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Mark Wilson/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- National Security Adviser John Bolton said Russia is only one of four countries that could potentially try to interfere in the 2018 U.S. midterm elections.

In an exclusive interview Sunday morning, Bolton told ABC News Chief Global Affairs Correspondent and This Week Co-Anchor Martha Raddatz that the U.S. is also concerned about possible election meddling by China, North Korea and Iran.

“I can say definitively that it's a sufficient national security concern about Chinese meddling, Iranian meddling and North Korean meddling that we're taking steps to try to prevent it, so it's all four of those countries, really,” Bolton said.

Raddatz pressed, “But have you seen anything in the past specifically to China?”

Bolton said he wasn't going to discuss "what I've seen or haven't seen." He added, "But I'm telling you, looking at the 2018 election, those are the four countries that we're most concerned about.”

On Saturday, President Trump suggested in a tweet that investigators should expand the scope of election meddling beyond Russia, writing, “All of the fools that are so focused on looking only at Russia should start also looking in another direction, China.”

Raddatz spoke with Bolton in Jerusalem at the King David Hotel on the first leg of his foreign trip. He is also set to meet with his Russian counterpart next week in Geneva, a follow-up to the July 16 summit between President Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin in Helsinki.

President Trump came under harsh and widespread criticism for a comment at a news conference with Putin in Helsinki when he appeared to accept the Russian leader's denial of meddling in U.S. elections despite American intelligence agencies' having concluded the opposite.

"I have President Putin. He just said it's not Russia," Trump said. "I will say this: I don't see any reason why it would be."

He added, “So I have great confidence in my intelligence people, but I will tell you that President Putin was extremely strong and powerful in his denial today.”

Trump has also said previously that "it could be other people also" besides Russia behind the U.S. election meddling in 2016.

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iStock/Thinkstock(SEOUL) -- Kim Kwang Ho left his hometown in North Hamgyong Province, now North Korean territory, when he was in middle school, leaving his mother and younger brother behind. He left without a single photo, believing he would be back within 10 days, when the danger of war dissipated. Those 10 days turned into 68 years.

Kim, who is now 80, still has clear memories of his hometown, recalling the apricot trees that grew in his backyard. But he said he cannot recall the faces of his mother or little brother. Nevertheless, his longing for his family always stayed with him: “When I hear the word ‘mother,’ I just cannot help but cry.”

On Monday, Kim and others chosen by lottery will finally rejoin family members from the North they haven't seen in decades. The winners of that lottery -- held between the North and South as part of cooling tensions between both sides -- passed a screening to become the final 89 South Koreans to meet their families in the North for three consecutive days. And conversely, starting Friday, 83 North Koreans will get three days to meet with their separated families who are living in South Korea.

Lee Su Nam was astounded when the Red Cross delivered the message that he will be meeting his older brother. He is now 77 years old and had only faint hope that his brother -- 10 years older than Lee -- would still be alive in the North. Lee’s family lived in South Korea for generations. One morning, his older brother was taken away by the North Korean military, and Lee has never forgotten that day.

“For me, it was just my older brother that I lost, but for him it was the whole family, hometown, friends, school. ... I can’t imagine how hard his life must have been,” Lee told ABC News, as he clutched old photos of his big brother, which Lee had kept all these years.

So far, 132,603 people have registered with the Red Cross for cross-border family reunions. Fifty-seven percent of them are now dead. And among the 56,862 seniors who are still waiting for a reunion, 63 percent of them are over 80.

“There are still over 50,000 people who haven’t seen their loved ones yet,” 92-year-old Yoon Heung Kyu said. He left his home in North Korea several years before the Korean War broke out. Although his roots were in the North, he had to fight along with South’s army.

“This meetup is a good thing, and we should do it,” he said. “But instead of going to Mount Kumkang, they could build a fort at Panmunjom and let people see their loved ones much more freely.”

Jeong Hak Soon, 81, is meeting her older brother’s wife and son on Monday at the reunion area. To her dismay, her much-missed brother was no longer alive to give her a pat on her head once again. She choked back tears talking about how her warm-hearted older brother was taken by the North Korean military. Her family evacuated their home in the North, not knowing they would never have their real home back.

"He would have returned to an empty house,” Jeong said of her brother. “I wonder how he managed to live on his own in that big empty house. My heart breaks every time I think of it.”

Jeong holds hope that inter-Korean relations will improve amid the currently thawing atmosphere.

“I sincerely hope for unification,” Jeong said. “I really wish I could meet them, visit their place, bring them here and feed them some good food.”

The official reunions between families in the two Koreas began in 2000. So far, 4,120 families were given the chance to meet their family members still in the North through 20 reunion events that took place at Mount Kumgang in North Korea. The last reunion of separated families took place in 2015.

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Google Maps(MADRID) -- A former co-owner of a grocery chain in South Florida who police say is the alleged mastermind behind the slaying of his wife's secret lover has been arrested in Spain this week after seven years on the run, authorities said.

The Miami-Dade Police Department, which is investigating the case, received a call from Spanish authorities on Tuesday that they had detained Manuel Marin, 64, after making contact with him and realizing that he was wanted in the United States for second-degree murder, among other charges. Marin is awaiting extradition to the United States, Miami-Dade Police Detective Alvaro Zabaleta told ABC News.

The Miami Dade State Attorney's Office confirmed in a statement to ABC News on Friday that Marin "is in custody" and that "extradition is proceeding."

Spanish newspaper El Pais reported that Marin was arrested at the U.S. Embassy in Madrid after police officers there observed him acting nervously. Spanish police did not immediately respond to ABC News' request for comment.

The U.S. Department of State said it does not comment on pending extradition requests.

Marin is one of four suspects in the grisly murder of 43-year-old Camilo Salazar, who was having an affair with Marin's wife, police said. Salazar was found dead on a dirt road in northwest Miami-Dade in June 2011, a day after he went missing, according to police. He had been beaten, his hands were bound, his throat was slit and his groin was burned, police said.

Investigators determined that Marin, a part-owner of Presidente Supermarkets at the time, found out about their relationship and confronted the two. Then, he allegedly enlisted the help of two mixed-martial arts fighters and a boxing promoter to kidnap and murder Salazar, according to police.

Just days after the killing, Marin packed his bags, took his passport and fled the country for Spain, according to police. He left his business behind in the hands of his son, who still runs several Presidente Supermarkets in South Florida, police said. On its website, the Hispanic grocery chain claims it is one of the fastest-growing in the United States.

The company did not immediately respond to ABC News' request for comment Friday.

Marin’s wife has not spoken publicly about the affair.

Over the years, police were able to locate the other three suspects: former mixed martial artists Alexis Vila Perdomo and Ariel Gandulla, as well as fight trainer and promoter Roberto Isaac. Vila Perdomo and Isaac were arrested in April and have pleaded not guilty, while Gandulla remains at large and is living openly in Vancouver, according to police.

Perdomo, 47, and Isaac, 62, have trial dates scheduled for Oct. 22. They are being held without bond in the meantime, according to court records.

Miami-Dade police have filed an arrest warrant for Gandulla, 50, and are working with Canadian authorities, Zabaleta said.

"We know exactly where he is," Zabaleta said of the ex-MMA fighter. "We also knew that Marin was in Spain."

All four suspects face charges of second-degree murder, conspiracy to commit second-degree murder and kidnapping in connection with Salazar's death.

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Manchester Police(MANCHESTER, England) -- A United Kingdom officer who was chasing down a suspect was struck by a police van driven by his own partner -- and the dramatic episode was all captured on video.

A witness took video of the moment when the officer was chasing down the suspect on Leicester Road in Higher Broughton, Salford, Thursday afternoon.

That's when the police van accidentally struck the officer.

A spokesperson at the North West Ambulance Service told ABC News that they “received a call yesterday at 15:03 about a man with leg injuries." They took the man to North Manchester Hospital.

Greater Manchester Police confirmed in a statement that “one of the officers gave chase but was unfortunately then involved in a collision with a police van.”

Amanda Delamore, deputy inspector for GMP's Salford Borough, added: “Officers put themselves in difficult situations to keep our streets safe on a daily basis, and sadly on this occasion, it has ended with one of our officers in hospital.”

The officer, who suffered a leg injury but survived the accident, has already been discharged from the hospital.

Greater Manchester Police confirmed to ABC News that “he is recovering from his injuries at home, which are not considered to be serious.”

"My thoughts are with the officer," Delamore said. "We wish him a speedy recovery and hope to have him back protecting us all as soon as possible.”

The 29-year-old suspect, whom police did not identify, was arrested on prison recall, authorities said.

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iStock/Thinkstock(BEIJING) -- The U.S. is expressing alarm that China may be detaining "millions" of Uighurs and other Muslim minorities in a "worsening crackdown" in the country's inaccessible western region Xinjiang.

The new number comes one week after a United Nations panel reported that an estimated 1 million Uighurs are being held in "counterextremism centers" with millions more detained in "re-education camps for political and cultural indoctrination."

The Uighurs are a majority-Muslim, Turkic-speaking ethnic group in western China. While the Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region has some independence in name, it has increasingly come under strict police-state rule by the Chinese government. The crackdown on Uighur independence goes back to the founding of communist China under Mao Zedong, but analysts say the new surveillance state, which uses tools such as facial recognition technology, is unprecedented.

The U.S. has voiced its concerns about the situation for weeks now. Ahead of the State Department's first-ever summit on religious freedom last month, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo wrote an op-ed about the crackdown on religious freedom in China, as well as other countries such as Iran and North Korea.

"Chinese authorities are likely detaining, at least, hundreds of thousands of Uighurs and other Muslim minorities in internment camps in Xinjiang," he wrote.

But now, the U.S. has raised those estimates.

"The number of individuals held in detention may possibly number in the millions," a State Department official told ABC News, noting that the U.S. was "deeply troubled by the Chinese government’s worsening crackdown on Uighurs, Kazakhs and other Muslims in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region."

Although the Trump administration has increasingly raised its concerns and said promoting religious freedom is a priority, it's unclear what action it may take.

Last Friday, a United Nations human rights panel reported that "upwards of a million people are being held in so-called counterextremism centers, and another 2 million have been forced into so-called re-education camps for political and cultural indoctrination," according to Gay McDougall, a member of the U.N. Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, or CERD.

McDougall laid out the extent of the crackdown -- sweeping arrests without charges for even the simplest expression of ethnoreligious identity; mass surveillance with mandatory collection of biometric data such as DNA samples and iris scans; and the confiscation of travel documents, requiring people to apply for permission to leave the province.

Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region "resembles a massive internment camp that is shrouded in secrecy" and a "sort of a no-rights zone" where "members of that Uighur minority group along with others that are identified as Muslims are being treated as inmates of the state based solely on their ethno-religious identity," McDougall said.

China dismissed the reports, saying it is part of a legitimate counterterrorism campaign.

"Certain anti-China forces have made unwarranted charges against China for political purposes, and a few overseas media smeared China's measures to fight terrorism and crimes in Xinjiang through their distorted reports of the CERD review, which is out of ulterior motives," Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Lu Kang said Tuesday.

But the State Department told ABC News the measures would actually increase the terrorist threat in China.

"China has the right to protect its security and to counter violent extremism," the State Department official said. But "indiscriminate and disproportionate controls on ethnic minorities' expressions of their cultural and religious identities have the potential to incite radicalization and recruitment to violence."

The U.N. said China's national security laws have become "imprecise and over-broad," and now "enable abusive, arbitrary, and discriminatory prosecutions and convictions."

Human rights groups have called on the Trump administration to do more than issue strong statements and instead take action.

One tool being considered is imposing sanctions through the Global Magnitsky Act, which gives the administration the ability to go after foreign officials for corruption or human rights abuses. Among other cases, it has been used by the Trump administration to sanction a Myanmar general responsible for the Rohingya crisis and, most recently, two senior Turkish officials for the ongoing detention of American pastor Andrew Brunson.

Acting Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Laura Stone said in April that Global Magnitsky sanctions were among the many options the U.S. was considering. A State Department spokesperson later added, "No region is immune from human rights abuse or corruption," but declined to comment on any investigation or plans.

A vocal advocate -- U.S. Ambassador-at-Large for Religious Freedom Sam Brownback -- is among those pushing for such sanctions on China for the Uighur crackdown, as well as China's suppression of Buddhists and Christians, according to The Washington Post.

For now, the State Department official would only say that the administration "will continue to raise our deep concerns with the Chinese government."

Brownback, who also helped Pompeo host that religious freedom summit in July, told reporters then that, out of the summit, the U.S. was developing an "international consortium to press China about religious freedom."

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Laura Lezza/Getty Images(LONDON) -- The Italian government announced it has opened a probe into the collapse of a bridge in Genoa that killed at least 38 people, and is putting pressure on the country's largest toll-road operator to prove that it met its contractual obligations in maintaining the viaduct.

The Italian transport ministry has also demanded that the private contractor, Autostrade, whose parent group Atlantia is controlled by the influential Benetton family, complete the bridge’s replacement and bear the brunt of the cost.

Large sections of the nearly 50-year-old Morandi bridge collapsed Tuesday, sending vehicles plunging to the ground.

The Genovan public prosecutor’s office, which is also investigating the accident, said it is looking into whether or not there may be a case for negligible homicide.

Since the deadly collapse, the government has threatened to strip Autostrade of its lucrative contract managing highways in the country. The firm has warned that breaking the deal ahead of term would make the government liable for a hefty fee.

Meanwhile, Reuters reports that Autostrade is expected to hold “an extraordinary board meeting” on Tuesday to discuss the disaster, according to a source speaking to the news agency, who added that no management changes were expected at the firm.

A number of families in Genoa are holding private funerals for their loved ones, some shunning public funerals organized by the state, according to Italian daily newspaper La Stampa.

Some funerals are planned for the weekend.

Antonio Brencich, an expert who criticized the bridge’s structure before the accident happened, has suggested to reporters that the collapse may have been due to the breaking of a cable rod.

“There is talk that the collapse was sparked by the breaking of a cable rod … There are eyewitness accounts and videos that go in this direction,” Brencich said to reporters.

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iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- The Trump administration is launching a new task force to focus on Iran, highlighting the threat from the country as a top foreign policy priority.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced his team would spearhead the Iran Action Group to coordinate all "Iran-related activity" across his department and the federal government. The group, led by the new Special Representative for Iran Brian Hook, "will drive daily progress" toward the administration's goal of changing Iran's behavior, from support for groups like Hezbollah and the Houthi rebels to pursuit of ballistic missiles and nuclear capabilities, Pompeo said.

But critics charge the change does little to boost the administration's Iran policy, which has isolated it from European allies and done little to alter Iran's activity in the Middle East.

In May, President Donald Trump withdrew the U.S. from the nuclear deal between Iran and six world powers that restricted its nuclear pursuit in exchange for sanctions relief. The Trump administration said the deal, formally known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action or JCPOA, was insufficient because it did not deal with Iran's other "malign activities," or ultimately stop Iran from developing a nuclear weapon.

In its place, Pompeo said the U.S. is pursuing a "campaign of pressure, deterrence, and solidarity with the long-suffering Iranian people" to force the Iranian government to meet 12 points that Pompeo laid out in a speech in May. That includes sanctions that snapped back into place 10 days ago on precious metals, Iran's currency and the automobile sector, and more sanctions that will snap back on November 5, on Iran's oil exports and central bank and financial transactions.

In particular, Hook will also be tasked with building international support for the administration's new campaign -- a tall task as European allies have consistently criticized the decision to withdraw and taken steps to protect European companies from U.S. sanctions. Other countries, like Russia and China, have said they will continue their business with Iran, including the purchases of Iranian oil that are crucial to Iran's economy.

Hook told reporters Thursday the U.S. has "a lot more diplomatic freedom" outside of the deal, but so far it remains alone in withdrawing and lonely in its pursuit of economic pressure.

In the face of that opposition, State Department teams have visited 24 countries to explain U.S. sanctions and demand that countries reduce their Iranian oil imports to zero by November 5 or face U.S. sanctions, Hook said, adding, "That work will continue in the coming months."

Before Trump withdrew from the JCPOA, Hook had been the lead negotiator with European allies, trying to come up with a side agreement that would keep the U.S. in the deal. After months of talks that made real progress, the U.S. walked away and Trump pulled the U.S. out because the administration wanted to make changes that the Europeans saw as violating the deal's terms.

"We didn't get there," a senior State Department official said at the time.

Critics say that Hook lost his credibility with those countries -- France, Germany, and the United Kingdom -- because of that: "Hook alienated allies in negotiations in the run up to America's withdrawal from the Iran Deal... They will not view him as a credible counterpart," said Brett Bruen, a former diplomat who served as White House Director of Global Engagement and now president of the Global Situation Room.

But Hook said that he had meetings in London with senior officials from the three countries Wednesday and that allies around the world share U.S. concerns about "the range of Iranian threats, especially around missiles and cyber, maritime aggression and terrorism."

A European diplomat in Washington told ABC News that the past negotiations were not a problem for future talks: "We have very good relations with Brian Hook, and I don't think it'll impact how we work with him," they said.

Still, there is concern that the Trump administration is seeking to undermine or even overthrow the Iranian regime, despite consistent denials from the administration that regime change is what they're pursuing. The announcement of the Iran Action Group even came at the same time as the 1953 American- and British-backed coup that overthrew Iran's first democratically elected government -- something Hook called a "coincidence."

The administration says it is still open to direct talks with Iran to reach a "new agreement," but Iran's supreme leader Ayatollah Khomeini rejected that earlier this week, saying the country will never negotiate with the Trump administration. Khomeini and his regime have faced a wave of consistent protests since December over the economic troubles that have gripped Iran.

Either way, the Iran Action Group will seek to strengthen that mission by more closely coordinating the administration's policy.

Critics say it will make little difference. Bruen called it "a typical Washington move to create the appearance of action by putting [it] in the title," while Robert Malley, the senior White House advisor for the JCPOA negotiations, said in a statement, "Better inter-agency coordination to implement a policy that is rooted in wishful thinking about the imminent collapse or surrender of the Iranian regime and a non-existent international consensus won't make the United states any safer."

Hook has been the department's Director of Policy Planning, the in-house think tank that debates and develops policies on the world's challenges. Under former Secretary Rex Tillerson, Hook and his team took on an outsized role and often sidelined the department's rank and file. While Pompeo kept Hook on initially, he will now transition out of that role and focus solely on the Iran Action Group, a senior State Department official said.

In his place, Pompeo is expected to bring on board Kiron Skinner, a foreign policy academic who advised Newt Gingrich and Mitt Romney's presidential campaigns. A Fox News contributor, she also served on Trump's transition team and briefly at the State Department at the start of his term.

It's unclear when that transition will take place.

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Dursun Aydemir/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images(BRUSSELS) -- For a few days every two years, the Grand-Place in Brussels rolls out the red carpet -- of flowers, that is.

This year's masterpiece contains more than 2,000 square yards of begonias, dahlias, grass and bark. The impressive display was created in less than four hours by 120 hard-working volunteers and is composed of nearly 1 million begonias, according to organizers.

The first flower carpet in Brussels was created in 1971 by landscape architect Etienne Stautema, and this year's floral designer is Mexico's Ana Rosa Aguilar Aguado. Aguado's carpet is dedicated to the Mexican region of Guanajuato, which, much like Brussels, is "known for its rich floral culture and tradition," organizers said.

The Grand-Place is also marking two decades as a UNESCO World Heritage site. The entrance fee is about $7 and the carpet will be on display until Sunday.

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iStock/Thinkstock(GENOA, Italy) --  As rescue efforts continue for people still missing after the deadly Morandi Bridge collapse in Genoa, Italy, the questions of who bears responsibility for the accident remain unanswered.

Families of victims are preparing for funerals in the coming days, while a political dispute escalates over who is to blame.

Senior figures in Italy's populist government have placed blame on both the EU's austerity cuts and Autostrade, the private company given government contracts to run Italy’s toll highways.

The parent company for Autostrade Atlantia saw its shares plummet as the government issued threats to withdraw its license to operate, which runs until 2042. Italian media quoted Atlantia executives saying the company would be entitled to tens of billions of euros in compensation if the government breaks the contract early.

That prompted interior minister Matteo Salvini to accuse the firm of talking money while bodies were still to be identified and families were mourning loved ones.

Meanwhile, the EU Budget commissioner in Brussels addressed Italian accusations that EU rules prevented Italy from properly funding infrastructure projects.

 The EU has a large fund for infrastructure of more than $300 billion, which it divides among member states and spends on renewing and upgrading roads and transport.

The budget minister Gunther Oettinger tweeted Thursday, “it is very human to look for someone to blame when terrible accident happens at Genova. Still, good to look at facts: in past 7 years, @EU_Regional paid €2.5 million for roads and trains in Italy and €12 billion from #EUinvest, and EU gave green light to national funding for €8.5 billion.”

The fees that national governments pay towards the EU budget go, in part, back to member states. Brussels also advises states on how to allocate spending. Eurosceptics say Brussels' interference with national government spending infringes upon sovereignty.

Salvini, who is also Italy’s deputy prime minister, is part of the far-right League party, which is in coalition with the populist 5-Star Movement. The government has pledged to lobby against EU Budget restraints that were put into place to allay overspending that led to the Euro crisis in 2010.

 Meanwhile, as pressure heats up on Autostrade and its parent company Atlantia, Italians who blame the private firm are calling for boycotts of clothes company Benetton. The fashion brand was founded by the influential Benetton family who hold the major proportion of shares in Atlantia.

Atlantia, responding to criticism from the government, argued that it has consistently provided maintenance on the Morandi bridge and carried out checks on it every quarter as legally obliged.

However, warnings from engineers two years ago who criticized the sustainability and possible longevity of the bridge due to its design have re-emerged.

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Dursun Aydemir/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- For a few days every two years, the Grand-Place in Brussels rolls out the red carpet -- of flowers, that is.

This year's masterpiece contains more than 2,000 square yards of begonias, dahlias, grass and bark. The impressive display was created in less than four hours by 120 hard-working volunteers and is composed of nearly 1 million begonias, according to organizers.

The first flower carpet in Brussels was created in 1971 by landscape architect Etienne Stautema, and this year's floral designer is Mexico's Ana Rosa Aguilar Aguado. Aguado's carpet is dedicated to the Mexican region of Guanajuato, which, much like Brussels, is "known for its rich floral culture and tradition," organizers said.

The Grand-Place is also marking two decades as a UNESCO World Heritage site. The entrance fee is about $7 and the carpet will be on display until Sunday.

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iStock/Thinkstock(JERUSALEM) -- Israel’s recent detention of a high-profile American journalist – and his decision to speak out about it – has prompted scrutiny of other instances where Israeli officials have stopped Americans at its border, and charges that it targeted them for their political views.

In recent months, Israel’s agency in charge of internal security, the Israel Security Agency, has questioned a number of prominent U.S. figures upon their arrival to or departure from Israel regarding their political views and affiliation with organizations which the country may consider hostile.

Peter Beinart, a liberal American journalist, said he was detained and interrogated for an hour at Ben Gurion Airport in Tel Aviv after arriving in Israel last Sunday.

In an op-ed published in the Jewish newspaper Forward, Beinart, who is also a political commentator for CNN and a professor at the City University of New York, described his questioning as political: "Was I involved in any organization that could provoke violence in Israel? I said no. Was I involved in any organization that threatens Israel democracy? I said no, that I support Israeli organizations that employ non-violence to defend Israeli democracy."

During the questioning, the security official mentioned his participation in a protest held in Hebron, a city in the Israeli-occupied West Bank, against the lack of basic rights of Palestinians, Beinart said. He was released after being asked if he planned to attend similar protests and simply answered that he did not plan to participate in any protest.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office said in a press release that once it was informed of Beinart’s questioning, the prime minister "immediately spoke with Israel’s security forces to inquire how this happened." The release described Beinart's detention as an "administrative mistake."

But Beinart was not ready to unconditionally accept Netanyahu’s hinted apology. "Benjamin Netanyahu has half-apologized for my detention yesterday at Ben Gurion airport," he tweeted. "I'll accept when he apologizes to all the Palestinians and Palestinian-Americans who every day endure far worse."

Beinart sharing his experience inspired another American to share his own on Twitter.

Reza Aslan, a scholar, author and TV host, said that two weeks ago he made his fourth trip to Israel in the last 10 years. He said he was detained and questioned as he attempted to enter Israel from Jordan, traveling together with his family.

He was separated from his family and questioned for a number of hours, he said, adding that he denied the fact that he was against the existence of the State of Israel, but admitted he was opposed to the Israeli occupation of the West Bank.

Aslan said he did his best to cooperate but one threat kept being repeated: "if you don’t cooperate it will be a long time before you see your kids again."

Before his release he was warned to stay away from Palestinian or Israeli "trouble makers" and avoid visiting the West Bank, he tweeted.

The Israel Security Agency issued a statement to the Israeli newspaper Haaretz in which it said Aslan was detained and questioned because his "behavior raised suspicions." Aslan was released after a short questioning "as suspicions were dispelled," the statement read.

The agency also said that all claims of political questioning and threats issued during questioning were checked and "found to be completely baseless."

In May 2018, Katherine Franke, a Columbia University professor, co-heading a delegation of American civil rights activists, was detained at the Ben Gurion airport upon her arrival and denied entry.

Vincent Warren, Executive Director of the Center for Constitutional Rights based in New York, is another American who was denied entry to Israel last May.

And earlier this month, Simone Zimmerman, an American activist opposed to Israel's occupation of Palestinian territories and a former adviser to U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders' 2016 presidential campaign, was similarly questioned for hours before being allowed to cross into Israel from Egypt, Haaretz reported.

In March 2017, the Israeli Knesset passed a bill which allowed authorities to prevent entry of foreign nationals who are supporters of the boycott against Israel and against Israeli settlements in the West Bank.

The Israeli attorney general, Dr. Avichay Mandelblit, will initiate a probe into the Israel Security Agency guidelines, which resulted in the detention and questioning of Beinart and other human rights activists, Israeli media reported.

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ABCNews.com(WASHINGTON) -- A series of high-profile Taliban attacks throughout Afghanistan this week that killed at least 200 Afghan security forces have raised questions about whether those forces can contain what appears to be a resurgent Taliban.

The attacks come at a time when U.S. officials had indicated that the Trump administration's South Asia Strategy had created progress toward peace talks to end the 17-year war in Afghanistan.

The string of violence began last Friday with a highly coordinated Taliban attempt to overtake the city of Ghazni, located 75 miles south of Kabul.

Afghan security forces initially repelled the Taliban attack, but at a high cost, with estimates that as many as 100 security personnel and 20 civilians were killed in heavy fighting.

Additional days of heavy combat, the arrival of American military advisers and airstrikes have been needed to clear groups of Taliban fighters who'd hidden in the city's residential neighborhoods.

The violence finally appeared to have ebbed on Wednesday.

"Ghazni is quiet," said Lt. Colonel Martin O'Donnell a spokesman for Resolute Support, the NATO advise and assist mission in Afghanistan. "As clearing operations continue, we have seen a dramatic decrease in Taliban activity, with nothing of significance to report militarily."

Showing a high level of coordination, the Taliban was able to launch another high-profile attack in Ghazni Province. A large-scale attack in the western district of Ajristan killed an additional 50 security forces.

Meanwhile, Taliban fighters have waged a series of large attacks in the northern province of Baghlan that have killed dozens of Afghan security forces. Attacks launched Wednesday on Afghan Army and police checkpoints killed at least 30 security personnel.

Elsewhere in northern Afghanistan, Taliban fighters on Friday launched a deadly attack on an Afghan Army base in Faryab Province that reportedly killed more than 100.

Kabul, the capital, has not been immune from the violence, though acts of violence are not always carried out by the Taliban.

On Wednesday, a suicide-bomb attack in a Shiite neighborhood killed at least 25 and wounded 35. While no group claimed responsibility, it fits a pattern of attacks conducted by the ISIS affiliate in Afghanistan against the country's Shiite minority.

American military officials insist the high-profile attack in Ghazni was par for the course for the Taliban.

"They attack for the purposes of gaining attention and recognition as being stronger than they are at the expense of the Afghan people," O'Donnell said. "However, they retreat once directly and decisively engaged by Afghan National Defense and Security Forces as they are unable to seize terrain and unable to match us [Afghan, NATO and U.S. forces] militarily."

Defense Secretary James Mattis said as much while traveling to South America this week.

Asked if the Taliban offensive in Ghazni showed anything new about the Taliban's intentions and capabilities, Mattis said, "To me, It simply means a continuation of their willingness to put innocent people in harm's way. There's nothing new. It's the usual endangering of civilians, part and parcel of what they’ve done for the last 20 years."

O'Donnell said Taliban attacks that kill civilians and destroy homes discredit the organizations claims to the contrary.

The other Taliban attacks elsewhere in Afghanistan exposed weaknesses in the tactics and security defenses used by Afghan security forces, including strikes at Afghan Army and police checkpoints such as the one Wednesday. Checkpoints checkpoints are visible reminders to local populations of an Afghan security presence.

But their locations also make them vulnerable to attack, a major reason that U.S. and coalition military officers repeatedly stress to Afghan security forces that they should reduce the number of checkpoints. While some progress has been made in reducing the number, senior officials want to see further reductions.

Gen. Joseph Votel, the head of U.S. Central Command, stressed as much in a recent interview with ABC News and the Wall Street Journal after a trip to Afghanistan where he assessed the Trump administration's South Asia Strategy as sound, though tactical adjustments needed to be made.

"We need to make tactical adjustments with our advisers and work with the ANDSF to minimize tactics, like static checkpoints, that increase their vulnerability," he said. "We will do this through our leadership on the ground and with ANDSF leadership."

Overall, during his recent trip to Afghanistan, Votel expressed "cautious optimism" that the South Asia Strategy was working and was creating the conditions for peace talks between the Afghan government and the Taliban.

That strategy eliminated timelines for the removal of American troops and made their presence conditions-based. It also called for regional pressure to steer the Afghan government and the Taliban toward peace talks.

Prior to the recent spate of large-scale attacks, Gen. John Nicholson, the top U.S. commander in Afghanistan, told reporters that the strategy had led to more progress in the last year for a peaceful resolution to the conflict in Afghanistan that had not been "seen in the previous 17 years, and that is significant."

That progress was enhanced by the three-day ceasefire in June called by Afghan President Ashraf Ghani that surprisingly took hold throughout Afghanistan. That ceasefire and the indelible images of Taliban fighters and Afghan soldiers hugging has led to indications that Ghani will call for a second ceasefire later this month.

However, it remains unclear if the Taliban actually will engage in peace talks with the Afghan government.

For now, the Taliban has expressed more of a willingness to engage the United States.

In recent weeks, Taliban officials have confirmed that Taliban representatives met with U.S. diplomats in Qatar to discuss the possibility of further peace talks.

While this week's attacks indicate the Taliban is capable of attacks that can inflict heavy casualties, the overall violence level in Afghanistan is lower than in recent years.

According to O'Donnell, the violence trends in Afghanistan right now remain 5 to 10 percent below historical averages, even accounting for the increase since the ceasefire and this week's attacks.

Even if there is momentum toward peace talks, it's possible that some segments of the Taliban won't be interested.

"We've seen that in the past few days, the devastating effect that bad actors can have on the peace process," said State Department spokesperson Heather Nauert. She blamed this week's uptick in large-scale attacks on "some factions, some elements of the Taliban that are clearly not on board with peace." She added, "I think we are seeing them act out at this time."

"We're committed to finding a political solution to end the conflict in Afghanistan," Sarah Sanders, the White House press secretary, said during Wednesday's briefing. "We're exploring all avenues for dialogue in close coordination with the Afghan government."

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ABC News(NEW YORK) -- When two full salaries, including her own as a lead nurse at a major hospital, weren't enough to get through one week in Venezuela, Karen Hurtado decided the time had come to leave her country for an uncertain -- but perhaps better -- future abroad.

The thought of leaving first came when eating meat became an increasingly rare luxury, and her full salary wasn't enough to cover her son's transportation to school.

"Our hands were tied," Hurtado told ABC News. "We were cashing in our paychecks, my husband and I, and we realized that that wasn't enough to survive even a week. Not even a week -- three days. It's hard."

Around her, a growing sense of misery. Days-long blackouts, hardships in finding water and food, and an increasing number of diseases for which medicines were impossible to find had become daily predicaments in Venezuela.

It's a crisis U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley blames on embattled Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro.

"These are his people -- these are the people he should be feeding," Haley said during a recent visit to the Colombian border. "These are the people he should be giving medicine to. These are the people he should be giving jobs to and making sure that they have a good quality of life. But, instead, he is protecting himself."

 Hurtado knew the local currency, the bolivar, was worthless both at home and abroad, so she embarked on a months-long quest to get as many dollars as she could, saving just over $200 in small notes that she hoped would be enough to take her to Peru -- making several stops -- where a nurse friend already lived.

In April, she left her husband and son behind and took a 14-hour bus ride to the border, joining the thousands of Venezuelans crossing into the Colombian city of Cucuta, hoping to stay in the neighboring country or keep traveling -- by bus, car or on foot -- farther south.

The travelers carried tales of precarious survival back home and the weariness of a long journey, many fleeing starvation, misery, persecution and violence -- a crush of humanity overwhelming border towns and highways across the subcontinent.

"It is the need, the extreme need. You have your kids dying of hunger," said Francesco Bortignon, who for decades has worked with migrants as part of the Scalabrinian International Migration Network in Cucuta. "They don't find food. There is no money. You don't find medicaments. So you simply die."

Hurtado is one of more than half a million Venezuelans who have made their way to Ecuador through Colombia this year alone -- and one of many who plans to continue onward to Peru or Argentina, according to a recent report from the United Nations.

This year, an average of between 2,700 and 3,000 men, women and children were crossing into the country each day. Just in the first week of August, some 30,000 Venezuelans entered Ecuador. That's more than 4,000 a day. About 20 percent of them stay there and the rest venture south.

There's been a 900 percent increase in Venezuelan migrants in South America, up from 89,000 in 2015 to 900,000 in 2017, according to the U.N. This means 10 times more Venezuelans have entered Ecuador this year than North Africans have crossed the Mediterranean Sea to Europe.

"The exodus of Venezuelans from the country is one of Latin America's largest mass-population movements in history," United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees' spokesman William Spindler said. "Many run out of resources to continue their journey, and left destitute are forced to live rough in public parks and resort to begging and other negative coping mechanism[s] in order to meet their daily needs."

Worldwide, the number has risen from 700,000 to more than 1.6 million in the same period, the report says, with the number of Venezuelans seeking asylum in the U.S. having increased by 88 percent from 2016, according to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.

So far this year, the number of Venezuelans who have applied for asylum in the U.S. is almost three times as great as any other nationality, according to USCIS data.

"We have all this hope in [Venezuela] and we don't want to go," Hurtado said. "And you're always thinking something is going to happen, something good is going to happen, but, so far, we have not gotten anything that can make us say that we want to stay. The last thing I want is to stay. ... It's just too difficult."

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iStock/Thinkstock(GENOA, Italy) -- As the death toll continues to climb from a highway bridge collapse in northwest Italy, survivors spoke to reporters about how they managed to escape the catastrophe unscathed.

Afifi Idriss, a Moroccan lorry driver, said he was driving on the Morandi Bridge in the port city of Genoa when a vast section of it buckled Tuesday. Idriss, 39, told Agence France-Presse he managed to bring his vehicle to a halt just in time, as dozens of cars and three trucks ahead of him plunged 150 feet to the ground.

"I saw the green lorry in front of me stop and then reverse so I stopped too, locked the truck and ran," Idriss said.

Davide Capello, a former goalkeeper for Italian football club Cagliari Calcio, said his vehicle went down with the bridge and he felt "incredibly lucky" to be alive.

"I remember that the road was collapsing, I was passing through and I heard a deafening sound and I saw the road going down and I was going down with it and I thought the worse," Capello, 33, told Repubblica TV.

Capello, who is now a firefighter, said he immediately called his fellow firefighters for help, as well as his family members to let them know he was OK.

"Its one of the most busy roads and it is unthinkable that something like that could happen in Italy," he said.

It was unclear from the interview with Repubblica TV exactly how Capello got out unharmed.

The Morandi Bridge, which connects highway traffic between Italy and France, collapsed on the eve of Ferragosto, a major summer holiday in Italy when Roman Catholics celebrate the Assumption of Mary. At least 39 people, including three children, were killed and another 15 were injured, authorities said.

Investigators are trying to determine the cause of the incident.

The Italian cabinet on Wednesday declared a 12-month state of emergency for Genoa, with Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte calling the bridge's collapse "unacceptable in modern society."

Meanwhile, hundreds of rescue workers remain at the scene in a desperate search for more survivors. Buildings beneath the bridge were damaged in the collapse and authorities are concerned that what's left of the structure could crumble.

"It continues to be a rescue operation until they have searched all the rubble," Italian fire official Emanuelle Gissi told ABC News on Wednesday. "They finished one side of the river bank and moved to the other side."

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Jack Taylor/Getty Images(LONDON) -- The morning after a 29-year-old man allegedly crashed his silver Ford Fiesta outside the Houses of Parliament, authorities are discussing the possibility of making the area a car-free zone.

Speaking on Wednesday to Sky News, Transport Secretary Chris Grayling said "there may well be a case" for making parts of Westminster pedestrian-only.

"We've got to do that carefully. We shouldn't just take an on-the-hoof response to what was a very disturbing incident," Grayling told Sky News.

On Tuesday, a man allegedly drove into a group of cyclists and crashed into the barriers outside the Houses of Parliament. Two people, a man and a woman, were taken to the hospital, while a third person was treated at the scene for minor injuries, authorities said. None of the injuries were life-threatening.

Police said that the driver, a U.K. national originally from Sudan whom they have not named, was arrested on suspicion of the commission, preparation, and instigation of acts of terrorism as well as attempted murder. He remains in custody at a south London police station, authorities said.

Speaking to LBC Radio in London, Metropolitan Police Commissioner Cressida Dick said she expects to discuss the issue of making the area around the Houses of Parliament car-free with security services.

"You will notice that the security around parliament -- both in terms of armed officers and police officers and physical barriers -- has been further enhanced over the last several months and there is more to come on that in further months," Dick told LBC Radio.

Dick added that the matter would be discussed "parliamentary authorities, us, the intelligence agencies and indeed the local authorities and the mayor."

For his part, London Mayor Sadiq Khan told ITV Wednesday that he supported plans to ban cars in the area.

"I've been an advocate for a while now of part-pedestrianizing Parliament Square, but making sure we don't lose the wonderful thing about our democracy, which is people having access to parliamentarians, people being able to lobby Parliament, visitors being able to come and visit Parliament," Khan told the channel.

Former London Mayor Ken Livingstone backed a $22 million plan to partially restrict traffic around Parliament Square in 2007 in time for the 2012 Olympics, but his successor, Boris Johnson, tossed out the plans, claiming it would cause congestion.

In an interview with Talk Radio Tuesday, Conservative MP Nigel Evans also called for the area to be pedestrianized to "protect politicians," adding that Tuesday's attack "would certainly ignite the debate" over such plans again.

Cressida Dick, the Scotland Yard boss, said it is about taking "reasonable measures" to protect popular sites in the city.

"The terrorists want us to completely change our way of life, they want us to be afraid and they want us to stop doing what we want to do to lead a normal life in the U.K. We're not going to give in. We're not going to just change our lifestyle," Dick told LBC Radio.

"But it is important that we take reasonable measures -- as I think we have been doing over the last several months -- to try to make sure that the most iconic sites, including those in Central London, are well protected and if something does happen there, then the police are able to respond very quickly with armed officers, which is what we saw yesterday," Dick added.


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WJTN Headlines for Sat., Aug. 18, 2018

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