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At Least 17 Dead After Explosion at Ukraine Coal Mine

JOHN MACDOUGALL/AFP/Getty Images(DONETSK, Ukraine) -- Dozens of miners were trapped, and at least 17 died, after an explosion at a coal mine in Donetsk, eastern Ukraine on Wednesday, officials said.

A rescue operation is underway.

“Rescue teams are battling poisonous gases as they are trying to track down 32 trapped or missing miners," Vladimir Goryachev, deputy head of mine safety services, told ABC News. "They reached 700 meters, and miners are trapped almost 1,300 meters [more than 4,200 feet] below the ground. ... We had no communication with trapped miners since the blast occurred.”

Of 47 miners in the section of the mine where the blast occurred, 14 managed to escape, Goryachev said.

The Zasyadko coal mine was the site of one of Ukraine’s deadliest mining disasters, a 2007 accident in which more than 100 people died. Since the fall of the Soviet Union, about 250 miners are believed to have died in accidents and explosions there.

Donetsk has been shelled in the last nine months in fighting between Ukrainian government forces and pro-Russian rebels, but an emergency ministry official told ABC News that there was no fighting in the area since an internationally-sponsored cease-fire agreement came into effect in recent weeks.

“It was not due to artillery shelling, it was most likely a gas-air explosion,” rescue services official Yuliana Bedilo said.

The conflict in eastern Ukraine has, to date, killed more than 6,000 people.

The rebel-held cities of Donetsk and Lugansk are located in the coal-rich region of Donbass. The local economy is mainly coal mining or black metallurgy. A local soccer club is called Shaktar, a word for a miner in Ukrainian.

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Microsoft Co-Founder's Submarine Finds Sunken WWII Warship

Kevin Winter/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen and a team of researchers used his submarine to uncover a Japanese battleship that sunk during World War II.

The battleship, called Musashi, was found in the Sibuyan Sea in the Philippines on Monday after the team used historical records and a hypsometric bathymetric survey of the ocean floor, according to a statement released by Allen.

"The Musashi is truly an engineering marvel and, as an engineer at heart, I have a deep appreciation for the technology and effort that went into its construction," Allen said in the statement. "I am honored to play a part in finding this key vessel in naval history and honoring the memory of the incredible bravery of the men who served aboard her."

The battleship was officially launched on Nov. 1, 1942 and disappeared on Oct. 24, 1944 when it was shot down by 19 torpeadoes and 17 bombs during the Battle of Leyte Gulf, according to the release.

The Musashi reportedly had 2,399 people on board and about half are believed to have died when it was shot down.

Allen, who Forbes estimates is worth $17.5 billion, uses his submarine for exploratory missions including a 2012 search for a sunken British naval ship.

"Since my youth, I have been fascinated with World War II history, inspired by my father’s service in the U.S. Army," Allen said in the release.

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Turkish Airlines Jet Skids Off Runway, Passengers Escape to Safety

iStock Editorial/Thinkstock(KATHMANDU, Nepal) — A Turkish Airlines jet skidded off the runway while landing Wednesday, according to officials.

Thick fog made landing difficult, but there were no serious injuries in the incident.

The plane, Flight TK726, was carrying 238 people on board and coming from Istanbul when the accident happened.

Passengers slid to safety on emergency slides.


Evacuation of #TurkishAirlines Flight #TK726 in Kathmandu.

A video posted by Peter Lübeck (@peterlubeck) on Mar 3, 2015 at 10:35pm PST


The airline released a statement following the incident, stating that one passenger was slightly injured and taken to a hospital for treatment.

“The technical examination will determine the cause of the incident,” the statement reads.



Tribhuvan International Airport remained closed Wednesday morning after the accident.

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World's Tallest Burger: A Finland Cafe Says This Hamburger Is a Record Setter

Stiina Kokkonen(LAPINJARVI, Finland) — A café in Finland claims it broke the record this week for the world’s tallest burger.

For the price of $2,200, customers were invited to take a bite from a 16-foot-tall hamburger tower.

The owner of Mehiläis Pesä restaurant, in the small southern town of Lapinjärvi, Finland, told ABC News he decided to build the 220-pound monster on Monday “just for fun.”

“It’s also a way for us to advertise local food,” said Jarmo Lehtomäki.

Ingredients used to build the pyramid were all locally sourced, with lettuce and bread produced less than a mile away, Lehtomäki said.

Lehtomäki hired a new chef, and building the giant burger was his first task. It took him one hour and 40 minutes.

The chef and his team used a metal rod to keep the 250 beef burgers upright.

While the restaurant was open for customers during the construction, only a few people dared to taste the burger (though nobody actually was charged $2,200). Once it was over, most of the burgers were cold and dry, said the café owner, making them inedible.

The restaurant gave the food away to a local dog shelter owner with 23 dogs.

ABC News reached out to Guinness World Records, which had not yet confirmed the record.

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Woodpecker Takes Weasel On the Ride of Its Life

Martin Le-May(LONDON) -- A photograph of a weasel riding on the back of a woodpecker that seems almost too incredible to be true is not Photoshopped, according to the British man who snapped the now-viral photo.

Martin Le-May says he was out for a walk on Monday with his wife, Ann, in a London park when they heard a “distressed squawking.”

The couple trained their binoculars on the bird in distress and saw it was “unnaturally hopping” and flapping its wings.

"Just after I switched from my binoculars to my camera the bird flew across us and slightly in our direction,” Le-May told ABC News by email. "It was obvious it had a small mammal on its back and this was a struggle for life.”

The mammal on the back of the woodpecker was a weasel. The Le-Mays watched as the woodpecker landed right in front of them and fought for its life.

"I feared the worst,” Le-May wrote. “I guess though our presence, maybe 25 meters away, momentarily distracted the weasel.”

“The woodpecker seized the opportunity and flew up and away into some bushes away to our left," he wrote. “Quickly the bird gathered its self-respect and flew up into the trees and away from our sight.”

As for the weasel that caused all the drama, Le-May says it disappeared into the long grass of the park, “hungry.”

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Netanyahu Speech, Politically Strong, Draws Shrugs From Israelis at Home


(JERUSALEM) -- At long last, Israelis gathered around TV sets Tuesday night to watch Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu address Congress. And I gathered around the big screens at a Jerusalem sports bar with at least four guys, plus the bar staff.

Coming out of the gates, we had one TV in English and one in Hebrew, but the election commission required all Israeli channels run on a five-minute delay, allowing editors to yank any overt campaigning for Israel's general election March 17. It all made the dual-screen experience very distracting.


Israeli channels all running on 5 min delay. Distracting watching side by side. #NetanyahuSpeech

— Molly Hunter (@mollymhunter) March 3, 2015

Canvassing central Jerusalem before the speech, Joseph, an American Jew, and an Israeli friend stopped into Mike's Place in Jerusalem to catch the main event.

"We saw it in the news; it's very important," Joseph told ABC News. "It's a historic time for Israel. We had to watch."

In a speech Tuesday to a joint session of Congress, Prime Minister Netanyahu blasted an emerging deal with Iran as "a bad deal, a very bad deal." He added "we're better off without it," but fell short of actually laying out an alternative plan.

Shay Mamo, an entrepreneur from Tel Aviv, agreed the speech was "a big deal," but added the controversy had piqued his interest.

"I'm watching because it's a scandal," Mamo said. "I'm watching because Obama is against it. I'm watching because it split the American political world."

Mamo continued, "He has the opportunity to say something new. If he were to give a speech here, it's just another speech."

But very little was said that the prime minister had not previously said, and Israelis largely saw Tuesday's speech as an election stunt two weeks before the country's hotly contested general election.

"It's Bibi doing his Bibi thing," quipped Elon, 23, of Kfar Abomin. "It's a power move. His signature play, a show."

"To be fair, it's a reasonable thing to do," going to Washington to speak, Elon said. "But not in the way he did it. And not now."

Analysts say his strong performance could earn Netanyahu a bump in the polls, where he lags ever so slightly behind his biggest challenger, Isaac Herzog. And by all accounts, he turned in a win Tuesday night. Political analysts, and my viewing mates alike, thought Netanyahu hit it out of the political park. But Israelis like Ami Azoulay, who owns a convenience store in central Jerusalem, just shrugged.

"Sure people will watch out of curiosity. But for what? Israelis care about the situation in Iran," he said, "but he's going to go and come back, and it will be just like he never left."


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Rosetta Spacecraft Takes Shadow Selfie on Comet

ESA/Rosetta/MPS for OSIRIS Team MPS/UPD/LAM/IAA/SSO/INTA/UPM/DASP/IDA(NEW YORK) -- The Rosetta spacecraft was able to snap the most detailed image ever of comet-67P -- getting so close that the spacecraft cast a shadow that can be seen in a photo sent back to Earth.

A photo snapped on Valentine's Day released Tuesday by the European Space Agency was taken less than four miles from the surface of the icy comet and packs a resolution of about four and one-third inches per pixel.

At the bottom of the image is a fuzzy rectangular shadow cast by Rosetta, which was made possible by the sun being aligned directly behind the spacecraft, according to the ESA.

The shadow is blurry because the sun was not a point source, meaning that if a person were to stand on the frigid comet and look toward the sun, the boxy spacecraft would only block part of the giant star.


Does this count as a #selfie? Imaged my own shadow on surface of #67P during 6km flyby!

— ESA Rosetta Mission (@ESA_Rosetta) March 3, 2015


The comet is expected to reach perihelion -- its closest point to the sun -- on August 13.

The spacecraft made history in November when it sent its Philae lander to the surface of 67P, a comet that is whizzing through space at speeds as fast as 80,000 miles per hour.

Scientists are studying Rosetta's environment to learn more about the rubber-duck shaped comet, which could yield new insights about the origins of comets, stars and planets. It has been conducting a series of flybys from various distances to collect information for analysis.

Working nearly 300 million miles from Earth, a one-way signal from Rosetta takes around 26 minutes and 46 seconds to reach Earth, according to a Twitter account the ESA set up for the mission.

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Benjamin Netanyahu: Why He's a Secret Millennial

Uriel Sinai/Getty images(WASHINGTON) -- Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu addressed a joint session of Congress Tuesday in what many analysts coined the “most important speech” of his life.

So naturally, Bibi brought along his millennial game to help make his case.

“Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei spews the oldest hatred, the oldest hatred of anti-Semitism with the newest technology,” Netanyahu said. “He tweets that Israel must be annihilated -- he tweets.”

Indeed, Ayatollah Khamenei’s Twitter account did tweet out back in November a step-by-step guide to the elimination of Israel.


Why should & how can #Israel be eliminated? Ayatollah Khamenei's answer to 9 key questions. #HandsOffAlAqsa

— (@khamenei_ir) November 9, 2014


But how can you find that tweet? Well, just take Netanyahu’s advice he offered to Congress later in his speech about how they might find details about the potential nuclear deal forming with Iran.

“You don't need intelligence agencies and secret information to know this,” Netanyahu said. “You can Google it.”

Google and Twitter, the basic daily diet on the Web for any millennial.

But Netanyahu didn’t stop there.

“In this deadly Game of Thrones, there's no place for America or for Israel, no peace for Christians, Jews or Muslims who don't share the Islamist medieval creed, no rights for women, no freedom for anyone,” Netanyahu said as he argued that Iran and ISIS were “competing for the crown of militant Islam.”

And any fan of the HBO hit show might know that “when you play the Game of Thrones, you win or you die. There is no middle ground,” as one character famously says.

As you might expect, that particular quote struck a chord on, where else, Twitter.

— darth™ (@darth) March 3, 2015



Game of Thrones reference from #Netanyahu and uh ok

— Olivier Knox (@OKnox) March 3, 2015



I'm sorry, did Netanyahu just name-check Game of Thrones?

— Joanna Weiss (@JoannaWeiss) March 3, 2015


Those in Israel are already familiar with Netanyahu’s foray into appeasing to the younger generations. In early February he released a comedic campaign commercial in which he starred as the “Bibisitter.”

You can find that video on YouTube, which, as you might expect, Netanyahu also referenced once in his speech.

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Thousands Gather for Boris Nemtsov's Funeral

Gleb Schelkunov/Kommersant Photo via Getty Images(MOSCOW) -- Thousands of mourners lined up in Moscow Tuesday to honor the slain Russian opposition leader, Boris Nemtsov.

A vocal critic of Russian President Vladimir Putin, Nemstov was gunned down while crossing a bridge with his girlfriend near the Kremlin on Friday night.

Alex Navalny, another opposition leader, was banned from attending the funeral along with several EU politicians.

In line to pay their respects, several mourners doubted the criminal investigation would result in justice.

"His death represented that there are no limits for those who want to destroy any other opinion in the country except the Kremlin's," one mourner told ABC News.

No arrests have been made and no motive has been established.

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‘Jihadi John’ Father Jasem Emwazi in 'State of Shock'

Obtained by ABC News / Fair Use(NEW YORK) -- After being interrogated by Kuwaiti authorities, Jasem Emwazi is still reeling following the public identification of his son, Mohammed Emwazi, as the alleged cold-blooded ISIS executioner “Jihadi John,” the elder Emwazi’s attorney told ABC News Tuesday.

“He is in a state of shock from the story and needs time to deal with all the pressure from the media,” the attorney, Salem al-Hashash, said. Jasem Emwazi declined to comment to ABC News, the first Western news outlet to have met him since Mohammed was identified.

Al-Hashash said Jasem Emwazi was questioned by Kuwaiti authorities about his son for two or three hours, but was then released. He is not a suspect in activities related to his son, the attorney said.

Al-Hashash said only Mohammed Emwazi’s father was questioned and not his mother, as had been previously reported. Kuwaiti authorities told ABC News Monday Jasem Emwazi had said his wife quickly recognized her son as the alleged killer from the first beheading video when it emerged online in August. Al-Hashash declined to confirm or deny that allegation.

Mohammed Emwazi, publicly identified last week as “Jihadi John,” is believed to have appeared in at least seven ISIS execution videos, several times apparently taking a knife to ISIS’s victims himself.

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Prince William Meets Paddington Bear in China

JOHANNES EISELE/AFP/Getty Images(SHANGHAI) -- Britain's Prince William met an internationally known bear Tuesday as he continued his official trip through China and Japan.

The 32-year-old prince was greeted by Paddington the bear himself while attending the China premiere of the Paddington movie in Shanghai.

The movie premiere came at the end of a busy day for William, who is on the three-day trip to China solo, without his son, George, or wife, Duchess Kate, who is expecting their second child in April.

William, the second-in-line to the British throne, earlier in the day played soccer with kids in Shanghai as the country seeks to expand its soccer training for kids.

On Monday, William met with China’s president, Xi Jinping, and presented him with a letter from William’s grandmother, the Queen, inviting Xi to London.

The prince will end his trip to China Wednesday with a visit to an elephant sanctuary in Southwestern China. The sanctuary helps elephants who have been injured or poached, a personal mission for William, who has advocated against the illegal hunting and trading of elephant’s ivory tusks.

William arrived in China Sunday after a four-day stay in Japan to promote U.K. relations and business partnerships.

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'Lost City': Honduras Expedition Team Discovers Untouched Ruins

Dave Yoder/National Geographic(TEGUCIGALPA, Honduras) -- An expedition team of researchers has discovered the uncharted ruins of an unidentified culture's lost city in the heart of a Honduras rainforest.

The team ventured into the isolated, uninhabited area led by "long-standing rumors" it was the site of a fabled "White City" in the legend known as the "City of the Monkey God," National Geographic reported.

Expeditions to find the "White City," or "Ciudad Blanca," have been going on since the 1920s when explorers sought the mystical, Eden-like paradise described in indigenous stories as a place where natives were safe from Spanish conquistadors.

Legend had it that no one ever returns after getting there.

But the expedition team, made up of Americans and Hondurans, successfully returned from the site last Wednesday, National Geographic said.

Archaeologists surveyed and mapped the land that thrived a thousand years ago then vanished, and they discovered a large amount of stone sculptures that were untouched since the city was abandoned, the magazine added.

One of the most intriguing finds was what appeared to be the head of "a were-jaguar," showing a shaman in a spirit state, said Christopher Fisher, a Mesoamerican archaeologist on the team from Colorodo State University.

The team documented the artifacts at the site, but did not excavate them, National Geographic reported, adding that the location is not being revealed to protect the site from looters.

Archaeologists don't buy into the existence of one 'lost city' anymore, but do believe there are numerous lost cities that collectively represent something more important to them -- a lost civilization, the magazine added.

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New Audio: 'Jihadi John' Describes Alleged MI-5 Encounter

Obtained by ABC News(NEW YORK) -- For the first time Tuesday the world is hearing the voice of "Jihadi John" without the filters and digital effects used in the gruesome beheading videos -- and years before ISIS was even a well-known terrorist group.

The activist group CAGE posted online Tuesday a two-minute recording of Mohammed Emwazi describing what he claims was a run-in with an agent from Britain's MI-5, the U.K. equivalent to the FBI.

"While I'm packing my bags, this is while I'm packing some of my stuff, I said, 'Yea, go on, ask,' and he said, 'No, no, I'd like you to sit, face-to-face and we ask you these questions,' and I said, 'Wow, these must be some serious questions, let's get down to it,' I said," the 2009 recording says. "We sat down face-to-face and he looked at me and said, 'Mohammed,' 'Yes?' 'What do you think of 7/7?' I said, 'Man, what, innocent people have died, you know, what do you think? I think this is extremism.'"

7/7 refers refers to a coordinated terrorist attack on July 7, 2005 that killed dozens in London. The man identified in the recordings as Emwazi also says he's asked about 9/11.

"And I told him, 'This is a wrong thing. What happened was wrong, you know, what do you want me to say? If I have opportunities to make lives come back, I'd make those lives come back. I think what happened in wrong,'" the recording says.

CAGE previously said that Emwazi approached their organization after alleged harassment by British security officials in 2009 and had described such a meeting with a purported MI-5 agent when Emwazi was coming back from a failed trip to Tanzania. He had been detained upon arrival and sent back home, he claimed, because British intelligence was convinced he was really trying to go to Somalia to join jihadists there.

Four years later, after apparently being barred from moving to Kuwait, Emwazi slipped into Syria and eventually joined ISIS, which by then had grown out of the remnants of al Qaeda in Iraq to a brutal fighting force in the region.

A spokesperson for the White House National Security Council declined to comment for this report, but it appears the slightly frustrated voice in the new audio would come to haunt U.S. security agencies years later as one of the few clues as to the masked "Jihadi John's" identity in a series of beheading videos.

In each of those videos, the masked man since identified as Emwazi gives an apparently digitally-altered monologue, at times directly addressing President Obama, before allegedly murdering civilian hostages.

The first video appeared in August, showing the death of American photojournalist James Foley. The next month, the FBI said it had identified Foley's alleged killer but kept the identity secret until last week, when it was revealed in Western media.

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Inside the 'Doomsday' Vault Past the Arctic Circle

Courtesy AfricaRice(OSLO, Norway) -- The first tree seeds that will be stored safely in a "doomsday" vault have been deposited on a Norwegian archipelago in the Arctic Ocean.

The Svalbard Global Seed Vault, more than 807 miles beyond the Arctic Circle, in mountainous permafrost, is the "world's largest secure seed storage vault."

The vault opened in February 2008 and crates of seeds are sent there "for safe and secure long-term storage in cold and dry rock vaults," according to a statement from the Norwegian government.

Seeds from Africa's largest collection of rice germplasm arrived in Oslo on Feb. 16, then were shipped to Svalbard where seeds were stored on the vault's shelves last week when the Seed Vault was opened, according to pan-African intergovernmental research association AfricaRice.

"The aim of back-up of our collection at Svalbard is to conserve viable African rice diversity forever and available for research for the next generation of scientists," Marie Noelle Ndjiondjop, head of AfricaRice genetic resources unit, told ABC News.

The first boxes of Nordic forest tree seeds (Norway spruce and Scots pine) were also stored in the vault.

In addition to conservation, the purpose of storing the seeds are to monitor changes in genetic diversity and breeding operations, according to the Norwegian government.

So far, 218 seed lots from the Norwegian Forest Seed Center have been selected for the Svalbard seed vault.

The oldest one, a pine sample from Tranøy in Norway, is from 1938, the government said.

The long term storage of forest tree seeds is done through Nordic cooperation involving Denmark, Sweden, Finland, Iceland and Norway.

The vault has three separate rock vaults, 9.5 by 27 meters each.

"The seeds stored in the vault are packed in sealed bags inside sealed boxes, and are placed on high shelf racks inside the vault," according to the Norwegian government.

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Chile Volcano Eruption Sends Lava Shooting into the Sky

iStock/Thinkstock(VILLARRICA, Chile) -- Chile's Villarrica volcano erupted overnight, sending lava shooting into the night sky.

The amazing display was visible from miles away.

Villarrica is one of Chile’s most active volcanoes, with increased activity reported in the past month.

Residents in nearby communities were evacuated Monday night due to the eruption, and government officials raised the alert status to red.

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