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Remains of 25 more Korean War service members identified from boxes turned over by North Korea

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sangaku/iStock(WASHINGTON) — U.S. military researchers have identified 25 more missing Korean War service members whose remains were included in 55 boxes turned over by North Korea last summer in the wake of President Donald Trump’s first meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

Until now, seven sets of remains had been identified by researchers working out of the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency’s (DPAA) laboratory in Hawaii.

The names of the 25 service members will be made public in the coming weeks as their families are notified.

Vice President Mike Pence disclosed the news Thursday, a year to the day after he greeted the arrival of the 55 boxes in Honolulu.

“I’m grateful for the hard work by the @DeptofDefense to identify 25 more heroes from the 55 boxes of remains,” Pence posted on Twitter.

In a separate tweet, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo described the development as “a promise kept from the agreement between Chairman Kim and President @realDonaldTrump at the June 2018 Singapore Summit to return all our #fallenheroes.”

It was believed that the 55 boxes may have contained the remains of as many as 80 American service members missing since the Korean War.

There are more than 7,200 American service members still missing from that war, with the majority of them last seen on battlefields in North Korea.

DPAA officials had held out hope that the transfer of the remains would lead to talks to resume joint recovery operations at some of those battlefield sites. But in May, the agency announced a suspension of attempts to negotiate those field visits for the remainder of the fiscal year that ends on September 30.

The suspension reflected the lack of communication between the two countries that resulted from the unsuccessful second Trump-Kim meeting this past February in Hanoi, Vietnam.

This week the DPAA held its annual briefing in Arlington, Virginia, for 500 family members of missing Korean War service members to brief them on the latest information about their efforts to locate their loved ones.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Couple requests backpacks filled with school supplies, uniforms as wedding gifts

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Cameron Family(TAMPA, Fla.) —  When Matt Cameron and Kelli Davis got engaged in June 2018 and started planning their nuptials, she came up with an idea: In lieu of traditional wedding gifts, how about they do something for students in need?

Cameron was completely on board with Davis, a first-grade teacher at Roland Park K-8 Magnet School in Tampa, Florida, who took her husband’s last name when they married.

The couple set up an Amazon registry seeking school-supply donations and even customized their wedding invitations, requesting that guests bring a backpack filled with items like notebooks, pencils and uniforms. Each invitation was tailored to an individual student’s needs, including size, grade and gender.

“It wasn’t much different than going online and making a registry just for, you know, instead of crockpots, it was Sharpies and T-shirts and khaki shorts,” Cameron said in a video posted on Facebook by Hillsborough County Public Schools in Florida.

“I call my class ‘my family,’ and I’m sure a lot of other teachers do too” she told ABC News affiliate WFTS-TV in Tampa Bay. “It was kind of a no-brainer. Being a teacher, I know that a lot of kids come with nothing to school.”

She decided to donate the supplies to Booker T. Washington Elementary and the school gave the couple a list of ideas of what it needed.

On June 8, the couple were married in Florida.

At the end of the wedding, Kelli Cameron said, two or three large carts of backpacks and supplies bought from the couple’s registry had to be pushed out of the wedding venue.

“The back of my husband’s truck was completely filled with backpacks,” she said. “How wonderful it was that we were able to do that. Take something that was about us and kind of help others.”

The Hillsborough school district said the couple donated 70 backpacks filled with school supplies as well as uniforms to Booker T Washington Elementary.

“Congratulations Kelli, and thank you for your dedication and kindness. #weclimbtogether,” Hillsborough County Public Schools said in a Facebook post on July 25.

Cameron said that he wasn’t surprised that his new wife had come up with the idea and said he was proud of her.

“When we first had this idea, we could’ve never imagined it would’ve taken on a life of its own,” he told ABC News Friday.

Kelli Cameron got emotional in talking about how important it was for students to have the things they need when they start the school year.

“Being a teacher, I put my heart and soul into the kids and you try and give and give to them,” she said through tears. “The kids that get the backpacks will be excited for that first day of school and excited that they have a new backpack and new supplies and ready to start the school year.”

The backpacks will be distributed when school begins in a couple of weeks.

“We had such a positive response from our wedding guests and the community. School supplies have been donated to our doorstep. Businesses have reached out to donate backpacks to local schools so we’re really happy that all of this is happening,” she told ABC News Friday.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Law enforcement suicides up 24 percent in 2019, advocacy group says

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Courtesy Karen Solomon(NEW YORK) —  When an off-duty New York City police officer shot and killed himself in his home on Staten Island as reported by WABC last week, it was the department’s fifth suicide since June and the seventh this year — part of what law enforcement advocates are calling an increasingly disturbing problem nationwide.

According to statistics just released by Blue H.E.L.P. a nonprofit organization that tracks law enforcement suicides, 114 officers nationwide have taken their lives so far in 2019, as of Aug. 1.

Organization officials said that, so far, reported suicides are up 24% this year over last. Over the same period in 2018, law enforcement suicides totaled 92.

The latest suicide in New York was part of a “disturbing” trend for law enforcement, Karen Solomon, the founder of Blue H.E.L.P, told ABC News.

The organization goes through a painstaking process of calling families to verify the death was by suicide, and is currently the only database in the country that collects law enforcement suicide data.

“I think that the courage all of these families are showing coming forward is going to have a tremendous impact on stigma reduction and awareness,” Solomon said. “When it’s hidden, we don’t know the scope of the problem and it’s not being taken seriously.”

Police departments around the country see law enforcement suicides as an ever-present challenge, including breaking through the stigma surrounding the problem.

“You smash the stigma, you save lives,” said Jon Adler, a former police officer and the director of the Bureau of Justice Assistance at the Department of Justice at an event in April.

The suicide numbers came in the same week that the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund released its mid-year line of duty death statistics showing that 60 officers nationwide have died in the line of duty so far in 2019.

“The numbers show twice as many police officers have taken their lives as [have been killed] in the line of duty, which makes this the number one issue for police departments around the country,” Chuck Wexler, executive director of the Police Executive Research Forum told ABC News.

After the latest suicide in New York, NYPD Commissioner James O’Neil reminded officers that there is help available, in a message that resonated around the country.

“To every member of the NYPD, please know this: it is okay to feel vulnerable. It is okay if you are facing struggles,” O’Neill said. “And it is okay to seek help from others. You may not know this, and it may be hard to imagine, but you are not out there all by yourself. More people than you know, who wear the same uniform as you do, share the same doubts and fears and struggles that you do.”

“Seeking help is strength,” he added. “Talking about your problems is strength. Acknowledging you need a place to turn is strength. There is no shame here — only a promise to provide you with the help and support you need and deserve.”

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

New York City gallery owner says he was attacked for wearing 'Make America Great Again' hat

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WABC-TV(NEW YORK) — A New York City gallery owner said he was left bloodied and bruised after a group of teenagers allegedly attacked him for wearing a “Make America Great Again” hat.

Jahangir Turan, 35, said Thursday that he was beaten up by 15-18 people two days earlier on Canal Street in SoHo around 6:50 p.m.

He was trying to walk through the crowd when the punches began, he said.

“One girl flipped my hat and then within 5, 8 seconds, I got pushed from the back and my face hit the scaffolding pole and I got startled,” Turan told reporters at a press conference.

He said he had just purchased the MAGA hat, which has become synonymous with Donald Trump’s presidency, earlier that day.

Turan, who suffered from broken bones under his eyeball, wasn’t planning on wearing it because “I think it’s dangerous to wear a hat like this in New York City.”

A spokesman for the New York City Police Department said Turan told officers that he was punched by numerous people and his head was pushed into a pole.

The spokesman said the investigation into the alleged assault is ongoing and no arrests had been made.

“I’m a little upset because the police have not made any arrests and it’s kind of ridiculous to get beat up like this for wearing a hat,” Turan said.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Luke Combs gets "Angry" with new song "Let's Just Be Friends"

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ABC/Randy HolmesLuke Combs is adding a country music presence to the new movie, Angry Birds 2, thanks to a song on the soundtrack titled “Let’s Just Be Friends.” 

The catchy tune features a laid-back melody that blends country, rock and pop; the lyrics reflect people with differing viewpoints coming together.

The first verse tells of two people who live in opposite worlds — one is rock while the other is roll, one has heart while the other has soul — but the chorus encourages putting differences aside and unifying in friendship. 

If we don’t even know what we were fussin’ about/Don’t you think it’s time we work it out/Let’s just be friends,” Luke sings.

The “Beer Never Broke My Heart” singer isn’t the only country connection to the film, which is based on the mobile game series. Keith Urban and Nicole Kidman‘s daughters, Sunday and Faith, provide the voices fortwo young hatchlings in the movie, which hits theaters on August 14.  

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

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