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(NEW YORK) --  A source familiar with the investigation into the disappearance of Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 tells ABC News the airplane part that washed ashore on La Reunión Island, a small French isle near Madagascar, appears to be from a Boeing 777.

MH370, the Malaysia Airlines plane that disappeared over the Indian Ocean 508 days ago, was also a Boeing 777.

If the connected to the downed plane, the part –- which experts tell ABC News appears to be a wing flap about 2 meters long and 1 meter wide -– could be the first piece of MH370 debris recovered to date. A team working to clean the beach stumbled on the apparent wing flap around 9:30 local time Wednesday morning.

In a statement, the Australian government said that it was aware of the "wreckage" and was working to determine its origin.

"In the event that the wreckage is identified as being from MH 370 on La Reunion Island, it would be consistent with other analysis and modelling that the resting place of the aircraft is in the southern Indian Ocean," Deputy Prime Minister Warren Truss said in a statement.

Malaysia Airlines said it was "working with the relevant authorities" but "at the moment, it would be too premature to speculate on the origin of the flaperon."

Since the plane's disappearance in March 2014, Australia, Malaysia, the U.S. and other countries have spent tens of millions of dollars combing the sea for the missing jet.

"It’s unlikely today’s discovery will lead investigators to the submerged wreckage," former NTSB aviation safety official Tom Haueter tells ABC News. "It’s had over a year to drift around."

According to Haueter, a consultant for ABC News, investigators probably tried to match serial numbers on the part to those on MH370, a Boeing 777.

“If it is a 777 part, it’s most likely from MH370,” Haueter told ABC.


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igmarx/iStock Editorial/ThinkStock(MOSCOW) -- Russia has vetoed a United Nations resolution to create an international criminal tribunal that would prosecute those responsible for the downing of Malaysian Airlines flight 17.

Samantha Power, the United States Ambassador to the United Nations tweeted following the veto, "Russia just vetoed Malaysian-introduced UNSC resolution to create UN tribunal to hold accountable those responsible for the downing of #MH17".

The plane was en route from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur when it was shot down over eastern Ukraine on July 17, 2014, killing all 298 passengers and crew on board.  

Russia stood alone in voting against the tribunal at the UN Security Council, saying it was premature.

Many believe Moscow really blocked it because a tribunal will prove that pro-Russian rebels it supports were to blame for the disaster.

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Getty Images(KABUL, Afghanistan) -- Mullah Omar, whose Taliban regime in Afghanistan sheltered Osama bin Laden and al Qaeda for years before the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks, has died, Afghan officials said on Wednesday.

The Afghan president's and prime minister's offices offered no specifics as to how or when Omar died. The announcement was made as Kabul and the Taliban engage in a second round of peace talks this month.

U.S. officials could not immediately confirm Omar's death. The State Department is currently offering a $10 million reward for information leading to him.

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Mark Cuthbert/UK Press via Getty Images(NORFOLK, England) — The quick reflexes of Britain’s Prince Charles were caught on camera Wednesday when an eagle nearly clipped the royal heir with its wings.

Prince Charles and his wife, the Duchess of Cornwall, were guests of honor at the Sandringham Flower Show in Norfolk when the flap occurred.

As Prince Charles and Camilla met with the eagle, a bald eagle named Zephyr, according to the BBC, the eagle appeared to try to get away.

Caught in the crosshairs, literally, was Prince Charles, who -- dressed in a suit and holding an umbrella and pink flower -- quickly leaned his upper body back and away from the eagle's wings.

Another photo shows that Charles got close to Zephyr for a short time, but told onlookers he remembered from a previous encounter with Zephyr that the bird can be unpredictable.

“That’s why I’m not holding him,” he said, according to the BBC. “I’ve learnt from experience. I’m keeping well back.”

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Glen Stubbe/Minneapolis Star Tribune/TNS via Getty Images(NEW YORK) — Walter Palmer, the Minnesota dentist who acknowledged hunting and killing Cecil, a beloved lion in Zimbabwe, is now the one being hounded on the Internet by protesters flooding his social media, creating online petitions and mocking him on parody accounts.

Over 273,000 tweets contained the trending hashtag #CeciltheLion on Twitter in the past 24 hours after the Zimbabwe Conservation Task Force, which is not part of the Zimbabwe government, alleged in a statement on Tuesday that Palmer paid $50,000 for the chance to kill Cecil the lion in early July. ABC News has not been able to independently confirm that figure.

Palmer responded later Tuesday, saying in a statement that he "deeply" regretted the pursuit of the early July hunt in Zimbabwe that "resulted in the taking of this lion." He added that he "had no idea" Cecil the lion was a "known, local favorite, was collared and part of a study. I hired several professional guides and they secured all proper permits. To my knowledge, everything about this trip was legal and properly handled and conducted."

But the Internet wasn't satisfied with Palmer's apology and descended upon on the Minnesota dentist on social media. Palmer's Facebook page for his dental practice, River Bluff Dental, was flooded with expletives directed towards him and death threats. The website was seemingly taken down Tuesday evening and was not up as of Wednesday morning.

Palmer's Yelp page for his practice has also received an overwhelming amount of sarcastic reviews attacking him for killing Cecil. The page was still up as of Wednesday morning.

"I hope your patients abandoned you and that you are never able to earn a living again so that you can no longer bankroll your lust for killing," a user by the name of Mike C. wrote on the page.

"Five Stars at being a miserable excuse of a human being," another user by the name of Thomas D. wrote. "You are not a hunter but a coward!"

A parody account mocking Palmer and his dental practice was also created on Twitter under the handle @RiverBluffDental.

Additionally, online petitions to both U.S. and Zimbabwe officials have garnered thousands of supporters.

An online petition to President Obama on Change.org demanded "justice for Cecil" and for the creation of new laws protecting big game from being hunted outside of the U.S. and brought back. Over 7,200 supporters signed the petition as of Wednesday morning.

Another petition on Care2 Petitions was addressed to Zimbabwe Republic President Robert Gabriel Mugabe and also demanded "justice for Cecil" and for the country to "stop issuing hunting permits to kill endangered animals." The petition had over 350,000 signatures as of Wednesday morning.

Palmer and his spokesman Jon Austin did not immediately respond to ABC News' requests for comment on the outpouring on social media. River Bluff Dental was closed Tuesday and Wednesday.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service issued a statement Wednesday noting that the agency is "deeply concerned about the recent killing of Cecil the lion."

"We are currently gathering facts about the issue and will assist Zimbabwe officials in whatever manner requested. It is up to all of us -- not just the people of Africa -- to ensure that healthy, wild populations of animals continue to roam the savanna for generations to come," the agency said in its statement.

In 2008, Palmer pleaded guilty to making false statements to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service about a black bear he shot and killed in Wisconsin outside of an authorized hunting zone, according to court documents.

A professional hunter named Theo Bronkhorst and a landowner named Honest Trymore Ndlovu are facing criminal poaching charges in connection with Cecil's death and are set to appear in court Wednesday, the Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management authority said in a joint statement along with the Safari Operators Association of Zimbabwe on Tuesday.

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This artist's concept shows NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter mission over the red planet. Credits: NASA/JPL-Caltech(NEW YORK) -- NASA's next Mars lander won't even launch until next year, but the space agency's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter is making a big move on Wednesday to get ready.

The spacecraft will make its biggest maneuver Wednesday since 2006, undergoing a planned 77-second firing of six intermediate size thrusters.

According to NASA, the move is necessary to put the 10-year-old spacecraft in a position to receive radio signals from the InSight lander, which is set to launch next spring.

Without making the adjustment, NASA said it would have been unable to hear from Insight when it is expected to touch down on Sept. 28, 2016.

"This will put us in the right place at the right time," Dan Johnston, a manager at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, said in a statement.

When the big moment arrives, NASA will record InSight's transmission as it touches down on Mars for later playback on Earth. After it's safely on the Red Planet, InSight will then get to work, examining the deep interior of Mars, gathering clues about the evolution of rocky planets.

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iStock/Thinkstock(SYDNEY) -- Australia is declaring war, not on extremists, but on cats.

Part of a strategy to protect endangered birds and small mammals, Environment Minister Greg Hunt announced a plan to humanely cull 20 million feral cats by 2020.

Cats that live in the wild are "a major cause of decline for many land-based endangered animals such as the bilby, bandicoot, bettong and numbat," according to the government's Department of Environment website.

Officials will bait and poison them with a toxin mixed into chicken and kangaroo meat . The meat mixture will be hidden underground where animals like foxes can't eat them.

The $6.6 million effort has received push back from animal rights activists like former French actress Brigitte Bardot.

In an open letter to Hunt, Bardot called the five-year long effort "inhumane and ridiculous" adding "your country is sullied with the blood of innocent animals."

Australia has a long history of killing animals for environmental reasons. Earlier this year, overpopulation and starvation led to the culling of millions of koalas in Victoria.

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Ashraf Hendricks/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images(CAPE TOWN, South Africa) -- Retired archbishop Desmond Tutu was readmitted to a hospital in South Africa Wednesday just over a week after being discharged.

According to a statement from The Desmond and Leah Tutu Foundation, the 83-year-old was hospitalized again "after expressing renewed discomfort." He had been discharged from the hospital on July 21.

Desmond Tutu's daughter, the Rev. Canon Mpho Tutu, said this latest hospitalization had nothing to do with the Nobel Peace Prize laureate's cancer treatment.

"His doctors considered it prudent for him to return to hospital for observation," she said in a statement. "He’ll have a few days of bed-rest while his medical dream team brings the situation under control and determines the next course of action, if any."

The Rev. Tutu added that her father will stay in the hospital at least until the weekend.

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Fuse/iStock/ThinkStock(TORONTO) -- A Russian adventurer survived in Arctic waters after his helicopter crashed.

Sergey Ananov was flying around the Arctic Circle in a tiny helicopter when the engine failed as he was flying over open water between eastern Canada and Greenland.

He was able to escape the helicopter and grabbed a life raft. He then swam to an ice floe.

While waiting for rescue, three polar bears came within just feet of him. Ananov said he decided to scare them by yelling and running at the bears. They then took off.

After 36 hours, he used his last flare to signal a search vessel and his ordeal was over.

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Brett Jones(WASHINGTON) -- He spent 13 years on secret missions around the world for the CIA, but when former Navy SEAL Brett Jones looked into his cell phone camera and pressed “record” earlier this month, he was scared.

“The reason I’m making this is, in the event that something happens to me, there’s evidence I’m in Afghanistan working as a contractor for the CIA,” he says quietly in the shaky video, stealing glances around him. “I don’t feel it’s very safe for me to be here. I don’t feel like I can work with these guys.”
In one of the most dangerous places on the planet, Jones wasn’t afraid of the hundreds of militants eager to kill anyone associated with the CIA, he was afraid of his own men – afraid of being the victim of an “accident” downrange – or afraid of being left behind if a mission went bad.

Jones, the only contractor with the CIA’s paramilitary Global Response Staff (GRS) who has come out publicly as gay, said that what had him so terrified was a disturbing pattern of harassment he had suffered and the homophobic, racist and sexist behavior he had seen from his own teammates – both contractors and CIA officials. It was behavior Jones felt he had to expose, even if it cost him his job, or worse.

“I just had no idea where it ended or where it began and if I was to raise my hand and say, ‘Hey, this is a problem,’ people would lose their jobs. In an environment where everyone is armed and at a heightened sense of awareness, a little stressed out, maybe a little PTSD floating in there somewhere, that’s not the environment for me to do it in,” Jones told ABC News in an exclusive interview to be broadcast on “World News Tonight With David Muir”. “When people’s livelihoods and careers and everything are threatened, they tend to do some pretty crazy things.”

So Jones said he secretly made copies of some evidence in the form of an expletive-laden mission brief from a contract company’s computer and a series of what he called racist and homophobic images from an official CIA computer, and then made up a cover story to slip out of the country. This week the CIA declined to comment on Jones' specific allegations, but did not dispute his account.

‘You Have to Know Those Guys Are Going to Have Your Back’

Jones told ABC News that in the decade-plus he has served on and off with the CIA GRS, mostly providing armed security for Agency assets in "high threat environments," he has routinely run into issues in which teammates use homophobic or racist language.

Jones is white, but says he “doesn’t tolerate racism or bigotry.” He said that in past instances, he’s managed to diffuse the situation by taking the speaker aside and politely but firmly asking them to refrain from that kind of talk. Generally, he said he always got along well with his colleagues – most of whom are well aware he’s gay.

The CIA knew Jones was gay when they hired him back in 2003 -- and Jones said he was “extremely thankful” to be able to keep doing the kind of work he had done in the Navy as a SEAL.

“I love it,” he said. “It’s a part of who I am... I get the best sleep at night when I know that I have done something that has saved somebody's life or made the world a little bit better in some way."

Last February Jones came out to the general public as the first openly gay ex-Navy SEAL on the special operations news website SOFREP.com, but even after that his next few of deployments went fine, he said.

The most recent was different.

According to Jones, it started with small incidents after he arrived in the country in June: no one coming to pick him up from the helicopter transport, a disturbing smell coming from his new sheets, no one sitting next to him in the chow hall, laughter abruptly ceasing when he walked into rooms.

“I guess I thought I was being overly sensitive and I just had to man up a little bit,” he said.

But Jones said the incidents kept piling up and getting worse. He said his team refused to let him in a truck during a vehicle test on a nearby mountain, forcing him to walk in the 120-plus degree heat.

Another time someone stole his encrypted radio, which, if actually lost, he said would have potentially compromised the security of some American military and spy radio communications around the world. After racing around and asking everyone if they had taken the radio by accident, Jones said he found it on the table in the team room, surrounded by chuckling GRS operators.

By that point Jones said he was already growing to believe that his life could be in danger – not because he thought his team would hurt him, but because they may not protect him. He said he got the message “loud and clear” that he wasn’t part of the team.

“Before you go outside the wire, you have to know that those guys are going to have your back. You have to have that confidence. You have to know that. You can’t have any doubts whatsoever because the minute something goes wrong, and it happens and it’s fast and it’s furious and it’s violent and you have to know that people are going to make smart decisions and that they’re going to have your back, just like they need to know that you’re going to have theirs,” he said. “I didn’t think they had [mine].”
CIA Briefing Slides Filled With Offensive Language

It all culminated at the end of June, just hours before Jones’ team was scheduled to go on a dangerous mission, in a pre-mission briefing. It was supposed to be a mundane briefing about communications protocols and contingency plans for the mission, but Jones said that before it started, someone had changed out most of the normal Powerpoint slides and replaced them with offensive ones – mostly extremely sexual or racist in nature.

For instance, in one of the more restrained slides titled “Actions on Contact,” meant to describe what to do in case the team comes under fire, it lists options such as “reverse cowboy/girl,” “cross dresser,” “hard on,” and “deploy genital warts.” Jones provided ABC News with a copy of the slides. The CIA declined to comment on the briefing.

Two of the slides, Jones says, were directly aimed at him. His radio call sign had been changed to “Gay Gay” and in a slide meant to discuss medical emergencies, it said, “Escorts go to NEVERLAND RANCH and GRS goes to GAYBAR medic.”

Jones said that when he looked around the briefing room, everyone was laughing except for him and two others, who apparently were not in it.

“I don’t know what to tell you. It hurts. I don’t even like looking at it now,” Jones told ABC News. “I’ve never in my entire career ever seen anyone do something like this. Ever.”

Jones said he forced himself to go on the mission anyway, and it thankfully went off without any problems. But he came back to the slideshow a day later, and then he saw something else.

On a CIA-owned computer next to the door of the briefing room, Jones saw a screensaver image of himself. Curious, Jones said he pulled up the folder that was feeding images to the screensaver and alleges he found a myriad of offensive images -- one was a racist photograph referencing President Obama and another, Jones believes, was an insult to Jones’ husband.

That’s when Jones said he knew he had to “do the right thing” and report what he had seen. And though he was never directly threatened, Jones said it was then he started thinking about what some of the men could potentially do to stop him.

“I knew at this point that I had to leave there. I had to get away from there because by me doing the right thing meant that probably some people were going to end up fired and if they knew I was leaving... And this is the thing, I couldn’t just report it up the chain of command there because I had no idea who was in on this,” he said.

Jones said he packed a bag and was ready to commandeer a car and drive to an Army outpost if necessary because he said, “If I had just the slightest suspicion that they knew the reason I was flying home, that’s what I was going to do because I’d rather risk that than stay there on that compound with people like that.”

Instead, Jones was able to vaguely explain to a CIA superior in D.C. that he felt he was in a bad situation, and was able to go home after inventing a family emergency.

Jones said he declined to report the incident through official CIA channels until after he spoke with reporters about what happened because he feared the CIA would “circle the wagons” and that nothing would change. He came forward, he said, in hopes of altering what he said can be a corrosive, closed culture in the Agency’s elite paramilitary units, not unlike the military’s special operations units.

“It’s my hope in some way that it makes a change within the organization and not just the GRS program within the CIA, but all special operations units. Like Navy SEALs or [Army] Rangers, or any of those, to where these kids that are coming through training and going into their prospective careers can go in there knowing that they’re not going to have to deal with stuff like that,” he said.

The CIA declined to comment on Jones’ specific allegations, but Agency spokesperson Dean Boyd provided a statement saying that the Agency “take[s] very seriously any allegation of sexual, racial or any other form of harassment and/or discrimination at CIA.”

“We have a Zero Tolerance Policy against such behavior and CIA leadership is committed to holding all employees accountable for living and promoting this policy,” Boyd said. “Pursuant to Agency Regulations, every CIA employee is advised that if he/she is the target of discrimination or harassment, they may initiate an allegation at any time by reporting the behavior to the appropriate supervisor, manager or OEEO [Office of Equal Employment Opportunity] counselor.”

“As we go about our vital work at CIA, we have a duty to treat one another respectfully and professionally, and to foster a culture of tolerance and inclusion. That is what our Nation expects and what all our employees deserve,” he added.

Jones praised the CIA and said he knows “for a fact” that the behavior he saw is “not sanctioned by the CIA as a whole, as a policy for that organization.”

“I know they have LGBT groups there and they’re very supportive,” he said. “They hired me knowing that I was gay.”

Still, he said, he felt it was his duty to expose his team’s behavior and now says he’s working with the CIA in their probe of the incident.


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LorenzoT81/iStock/ThinkStock(TRIPOLI, Libya) -- A Libyan court has sentenced Saif al-Islam Gaddafi and eight others to death, according to the BBC.

Saif al-Islam Gaddafi is the son of Libya's late removed leader Col. Muammar Gaddafi.

The death sentences come as a result of war crimes related to the revolution back in 2011.

According to the BBC, Abdullah al-Senussi, the former head of intelligence for the Gaddafi regime and former Prime Minister Baghdadi al-Mahmoudi are among those facing the death sentence as well.

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Bigandt_Photography/iStock/ThinkStock(KIEV, Ukraine) -- One of the less obvious consequences of the war in Ukraine is the refugee crisis unfolding there.

Charities in Ukraine are warning about a huge hidden refugee emergency. Fighting in the country between Ukraine's army and Russian-backed rebels has forced almost 1.4 million people to flee their homes. Charities say the Ukrainian government is failing to rehouse them.

The refugee crisis is spread out across cities in Ukraine where people are living in squalid apartments and inadequate shelters.

According to the United Nations, only 5 percent of Ukraine's refugees are in official shelters. The rest have to rely on volunteers and relatives or have to pay for apartments they cannot afford.

Although the conflict in the east has quieted down since the brokered cease-fire in February, daily shelling continues. Many people have also fled because the country has imposed economic blockades on rebel areas, making basic supplies scarce.

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Cecil, Zimbabwe's famous lion, has reportedly been killed by a hunter. (Brent Stapelkamp)(NEW YORK) -- An American dentist acknowledged Tuesday that he killed a beloved lion named Cecil during a recent hunting trip to Zimbabwe.

Dr. Walter Palmer, 55, in a statement, said, "In early July, I was in Zimbabwe on a bow hunting trip for big game. I hired several professional guides and they secured all proper permits. To my knowledge, everything about this trip was legal and properly handled and conducted.

"I had no idea that the lion I took was a known, local favorite, was collared and part of a study until the end of the hunt. I relied on the expertise of my local professional guides to ensure a legal hunt. I have not been contacted by authorities in Zimbabwe or in the U.S. about this situation, but will assist them in any inquiries they may have.

"Again, I deeply regret that my pursuit of an activity I love and practice responsibly and legally resulted in the taking of this lion."

The 13-year-old lion was found skinned and headless earlier this month outside a national park.

A professional hunter and another man, a landowner, are facing criminal poaching charges in connection with Cecil's death.


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NASA/JPL-Caltech/Space Science Institute(NEW YORK) — NASA's Cassini spacecraft has spotted a huge impact basin on Tethys, one of Saturn's 62 known moons, shining brightly and spiking curiosity about the landscape of the icy world.

While the rest of the moon appears dark, the photo shows a 280-mile impact region called Odysseus, spanning near half the width of the entire moon.

"With the expanded range of colors visible to Cassini's cameras, differences in materials and their textures become apparent that are subtle or unseen in natural color views," NASA said.

Scientists believe the different coloration on Tethys could indicate differences in the composition or structure of the area exposed by the impact crater. While Tethys is believed to be largely water and ice, Odysseus isn't the first standout characteristic of the moon to be pique the interest of scientists.

The satellite also has a long canyon called Ithaca Chasma, which is believed to have formed when the water inside Tethys froze and cracked the moon's outer crust, according to NASA.

Launched in 1997, the Cassini mission arrived in the Saturn system in 2004 where it has been working ever since to study the gas giant and its dozens of moons. The probe's mission is scheduled to end in September 2017 when it will make a fatal plunge into Saturn's atmosphere.

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iStock/Thinkstock(QINGDAO, China) -- It's beach time as usual for people on vacation in eastern China -- despite a thick layer of green algae appearing at popular resorts.

More than 13,500 square miles of water along the Qingdao coast have been affected by the phenomenon, Chinese media reported, and it's been a recurring event since 2007.

Scientists say the plant does not pose an immediate risk to humans, but according to Algae World News, a professional web-based online news directory for algal business and information, it can prove dangerous as it decomposes and produced toxic hydrogen sulfide gas.

The Center for Disease Control writes on its website that algae is formed in response to changes in levels of chemicals, such as nitrogen and phosphorus from fertilizer, in the water.

"Algae are vitally important to marine and fresh-water ecosystems, and most species of algae are not harmful," the CDC says, but "algal blooms can deplete the oxygen and block the sunlight that other organisms need to live, and some can produce toxins that are harmful to the health of the environment, plants, animals and people."

Some scientists believe an increase in seaweed farming may be at the root of the problem, while others point towards coastal pollution as a possible cause.

According to China's national news agency Xinhua, the clean-up work at Qingdao is already underway.

It is worth noting that in 2008, Chinese authorities spent millions of dollars to clean up the beaches ahead of sailing events at the Beijing Olympic Games.

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