How Guam and other areas are preparing amid escalating North Korea nuclear tensions

iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) — As the war of words ratchets up between North Korea and Donald Trump, some cities and other areas within the zone of a possible strike are taking steps to prepare their residents.

While many pieces of the North Korean nuclear puzzle remain unknown, such as whether a rocket could survive reentry, as well as whether the country’s leader, Kim Jong Un, will act, some localities are taking measured steps in that direction.

Officials in Hawaii and now Guam have released updated preparedness plans and warning sheets for how their citizens should react in case of a nuclear detonation or imminent missile threat.

The threat of possible missile attack, which North Korea has explicitly made against Guam, prompted the release of several fact sheets on a government website.

Hawaiian officials also updated their guidance in recent weeks.

But many other American cities appear to be taking a more limited approach, pointing residents towards existing plans to address a wide array of natural and man made disasters.

Top U.S. officials have also urged calm, including Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, who said Americans should “sleep well at night.”

How Guam is preparing residents

The website for Guam’s Homeland Security Office of Civil Defense has been updated recently with a number of fact sheets detailing the emergency alert system and giving tips on what to do before, during and after an imminent missile threat.

One of the fliers, “preparing for an imminent missile threat,” instructs readers to listen for official information and emergency guidance, take cover, stay inside and not to look at the flash or fireball if caught outside in order to avoid being blinded.

The site also redirects visitors to websites run by the Centers for Disease Control and federal government sites dedicated to building emergency supply kits, tips for sheltering in place and preparing their pets for disasters.

On Wednesday, the offices of Guam Homeland Security and Civil Defense released a statement saying that their military partners “continue to monitor the recent events surrounding North Korea and their threatening actions.”

The statement went on to say that Guam’s homeland security adviser George Charfauros “has not received any statement that there is an imminent threat.”

Guam Gov. Eddie Calvo told Reuters Wednesday after that threat was made that he thinks that North Korea is operating from “a position of fear.”

“At this point, based on what facts are known, there is no need to have any concern regards heightening the threat level,” Calvo said.

On Friday, Calvo held a briefing during which he said the preparedness releases were published for “eventualities,” emphasizing that life should carry on as usual.

“It’s a weekend. Go out and have fun,” Calvo said.

Hawaii’s updated guidance on what to do in event of detonation

Another American island — Hawaii — recently updated its guidance on what to do in case of a nuclear detonation, posted July 21 on Hawaii Emergency Management Agency. The substance of the revision was not immediately clear.

The revised plan details how a siren will sound or emergency alert systems will notify people of a nuclear detonation in addition to the observation of a “brilliant white light (flash).”

From there, people are directed to get inside, stay inside and stay informed via radio stations or small portable walkie-talkies.

The plan notes that there are no designated blast or fallout shelters in Hawaii.

“You may have only minutes to take protective action — take immediate action without delay,” the plan states.

The plan, which is on Hawaii State Department of Defense letterhead, is labeled as being revised on June 27. No motivation for the release or update was publicly disclosed on the Hawaii Emergency Management Agency.

ABC News reached out to the state’s emergency management agency, but did not immediately get a response.

Ground-based interceptor system protects Alaska and continental U.S.

The ground-based interceptor system is in place to defend Alaska and the mainland United States against long-range missiles.

There are 32 ground-based interceptors at Fort Greely, Alaska, and an additional four at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California. The missiles have just over a 50-percent success rate in intercepting incoming long-range missiles in testing over the past decade.

“[The interceptor] would have a hard time protecting Hawaii, but it would protect Alaska and the mainland,” ABC News Aviation Consultant Steve Ganyard, a retired Marine Corps colonel, said.

One problem, however, is that it “could not handle a barrage of 10 incoming missiles. It could pick off a few, but we’re not there yet. It’s too developmental a system,” he added.

The emergency management office for Anchorage did not immediately respond to an ABC news request for comment.

The Alaska division of homeland security and emergency management does not have a specified nuclear preparedness plan and Anchorage, Alaska, takes an “all-hazards” approach which has also been adopted in cities like San Francisco and Los Angeles in California.

“During the 1980s the United States government transitioned from the old Civil Defense ‘fallout shelter’ model of the Cold War-era, to the FEMA ‘All Hazards’ approach used today,” said Andrew Preis, the Emergency Programs Manager for Anchorage. “What that means to us here in Anchorage is the same preparedness activities undertaken for a large magnitude earthquake would also apply to a nuclear threat as well.”

West Coast tells residents to heed general emergency plans

On the mainland, several population centers on the West Coast repurpose their emergency plans for other disasters, whether they be natural like earthquakes or tsunamis, or man-made like terrorism and a nuclear attack.

Washington state does not have a specified nuclear detonation plan, with much of the state’s focus being paid to possible earthquakes or tsunamis given the fault lines there.

“A nuclear strike certainly presents unique challenges but the state has exercised for and prepared for a variety of disasters and many of our response capabilities would be useful following a nuclear event,” said Karina Shagren, the spokesperson for the Washington Military Department.

Officials in both Los Angeles and San Francisco take an “all hazards” approach to emergency planning.

“The situation with North Korea has understandably caused concern about what might happen if a nuclear strike targeted and reached the Los Angeles area,” said Kate Hutton, public information officer for the City of Los Angeles Emergency Management Department. “We continue to closely monitor this situation as well as all threats and hazards we might face in Los Angeles.”

Seattle, Los Angeles and San Francisco, like most major metropolitan areas in the United States, have alert systems that residents can sign up for on their phones or via email.

“It’s a very alarming possibility and it’s concerning should something of this nature happen,” Kate Hutton, the spokesperson for the San Francisco department of emergency management, told ABC News.

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US airstrikes target al-Shabab fighters in Somalia

iStock/Thinkstock(MOGADISHU, Somalia) — The U.S. military conducted offensive airstrikes in Somalia on Thursday against fighters with al-Shabab, an affiliate of al-Qaeda.

No details were provided by U.S. Africa Command as to the targets of the airstrikes, which were the fourth offensive airstrikes carried out in Somalia since President Trump authorized such actions in March. Previously, only self-defense airstrikes could be carried out in Somalia in support of American advisers and Somali troops.

“On August 10, the Department of Defense conducted two kinetic strikes against al-Shabab militants,” said a statement from U.S. Africa Command. “The operation occurred near the Banadir region in southern Somalia.” Banadir is the administrative region surrounding the Somali capital of Mogadishu.

“This strike was conducted within the parameters of the proposal approved by the president in March 2017, which allows the U.S. Department of Defense to conduct lethal action against al-Shabab within a geographically defined area of active hostilities in support of partner forces in Somalia,” the statement said. “We will continue to assess the results of the operation and will provide additional information as appropriate.”

The president gave the U.S. military authority to target al-Shabab in a designated area of Somalia south of Mogadishu with prior notification to the Somali government.

This authorization for offensive actions has been used sparingly. The first airstrike occurred in June, with two others following in July, including one on July 31 that killed Ali Jabal, a senior al-Shabab leader who was alleged to have planned terror attacks in Mogadishu.

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Trump says U.S. military solutions for North Korea are ‘locked and loaded’

The White House(WASHINGTON) — As tensions with North Korea escalate, President Trump said in a tweet that U.S. military solutions are “now fully in place, locked and loaded, should North Korea act unwisely.”

Military solutions are now fully in place,locked and loaded,should North Korea act unwisely. Hopefully Kim Jong Un will find another path!

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 11, 2017

The U.S. Pacific Command tweeted Thursday that U.S. bombers on Guam stand ready “if called upon to fulfill” U.S. Forces Korea’s “FightTonight” mission if called upon.

#USAF B-1B Lancer #bombers on Guam stand ready to fulfill USFK’s #FightTonight mission if called upon to do so

— U.S. Pacific Command (@PacificCommand) August 11, 2017

“FightTonight” is the slogan U.S. Forces Korea use to reflect America’s commitment to defending South Korea at a moment’s notice from any North Korean aggression.

While on a working vacation in Bedminster, New Jersey, the president on Tuesday warned North Korean leader Kim Jung Un and his regime that if they continue to threaten the U.S., they will be met with “fire and fury like the world has never seen.”

On Thursday, Trump told reporters that perhaps that warning “wasn’t tough enough.”

North Korea has for a decade been testing ballistic missiles and working to develop its nuclear program with the goal of building a weapon capable of reaching the continental United States. The threat from the country intensified when North Korean leader Kim Jung Un’s regime for the first time launched a two-stage intercontinental ballistic missile on July 4.

According to an assessment released Tuesday, U.S. intelligence analysts said they believe they may have the technology to develop a miniaturized nuclear warhead that can fit onto a ballistic missile.

The United Nations Security Council unanimously voted last Saturday to implement new sanctions against North Korea, banning exports worth over $1 billion, in response to the country’s most recent missile test on July 28.

North Korea slammed the sanctions as a “violent infringement of its sovereignty” and said it would take “thousands-fold” revenge against the U.S.

The following day, Trump ramped up the rhetoric: “North Korea best not make any more threats to the United States. They will be met with fire and fury like the world has never seen,” he said.

In response to Trump’s comments, North Korea announced that it plans a missile strike on waters near the U.S. territory of Guam, which is home to several U.S. military bases.

Guam has a defense system — the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense, or THAAD — in place to shoot down an incoming ballistic missile.

The U.S. also has the option of conducting a pre-emptive strike targeting North Korean missiles and nuclear facilities, but that could trigger an attack by Kim Jong Un on South Korea that could lead to a devastating number of civilian causalities.

The U.S. has 28,500 troops permanently stationed in South Korea and 54,000 troops in Japan. The U.S. Navy has also stationed destroyers and cruisers in Japan that are capable of destroying missiles from North Korea shortly after they are launched.

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Diplomats react to Trump thanking Putin for expelling US embassy workers

iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) — Current and former U.S. diplomats reacted to President Trump’s comments thanking Russian President Vladimir Putin for expelling U.S. embassy workers with dismay.

“As far as I’m concerned, I’m very thankful that he let go of a large number of people, because now we have a smaller payroll,” Trump said at a briefing at his golf club in Bedminster, New Jersey, on Thursday.

“We’ll save a lot of money,” he added.

It’s unclear if the U.S. would save any money because of the expulsion. Any diplomats removed from Russia would be sent to posts elsewhere around the world.

The Russian order to expel 755 U.S. diplomats last month came in response to new sanctions imposed by the U.S. A diplomatic row over Russian interference in the 2016 election began last year after President Obama ordered the seizure of two diplomatic facilities used by Russia in the U.S. and the expulsion of 35 diplomats and their families.

One of those compounds, in rural Maryland outside of Washington, was said to be used for espionage, according to former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper.

A State Department official who is a foreign-service officer told ABC News the message from Trump thanking Putin is “really quite sad.”

“I’m not even angry. It’s just saddening,” the official said, who spoke on the condition of anonymity. The official cited what they said is the perception among State Department employees that Trump does not support the institution or its diplomats abroad and a sense that “he just doesn’t get it.”

A former U.S. ambassador also noted a pattern in the comments: “For reasons we do not yet know, the president cannot bring himself to criticize Putin.”

The comments were swiftly condemned on a bipartisan basis as well — by foreign policy voices across the political spectrum.

Harvard University professor Nicholas Burns, who was ambassador to NATO and Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs under President George W. Bush, called Trump’s comments disrespectful.

As a Foreign Service veteran, I find it lamentable that our great career diplomats are treated with such disrespect by their President

— Nicholas Burns (@RNicholasBurns) August 10, 2017

The longtime Middle East diplomat and negotiator Aaron David Miller tweeted about the president’s comments.

Having served at State for 25 yrs under R/Ds, Trump’s defense of Putin over expelled US diplomats one of most shameful of his presidency

— Aaron David Miller (@aarondmiller2) August 10, 2017

And Stanford professor Michael McFaul, who served on President Obama’s National Security Council and as his ambassador to Russia, tweeted a string of critiques.

Imagine dissing Americans –patriots serving our country under difficult conditions in Russia -to praise Putin. Our president did today.

— Michael McFaul (@McFaul) August 10, 2017

But former U.S. ambassador to Poland and State Department sanctions czar Dan Fried tried to find a different take on Trump’s comments.

“If in a generous mood, you could argue that POTUS is showing Putin that he isn’t bothered by this,” he told ABC News.

Tillerson has said the U.S. will decide how to respond to the expulsions by Sept. 1.

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Virginia governor orders National Guard on standby ahead of ‘alt-right’ rally

iStock/Thinkstock(CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va.) — Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe has placed the National Guard on standby in preparation for a rally in Charlottesville on Saturday, where at least 1,000 nationalists are expected to attend.

The Unite the Right rally is scheduled to take place Saturday at McIntire Park in Charlottesville, the city said on its website. The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) said in a statement that the event could be the “largest white supremacist gathering in a decade.”

McAuliffe said in a statement that while he believes the majority of the rally’s participants will express their views “safely and respectfully,” he believes that some attendees may be violent.

“Virginia is the birthplace of the rights to freedom of speech and peaceful assembly that make our country great,” McAuliffe said. “…However, in advance of tomorrow’s rally, there have been communications from extremist groups, many of which are located outside of Virginia, who may seek to commit acts of violence against rally participants or law enforcement officials.”

Below is Governor McAuliffe’s statement on the planned rally in Charlottesville, VA on Saturday, August 12th:

— Terry McAuliffe (@GovernorVA) August 11, 2017

#UniteTheRight rally could be the largest gathering of #whitesupremacists in over a decade. Our full statement:

— ADL (@ADL_National) August 11, 2017

McAuliffe urged residents who plan to attend — whether in support or opposition of the rally — to make alternative plans.

“Many of the individuals coming to Charlottesville tomorrow are doing so in order to express viewpoints many people, including me, find abhorrent,” he said. “As long as that expression is peaceful, that is their right. But it is also the right of every American to deny those ideas more attention than they deserve.”

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) is representing the event’s organizer — right-wing blogger Jason Kessler — in a lawsuit filed Aug. 10 against the city of Chartlottesville and City Manager Maurice Jones. The suit claims that Kessler’s first amendment and constitutional rights were violated because on Aug. 7, city officials initially tried to revoke his original event permit, and then changed the location of the event.

The city claimed that this was a result of the high number of expected attendees, and not because of public pressure to stop the rally from taking place, Claire Gastañaga, executive director of the ACLU of Virginia, told ABC News.

While Gastañaga said the ACLU disagrees with Kessler’s speech, she criticized city officials for attempting to revoke the permit without due process.

“We think it’s important the government make decisions in the sunlight,” she said.

A representative for the city of Charlottesville did not immediately respond to ABC News’ request for a comment in regard to the lawsuit.

The rally is expected to draw at least 1,000 participants, according to an affidavit from Charlottesville Police Chief Al Thomas, which was provided to ABC News from the ACLU. Emancipation Park, the original event location, would have been unable to accommodate a peaceful crowd safely, Jones said in an affidavit.

“There is no doubt that Mr. Kessler has a First Amendment right to hold a demonstration and to express his views,” the city manager wrote in a statement on Aug. 7. “Nor is there any doubt that we, as a city, have an obligation to protect those rights, the people who seek to exercise them, and the broader community in which they do. We have determined that we cannot do all of these things effectively if the demonstration is held in Emancipation Park.”

Large crowds are also expected in downtown Charlottesville on Saturday, the city said, with high numbers of protesters demonstrating against the rally expected to be among those in attendance.

When Kessler applied for the permit on May 30, he proposed the event as a “free speech rally in support of the Lee monument,” according to Jones’ affidavit. The city has plans to remove a statue of Confederate General Robert E. Lee from Emancipation Park, which was formerly known as Lee Park, according to the complaint.

“Just as the Unite the Right participants have the right to air their views, so do those who want to protest against those views,” said Charlottesville Mayor Mike Signer in a statement. “Democracy can be noisy, and it can be messy. But by ensuring we protect both public safety and the Constitution through the city manager’s decision, I firmly believe that we will emerge from the weekend of August 12 a stronger community than ever.”

ADL CEO Jonathan A. Greenblatt said the organization agrees with Signer.

“The white supremacist rally in Charlottesville is the latest indication that the darkest corners of society are emboldened to come forward and openly parade their bigotry on main street,” said Greenblatt. “We continue to stand with Charlottesville Mayor Signer and those who reject intolerance. Hate has no place in our communities.”

On May 13, noted white nationalist Richard Spencer led protesters with torches in a Charlottesville rally against the planned removal of Confederate statues in the city.

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New Hampshire hospital evacuates emergency and operating rooms after complaints of nausea

ABC News(EXETER, N.H.) — A hospital in Exeter, New Hampshire, was partially evacuated Friday after mysterious complaints of nausea and lightheadedness, officials said.

The incident occurred at Exeter Hospital around 11:15 a.m. ET. Nineteen staff members were sickened in the operating room. Fire crews were dispatched, and both the operating room and emergency room areas were evacuated and closed, according to a hospital spokesperson.

The rest of the hospital was safe, the spokesperson said.

The operating room staff members were medically evaluated and 12 staffers were transported to nearby hospitals. Everyone is doing well, a spokesperson said later on Friday.

Six patients were removed from the emergency room as a precaution, the spokesperson added.

In a press conference Friday evening, a spokesperson said everything is back to normal and that there is no concern at this time at the hospital. After conducting several tests, the hospital deemed that whatever was there this morning is no long there, the spokesperson said.

While the situation was abnormal, the spokesperson said he felt comfortable giving the all-clear.

All 19 hospital staffers were discharged after they underwent thorough examinations and testing, the spokesperson said.

Investigators are working to determine the cause of the mysterious symptoms.

The next step is to thoroughly clean the building the spokesperson said, but it is unclear when the operating room and emergency room areas will reopen.

The Exeter Police Department urged residents and local fire departments via Twitter to not bring new patients to Exeter Hospital due to the evacuation.

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Marine Corps grounds aircraft for 24 hours following deadly crashes

iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) — In the wake of two deadly aviation accidents, the Marine Corps has ordered a 24 hour “operational reset” that will ground all of its aircraft to reinforce safety and training procedures among Marine pilots, air crews and maintenance teams.

The pause ordered by General Robert Neller, the commandant of the Marine Corps, will occur at the discretion of unit commanders over the next two weeks, so as to not impact air operations.

According to a Marine statement, the operational reset will “focus on the fundamentals of safe flight operations, standardization, and combat readiness.”

“The intent is for flying squadrons to review selected incidents which occurred enterprise-wide and study historical examples of completed investigations in order to bring awareness and best practices to the fleet,” the statement continued.

The safety stand down was ordered after three Marines were killed last week when a MV-22 Osprey aircraft crashed off the coast of Australia. In July, 15 Marines and a sailor were killed in the crash of a Marine Reserve KC-130T in Mississippi.

The last time the Marine Corps conducted such a safety stand down was in August 2016, following a series of fatal F/A-18 crashes.

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‘Strongest kid that you’ll ever meet’: 4-year-old survives being shot in head in apparent road rage incident

iStock/Thinkstock(CLEVELAND) — A 4-year-old boy who was shot in the head in an apparent road rage incident in Cleveland is “doing great” after undergoing surgery, doctors said Friday.

The 4-year-old was shot while driving with his mother and 7-year-old sister late Sunday evening, police said. The mother honked her horn to pass another car blocking the road, that car allegedly followed the mother onto the freeway and fired shots into the woman’s car, police said.

“He’s doing great,” Dr. Krystal Tomei, chief pediatric neurosurgeon at Cleveland University Hospitals at University Hospitals Rainbow Babies & Children’s Hospital, said at a press conference on Friday. “Out and about playing.”

The bullet went through the front of the 4-year-old’s brain, Tomei said. Surgeons used parts of the boy’s skull and titanium plates to repair the damage.

“He was incredibly lucky,” she said, later adding, “We usually don’t see kids with similar injuries have this kind of outcome.”

Cecilia Hill, the boy’s mother, thanked doctors for their efforts to save her son.

“I lost my faith that night because as a mother I was not able to protect my kids,” she said. “It’s the only thing that keeps me going every day … is that my kids are stronger than me.”

She added: “He’s the strongest kid that you’ll ever meet.”

Two men have been arrested in connection with the shooting, according to local ABC affiliate WEWS-TV.

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Hundreds of NYPD officers applaud as injured cop leaves hospital

WABC-TV(NEW YORK) — Hundreds of New York Police Department officers and hospital staff members stood shoulder to shoulder as 30-year-old officer Hart Nguyen left Jamaica Hospital Medical Center on Friday.

Nguyen was shot while responding to a call from a mother who said her emotionally disturbed son was acting erratically in their Brooklyn home on Thursday, police said. That man, later identified as 29-year-old Andy Sookdeo, barricaded himself in a room, leading to a standoff, according to police.

Sookdeo’s mother originally told 911 dispatchers her son was not violent or armed, police said.

When officers approached the bedroom where Sookdeo was reportedly barricaded, Sookdeo opened fire, hitting Nguyen, police said.

Nguyen was shot three times — twice in the chest and once in his forearm. Fortunately, Nguyen was wearing a bulletproof vest, which is credited with saving his life.

“This young man was definitely saved by his vest, it made all of the difference here,” Mayor Bill de Blasio said at a news conference after the shooting.

Nguyen has only been on the force for two years, but his family in blue showed up in droves to celebrate his release from the hospital.

Nguyen grinned from ear to ear, waving to his fellow officers and giving them a thumbs-up as they thunderously applauded.

Officers knelt and took photos as Nguyen climbed into a vehicle to be escorted home.

Sookdeo was later found dead inside the bedroom of the apartment from an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound, police said. There were two guns near Sookdeo’s body, according to police.

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Toilet-clogging iguana is far from a pipe dream

iStock/Thinkstock(FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla.) — A large lizard drew quite a few stares in Florida – not for its size, but its location.

Oscar Tabares was trying to unclog a toilet at his family’s warehouse last Wednesday. When a plunger couldn’t do the job he called on family to help him remove the toilet.

Tabares told ABC affiliate WPLG-TV an iguana was looking back at him in the toilet’s drain pipe, and he has the video to prove it.

Footage provided to WPLG-TV shows Tabares’ uncle playing reptile wrangler and removing the lizard with a piece of rope.

The Sunshine State is no stranger to surprise guests in its plumbing. In May, a woman in Miami called 911 after finding an iguana in her toilet.

Lt. Felipe Lay of Miami-Dade Fire Rescue told WPLG-TV earlier this year that iguanas are “excellent swimmers and they can hold their breath for an extended period of time.”

As for the fate of this most recent commode-loving curiosity, Tabares said his uncle safely released the iguana outside.

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