(LONDON) -- Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni signed one of the world's harshest anti-LGBTQ bills into law on Monday.
The Anti-Homosexuality Act 2023, which was introduced in Uganda's Parliament in early March, calls for the death penalty for "aggravated homosexuality," which is defined as cases of same-sex relations involving people who are HIV positive as well as with minors and other categories of vulnerable people. Anyone else who engages in gay sex could face life imprisonment if convicted, while anyone caught trying to have same-sex relations could face up to 10 years in prison.
Ugandan Parliament Speaker Anita Annet Among was the first to announce on Twitter that the president had signed the bill into law, saying Museveni had "answered the cries of our people."
"I thank His Excellency, the president, for his steadfast action in the interest of Uganda," Among tweeted. "With a lot of humility, I thank my colleagues the Members of Parliament for withstanding all the pressure from bullies and doomsday conspiracy theorists in the interest of our country."
An earlier draft of the legislation also criminalized "the offence of homosexuality," meaning anyone who identifies as LGBTQ or "any other sexual or gender identity that is contrary to the binary categories of male and female" may be subject to imprisonment of up to 10 years if convicted. Lawmakers passed that version of the bill in late March after several readings and hours of debate. The proposed legislation was then sent to the president, who subsequently returned the bill to Parliament in April, asking for changes that would differentiate between identifying as LGBTQ and actually engaging in homosexual acts amid outcries from human rights groups and Western governments. Lawmakers passed an amended version of the bill in early May that does not criminalize those who identify as LGBTQ.
Homosexuality was already illegal in Uganda, as in over 30 of Africa's 54 countries. It was first criminalized in the East African nation under colonial laws, but there had never been a conviction for consensual same-sex sexual activity since independence from Britain in 1962.
Human rights advocates had said they plan to challenge the legislation in court if it's signed into law.
Prior to the bill's signing, members of Uganda's LGBTQ community reported being on the end of increasing discrimination and violence. Many said they are worried about their personal liberties and safety.
"There are no words to describe the feeling of being persecuted by everyone around you, just for being yourself, for being who you are," Atuhaire, a Kampala-based member of Uganda's LGBTQ community, told ABC News in March, using only their first name to protect their personal safety.
"The vitriol and we receive daily on social media has always been vicious, but nothing like the last few months," Grace, a Ugandan LGBTQ activist, also told ABC News in March.
(NASSAU, Bahamas) -- A recent high school graduate from Louisiana is missing after going overboard while on a trip to the Bahamas, school officials and the United States Coast Guard said.
Cameron Robbins, who attended University Laboratory School in Baton Rouge, was on a trip with a group of students when he went overboard on Wednesday night, according to school officials.
The incident occurred around 9:40 p.m. local time near the area of Athol Island, according to the Royal Bahamas Police Force.
The 18-year-old "reportedly jumped from a pleasure vessel," the Royal Bahamas Police Force said in a statement.
The U.S. Coast Guard said Thursday that it was assisting with search efforts for a missing U.S. citizen "believed to have fallen overboard from a sunset cruise near Nassau" on Wednesday. A Coast Guard spokesperson confirmed to ABC News that the search was for Robbins.
The teen fell off the Blackbeard's Revenge sunset cruise ship, the Coast Guard said.
The Coast Guard provided air assistance in the search and rescue mission, which was being led by the Royal Bahamas Defence Force, according to Petty Officer 3rd Class Ryan Estrada. But on Friday evening, the Coast Guard was informed by the Royal Bahamas Defence Force that they were suspending the "active search efforts" for Robbins "pending further developments" and were no longer requesting assistance from the Coast Guard after notifying Robbins family, according to Lt. Cmdr. John W. Beal.
"We offer our sincerest condolences to Cameron Robbins’ family and friends," Beal said in a statement.
The Coast Guard said Saturday its crews searched more than 325 square miles before concluding its search efforts.
The Bahamas vacation was not a school-sanctioned trip but included students from several high schools in the area, including between 10 and 15 students from the Laboratory School, the school's director, Kevin George, told ABC Baton Rouge affiliate WBRZ in an interview on Thursday.
The school just held its graduation on Sunday.
George described Robbins as a "great kid" and athlete who had been with the school for 13 years, since the start of his education.
"Just one of those kids that you're so proud of once they cross the stage," George told WBRZ.
Students held a prayer circle for Robbins on Thursday morning following news that he was reported missing, holding hands outside the Laboratory School, located on the main campus of Louisiana State University.
"It's a tight-knit family," George said. "The kids reached out to us wanting to know, could they do a prayer circle. Obviously we agreed. We really appreciated their leadership in this trying time."
Robbins has a sister who is a junior at the school, according to George, who said he spoke to their father on Thursday morning.
"It's just a really emotional time for us right now," George said. "Just trying to send up our prayers and give our support."
"Let's continue to pray and pray that we find Cameron safe and sound," he added.
(BELGOROD, Russia) -- At least two people have died in strikes on Russian territory as Russia reported more attacks on Saturday, with drones crashing in its western regions and areas on the border with Ukraine coming under shelling, according to Russian officials.
Russia's Belgorod region on the border with Ukraine came under multiple rounds of shelling, killing one person, according to its governor, Vyacheslav Gladkov.
In the neighboring Kursk region, which also borders Ukraine, one person was killed by cross-border mortar fire, Kursk Gov. Roman Starovoit said.
Two drones attacked an oil company's administrative building in Russia's western Pskov region that borders Belarus, Latvia and Estonia, Pskov Gov. Mikhail Vedernikov reported Saturday.
Vedernikov said the building was damaged as the result of an explosion.
Another drone went down in the Tver region about 150 kilometers, or 90 miles, north of Moscow, according to local authorities.
Meanwhile, Russian forces continued their offensive operations, but the pace of the attacks decreased, according to Ukrainian officials.
"Yesterday and today there have not been any active battles – neither in the city nor on the flanks," Deputy Defence Minister Hanna Malyar said on Telegram.
She added that Moscow’s troops were shelling the outskirts and approaches to Bakhmut.
"The decrease in the enemy’s offensive activity is due to the fact that troops are being replaced and regrouped," Maliar said. "The enemy is trying to strengthen its own capabilities."
According to Maliar, Ukrainian troops "firmly hold" the heights overlooking Bakhmut from the north and south, as well as a portion of the outskirts, but have not advanced during the past two days to focus on "other tasks."
(KUWAIT CITY) -- An American soldier was killed in a non-combat rollover accident in Kuwait, U.S. officials said late Friday.
Spc. Jayson Reed Haven, 20, of Aiken, South Carolina, died from a rollover accident that occurred in a non-combat situation on Thursday at Camp Buehring in the northwestern desert of Kuwait, about 20 miles from the southern border of Iraq.
The fatal incident remains under investigation, according to a press release from the U.S. Department of Defense. Further details were not immediately available.
The news of Haven's death came just days before Memorial Day, a federal holiday for honoring and mourning those who have died while serving in the United States Armed Forces.
"There are no words that can adequately express how deeply saddened I am at the loss of one of our own," Maj. Gen. Van McCarty told Haven's hometown newspaper, the Aiken Standard. "SPC Jayson R. Haven was more than just a member of the South Carolina National Guard; he was family."
Haven, a machine gunner, had received multiple medals and awards during his service with the South Carolina National Guard. He was assigned to Company B, 1st Battalion, 118th Infantry Regiment, 218th Maneuver Enhancement Brigade, based in Charleston. He initially joined the U.S. Army in 2020, according to the Aiken Standard.
Haven was deployed to Kuwait to support Operation Spartan Shield, an effort to strengthen U.S. defensive relationships throughout Southwest Asia, according to the Army.
Vehicle accidents involving rollovers are a leading cause of death for the U.S. military.
While rollovers only account for a quarter of vehicle accidents, they contribute to 63% of accidents involving a death between 2010 and 2019, according to a 2021 report by the U.S. Government Accountability Office.
That same report found that the military did not take sufficient action during that time frame to reduce the often preventable accidents, which accounted for 123 deaths for the Army and Marines between 2010 and 2019.
(NEW YORK) -- The tiger conservation efforts in Asia have been so successful that they had an unintended -- and equally beneficial -- consequence of preventing further some greenhouse gas emissions from entering the atmosphere, a new study finds.
Enhanced protection of Indian forests for tiger conservation has prevented 1 million metric tons of carbon emissions as a result of averted forest loss, according to a paper published Thursday in Nature Ecology & Evolution.
The highest proportion of the world's wild tigers -- Panthera tigris -- live in India. When the Indian National Tiger Conservation Authority was established in 2005 to rehabilitate the country's dwindling tiger population, many of the tiger reserves were designated in the subsequent years, with the most recent ones being established in 2022, according to the researchers.
While the sites were already considered protected areas, the designation as tiger reserves resulted in enhanced monitoring and enforcement of forest protection. In addition, the tiger reserves were required to prepare a conservation plan that regulates forest product extraction, reduces deforestation drivers and encourages sustainable livelihoods for communities within the reserves.
Researchers compared rates of deforestation in tiger reserves to protected areas without the additional tiger protection and calculated that there was "significantly" less deforestation than what would have occurred without the enhanced protection in 11 of the 45 studied tiger reserves, according to the paper.
This forest conservation amounted to 5,802 hectares -- or more than 14,000 acres -- of net averted forest loss from 2007 to 2020, which the researchers estimate corresponds to net avoided carbon emissions of about 1.08 million metric tons.
India, the third-largest emitter in the world behind China and the U.S., released 2,442 million metric tons of total carbon dioxide emissions produced in 2020, according to the Global Carbon Atlas. In comparison, the amount of avoided carbon emissions from tiger conservation is "not massive," but is still significant, Aakash Lamba, a conservation scientist at the National University of Singapore's Center for Nature-based Climate Solutions and lead researcher of the paper, told ABC News.
The avoided deforestation could be worth about $6.24 million in carbon offsets and could represent about $92 million in ecosystem services from the avoided social cost of emissions in India, the researchers said.
Among the noteworthy results of the study was the finding that tiger conservation essentially pays for itself in terms of the avoided damages from climate change-related impacts, especially because India is one of the most vulnerable countries when it comes to the social cost of carbon, Lamba said.
Over the study period, more than a quarter of the annual expenditure on tiger conservation was paid back every year, in terms of avoided climate change impacts, the researchers found.
"Every additional tonne of carbon dioxide-equivalent emissions leads to about $86 [U.S.] in damages to the Indian economy," Lamba told ABC News.
One of the reasons why tigers have flourished in Asian countries like Nepal, India, Bhutan, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka is because these cultures tend to revere big cats, experts told ABC News last year.
In addition to the mythology, local communities, who tend of be the "custodians" of the tiger habitats, have emerged as key stakeholders in the conservation of the species, and are beginning to benefit from the ecotourism that has grown since the programs began. The conservation has become an "important way to enhance the livelihoods of the people who share their space with wild tigers," Lamba said.
Growing up in India, Lamba was "fascinated" by the big cat, he said.
"The tiger is one of the most charismatic and highly protected wild species in India," the paper states.
The findings show how protecting biodiversity on the planet with effective monitoring and management can benefit both species conservation and climate targets.
Traditionally, biodiversity conservation and climate change mitigation have been been addressed as "fairly separate issues, but they're quite intimately linked," Lamba said.
Researchers are continuing to gather empirical evidence to establish that link, Lamba added.
(WASHINGTON) -- Earlier this week, an unknown number of heavily armed soldiers stormed over Ukraine’s north-eastern border with Russia.
At around the same time, Russian media reported explosions inside Belgorod. Russian officials later said Ukrainian artillery was used to fire into Belgorod.
The official version of events from the Ukrainian side is that only Russian nationals, belonging to two far-right paramilitary groups, were involved in the assault.
So far there is no evidence to contradict that claim.
The two paramilitary groups involved are the Russian Volunteer Corps and the Free Russia Legion. They are made up of Russian nationals who have been fighting in Ukraine alongside the Ukrainian military since Russia launched its full-scale invasion.
It is unclear whether the Ukrainian-backed operation in that region is completely over.
On Thursday, the governor of the Russian region of Belgorod, Vyacheslav Gladkov, claimed that the Ukrainian military was shelling areas inside Belgorod and that Russian air defense had been active in a district of Belgorod, which borders Ukraine.
There have been other reports of explosions and drone attacks in the Russian region.
Eyewitness testimony from local civilians, videos circulating online and images filmed by independent media in Belgorod back some of those reports up.
The Ukrainian-backed far-right paramilitary groups who claimed responsibility for the operation in Belgorod also alleged, without providing details, that their mission was "still ongoing."
Denis Kapustin, the leader of the Russian Volunteer Corps, told reporters that "Phase One" of the operation had ended. He also claimed that "Phase Two" would begin "in a couple of days."
The Russian authorities took the threat seriously and launched a counterterrorism operation in the border region.
Some local residents were also evacuated from settlements close to the border where the fighting was taking place.
The level of strategic military success achieved by the Ukrainian-backed mission in Belgorod is unclear.
On Wednesday Kapustin claimed his men had taken control of roughly 16 square miles of territory inside Russia.
He also claimed two of his fighters had been killed in the raid. Russian officials said dozens of "terrorists" had been killed.
None of these figures can be independently verified.
Publicly, Ukraine has tried to distance itself from the execution of the operation in Belgorod, however, there is mounting evidence that Ukraine was involved.
A commander for the Free Russia Legion, who goes by the military callsign of "Cesar," told reporters on Wednesday that armored vehicles, "light weaponry" and "artillery weapons" used in the operation were supplied by Ukraine.
Speaking at the same event in northern Ukraine, Kapustin drew a distinction between the actions of his men in Ukraine and the operation on the other side of the border in Belgorod.
"Everything we do within the state borders of Ukraine we obviously coordinate with the Ukrainian military. Everything we do, every decision we make beyond the border (of Ukraine) is our decision," he claimed in a response to a question from ABC News.
Kapustin told reporters that his men had been "encouraged" by the Ukrainian military.
"They wished us good luck," he said.
Despite trying to distance themselves from the actual military operation in Russia, Ukrainian officials have celebrated what has been happening on social media and have mocked the Russian authorities for appearing to have lost control of an area near the border for an extended period of time.
In some ways, the apparent tactics of Ukraine are reminiscent of the Kremlin’s modus operandi in Ukraine’s eastern Donbas during a war which began in the spring of 2014.
Back then, Russia armed and supported Ukrainian separatists but falsely denied any involvement.
Aleksey Baranovsky, a Russian dissident who is part of the Political Center of Russian Armed Opposition, suggested to ABC News that the Kremlin was now receiving a dose of its own medicine.
"This game works both ways," said Baranovsky, whose organization is a political affiliate of the paramilitary groups which conducted the operation in Belgorod.
"Putin thought that he was the only one to play this game," he said. "One should respond to aggression with cunning. And Ukraine has been doing that in a smart way, as have the Russian volunteers."
Far right links
Fighters from the two paramilitary groups were also questioned by reporters on Wednesday about their neo-Nazi and white supremacist links.
Kapustin said his group had never hidden the fact it was a far-right organization.
"We are conservative traditionalist right wingers. I don’t care what [the Russian authorities] call us. Should we care how our enemy insults us?" he said.
The spokesman of the Russian Volunteer Corps claimed his group was "more centrist" than the Russian Volunteer Corps.
Both groups emphasized that their fight against Vladimir Putin’s regime in Russia gave them a common cause with Ukraine.
According to Kapustin, the Ukrainian military and his group are "brothers in arms."
The timing of the operation is noteworthy, coming as Ukrainian officials promise a major counteroffensive "soon."
(LONDON) -- An American tourist was seriously injured in a shark attack in Turks and Caicos on Wednesday, authorities said.
The 22-year-old Connecticut woman was snorkeling with a friend in the waters off Providenciales island at around 3 p.m. local time when a shark attacked, according to the Royal Turks and Caicos Islands Police Department.
A resort employee contacted police and requested an ambulance, telling officers that the victim had her leg bitten off. Officers and an ambulance were then dispatched to the scene, police said.
The victim was transported to the nearby Cheshire Hall Medical Centre, where she remains hospitalized in serious condition, according to police.
ABC News' Anselm Gibbs contributed to this report.
(LONDON) -- One of the world's most wanted fugitives, accused of involvement in the Rwandan genocide, has been arrested in South Africa after more than two decades on the run, authorities announced Thursday.
Fulgence Kayishema was taken into custody in Paarl, about 35 miles northeast of Cape Town, on Wednesday afternoon in a joint operation by the United Nations' International Residual Mechanism for Criminal Tribunals (IRMCT) and South African authorities. He is accused of orchestrating the killing of thousands of people at a church in the Kivumu commune of western Rwanda's Kibuye prefecture in 1994 when he was the local police inspector, according to the IRMCT's Office of the Prosecutor.
"Fulgence Kayishema was a fugitive for more than twenty years. His arrest ensures that he will finally face justice for his alleged crimes," IRMCT Chief Prosecutor Serge Brammertz, who led the investigation, said in a statement on Thursday. "Genocide is the most serious crime known to humankind. The international community has committed to ensure that its perpetrators will be prosecuted and punished. This arrest is a tangible demonstration that this commitment does not fade and that justice will be done, no matter how long it takes."
The Rwandan genocide occurred in 1994 as divisions between Rwanda's two main ethnic groups came to a head. The Rwandan government, controlled by extremist members of the Hutu ethnic majority, launched a systemic campaign with its allied Hutu militias to wipe out the Tutsi ethnic minority, slaughtering more than 800,000 people over the course of 100 days, mostly Tutsis and the moderate Hutus who tried to protect them, according to U.N. estimates.
In April 1994, during the early days of the genocide, more than 2,000 Tutsi men, women and children sought refuge in the Nyange parish church in Kivumu after they were surrounded and attacked by Kayishema's police force and members of the Hutu militia Interahamwe, according to an indictment filed by the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda in 2001. The indictment accuses Kayishema of directly participating in the planning and execution of the attacks on the Tutsi population in Kivumu and the ensuing massacre at the church.
Kayishema, a Hutu, allegedly obtained and distributed fuel in an attempt to burn down the church while the Tutsi refugees were barricaded inside. He and others then allegedly brought in a bulldozer to demolish the building, causing the roof to collapse on those inside. Anyone found alive was killed. Kayishema and others then supervised the burial of the bodies in mass graves over the next two days, according to the indictment.
Most of Kivumu's Tutsi population was killed in the church massacre. By July 1994, there were no known Tutsis left in the area, according to the indictment.
The indictment charges Kayishema, now in his 60s, with one count of genocide, one count of complicity in genocide, one count of conspiracy to commit genocide and one count of extermination as a crime against humanity.
The genocide ended in July 1994 when a rebel group led by a Tutsi major-general named Paul Kagame defeated Rwandan government forces and took control of the country. Kagame became Rwanda's de facto leader before officially assuming the role of president in 2000.
Kayishema, along with many others who were allegedly involved in the genocide, ultimately fled Rwanda and used fake names and forged documents to conceal his identity and whereabouts. He also relied upon a network of trusted supporters, including relatives, former Rwandan soldiers, ex-Hutu militiamen and those aligned with the genocidal Hutu Power ideology, according to the IRMCT.
The investigation leading to Kayishema's arrest spanned multiple countries across Africa and elsewhere and was conducted in cooperation with many law enforcement and immigration agencies. Now, there are only three remaining fugitives indicted in the Rwandan genocide, according to the IRMCT.
"Kayishema's arrest demonstrates yet again that justice can be secured, no matter the challenges, through direct cooperation between international and national law enforcement agencies," Brammertz said. "Today is a day to think of the victims and survivors of the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi. While twenty-nine years have passed, they continue to bear the physical and mental scars of their suffering. My Office reaffirms that we will not rest in our efforts to secure justice on their behalf, and by carrying out our mandate contribute to a more just and peaceful future for the Rwandan people."
The Rwandan government said its prosecutors worked with the IRMCT's Office of the Prosecutor and South African authorities to ensure that Kayishema "will finally face justice."
"Nearly 30 years later, we have a long list of Rwandan genocide fugitives still at large in several countries around the world," a Rwandan government spokesperson told ABC News in a statement on Thursday, "and we will continue to work with partner states and institutions to ensure that they are held to account for crimes committed in the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi."
(WASHINGTON) -- The Biden administration is investigating claims that American munitions initially supplied to the Ukrainian government have been used in a rare cross-border attack on Russia by groups of anti-Kremlin assailants, U.S. officials said on Wednesday.
"We're looking into those reports that the U.S. equipment and vehicles could have been involved," White House National Security Council spokesperson John Kirby told reporters.
Matthew Miller, the State Department's spokesperson, said that while U.S. policy against using weapons supplied to Ukraine outside of the country's borders is clear, the exact circumstances surrounding recent attacks on Russian soil were not -- yet.
"We have not reached any conclusions," he said. "I wouldn't want to prejudge either the outcome or when we'll reach that outcome."
Still, Miller's comments marked a notable shift from earlier in the week when administration officials expressed skepticism about reports circulating online alleging that U.S.-supplied weapons were fueling the incursion.
On Tuesday, Miller said the accusations were being leveled by "armchair intelligence analysts" and based off of "fuzzy pictures on social media."
But on Wednesday, he said, "Since then, there have obviously been media reports with additional images. We're looking into those reports."
The Pentagon has confirmed that no third-party transfer agreements from Ukraine to paramilitary groups have been approved by Washington or requested by Kyiv.
While Miller declined to say what consequences Ukrainian officials could face if the U.S. assesses the claims are accurate, sources within the administration say that determination will very likely be made at the highest level of the federal government.
The recent spate of attacks on Belgorod, a Russian oblast just over 20 miles from the Ukrainian city of Kharkiv, picked up on Monday, with drone footage capturing plumes of smoke over the region and local officials reporting that "Ukrainian saboteurs" had broken across the frontlines.
The Russian Volunteer Corps and Freedom of Russia Legion -- two Russian paramilitary groups cooperating with Ukraine -- have taken credit for conducting the operation.
Leaders from both forces have also said that they received weaponry, intelligence and guidance from Ukraine to carry out their mission, which one described as "ongoing."
A spokesperson for the Ukrainian government asserted that the two organizations were behind the attacks but denied that Ukraine had played any role.
Belgorod's governor said that at least one Russian civilian was killed and that eight have been wounded, and Moscow has promised to retaliate.
While the fog of war has made verifying any of the assertions surrounding the attacks in Belgorod exceedingly difficult, U.S. officials have a vested interest in determining whether American weapons and equipment were used -- both to avoid the risk of fueling escalation with Moscow and to ensure Kyiv is properly managing lethal assistance in repelling Russia's invasion.
ABC News' Tom Soufi Burridge, Benjamin Gittleson and Matt Seyler contributed to this report.
(NEW YORK) -- Orcas may be teaching each other to attack boats following a spate of strikes on sailboats off the coast of Europe, some observers say.
Sailors have reported a series of "coordinated" attacks by a group of orcas, including a May 22 strike on a 26-foot vessel sailing off the coast of Cape Spartel, near the Strait of Gibraltar.
"[Six] orcas arrived, 2 adults very big, 4 smaller ones," sailor JP Derunes wrote in Orca Attack Reports, a Facebook group dedicated to flagging orca activity. "Both rudders destroyed and blocked … Boat to be hauled off later this week."
That attack followed a nighttime strike on May 4, when a Swiss yacht named Champagne, which was also sailing through the Strait of Gibraltar, was attacked by three orcas. They struck its rudder, eventually sinking it, reported Yacht, a German boating news outlet.
At least 15 human-orca incidents were recorded in 2020, the year in which the aggressive encounters are believed to have begun, according to a study published in the journal Marine Mammal Science. Many of those attacks included orcas biting or striking the rudders of sailboats.
No casualties appear to have been reported in the attacks.
Scientists said spikes in aggression may have been started by a female orca whom scientists have named "White Gladis."
White Gladis is believed to have suffered a "critical moment of agony" such as a boat collision, which inflicted trauma on the orca, triggering a behavioral switch that other killer whales have learned to imitate.
The majority of orca-sailor encounters have been harmless.
"In more than 500 interaction events recorded since 2020 there are three sunken ships. We estimate that killer whales only touch one ship our of every hundred that sail through a location," Alfredo López Fernandez, a biologist at the University of Aviero, told Live Science.
According to a study in Biological Conservation, a peer-reviewed journal, "sophisticated learning abilities" have been found to exist in orcas, with imitation found to be particularly significant.
(NEW YORK) -- A U.S. nonprofit created after a school shooting is helping troops in Ukraine learn crucial medical care -- and some soldiers on the ground credit the new skill set with saving lives.
Stop the Bleed, a nonprofit collaboration from the American College of Surgeons formed in the aftermath of the 2012 mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School, is training Ukrainian soldiers and giving kits that could save lives to troops fighting Russia's invasion of Ukraine.
Dr. Roxolana Horbowyj, a Philadelphia-based surgeon, has been teaching Stop the Bleed directly to people in Ukraine via Zoom. Horbowyj said she used to teach the techniques in person in Ukraine before the war started but faced challenges when students did not have tourniquets. Now, she instructs soldiers about how to use everyday items to stanch bleeding.
"We use a sock-like scarf that's meter by meter, a spoon and a keyring, and they're very specific steps of what to do. And it works," said Horbowyj, who is of Ukrainian descent.
The nonprofit also released a YouTube video in Ukrainian to train those who could not be trained in person or virtually.
A Ukrainian soldier who survived in Bakhmut for a month said that the skills from Stop the Bleed were invaluable.
"[The skills] even saved my life sometimes. ... If I am writing to you now, then I was successful in them," said the soldier.
The soldier asked ABC News not to share his or her identity due to safety concerns.
Dr. Aaron Epstein, the founder of the non-governmental organization Global Surgical and Medical Support Group which partners with Stop the Bleed, agreed that the work is critical, saying he's heard anecdotally that hundreds of trainees have saved lives amid the conflict. treated some of the injured in Ukraine and educated medical personnel on the frontlines.
"These people probably could have left and fled to Europe, but knowing full well that they had some level of medical knowledge as med students or residents chose to stay and try and learn more and kind of that higher level [medical training] to help their fellow Ukrainian citizens," said Epstein, whose mission is to train those in war zones.
Stop the Bleed distributed bleeding control equipment, including 50,000 combat application tourniquets, after receiving $99,000 in donations. The organization has trained more than 20,000 Ukrainians as of January, according to its website.
But the work comes with risks, including discovery of the new resources by Russian forces.
"They're much more muted and much more careful -- I know they can't always speak," Horbowyj said of her more recent visits to train troops. "Some of the classes that we had we might have to take a pause because somebody's bomb alarm went off."
Epstein said his team was targeted by a drone in Ukraine, but luckily lost it in a neighboring building.
"It's just particularly heinous when they deliberately target someone who is trying to help someone else. It just is kind of barbaric," said Epstein.
Horbowyj said that ambulances and even medics are often targeted.
"The medics will pull someone out and be you know, sheltered behind a rock or something, a drone with a grenade and come find them and drop a grenade on them too," said Horbowyj.
Epstein said that seeing the atrocities has made him more motivated to help Ukrainians, but also made him more grateful for life in the U.S.
"Whenever I hear med students or residents say, 'Oh man, I'm so stressed out. I didn't get my six hours of sleep last night.' Well, at least you don't have the Russians coming here to kill you tomorrow," said Epstein.
Epstein said that his next step is to provide more surgical relief, training and support. But, he noted, the most important thing is "the relief of being there for people."
Horbowyj told ABC News she hopes to provide frontline medic training in person.
May is National Stop the Bleed Month, which encourages people to learn how to stop bleeding before first responders arrive.
While Ukrainian officials have released very little information on military casualties, there have been an estimated 22,734 civilian casualties including 8,490 deaths and 14,244 people injured since Russia invaded in February 2022, the United Nations said in April.
(LONDON) -- Prince Harry, the Duke of Sussex, has lost his bid to challenge a decision that he cannot pay for police protection while he is in the United Kingdom.
A judge ruled Tuesday that Harry cannot bring a second case against the U.K. Home Office, querying their stance that Metropolitan Police protection could not be bought.
Harry, the fifth in line to the throne, has been fighting back against a 2020 decision by the government that denied his family automatic police protection while in Britain after he and his wife Meghan, the Duchess of Sussex, stepped down from their roles as senior working royals.
At the time, the Executive Committee for the Protection of Royalty and Public Figures, known as RAVEC, made a decision that security for the Sussexes would be granted on a case-by-case basis.
A spokesperson for Harry and Meghan declined to comment Tuesday about the court ruling.
Harry, who now lives in California with Meghan and their children Archie and Lilibet, has said he wants police protection for his family while on British soil and is willing to pay for the cost himself, but the Home Office denied that request.
The judge ruled Tuesday that Harry could not seek to challenge that decision.
Harry is still involved in a separate, ongoing case with the Home Office as to whether he should still be entitled to Met Police security while he is in the U.K.
Harry has only returned to the U.K. a handful of times since moving in 2020.
The latest court ruling in the U.K. comes just days after Harry and Meghan claimed they were involved in a "near catastrophic car chase" while being pursued by paparazzi in Manhattan, where Meghan received an award.
A spokesperson for the couple accused paparazzi of being "highly aggressive" and driving on the sidewalk and running red lights during a two-hour "relentless pursuit" of the famous pair. Harry and Meghan were returning from the Ms. Foundation's annual gala at the Ziegfeld Ballroom on May 16, along with Meghan's mother, Doria Ragland, when the incident reportedly occurred.
"While being a public figure comes with a level of interest from the public, it should never come at the cost of anyone's safety," the spokesperson said.
Police sources, however, have said the episode did not involve the amount of paparazzi the spokesperson claimed.
Police sources told ABC News two New York Police Department detectives were present at the Ziegfeld when Harry and Meghan emerged from the event and drove alongside the couple's private vehicle to get them home.
Along the way, police sources said photographers on bicycles are visible on security cameras, but not the kind of caravan described by sources close to Harry and Meghan. The police sources didn't discount the idea that whatever occurred may have been scary for those involved.
Since moving to California, the Sussexes have relied on a privately funded security team.
The family's current security situation is similar to that of Harry's late mother Princess Diana, who had to rely on private security protection after her divorce from Harry's father King Charles III in 1996.
One year later, in 1997, Diana died in a car crash in Paris after the car she was riding in was pursued by paparazzi.
"When Diana died, she didn't have police protection. She had a private security team at that point," Victoria Murphy, ABC News royal contributor, said last year. "And I think it's very clear that Prince Harry feels that the police protection is superior and that that is what he wants for his family."
(NEW YORK) -- Researchers have discovered hundreds of new animal and plant species in remote parts of the world previously inaccessible to humans, according to the World Wildlife Fund.
Among the 380 newly found species include animal vertebrates such as a color-changing lizard, a thick-thumbed bat, a poisonous snake named after a Chinese mythological goddess, an orchid that looks like a muppet and a tree frog with skin that resembles thick moss. They were all found in the greater Mekong region in Asia, according to the WWF's New Species Discoveries report published on Sunday.
Along the Mekong River, which separates Laos and Thailand, lies miles and miles of forests housed in mountainous regions. Without roads, people have no access to the undiscovered species, which causes them to remain a mystery but also allows them to thrive, K. Yoganand, conservation biologist and wildlife ecologist and WWF-Greater Mekong regional wildlife lead, told ABC News.
"These species have been there," Yoganand said. "It's just, they've escaped, so far, the human destruction."
Hundreds of scientists from universities, conservation organizations and research institutes around the world discovered 290 plants, 19 fishes, 24 amphibians, 46 reptiles and one mammal in Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam, according to WWF.
The lush evergreen forests drenched regularly by rainfall and hidden in the mountains may contribute to the plethora of plant and animal species that live there, Yoganand said.
Nearly 4,000 vascular plants, fishes, amphibians, reptiles, birds and mammals have been discovered in the Greater Mekong region since 1997, according to the report.
One of the species scientists learned of is the Khoi's mossy frog, a large, mossy-green colored amphibian, which helps it blend into the lichen and moss-covered stony, leafy background. The discovery was described as a "spectacular find" by the WWF.
An extremely venomous snake called the Suzhen's krait was also found. It was named after the Bai Su Zhen, a snake goddess from a Chinese myth called the Legend of the White Snake, according to the WWF.
Discovered in the Tenasserim Mountains bordering Myanmar, researchers found Thailand's bent-toed gecko, named after the mythical tree nymph Rukha Deva, who is said to live in trees and protect the forests, according to the WWF. The gecko aggressively opens its mouth and waves its tail side-to-side when threatened, the scientists said.
A semi-aquatic snake now known as Hebius terrakarenorum was found in the Dawna-Tenasserim Landscape between Thailand and Myanmar, according to the report. It is about 2-feet long and was identified entirely from road-kill specimens collected over a decade, as well as a few photos, researchers said.
Human encroachment is already affecting some of the newly discovered species. In Vietnam, agricultural encroachment and logging, as well as collection by communities to use as a traditional cure for abdominal pain and parasitic infection, is threatening the Thai crocodile newt, researchers said.
In Vientiane, the capital of Laos, the habitat of a new species of gecko is also being fragmented by construction projects, according to the WWF.
While many of the discoveries were the result of people surveying a never-before-explored area, some of the discoveries were known species that, after further analysis, researchers determined have several different subspecies, Yoganand said.
In Cambodia, researchers discovered the blue-crested agama, an aggressive lizard that changes color as a defensive mechanism. It was identified by studying lizards found near an Angkor era archeological site, according to the WWF. While the species has been known since the first specimen was collected in Myanmar in the 19th century, genetic analysis conducted in 2021 determined that these actually constitute many different species, Yoganand said.
Hayes' thick-thumbed myotis, a mouse-eared bat with unusual fleshy thumbs that was named a new species after a specimen sat in a Hungarian museum for 20 years.
"These remarkable species may be new to science but they have survived and evolved in the Greater Mekong region for millions of years, reminding us humans that they were there a very long time before our species moved into this region," Yoganand said in a statement.
While the Mekong region is a global diversity hotspot it is also experiencing a "vast array of threats," WWF-US Asian Species Manager Nilanga Jayasinghe said in a statement.
"We must continue to invest in the protection and conservation of nature, so these magnificent species don't disappear before we know of their existence," Jayasinghe said.
There are 25 known global diversity hotspots around the world, including the Amazon in Central America and the eastern Himalayas, Yoganand said, adding that he expects the scientific community to keep discovering more and more species.
Immediate action and increased use of new technologies, such as bio-acoustics and genetic sequencing, are needed to help scientists discover more species in the region, Truong Nguyen, a researcher with the Institute of Ecology and Biological Resources at the Vietnam Academy of Science and Technology, said in a statement.
"To reverse the rapid biodiversity loss in the region, more concerted, science based, and urgent efforts need to be made and conservation measures need more attention from governments, NGOs and the public," Nguyen said.
(NEW YORK) -- More than 50 years ago, a plane carrying 45 passengers and crew, including a Uruguayan rugby team and some of their friends and family, crashed in the Andes mountains in Argentina.
For 10 weeks, the survivors had to deal with the extremes before they were rescued, including subzero temperatures, two back-to-back avalanches and near starvation, left with no choice but to eat from the remains of their deceased friends to stay alive.
"We are dead men walking, but…we are still walking," Nando Parrado, one of the 16 survivors of the Uruguayan Air Force Flight 571 crash, told ABC News.
Parrado and others who lived through the ordeal share their incredible story of fear, loss and survival in an ABC News Studios documentary "Prisoners of The Snow" premiering on ABC on May 22 at 9 p.m. ET and streaming on Hulu the next day. In addition to interviews with survivors, mountaineers and survival experts, the two-hour program will include photographs taken by the passengers who lived through the 72-day ordeal.
On Oct. 12, 1972, the flight was supposed to take the amateur Old Christians Club rugby team from Montevideo, Uruguay, to Santiago, Chile, for an exhibition match against the Old Boys Club, an English rugby team in Santiago.
Bad weather prevented the team from making it all the way to Santiago, and the plane was forced to land in Mendoza, Argentina overnight.
Despite high winds, the next afternoon, the plane took off again for Santiago. The Fairchild aircraft was unable to climb to the necessary 26,000 feet to fly directly over the Andes Mountain range, so the pilots opted for a U-shaped route where they were able to fly lower through a mountain pass, according to aviation expert and ABC News contributor John Nance.
With the air traffic control clearance, the pilots began their descent. However, they didn't realize it was too soon, and that they were headed straight in the heart of the Andes, Nance said. The pilot was unable to clear the ridgeline and the airplane hit the mountain.
Upon impact, both wings and the tail tore off. The remaining fuselage slid down the mountain at high speed until it hit the bottom of the valley.
"I was thrown with an incredible force, and as I was fainting, I was realizing that I was alive and the plane had stopped," Roberto Canessa, one of the survivors, told ABC News.
Twelve people were killed as a result of the crash. The remaining 33 survivors had varying degrees of injury.
Two of the survivors who had medical training, including Canessa who was a medical student at the time, quickly scrambled to tend to the wounded. Parrado's mother died in the crash and his sister was badly injured. She died days later.
Parrado himself suffered a skull fracture and was in a coma for three days before he woke up.
"I said, 'I'm not dead. Why? Because I was thirsty. I was thirsty.' And I said, 'If I'm thirsty, I'm not dead,'" Parrado recalled.
Parrado and the other survivors would face a struggle to quench their thirst and hunger until their expected upcoming imminent rescue. But that rescue wasn't coming.
And although they were surrounded by snow, there were no initial means to melt it into drinking water.
"You can eat snow, but the snow hurts your mouth," survivor Carlos Páez Rodríguez told ABC News.
Eventually, the survivors used metal from the wreckage to construct a device that melted the snow to water using sunlight. But their food supply was limited, according to mountineer Ricardo Pena. Survivors said in those first few days, they would share a little square of chocolate or a little bit of cracker with a little bit of fish in it, and some wine.
By day 10, they learned from the plane's transistor radio that a search had been called off.
After long discussions and out of desperation, the survivors said the group came to a painful decision to harvest the bodies of the dead passengers for food. It was their only option for survival. They compared it to taking communion.
"We shook our hands and we say, 'If I die, please use my body. So at least you can get out of here. And tell my family how much I love them,'" Parrado said.
As the group continued to plan for a way to safely look for help, they would face another deadly obstacle on day 17. Two avalanches swiftly raged down the mountain and the fuselage became entombed in snow with everyone inside.
"You don't see, you don't hear, you cannot move and you are dying," Canessa said.
Eight of the initial survivors were killed in the avalanche. The remaining 19 survivors were stuck in a small space between the snow and the bulkhead, a space that would comfortably have fit four.
Their only option for food was to eat from the bodies inside the fuselage that did not survive the avalanche.
"It's a very, very humiliating thing to eat a dead body," Canessa said. "I thought of my mother that I had unique chance of telling her not to cry anymore, that I was alive. And to do that, I had to buy time, and to buy time, I had to eat the dead bodies."
After three days, the survivors said they were able to tunnel their way out of the snow and see daylight.
The survivors were highly motivated to continue exploring ways to get back to civilization.
Canessa, Parrado and Antonio "Tintin" Vizintín, one of their fellow teammates, eventually found the tail end of the plane. In it, they said they found suitcases with some warm clothing, a small amount of food and batteries.
"They were like, well, we could connect that to the radio and make the radio work and call for help," Peña said. "It was like, if we can make the radio work and call for help, let's do that instead of risking our lives."
But they were ultimately unable to get the radio to work.
Eventually, the survivors devised a plan where Parrado, Canessa and Vizintín were to make an escape.
Once this was decided, the survivors ensured that Parrado, Canessa and Vizintín, who they named "the expeditionaries," ate a larger portion of the food supplies to build up their strength, according to an interview that the survivors told John Guiver, the author of "To Play the Game," which chronicled their story.
Bolstered by several layers of clothing, and travel gear, including a sleeping bag that was patched together from materials of the plane wreckage, the men set out to be saved on Dec. 12: day 61 of their ordeal.
What they anticipated to be a one-day trek from the valley where the fuselage lay, up to the top of the mountain took them three days.
Parrado was disheartened to see snowy mountains all around them, instead of the green valleys of Chile.
"The most frightening moment of the 10 day trek for me was when I reached the summit of the first mountain and I looked what laid ahead," Parrado said.
Parrado suggested to Canessa and Vizintin that because the trek was longer than they expected, Vizintin should go down to update the others, and leaving Parrado and Canessa with Vizintin's food ration.
Parrado and Canessa's trek down the mountain proved even more treacherous, and Parrado said his shoes began to break. By the eighth day of their journey, the men approached a river bank and found signs of life: including cattle, a cattle track and a rusty soup can.
The trail led them to a pivotal moment in their journey. Cannesa recalled seeing a man riding a horse down the slope of a small mountain. He immediately alerted Parrado who quickly began running down the slope towards the man.
Parrado caught the attention of this man on a horse, Sergio Catalan, but because of the loud roar of the river between them, Canessa said they couldn't hear each other. However, he said he heard Catalan say the word "mañana," Spanish for tomorrow, indicating when he would return.
"That dream tomorrow we always had, was real now," Canessa said.
The next day Catalan and his two sons returned and threw Parrado a rock with some paper attached and a pencil across the river.
Parrado wrote down a message that would ultimately change his fate and the fate of his fellow survivors: "I come from a plane that crashed in the mountains. I am Uruguayan. We have been walking for 10 days. I have 14 friends wounded on the crash site. We need help. We don't have any food. Please come and get us."
"As soon as he read my message, he went for help," Parrado said. "And that was probably the brightest moment in the 72-days."
Catalan traveled 10 hours on horseback to alert the authorities, and soon the military, police, journalists and others came, according to Parrado.
Alipio Vera, who was a reporter for Televisión Nacional de Chile (TVN) and on the scene, told ABC News, "they were very weak, their voices were barely audible...it was incredible, to see people that were rugby players, who were pretty strong, now they were almost skeletons."
"I took their blood pressure, respiration, pulse and everything," said Wilma Koch, the nurse who attended Parrado and Canessa upon their rescue, told ABC News. "At that moment, well, Roberto looked very faint, but with a lot of spirit. But Nando looked better."
Back at the crash site, the remaining survivors had heard the news about the successful expedition from their radio, and they began to prepare for their own rescue.
Parrado said he led helicopter pilots to the site and the crews arrived on Dec. 22, day 71.
The 14 survivors at the fuselage were taken to safety with two trips over two days. Referring to the helicopters, survivor Carlos Páez Rodríguez recalled: "I saw them as two gigantic birds, bearers of freedom. I cannot explain that moment's happiness."
Upon their rescue, the survivors were treated for several conditions including malnutrition and scurvy.
When word began to spread about the survivors eating the dead, they addressed the media as a team.
"Some thought it was good, some thought it was bad, but I couldn't care less," Canessa said. "They don't have any kind of right to judge us."
Quickly the sensational headlines faded and many public figures, including the Pope, expressed sympathy for their struggles. Their story would be the subject of several books, including ones written by Parrado, Canessa, Strauch and Páez, and was adapted into the 1993 film "Alive."
The crash would also inspire the fictional Showtime show "Yellowjackets."
Beyond the fame and spotlight, many of the survivors would go on to lead long lives and have families.
"We trusted each other. We fought for each other," Parrado said. "So this is a rugby story. Rugby saved my life."