<![CDATA[NBC Connecticut - National & International News]]> Copyright 2016 http://www.nbcconnecticut.com/news/national-international http://media.nbcbayarea.com/designimages/NBC_Connecticut.png NBC Connecticut http://www.nbcconnecticut.com en-us Mon, 08 Feb 2016 02:47:37 -0500 Mon, 08 Feb 2016 02:47:37 -0500 NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA[Hillary Clinton Calls Flint Water Crisis 'Immoral']]> Sun, 07 Feb 2016 17:10:42 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/ClintonFlint-AP_578549665494.jpg

Hillary Clinton called for “action now” to fight the water crisis in Flint, Michigan, in a speech she made to a packed congregation in the city, NBC News reported.

Clinton, who stepped away from the campaign trail in New Hampshire to visit Flint, called on Congress to pass a $200 million bill to replace the city’s water infrastructure.

"This has to be a national priority," Clinton said at the House of Prayer Missionary Baptist Church. "What happened in Flint is immoral. The children of Flint are just as precious as the children of any part of America."

Clinton promised residents she would return to the city and not to be discouraged. With the DNC sanctioning an additional debate in Flint for March 6, Clinton will be back in the city two days before the Michigan primary.

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Obamas Talk Super Bowl Menu and the President Predicts Winner]]> Sun, 07 Feb 2016 19:08:14 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/potus-dogs-football.jpg

The "Let's Move" campaign is taking a short hiatus at the White House for the Super Bowl.

The campaign, led by First Lady Michelle Obama, is focused on curbing obesity, but she admits that the first family takes "Let's Move" rules off the table for the big game.

"It's your basic wings, pizza, nachos, guacamole," the president said of the menu in an interview with CBS News' Gayle King. "There's a vegetable tray that nobody touches."

Asked what aspect of the game they enjoyed most, the first lady says the game is tackled in three ways at the White House: the serious watchers who go to the Treaty Room, the outside room where the kids are "fooling around by the food," and then there's the "champagne room."

"That's where my mother sits. Where you really don't know what's going on but you're close to the champagne," Michelle Obama said.

The first lady also revealed that she "cares deeply" about the half-time show, which this year is headlined by Coldplay and will feature special guest performances by Beyoncé and Bruno Mars.

"I got dressed up for the halftime show," Michelle Obama said. "I hope Beyoncé likes what I have on."

King also asked the president to make a secret Super Bowl prediction to be revealed Monday morning on "CBS this Morning." Obama was given a piece of paper with an image of each team and told to circle his choice.

There was just one problem. Producers didn't cut the camera located behind Obama's shoulder and possibly prematurely broadcasting his selection.

Social media erupted with speculations of Obama's pick, many guessing the Carolina Panthers.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.

Photo Credit: @WhiteHouse
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<![CDATA[Gloria Steinem Apologizes for Comments About Young Women]]> Sun, 07 Feb 2016 18:26:06 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/GloriaSteinem-GettyImages-508082072.jpg

Feminist icon Gloria Steinem has apologized for implying that younger women have chosen to support Sen. Bernie Sanders over Hillary Clinton because they want to meet men, NBC News reported.

"In a case of talk-show Interruptus, I misspoke on the Bill Maher show recently, and apologize for what's been misinterpreted as implying young women aren't serious in their politics,” she said in a statement posted on Facebook.

On the Friday edition of HBO’s “Real Time with Bill Maher,” the host asked why so many young women were not supporting Clinton during her bid for presidency. Steinem replied that young women were thinking “’Where are the boys?’ The boys are with Bernie.” 

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Poisoned Water: Flint's Contamination Crisis in Photos]]> Wed, 03 Feb 2016 15:53:06 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/180*120/GettyImages-506974772_master-flint.jpg

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Rubio Campaigns in N.H.]]> Mon, 08 Feb 2016 02:35:07 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/214*120/Marco+Rubio+NH+020716.jpg

Marco Rubio was roundly criticized by insiders for his debate performance Saturday night, but he was back on the New Hampshire campaign trail Sunday trying to regain some momentum.

"This is the first primary in the country that's going to get to answer the question, 'What happens next to America,'" Rubio said.

It was game on for Rubio on Super Bowl Sunday. At a Watch party for the game, he wasted no time acknowledging Saturday night's debate and the searing criticism.

"People think it's a bad thing. I'm going to keep saying it over and over again, Barack Obama is trying to change America," he said.

The Florida senator, who was repeatedly attacked by Chris Christie at the debate, seemed rattled, repeating the same stump speech multiple times after a barrage of hits from the New Jersey governor.

Rubio is placing second in the latest New Hampshire polls. Whether the verbal assault and debate performance hurt his chances will become clearer on Tuesday.

"He stayed on message," said one supporter, Cathy Wienzek of Manchester.

Loyal supporters stood by the candidate.

"I thought the other people went after him because they're scared of him," said Erin Magee of Nashua.

"You're not marrying the guy," said Elizabeth Johnson, who decided Sunday to vote for Rubio. "There's no perfect candidate. You just got to know in your gut what your one or two deal-breakers are, and he doesn't have them.”

For Ann Cea, neither the debate nor the senator's speech Sunday night moved her.

"Right now I'm going to vote for Trump, for Donald Trump," she said.

Rubio had four campaign events in New Hampshire Sunday. On Monday, he has two on the schedule, both in Nashua. 

Photo Credit: necn]]>
<![CDATA[Bush, Christie Hang on in N.H.]]> Mon, 08 Feb 2016 02:23:07 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/Jeb+Bush+Chris+Christie+020716.jpg

Jeb Bush and Chris Christie are looking to build momentum Tuesday, hoping to win over undecided New Hampshire primary voters and surprise pollsters with a strong finish.

With just two days to go, some voters still hadn't made a decision Sunday.

Both candidates are hoping to sway those undecided voters to their sides. Part of their plans are to attack the front runners.

Bush slammed Donald Trump at a rally in Nashua Sunday. Fresh off a strong night at the debate, Christie continued his criticism of Marco Rubio's record.

The latest poll numbers have Bush at 7 percent and Christie at 4 percent - numbers that have to improve in order to be considered winners on Tuesday night.

Photo Credit: necn]]>
<![CDATA[Guard Offered Sex, Drugs to Inmate]]> Mon, 08 Feb 2016 01:45:04 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/214*120/2716dope.jpg

A female guard at New York City's Rikers Island jail faces criminal charges accusing her of planning to provide marijuana to an inmate with whom she was having a sexual relationship, authorities said Sunday.

Nicole Bartley, 30, employed as a correction officer since May 2014, was reporting for her 5 a.m. shift at the jail when Gunner, a drug-sniffing dog, alerted on her as she entered the front gate, investigators said.

Investigators found no drugs on her, but later found about 70 grams of marijuana inside her Bronx home, authorities said.

Under state law, inmates cannot consent to sexual relationships inside the jail, so Bartley was charged Saturday with third-degree rape, a felony, according to the Bronx District Attorney's Office. She was also charged with sexual misconduct, official misconduct, promoting prison contraband and possession of marijuana.

There was no indication that Bartley had obtained a lawyer who could comment on the charges. She was suspended from her job after her arrest.

Bartley is the 26th Rikers staff member arrested since 2014 when the city Department of Investigation began an operation focused on corruption at the facility, said Mark Peters, the agency's commissioner.

"This case involving sex for drugs puts on full display the dangers of corruption in our city's jails and the connection between the drugs, inappropriate relationships and violence that pervade the system," Peters said. 

Photo Credit: New York City Department of Investigation]]>
<![CDATA[Officers Sues Over Fatal Shooting]]> Mon, 08 Feb 2016 00:40:48 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/quintonio+bettie.jpg

The Chicago Police officer who shot and killed 19-year-old Quintonio Legrier in December 2015 filed a lawsuit Friday against LeGrier’s family's estate.

Officer Robert Rialmo says LeGrier assaulted him before any shots were fired, and claims that the accidental shooting death of 55-year-old neighbor Bettie Jones is LeGrier’s fault, not his.

According to his attorney Joel Brodsky, Rialmo is seeking $50,000 for physical and emotional trauma, and $10 million in punitive damages.

Rialmo’s lawsuit is a counter-claim attached to the wrongful death suit originally filed against the city by LeGrier's father, Antonio LeGrier, Brodsky says.

Brodsky says the claim by LeGrier’s attorney that Quintonio was 20-30 feet from Rialmo is false, but rather that Rialmo showed restraint, while Quintonio was much closer with a bat. Brodsky also says that this lawsuit would likely not have been filed if the family didn’t file a lawsuit first.

Quintonio LeGrier was a 19-year-old Northern Illinois University student studying engineering. He was shot and killed around 4:25 a.m. on Dec. 26 in the 4700 block of West Erie in the West Garfield Park neighborhood, as police responded to a domestic disturbance report involving LeGrier and his father.

Jones was a mother of five who lived in the same building and was “accidentally struck and tragically killed,” according to a statement from the Chicago Police Department issued after her death.

Both deaths were ruled homicides, and the Independent Police Review Authority continues to investigate. On Dec. 28, Mayor Emanuel announced a new policy following the incident that officers involved in shootings will now be immediately removed from field duties.

Although police called Quintonio LeGrier a "combative subject," LeGrier’s lawsuit argues that Quintonio was unarmed and "never posed a danger of threat or harm." The suit also called the shooting "excessive and unreasonable.”

Brodsky says his client is suffering tremendously, and doesn’t want people to rush to judgment on what happened.  

<![CDATA[What to Know: Zika Virus Spreads in Americas]]> Tue, 02 Feb 2016 16:11:00 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/AP_670850476149-zika.jpg The spreading of the Zika virus has caused worldwide concern. Health officials think Zika might be connected to the rise in birth defects in the Americas, though it has not yet been proven. WHO has declared the crisis a global emergency.

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[7 Arrested in Spain for Supplying Cash, Weapons to ISIS]]> Sun, 07 Feb 2016 17:50:59 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/217*120/AP_817556148506.jpg

The Spanish interior ministry said seven people involved in an international cell were arrested in Spain Sunday for supplying firearms and cash to terrorist groups in Syria and Iraq, NBC News reported.

Five Spanish nationals of Syrian, Jordanian and Moroccan origin, and two foreigners of Syrian and Moroccan origin were among those arrested. All have links to ISIS and the Al Nusra Front, according to the Spanish interior ministry.

The group operated as a “business complex,” which allowed it to send supplies unsuspected from ports under the guise as humanitarian aid. The leader also encouraged women be recruited to be sent to Syria to marry ISIS fighters.

Officials began investigating the group in 2014. 

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Alleged Thief Gets Stuck in Drain]]> Mon, 08 Feb 2016 01:16:43 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/217*120/storm+drain+020716.jpg

A man who fled from a deputy in Canyon Country, California, after allegedly trying to steal a car was found stuck in a storm drain on Saturday, officials said.

The alleged thief was spotted by an off-duty Ventura County sheriff's deputy attempting to steal a vehicle in the 1800 block of Goodvale Road around 5:30 p.m., according to the Los Angeles Sheriff's Department Santa Clarita Valley Station.

The man fled and the deputy chased after him, only to find him stuck in a storm drain in the 2700 block of Walnut Springs Avenue.

The suspect, identified as Josue Fernandez, was extricated out of the drain by firefighters, officials said.

Fernandez was arrested and booked at a nearby jail.

Photo Credit: Santa Clarita Sheriffs Department]]>
<![CDATA[2 Killed, 4 Injured in Mississippi Parade]]> Sun, 07 Feb 2016 21:33:53 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/police+lights5.jpg

Two men were shot to death and four others injured during a Mardi Gras parade in Mississippi on Sunday, NBC News reported.

The shooting took place Sunday afternoon shortly after the 86th annual St. Paul’s Carnival Association parade in Pass Christian, on Mississippi’s Gulf Coast.

Police said a motive for the shooting remained unclear. Officials said a black man was seen feeling the area with a handgun. No suspects have been taken into custody.  

<![CDATA[Top News Photos of the Week]]> Fri, 05 Feb 2016 13:49:22 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/AP_274948826459-protest.jpg View weekly updates on the very best photos in domestic and foreign news.

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Egyptian Police Kill 4 Suspected Militants]]> Sun, 07 Feb 2016 17:36:33 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/CairoMap.jpg

Security forces raided a house south of Cairo, killing four “terrorist elements” where they were making explosives, according to Egypt’s Interior Ministry.

The four members were suspected members of the Ajnad Misr, or Soldiers of Egypt militant group, NBC News reported.

The ministry said the four are suspected of multiple killings as well as blowing up a police car, a checkpoint and setting fire to police property.

Ajnad Misr claimed responsibility for several attacks since 2013. 

Photo Credit: Google Maps]]>
<![CDATA[Runner Dies in N.C. Krispy Kreme Race]]> Sun, 07 Feb 2016 20:30:27 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-10189107.jpg

A runner in a North Carolina race where participants eat as many at a dozen doughnuts died Saturday, according to race organizers.

The unidentified 58-year-old man, stepped out of the “Krispy Kreme” challenge within the first mile, and was taken to hospital where he was pronounced dead, NBC News reported.

The race's rules state that "casual runners" are not expected to eat the dozen doughnuts while running; "challengers" are required to finish them off and complete the race within an hour. It is unclear if the man was a challenger.

Race organizers did not immediately respond to interview requests from NBC News. Krispy Kreme said in a statement to NBC News that it does not promote, sponsor or donate products to the event or organization. 

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Photos: Super Bowl 50 Halftime Show]]> Sun, 07 Feb 2016 21:22:41 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/180*120/GettyImages-508985810.jpg Images from the Super Bowl 50 Halftime Show featuring Coldplay, Beyonce and Bruno Mars.

Photo Credit: Ezra Shaw/Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA['I Need Your Vote': Trump in NH]]> Sun, 07 Feb 2016 19:42:01 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/214*120/Donald+Trump+NH+020716.jpg

Donald Trump, the billionaire business mogul who has enjoyed the top spot atop the Republican polls in New Hampshire, urged his supporters to come out for him in Tuesday's primary.

Trump held a rally Sunday afternoon at Plymouth State University in Holderness.

"If you're not going to vote for me, do not vote," Trump told the large crowd gathered in a university athletics center.

Not everyone at the rally had their minds made up about how they will vote Tuesday. Nancy McIver of Holderness said she will vote Republican, but is still checking out all the candidates, especially Trump and his opponents who have served as governors.

"Here it is, Sunday, and I have to vote on Tuesday, and I still don't know," McIver said, noting the economy and how to care for veterans and the elderly are of prime interest to her. "I'm running out of time - I've got to make up my mind!"

McIver's husband, Jeff, said he is strongly leaning toward Trump, but noted he did want to first check out the candidate's temperament in person, to gauge how well he may hold up in a general election.

"There's going to be an onslaught of negativity if Mr. Trump is the nominee, I believe, thrown at him," Jeff McIver said. "And he has to prove, to me anyway, that he has a way of dealing with that without losing his temper and prove to the American people that he's a leader."

Two other rally attendees, who described themselves as being "95 percent" and "99 percent" leaning toward Trump, said they had some concerns about the way the candidate, known for his bluntness and sometimes politically incorrect remarks, may treat others if he is the Republican party's nominee.

"He's not very thick-skinned, so I'm a bit worried about that," said Susan Peoples of Salem. "But I do like all his ideas."

"It's the way he words things to people - he might need to tone it down," Kelley Teunessen of Gilmanton told necn, adding she likes Jeb Bush, but was drawn to Trump because he is not a career politician.

At one point during the rally, a shirtless protestor calling Trump "racist," in reference to the candidate's call on a temporary ban on Muslims who want to move to the U.S. from foreign countries, was escorted from the venue.

While security removed the man, who had "Trump is racist" written on his body, Trump supporters loudly chanted the candidate's name.

Outside, another Trump protestor, Plymouth State student Hannah Dutton, said the candidate's presence on campus did not reflect her values or those of many other students.

"I will not be voting for Donald Trump, that is for sure," Dutton told necn. "I do not support his America."

In his energetic speech, Trump claimed victory in Saturday night's Republican debate on ABC, and said he is the candidate who can be tough with foreign leaders while addressing issues at home like growing jobs and stemming the flow of heroin from Mexico into the United States.

Furthermore, Trump promised his supporters in Holderness that because his campaign is largely self-funded, he is not beholden to special interest groups or wealthy donors, so will not always side with influential lobbies.

"I don't need your money; I need your vote," Trump told the crowd at the rally.

Photo Credit: necn]]>
<![CDATA[Driver Fleeing Bar Assault Rams Cars, Runs Over Woman]]> Sun, 07 Feb 2016 15:24:17 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/212*120/2016-02-07_1141.png

Baltimore City Police said an altercation at a Fells Point bar caused a driver to crash into several vehicles before running down a woman in an out of control scene caught on camera.

Police said Orlando Redd, 28, of Parkville, was assaulted inside a bar in the 700 block of South Broadway around 2:15 a.m. Saturday. After fleeing the bar, Reed got into his minivan where the assault continued. A video posted on YouTube shows a man hitting the driver's side window as Reed drives off, slamming into a stopped car at a traffic light.

Investigators said people attempted to get inside the van as Reed put the vehicle in reverse, jumped the curb and hit a woman who was walking out of the DogWatch Tavern.

The van lurched forward along the curb before getting back on the roadway. Police stopped the van a few blocks away at the intersection of South Broadway and Eastern Avenue.

The woman has been identified as Jill Boram by a GoFundMe page, and police said she suffered a fractured skull, broken ribs, a bruised lung, trauma to her pelvis and lacerations to her hips.

Redd was charged with first-degree assault, two counts of second-degree assault, malicious destruction of property, two counts of endangerment and numerous traffic citations. Police are also searching for the men who attempted to assault Redd while he was in the van.

<![CDATA[Cannabis Activists: Pot Could Help Cure 1 of NFL's Ills]]> Sun, 07 Feb 2016 09:03:25 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/CTE-split-stabler-seau.jpg

With much of the NFL world camped out in the San Francisco Bay Area in the days before Super Bowl 50, researchers released sobering news: late Oakland Raiders quarterback Ken Stabler had a degenerative brain disease associated with repeated blows to the head.

Later Wednesday, another late, great QB, Earl Morrall, also was revealed to have had chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), which is associated with memory loss, impaired judgment and progressive dementia. Dozens of former players have been diagnosed, some who died in old age, like Frank Gifford, and a few who took their lives, like Junior Seau.

There is no known treatment for CTE, not least because there's no test that can point it out in the living — it's detected in post-mortem brain scans. But to one former player who's sure his nine-year career gave him the disease, there's an obvious treatment that isn't allowed in the NFL, even though it would be easy to score not far from Levi's Stadium on Super Bowl Sunday for anyone with a doctor's note: medical marijuana.

"If cannabis is implemented and (the NFL) can lead the science on this, they can resolve this brain injury situation in a big way," Kyle Turley said.

Turley is at the forefront of a vocal movement arguing that medical marijuana's pain-suppressing and possible neuroprotective benefits make it the only effective treatment for the effects that chronic concussive blows to the head have on football players. As co-founder of the Gridiron Cannabis Coalition, Turley is the movement's most outspoken member, but it also includes other retired players and rapper/marijuana entrepreneur Snoop Dogg.

More players' brains are found to show signs of CTE with each year that passes. Researchers at Boston University have found evidence of CTE in 96 percent of the NFL players' brains they examined. At the same time, more states are allowing doctors to prescribe marijuana as a medicine – 23 so far, according to National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws.

California was the first state to legalize medicinal marijuana, and remains the only medical marijuana-legal state so far to host the Super Bowl. Nearly half of the medical marijuana identification cards issued in California were prescribed in the Bay Area, according to the Department of Public Health.

A small body of research suggests marijuana can heal head trauma, yet Turley wonders why the league isn't investigating the drug as a medicine. To advocates, hosting the Super Bowl in the region is almost hypocritical, given what they see happening to the heads of NFL players and the spiraling lives of some former players.

"The NFL's policy against medical marijuana is stupid and counterproductive," said Dale Gieringer, director of the California chapter of NORML, in an email calling the NFL out of touch with the laws of the state. "There's no doubt NFL players would be better off with medical access to marijuana."

The NFL did not comment for this story.

Jump to: 
Science, the Brain and Medical Marijuana
The NFL, CTE and Medical Marijuana

Hard-Knock Lives

Turley is a former defensive lineman who has been extremely outspoken about his medical struggles after playing for three NFL teams in nine years.

A New Yorker article from 2009 describes him blacking out at a Nashville concert, feeling much the same way he did when he was kneed in the head during a game years earlier. The former lineman had recently retired and was taking painkillers. He wound up in the hospital, where he said he briefly lost nearly all control of his body.

"Before quitting all the pills and committing to cannabis ... my life was a train wreck, plain and simple," Turley told NBC Owned Television Stations.

Today, Turley has eliminated all other chemicals from his system, from Aleve to Zoloft, he said. The San Diego resident has found strains of marijuana that relieve pain and other strains with effects comparable to the psychiatric pill Vicodin, but without the narcotic effects.

Medical marijuana has fairly well known, though not conclusively proven, pain relieving benefits. But to Turley, the drug also treats mental anguish he believes comes from CTE. There is very little research on that front, but the 40-year-old father insists marijuana has given him stability after recently feeling despondent and suicidal.

"The reality is I don't think about those things anymore. And if it wasn't for cannabis, I wouldn't be where I am mentally," Turley said.

Turley swears that marijuana use is rampant in the NFL – "from players to coaches to owners, marijuana is in the National Football League" – but only a handful of players have spoken out about using it. They emphasize the mental clarity it offers as much as the pain relief.

"I always healed fast, ahead of schedule; was never really very swollen; my mind was very sharp, and after concussions medicated with it," Nate Jackson told marijuana magazine High Times this week, discussing how marijuana helped him in his days with the Broncos in the 2000s.

It's not just young players who swear by pot, either. Jim McMahon, one of the heroes of the Chicago Bears' 1985 championship, revealed last month that he weaned himself off pharmaceutical drugs that left his head feeling fuzzy.

"This medical marijuana has been a godsend. It relieves me of the pain – or thinking about it, anyway," he told The Chicago Tribune.

But there isn't much medical research to back up their claims.

Science, the Brain and Medical Marijuana
Most medical marijuana advocacy is directed at the drug's pain-relieving qualities, which may be recognized by many states, but not the federal government. The FDA has not approved marijuana as a drug, though it notes there is widespread general interest in its potential as a less addictive alternative to painkillers.

But last year, the Journal of the American Medical Association found only some evidence that medical marijuana and similar drugs help chronic pain, less evidence for help with nausea and brain disorders and a risk of adverse effects, including nausea, fatigue and confusion. The National Institute on Drug Abuse says long-term marijuana use can affect learning, thinking and memory, and has been linked to mental illness and depression.

Advocates dispute those claims, and in the case of brain trauma, their case is bolstered, in some sense, by the fact that little research has been done on medical marijuana's effects on the brain.

The psychoactive chemical in medical marijuana, THC, was associated with a significantly improved mortality rate in patients who sustained traumatic brain injuries, according to a 2014 UCLA study. A study by Michigan State University researchers found that, in test tubes, THC reduced tau deposits, which indicate CTE and Alzheimer's.

Marijuana advocates cite these and some other studies when describing the drug's purported neuroprotective effects, saying it may be able to protect and heal brain cells in a way no other drugs can.

Other supporters only go as far as saying they intoxicate and sedate patients less than opiates do, and are easier on the stomach than anti-inflammatories, like Berkeley Dr. Frank Lucido, who says he has prescribed marijuana to two former NFL players. Asked about any neuroprotective effects, he noted they were unproven in humans.

Turley and others who do believe the drug can protect or restore neurological function mainly argue that more research needs to be done, and soon. A federal study found in 2012 that retired players were three times likelier to die of neurodegenerative diseases than the U.S. population on the whole.

"NFL pockets are deep enough to support a crash research program to determine that this combination of cannabinoids is effective in preventing the consequences of concussion," Harvard emeritus professor of Psychiatry Lester Grinspoon wrote in an open letter to the commissioner of the NFL in 2014.

For now, marijuana remains a problem in the NFL, subject to fines and suspensions during the season for repeat offenders, just as the federal government continues to classify marijuana as one of the most dangerous drugs.

Turley hopes his Gridiron Cannabis Coalition will help change that position, as much for the players as for Alzheimer's patients and others he thinks can benefit from cannabis.

"The attitude of the active players is the attitude of police forces around our country," Turley said. "It is absurd that this continues to be a reason for a player to be suspended or someone is arrested. We don't want to deal with this anymore."

The NFL, CTE and Medical Marijuana 
On Saturday, the NFL announced that Ken Stabler will be inducted into the Hall of Fame. If last year's ceremony is any indication, CTE will hardly be mentioned at all when he is honored.

The 2015 induction of Junior Seau, who was 43 when he killed himself, was marred by the league's initial refusal to let his family speak at the ceremony. The league cited a long-standing policy, but many noted that the family had sued the NFL, saying his suicide was at least partially caused by repeated hits to the head sustained in his playing days. His daughter eventually did speak, and did not mention Seau's brain.

Though the league settled concussion-connected lawsuits last year involving thousands of former players, about 200 opted out, including Seau's family. The suits claimed players weren't properly protected from concussions or informed of their risks.

The NFL did not admit liability in settling the suits. Since CTE has become associated with football, the NFL has also donated a substantial amount of money to research, including $30 million to the National Institutes of Health – its largest-ever donation to any organization.

As for medical marijuana use, there are signs that the league's position could change.

A representative for the the NFL Player's Association told NBC Owned Television Stations it is reviewing medical-marijuana policy, though didn't comment further. The union works with the NFL to set the league's drug policy.

And the league that doled out four drug-related suspensions to Ricky Williams – the electric running back whose career is now synonymous with marijuana in the game – has recently expressed more openness toward medical marijuana, if not the drug on the whole.

Commissioner Roger Goodell briefly addressed the issue in the run-up to last year's Super Bowl, saying the NFL could one day condone cannabis as a treatment but that its medical experts didn't yet consider its use proper.

If the league did decide to reverse course on the issue, it would still face a major hurdle: the federal ban on marijuana would mean players without contracts might gravitate to teams in states where medication was legal.

Not that that should stop the league from trying, said Turley, a fiery speaker about the cause.

"It would have been an amazing opportunity for the NFL to have dealt with this proactively, instead of allowing this to be another thing that shows their desire to really change things is very lackluster," Turley said.

Turley, Williams and McMahon will all talk about their experiences with marijuana this month at the Southwest Cannabis Conference and Expo in Dallas, the first marijuana conference in a state that hasn’t legalized marijuana medicinally, according to Rory Mendoza, the event’s organizer.

Their goal, for now is to slowly raise awareness about how the drug helped them, like a football team grinding out a long drive a few yards at a time.

And on Sunday, Turley will be watching the Super Bowl at home with family and friends, avoiding intoxicants and drugs – except the one he believes can save his life, which he long ago dedicated to football.  

Photo Credit: Getty Images, File
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<![CDATA[Trump Says Iowa Caucus Results 'Very Unfair']]> Sun, 07 Feb 2016 17:23:21 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/Trump+MTP+New+Hampshire.png

Donald Trump said Sunday that he does not need to win the New Hampshire primary and that the Iowa caucus results were "very unfair" to him and Ben Carson.

"There are those that say I actually came in first, depending on how you want to count the votes, to be honest, because that was a horrible thing that took place," Trump said on "Meet The Press."

Iowa caucus winner Ted Cruz apologized to Ben Carson after supporters spread rumors that Carson was planning to end his campaign in an effort to get them to support Cruz. Trump has said it may have pushed Cruz over the top and caused him to fall to second.

Trump said he would like to do well in the Granite State, but dismissed the idea it is a must win. 

Photo Credit: NBC News
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<![CDATA[Sanders Defends His Foreign Policy Credentials]]> Sun, 07 Feb 2016 12:53:19 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/Sander+Defends+Foreign+Policy.png

Senator Bernie Sanders defended himself Sunday against criticism that he does not have sufficient depth or interest in foreign policy matters.

"Let me reassure the American people…it goes without saying that a president must be well-versed in foreign policy, must have a foreign policy position. And I will of course do that," Sanders said on NBC's "Meet the Press" in response to criticism by some of his debate performance Thursday on the issue of foreign policy.

Sanders has faced intense scrutiny during his presidential campaign for not being as comfortable or fluent as former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton when discussing foreign affairs.

"It is not just experience that matters, it is judgment," argued the Vermont senator.

Photo Credit: NBC News
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<![CDATA[Orlando Nightclub Shooting Leaves 2 Dead, 10 Injured]]> Sun, 07 Feb 2016 12:40:16 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-1033485321.jpg

Orlando police say two people were killed and 10 others were hurt during a shooting inside a nightclub early Sunday morning, according to police.

About 300 people were in Club Glitz when the violence broke out just before 1 a.m. ET, NBC News reported.

Of eleven people shot, one died on the scene, and one died at the hospital, police said. One of the nine surviving gunshot victims was hospitalized and in critical condition, while the other eight suffered non-life-threatening injuries, according to police.

One additional person sustained an injury that wasn't related to a gunshot, police said.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[GOP Debate in NH: Christie vs. Rubio, More Top Moments]]> Sun, 07 Feb 2016 09:44:22 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/rubio-at-debate.jpg

Donald Trump was back, Carly Fiorina was out, excluded by the rules of the ABC News debate, and Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida was drawing attacks after his strong showing in Iowa.

The GOP presidential candidates were on stage Saturday night for the final debate before the New Hampshire primary, where some of the Republicans must do well if they are to continue. Trump, who finished second behind U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas in the Iowa caucuses, returned after skipping the previous debate. 

Here are some of the liveliest moments of the evening. 

The debate got off to an awkward start as Dr. Ben Carson hesitated going onto the stage even as he was waved on. Trump lingered with Carson until they both entered, but then Kasich was left behind. A few minutes later Carson made a reference to expecting to be introduced second.

Rubio tried to defend his relatively short time in the U.S. Senate by saying if years spent as a senator were the measure of a candidate everyone on the stage should be rallying around Vice President Joe Biden. Biden represented Delaware for 36 years.

But New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie quickly attacked Rubio for failing to make a single decision of consequence in the Senate for which he was held accountable and mocked him for giving his “30-second” prepared speech. Memorized speeches don’t get the snow plowed or help rebuild a state destroyed by superstorm Sandy, he said. And he criticized Rubio for listing the Hezbollah Sanctions Act as an accomplishment but failing to show up for the vote.

“That’s not leadership," Christie said. "That’s truancy.”

Rubio rejoined by telling Christie he had to be shamed into returning to New Jersey from New Hampshire during the recent blizzard. And he brought up New Jersey’s credit rating, downgraded nine times since Christie became governor.

But Rubio also continued to repeat himself several times with the same comments criticizing President Barack Obama.

"You see everybody. I want the people at home to think about this. That's what Washington, D.C., does," Christie rebutted. "The drive-by shot at the beginning with incorrect and incomplete information and then the memorized 25-second speech...Marco, the thing is this: When you're president of the United States, when you're a governor of a state, the memorized 30-second speech where you talk about how great America is at the end of it doesn't solve one problem for one person."

Carson was asked about messages sent by Cruz’s campaign just before the Iowa caucuses, claiming falsely that Carson was leaving the race.

“I’m not going to use this opportunity to savage the reputation of Senator Cruz,” he said.

Carson said he owed it to his volunteers, one of whom died in a traffic accident in Iowa, to stay in the competition. And he added that he was disappointed in the display of what he called “Washington ethics” — doing what is needed to do to win, not what is right.

Cruz apologized, and blamed CNN for reporting that Carson was taking a break from his campaign.

But Carson responded that CNN’s initial tweet was quickly followed by a second one saying he was still in the race. Voters can make their own judgement, he said.

At the end of the debate, Trump got a dig in, saying Cruz had received Carson's votes.

Trump and Bush got into a sharp disagreement over eminent domain, the process by which the government can take private property for public good. Trump, who has benefited from it, defended it as a way to build roads and schools.

Bush countered with a jab at Trump's attempt to take a woman’s house in Atlantic City to use as a parking lot for limousines, next to one of his casinos.

"Jeb wants to be a tough guy,” Trump snapped.

The woman went to state court and ended up keeping her home.

Trump at one point said his team was unable to get tickets for the audience because they had gone to “donors, special interests, the people who put up the money.”

As the audience booed, he added, “The reason they’re not loving me is I don’t want their money.”

Trump makes a point of saying he is funding his campaign himself.

Carson showed his frustration at not getting as much time as the others.

"I’m not here just to add beauty to the stage," Carson said as he jumped into a discussion about the Middle East.

In his closing remarks he said the media had tried to ignore him

"I’m still here and I’m not going any place either," he said.

Cruz, asked about the heroin epidemic in New Hampshire, talked about the death of his half-sister, Miriam, from a drug overdose. He and his father, Rafael, tried to rescue her from a crack house, but failed, he said. After his sister’s death, he put her son, Joey, into a military school with a $20,000 loan on a credit card.

He joins Christie and Fiorina in discussing addictions from the vantage of their families. 

Christie talks about a law school friend who died after injuring his back and becoming addicted to Percocet.

Fiorina's step-daughter, Lori, died at age 35 after a struggle with alcohol and prescription pills.

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Outrage Over Video of Attack on Teen With Cerebral Palsy]]> Sun, 07 Feb 2016 10:01:21 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/160*120/School-Sign-Generic.jpg

The mother of a Pennsylvania 16-year-old with cerebral palsy is taking a stand against bullying, after a video showing students violently kicking her son to the ground and laughing was shared on social media, NBC News reported.

"I cried when I saw that," Margaret Wooding told NBC affiliate station WPXI. "How can kids be so cruel? I don't want this to happen, not just to my child but to anyone.

Isaiah Wooding has cerebral palsy, a static neurological disorder the affects muscle coordination and body movement.

The video, which was posted to Facebook by a classmate, shows a student at Penn Hills High School kicking 16-year old Wooding to the ground. The student filming the confrontation laughs while the bullying occurs.

Photo Credit: NBCSanDiego]]>
<![CDATA[Deadly Sledding Accident at Canada's Olympic Park]]> Sun, 07 Feb 2016 07:27:10 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-10189107.jpg

Two teen brothers are dead and six others injured following a late-night accident on the bobsled track at the Canada Olympic Park in Calgary, NBC News reported.

Twin brothers Jordan and Evan Caldwell, 17, died at the scene after a group of teens broke into the facility and used a "personal sled" on the bobsled track early Saturday morning, police said.

"Part way down, the group hit a large gate used to separate the bobsled and luge tracks," police said in a statement.

The other six teenagers were taken to hospital with injuries ranging from minor to serious, police said in a statement, adding that the nature of their injuries made it difficult to identify "many" of the victims.

Police said CCTV footage was being reviewed and investigators were working to determine how the teens entered the facility, which hosted events at the 1988 Winter Olympics.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Ben Carson Waits in the Wings in Debate Introduction]]> Sun, 07 Feb 2016 12:23:07 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/BenCarsonDebate-AP_47261554959.jpg

The Republican debate in Manchester, New Hampshire, got off to a bit of an awkward start on Saturday.

It began on a high note, when ABC moderator David Muir introduced New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie. 

Ben Carson's name, drowned out by applause, was called second. But instead of making his way onto the stage, he stood off to the side as the moderators continued on down the candidate list. 

Carson then started to make his way out, but suddenly stopped short when the moderators called out Ted Cruz’s name. 

Someone from backstage, who popped his head out from behind the curtain, tried shooing Carson to walk out, but to no avail. 

Donald Trump appeared in the wings after his name was called, but instead of coming to the stage, he stood back with Carson. Marco Rubio barreled past the two other candidates, smiling as he walked past them. Next came former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, who gave the two a quizzical look before leaving Carson and Trump behind.

Social media lit up with reaction to Carson’s late entry onto the stage.

Others were more sympathetic to the GOP candidate and laid the blame elsewhere. 

But it didn't end there. Muir could faintly be heard calling out Ohio Gov. John Kasich's name, but that too, was drowned out by applause. Both Muir and fellow moderator, Martha Raddatz, who had their backs to the stage, then realized they were missing and gave Carson and Trump another call to the stage.

“Dr. Ben Carson, please come out on the stage, he’s standing there as well,” Muir said.

“And Donald Trump,” Raddatz said.

As the moderators took their seats, Kasich was still missing.

“Where’s Kasich?” someone could be heard saying.

“Yes, yes, we’re going to introduce Ohio Gov. John Kasich.” 

Photo Credit: AP
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<![CDATA[Community Center to Honor Murdered Students]]> Sun, 07 Feb 2016 02:24:45 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/Chapel-Hill-Murdered-Students-GettyImages-463599846.jpg

The murders of three Muslim-American college students almost one year ago devastated their families, but it didn't stop their loved ones from an important mission: making sure the trio's legacy of service lives on, NBC News reported.

A tweet that was written more than a year before Deah Barakat, 23, was killed in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, on Feb. 10 with his wife and sister-in-law has served as the inspiration for the opening of a new community center meant to honor their legacy.

A neighbor is accused of fatally shooting Barakat and his wife, Yusor Mohammad Abu-Salha, 21, and her sister, Razan Mohammad Abu-Salha, 19, following a dispute.

"I have a dream one day, to have a unified and structured community," Barakat tweeted in July 2014. "Have a voice in our society and support the youth with their projects."

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Chechnya's Leader Is Making a Play for Bigger Role: Analysts]]> Sun, 07 Feb 2016 06:29:54 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/Chechnya-Leader-GettyImages-477752672.jpg

He's a self-proclaimed anti-extremist Islamic warrior and Vladimir Putin supporter with a penchant for horse racing, wrestling, Hollywood celebrities — and, according to some, brutal repression, NBC News reported.

Now Ramzan Kadyrov, the leader of the Russian republic of Chechnya, looks to be trying to muscle into a bigger role on the regional stage, experts watching the strongman say.

The 39-year-old "is interested in being a deputy prime minister overseeing inter-ethnic relations, a job that the Kremlin would need to create specifically for him," according to Alexei Malashenko of the Carnegie Moscow Center think tank.

Kadyrov has a lot going for him. The scion of a powerful clan, Kadyrov battled the federal Russian government in the first Chechen war in the 1990s. The Kadyrovs sided with Moscow in the second war in the 2000s when the predominantly secular uprising was taken over by jihadists.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[18 Dead After 6.4-Magnitude Quake Rattles Taiwan]]> Sun, 07 Feb 2016 04:27:04 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-508652296.jpg

More than 130 people were still trapped Sunday morning in the wreckage of a Taiwan apartment building that collapsed during a 6.4 magnitude earthquake in Tainan the day before, officials said, NBC News reported.

At daybreak Sunday, the Central Emergency Operation Center in Taipei said 18 people had been killed and another 505 injured during the quake that struck southeast of Tainan just before 4 a.m. local time Saturday (3 p.m. Friday ET).

A total of 132 people are believed trapped in the collapsed building.

Tainan Mayor Lai Ching-te said Sunday morning that there are still an estimated 103 people trapped deeper beneath the 16-story residential building Weiguan Jinlong.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Lawyer Offers $1M in Kids' Tuition]]> Sat, 06 Feb 2016 19:14:15 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/214*120/02-06-2016-martin-burbank.JPG

Awe-struck parents of kindergartners at a Southern California elementary school were stunned to learn a stranger planned to pay for their children's college tuition. 

Fullerton lawyer Marty Burbank and his wife offered to pay the college tuition of 26 kindergarten students at Rio Vista Elementary School. Parents of students at the Anaheim school said they could not believe their children had been given the gift of a lifetime.

"I just can't believe it. I can't" said Maria Rodriguez, the mother of a student. "I don't believe someone would be this interested in paying the tuition of this many kids."

Burbank said he had considered buying himself a boat. He then decided there was more value in removing the financial burden that could have kept these children from attending college.

So, he decided to give them the guarantee of an education instead.

"Buying a boat was a very selfish thing for me, and I can do so much more to impact the lives of these kids," he said.

Burbank promised to pay each child's tuition, starting in 2032. He told the Orange County Register the tuition will probably amount to about $1 million, factoring in inflation rates. 

Virdiana Ortiz, another mother, was one of the many overwhelmed with gratitude toward Burbank for his generosity.

"I had never heard of him," she said. "For someone to do something like that..."

So, what's the catch? It's simple, if not beneficiary. Each year, the students must submit an essay or photo explaining what they would like to do when they grow up.

Some, like Rio Vista's Jonathan Juarez, seem to already have a plan.

Said Juarez: "I want to be a firefighter."

Photo Credit: KVEA]]>
<![CDATA[Fiorina Uses Debate Exclusion As Fuel to Fight On]]> Sat, 06 Feb 2016 16:43:28 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/CarlyFiorina-AP_707918705720.jpg

Carly Fiorina told a crowd of supporters on Saturday morning that "the game is rigged," assailing ABC News for not inviting her onto Saturday's GOP debate stage because of her low polling numbers nationally, NBC News reported.

"Sorry, I thought votes counted in elections. Sorry, I thought delegates counted in elections," Fiorina said during a campaign town hall in Goffstown, adding that she "will go all the way to Cleveland," referencing the site of the Republican National Convention this summer.

ABC News announced on Thursday that Fiorina - who is garnering roughly two percent of support, nationally, in polling averages - was not invited to participate in the final debate before Tuesday's primary in New Hampshire. The former Hewlett-Packard CEO called ABC the "Anybody But Carly" network.

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Madeleine Albright Slams Sanders on Foreign Policy]]> Sat, 06 Feb 2016 16:28:16 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/Madeleine+Albright+Sanders.png

Former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright slammed Bernie Sanders on Saturday, expressing concerns over the Democratic presidential contender's "lack of knowledge" about foreign policy.

"I've been very concerned about his lack of knowledge," Albright said, citing his answer to a question about which country poses the biggest threat to the U.S. right now.

"We have to have a president that is ready on Day 1 to deal with problems," she told NBC News in an exclusive interview. "I have never seen such a complicated international situation, and we can't afford learning on the job."

Photo Credit: NBC News
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<![CDATA[Lead Test Results Confirm Worst Fears for Flint Family]]> Sat, 06 Feb 2016 09:40:10 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/180*120/GettyImages-506974772_master-flint.jpg

Water Defense, the anti-fracking and safe-water activist group headed by actor Mark Ruffalo, collected samples from Oscar and Elizabeth Brown's Flint, Michigan, home last weekend and brought them to an independent lab in Cincinnati for analysis.

The results, which the group shared with NBC News, show that the water coming out of the kitchen faucet, where a filter was installed after state officials finally confirmed the lead crisis this fall, didn't contain any of the heavy metal.

But a sample of the water from the bathtub, which is unfiltered, contained 16 parts per billion, higher than the threshold of 15 ppb that federal regulators say is the point at which a water system must take action to protect public health.

"I'm over it. I really just want to leave," said Denettra Brown, who is Oscar and Elizabeth's great-granddaughter and lives in the house with her 3-year-old son, Dana, who is suffering from unexplained health problems.

Photo Credit: File/Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Bond Set for $1M for Brittany Harper of Crime-Spree Duo]]> Sat, 06 Feb 2016 17:48:10 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/CRIME_AP_155495423602.jpg

The girlfriend in the “modern-day Bonnie and Clyde” duo is being held on a bond worth more than $1 million, NBC News reported.

Brittany Nicole Harper was taken into custody early Friday in Escambia County, Florida, after a confrontation with police. She is charged with robbery, home invasion robbery, false imprisonment and grand theft auto.

Officers shot and killed her boyfriend, Blake Edward Fitzgerald, in the shootout, after he used her as a human shield when police opened fire, according to officials.

Authorities say the two went on a multi-state crime spree that may have started a week ago. They are suspected of multiple kidnappings and robberies.  

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[FBI: Michigan Man Planned Attack on Church in Support of ISIS]]> Sat, 06 Feb 2016 13:51:38 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/khalil+abu+rayyan+twitter.jpeg

Federal authorities have arrested a Michigan man they say is an ISIS supporter who wanted to carry out an attack on a 6,000-member Detroit church, NBC News reported.

Khalil Abu-Rayyan, 21, of Dearborn Heights, allegedly had guns and a large knife and told an undercover FBI agent that he "tried to shoot up a church one day."

"I bought a bunch of bullets. I practiced reloading and unloading," he said in an online conversation, according to a criminal complaint unsealed Thursday in U.S. District Court.

Investigators did not specify which church Abu-Rayyan allegedly was eyeing but the FBI had been monitoring him for months because of his "increasingly violent threats" about committing acts of terror and martyrdom against churchgoers and police officers on behalf of ISIS.

Photo Credit: @khalilray21]]>