan Province. The 32-year-old Green Beret was from Virginia and on his third tour of duty.

Patrick Shanahan, then-acting defense secretary, said on a trip to Afghanistan last month that he had not been directed to reduce troop numbers in the country. ABC News previously reported the U.S. would draw some 7,000 troops from the country -- half of the U.S. forces -- sometime in 2019.

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iStock/MariaUspenskaya(ROME) -- Italy's production of olive oil fell to a 25-year low of 185,000 tons last year -- a more than 57 percent drop in quantity from the preceding year.

Amid the decline, which experts principally attribute to climate change-related problems, Italian producers are innovating to combat those problems while improving quality.

The need for innovations is dire: the decline in production is threatening thousands of businesses and causing a huge loss of jobs, especially in the southern regions. And, now that olive oil is produced successfully outside the Mediterranean, Italy's market share is at risk.

Tensions flared last month as producers and farmers protested in Rome calling for support and emergency government aid to protect their centuries-old tradition.

The poor harvests have been blamed on extreme weather, which can lead to olive fly infestations.

More drastically, though, down in the Puglia region, which produces about half of Italy's olive oil, the bacteria Xylella fastidiosa -- transmitted by insects and aided by the use of weed killer -- is killing thousands of olive trees, including ancient, monumental ones.

In an effort to stall the spread of the disease, the state decided to systematically destroy thousands of trees. However, experts at Coldiretti, the Italian agriculture association, tell ABC News this is not being done fast enough.

While researchers race to find ways to curtail the olive fly and Xylella bacteria, a new generation of olive oil producers are emerging who are attentive to climate, terrain and, above all, quality.

With 80 percent of Italy's high-quality olive oil sold abroad, these producers are attempting to carve out a niche in the worldwide business, seeing top quality, distinctive products as the future.

"We are making an even better oil than that produced by our forefathers," Nicola Di Noia, Coldiretti olive oil expert, told ABC News. "Our olive oil must become the Ferrari of olive oil production."

Pioneers in the field are focusing on new technology and local varieties of trees that can better withstand climate change. By studying new methods of growing, picking, pressing and bottling, they are producing a 100 percent natural product with improved health benefits.

For instance, while olives are now picked earlier in the year all over Italy, Castello Monte Vibiano Vecchio in Umbria began experimenting with harvesting olives at night for a better product.

"Temperatures have risen greatly over the years, and as we pick olives earlier now, we try to avoid picking them above 15 degrees centigrade so as to avoid the enzymes from modifying and fermentation starting," owner Lorenzo Fasola Bologna tells ABC News. "The results were spectacular with an increase in polyphenols [which improves health benefits]."

More attention is also being given to the traceability of olive oil in an effort to protect local production and stop fraud. The Italian National Center for Research started the DNA certification of oils, and Monte Vibiano received the first world DNA certificate last November.

"What this means," says Fasola Bologna, "is that the consumer knows exactly where our olives come from and that the product comes from the Umbrian region of Italy."

Other experimentation is also underway: Le Tre Colonne in Puglia is working with ultrasound devices, while Frantoio Cutrera in Sicily is using cameras to find and remove damaged olives.

Another producer in Umbria, Frantoio Gaudenzi, is working on a project based on renewable energy that can blow pollen through the grove if there is not enough wind.

Johnny Madge, an Englishman and olive oil expert who lives in Italy, told ABC News he believes Italy will become the most exciting producer of olive oil because of the wide variety of olives -- there are over 600 varieties Italy, more than any other country in the world -- and use of new technology, especially in olive milling.

"The new technology means that we can now 'hear' each different olive variety in a way we never could before," Madge said. "They are now 'expressed;' before they were 'muffled' as olives were picked too late, milled too long after picking, and old dirty mills were used."

He added, "These mills make oils of character because they use great cleaning technology, work at low temperatures with minimal friction and oxidization, and are filtered immediately rather than using separators that stress the oil."

Massimo Ambrosio at the Fattoria Ambrosio in Campania, who started producing oil just three years ago with prize-winning results, thinks a revolution is underway in Italy.

"Other EU countries, like Spain, produce oil that costs even less than half what Italian olive oil costs, and Spain can produce five to six times the quantity," he told ABC News. "[So,] the new trend in Italy is to focus on quality and stimulate the consumer to want higher quality olive oil. ... The challenge is to see if Italy will be able to continue to produce the quality at reasonable prices."

Di Noia stresses that consumers still need to learn about the product.

"People have learned the difference between a carton of wine and a bottle of Barolo," he said. "The same has to be done with olive oil."

Madge has observed people from across the world growing more curious about olive oil and its health benefits, but there is still a long way to go before the average consumer understands the value and taste of exceptionally good extra-virgin olive oil.

In the meantime, producer Ambrosio said, the goal is to "try to make oils that are balanced like a musical symphony." He is certain that when the quality of the olives picked is perfect, that is not difficult.

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iStock/Thinkstock(BAGHOUZ, Syria) -- Syrian Kurdish forces declared victory over the Islamic State on Saturday, after a years-long fight to reclaim territory that once belonged to the terror group’s self-declared caliphate.

"Syrian Democratic Forces declare total elimination of so-called caliphate and 0 territorial defeat of ISIS," Mustafa Bali, head of the SDF press office, said on Twitter. "On this unique day, we commemorate thousands of martyrs whose efforts made the victory possible."

At its peak in 2014, ISIS controlled approximately 34,000 square miles of territory across Iraq and Syria that was home to about 10 million people.

On March 1, the Syrian Democratic Forces, SDF, began its last offensive to retake the city of Baghouz, the last ISIS stronghold along the Middle Euphrates River Valley near the Iraq border.

Since that time, thousands of ISIS fighters and their families have poured out of the area with 62,000 mostly women and children arriving in poor health at the Al Hol camp, according to the International Rescue Committee (IRC). At least 100 people, mostly children, died on their way there during that time.

The IRC described the camp as at a “breaking point” in terms of being able to house and care for the thousands of people arriving from ISIS-held areas.

Meanwhile, men who are determined to have allegiance to ISIS have been detained by the SDF. They now hold over 1,000 ISIS foreign fighters, along with thousands from Iraq and Syria.

In its fight to retake land from ISIS in Syria, the SDF has received backing from the U.S.-led coalition comprised of over 75 nations and partner organizations.

The first U.S. troops -- just 50 advisers -- arrived in Syria under the Obama administration in October 2015. That number has grown to about 3,000 as the U.S. prepares to withdraw most of those forces under orders by President Donald Trump.

Trump had touted in recent days that ISIS was on its last legs. He proudly displayed a once-classified map showing how the forces had waned since his election two years ago on both Thursday and Friday. His declaration on Thursday that ISIS would be "gone by tonight" was the third time he'd declared victory in three months.

About 400 U.S. troops will remain in two areas of Syria: in the northeast along the Turkish border to provide security and stability for Kurdish partners, and in the southeast at the At Tanf Garrison, a small U.S. base seen largely as a way to counter Iranian influence in the region.

But even as the SDF declares victory, a long road lies ahead before cities and towns once held by ISIS return to any level of normalcy. The SDF and coalition must conduct back clearance operations to rid areas of booby traps and improvised explosive devices (IEDs) left behind by the terror group. Additionally, it will cost billions to rebuild and restore communities extensively destroyed in the fight.

Another challenge will be for local security forces to retain control should ISIS seek to reconstitute.

In Iraq, where the military declared liberation from ISIS in December 2017, the terror group has already established sanctuaries, according to a report released on Thursday by the Institute for the Study of War, “setting the conditions for future offensive operations against the Government of Iraq.” And U.S. officials estimate there could be as many as 20,000 ISIS fighters in the region.

“The U.S. and its partners should not view the current relative security in Baghdad as confirmation of the defeat of ISIS,” Institute for the Study of War wrote. “The U.S. Anti-ISIS Coalition’s strategy to enable Iraq to ‘independently manage’ an insurgency through intelligence support and other building partner capacity efforts will likely fail to prevent ISIS from regaining momentum based on its current trajectory in Iraq.”

There are still about 5,000 U.S. troops in Iraq.

The commander of U.S. troops in the Middle East Gen. Joseph Votel warned March 7 against the "calculated" retreat of ISIS fighters from Baghouz, saying the exodus of thousands is not a surrender, but a decision to retreat to camps and remote areas in the region until they can reconstitute as a violent extremist organization once again.

"We will see low-level attacks, we'll see assassinations, we'll see IED attacks, we'll see ambush type things as they begin to emerge from this. What our focus has to be is working with our partners," Votel told the House Armed Services Committee, adding, "We're going to have to keep pressure on this.”

Votel told CNN last month that he opposed the U.S. withdrawal from Syria and testified before Congress that he was not consulted by Trump before the president announced the decision in late December.

Another principal concern of Votel and the larger U.S. government is how the international community will deal with the thousands of ISIS foreign fighters now in SDF custody.

"In my view, this is a serious generational problem that if not handled properly will sow the seeds of future violent extremism,” Votel said.

The U.S. is pushing for them to be returned to their home countries, but that effort has, so far, been met with mixed success. Administration officials have said options for foreign fighters who cannot be repatriated include the U.S. detention facility at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

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iStock/Mauro_Repossini(MONTREAL) -- A Catholic priest was stabbed while celebrating Mass in Montreal Friday morning as stunned parishioners looked on, according to officials and video footage.

The horrifying incident, which authorities said was not terror-related, unfolded just before 9 a.m. at the historic St. Joseph's Oratory, leaving Father Claude Grou, 77, with lacerations to his upper body, according to Montreal police spokeswoman Caroline Chevrefils. He was rushed to a local hospital where he was listed in stable condition, according to the Montreal Diocese.

"There was a man, a young man, who stood up and, quickly, went to the front, into the sanctuary, behind the altar where Abbé Claude Grou was standing," witness Philip Barrett told The Montreal Gazette. "No one was sure what exactly was happening and I saw the priest move a bit, farther away from this person."

The alleged assailant, a 26-year-old, can be seen on video footage running up onto the altar, knocking over a candle and then attacking the priest with a sharp object.

He was then detained by church security until police arrived, Chevrefils said.

The television channel broadcasting the service live told ABC News it cut the feed soon after the stabbing took place. In a statement, the channel, Salt Light, apologized for "the interruption of the live mass ... due to a serious incident."

The priest was released from the hospital late Friday, CTV reported.

The suspect was taken to a detention center where he will be met by investigators this afternoon, police said. He is expected to appear in court, via video, on Saturday afternoon.

The motive for the attack was not immediately clear.

Montreal Mayor Valérie Plante called the attack a "horrible and inexcusable gesture that has no place in Montreal."

"What a horrible attack at Saint Joseph’s Oratory in Montreal this morning," Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau tweeted. "Father Claude Grou, Canadians are thinking of you and wishing you a swift recovery.

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iStock/Diy13(WASHINGTON) -- The territorial ISIS caliphate in Syria has now been 100 percent eliminated, White House press secretary Sarah Sanders announced on Friday.

President Donald Trump has, on numerous occasions before now, announced ISIS' defeat, but this time it would appeared the claim had the full backing of the White House and Pentagon.

Sanders, speaking to the traveling press pool of reporters on Air Force One as the president headed to Florida, Sanders directed reporters to the Department of Defense for further questions but shared a photo of what appeared to be the same map President Trump declassified and showed reporters on Wednesday.

She said acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan was on the plane and had briefed the president on the news.

When asked for comment, a Pentagon spokesman told ABC News "We do not have an operational statement at this time."

After Trump got off the plane in Florida, according to a pool report, he walked over to to waiting reporters and cameras with the same map he had used Wednesday,except without the small dot of red indicating ISIS-held territory that had been there before.

“This is what we have right now, as of last night,” Trump said. “I think it’s about time," he said according to the pool report.

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