Only in America
April 20, 2013

A 19-year-old Florida man called 911 twice in one night to complain that he "didn't like the way his mother was talking to him." Vincent Valvo didn't specify the exact nature of his mother's comments, but police who charged him with abusing the emergency line said he smelled like alcohol. Samantha Rollins

survival story
April 26, 2015

Girl Scout cookies save lives.

On Friday, a police helicopter spotted the reflection of a white Ford Explorer near the Crisp Point Lighthouse along Lake Superior in Michigan's Upper Peninsula. Sisters Leslie Roy, 52, of Nebraska and Lee Marie Wright, 56, of Oklahoma, were trapped inside, two weeks after the SUV became stuck in the snow. The two were on their way to visit family, but were unable to call for help because they did not have cellphone reception. The car eventually lost power, and the sisters ended up surviving by wearing layers of clothes, eating the little bit of food they had in the car — Girl Scout cookies and a bag of cheese puffs — and drinking melted snow.

Roy and Wright said that while it was difficult, they never stopped believing they'd finally be rescued. "Through the days and nights while in the woods, we survived using love and hope in our families," they said in a statement to The Associated Press. "Our faith in God held our confidence that we would eventually be found. We took note of circling aircraft, available water resources, the supplies we had. These factors eased our mind and allowed us to stay alive for 13 long days." Catherine Garcia

ch-ch-ch-changes
April 26, 2015
Facebook.com/Pepsi

With sales slipping, PepsiCo announced that it will no longer sweeten Diet Pepsi with aspartame.

Starting in August, Diet Pepsi's new formula will use sucralose and ace-K instead of aspartame, which some people believe is linked to cancer. Seth Kaufman, senior vice president of Pepsi and flavors, told USA Today that the change wasn't due to questions about the safety of aspartame — he said it is perfectly safe for consumption — but what customers said they wanted. "To Diet Pepsi consumers, removing aspartame is their No. 1 concern," he said. "We're listening to consumers. It's what they want."

The new formula tastes exactly the same as the old one, PepsiCo said, and will be used to make all Diet Pepsi flavors, like Caffeine Free Diet Pepsi and Wild Cherry Diet Pepsi. When Diet Pepsi was introduced in 1964, saccharin was used as its sweetener, and in 1983 it was reformulated with aspartame. In 2013, the company began to use aspartame and ace-K. Don't get too excited about ace-K, though, Michael Jacobson, director of the advocacy group Center for Science in the Public Interest, warns. "Consumers should avoid [ace-K] as well," he said. "It is poorly tested, but the tests done by the manufacturer in the 1970s suggest that ace-K, too, might pose a cancer risk." Catherine Garcia

nepal earthquake
April 26, 2015

Helicopters rescuing severely injured climbers and sherpas at Mount Everest's base camp Sunday had to stop after a 6.7 aftershock triggered additional avalanches.

Dozens of climbers and their Nepali guides are still trapped on the side of the mountain at two camps above where the avalanche fell, The Washington Post reports. The ropes and equipment they left up to help them make their descent were swept away in Saturday's avalanche, caused by the devastating earthquake that hit Nepal.

The Indian army estimates that 19 people died at the Mount Everest base camp on Saturday, and 61 people were rescued, primarily foreign tourists. In a Facebook message to the Post, Danish climber Carsten Lillelund Pedersen said that climbers and sherpas stuck higher up on the mountain "are getting desperate," and American climber Jon Kedrowski wrote on his blog that there were "head injuries, broken legs, internal injuries, and impalements" as well as "contusions and lacerations from flying debris." No one has a solid number on how many people are trapped and how many died, but Eric Johnson, a physician on the board of Everest ER, said that during peak climbing season, more than 1,500 people, including climbers, sherpas, and porters, are at base camp. Catherine Garcia

Foreign affairs
April 26, 2015

On Sunday, an Israeli airstrike reportedly killed four suspected militants who approached the Israel-Syria border with an explosive device.

In a statement, the army said that as the group began to come closer to Israeli forces, an Israeli aircraft was launched and fired, killing all four. The incident took place east of Majdal Shams, a Druze village on the Israeli side of the Golan Heights, and the army has raised its alert level along the northern border of Israel, the Los Angeles Times reports.

Reports emerged on Saturday that airstrikes attributed to Israel hit army and Hezbollah targets in Syria earlier in the week, but Israel's army did not comment. On Sunday, Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon said, without directly mentioning the strikes, that the country "will not allow the transfer of advanced weapons to terror organizations, first and foremost Hezbollah." He said Iran was arming Hezbollah, and Israel would "not allow Iran and Hezbollah to build terror infrastructure on our border with Syria. ... We can put our hands on anyone threatening Israel's citizens." Catherine Garcia

This just in
April 26, 2015
Handout / Getty Images

In what would be a sharp reversal of policy, the U.S may no longer threaten to prosecute families who seek to pay ransoms to foreign hostage-takers, according to ABC News. "There will be absolutely zero chance of any family member of an American held hostage overseas ever facing jail themselves, or even the threat of prosecution, for trying to free their loved ones," one senior official familiar with the internal policy review told ABC. The administration faced criticism last year after the family of James Foley — an American journalist held hostage and executed by ISIS — claimed the administration repeatedly threatened them over their attempts to negotiate directly for Foley's release. Jon Terbush

2016 Watch
April 26, 2015
Ronald Martinez / Getty Images

Former President George W. Bush on Saturday said his brother, Jeb, faces a unique hurdle in the presidential horse race: his own name.

While fielding questions at a closed-door meeting of the Republican Jewish Coalition, Bush "acknowledged being a liability to his brother's candidacy," according to The New York Times, which spoke to attendees as they left the event.

"He basically said being a Bush is a challenge," Norm Coleman, a former senator and current RJC board member, told the Times.

"That's why you won't see me," Bush reportedly said, according to the paper. Jon Terbush

2016 Watch
April 26, 2015
Andrew Burton / Getty Images

The head of the Clinton Foundation on Sunday acknowledged that the global charity "made mistakes" in how it disclosed and handled donations.

Responding to recent criticism of the foundation that threatened its reputation and Hilary Clinton's nascent presidential campaign, acting CEO Maura Pally said the foundation would commit to greater transparency and limit donations from foreign governments. Moreover, she acknowledged clerical errors in the organization's tax forms, but insisted the overall revenue figures were correct.

"So yes, we made mistakes, as many organizations of our size do, but we are acting quickly to remedy them, and have taken steps to ensure they don't happen in the future," Pally wrote in a statement posted to the foundation's website. Jon Terbush

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