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Rob Carr/Getty Images(BALTIMORE) — Ravens running back Ray Rice has chosen not to appeal his two-game suspension for violating the NFL’s conduct policy.

Rice was not expected to appeal the ban, which means he will miss the Ravens’ Sept. 7 regular-season opener against the Cincinnati Bengals and their Sept. 11 game against the Pittsburgh Steelers. 

He had a three-day window to take action, but that time has now elapsed.  Rice has yet to publicly comment on the suspension.

NFL commissioner Roger Goodell also fined Rice three game checks, which is worth a total of $529,000.

The three-time Pro Bowler is still allowed to participate in training camp and play in all four of the Ravens’ preseason games.

Rice was accused of striking his now-wife, Janay, unconscious during an altercation in an Atlantic City casino last February. 


Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

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Stockbyte/Thinkstock(MIAMI) — A Florida State University criminal law professor was pulling into his driveway and talking on his cell phone when he was fatally shot, ABC News has learned exclusively.

Professor Dan Markel, 41, was shot July 18, dying hours later.

The killer was waiting for Markel outside his home in Tallahassee’s Betton Hills section, a source told ABC News, and followed Markel into the garage, shooting him in the side of the head through the window of his car.

The bullet entered just beneath Markel’s jawline.

Markel was alive when cops arrived, with the keys in the ignition of his car, before being pronounced dead at the hospital hours later, police said. Markel was apparently on the phone at the time of the shooting, remarking to the person on the phone that someone was in the driveway, ABC News has learned.

A police report has revealed more information about the shooting, specifying that a neighbor, apparently different from the person on the phone, heard a single gunshot. That neighbor called 911 and reported seeing a silver Toyota Prius drive away from the scene. Police later released a grainy surveillance image of that car.

Tamara Demko, a longtime friend of Markel’s, was stunned by the shooting.

“I cannot imagine a person wanting to hurt him. I don’t think any of his friends can,” Demko said.

Two days before he died, Markel posted a blog to his website, PrawfsBlawg.blogs.com, about the death penalty, the same website on which he received threatening comments in 2012 after a writer alleged he had censored anonymous comments.

Reggie Garcia, a friend of Markel’s, wondered whether Markel’s blog and other law endeavors could have motivated the attack.

“Is it possible his scholarship and literature created some enemies? It’s as possible as any of the other scenarios,” Garcia said.

Markel left behind two young sons and an ex-wife, Wendi Jill Adelson, also an FSU professor. Their divorce was acrimonious, punctuated by dozens of court dockets, hearings and a protracted custody battle over their two boys. Markel described the day Adelson left him as his “Pearl Harbor,” friends told ABC News. Markel told friends that, without warning, Adelson had packed up the house and the children and left while he was away on a business trip.

Police spent hours questioning Adelson, and questioned many others who knew him well, but have named no suspects.

The new details reveal why police have classified Markel as the shooter’s intended target, ABC News Chief Legal Affairs Anchor Dan Abrams said.

“Now we know why the authorities were so quick to say they believed this was a targeted killing and the neighbors don’t need to worry,” Abrams said.

The fact that a Prius was possibly being driven by the shooter was also notable, Abrams said.

“A Prius isn’t a typical hit-man vehicle,” he said. “[Was it] the person who wants to protect the environment and kill someone?”



Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Hannah Foslien/Getty Images(NEW YORK) –  The Minnesota Vikings have rewarded tight end Kyle Rudolph with a contract extension, the team confirmed on Monday.

The deal is reportedly for five years and worth a minimum of $36.5 million, with $19.4 million guaranteed.  It could wind up being worth as much as $40 million.

“I’m extremely excited to get this extension completed and continue my career with the Minnesota Vikings,” Rudolph said in a statement. “I’ve said all along I wanted to stay in Minnesota. I love the fans, the community and, most importantly, I’m excited about where this team is going. I’m looking forward to the 2014 season and helping this organization reach our ultimate goal.”

The 24-year-old Rudolph has 109 receptions for 1,055 yards and 15 touchdowns in 39 games over three seasons with Minnesota.  The team selected Rudolph in the second round of the 2011 NFL Draft.


Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

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iStock/Thinkstock(MYRTLE CREEK, Ore.) — The mother of a diaper-clad, 3-year-old boy who got behind the wheel of his aunt’s Jeep Wrangler and accidentally put it into gear, sending it crashing into the side of a neighbor’s house, has been cited for failing to properly supervise her child.

The woman, identified by police as Brennan Pennington, of Myrtle Creek, Oregon, was issued the citation after the Tuesday evening incident, which was the second involving the boy and police that day.

At about 9 a.m. the same day, a Myrtle Creek Police office had spotted the boy by himself in the Jeep Wrangler outside his Northwest Second Avenue home. He was in the vehicle by himself for about five minutes, according to police logs.

The officer asked the boy about his parents’ whereabouts, and the boy said they weren’t home but that a relative was asleep inside. According to the log, the officer woke the relative and turned the boy over to him, warning the relative — who was not named in the log — that the boy had the keys to the car and it was not secure.

At about 7:30 p.m., police were called to the same scene. They said the boy got into the car again and knocked it out of gear, and it traveled down the street, up over a curb and through the neighbor’s yard, hitting the neighbor’s home. The homeowner was not home, and no one was hurt.

The police log said a 911 caller witnessed the crash and “saw the boy run from the Jeep wearing only a diaper.”

Right afterward the boy “bailed out and ran back home, and when the officer arrived at the house [the boy] was sprawled out on the couch watching cartoons like it was just another day,” Myrtle Creek Police Officer Kevin Taggart told ABC News on Sunday.

ABC News was unable to reach Pennington Sunday evening on a cell phone that was registered to her, according to public records.

The ticket issued to Pennington was a violation and carried a fine.

The home sustained minor damage and the boy’s mother came to “a civil compromise” with the neighbor, police said.


Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

iStock/Thinkstock(VENICE BEACH, Calif.) — A rare lightning storm struck packed Venice Beach, Calif., Sunday, killing a 20-year-old man and injuring up to 12 others, one critically, after the same storm had struck a person on Catalina Island.

Firefighters said a bolt of lightning hit the water and the electrical current then traveled, hitting swimmers and surfers.

“The fire department assessed a total of 13 patients, and transported a total of eight patients,” Los Angeles Fire Department spokeswoman Katherine Main said.

Five others were injured, but did not require hospitalization, she said.

Main said it appears to have been just one powerful lightning strike that hit the shoreline.

“Everyone that had a medical complaint was either in or near the water,” Main said.

The man who died was swimming and went missing in the water after the lightning strike, according to ABC station KABC-TV in Los Angeles. After lifeguards found him in full cardiac arrest, emergency personnel performed CPR and transported him in critical condition to Marina Del Rey Hospital, where he died.

The other person who was critically injured was a surfer, officials said.

Thunderstorms are very uncommon in the Los Angeles area, and people on the beach were shocked by what they experienced. Some said it felt like they got hit over the head with a board and then they were tingling all over.

“It sounded like a sonic boom. It literally shook the buildings,” Stuart Archer, who was playing volleyball on the beach, told ABC News. “Shook us on the courts.”

He said it was like somebody punched him in the head, his muscles locked up, and he fell. “I looked up and everybody else was falling over,” he added.

Many people who were on the beach said they were knocked down, and lifeguards ran to get victims out of the water.

“Out of nowhere, we heard like a thunderstorm,” witness Jason Alas told KABC-TV. “It was like really, really loud.”

Before hitting Venice Beach, the thunderstorm moved over Catalina Island where a golfer was injured by lightning.

According to the National Weather Service, before Sunday there had already been 15 lightning strike deaths nationwide this year, including six in Florida.

This was the first death attributed to lightning in California this year.


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Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

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(MOSCOW) — Russia is calling for the United Nations Security Council to approve a UN-led investigation into what brought down Malaysia Airlines Flight 17.

“We believe that such an inquiry must begin as quickly as possible under the UN aegis. To that end the Security Council must make yet one more decision. We are alarmed that some of our partners have been trying to steer practical efforts to organize the inquiry into separate bilateral contacts with the Ukrainian authorities,” Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov told reporters on Monday.

The United States has accused pro-Russian rebels fighting in eastern Ukraine of shooting down the plane. Russia, however, has dismissed the accusations and suggested that Ukrainian authorities were responsible.

“I do not want to attack with accusations too soon, but I hope no one will be trying to cover tracks,” Lavrov said about an investigation facilitated by Kiev.

In the wake of the Flight 17 disaster, Western countries have increased pressure on Russia to end what they say is an attempt to covertly support pro-Russian rebel fighters in eastern Ukraine.

Investigators have had trouble visiting the site of the downed plane due to nearby fighting. So far, only a small team, led by the Netherlands, has visited the site. The international monitors at the site have raised concerns that significant portions of the wreck have been altered and cut apart, perhaps during the search for remains — but potentially also to hide evidence.

British intelligence sources told the BBC last week that they had intercepted phone calls suggesting rebels in the area wanted to give the black box fight recorders to Russia. Those recorders were eventually handed to investigators and sent to the United Kingdom for analysis.

On Monday, Lavrov seemed to confuse the U.S. intelligence images published over the weekend, suggesting they were about Flight 17 when they were about accusations Russia fired into Ukraine last week.

“It appears some images have just been published. Ten days later. We do not know what they did to these images, whether or not they were prepared,” he said, calling the images a “pretext to punish Russia.”

The images, released by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence on Sunday, claim to show evidence that “Russian forces have fired across the border at Ukrainian military forces, and that Russian-backed separatists have used heavy artillery, provided by Russia, in attacks on Ukrainian forces from inside Ukraine.”

One slide provided by U.S. intelligence claims to show evidence of “self-propelled artillery only found in Russian military units” aimed at Ukrainian targets.

In what appears to have been a contentious phone call Sunday, Secretary of State John Kerry urged Lavrov “to stop the flow of heavy weapons and rocket and artillery fire from Russia into Ukraine, and to begin to contribute to de-escalating the conflict,” according to a State Department statement.

The unusually blunt statement added that Kerry “did not accept Foreign Minister Lavrov’s denial that heavy weapons from Russia were contributing to the conflict.”

Ukrainian authorities and the United States have sounded the alarm about fighters, weapons, and funding crossing into Ukraine from Russia. The White House has warned that unless the Kremlin halts the flow they will face more sanctions. On Monday, Lavrov said Russia will allow OSCE observers to monitor a few border crossings with Ukraine.

Lavrov said he was confused by Western demands that Russia change its policies or face consequences.

“I don’t know what they mean by policy changes,” he said, adding defiantly that Russia will adapt to sanctions.

“We will overcome the difficulties that will arise in certain parts of our economy. Maybe, we will become more self-reliant and more self-confident. This, too, is useful,” he said.

Lavrov said Russia will not go “eye for an eye” with the West over sanctions because it’s not “worthy of a big country.”


Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Hemera/Thinkstock(CHICAGO) — They may not have the big recognizable names but generic brand products deliver big savings.

Yet, a study by economists from the University of Chicago and Tilburg University in the Netherlands points out that many Americans are still forking over their money for name brands and wasting $44 billion annually in the process.

The study says that millions are duped by misleading ads even when they can buy generic products for far less.

But not everybody is fooled.

According to the researchers, the smarter the consumer — that is, those who are more educated — the greater the chance they’ll pick the generic version of a product rather than the name brand.

For instance, only nine percent of pharmacists buy Bayer, Advil and Tylenol with the rest opting for generic brands. Meanwhile, the average consumer will select the name brands 26 percent of the time.

Meanwhile, just one in five professional chefs will pay full price for name brand salt, sugar and baking powder, as compared to 40 of average households.

The researchers used Nielsen tracking data based on 77 million shopping trips by about 125,000 households.


Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

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ABC/Rick Rowell(LOS ANGELES) — Disney’s Frozen was the highest grossing movie of 2013 but one of its directors was an anomaly.

According to a new study, Jennifer Lee was among the very, very few women who helmed a big film last year.

In fact, just under two percent of the directors were women, according to the findings of University of Southern California’s Media, Diversity, & Social Change Initiative. That figure is the lowest of the past six years.

The researchers examined some 25,000 speaking characters in 600 top-grossing films from 2007 through 2013 and determined that women were vastly unrepresented both on camera and behind the scenes.

In 2013, for instance, 7.4 percent of writers of the top-grossing movies were women.

As far as acting parts are concerned, women made up 36 percent of the characters in comedies during the six years studied while falling between 20 and about 24 percent of those in action movies.

What explains the lack of women in movies? USC Annenberg associate professor Stacy L. Smith says it all about money, adding: “The people who fund films and green light content are mostly male. Women are perceived to lack confidence and to be less trustworthy with resources.”


Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

iStock/Thinkstock(TRIPOLI, Libya) — Members of the U.S. embassy in Tripoli had to be relocated outside of Libya Saturday due to ongoing violence.

The State Department called the move a “temporary relocation,” pointing to the recent clashes between Libyan militias in the vicinity of the embassy.

U.S. military personnel assisted in the relocation of embassy personnel, all of whom were taken to Tunisia without incident.

The State Department said that the situation in Libya is “unpredictable and unstable,” and that U.S. citizens may be targeted for kidnapping, violent attacks or death.

In addition, all American citizens living or traveling in Libya were urged to leave the country immediately.

Secretary of State John Kerry spoke about the decision to move the embassy on Saturday, noting “freewheeling militia violence.” Still, Kerry said the U.S. is “deeply committed…to the diplomatic process in Libya.”


Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

2014 First American Bank - Personal Loans

ABC News(WASHINGTON) — A bill to assist the nation’s veterans that looked all but dead last week was reportedly agreed upon Sunday by the chairs of the House and Senate Veterans’ Affairs committee.

With Congress set to recess for five weeks after Aug. 1, it was imperative that lawmakers arrive at an agreement to assist tens of thousands of war veterans still waiting medical care at VA clinics across the U.S.

The legislation, expected to be announced Monday by Independent Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders and Florida Republican Congressman Jeff Miller, presents more options for vets to seek medical attention, especially when they live far from VA facilities.

Among the choices vets would have under the bill is access to private health care providers when they live 40 or more miles from a VA hospital.

In addition, the bill calls for building more centers to care for veterans who critics say have waited an unbearably long time to see doctors because of alleged negligence and possible criminal wrongdoing to cover wait times.

What almost undid the agreement were differences on how much will be spent and how everything will be funded. More details should be available later on Monday.

Although certainly a breakthrough, the plan still needs the approval of negotiators from both chambers as well as a full vote by the House and Senate.


Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

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