iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Young Syrians don’t necessarily join extremist groups like ISIS because they believe in their radical ideas, a study finds.
Many Syrian boys and young men may be pushed into extremism because they need to make a living, are missing a sense of purpose and because they want to avenge the death of loved ones, according to a new study by International Alert, an NGO that advises governments, organizations and companies on how to support peace.
"ISIS promises that you are going to be part of this new project of building a state and that you will be part of a family," Rebecca Crozier, head of International Alert’s Middle East and North Africa program, told ABC News. She said their ideology promises, "There’s no corruption here and everybody has a voice."
"That is very attractive to someone living in a society where they don’t have a voice and where they feel like they have no prospect and future," she added.
Boys and young men between the ages of 12 and 24 are most at risk of joining extremist groups, along with displaced persons and refugees without supportive family, according to the study which surveyed 311 young Syrians, their families and community members in Syria, Lebanon and Turkey.
Crozier said that some Syrian refugees in Lebanon and Turkey choose to return to Syria to fight with extremists because they face stigmas and unemployment in their new homes.
"I feel like a loser who has given up on his dreams,” one young Syrian man in Lebanon told International Alert, the report states. "I’m dead here as much as I’m dead there. I’d prefer to die in Syria."
The report also shows that the collapse of the education system in Syria, with some two million children out of school, has made young people much more likely to join violent, extremist groups.
iStock/Thinkstock(FORT MCMURRAY, Alberta) -- Hundreds are offering lodging and assistance to people stranded in Alberta, Canada, after more than 80,000 people were asked to evacuate from their homes and workplaces in 12 northern communities Tuesday because of wildfires.
Beaconhill is the hardest hit neighborhood of Fort McMurray so far, with 80 percent of homes destroyed, the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo confirmed on its website, adding that areas of Waterways and Abasand have also sustained “serious loss.”
"There's been very significant destruction: about 1,600 structures in Fort McMurray," Alberta Premier Rachel Notley said at a news conference today, adding, "Our hearts are with the families who have had to leave their homes.
"We expect the fire conditions to be worse today than yesterday," Fort McMurray Fire Chief Darby Allen said, speaking after the premier at the same news conference. "We expect it to pick up at 1:00 and challenge firefighters until the evening."
Municipal authorities are constantly updating their Facebook and Twitter pages, advising people to avoid any non-essential uses of water and asking hotels with space to donate beds to first responders. They’ve also advised people stranded on Highway 63, which is being used by those who were asked to evacuate, to stay put as police patrol with emergency gas cans.
Facebook activated its safety check feature and the Canadian Red Cross has set up a toll-free number for evacuees, to help reconnect family members and enable response agencies to mobilize resources.
“Our teams are currently mobilizing to support affected people, families and communities in any way that help is needed," Jean-Philippe Tizi, vice president of Emergency Management for the Canadian Red Cross, told ABC News in a written statement.
The fires were exacerbated by high temperatures - nearly 90 degrees - and low relative humidity, Bernie Schmitte, wildfire manager at Alberta Agriculture and Forestry, said Tuesday night during a news conference.
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau offered his personal condolences, pledging the "total support" of the federal government in containing and combating the remaining wildfires.
Speaking from Germany, Defense Minister Harjit Sajjan told reporters that the Canadian Armed Forces will be made available and provide whatever is needed.
Hundreds had already been evacuated last May because of wildfires in Alberta.
iStock/Thinkstock(LONDON) -- After a whirlwind weekend where Duchess Kate, a mom of two, turned into a cover girl for British Vogue, it is back to work Wednesday for the future queen of England.
The Duchess of Cambridge, 34, has a busy day ahead focusing on some of her patronages. Her first stop was Hampton Court Palace, where she opened Magic Garden, a new children's playground area.
The garden includes grottos, towers and a 25-foot sculpted dragon. Kate reportedly told the school children at the playground that her son, 2-year-old Prince George, would love the dragon but be a bit scared by it, too.
Kate also told school children that, in addition to their beloved cocker spaniel, Lupo, the royals also have a pet hamster named Marvin at home, according to ABC News' royal contributor Victoria Murphy.
The duchess wore to Hampton Court Palace a Michael Kors blue coat that she previously wore in Australia in 2014 while on a royal tour there with Prince William and Prince George. Kate also wore nude heels and accented her outfit with a small nude clutch.
Later today, Kate will visit the Anna Freud Centre for her first engagement as its new patron. The duchess is lending her support at a lunch on her favorite cause, childhood mental health, and will meet with families who have benefited from the center's work.
Kate, the mother of Prince George and Princess Charlotte, has been a passionate advocate of children's mental health, trying to end the stigma and silence surrounding mental health problems. In February, to mark Children's Mental Health Week in the U.K., Kate released a public service announcement video encouraging parents and children to seek help.
Last week, Kate teamed up with Prince William and Prince Harry to launch a new joint initiative, The Heads Together Campaign, to help tackle the stigma surrounding mental illness.
Today, Kate will end her day with a visit to the National Portrait Gallery where she will view two of the photos in the "Vogue 100: A Century of Style" exhibition. Kate, an art enthusiast and avid photographer, is Charitable Patron of the National Portrait Gallery and does what she can to raise the profile of the museum, located in London's Trafalgar Square.
Kate was photographed by British photographer Josh Olins for the cover of British Vogue to celebrate the magazine's 100th anniversary, in a collaboration with the National Portrait Gallery.
For the magazine, available on newsstands June 5, the duchess was photographed in the Norfolk countryside. British Vogue editor-in-chief Alexander Shulman said the photos captured Kate's great sense of humor.
Even the family's dog, Lupo, made a guest appearance in the photos. Kate is said to have wanted the look to be "informal" and to depict her "countryside" roots.
"She didn’t want to be dressed as a fashion plate and was not keen to be shot in gala gowns and tiaras," reads a description in the magazine's June issue.
In five new photos, Kate can be seen in a plaid shirt by Cabbages and Roses and in a retro jean overalls ensemble by AG Jeans and a red turtleneck. Perhaps most stunning is Duchess Kate casually chic dressed in a lovely, long leather coat as she sits atop a bicycle.
Kate and William split their time between Anmer Hall in Norfolk and Kensington Palace in London. Like any mother multitasking and juggling two kids and work, Kate amusingly drove herself to the shoot in her Range Rover with her hair in curlers, the magazine revealed.
British Vogue's Shulman wrote of Kate in the June issue, "We drank coffee and everyone prepped until the duchess arrived, in jeans and a parka, her hair in big rollers, with a bright, inclusive smile."
"She walked through the small cottage door with her hairdresser, Amanda Tucker, who was dragging a wheelie case of products," Shulman wrote. "The duchess joked about how she must have appeared to anyone who saw her driving the car in her rollers, before introducing herself to everyone she hadn’t yet met."
British Vogue editors said Kate came ready to work with an utter "lack of vanity." The shoot, which took place in the frigid, biting cold, had Kate allowing the stylists latitude to do as they wished, all without complaint.
iStock/Thinkstock(FORT MCMURRAY, Alberta) — Tens of thousands of people in the Canadian oil sands city of Fort McMurray, Alberta, were ordered to evacuate as wildfires engulfed homes and sent plumes of smoke into the air -- making it the largest evacuation in the city's history.
There were no deaths or serious injuries reported but more than 80,000 residents were ordered to flee Tuesday after an earlier order that had applied to almost 30,000 people -- mostly on the city's south side -- was extended to thousands more as flames continued to make their way into the city, according to CTV.
Officials said residents had little notice to flee as the wildfires were made worst by harsh winds on a day of already high temperatures in a short amount of time.
Fire Chief Darby Allen, with the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo, said homes were still on fire as he spoke with reporters during a press conference Tuesday evening.
"We've had a devastating day," said Allen.
Temperatures hit a record high Tuesday in Fort McMurray at 90.6 degrees, exceeding that day's record of 82 degrees set back in 1945, according to the Canadian Weather Service.
Canada's Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, also offered government support in the rescue efforts.
CBC warned that a cold front would push high winds into the area on Wednesday, potentially fueling the spread of the 6,400 acre fire.
Fort McMurray is the capital of Alberta's oil sands region and had a population of 61,000, according to the 2011 census. The Alberta oil sands are the third largest reserves of oil in the world behind Saudi Arabia and Venezuela.
iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Mercury is set to transit the sun, a celestial event so rare it happens just 13 times in a century.
The planet closest to the sun will begin its crossing at 7:12 a.m. ET Monday. Mercury will slowly journey across the face of the sun, appearing as a small black dot to people on Earth viewing the transit through a telescope or high-powered binoculars with solar filters, which NASA recommends on its website.
The entire journey will take Mercury 7.5 hours, with the planet exiting the sun's glow at 2:42 p.m. ET, according to NASA.
The space agency expects the event will be visible to skygazers in the eastern United States, while those in the West can enjoy checking in on Mercury's progress after sunrise.
Mercury's last trek across the sun was in 2006, according to NASA.
Digital Vision/Thinkstoc(WASHINGTON) — A U.S. Navy SEAL was killed in Northern Iraq Tuesday by direct fire from ISIS forces that penetrated several miles across Kurdish lines. A statement from Arizona Governor Doug Ducey identified the slain service member as Charlie Keating.
“Our state and nation are in mourning today over the loss of a U.S. serviceman –- and one of America’s finest. Navy SEAL Charlie Keating, a graduate of Arcadia High School in Phoenix, was killed this morning in an ISIS attack" in Iraq, said Ducey's statement, which ordered all state flags in Arizona to be lowered to half staff on Wednesday and the day of his interment.
“Our thoughts, prayers and eternal gratitude are with Charlie Keating, his family, his fellow SEALs, and all of the brave Americans who’ve answered the call to serve."
ABC News Phoenix affiliate KNXV-TV reports that Keating graduated from Arcadia High School in 2004 and is the grandson of the late Arizona businessman Charles Keating and a cousin of Olympic swimmer Gary Hall Jr.
Keating was a champion long-distance runner at Arcadia High School and then attended the U.S. Naval Academy at Annapolis, Maryland before becoming a Navy SEAL based out of Coronado, California, according to KNXV-TV.
The announcement of the third U.S. death in combat against ISIS was made by Defense Secretary Ash Carter, who was in Stuttgart, Germany, to attend the change-of-command ceremony at U.S. European Command.
"I'm getting reports a U.S. service member has been killed in Iraq," Carter said. "Our thoughts and prayers are with that service member's family."
Carter highlighted the combat risks the roughly 5,000 U.S. troops in Iraq still face even though they are officially in a training, advise and assist mission. "It shows you it's a serious fight that we have to wage in Iraq," he said.
A U.S. defense official confirmed to ABC News that around 9:30 a.m. local time ISIS forces penetrated the Kurdish Peshmerga front lines near Irbil.
"This morning a U.S. servicemember advising and assisting Peshmerga forces was killed by enemy fire north of Mosul," Pentagon spokesman Peter Cook said in a statement.
"The casualty occurred during an ISIL attack on a Peshmerga position approximately three to five kilometers behind the forward line of troops.”
A defense official told ABC News that ISIS used truck bombs to break through Peshmerga lines located about 17 miles north of the ISIS-held city of Mosul. The serviceman was killed by ISIS "direct fire" after ISIS forces pushed to his position. There were no other U.S. casualties in the incident.
In line with his advise-and-assist duties with Kurdish forces, the service member was located away from the front lines.
The official said the ISIS attack was repelled by 23 airstrikes carried out by F-15, F-16, A-10 jets and drones that had been called in to support the coalition and Kurdish forces.
It is unclear how many Peshmerga casualties resulted from the incident.
This is the third U.S. combat-hostile fire death in Iraq since U.S. forces returned in June 2014. There have been 13 non-hostile deaths in Iraq and in the region associated with the anti-ISIS mission.
In late March, Marine Staff Sgt. Louis F. Cardin, 27, was killed by ISIS rocket fire on his artillery support base near Makhmour in northern Iraq.
Last October, Army Master Sgt. Josh Wheeler, 39, was killed in a raid in northern Iraq that rescued 70 Iraqi hostages taken by ISIS. Wheeler, a member of the elite Delta Force, was advising and assisting Kurdish forces that launched the raid and was caught in the crossfire that ensued after his team helped repel heavy ISIS fire.
iStock/Thinkstock(PIRACICABA, Brazil) — In Brazil, already known for its sensual samba and sexy annual Carnival celebration, might soon be home to a sex-themed theme park.
According to the local publication Veja, the backers of ErotikaLand are looking to open its doors in 2018, near the city of Piracicaba, about two hours’ drive from São Paulo. Their plans reportedly include an erotic sculpture park, aphrodisiacs at concession stands, a nude pool, and even bumper cars designed like genitalia. However, sex on the premises will reportedly be off-limits.
"This won't be a place for nuns, but it's not like we’re trying to recreate Sodom and Gomorrah," said the businessman in charge of the project, Mauro Morata, according to the New York Times. "If attendees want to take things to another level, they can go to a nearby motel -- which we will operate."
The plans have run afoul of Matheus Erler, a member of the Christian Socialist Party and the head of the Piracicaba City Council. "We cannot be known as the capital of sex," Erler explained to Veja.
iStock/Thinkstock(FORT MCMURRAY, Canada) -- Almost an entire Canadian city has been evacuated because of a massive wildfire.
Tens of thousands of Fort McMurray, Alberta residents have fleed the area as the blaze, fueled by heavy winds and hot weather, destroyed a number of homes. The city is home to more than 60,000 people.
"This is the biggest evacuation we have seen in the history of the province in terms of fire," said Alberta Premier Rachel Notley according to BBC.
Citizens escaping the area in panic caused gridlock on the main road to exit the city, according to BBC.
"I was going up the hill, and the traffic was three cars wide, and by the time I got up the hill, I couldn't see anything," Dwight Howlett said according to CBC. "There was just smoke everywhere. I was just following headlights.
YOSHIKAZU TSUNO/AFP/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- James Bradley, the author of Flags of Our Fathers, is convinced that his father John Bradley did raise an American flag on Iwo Jima's Mount Suribachi, but not the one captured in the iconic photo that popularized a later flag-raising.
Earlier this week, the Marine Corps announced it was reviewing research provided by amateur historians that raised the possibility that in 1945 the Marines misidentified Navy Corpsman John Bradley as one of the flag-raisers in that photo.
"I’ve come to the conclusion that my father did raise a flag on Iwo Jima," Bradley told ABC News. Bradley now believes that in 1945 the descriptions his father provided to Navy investigators were about the first flag-raising.
"So it makes sense," said Bradley. "The bottom line is, this is a story of two flags and there’s four misidentified characters in the two photos."
He added: "I’m convinced he is in the first flag-raising photo. I’m convinced he’s not in the second photo."
The Marine Corps said in a statement Tuesday that its review of the iconic photo was prompted by information and research provided by the Smithsonian Channel.
"[Joe] Rosenthal's photo captured a single moment in the 36-day battle during which more than 6,500 U.S. servicemen made the ultimate sacrifice, and it is representative of the more than 70,000 U.S. Marines, Sailors, Soldiers and Coast Guardsmen that contributed to the battle. We continue to be humbled by the service and sacrifice of all who fought on Iwo Jima," the statement read.
James Bradley said potential discrepancies were first identified in 2002 when the Marine Corps released previously unreleased photos of the first flag-raising on Iwo Jima.
"Those photos revealed that my father raised the first flag on Iwo Jima," said Bradley. "They also revealed what he looked like at that time in terms of the details of his uniform" -- details that two amateur historians picked up on in 2014, when they raised questions that the Marines had misidentified John Bradley as a participant in the second flag-raising on Mount Suribachi.
The second flag-raising captured by The Associated Press photographer Joe Rosenthal took place as Marines on the mountain replaced the small flag that had been raised hours earlier.
The photograph quickly became popular and launched a war bond drive, and, years later, inspired the Marine Corp War Memorial in Arlington, Virginia, that overlooks Washington.
After the new photos were released in 2002, James Bradley supported claims made by researchers that three of the Marines in the first flag-raising had been misidentified. According to Bradley, when the Marines were contacted about a potential discrepancy "they refused to do anything about it."
But he did not make a connection that the first and second flag-raisings were connected.
Bradley said he only recently concluded his father was not involved in the second flag-raising after seeing the work of the two amateur historians.
"I focused on it and realized that it’s true, my father raised the first flag, not the second flag on Iwo Jima," said Bradley.
According to James Bradley, his father not only raised the first flag on Mount Suribachi, but he was also present for the second flag-raising. He was later injured and received the Navy Cross for his heroism. "He did his duty," said his son. "The point is that the book is called Flags of Our Fathers plural. I didn’t write a book Flags of My Father, I wrote it about all the heroes of Iwo Jima."
Until he died in 1994, John Bradley never spoke about his experiences on Iwo Jima. James Bradley said his father would always change the subject when he would ask him about what he went through.
"My father never independently said he was in that photo," said Bradley. "He was lying in a hospital bed with post traumatic stress after one of the worst battles in the history of the United States and the Marines approached him and said here you are in a photo, we’ve determined you’re in a photo. Then he finds himself in the Oval Office and the president is telling him he’s in a photo."
Bradley believes he knows why his father never spoke about Iwo Jima.
"He was involved in a massacre," said Bradley. "He was a corpsman. His friends died. He cried in his sleep for four years after he married my mom, actively cried and shook in his sleep. This was horror. This isn’t about photos.
"When I wrote the book Flags of Our Fathers, I was dealing with the official history that was already well established," he added.
Bradley believes the Marine Corps needs to change the identities of the four individuals in the two photos. "This is not about my dad, it’s about the Marines getting it right," said Bradley. "Two photos, four guys, need to be changed."
iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- Defense Secretary Ash Carter announced Tuesday morning that a U.S. service member had died in northern Iraq after ISIS penetrated the front lines of Kurdish Peshmerga forces.
U.S. troops were providing support for the Peshmerga as they encountered an ISIS assault 17 miles north of the city of Mosul, which ISIS controls.
The Navy SEAL, who was part of U.S. forces there to assist and was reportedly several miles away from the front line, was killed by “direct fire” after ISIS forces pushed toward his position.
A Defense official told ABC News that U.S. fighter jets were called in to support coalition and Kurdish forces, carrying out 23 different air strikes with F-15s and drones.
This is the third U.S. combat-hostile fire death in Iraq since the U.S. returned to the country in June 2014.
What's the role of U.S. troops in Iraq?
The Obama administration has said that U.S. troops are not in a combat role in Iraq -- a position that has been scrutinized following U.S. troop deaths.
“These American forces will not have a combat mission -- we will not get dragged into another ground war in Iraq,” President Obama said in September 2014 when he laid out his strategy to combat ISIS.
However, Obama acknowledged that the U.S. troops are “in harm’s way,” saying that same month, “I don't want to downplay the fact that they're in a war environment and there are hostile forces on the other side."
The administration has acknowledged, over time, that American forces are at risk.
Last October, when pressed by reporters, Carter admitted, “There are American troops in combat every day.”
Officially, the American mission in Iraq is to equip, train, advise and assist Iraq’s security forces so they can reclaim ISIS strongholds.
But the U.S. role has grown to include the use of operations forces who can conduct hostage rescue missions and raids to capture or kill top ISIS operatives.
How has the U.S. force grown over time?
Since the U.S. military re-entered Iraq in mid-2014, the number of deployed troops authorized by Obama has risen to 4,087.
Currently, the official count of U.S. troops inside Iraq is 3,067. But defense officials say there are an additional 1,000 personnel who are not part of that number, since the Pentagon does not count troops who serve in Iraq on temporary duty for less than 120 days.
Here’s the timeline of how the U.S. mission grew to what it is today:
June 15, 2014: Obama ordered 100 U.S. Marines in the region to Baghdad to protect the U.S. Embassy.
June 16, 2014: Obama authorized 275 troops to protect the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad and another 300 special operations forces to train and assist Iraqi forces.
June 30, 2014: The president authorized another 200 troops to secure the American Embassy in Iraq, as well as Baghdad International Airport, bringing total new deployments at that time to 775.
Sept. 10, 2014: In a major address to the nation, Obama authorized an additional 475 troops to Iraq, bringing the total number of troops then deployed to 1,600.
Nov. 7, 2014: Obama authorized up to 1,500 more U.S. troops and requested an additional $5.6 billion for the war against ISIS, in part to cover those additional deployments.
June 10, 2015: Obama authorized up to an additional 450 troops, which increased the total to 3,550.
Dec. 1, 2015: Carter told Congress the U.S. will deploy a special operations “targeting force” of 320 to kill ISIS militants, find and free hostages and gather intelligence.
Early 2016: The Pentagon began to acknowledge previously unannounced, temporary troop rotations. U.S. officials estimated the size of the rotating force to be about 1,000 U.S. service members.
April 18, 2016: Carter announced the U.S. will send 217 additional troops to Iraq to serve as advisers and trainers.
Who are the other two American servicemen who have died in Iraq?
In late-March, Marine Staff Sgt. Louis F. Cardin, 27, was killed by ISIS rocket fire on his artillery support base near Makhmour, in northern Iraq.
Last October, Army Master Sgt. Josh Wheeler, 39, was killed in a raid in northern Iraq, which rescued 70 Iraqi hostages taken by ISIS.
Wheeler, a member of the elite Delta Force, was advising and assisting Kurdish forces that launched the raid and was caught in a crossfire that ensued after his team helped repel heavy ISIS fire.
John Moore/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Deliberate attacks on hospitals amount to “war crimes,” UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon said Tuesday just hours after a hospital was targeted in the Syrian city of Aleppo.
“Let us be clear: Intentional and direct attacks on hospitals are war crimes. Denying people access to essential health care is a serious violation of international humanitarian law,” Ban said in a speech to the UN Security Council in New York. “When so-called surgical strikes end up hitting surgical wards, something is deeply wrong.”
The Security Council unanimously adopted a new resolution demanding that all parties in conflicts protect medical staff and facilities.
The resolution follows last Wednesday's bombing of an important hospital in Aleppo that killed more than 50 people including children and the only pediatrician in the area. A maternity hospital was also struck by rocket fire Tuesday, killing at least four people in the city. More than 250 civilians have been killed over the past 12 days.
“Even wars have limits, because wars without limits are wars without ends,” Peter Maurer, president of the International Committee of the Red Cross, told the Security Council Tuesday. “Health care personnel and facilities are the outer frontier of these limits.”
More than 730 medical workers have been killed since Syria's civil war began five years ago and there have been more than 360 attacks on some 250 medical facilities in the country, according to Physicians for Human Rights, a nonprofit that uses forensic science, clinical medicine, and public health research to document human rights abuses.
Alex Wong/Getty Images(STUTTGART, Germany) -- U.S. Defense Secretary Ash Carter blasted Russia on Tuesday for its aggressive tactics and "saber-rattling."
At a ceremony in Stuttgart, Germany to install a new commander of U.S. forces in Europe, Carter crticized Moscow for aggression in Europe, saying they were "going backward in time."
He said the U.S. did not want to make Russia an enemy: "But make no mistake: We will defend our allies, the rules-based international order, and the positive future it affords us."
He promised to continue a military build-up on NATO's eastern flank as a deterrent against war.
"The 20th century NATO playbook that helped create a Europe whole, free, and at peace was effective in its time," he said. "But it's not a perfect batch for the 21st century challenges we face and that's why under [Air Force] Gen. [Philip] Breedlove's leadership, NATO forces have been writing a new playbook. They've been innovating to counter new challenges like cyber and hybrid warfare, integrating conventional and nuclear deterrents, and adjusting our posture and presence so that we can be more agile in responding to new threats."
At the ceremony to replace Gen. Breedlove with Army Gen. Curtis M. Scaparrotti as head of U.S. European Command and the top NATO commander in Europe, Carter also said he was particularly troubled by what he called Russia's "nuclear saber-rattling."
"Moscow's nuclear saber-rattling raises troubling questions about Russia's leaders' commitment to strategic stability, their respect for norms against the use of nuclear weapons, and whether they respect the profound caution that nuclear-age leaders showed with regard to brandishing nuclear weapons," he said.
Courtesy Jess Katz(NEW YORK) -- More than 77 years after two brothers saw each other for the last time during the Holocaust, their families on opposite sides of the world have joyfully reconnected.
Jess Katz told ABC News that her grandfather Abram Belz helped his brother Chaim escape into the Soviet Union from Poland's Piotrków Trybunalski ghetto in 1939 -- and never saw him again.
As the eldest child, Abram stayed behind to take care of their mother. Eventually, Abram was relocated to a refugee camp in Italy and then immigrated to the United States in 1950.
After the war, Katz said her grandfather spent the rest of his life trying to find his brother, writing countless letters to no avail.
"I don't even know if there are words to describe it, this was all he wanted, he just wanted to know that his brother survived," Katz told ABC News.
This year, Katz did some digging online using social media and the website JewishGen.org to try to find her relatives. "In a few hours we found more than we ever knew in 70 years of searching," Katz told ABC News.
Unfortunately, neither brother would ever know what happened to the other one. Katz's grandfather did not live to find out that his beloved brother had not only survived the war, but had built a family in Sakhalin Island, Russia. Nor did his younger brother find out that Abram had built a family of his own in New Jersey.
On April 20, 2016 the two families of the brothers Skyped for the first time. Katz said everybody was in tears.
"He was my hero," Katz said of her Grandfather, who passed away in 2011 at the age of 95. "He was very kind, very warm. He was full of love."
"He had nightmares every night about the Holocaust, even when he was in his nineties he would have them. But he would still wake up and find a way to be the best Grandfather and the best Father. He had a lot of struggles and a lot of pain, but he still found some kind of way to live a life full of love and kindness."
Katz initially tracked her Grandfather's brother using JewishGen.org a free, online, non-profit resource affiliated with the Jewish Heritage Museum in New York City. Chaim died in 1970, but Katz was able to find his son, Evgeny Belzhitsky.
Avraham Groll, the Senior Director of Business Operations for JewishGen.org told ABC News that the website has more than 700,000 registered users throughout the world and more than 22 million Jewish records archived to help reunite Jewish families who were separated during the Holocaust.
"We have something called the family finder, a resource that allows someone to say that they are looking for a particular name and then find someone who can connect with that." Groll went on to say that they have a myriad of other resources to help people reconnect with their family, including information on how to read a Hebrew tombstone or how to interpret passenger list annotations.
Katz says her family talks to their new found Russian relatives everyday.
"It's happy, but it is also mixed with sadness," Katz said, citing how much her grandfather searched for his brother and how much he wanted to see him. "I think he is still kind of around, I think he and Chaim kind of orchestrated this."
iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Lack of water is not only a health issue for many regions of the world, it can have a huge economic impact, even lowering GDP by as much as 6 percent, according to a report issued Tuesday by the World Bank.
Factors like growing populations and climate change could reduce water availability in cities by as much as two-thirds by 2050, compared to 2015 levels, according to the report. Even rising incomes will cause further strain by creating a surge in water demand.
The effects will be far-reaching, even in regions in Central Africa and East Asia where it's now abundant, unless governments respond. Countries like China and India could be among the nations that have a 6 percent drop in GDP by 2050 without efficient water policies, the report states. The impact is greatest in places where water's already in short supply, such as the Middle East and the Sahel region in Africa, which includes countries already suffering from the effects of drought or war, such as Mali and Sudan.
The report, "High and Dry: Climate Change, Water and the Economy," explains that economic growth can be hampered by water-related losses in agriculture, health, income and property. In the next three decades, the global food system will require between 40 to 50 percent more water while municipal and industrial water demand will increase by 50 to 70 percent, according to a 2009 Water Resources Group report by the World Bank and business partners like McKinsey and Company and the Coca Cola Company.
The World Bank researchers used economic modeling to find that bad water-management policies can exacerbate the effects of climate change, while better managing resources can neutralize them.
Among the policies that could offer solutions are advancing technologies to increase water supply, such as waste-water recycling and desalination. The most widely used method to increase water supply is water storage through dams, the report states. Better planning and incentives, such as water permit allocation, giving users the right to "sell" or "rent" water, is another idea, the report states.
Unfortunately, the poor will disproportionately feel the effects of water mismanagement, the report states. About 800 million people, or nearly 78 percent of the world's poor, live in rural areas and rely on agriculture, livestock and fishing. More vulnerable communities are "likely to rely on rain-fed agriculture to feed their families, live on the most marginal lands which are more prone to floods, and are most at risk from contaminated water and inadequate sanitation," the report states.
The report warns that water insecurity could multiply the risk of conflict, as droughts can cause a surge in food prices and exacerbate migration and already dangerous situations.
iStock/Thinkstock(LONDON) -- Similar to parent protests in the United States over standardized testing and the Common Core curriculum, thousands of United Kingdom parents have organized a strike against annual testing for elementary-aged children.
Children across the United Kingdom are skipping school on Tuesday for "Kids Strike Day," which uses the social media tag #kidsstrike3rdMay, after more than 40,000 parents signed a protest petition.
Parents who joined a campaign called “Let Our Kids be Kids” published an open letter online to Secretary of State for Education Nicky Morgan, saying 7-year-old and 11-year-old children who have to take the SAT test -- which are similar to elementary school state tests in the U.S., not college board exams -- are "over-tested" and "over-worked."
"Children’s mental health is at risk because of the increased pressure they face through primary school testing,” the letter said, adding, “by the time these children reach secondary school they are turned off education.”
However, Britain's chief inspector of schools, Sir Michael Wilshaw, defended the importance of the tests, saying that children must have mastered the basics of reading, writing and mathematics by the age of seven to succeed later on.
"I understand testing can sometimes be stressful," Wilshaw said, "but I am also confident that most schools do everything they can to minimize the stress that children experience in preparing for and sitting these tests."
Minister of State at the Department for Education Nick Gibb took to Twitter to urge parents to keep their children in school, saying tests are designed for schools to ensure that students are being taught the fundamental skills they need.
It is unclear how many children were on “strike” Tuesday but a website was set up for parents to record their participation.
A mother of five, Charlotte Furness, told ABC News why she supported the campaign.
"I am fed up of seeing more and more testing in schools," she said. "School is creatively restrictive already with the current testing schedule so adding even more tests puts so much extra pressure on teachers and children. They are squeezing the fun out of learning."
"We want to show the government that we are serious and by voting with our feet we hope to make them realise that as parents who care about their children's education, we won't stay silent anymore and just do as we are told," Furness added. "Our schools need a massive shake up and we hope today will show the government that we are prepared to fight for change."
Several local councils have warned parents that they could face fines for taking their children out of school without authorization.