<![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 Sat, 01 Aug 2015 01:43:41 -0400 Sat, 01 Aug 2015 01:43:41 -0400 NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA[Cecil the Lion's Killer Contacts Authorities]]> Fri, 31 Jul 2015 22:13:30 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-482297396.jpg

Dr. Walter James Palmer, the American dentist who sparked outrage after killing Cecil the lion in Zimbabwe, has reached out to U.S. authorities, U.S. Fish and Wildlife officials said Friday.

A representative for Palmer "voluntarily" reached out to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Office of Law Enforcement on Thursday, the service said in a statement. 

On Thursday, officials said efforts to contact Palmer had been unsuccessful and urged him on Twitter to get in touch.

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<![CDATA[Bush: Trump 'Appealed to People's Anger']]> Fri, 31 Jul 2015 14:56:17 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/AP_510329187705.jpg

Jeb Bush called his fellow Republican presidential contender Donald Trump's candidacy a "phenomenon," and said the business man has "appealed to people's anger."

"I was surprised that Donald Trump has surged. I think he's captured the deep frustration that people feel," Bush told NBC News' Lester Holt in an exclusive interview on Friday.

Despite Trump's campaign being controversial from the start—when he accused Mexico of sending its rapists and murderers to the U.S. during his kick-off annoucement—he has a large lead over the other GOP candidates, a Quinnipiac poll showed Thursday. 


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<![CDATA[Climate Change Could Be Culprit in Rise of Legionnaires' Cases]]> Fri, 31 Jul 2015 07:08:09 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/AP11081819071.jpg

The number of reported cases of Legionnaires’ disease is on the rise in the United States and researchers say the increase could be partly a result of climate change.

More than three times as many cases of legionellosis, of which Legionnaires’ disease is one form, were reported in 2009 than 2000 — 3,522 up from 1,110, according to a 2011 report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

New York City, where an outbreak in Legionnaires’ disease in the Bronx has killed two people and sickened 46 since July 10, has seen a similar rise. The incidence of cases increased 230 percent from 2002 to 2009, with the greatest number in high-poverty neighborhoods, according to an October study in the CDC journal Emerging Infectious Diseases.

The recent outbreak in the Bronx, where residents already have high rates of asthma, is the second in the borough this year. Twelve cases of Legionnaires’ disease were reported in December and January and were traced to an apartment complex cooling tower. On Thursday, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said that two rooftop cooling towers in the area had been found to be contaminated, including one at Lincoln Hospital. Both are now being disinfected, he and the New York City Health Commissioner, Dr. Mary Travis Bassett, said.

"We’re aggressively investigating and testing all possible sources," de Blasio said.

Legionnaires’ disease, identified after 34 deaths among American Legionnaires returning from a 1976 convention in Philadelphia, is a sometimes deadly pneumonia that is spread through the environment, rather than person to person, often in a mist of contaminated water from cooling towers, hot tubs, showers or faucets. It is not contagious.

Dr. David N. Fisman, a professor at the Dalla Lana School of Public Health at the University of Toronto, said in an email that he doubted the increase was the result solely of improved testing. The rise is linear and across all regions of the United States, he said.

It is difficult to be certain that climate change is a factor but it seems plausible, he said. The bacteria is more infectious in warm temperatures and some studies, including one he and others did in 2005, have shown that wet, humid weather predicts an upsurge in the risk of contracting the disease over the following week or two. That finding was not replicated in Toronto, he said, but there the disease peaks later in October in that area.

“Give that we know climate change is going to make for hotter, stormier summers (and already is doing so) it doesn’t seem like a huge leap to suggest that the ongoing rise in legionellosis in the US could be at least partly due to climate change,” he wrote.

Why humidity would increase the risk of legionellosis is not known. Increased air conditioning use, with the bacteria potentially in the dripping water, could be a factor, or it might be that the true culprit is summertime rainfall, he said.

A commentary in the Bulletin of the World Health Organization on March 27 argued for adding it to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change's list of important climate-sensitive health issues.

The CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report of Aug. 19, 2011, from Dr. Lauri Hicks and others, noted that the incidence rates increased nearly threefold from 2000 to 2009. The totals likely underestimate the actual cases, because the tracking system depended on health-care providers and laboratories to report cases. The rise underscores the need to test adults for Legionnaires' disease and to report cases, they wrote.

The New York study, which reviewed cases through 2011, also found disparities among race and ethnicity, with the highest incidents among non-Hispanic black residents, and greater risk among certain occupations, including janitors and cleaners. 

Legionnaires' disease usually appears two to 10 days after exposure to the bacteria. Symptoms include shortness of breath, high fever, chills and chest pains. People with Legionnaires' disease also experience appetite loss, confusion, fatigue and muscle aches.

Those at highest risk are the elderly, cigarette smokers, people with chronic lung or immune system disease and those receiving immunosuppressive drugs. Most cases can be treated successfully with antibiotics — which is why those who have symptoms should seek immediate medical care.

Dr. Ruth Berkelman, a professor at Emory University’s Rollins School of Public Health, reported on the increased incidence of legionellosis from 1990 until 2005, particularly in the eastern United States and more recently on the need for national public health authorities to review prevention policies.

“Legionellosis deserves a higher public health priority for research and policy development,” she and her co-authors wrote in the Journal of Public Health Management Practices in September.
 



Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Thousands of Clinton's Emails Released, Dozens Censored]]> Fri, 31 Jul 2015 19:08:18 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/AP_54095660417.jpg

Dozens of emails that traversed Hillary Clinton's private, unsecured home server contain national security information now deemed too sensitive to make public, according to the latest batch of records released Friday.

In 2,206 pages of emails, the government censored passages to protect national security at least 64 times in 37 messages, including instances when the same information was blacked-out multiple times. Clinton has said she never sent classified information from her private email server, which The Associated Press was first to identify as operating in her home in New York.

The Friday release brings the volume of emails publicly released by the State Department to roughly 12 percent of the 55,000 pages Clinton had turned over to department lawyers earlier this year. That falls short of the 15 percent goal set by a court ruling in May, a lag the State Department attributed to interest by the inspector general of the U.S. intelligence community in the possible compromise of classified information.

There were no obviously stunning revelations in the emails released Friday, which reflected the workaday business of government. Some of the documents could reflect favorably on Clinton, such as a message in August 2009 about a 10-year-old old Yemeni girl who had been married and divorced, and had been portrayed as unhappy in a CNN story.

"Is there any way we can help her? Could we get her to the US for counselling and education?" Clinton asked an aide, who began making calls.

Others could be controversial, such as 2009 messages from former national security adviser Sandy Berger about how to pressure Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu over negotiations with Palestinians.

Some emails show the extent to which her closest aides managed the details of her image. Top Clinton aide Huma Abedin, for example, sent her an early-morning message in August 2009 advising her to "wear a dark color today. Maybe the new dark green suit. Or blue." Clinton later held a joint news conference with the Jordanian foreign minister. She wore the green suit.

Clinton's decision not to use a State Department email account has become a political problem for her, as Republicans seize on the disclosures to paint her as untrustworthy and willing to break rules for personal gain.

There is also the matter of the classified information that found its way onto her insecure email system.

Memos sent by the inspector general of the intelligence community alerted the FBI to a potential security violation arising from Clinton's use of a private server located in her home.

The inspector general said his office has found four emails containing classified information while reviewing a limited sample of 40 of the emails provided by Clinton. Those four messages were not marked as classified but should have been handled as such because they contained classified information at the time they were sent, the inspector general said.

Clinton has repeatedly defended her email usage, saying her private server had "numerous safeguards" and placing responsibility for releasing the documents on the State Department.

"They're the ones that are bearing the responsibility to sort through these thousands and thousands of emails and determine at what pace they can be released," she said after meeting with labor leaders Thursday in Maryland. "I really hope that it will be as quickly as possible."

Sens. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, and Ron Johnson, R-Wis., chairman of the Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee, said they were concerned that Clinton's attorney, David Kendall, apparently holds thousands of Clinton's emails — including some that may contain classified information — on a thumb drive at his Washington office.

Grassley wrote a letter to FBI Director James Comey asking him to explain what the FBI is doing to ensure that classified information contained on Kendall's thumb drive is secured and not further disseminated.

Among Clinton's exchanges now censored as classified by the State Department was a brief exchange in October 2009 between her and Jeffrey D. Feltman, then Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs. Clinton emailed Feltman about an "Egyptian proposal" for separate signings of a reconciliation deal with Hamas after the militant organization balked at attending a unity ceremony. Both Clinton's email and Feltman's response are marked B-1 for "classified" and completely censored from the email release.

A longer email sent the same day from Clinton to former Sen. George Mitchell, then the special envoy for Middle East Peace, is also censored as classified despite the fact that Clinton did not send the original message on a secure channel. Mitchell later responded to Clinton that "the Egyptian document has been received and is being translated."

Other now-secret material involved a battle over whom to appoint as the head of the United Nations cultural agency.

The September 2009 issue was over the candidacy of an Egyptian official who had once threatened to burn Israeli books. Abedin on Sept. 22 forwarded to the Secretary of State a chain of emails from department staff summing up the maneuvering over the issue. One sentence in that chain was released redacted, with a code for national security interests as the stated reason.

Previous emails released by the agency revealed that Clinton received information on her private account about the deadly 2012 attack on U.S. diplomatic facilities in Benghazi, Libya, that was retroactively classified as "secret" at the request of the FBI.

The emails released Friday raised new questions about Clinton's stated reason for routing all her work-related emails through a private server. On several occasions, Clinton received messages not only at her home email server — hdr22@clintonemail.com — but also on a BlackBerry email account through her cellphone provider.

In March, a Clinton spokesman said the only reason Clinton had her own account is because she "wanted the simplicity of using one device" and "opted to use her personal email account as a matter of convenience."

There was no indication from emails released so far that Clinton's home computer system used encryption software that would have protected her communications from the prying eyes of foreign spies, hackers or any other interested parties on the Internet.

Current and former intelligence officials have said they assume the emails were intercepted by foreign intelligence services.

Earlier this year, a district court judge mandated that the agency release batches of Clinton's private correspondence from her time as secretary of state every 30 days starting June 30.

The regular releases of Clinton's correspondence all but guarantee a slow drip of revelations from the emails throughout the Democratic presidential primary campaign, complicating her efforts to put the issue to rest. The goal is for the department to publicly unveil all 55,000 pages of her emails by Jan. 29, 2016 — just three days before Iowa caucus-goers cast the first votes in the Democratic primary contest.

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<![CDATA[Firefighter Dies While Battling California Wildfire: Officials]]> Sat, 01 Aug 2015 00:33:45 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/breaking11.jpg

A South Dakota firefighter died while helping battle a wildfire in California, officials said Friday.

David Ruhl, a firefighter with the U.S. Forest Service, died Thursday while on assignment at the Frog Fire burning in the Modoc National Forest, just outside Alturas in Northern California.

Search and rescue was conducted late Thursday until the firefighter was found Friday morning, according to the U.S. Forest Service.

"This loss of life is tragic and heartbreaking," U.S. Forest Service Supervisor Amanda McAdams said in a statement. "Please keep the family and all of our Forest Service employees in your thoughts and prayers during this difficult time."

Ruhl served as an engine captain on the Mystic Ranger District of the Black Hills National Forest in Rapid City, South Dakota.

On June 14, Ruhl was temporarily assigned to the Big Valley Ranger District of the Modoc National Forest as an assistant fire management officer.

The Frog Fire erupted in the Modoc National Forest Thursday afternoon and had grown to more than 800 acres by late Friday, according to the U.S. Forest Service.

News of Ruhl's death comes on the same day California Gov. Jerry Brown declared a state of emergency in response to the severe wildfires burning across the state.

“Anne and I were saddened to learn of the tragic death of U.S. Forest Service Firefighter Dave Ruhl, who left his home state to help protect one of California’s majestic forests," California Gov. Jerry Brown said in a statement. "Firefighter Ruhl will be remembered for his service and bravery and we extend our deepest condolences to his family, friends and colleagues with the U.S. Forest Service.”

Ruhl is survived by his wife, Erin, and their two children. He worked for the U.S. Forest Service for 14 years and previously served in the U.S. Coast Guard, according to Brown's statement.

The U.S. Forest Service is investigating Ruhl's death.



Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[3 Dead in NY Legionnaires' Outbreak]]> Fri, 31 Jul 2015 23:41:38 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/lincoln+hospital.jpg

Three people have died and nearly 60 have gotten sick amid what the New York City Health Department has described as an "unusual" spike in Legionnaires' disease in the Bronx, officials said Friday, adding 11 cases, including a death, to the total authorities gave a day earlier.

Fifty-seven cases of the disease, a severe, often lethal, form of pneumonia spread through the air, have been reported in the south Bronx since July 10, city officials said Friday. Three of the 57 patients -- two middle-aged men and a middle-aged woman -- have died. All had underlying health conditions, authorities said.  

The cases have been reported primarily in High Bridge, Morrisania, Hunts Point and Mott Haven since July 10, the Health Department said.

Legionnaires' disease is caused by exposure to the bacteria Legionella; in most cases, people are exposed to the bacteria by inhaling contaminated aerosols from cooling towers, hot tubs, showers and faucets or drinking water.

Twenty-two buildings have been visited as "disease detectives" hunt for the source of the outbreak, the city said Friday. Seventeen of those buildings have cooling towers -- three of those tested positive for Legionella, including one at Lincoln Hospital; one at Concourse Plaza, a private housing facility; and one at the Opera House Hotel.

"Whatever's in the atmosphere gets pulled into the cooling tower, so there's a lot more dirt and debris and areas that organisms can grow in," Pete Stempkowski, of Clarity Water Technologies, said.

Lincoln Hospital was decontaminated this week; decontamination efforts at Concourse Plaza are ongoing; and the city said disinfection efforts began at the Opera House Hotel Friday. None of the 57 reported Legionnaires' patients stayed at the Opera House Hotel as guests.

"We're taking all the necessary steps to make sure the hotel is safe, that the hotel is still a safe place to stay and make sure that no one gets sick from this bacteria," the hotel's manager, Julio Vargas, said.

Mayor de Blasio and Health Commissioner Mary Bassett said at a briefing Thursday there was no evidence of contamination within Lincoln Hospital, and though the hospital confirmed it is treating patients with the disease, Bassett said no one -- neither patients nor employees -- contracted it at the facility.

Since the cases are widely dispersed — as in they're not clustered in one or two buildings —authorities do not believe the outbreak is connected to any contaminated drinking water, Health Commissioner Mary Bassett said at a news briefing Thursday.

"The water supply in the south Bronx remains entirely safe. We don't know the source of this outbreak, but in recent months we have seen outbreaks associated with cooling towers and that's why we're focusing on them," Bassett said. "We're testing every cooling tower we can find in the area."

Authorities are awaiting the results for six of the 17 cooling towers tested.

Both de Blasio and Bassett stressed there was no concern for alarm.

"People have to understand that this is a disease that can be treated -- and can be treated well if caught early," de Blasio said Thursday. "The exception can be with folks who are already unfortunately suffering from health challenges, particularly immune system challenges. But for the vast majority of New Yorkers, if they were even exposed, this can be addressed very well and very quickly so long as they seek medical treatment."

Legionnaires' disease usually sets in two to 10 days after exposure to the bacteria and has symptoms similar to pneumonia, including shortness of breath, high fever, chills and chest pains. People with Legionnaires' also experience appetite loss, confusion, fatigue and muscle aches.

It cannot be spread person-to-person and those at highest risk for contracting the illness include the elderly, cigarette smokers, people with chronic lung or immune system disease and those receiving immunosuppressive drugs. Most cases can be treated successfully with antibiotics.

The Health Department urges anyone with symptoms to seek immediate medical attention.

An outbreak last hit the Bronx in December. Between then and January, 12 people in Co-op City contracted the potentially deadly disease. Officials said a contaminated cooling tower was likely linked to at least 75 percent of those cases. No one died in that outbreak.



Photo Credit: NBC 4 New York]]>
<![CDATA[Doctor Admits to Sexually Assaulting Patients ]]> Fri, 31 Jul 2015 22:09:44 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/Doctor-Jeffrey-Abrams-11102.jpg

A San Diego-area doctor has admitted he sexually assaulted female patients and took photos of their naked bodies while they were treated at the only free health care clinic in the East County.

Jeffrey Joel Abrams, 68, pleaded guilty Thursday to eight counts of sexual penetration of an unconscious person, three counts of sexual battery and one count of possession of child pornography, involving pictures of an 8-year-old girl, according to Deputy District Attorney Kerry Conway.

At his September sentencing, Abrams could face probation to more than 25 years in prison.

Eight victims were seen by Abrams at the Volunteers in Medicine (VIM) free clinic in El Cajon between June 1, 2010, and June 2014.

When Abrams was arrested in November, investigators claimed to have found more than a thousand photos of women’s vaginas, breasts and buttocks on his work phone.

There was also a video of a patient touching herself in the exam room with Abrams, a search warrant alleged.

Attorney Jessica Pride, who represents victims in the case, sent NBC 7 this statement: 

"My clients are happy that their voices were heard and that they were able to make a difference. They are thankful that justice was served."

Abrams’ medical license has been temporarily suspended by the State Medical Board, and he has been ordered to surrender his passport.

A lawsuit was filed by five women who were patients to the clinic VIM in El Cajon.

One of the plaintiffs in the case said that she initially went to the clinic to get a referral to a psychologist and a therapy group. Another woman requested a fertility specialist to help her conceive. A third woman said she went to VIM for a rash on her hand.

All say they were instructed by Abrams to remove their clothes so they could receive a vaginal exam. In some cases, the women were given rectal exams.

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<![CDATA[Despite Latino Pope, U.S. Hispanics Drawn to Evangelicalism]]> Tue, 28 Jul 2015 07:34:54 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/lamb22.jpg

Despite growing up in the Catholic Church and attending parochial school, Gladys Verdejo said that for years her faith didn't extend much beyond attending Sunday Mass.

But an invitation to a worship service at the Lamb's Church of Nazarene in New York City seven years ago changed that. 

"I fell in love," said Verdejo, who was born in Puerto Rico, of her experience visiting an evangelical church. 

On a recent Sunday at the Lamb’s Church, Verdejo was among a large number of Latino congregants worshipping to gospel songs in Spanish. When the Rev. Gabriel Salguero took to the pulpit, he began his sermon with a fiery message: “Education is power! Ignorance is slavery!”

According to Verdejo, it was this message of empowerment and a direct connection to the gospel she felt she was lacking in the Catholic Church. “I feel more comfortable and at home here. I have a lot to learn still, but it's great,” she said.

Shifting Denomination

As millions of Catholics throughout the country await Pope Francis’s first U.S. visit this September, the steady movement of Hispanics, like Gladys Verdejo, away from the Catholic Church underscores a dilemma for the church: Despite efforts to attract and retain U.S. Latinos through expansion of lay ministry positions and support for immigration reform, many Hispanics continue to convert to an evangelical church or abandon their faith altogether.

The pope is expected to speak about immigrant rights at the World Meeting of Families in Philadelphia later this fall. In a nod to U.S. Hispanic Catholics — who comprise 17 percent of the population and 38 percent of U.S. Catholics — the pope will also offer a historic canonization Mass in Spanish for the Junipero Serra, a Franciscan missionary who established mission churches in California. 

Addressing Latinos in Spanish “will be an unquestioned acknowledgment of the importance of Latino communities and Latino Catholics in the United States,” said Professor Luis Fraga, director of the Institute for Latino Studies and professor of Transformative Latino Leadership at the University of Notre Dame.

After the pope's 2013 inauguration, Rev. Samuel Rodriguez, president of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference, presumed the evangelical church's success in drawing in U.S. Latinos would diminish.  

“We [Latino Evangelicals] expected Pope Francis to, in a very measurable manner, slow down the exodus from Catholicism to Evangelicals in Latin America and here in America. But guess what? He’s not slowing down the exodus,” he said.

In fact, Pew Research Center polling from last year notes that among Latinos between 30 to 49, “the net movement has been away from Catholicism and toward both evangelical Protestantism and no religious affiliation.”

"I Experienced the Presence of God"

After the service at the Lamb’s Church of Nazarene in Manhattan, Katira Castro de Lopez, 34, of Queens, New York, chatted with parishioners as her two children played.

Born in Puerto Rico and baptized in the Catholic Church, Castro de Lopez said she was a teenager when she first visited an evangelical church.

“I experienced the presence of God. It was tangible. I’ve never experienced that feeling in my life ever before,” she said.

The Catholic Church has experienced a net loss of members for decades, and evangelical Protestantism has woven its way into Latino immigrant communities since the 1940s. While the greater part of Latinos in the U.S. still belong to the Catholic Church, the Pew data show that this majority continues to shrink as evangelical Protestant and unaffiliated groups rise among U.S. Latinos. According to the research, nearly one-quarter of U.S. Latinos are now former Catholics.

Evangelical Community-Building

Rodriguez’s Sacramento-based organization, which encompasses over 40,000 member-churches representing millions of Latino Evangelicals, is the largest Latino Christian organization in the country. Rodriguez said intense community-building efforts continue to draw Hispanics to the evangelical church.

“You’re Salvadoran; we prepare your food and we sing your songs. You’re Mexican; we sing your music at church. You don’t have to abandon your culture when you come to our parish,” Rodriguez said.

The church isn’t just offering cultural affirmation. Rodriguez said it’s a message of personal and spiritual empowerment, including a message of financial prosperity, that’s attracting an increasing number of Latino immigrants who have experienced poverty.

“We validate the American dream. The Catholic Church is very ambiguous — almost silent, if not antagonistic — to the idea that America does represent social economic vertical mobility,” Rodriguez said.

Penance and Power

Rodriguez said the evangelical church’s inclusion of spiritual, social, and financial empowerment in gospel teachings resonates with Latino churchgoers.

Among the ways the evangelical church empowers, said Rodriguez, is by mobilizing congregants around social and political movements, and by using its leverage to persuade Congress on immigration reform.

For its part, the Catholic Church has worked to empower U.S. Latinos for decades, Luis Fraga said. One successful way, he said, is the Church continues to affirm its Latino base is by expanding the appointment of Latino deacons.

“There is an explicit attempt to appoint individuals who have language knowledge, cultural capital, life experience directly related to Latino communities, and give them very important roles in ministering to Hispanic communities,” he said.

Fraga added that Catholic social charities, local parishes and organizations like the Catholic Campaign for Human Development — the Church’s domestic anti-poverty program which works to address immigration reform and assist low-income communities — have been highly responsive to the needs of immigrant communities. Initiatives by Latino dioceses across the U.S. are anchoring the Catholic Church, according to Fraga.

“The growth in the Catholic Church — at least the slowing of the decline — of strong Catholic congregants is directly related to the increased presence of Latino immigrant communities,” he said.

Mar Muñoz-Visoso, executive director of Cultural Diversity in the Church at the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, describes the Catholic Church’s efforts to minister to Hispanic communities as all-embracing.

“We have close to 5,000 parishes in the United States that do have some kind of ministry for Hispanic immigrants,” she said.

Muñoz-Visoso also said that 47 percent of lay ministry positions in the U.S., including youth ministers, parish managers, and religious educators, are filled by Latinos.

“[T]here is something very impressive there because it really means that we’re preparing the next generation of Latinos for the Church,” she said.

On Immigration

As trends in American Christianity continue to indicate a decline in membership, both Catholic and evangelical church leaders agree the future of Catholic and evangelical churches alike are intimately linked to Latinos in the U.S.

Rodriguez said for the better part of a decade he has been putting pressure on conservatives in Congress as well as assuaging the concerns that he said many white Evangelicals have about comprehensive immigration reform. “You need to support immigration reform because if not, you’re actually deporting the very future of your church,” he said.

Echoing the official views of the Catholic church, Muñoz-Visoso describes the Catholic church’s approach to immigration reform as comprehensive. “There has to be a grassroots movement to make sure that human dignity is respected, that due process is respected, and to understand the root causes of immigration,” she said.

Pope Francis has been vocal about the plight of immigrants worldwide. In a message for the 2014 World Day of Migrants and Refugees, he addressed the need for thorough reform. “Migrants and refugees are not pawns on the chessboard of humanity. They are children, women and men who leave or who are forced to leave their homes for various reasons, who share a legitimate desire for knowing and having, but above all for being more,” he wrote.

Pope Francis is expected to address immigration in a speech in front of Independence Hall in Philadelphia during the World Meeting of Families. The event's theme is “Love Is Our Mission: The Family Fully Alive.”


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<![CDATA[No Charges for 2 Officers in Ohio Man Shooting]]> Fri, 31 Jul 2015 22:02:54 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/AP_427636218063.jpg

The two University of Cincinnati police officers who arrived on scene just after a fellow officer shot and killed an unarmed driver will not face charges, a prosecutor announced Friday.

Officers David Lindenschmidt and Phillip Kidd responded when UC police officer Ray Tensing fatally shot Samuel DuBose after a traffic stop on July 19. Tensing was indicted on a murder charge on Wednesday and pleaded not guilty.

But a grand jury did not return charges against Lindenschmidt and Kidd, Hamilton County prosecutor Joseph T. Deters said Friday. 

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<![CDATA[United CEO on Extra Fees: 'It's What Businesses Do']]> Fri, 31 Jul 2015 18:16:15 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/unitedairlinesceo1.jpg

 Still hoping for the day airlines let all customers check bags and make reservation changes for free?

Forget it, said United Continental Holdings Inc.'s Chief Executive Jeff Smisek at an industry lunch on Thursday, defending airlines even as they reap billions in profit and face federal probes into pricing practices.

Some travelers are "having difficulty recognizing that we're now a business," Smisek told attendees, recalling the bankruptcies and mergers that reshaped the loss-making industry in the decade after the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. "They criticize us if we charge for more legroom. Let me tell you though: That's what businesses do."

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<![CDATA[U.S. Launches Airstrikes to Aid American-Trained Syrian Rebels]]> Fri, 31 Jul 2015 21:47:20 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/AP_168960475697.jpg

Syrian rebels, recently trained by the U.S. military, came under heavy fire Friday in northern Syria and for the first time called in U.S. airstrikes to repel the enemy.

U.S. military officials tell NBC News the Free Syrian forces were attacked Friday morning by about 50 al Nusra fighters. Under siege, the Syrian moderates issued a desperate plea to the U.S. military.

American warplanes quickly responded, launching airstrikes driving away the enemy forces. U.S. officials would not provide the number of U.S.-trained Syrian rebels or the location of today's attack.

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<![CDATA[Trump Sues Andreas]]> Fri, 31 Jul 2015 21:00:02 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/Trump_Texas_Visit_4p_072315_1200x675_490345027763.jpg

The group developing Donald Trump's grand renovation of Washington's Old Post Office Pavilion has sued chef Jose Andres for $10 million, claiming Andres breached his contract to build a flagship restaurant in the hotel after Trump said Mexican immigrants bring drugs and crime.

Andres had a 10-year deal to open an almost 10,000-square-foot restaurant in the $200 million Trump International Hotel.

But Andres cut ties with the business magnate July 8, after Trump's comments June 16. The comments led to protests outside the planned D.C. hotel.

Andres told the Washington Post it would be "impossible" for him to open a restaurant in that location.

Trump's developer alleges he has suffered millions of dollars in damages, including legal fees, the cost of hiring a new tenant and more. And the suit dryly says that Andres should have known Trump was going to say something that would raise hackles.

"Mr. Andres' offense is curious in light of the fact that Mr. Trump's publicly shared views on immigration have remained consistent for many years, and Mr. Trump's willingness to frankly share his opinions is widely known," reads the suit, filed in federal court Friday.

Andres had praised Trump for his "business acumen," when the agreement was announced in January, and said in a press release, "I have long respected Donald Trump for his business acumen and am proud to partner with him to create a truly remarkable, fine dining restaurant in the city I have called home for many years."

The suit also notes that Andres left the deal more than a week after he was expected to present documents showing construction progress.

Trump sent a notice to Andres on July 17, giving him 10 days to produce the documents. The same day, Andres sent Trump a notice, alleging that Trump's speech had breached the sublease.

Andres also "demanded that Trump's personal opinions not be "repeated, restated, or further disseminated," according to the lawsuit.

Trump's developer claims there are no provisions in the sublease that grant Andres the right to terminate the sublease based on offended feelings.

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<![CDATA[Boy, 5, Killed After Mother Drugged Him, Set Car on Fire: Cops]]> Fri, 31 Jul 2015 19:50:22 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/2015+Narges+Sharfeirad+Daniel+Dana.jpg

A mother forced her 5-year-old son to drink a bottle of medicine and then set the car that he was riding in on fire, killing him, police said.

They charged Narges Shafeirad, 33, with first-degree murder and first-degree arson. The little boy has been identified as Daniel Dana.

Daniel was likely dead before the fire started, Montgomery County Police said at a news conference Friday.

Shafeirad was embroiled in a bitter divorce and custody battle with her husband, police said. The couple was due in court on the day of the car fire for a hearing.

The charges end the mystery over the car found crashed and burning in Montgomery County, Maryland, early June 16. A fire and rescue crew driving through the area discovered the burning 1993 Toyota Corolla near the westbound lanes of Sam Eig Highway (Route 370) near Fields Road.

The car seemed to have crossed the center median of the road, police said.

At the scene, paramedics found the mother face down outside the car, screaming in pain. The doors of the car were locked.

After paramedics began putting out the fire, they noticed the boy on the rear floorboard, but they could not get to him because of the fire.

The boy's mother was taken to an area burn unit with second- and third-degree burns to 40 percent of her body, where she is still recovering from burns sustained while starting the fire, police said Friday.

The scene immediately raised questions for the officers who responded. It became apparent "there was something suspicious about this death," said Capt. Darren Francke, director of Montgomery County Police's major crimes division. 

The fire was started with gas in the front-seat area of the car's passenger compartment, they said, not under the hood.

The boy was forced to drink the antihistamine diphenhydramine, the active ingredient in over-the-counter medications like Benadryl, police said.

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<![CDATA[Baghdad Hits Temperatures As High As 120 Degrees Fahrenheit]]> Fri, 31 Jul 2015 16:01:23 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/baghdadheat.jpg

While the U.S. has been hit hard with high temperatures, it pales in comparison to Baghdad, Iraq.

The city is the hottest city in the world, climbing temperatures upward of 120 degrees Friday, according to NBC News. The city felt closer to 159 degrees. 

And Iraqis don't have air conditioning to cool off. Citizens have said they have to go sometimes up to six hours without electricity due to power shortages. 



Photo Credit: Getty Images
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<![CDATA[Ad: Cops Can Handle Drug Dealers' Competition For 'Free' ]]> Fri, 31 Jul 2015 15:43:02 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/georgiadrugdealers.jpg

A Georgia sheriff is hoping drug dealing "cutthroat" rivalries lead to arrests, NBC News reported.

"They are cutthroats and they will turn on each other all the time," Country Sheriff Stephen Jessup said Friday.

In a local ad put out by Jessup, it touts a "free service" to remove competition from drug dealing.

"Is your drug dealing competition costing you money?" the advertisement reads. "We off a FREE service to help you eliminate your drug competition!"

While no dealers have turned in any rivals yet, Jessup hopes this puts a dent in the small town's large drug problem: the 12,000 population garnered around 600 drug related arrests last year.  

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<![CDATA[College Student Trapped by 15,000-Pound Tree: 'I Didn't Think I Would Make It']]> Fri, 31 Jul 2015 20:54:02 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/Tree-Fall-Woman-Inset-NY-0731.jpg

The college student who was pinned under a 7 1/2-ton tree after it crashed through her bedroom earlier this week said Friday that she didn't think she was going to survive the ordeal.

Stephanie Epstein, 20, only sustained minor injuries when the 15,000-pound tree smashed through the ceiling of her room in Great Neck early Monday. Just four days later, she walked into a conference room at North Shore University Hospital with the help of a walker and described the terrifying experience.

"I honestly didn't think I was going to make it," Epstein said through tears.

Epstein said she was sleeping when the oak tree smashed through her ceiling. She said she thought she was dreaming but realized what had happened when she began to lose feeling in her legs.

"I thought it was a big strike of thunder, and the next thing I knew I was pinned under the tree," she said.

Epstein's neighbor is a firefighter and was the first person to respond when the tree fell. Rescuers soon arrived and worked to free Epstein. She said they comforted her as they sawed and chopped at the tree's limbs, even putting a blanket over her head to keep sawdust from going into her eyes.

"I cannot express in words how thankful I am for everyone who saved my life," she said.

Epstein remained conscious throughout the rescue, and was taken to the hospital after emergency responders were able to hoist the tree off of her.

Fire officials said Epstein was sleeping on her side, which may have saved her life. Some of the cushioning from her bed may have absorbed the shock, they said.

Epstein didn't break any bones and didn't have any major internal injuries. She's having some difficulty walking but should be able to return to classes at SUNY Binghamton this fall.

Doctors on Friday said it was a "miracle" she could walk out of the hospital.

Epstein said she also hopes to share her story on the "The Ellen DeGeneres Show." NBC 4 New York, which is owned by the parent company that syndicates the daytime talk show, was able to help her contact DeGeneres' producers.

Officials still don’t know what caused the tree to fall, but they have said it was not weather-related. Winds were blowing at a mild 6 mph and conditions were dry at the time the tree fell.

Some neighbors were temporarily left without power after the tree, which was originally estimated to be just 5,000 pounds, fell over some live wires at the back of the house.

Epstein's father was in the home when the tree fell; he wasn't injured. It wasn't clear if her mother was in the house at the time of the accident as well.

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<![CDATA[Cop Rescues Girl, 2, From Hot Car]]> Fri, 31 Jul 2015 17:13:43 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/217*120/toddler+hot+minivan+rescue.JPG

A Bergen County Sheriff's officer rescued a wailing, sweat-soaked toddler from inside a locked minivan parked at a Costco in New Jersey on a sweltering afternoon Thursday.

Concerned passersby in the parking lot at the Hackensack Costco began gathering around the minivan, and at least two tried to push down a window, which was already cracked a few inches, cellphone video shows. The child's cries can be heard from inside the car.

One of the men seen trying to get in through the window, Rafael Rodriguez, recounted to NBC 4 New York, "I'm telling the [kid], 'Don't cry, we're gonna get you out.' The boy was drenched in sweat and crying constantly." 

Police officers begin to arrive and one smashes the window on the rear right side, pulls open the sliding door, and another goes into the car to retrieve the child.

"Where are the parents?" asked one bystander.

"I think shopping," another says.

"Are you...kidding me?" he responds.

As the officer emerges from the minivan with a small, crying boy in her arms, the bystanders are stunned.

"Oh, my God," says the woman taping the scene.

The distressed child cries in the arms of the officer, who rubs his back and says he's "soaking wet." The boy's hair appears to be matted to her forehead with sweat.

"Sweat was just coming down, almost as if someone threw a bucket of water on [him], that's how bad it was," said Rodriguez.

Seconds later, the boy's mother arrives at the vehicle with a loaded shopping cart and another child. The officer holding the boy scolds the mother: "You left [him] in the car!"

The mother says "sorry, sorry," and the officer responds, "No 'Sorry!' [He] could have died!" 

It's unclear how long the 2-year-old boy was inside the locked car. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says the temperature inside a car, even with the windows open, can jump about 20 degrees in 10 minutes. 

An officer estimated it was at least 80 degrees inside the van, according to Bergen County Sheriff's Office. Temperatures outside hit 90 degrees, though, according to meteorologists.

Rodriguez said it was clear the mother was gone for awhile.

"I thought maybe she forgot something that she was gonna grab. I was surprised to see the shopping cart was full," he said.

The boy was taken to Hackensack University Medical Center and turned over to his father, the sheriff's office said.

Police arrested the mother for child endangerment and released her with a desk ticket.

*EDITOR'S NOTE: Authorities initially said the child was a girl, but they clarified Friday the child was a boy.



Photo Credit: Arislyeda Pena]]>
<![CDATA[Search Continues for Missing Indiana Woman, Toddler]]> Fri, 31 Jul 2015 13:29:14 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/Gary+Missing.jpg

Family members of a Gary woman and her young nephew now missing for six days say they are sleepless and anxious but still hopeful the pair will be found with the support of the community.

Diamond Bynum, 21, disappeared with 2-year-old King Walker from her home Saturday, police said.

Indiana search crews in Lake and Porter counties hit the streets again Thursday in an attempt to find the two, who authorities said were last spotted at a McDonald’s Monday and not seen since.

Canine units have briefly picked up on the trace of them but then lost it, police said.

“It’s been so long, we thought we'd have this resolved by now,” Eugene Bynum Jr., Diamond's father and grandfather of the toddler, told NBC Chicago. “[But we’re] hopeful because we have so much help now. We just need the people of Gary to help us.”

The missing woman, who family members say is mentally challenged, has been without her medication.

“Diamond’s medication is very serious,” Eugene Bynum added. “It affects her moods. If she doesn't take it, she won’t think right at all … It just won't be very pretty sight. She may harm herself. I’m not sure.”

Lahsann Walker, Diamond's mother, said her daughter has an eating disorder where she doesn't know when she is full.

The family says they worry about how she is possibly taking care of herself and her beloved nephew on her own.

“This is the longest I’ve ever been away from King,” said the boy’s mother, Ariana Walker, as she wiped away tears. “I am trying to stay strong, but I don't even know what to do no more … I can't deal with it. It’s too much.”

Gary police have expanded their search to a grid covering several miles concentrating on the city’s West Side, near Diamond's Matthews Street home.

Gary Lt. Thomas Pawlak said police have not received any new leads on the two since the McDonald’s sighting.

“We're searching woods and vacant homes to see if they're in vacant house,” Lt. Pawlak said. “[We have] sent 10 teams out [searching the grid area.]”

On Thursday volunteers could be seen joining the manhunt to aid the search at the command center, where everyone knows the clock is ticking.

“The more they're gone, the more I don't know what happened,” a distraught Eugene Bynum said. “Diamond knows my number, she should've used it. We’re very worried now, extremely worried.”

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<![CDATA[Pre-Civil War Baseball Card Goes for Over $100K at Auction]]> Fri, 31 Jul 2015 15:53:51 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/baseballcard.jpg

An heirloom of a baseball player that is over 150 years old was sold at an auction in Chicago Thursday. 

The baseball card was passed down in the family for generations, until being sold for $179,250, according to NBC News. The Brooklyn Atlantics card was from roughly 1860. It was sold at a sports collector's auction.

The card had remained in the family of Archibald McMahon, an outfielder for the Atlantic Baseball Club of Brooklyn. The team was one of the first of baseball's first organized league. 

Among other things sold at the auction included shoes worn by Muhammad Ali and a Yankees jersey worn by Mickey Mantle. 



Photo Credit: NBC News]]>
<![CDATA[Netanyahu Calls Abbas After Arson That Killed Toddler]]> Fri, 31 Jul 2015 11:11:28 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-482493342.jpg

Israel's prime minister made a rare call to the Palestinian Authority's chairman on Friday following the death of an 18-month-old Palestinian boy who was killed in a house fire suspected to have been set by Jewish extremists, NBC News reported.

Benjamin Netanyahu spoke to Mahmoud Abbas to say "everyone in Israel was shocked by the reprehensible terrorism," according to a statement issued by his office.

The mother of the slain child was being treated for burns on 90 percent of her body, hospital officials told NBC News earlier. Israeli officials named the slain child as Ali Dawabsha and said his four-year-old brother was in intensive care. His father was also reported to have been injured.

Dan Shapiro, the U.S. ambassador to Israel, also highlighted Thursday's knife attack at a gay pride parade in Jerusalem.

"Two days, two terrible acts of violence and hate," he wrote on his Facebook page. "I join with so many Israeli leaders and citizens who have condemned the hateful stabbing attacks at the Jerusalem Pride March and the murderous terrorist arson in Duma."
 



Photo Credit: AFP/Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Lion's Killer Should Be Extradited: Zimbabwe ]]> Fri, 31 Jul 2015 06:50:22 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/214*120/stock-photo-portrait-of-cecil-116478045.jpg

The American dentist who admitted to killing Cecil the lion in Zimbabwe paid for an illegal hunt and should be extradited to face justice, Zimbabwe's environment minister said Friday, Reuters reported. 

"Unfortunately it was too late to apprehend the foreign poacher as he had already absconded to his country of origin," Oppah Muchinguri, Zimbabwe's environment, water and climate minister, told a news conference of 55-year-old Walter James Palmer. "We are appealing to the responsible authorities for his extradition to Zimbabwe so that he be made accountable."

Muchinguri said the prosecutor general had started the process to have him extradited from the United States.

Palmer said he had hired professional guides and believed all the necessary hunting permits were in order for the hunt. The 13-year-old lion was a favorite with foreign tourists and the subject of an Oxford University study.



Photo Credit: File]]>
<![CDATA[Ex-Boxer Stops Shark Attack With Punches]]> Fri, 31 Jul 2015 11:18:57 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/surfboard7.jpg

A surfer mauled by a shark off the east coast of Australia early Friday survived the attack by punching the animal, just like surfing pro Mick Fanning did earlier this month, NBC News reported.

Craig Ison, a 52-year-old former boxer, was surfing north of Sydney when what is believed to be a bullshark attacked Ison after he flipped off his board. He soon sprung in to action similar to Fanning, and took a few punches at the shark as it attacked his hand and leg.

Ison's friend Geoff Hill watched the attack unfold, telling NBC News it was like "watching Mick Fanning in replay."

Ison suffered serious injuries from the attack but is in stable condition.



Photo Credit: Getty Images/EyeEm
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<![CDATA['Remain Vigilant': Advocates Want More Done to Curb Hot Car Deaths ]]> Fri, 31 Jul 2015 16:20:02 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/babybackseat.jpg

Child deaths in hot cars are down this year, but that isn’t stopping parents and advocates from looking for long-term solutions to an all-too-familiar tragic situation.

On the eve of National Heatstroke Prevention and Awareness Day, concerned parents from across the nation submitted an open letter to the National Highway and Traffic Safety Administration, asking to end their delay on finding technical solutions that could save lives. 

"This will never bring our children back, but we are committed to helping keep other families complete so they do not have to live with the grief and guilt our families deal with on a daily basis," the letter read.

Eleven children have died after being left in hot cars for too long this year, down from 21 deaths that happened before August 1 of last year, according to NoHeatStroke.org. There were a total of 31 hot car deaths in 2014.

While deaths are down year over year, officials warn that families are not in the clear, with a few warm months still to come.

“We’re going into a very hot month and we don’t know what’s going to happen in August, or September or October,” Kate Carr, president of SAFEKIDS Worldwide said in an interview with NBC Owned Television Stations. “This is important all the time. You have to remain vigilant about this every single month.”

There have been close calls with hot cars recently. The latest to make headlines happened Thursday in a New Jersey parking lot, where a young girl was saved by police after bystanders noticed she had been left in the car while her mother shopped inside.

While some high-tech efforts to prevent the deaths have been introduced, such as a car seat that sounds an alarm when the car is shut off to remind parents of their child sitting in the back seat, activists say they want more from the government officials.

“Look at technology; we’ve heard thousands of ideas, we have an eight inch pile of different patents and at this point we need to get the government on board as well,” said Janette Fennell, founder of KidsandCars.org.

In 2012, the Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act was passed. But some little has been done in the three years since the creation of the law, which promised car safety research.

"During that period of time, we lost our beautiful little boy, Ben. I can't help but imagine that he would still be alive today if the Department of Transportation had sprung into action when they first learned about this risk over a decade ago," one parent, Lindsey Rogers-Seitz, said in the letter.

Officials recommend keeping a shoe, purse, or other important item in the back seat of the car, or keeping a stuffed animal in the front seat as ways to remember children in the vehicle. They add it’s important to remember this can happen to everyone, and take the necessary precautions.

“As hard as we educate and they educate, they say 'It’s not going to happen to me,'” Fennell said. “Ninety percent of the time it happens to the best parents. It’s not bad people.”  



Photo Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto]]>
<![CDATA[Bear Caught Eating Cat Food in NJ Living Room Shot Dead]]> Fri, 31 Jul 2015 18:22:06 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/bear+breaks+into+window+nj.jpg

Police in New Jersey shot and killed a 3-year-old female black bear after it broke into a home through a basement window and sneaked into the family room, where the owner found it eating cat food and YORK Peppermint Patties.

The West Milford homeowner called police after spotting the 200-pound bruin in her living room shortly after 10 a.m. Thursday; the caller then fled the house.

Authorities say two officers responded. When they got there, one of the officers saw the bear leave the same window it used to get into the home. The officer shot the bear.

No one was injured.

The homeowner said she couldn't sleep Thursday night she was so frightened; she said every time she heard a sound she feared it was a bear approaching. 

The bear didn't make much of a mess at the woman's home, aside from leaving some chocolates dumped in the family room and ruining the screen on the window it used to get inside.

The homeowner says she plans to put bars on her back window. She says she's lived on the three-acre property her entire life and never experienced a fright like the one she did Thursday morning.

Bears that enter homes are considered immediate threats and are put down to save people's lives, according to the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection.

The Passaic County town has had "a lot of bear issues," according to police. It's not clear if Thursday was the first time one of the creatures entered a person's home.



Photo Credit: NBC 4 New York]]>
<![CDATA[Beachcombers Sift Through Scraps for Signs of MH370]]> Fri, 31 Jul 2015 08:28:22 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/mh370-newsconnect-04.jpg

Beach cleaners scouring the sands of Reunion island in the Indian Ocean for trash have been handing their finds over to local police, hoping that the refuse will provide clues on the fate of missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370, NBC News reported.

Johnny Begue was among the dozens scouring the shoreline and sifting through scraps of machinery, rubber and more.

He and his colleagues made the initial discovery of a barnacle-covered piece of debris that came ashore was from the missing jetliner. A number on the debris confirms it came from a Boeing 777 — and MH370 is the only missing such model in the world.

Begue later found a suitcase — origins unclear — and on Thursday he found an empty bottle of Chinese mineral water and turned it over to police. The majority of MH370's passengers were Chinese.

The discovery of the debris has also rekindled efforts by family members of passengers on board a missing Malaysia Airlines flight to seek greater compensation, aviation lawyers told Reuters.

"If there is evidence that the aircraft has failed, that very well may trigger a wave of lawsuits,” with families suing the aircraft’s manufacturer, a lawyer at firm Maurice Blackburn in Melbourne said.

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<![CDATA[Game-Changing Ebola Vaccine Could Stop Virus]]> Fri, 31 Jul 2015 10:29:31 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-462738974.jpg

An experimental vaccine tested on thousands of people in Guinea exposed to Ebola seems to work and might help shut down the ongoing epidemic in West Africa, according to interim results from a study published Friday, NBC News reported.

If proven effective, the vaccine could be "a game-changer," said Dr. Margaret Chan, Director-General of the World Health Organization, which sponsored the trial.

There is currently no licensed treatment or vaccine for Ebola, which has so far killed more than 11,000 people since the world's biggest outbreak began last year.

In some 4,000 people who received the vaccine within 10 days of being identified as an Ebola contact, there were no cases of the disease. That compared with 16 cases in more than 3,500 people who only got the shot after 10 days.



Photo Credit: AFP/Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Top News Photos of the Week]]> Fri, 31 Jul 2015 14:52:41 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/AP_554523941314.jpg View weekly updates on the very best photos in domestic and foreign news.

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Lifeguard Attacked on Venice Pier]]> Fri, 31 Jul 2015 17:01:58 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/216*120/07-31-2015-lifeguard-venice-bb.jpg

A lit cigarette might have been the spark that ignited a beach brawl involving a lifeguard that was caught on camera Thursday afternoon at Venice Beach, according to police.

Video of the assault shows the lifeguard climb down from his tower before he was repeatedly hit and knocked to the ground as several passers-by crowded around. The altercation began after someone flicked a lit cigarette into the lifeguard tower, witnesses told police.

At least one man tried to break up the fight as another was heard shouting "police are coming." Other lifeguards arrived at the scene during the struggle.

Two men and a woman were arrested in connection to the beating, according to Lt. Daniel Gonzalez of LAPD's Pacific Division.

"It's just disgusting, really," said surfer Kim Ternenyi. "It just makes it sad to come here because you've got a bunch of silly people doing things that just ruin it for everybody."

Another witness called it a street brawl with "a bunch of drunken people."

Officials said they believe the lifeguard was defending himself. The three suspects arrested on suspicion of battery on a executive officer were believed to be intoxicated, Gonzalez said.  Lifeguards are considered peace officers under California penal code.

One of the suspects was taken to a hospital with non-life-threatening injuries.

"There was a woman, who was struggling with the lifeguard, who was screaming," said witness Chase Gilliland. "She appeared to be assaulting the lifeguard, he was trying to fend her off."

The woman repeatedly could be heard shouting that she had been "sexually harassed." As the lifeguard explained what had happened to colleagues after the initial altercation, the woman charged at him and the scuffle continued below the lifeguard tower.

"I've seen a lot of things, but this is a different one," Gilliland said. "Usually, lifeguards are just chill and try to keep the peace. But sometimes the tourists get a little rowdy in the summertime."

Family members of the suspects who spoke to NBC4 off camera dispute claims that the lifeguard was attempting to defend himself. Two of the three suspects posted bond Friday, but their identities were not immediately available.

The lifeguard was also taken to a hospital where he was treated for minor injuries and released. The lifeguard was placed on medical leave, lifeguard Capt. Kenichi Haskett told The Associated Press.

His name was not released because of the police investigation.

NBC4's Ryan Bourgard and Kelly Goff contributed to this report.



Photo Credit: Romy Dee]]>
<![CDATA[Slain Toddler Accidentally Shot by 7-Year-Old Brother: PD]]> Fri, 31 Jul 2015 08:33:04 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/073015+Dalis+Cox.jpg

The 3-year-old girl fatally shot in Southeast D.C. Wednesday night was accidentally shot by her 7-year-old brother, according to the Metropolitan Police Department. 

Dalis Cox, her brother, their mother, an unrelated adult and a teenager were inside a second-floor apartment on the 600 block of 46th Place SE in Benning Ridge when the little girl was shot just after 8 p.m. Wednesday, police said. 

"We believe it was a young child that got their hands on the gun," D.C. Police Chief Cathy Lanier said at a news briefing Thursday afternoon, noting the firearm was not registered. "We believe it was an accident." 

Police are investigating whether the gun was brought into the home by the teen, whose sex and age were not immediately revealed.

"We have the gun. It is not a registered," legal gun," D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser said. "We haven't determined how the gun got in the house." 

The child was rushed to Prince George's Hospital Center in critical condition by D.C. police who were already on the scene, Lanier said. Dalis was pronounced dead late Wednesday.

Police later confirmed that Dalis's brother fired the shot. 

No one has been charged in connection to the child's death.

"We have to figure out where the gun came from, how it got in the house," Lanier said. "If there’s any criminal liability, someone will be charged."

Asked if other firearms were found in the home, Lanier declined to comment.

Dalis's devastated father, Timothy Cox, told News4 he dropped off his daughter at her mother's apartment Wednesday night.

"I told her I had to go to work -- 'I'll pick you up tomorrow,'" he said.

Just 30 minutes after Cox left, he received a call telling him his child had been shot. 

"I loved her with all my heart. It's tough to have a 3-year-old daughter just being taken," he said. 

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<![CDATA[Vandals Topple Jewish Headstones]]> Fri, 31 Jul 2015 09:11:01 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/Adath+Jeshurun+Vandalism+Gravestone+Knocked+Over+AJ+Graveyard.JPG

More than 100 headstones were toppled at a historic Jewish cemetery in Philadelphia.

The groundskeeper of Adath Jeshurun Cemetery arrived around 6 a.m. Thursday to the burial ground along Bridge Street in the city’s Frankford section to find dozens of grave markers knocked down.

"The thought went through my mind, 'this is a disgrace for somebody to do something like this,'" said groundskeeper Johnny Gibson, who has worked at the cemetery for 44 years.

The vandals knocked down 124 headstones, but didn't leave any marking or graffiti, said Gibson.

Some graves on the 12-acre property date back 160 years and there are only a few new burials each year now, said Gibson. On many days, neighbors use the cemetery as a shortcut.

Gibson said that he can’t recall anyone ever desecrating grave sites over the past decades.

“I don't know who would do it,” said Gibson. “Were the people on drugs? Were they drunk? I don't know. But you wouldn't be in your right mind, I don't think, to do something like this.”

Anyone with information on the vandalism is asked to contact Philadelphia Police.



Photo Credit: NBC10]]>