<![CDATA[NBC Connecticut - National & International News]]> Copyright 2015 http://www.nbcconnecticut.com/news/national-international http://media.nbcbayarea.com/designimages/NBC_Connecticut.png NBC Connecticut http://www.nbcconnecticut.com en-us Mon, 30 Nov 2015 17:25:39 -0500 Mon, 30 Nov 2015 17:25:39 -0500 NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA[Jury Selection in 1st Gray Case]]> Mon, 30 Nov 2015 16:12:06 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/william+porter.jpg

As many as 80 potential jurors filed into a Baltimore courtroom Monday morning as the first trial in the death of Freddie Gray got underway.

Jury selection for Officer William Porter's trial began Monday. When asked by Judge Barry Williams, every juror called said they knew about the Freddie Gray case, were aware of the curfew imposed following the protests and knew about the $6.4 million settlement between the city and Gray's family. 

Gray, 25, suffered a mysterious injury in the back of a police transport van and died April 19, inspiring thousands to take to the streets to protest what they believed was the mistreatment by police of another young black man. On Monday, a handful of protesters could be heard chanting from inside the court building. 

In the weeks following the unrest, six police officers were indicted in Gray's death. Porter is the first to go on trial. 

The group of potential jurors was asked a number of questions to gauge their ability to be impartial. 

A dozen potential jurors said they were employed by a law enforcement agency while 26 said they had "strong feelings" about manslaughter or other misconduct by police. Almost 40 potential jurors said they or a family member had been either a victim of a crime or been investigated, arrested, charged or convicted of a crime.

Two dozen potential jurors said they could not serve for reasons including a planned trip or or a medical condition preventing them from sitting for more than an hour.

The judge then began meeting privately with 66 members of the pool, which was likely to continue through the afternoon.

A verdict will likely set the tone for the city: If Porter is acquitted there could be protests and possibly more unrest. A conviction could send shockwaves through the city's troubled police department.

"Everything is at stake. The future of the city is at stake,'' Police Commissioner Kevin Davis said.

Porter faces charges of assault, manslaughter, reckless endangerment and misconduct in office. He is accused of checking on Gray during several stops the van made during its 45-minute trip from the Gilmor Homes in Sandtown-Winchester, where Gray was arrested, to the Western District station house, where officers found Gray unresponsive and he was taken to a hospital. He died a week later.

Gray was initially handcuffed. Later during his van ride, his legs were shackled and he was placed back in the van without a seatbelt, a violation of department policy, prosecutors have said.

The judge said a jury will be seated in the next day or two. 

More than 150 people are listed as witnesses for the trial, including dozens of police officers and other personnel.

The trial is expected to be complete by Dec. 17.

<![CDATA[$1.5M Bail for Officer Charged With Murdering Chicago Teen]]> Mon, 30 Nov 2015 13:57:23 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/e1dfaaf2-3b56-419d-b852-0aa4db8a66fb-large16x9_KillingsbyPoliceCh_DiMa.jpg

Bail was set at $1.5 million Monday for a Chicago police officer charged with murder after dash-cam video caught him fatally shooting a black Chicago teenager 16 times.

A Cook County judge ordered the bail after reviewing video footage of the fatal shooting and showing it to Officer Jason Van Dyke and his attorney. 

Prosecutors asked for no bail during the hearing, but Van Dyke's attorney argued that the officer is not a flight risk. The judge said after the ruling that he was not there to determine guilt or innocence. 

The Monday hearing for Van Dyke comes after days of protests in Chicago over the killing of 17-year-old Laquan McDonald.

A judge had ordered 37-year-old Van Dyke held without bail Tuesday following charges of first-degree murder. Judge Donald Panarese said he wanted to see the video before deciding the issue of bond and scheduled another hearing for Monday. 

The video shows McDonald apparently walking away from police with a small knife in his hand during an October 2014 incident when he was fatally shot 16 times by Van Dyke. 

Prosecutors said in court Tuesday that the shooting happened within 15 seconds, but for 13 of those seconds McDonald was on the ground. They added the video "clearly does not show McDonald advancing toward [Van Dyke]." Police said the shooting was in self-defense and that McDonald lunged at the officer with a knife while authorities were investigating car break-ins in a trucking yard.

An autopsy confirmed McDonald was shot a total of 16 times and had PCP in his system.

Attorney Dan Herbert has argued the video alone is not enough to determine if Van Dyke "acted inappropriately" when he fatally shot McDonald, though he has described the footage as "graphic and violent" and "difficult to watch." He said outside the courtroom Tuesday that the case needs to be tried in a courtroom, "not in the streets or in the media."

A GoFundMe page asking for donations for Van Dyke's bond last week was removed from the fundraising website after raising more than $10,000. Shortly after, a local branch of the Fraternal Order of Police created an account to raise bond money for Van Dyke.

It is reportedly the first time a Chicago officer has been charged with first-degree murder for an on-duty shooting in nearly 35 years.

<![CDATA[Cruz Refocuses Talk of Shooting to 'Vicious Rhetoric on the Left']]> Mon, 30 Nov 2015 13:10:47 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/AP_654745070015.jpg

As questions continue to surround last week's shooting at a Planned Parenthood in Colorado Spring, Colorado, Republican candidate Ted Cruz on Sunday readily shifted focus to what he called "some vicious rhetoric on the left," during a campaign stop in Iowa, NBC News reported.

When asked about the shooter reportedly telling authorities "no more baby parts," Cruz resisted suggestions that recent conservative condemnations of Planned Parenthood — including discredited allegations that the organization profited from fetal tissue donations — contributed to the Colorado shooter's motives for killing three and staging an hours-long standoff with authorities.

The Texas senator seemed to reference unconfirmed reports, including one relating to the shooter's gender and political identification. 

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Obama: Climate Talks an 'Act of Defiance' After Paris Attacks]]> Mon, 30 Nov 2015 10:49:10 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/AP_476960059291.jpg

About 150 world leaders joined U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon Monday to kick off a two-week climate summit near Paris.

Each leader will speak about what their country is doing to reduce emissions and slow climate change, according to NBC News.

President Barack Obama on Monday called the global talks an "act of defiance" against terrorism, saluting the people of Paris for "insisting this crucial conference go on" just two weeks after attacks that killed 130.

He urged leaders to "rise to this moment" and fight the enemy of cynicism — "the notion we can't do anything" about the warming of the planet."  

All members of the G-20 submitted their own plans for addressing global warming. Activists expect the plan that emerges from the Paris summit will address a decrease in fossil fuel emissions.

Efforts to agree on a climate deal have been delayed by a disagreement on whether developing nations share the same burden as industrialized nations that have polluted a lot more. The U.S. and other nations have said hat all countries chip in under the new agreement.

Photo Credit: AP
This story uses functionality that may not work in our app. Click here to open the story in your web browser.]]>
<![CDATA[Top News Photos of the Week]]> Mon, 30 Nov 2015 07:47:38 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/AP_881598267731-chicago.jpg View weekly updates on the very best photos in domestic and foreign news.

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Accused Planned Parenthood Gunman Could Face Death]]> Mon, 30 Nov 2015 16:55:40 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/dear-AP_615109635980.png

The man accused of killing three people at a Colorado Planned Parenthood clinic made his first court appearance Monday, where he was told that he could face the death penalty, NBC News reported.

If convicted of first degree murder in the shooting, which left three dead and nine wounded, Robert Lewis Dear would face a minimum sentence of life in prison and a maximum of death, the judge said.

Dear, 57, allegedly held the Colorado Springs clinic under siege for five hours before surrendering Friday afternoon.

He said little as he spoke to the judge via closed circuit TV, answering the judge's yes-or-no questions in a raspy voice with his public defender at his side. Dear is due back in court Dec. 9.

Photo Credit: Daniel Owen/The Gazette via AP, Pool
This story uses functionality that may not work in our app. Click here to open the story in your web browser.]]>
<![CDATA[U.S.: Russian Jet Entered Turkish Airspace]]> Mon, 30 Nov 2015 16:24:42 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/Russian-Plane-Body-AP_794858269462.jpg

The United States has independently confirmed Turkey's assertion that the Russian warplane it shot down last week violated Turkish airspace, a State Department official said Monday, NBC News reported.

Spokeswoman Elizabeth Trudeau would not describe how the United States confirmed the Russian craft's flight path. Instead, she said that diplomatic efforts should focus on easing tensions between Russia and Turkey.

Turkish forces shot down the plane on Nov. 24, saying it entered its airspace from Syria, where Russia is conducting airstrikes in support of Syrian President Bashar Assad. One of the plane's pilots was killed, as well as a Russian Marine on the rescue team.

Russia has said it was flying over Syria airspace and was struck unprovoked.

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[North Korea-Linked Boats With Corpses Turn Up Off Japan]]> Mon, 30 Nov 2015 15:38:35 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/Japane-Coast-Guard-GettyImages-498905198.jpg

A total of 20 decomposing corpses have been found in wooden fishing boats off Japan's coast, authorities said. Eleven vessels were discovered in the past two months, the most recent being towed ashore six days ago, a coast guard spokesman told NBC News on Monday.

Items found on board have fueled speculation in the Japanese press that the boats may have come from North Korea. None of the vessels have carried GPS equipment, but instead many contained fishing nets, hooks and pieces of clothing featuring the Korean hangul alphabet, the spokesman said.

The boat towed ashore in Fukui on Tuesday contained seven bodies, according to the spokesman.

It is not the first time such vessels have been discovered; 80 boats were reported in 2013, 65 in 2014, and 34 so far this year, according to the coast guard. Some of these boats also contained corpses.

Photo Credit: AFP/Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Cops Rescue Hawk From NY River]]> Mon, 30 Nov 2015 13:02:06 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/Hawk-Rescue-East-River-1130.jpeg

A couple of eagle-eyed NYPD officers are being credited with rescuing a hawk that was in distress in the East River.

NYPD Special Operations said in a tweet a pair of officers assigned to the harbor unit rescued a distressed hawk from the river on Sunday. 

According to the NYPD, the raptor was spotted flapping its wings around in the water near the Brooklyn Bridge. One of the officers in the boat, Christopher Kessinger, reached into the water and the hawk grabbed onto his arm. He pulled the officer into the boat and dried the bird off with the help of his partner, Steven Khaykin. 

The hawk jumped onto Kessinger's arm after they dried it off, staying there for several minutes.

"He was just hanging out," Kessinger said. "He calmed down and knew we were not going to hurt him."

The bird then flew off, heading towards Battery Park.

Photo Credit: NYPD]]>
<![CDATA[Sanders Has Hernia Procedure]]> Mon, 30 Nov 2015 14:40:34 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/184*120/TLMD-14-bernie-sanders-democrata-socialista.jpg

Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders is undergoing an elective outpatient hernia repair procedure on Monday, according to his U.S. Senate office.

The Vermont Senator is having the procedure done at George Washington University Hospital in Washington, D.C.

He will resume his Senate duties on Tuesday, his office said.

Sanders is currently running second in most national polls, behind front-runner Hillary Clinton. He spoke at a New Hampshire Democratic Party event on Sunday in Manchester.

Photo Credit: FILE - Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Toy Maker VTech Hack Affects 5M Customers, Including Kids]]> Mon, 30 Nov 2015 14:21:52 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-155048435.jpg

Electronic toymaker VTech was hacked on November 14, exposing the personal information of around 5 million customers, NBC News reported.

Hackers gained access to VTech's Learning Lodge website, where parents can download apps, e-books and other materials for their toys.

While no credit card numbers were stolen, hackers did get access to profile information like names, email addresses, passwords, mailing addresses and IP addresses. The hacked database also included information related to children, including names, genders and birth dates.

VTech did not disclose how many of the 5 million accounts contained children's personal information. The company said it discovered the breach ten days afterwards.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Arrest in Univ. Violence Threat]]> Mon, 30 Nov 2015 16:51:52 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/499277726-university-of-chicago.jpg

A University of Illinois at Chicago student was charged in connection with a "threat of violence" at University of Chicago that prompted school officials to cancel classes Monday.

Jabari Dean, 21, of Chicago, has been charged with transmitting a threat in interstate commerce, the U.S. attorney's office in Chicago said in a statement. The charge carries a maximum sentence of five years in prison.

Dean is scheduled to make an appearance at 3 p.m. before U.S. Magistrate Judge Susan E. Cox.

The attorney's office said an email address linked to Dean was used to post a threat that read: "I will execute aproximately (sic) 16 white male students and or staff, which is the same number of time (sic) Mcdonald (sic) was killed."

The threat had been posted Saturday, only days after the city released a video of Officer Jason Van Dyke shooting 17-year-old Laquan McDonald 16 times.

“We are monitoring this situation closely and are concerned about the impact this has had on our campus and the University of Chicago,” UIC Chancellor Michael Amiridis said in a statement.

Classes at University of Chicago’s Hyde Park campus were canceled Monday after someone posted an online threat of gun violence, according to the University.

President Robert Zimmer sent a letter to the campus community Sunday to announce the cancellation of all classes and activities on the Hyde Park campus through midnight on Monday.

In the letter, which was also posted online, Zimmer wrote that the university was informed by FBI counterterrorism officials that someone posted a threat of gun violence online. The individual reportedly mentioned specifically “the campus quad” on Monday morning at 10 a.m., according to the letter.

“Based on the FBI’s assessment of this threat and recent tragic events at other campuses across the country, we have decided in consultation with federal and local law enforcement officials, to exercise caution by canceling all classes and activities on the Hyde Park campus through midnight on Monday,” Zimmer wrote.

All non-medical faculty, students and non-essential staff are asked not to come to the Hyde Park campus on Monday. The letter also asked those who will be on campus to remain indoors as much as possible, including students in College Housing.

The University of Chicago will have an increased police presence on and around the campus, according to President Zimmer. U of C security personnel are working closely with the FBI, which is continuing to investigate the threat.

The University of Chicago Laboratory Schools, the University libraries, the Quadrangle Club, and other campus facilities were closed on Monday.

The University of Chicago Medical Center remained open with added security measures, according to the University.

The school expects to resume normal university operations on Tuesday.

Anyone who sees anything unusual should contact University of Chicago Police at 773-702-8181.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Planned Parenthood Victim Tried to Save Others]]> Mon, 30 Nov 2015 07:02:07 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/StewartArmy-IMG_0259.jpg

The 29-year old Iraq War veteran killed in the Planned Parenthood attack ran back inside after being shot to warn others to take cover, his brother told NBC News.

Ke’Arre Stewart was hit after stepping outside the Colorado Springs clinic because he didn’t have cellphone service, brother Leyonte Chandler said.

Chandler said his brother tried to run back into the building and tell the others to take cover. Asked whether Stewart, a father of two, was a hero, Chandler said: “Definitely, definitely.”

Stewart was one of three people fatally shot by Robert Lewis Dear, who allegedly opened fire at the clinic Friday.

Photo Credit: Tony Fisher]]>
<![CDATA[Dwyane Wade Pays Tribute to Laquan McDonald on Shoes]]> Mon, 30 Nov 2015 07:21:26 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/Dwyane+Wade.png

Laquan McDonald’s death has shaken the nation, and as hundreds of demonstrators gathered in Chicago Friday to rally in his name NBA star Dwyane Wade paid tribute in a different way.

The Miami Heat guard posted a photo of his shoes on Instagram ahead of the team's game against the New York Knicks Friday night and showed he was standing with in solidarity with protestors, having written “#LaquanMcDonald,” “#Chicago” and “#Justice” on the pair.

Wade grew up in Chicago’s South Side and went to high school at Harold L. Richards in Oak Lawn, just miles where the 17-year-old was shot and killed by Chicago police officer Jason Van Dyke.

Van Dyke is scheduled to appear in court on Monday.

Photo Credit: Getty Images
This story uses functionality that may not work in our app. Click here to open the story in your web browser.]]>
<![CDATA[IMF Adds China's Yuan to Basket of Top Currencies ]]> Mon, 30 Nov 2015 12:43:26 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/AP_449848205882.jpg

The International Monetary Fund says the Chinese yuan will join a basket of the world's leading currencies.

The IMF announced that the yuan "met all existing criteria" to be included with the U.S. dollar, euro, Japanese yen and the British pound as one of the currencies used for the global organization's Special Drawing Rights, which is used as the standard for dealing with its 188 member governments.

China is the world's second largest economy. Currency traders and economists say the move should encourage the government in Beijing to deliver on promises to make the yuan "freely tradable" and to open up its financial system.

The IMF's decision is set to take effect in October 2016. 

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Cyber Monday Deals to Watch Out For]]> Mon, 30 Nov 2015 10:07:00 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/AP_111128032716.jpg

If you didn’t finish all your holiday shopping on Black Friday, Cyber Monday has some bargains to look out for. This year, many of those sales will last beyond Monday, according to NBC News. 

Amazon, which pioneered the shopping holiday, has discounts on select toys, bikes, and more. On eBay, gift cards can be bought at a discount — for example, a $200 Lowes gift card can be purchased for $175. Target is calling this Cyber Monday its “biggest and boldest yet,” marking everything on its sites as 15 percent off. At Kohl’s, there will be mark-downs of up to 50 percent off. The Children’s Place is offering 50 percent to 75 percent off its entire site, plus free shipping.

Photo Credit: AP
This story uses functionality that may not work in our app. Click here to open the story in your web browser.]]>
<![CDATA[China Chokes on Smog as World Leaders Talk Climate Change]]> Mon, 30 Nov 2015 12:13:20 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/AP_484690709547.jpg

As world leaders discussed climate change at the U.N. conference in Paris on Monday, millions in China were choking on the most severe air pollution of the year, NBC News reported. 

The air-quality index exceeded 700 — well above the hazardous level — in Baoding, which as classified as China's most polluted, with residents struggling to see through the thick haze of smog on Monday.

Poor conditions were also reported in other parts of northern China, including the capital.

China is the world's biggest emitter of carbon pollutants. According to World Bank, China's emissions amounted to 11 billion tons in 2013, nearly twice as much as America's 5.8 billion tons. The two countries account for almost 40 percent of the world's total greenhouse gas emissions.

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[San Francisco 'Hot Cop' Arrested for Hit-and-Run]]> Mon, 30 Nov 2015 16:51:18 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/steven+weller.jpg

The San Francisco police officer who social media dubbed the "Hot Cop of Castro" last summer was arrested Sunday for a hit-and-run that seriously injured two men whom a family friend said had just left a musical performance.

According to a San Francisco Police Department news release, officer Christopher Kohrs, 38, rammed his Dodge Charger into two men who were crossing near Broadway and Montgomery streets in the city's North Beach neighborhood. Kohrs was off duty at the time on medical leave, police said.

Authorities say Kohrs ditched the car and fled from the scene after the crash, which was reported at 2:20 a.m. Police, however, were able to identify Kohrs as the driver and later arranged for the officer to turn himself in. He was arrested on two counts of felony hit-and-run. On Monday, he had been released from San Francisco County Jail. Efforts to immediately reach him were unsuccessful. NBC Bay Area left a voicemail at the San Francisco Police Officers Association seeking a comment early Monday morning.

Trey Bellomy saw some of the aftermath: "I looked out my window and there was a black and orange Dodge Charger right there. It looked like someone had pulled up and parked it. I didn't see anybody get out."

Surveillance video obtained by NBC Bay Area on Monday shows one person running away from the scene of the accident shortly after it happened and. The identity of that person isn’t clear.

The two victims -- both men in their 40s -- were taken to the hospital and are expected to survive, according to police. On Monday, one of the victims was upgraded to "fair condition," according to the hospital.

Kevin Cochran, who works at a nearby club, saw the men hurt in the street and called 911.

"I heard the impact," he said. "From what I understand, they were crossing the crosswalk, and they ended up 20 yards away."

Americo Diaz, who said he is friends with one of the victims, said one of the men has a broken leg and jaw, and is suffering from severe bruising to his body and head.

"We all ask everyone to keep him in their prayers," he said.

The pair of men had just seen a musical performance, Diaz added.

Kohrs has been a popular officer whose "appreciation page" on Facebook had 52,371 likes as of Monday morning. His superiors said he has never even worked in the Castro, a traditionally gay neighborhood, but has always been assigned to the park district.

He became a local celebrity after amateur photographer Mark Abrabson snapped photos of him in the Castro neighborhood in July 2014, which later got posted them on social media, usually with the hashtag #HotCopofCastro.

Kohrs has since modeled in calendars and also performed the Ice Bucket Challenge shirtless for an Officer Down Memorial Fund.

NBC Bay Area's Stephanie Chuang and Nanette Miranda contributed to this report.

Photo Credit: Steven Kyle Weller via Facebook
This story uses functionality that may not work in our app. Click here to open the story in your web browser.]]>
<![CDATA[Dog on Plane Goes Missing in Texas, Turns Up in Hawaii ]]> Mon, 30 Nov 2015 16:56:11 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/bethany-thumb.jpg

A dog that went missing in North Texas during a trip from Seattle to Mississippi will be reunited with her owner after airline officials said they found her in Hawaii.

The dog, named Bethany, was headed back to D/FW International Airport on Monday and will be reunited with her owner on Tuesday, said American Airlines spokeswoman Andrea Huguely.

"We want her to be well-rested," Huguely said.

Bethany disappeared Saturday on her way from Seattle to Jackson, Mississippi. But her owner, Paul Chen, said she never made it to Mississippi.

Chen reported the Pembroke Welsh Corgi missing Sunday afternoon.

Airline officials quickly found her -- in Hawaii.

"She took a little bit of a vacation to Honolulu," Hugely joked. "She has been well taken care of the entire time."

Bethany has been under the care of a veterinarian, she said.

Chen said airline officials told him they found Bethany in Honolulu late Sunday.

"Don't know how or why she got there, but I am glad she is safe and sound," he said in an email.

Huguely said the airline will look into what happened with "the misconnect" but has been focused on returning Bethany to her owner.

Photo Credit: Paul Chen]]>
<![CDATA[U.S. Embassy in Kabul Warns Americans of 'Imminent Attack']]> Mon, 30 Nov 2015 11:57:55 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/AP_392624796254.jpg

The U.S. Embassy in Kabul warned Americans in Afghanistan on Monday about "credible reports of an imminent attack" on the country's capital in the next 48 hours and urged that they "exercise extreme caution if moving around the city," NBC News reported. 

The embassy said in a statement entitled, "Emergency Message for U.S. Citizens," that it had "received credible reports of an imminent attack" but added there were "no further details regarding the targets, timing, or method."

However, a security source within the embassy said the attack "may involve multiple assailants and car bombs" and was "classified as credible."

The warning came two days after a suicide bomber unsuccessfully targeted a senior member of Afghanistan's election commission during the morning rush hour in Kabul, Reuters reported.

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Target Website Temporarily Crashes for Many on Cyber Monday]]> Mon, 30 Nov 2015 14:51:01 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/221*120/Screen+Shot+2015-11-30+at+10.28.47+AM.png

Cyber Monday's digital door-busting sales broke more than purchasing forecasts, causing at least one of the country's biggest retailer's website to crash for many users.

Target's website went down at 10:00 a.m. ET on Monday, according to Catchpoint Systems, a web performance monitoring company. Around 10:40 a.m. ET the website began to come back "intermittently," but customers continued to encounter a "problem" message, Catchpoint spokesman Frank Cioff said, adding that "technically" the site was back up, but content wasn't available.

"Please hold tight. So Sorry, but high traffic's causing delays. If you wouldn't mind holding, we'll refresh automatically and get things going ASAP (sic)," the message read on Target.com. A corporate spokeswoman said customers were put in a "queue" and asked to check back later. 

Many expressed their frustration on social media, chiding the company for not being better prepared to handle the traffic surge that was expected to come on one of the largest online shopping events of the year.


In a statement, Senior Group Manager for Target communications Molly Snyder said, "We are seeing a tremendous response to today’s 15 percent off sitewide offer. The volume is already twice as high as our busiest day ever. We continue to receive and process thousands of orders from guests who are shopping the entire site and taking advantage of the discount coupled with free shipping. As we experience spikes in traffic, our systems place guests in a queue and prompt them to access the site later. We apologize to guests who experience any delays, we appreciate their patience, and encourage them to try again in a few minutes by refreshing their browser."

The company kicked off its "Cyber Week" of sales Monday, calling it Target's "biggest and boldest yet."

"Target.com's site-wide 15 percent discount is pretty aggressive and likely the best offer we've seen," Keith Anderson, vice president of strategy and insight at Profitero, an e-commerce analytics firm, told NBC News

In addition to the site wide savings of 15 percent off, a first for the company, clothing is discounted at 30 percent, home goods at 40 percent, 30 percent off hundreds of toys. Target is also offering gift cards with certain big-ticket purchases and gave early-bird consumers nearly 75 percent off "e-door-buster" deals. 

Photo Credit: Courtesy Target.com
This story uses functionality that may not work in our app. Click here to open the story in your web browser.]]>
<![CDATA[SF Home Seller Demands Culture Vow]]> Mon, 30 Nov 2015 08:08:27 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/Mission+House+Zillow.jpg

A San Francisco woman fed up with the Mission District’s rapid gentrification sold her home for hundreds of thousands of dollars under market value – but with a caveat.

Prospective buyers went through an application process designed to weed out people who didn’t respect the neighborhood or its diverse culture.

Catherine Lee sold her two-bedroom, Edwardian condo with garage parking and a marble fireplace on 23rd and Alabama streets for a non-negotiable $650,000. That's a steal when you consider that a veritable shack sold for $408,000 in the Mission District just a month ago.

Comparable houses in the same area have sold for more than $1 million, according to real estate website Zillow. 

Lee, who is a filmmaking teacher living on a modest income, told San Francisco Magazine that she was flooded with potential buyers. None of them, however, seemed to understand that she was serious about the culture-centric application.

"I had a couple of real estate agents come by — you know, long, clicky nails and stiletto heels – who told me they had clients who would go way over asking price," she told the magazine. "I said, ‘OK, so what’s their cultural contribution?’ I never heard back."

That contribution, referred to as a "10-year cultural promissory note," asked prospective buyers to write about their ties to the city and enter a binding, decade-long commitment to provide something of cultural value to the community or to Lee herself.

The new owners also had to promise that they would abstain from griping about the the Mission District's Dia de los Muertos festival, the "Day of the Dead" holiday with roots in Mexico that celebrates the lives of friends and family members who have died. Out-of-area transplants had recently criticized the longstanding neighborhood event, much to Lee's dismay.

"The people showing up were maybe more professional," Lee told the magazine about her preference for the future owners. "I was really thinking, like, the doorman at Slim’s (music club)."

Still, solid offers poured in.

Applicants promised to create a local choir, donate to various foundations and give free legal help to immigrants.

One prospective buyer even met the cultural demands and offered an additional $100,000 on top of the asking price.

But no application seemed to beat that of writer Malena Watrous and her husband, composer Matt Shumaker, who eventually won the moneyless bidding war.

The couple offered free writing conferences, tickets to cultural events for Lee, and a generous donation to the Mission-based nonprofit La Cocina, among other culturally-sound gifts. It also didn’t hurt that the couple had strong ties to the neighborhood – both have lived in the city for a long time, and their son went to a nearby daycare.

"I knew then that they were a family who really lived in the Mission," Lee told the magazine.

Though her story has a happy ending, Lee admits that not everyone can afford to sell their house under market value. She told the magazine that the opportunity she had was one that ultimately worked well for her, and the unique goals she had for her former home.

As for the Shumaker-Wastrous clan, it appears the deal worked for them, too.

"That fear that we would be pushed out of the city was getting to us, even if we didn’t admit it," Wastrous told to the magazine. "Now we can’t wait to get home — and stay home."

Photo Credit: Zillow]]>
<![CDATA[Teens Attack 79-Year-Old Yale Professor in New Haven]]> Mon, 30 Nov 2015 15:34:17 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/PoliceSafetyPic00000000.jpg

Police from New Haven and Yale University are looking for the group of five teenage boys who attacked a 79-year-old Yale University faculty member as he walked home from work on Friday, knocked him to the ground and stole his wallet and backpack.

Police responded to Bradley Street and Whitney Avenue in New Haven just after 6:30 p.m. on Friday after receiving a report that a person was down, but did not find the victim because he’d left.

When the 79-year-old man got home, his wife saw he was hurt and called for help, police said.

The victim was taken to the hospital and told detectives he was walking home from work on Hillhouse Avenue when five young men passed him on Whitney Avenue, according to New Haven Police.

When he turned onto Bradley Street, he saw the same group and said one hit him from behind. He was also punched, kicked, thrown to the ground and lost consciousness. When he came to, his backpack and wallet were gone, police said.

Yale University police said the faculty member suffered minor injuries and referred to the attackers as teenage boys.

A witness reported seeing the group, but said he didn’t realize they were beating up the victim until they’d fled and he could see the victim on the ground.

“These are certainly cowards and we’d love to put handcuffs on every single one of them," Officer David Hartman, of New Haven Police, said.

Officers found the victim’s wallet and are looking at video surveillance to try and identify the attackers.

One was on a bicycle and another was “obese,” the victim told police.

New Haven Police detectives ask anyone who saw the attack or has information to call them at 203-946-6304. They are also urging people to be cautious while out walking at night and said they see more property crimes around the holidays.  

Yale University police are asking anyone with information about the attack to call  (203) 432-4400.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com]]>
<![CDATA[First Trial in Freddie Gray Case Gets Underway]]> Mon, 30 Nov 2015 00:27:19 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/WilliamPorter-AP_329640594936.jpg

The first of six trials of Baltimore police officers charged in the death of Freddie Gray begins on Monday.

The trial for William Porter, who is charged with manslaughter and misconduct, could serve as a bellwether for the other officers’ cases. Porter has pleaded not guilty, according to NBC News.

Porter was involved in Gray’s arrest after he was transported to a police station in a police van. Prosecutors say Gray asked Porter for a medic, but one was never called.

Gray, 25, died of apparent spinal injuries a week after an arrest by Baltimore police officers. His death sparked outcry against police brutality, and was a motivating factor for the Baltimore riots.

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Woman's Body Found in Cooler Inside Stolen Car]]> Mon, 30 Nov 2015 03:05:31 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/206*120/bdoyfpundnew-112915.PNG

A woman's body was found "entombed" in a cooler inside a stolen car in Whittier Sunday, the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department said.

"It's frightening, of course," said Josephine Madrid, a neighbor who lives nearby.

Deputies went to the 8600 block of Bradwell Avenue in unincorporated Whittier County around 1 p.m. to investigate an abandoned car.

A neighbor called 911 after noticing a smell coming from the car.

Arriving deputies found the red 1991 Toyota Celica hatchback.

The car was stolen before the suspected murder, deputies said.

They said they smelled a very strong odor of a decomposing body.

When they checked the car, they found the female Hispanic victim, about 20 to 25 years old, in the rear cargo area "entombed in a large container," which was later determined to be a cooler.

"We’ll have the coroner take the vehicle intact to the coroner’s office, and remove the body systematically and figure out what happened," Lt. David Coleman said.

The Los Angeles County Department of Medical Examiner-Coroner was working to determine the cause of death.

It was unclear how long the car had been there.

The area is right on the border of Whittier and Santa Fe Springs.

Neighbors told NBC4 that cars often get ditched along the isolated road.

"It’s been happening for at least the past year and it’s gotten progressively worse where we’re afraid to go down there," Madrid said. "It’s dark and secluded.”

Anyone who might have information is encouraged to call the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department's Homicide Bureau at (323) 890-5500.

Photo Credit: RMG News]]>
<![CDATA[1 Foot of Snow Forecast for Midwest]]> Mon, 30 Nov 2015 09:27:21 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/215*120/AP_487424761544.jpg

Another storm could mean more snow for areas recovering from a Thanksgiving weekend storm that’s blamed for 14 deaths so far.

The new storm began sweeping east Sunday out of the Rocky Mountains, heading for Nebraska, South Dakota, Iowa and Minnesota, with areas forecasted to get up to at least a foot of snow through Tuesday, according to the National Weather Service.

"It's going to be coming down at a pretty good clip," said Domenica Davis, a meteorologist for The Weather Channel. "This could definitely cause some school closures or even shut down some businesses here."

A state of emergency has been called in Oklahoma, where more than 100,000 customers lost power. More floods are expected in hard-hit areas of Texas and Arkansas.

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Japan's Whaling Fleet Set to Embark on Hunt for 333 Minke Whales]]> Mon, 30 Nov 2015 06:17:58 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/Whaling-AP_110324054359.jpg

Japan is sending a whaling fleet to the Antarctic on Tuesday for a three-month hunt, according to the country’s government.

Under its proposal, Japan plans on catching up to 333 minke whales each year for the next 12 years, according to a government statement.

The hunt will be the first since the hunts were deemed not truly scientific, forcing Tokyo to revise its whaling plans, according to The Associated Press.

The International Whaling Commission has banned whaling since 1986, but Japan can continue killing whales under an exemption for research.

<![CDATA[Bus Transporting Va. Students Overturns, 35 Injured]]> Mon, 30 Nov 2015 00:56:25 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/CVBr4PPWsAEauo4.jpg.jpg

A bus full of college students overturned Sunday night in Virginia, injuring 35 people, one of them critically, authorities said.

The nature of the critically wounded patient's injuries wasn't disclosed.

None of the 34 other injuries was believed to be life-threatening — mainly bumps, bruises and other injuries "that would be consistent with a vehicle accident" — Lt. Jason Elmore, a spokesman for Chesterfield County Fire and Emergency Medical Services, told reporters Sunday night.

The bus was carrying 50 passengers — many of them students from Virginia Tech and Radford universities and the University of Virginia — when it flipped on Powhite Parkway near the city of Chesterfield, said Sgt. Steve Vick, a spokesman for the Virginia State Police.

The driver, Thomas B. Chidester, 58, was charged with reckless driving, Virginia State Police said.

Photo Credit: Mike Valerio/NBC12]]>
<![CDATA[Threat Cancels Ill. College Classes]]> Sun, 29 Nov 2015 21:40:18 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/u+of+c+hyde+park.jpg

Classes at University of Chicago’s Hyde Park campus are canceled Monday after an unknown individual posted an online threat of gun violence, according to the University.

President Robert Zimmer sent a letter to the campus community Sunday to announce the cancellation of all classes and activities on the Hyde Park campus through midnight on Monday.

In the letter, which was also posted online, Zimmer wrote that the University was informed by FBI counterterrorism officials that someone posted a threat of gun violence online. The individual reportedly mentioned specifically “the campus quad” on Monday morning at 10 a.m., according to the letter.

“Based on the FBI’s assessment of this threat and recent tragic events at other campuses across the country, we have decided in consultation with federal and local law enforcement officials, to exercise caution by canceling all classes and activities on the Hyde Park campus through midnight on Monday,” Zimmer wrote.

All non-medical faculty, students and non-essential staff are asked not to come to the Hyde Park campus on Monday. The letter also asked those who will be on campus to remain indoors as much as possible, including students in College Housing.

The University of Chicago will have an increased police presence on and around the campus, according to President Zimmer.

U of C security personnel are working closely with the FBI, which is continuing to investigate the threat.

The University of Chicago Laboratory Schools, the University libraries, the Quadrangle Club, and other campus facilities will also be closed on Monday.

The University of Chicago Medical Center will remain with added security measures, according to the University.

The school expects to resume normal University operations on Tuesday.

Anyone who sees anything unusual should contact University of Chicago Police at 773-702-8181.

<![CDATA[Tx. Crews Respond to Water Rescues]]> Sun, 29 Nov 2015 22:13:53 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/Water_rescues_112915.jpg

Authorities in North Texas responded to dozens of high-water rescues as bands of torrential rain swept across the region through Thanksgiving weekend.

Between midnight Nov. 26 through 8 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 29, Dallas Fire-Rescue teams were dispatched to 38 water rescue calls.

One of the calls was considered a swift water rescue, and four others called for firefighters to deploy a boat.

Dallas firefighters were called to check on vehicles stuck in high water a total of 27 times over the Thanksgiving holiday period.

In total, Dallas first responders were called to 446 motor vehicle crashes in the same four-day period.

Four people in North Texas have died as a result of high water on the roads.

In Tarrant County, a sheriff's deputy was swept away by high water while trying to rescue a stranded driver early Friday morning. After about two hours, deputy Krystal Salazar was found clinging to a tree limb. She was later taken to a hospital for evaluation.

On Sunday, recovery teams were again forced to postpone efforts to recover the body of the woman inside the car. She was identified as Burleson resident Zenola Jenkins, 76.

West of Fort Worth, crews found the body of 33-year-old Sandra Jones Friday morning. Investigators believed her car was washed off the road in waters flowing 10 to 12 feet above the banks of Rock Creek.

Two people were pulled from a submerged car in Johnson County Friday. A third person in the car, 48-year-old Jose Vargas, was found dead near Mansfield.

Firefighters in Garland recovered the body of 29-year-old Benjamin Floyd of Wylie found inside a submerged Hyundai Elantra.

A total 55.23 inches of rain has been recorded at Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport this year, topping the annual rainfall record of 53.54 inches set in 1991.

This story uses functionality that may not work in our app. Click here to open the story in your web browser.]]>
<![CDATA[Calif. Film Students Arrested ]]> Mon, 30 Nov 2015 13:02:28 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/218*120/studentoverpass-112915.jpg

Film students caused a panic on a California freeway Sunday after at least 10 drivers reported two men standing on a pedestrian overpass carrying assault-type rifles, which turned out to be props, authorities said.

The two students were arrested on suspicion of displaying replica firearms and causing a false emergency.

Around 5 p.m., drivers on the 101 Freeway began calling in to report that two men dressed in military fatigues were carrying rifles on the Chesebro Road pedestrian overpass.

At least 10 of the drivers called 911, saying they felt threatened that the pair were going to cause harm.

California Highway Patrol and the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Station, including a helicopter, immediately responded to the 101 Freeway and found the two.

CHP shut down the freeway.

Over the loud speaker, officers instructed the pair to walk with their hands up toward the officers.

The two had a replica assault rifle, replica handgun, military uniforms, cameras and a gas mask.

The pair explained they were filming for a school project.

"While the intentions of these two individuals might have been harmless, the fact that anyone would appear in a public place displaying a replica firearm is troubling," Capt. Patrick S. Davoren of the Lost Hills Sheriff's Station, said in a statement. "These two men put themselves and our community at risk. This does reflect the fast actions of our community in notifying law enforcement and reminds everyone that if they see something, they should say something."

Photo Credit: Lost Hills Sheriff’s Station]]>
<![CDATA[Rice Family Attorneys Want Own Experts to Testify]]> Sun, 29 Nov 2015 14:49:39 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/212*120/AP_534461744962.jpg

Upset over a series of experts' reports commissioned by Cleveland prosecutors that conclude the police shooting of 12-year-old Tamir Rice was justified, attorneys for the boy's family released reports from its own experts that say deadly force shouldn't have been used, NBC News reported.

"We think it is important that the grand jury be given the opportunity to consider the testimony and findings of true experts to explain why this killing was unjustified," attorneys for the Rice family say in a letter to Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Timothy McGinty dated Friday.

The attorneys want their experts to testify before a grand jury deciding whether to bring charges against the officer who shot Tamir. They called the reports that found the shooting justified "utterly biased and deeply flawed" and object to the use of experts' reports in the grand jury proceedings.

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Victims of Colorado Planned Parenthood Shooting Identified]]> Mon, 30 Nov 2015 02:34:50 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/ColoradoVictimsSplitScreen.jpg

The two victims of an attack on a Planned Parenthood clinic in Colorado Springs were identified Sunday as an Army veteran and a lovable mother.

Officials said Jennifer Markovsky, 36, and Ke'Arre Marcell Stewart, 29, were killed along with police Officer Garrett Swasey in the hours-long attack Friday. Each of the victims had two children.

Family members said Markovsky was originally from Hawaii, according to NBC affiliate KHNL of Honolulu. Markovsky was at Planned Parenthood on Friday supporting a friend, her family said, when suspected gunman Robert Dear rushed in and started shooting.

Stewart was an Iraq war veteran who had recently left the military, a friend, Amburh Butler, told The Associated Press.

Photo Credit: KHNL/Amburh Butler]]>