<![CDATA[NBC Connecticut - National & International News]]> Copyright 2016 http://www.nbcconnecticut.com/news/national-international http://media.nbcbayarea.com/designimages/NBC_Connecticut.png NBC Connecticut http://www.nbcconnecticut.com en-us Thu, 05 May 2016 08:28:24 -0400 Thu, 05 May 2016 08:28:24 -0400 NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA[Clinton Defends Against Sanders & Trump ]]> Thu, 05 May 2016 06:45:00 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/CLINTON_AP_367442082209.jpg

Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton will now be defending her campaign from two flanks as Bernie Sanders' campaign continues and the sudden departure of Donald Trump's rivals have made him the presumptive GOP nominee, NBC News reported.

"I'm still trying to come to terms with the fact that any Republican, let alone Donald Trump, was able to solidify the nomination before she was," said Patrick Murray, the polling director at Monmouth University. "This makes it really tough for her. There's no feasible way for Bernie Sanders to win the nomination, yet his decision to fight on in anything more than just a token way means she's got to continue to expend resources in places that she wouldn't bother."

Clinton and her campaign have adopted a posture of benign indifference to Sanders, largely ignoring him and declining to engage his attacks. Meanwhile, they've pulled resources away from the primary to devote to the general election, and have already been engaging consistently with Trump.

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Sailor Rescued After 2 Months Adrift Ate Seagulls to Survive]]> Thu, 05 May 2016 08:03:55 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/Screen-Shot-2016-05-05-at-7.04.38-AM.jpg

The U.S. Coast Guard rescued a Colombian sailor who spent two months adrift in the Pacific Ocean and survived by eating seagulls, NBC News reported.

During his time at sea, the sailor witnessed the death of three fellow shipmates. He was picked up some 3,500 miles from home, far out in a desolate stretch of the Pacific Ocean, according to the U.S. Coast Guard.

The sailor — a 29-year-old Colombian — told the Coast Guard his group of four set out more than two months ago and found themselves adrift after the engine of the group's 23-foot skiff failed.

Officials did not name the sailor but said he was taken ashore on Honolulu.

Photo Credit: U.S. Coast Guard District 14
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<![CDATA[Highlights From the 2016 Campaign Trail]]> Wed, 04 May 2016 20:40:47 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/180*120/2016-AP_16125796454108.jpg The 2016 presidential race has been contentious and full of surprises, with candidates fighting to the finish in superdelegate states. Check out scenes from the campaign trail and keep track of the candidates as they vie for a spot on the ballot on Nov. 8, 2016.

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Visualizing the Olympics: Medal Counts & More]]> Tue, 03 May 2016 15:54:26 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-149332217-edited.jpg

Photo Credit: Getty Images, file
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<![CDATA[#RapedAtSpelman Tweets Spark Gang-Rape Probe]]> Thu, 05 May 2016 08:25:32 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-482158506.jpg

An anonymous Twitter account claiming to detail a gang rape has prompted an investigation at two elite Atlanta Universities.

The owner of the @RapedAtSpelman account posted the first tweet on May 2, alleging to be a freshman at Spelman who was gang-raped by a group of Morehouse College students at a party.

Subsequent tweets allege reporting the attack to campus security and speaking with school officials, who took a month to get back to her.

The president of Atlanta's Spelman University urged the voice behind the @RapedAtSpelman account to come forward "so that I may offer you my full support and assistance."

The president of Morehouse said the school's Office of Campus Safety has been "activated" to fully investigate the claims, noting the information shared on twitter was "our very first indication of this incident."

Atlanta police tell NBC Affiliate 11Alive there is no police report or investigation into the alleged Spelman rape because no one has come forward to report a crime.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Rio Olympic Torch Travels Around the World]]> Thu, 05 May 2016 08:12:06 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-528410208-torch.jpg The Rio 2016 Olympic Torch relay began its three-month journey on May 2, 2016, in Brazil. The torch will travel around the world before arriving in Rio de Janeiro on August 5, to light the cauldron.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Top News Photos of the Week]]> Thu, 05 May 2016 07:56:34 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/AP_16125635272151-chickens.jpg View weekly updates on the best photos in domestic and foreign news.

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Clinton May Need to be Deposed: Judge]]> Wed, 04 May 2016 17:06:00 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/ClintonAbedin-AP_11061119061.jpg

A federal judge said it "may be necessary" to depose Hillary Clinton about her personal e-mail server, in a freedom-of-information lawsuit over the employment of aide Huma Abedin, NBC News reported. 

Federal District Court Judge Emmet Sullivan made the observation about the arrangement that allowed Abedin to do outside work while she was working for Clinton at the State Department. 

The question in the lawsuit is a narrow one: did the State Department do everything legally required when it searched for documents, in response to a Freedom of Information Act request, about the Abedin employment arrangement?

Sullivan said, "questions surrounding the creation, purpose, and use of the clintonemail.com server must be explored through limited discovery," the legal term for gathering evidence in a civil lawsuit. 

State Department lawyers said when the existence of the private email account was revealed, they conducted a new search for relevant documents among the thousands of pages turned over by Clinton.

<![CDATA[Cali. Doctor Center of Prince Death]]> Thu, 05 May 2016 06:43:36 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/160*122/doc7.JPG

A Mill Valley, California doctor’s office became Ground Zero for all-things Prince on Wednesday, a day after a newspaper reported that the late pop artist had been trying to get drug recovery help from him the day before he died.

But Dr. Howard Kornfeld, who runs “Recovery Without Walls,” did not answer the door or phone at his practice, which became a media stakeout in the affluent Marin County city. News outlets from NBC News to Extra were there, all trying to get an interview with the man who reportedly was trying to help Prince overcome his problems.

"Dr. Kornfeld felt his mission was a life-saving mission," the doctor's attorney William Mauzy said. "He felt it to be urgent."

At Kornfeld's home nearby, a “Do Not Disturb” sign hangs on the door. When a reporter went to the door of the doctor’s home, a man came out to say “no comment.” It appeared as though both Kornfeld and his son were home.

"It's really shocking, but I know Mill Valley has a lot of resources," said Jessica Varney of Marin.

The Minneapolis Star Tribune first reported that attorney William Mauzy said Prince had been trying to seek Kornfeld’s help on April 20. But Kornfeld was busy, the newspaper reported. So the doctor sent his son, Andrew Kornfeld, from San Francisco International Airport to Paisley Park in Minneapolis to help, the Star Tribune reported.

"Andrew's purpose for being there was to describe the Recovery Without Walls Program to familiarize Prince with that," Mauzy said. "Prince could go there for pain management and any addiction issue."

It was Andrew Kornfeld, a consultant at the practice, who made the 911 call when he found the 57-year-old unresponsive, the paper reported. Prince died on April 21.

"He arrives to see him dead in the elevator," Mauzy said, deeming it "certainly a difficult time."

The artist had performed in San Francisco and Oakland, less than a month before he died.

Marin resident Michele Miller said she "would pray [Prince] could have gotten the help sooner so he could be with us."

On his website, Kornfeld described his practice as a “personalized outpatient clinic, specializing in innovative, evidence-based medical treatment for chronic pain and drug and alcohol addiction.”

Kornfeld described himself as a “nationally recognized leader in the utilization of the opioid pain medication,” specifically buprenorphine, also known as Suboxone or Subutex. In 2013, he was profiled in the San Francisco Chronicle in an article called Controlling chronic pain without dangerous drugs.

Kornfeld is a graduate of Northwestern University School of Medicine and teaches at the University of California, San Francisco School of Medicine’s Pain Medical Fellowship Program. According to his biography, Kornfeld is the founding medical director at the Alameda County Medical Center, Pain Management and Functional Restoration Clinic.

His son, Andrew Kornfeld, is a University of California at Santa Cruz graduate, where he studied neuroscience and psychology. He has worked on several papers with his father, his biography states, and occasionally, he's acted as a peer mentor to younger patients.

"I work in the area and have heard good things about [Dr. Howard Kornfeld] so maybe he could have really helped him," Varney said. 

<![CDATA[Deer's Head in the Light Globe]]> Thu, 05 May 2016 06:42:42 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/deer+in+light.jpg

It gives new meaning to "deer in the headlights."

A New York State Department of Environmental Conservation officer rescued a deer after the critter got its head stuck in a light globe on Long Island.

Conservation Officer Jeff Hull went to check on the deer after he received a call Tuesday morning.

Hull found the deer with its head stuck inside of a light globe that had been lying in the woods of Centereach since the previous night.

The deer was about 20 yards from a road when Hull found it. Hull tried to grab the globe, but it slipped out of his hands and the deer took off.

The deer, blinded by the light globe, ran into a tree and fell to the ground.

Hull tried to remove the bulb again, this time flinging his coat over it and bear-hugging it as the deer kicked and struggled to break free, according to a post on the DEC Facebook page.

The deer finally slipped out and ran off into the woods.

Hull suffered a few bruises in the rescue.

Last fall, a deer got its head stuck in a pumpkin, sparking a social media storm.

Photo Credit: Courtesy of NYS DEC ]]>
<![CDATA[High End Car Makers Developing SUVs]]> Thu, 05 May 2016 04:32:52 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/BENTLEY_GettyImages-512134280.jpg

The 2017 Bentley Bentayga will be the most expensive in the U.S. with a base price of $229,000, NBC News reported. And that's just the beginning of luxury carmakers producing SUVs.

It's being billed as "the fastest, most powerful, most luxurious, most exclusive SUV in the world." Add the long list of accessories and some buyers are likely to double that figure. An optional Breitling clock alone is listed at $160,000.

Within the next few years, the world's most exclusive automotive manufacturers will be launching SUVs of their own, including the likes of Lamborghini, Aston Martin and even Rolls-Royce.Even as U.S. auto sales surge to record levels, the market share of so-called light trucks, including pickups, minivans and SUVs, has also climbed to an all-time high.The shift is happening at every price level, from entry level to the market's most rarefied segments.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Lead Found in Boston Schools' Water]]> Thu, 05 May 2016 07:39:44 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/water+fountain+generic+4.jpg

Lead has been found in the drinking water of several public schools in Boston, officials confirmed Wednesday.

Water fountains installed at six schools were prematurely activated before testing had been completed, according to Boston Public Schools.

According to the district, fountains were turned on erroneously at Trotter Elementary School, Curely K-8 School, Lee Elementary School, Mather Elementary School, Boston Green Academy and Another Course to College.

  • From Nov. 23 through Dec. 14, fountains at Mather were prematurely in use. Testing in November showed seven of the school's nine fountains had high levels of lead. The same figures were found through eight more rounds of testing through March. All fountains were turned off after the issue was discovered in December, and parents were notified of the situation in February.
  • Fountains at Lee were left on for about five days in January. Five rounds of testing were performed between December and March, and one of the seven affected fountains had high levels of lead.
  • At Another Course to College, six fountains were on for 12-24 hours. One of those fountains was found to have elevated lead levels.
  • The fountains at Curley were turned off within 24-48 hours. Of the 12 fountains that were prematurely activated, eight were found to have levels of lead beyond the state's standard acceptable limit.
  • Trotter's fountains had been covered with garbage bags and were turned off very quickly. School officials do not believe anyone drank from these fountains, but tests in February and March showed that five of the seven fountains had high levels of lead.
  • Fountains at Boston Green Academy were turned on for 12-48 hours, but subsequent testing showed the lead content was within the acceptable limits - lead was not even detectable in some cases.

At these six schools, and in the majority of other public schools in the city, bottled water is being used, according to the district.

In April, 38 schools with functioning water fountains were inventoried. Fountains at 36 of those schools were sampled, and four of those schools had fountains with levels of lead that eclipsed the standard limit.

At Kenny Elementary School, three fountains sampled were found to have too much lead. At Hernandez School, one of the six fountains tested contained high levels. One of the 10 fountains sampled at Murphy School had high levels of lead. At Boston Latin Academy, three of the five fountains sampled had high detections.

Lead is an extremely toxic substance. The Boston Public Health Commission notes that it can damage the brain, kidneys, nervous system and red blood cells - particularly in children and pregnant women.

Photo Credit: File photo]]>
<![CDATA[Man Guilty of Murdering Va. Student]]> Thu, 05 May 2016 04:31:51 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/Steven+Vander+Briel+and+Grace+Mann.jpg

A jury found Steven Briel guilty of first-degree murder, strangulation and abduction in the death of a University of Mary Washington student last year.

Grace Mann, 20, was killed April 17, 2015, at the Fredericksburg, Virginia, home she shared with Briel and two other roommates.

The jury has recommended Briel be sentenced to life in prison with an additional 11 years.

Much of the courtroom was in tears during the verdict and jurors passed tissues to one another.

"All I ever wanted to do was be Grace's dad," Mann's father, Thomas Mann, said in a statement. "I want my daughter back."

"How do I explain to you what we've lost? How do I explan the hole in my arms and the hole in my heart," Melissa Mann, the victim's mother said.

The defense spent the first three days of his murder trial trying to show Briel was insane at the time.

"It's clear something is deeply and disturbingly wrong," defense attorney Mark Gardner said in his closing argument. "How could he be afraid of these young women? It's what most of us would say sounds insane. He's lost his damn mind."

In her closing argument, prosecutor La Bravia Jenkins urged jurors to reject the insanity defense, saying, "To make an excuse is inexcusable ... For a jury to accept that excuse would be dangerous for all of us."

Deliberations began shortly after 5 p.m. and lasted about three hours.

Dueling Diagnoses From Forensic Scientists

Forensic psychiatrist, Dr. Eileen Ryan, testified Wednesday that Briel did not understand the nature, character and consequent of his actions - the definition of insanity.

Ryan said Briel believed Mann had been tasked with killing him and was pumping poisonous gas into his bedroom.

When Mann returned home the day of her death and walked closely by Briel, he believed she was moving in to kill him, so he pushed her away, she fought back, he put his hand over her mouth, she bit him and he strangled her.

"He believed he was incapacitating Grace in self-defense," Ryan said. "He believed in his delusional mind he was about to be killed." 

The prosecution called its own forensic psychiatrist, Dr. Avram Mack, who testified he believes Briel was sane at the time of the attack and does not exhibit signs of schizophrenia.

The most powerful prosecution evidence came at the very end: A jailhouse phone call from Briel to his parents, recorded two weeks after Mann's death. Jurors heard a completely normal-sounding young man chatting and joking with his parents about books and jail food.

Briel's Mother Takes the Stand

Briel's mother, Mary Briel, took the stand for the defense Tuesday to explain her text messages with her son the day Mann was killed.

Mary Briel testified she began to worry about her son in the weeks before Mann’s death. When he sent his parents a rambling, troubling email, Mary Briel testified she thought he might kill himself. He also expressed concerns about his roommates.

His mother recalled a visit home five days before Mann’s death.

"He did mention he felt the girls were going to kill him and make it look like a suicide," she testified.

Steven Briel’s parents urged him to give his roommates notice and move out. The morning of Mann’s death, he confirmed plans with his mother to take the train home, she testified.

That afternoon, he sent a text message saying he was cleaning the house. During the following 30 minutes, Mann was strangled.

Steven Briel then sent another message to his mother, writing, “Hey, made a mess. Someone's at the door knocking. What should I do? Run?" 

She wrote back, "Are you serious? Don't answer.”

A few minutes later she wrote, “What the hell are you on? This is not funny.”

“I know. I'm scared,” he replied.

“Pack your clothes and get to a coffee place until the next train comes. Stat!!!!” Mary Briel texted back. 

She testified Tuesday she did not know what he was scared about at that moment.

He would send her another text, writing, “Hey, I'm in the woods. What should I do?”

“Get to the bus. You still have time,” she wrote back.

When she got home a short time later, she got a message from Fredericksburg police and learned her son was accused of murder.

Grace Mann’s Best Friend Testifies About Confronting Accused Killer 

Before the defense began its case Tuesday, Mann’s roommate Kathryn Erwin testified for the prosecution about confronting Steven Briel, introducing herself as Mann’s best friend.

She testified she received puzzling text messages from Briel as she and another roommate walked home that afternoon.

"I made a mess in Holly's room," texted Briel, referring to roommate Holly Aleksonis. Once the roommates were in the house, Briel emerged from a room.

"He'd sweated through his shirt. He seemed confused,” Erwin testified.

Briel then asked what she would you do if Mann wasn't there anymore.

Erwin testified she demanded to know what was going on, and Briel answered, “Grace came home and was a b---- to me. I slapped her. She bit me. So I strangled her.”

Erwin said she ordered Briel to go upstairs to his room, then she spotted Mann, whose skin was blue. 

Mann’s parents broke into tears as prosecutors played Erwin’s 911 call. She can be heard counting out her CPR compressions -- the number rising higher and higher -- with no response from Mann.

Grace Mann's Roommate Testifies on First Day of Murder Trial 

Aleksonis testified Monday about returning to the home and finding Briel drenched with sweat and speaking very quickly. She testified he stood before a closed bedroom door and said, "Grace and I got in an altercation. She hit me so I had to defend myself ... She bit me. What would you do if she weren't here anymore?'"

Aleksonis opened the door and saw her purple comforter on the floor.

"I pulled the comforter off," Aleksonis testified, "and Grace was there with a plastic bag over her head. I pulled it off and screamed and ran from the room."

As many in the courtroom sobbed, prosecutors played the 911 call from Aleksonis that day. She was so distraught, the dispatcher had trouble getting information until Aleksonis finally shouted, "My roommate strangled her!"

<![CDATA[Big-Rigs Protest Philly Soda Tax]]> Thu, 05 May 2016 00:47:25 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/SODA+TAX+PROTEST+CITY+HALL+GROUND+%28WATSON+RAW%29+-+15-12-13-03_19331730.jpg

Tractor trailers, many emblazoned with soda name brands on their sides, surrounded Philadelphia City Hall two hours before a public hearing Wednesday evening on Mayor Jim Kenney's proposed "soda tax."

The drivers were joined by other groups who objected to the tax, including corner store coalitions and beverage distributors, which rely on soda and other sugary drinks for revenue.

Most of the organizations and businesses against Kenney's proposed 3-cents-per-ounce tax on sugary drinks are part of an umbrella group called Philadelphians Against the Grocery Tax Coalition.

Protesters with that group spoke at a rally outside City Hall before the 5 p.m. budget hearing in council chambers. The hearing was one of two chances the public will get to speak to council about the entire city budget proposal for the 2016-2017 fiscal year. The budget would begin July 1, if approved by council.

Speakers at the rally included Dany Vinas, owner of CTOWN Supermarket; Anne McNally, owner of McNally Tavern; Danny Grace, business manager for the Philadelphia Teamsters; and Miguel Martinez, the head of the Dominican Merchants Association.

Former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg joined in on the soda tax debate, contributing an undisclosed sum to a nonprofit group starting an $825,000 ad campaign in support of the tax.

Bloomberg tried unsuccessfully to ban oversized sodas in New York, and supported successful soda-tax efforts in Mexico and Berkeley, California.

The American Beverage Association has already spent more than $1.5 million on its Philadelphia anti-tax campaign.

Photo Credit: NBC10]]>
<![CDATA[Ashes Fall on NH Museum: Owner]]> Wed, 04 May 2016 18:26:33 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/motorcycle-musem-crematorium-new-hampshire.jpg

A New Hampshire business owner says vehicles outside are covered in human ashes due to a crematorium next door.

Doug Frederick, owner of the Motorcycle Museum in Meredith, said the ashes come from the chimney of the Mayhew Funeral Home.

"This was our dream, to come here and have this motorcycle museum," said Leslyee Frederick, Doug's wife.

That dream became a reality for the couple six years ago, which has now, they said, become a nightmare.

"To be thinking of wiping up someone's human remains, it's just disgusting," Leslyee Frederick said.

Doug Frederick has documented the alleged problem with photos. He says ashes from the crematorium are landing on his property — and that's not all.

"Sometimes, the smell is so intense, it's nauseating," he said.

He's taken his complaint to Meredith Town Manager Phillip Warren, who says the funeral home has the proper permits and isn't doing anything wrong.

"It's similar to neighbors who can't agree on on a fence or an installation," Warren said Wednesday. "It really isn't an issue town gets involved in."

In New Hampshire, crematoriums are inspected at least every three years. The owner of Mayhew Funeral home, Peter Mayhew, has an active state license.

"The Mayhew family has been operating funeral homes in New Hampshire for over 45 years," he said in a statement to necn Wednesday. "Our crematorium is closely regulated by the state and inspected frequently. We have received no indication of violations of any law or regulation. While Mr. Frederick is clearly upset with us and disappointed with the town of Meredith, we will continue to serve the community as we have for decades."

But according to the New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services, emissions from crematoriums should be rather clear and are usually odorless.

Wednesday, a museum visitor caught a whiff while necn's cameras were rolling.

"It wasn't of a diesel truck going up the road or someone's furnace malfunctioning. It was definitely a different odor," Brian Keating said. "It kind of turned my stomach a little bit."

The office of Gov. Maggie Hassan tells necn that Frederick's latest complaint has made it's way to officials at the DES.

"It's just affected our lives deeply," Frederick said. "All we want to do is get this problem corrected."

DES will be meeting with Mr. Frederick in the near future.

Meanwhile, Mr. Mayhew says he will continue serving this community as he has for decades.

Photo Credit: necn]]>
<![CDATA[Firefighter's Mom Jumps From Blaze]]> Wed, 04 May 2016 23:28:17 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/182*120/Dorchester+050416.jpg

The mother of a Boston firefighter was forced to jump from her burning home in the city's Dorchester neighborhood on Wednesday.

Her son rushed to her house as soon as he heard the call but only arrived after Regina Robinson was safely on the ground, thanks to a guardian angel and, she said, some help from above.

"It's only by the grace of God, and God's mercy, that He helped me to get out of that house, because there was no other way out," Robinson said.

Robinson says she's lucky to be alive, praising a man doing a gutter estimate at a neighbor's home for spotting the flames pouring from her home and hearing her frantic screams.

"I was yelling, 'Somebody help, I can't get out.' So he said, 'Ma'am, can you get on the ledge?' and when I tried to raise up the screen, it wouldn't go up," Robinson said. "I had to wiggle my way to get out the window, and I was on the ledge. He said, 'Ma'am, you have to jump.'"

Robinson said she was scared. Black smoke was filling her hallway, and "there was no other way but to go out that window."

Robinson jumped to the ground from a landing right below the window.

The fire was caused by a short circuit in a bedroom. The home is a now completely gutted inside, with damages estimated at $250,000, fire officials said.

Necn spoke with the Edwin Julia, who alerted Robinson, over the phone.

"I didn't catch her, but I broke her fall," he said.

Robinson's son, Boston firefighter Steven Perry, was on duty in Dorchester at the time. He heard his mom's address over the box alarm and rushed to the scene.

"Fires aren't kind to nobody," Perry said. "Just saying to myself, 'Please no, no no no,' just, 'Deny, deny, deny,' you know?"

He got to the scene just as his mom was on the ground.

"Just hugged and cried and was glad to see her," Perry said.

"He was just in tears," Robinson said. "He's one of the macho men, don't cry a lot, but he was breaking down, and he was just holding me, saying, 'Ma, you are alright.'"

Now Robinson has a message of thanks for her guardian angel.

"God sent him for a purpose and a time to help me get out of that house," she said.

Robinson is staying with her daughter. Her family is accepting donations at the Kingdom Church at 234 Norfolk St. in Dorchester.

Photo Credit: Boston Fire/NECN]]>
<![CDATA[New Robot Surgeon Works on Its Own]]> Wed, 04 May 2016 21:50:43 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/160504-robot-surgery-mn-1506_64766b4b95b687114fdd1811d9967469.nbcnews-ux-2880-1000.jpg

A new type of robot can perform tricky surgery as well as — and in some cases better than — human surgeons, NBC News reported. 

Researchers with Children’s National Medical Center in Washington said the new robot — called Smart Tissue Autonomous Robot, or STAR — could be operated with minimal human supervision. That means it frees up surgeons for work that requires more thought. 

The team, led by Dr. Peter Kim of Children's National Medical Center in Washington, compared the robot to some existing systems and to human surgeons. It was reported to be slow, but accurate, and managed to sew together two ends of a tiny pig intestine.

Photo Credit: Carla Schaffer / AAAS]]>
<![CDATA[Manziel Posts Bond in Texas]]> Thu, 05 May 2016 08:15:57 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/johnny-manziel-mugshot-bmp.jpg

Former Texas A&M and Cleveland Browns quarterback Johnny Manziel is expected to make his first court appearance in Dallas Thursday after his indictment in a domestic violence case.

Manziel, who is from Kerrville, posted bond Wednesday in Highland Park after being booked on the misdemeanor assault family violence charge, his attorney said.

The athlete was indicted last month by a Dallas County grand jury on the charge stemming from an alleged Jan. 29 incident involving then-girlfriend Colleen Crowle.

According to Crowley, the pair had a confrontation at a Dallas hotel that continued to the valet stand, where she said she was forced into a car despite her pleas for help. When she later tried to jump out of the car, she said, Manziel hit her.

Crowley was later granted a protective order that prohibits Manziel from being within 500 feet of her for two years. He was also ordered to pay $12,000 in legal fees.

Last week, Manziel's bond amount was set at $1,500 following his indictment by a grand jury; his attorney told NBC 5 Manziel paid the bond Wednesday in Highland Park and is expected to appear in a Dallas County courtroom Thursday.

Manziel's attorneys previously released a statement saying the athlete would plead not guilty: "We believe the evidence will support that plea."

After posting bond, Manziel tweeted, and then quickly deleted, a message that said, "Just thankful I had a shirt this time."  The tweet was a reference to a 2012 arrest where he was shirtless in his mugshot.

Since the allegations surfaced earlier this year, Manziel, who entered the NFL with a reputation for partying and drinking, has been cut by the Browns, dropped by two agents, lost his endorsement with Nike and has no NFL job prospects.

If convicted, Manziel faces one year behind bars and a $4,000 fine.

NBC 5's Chris Van Horne contributed to this report.

Photo Credit: Highland Park Department of Public Safety]]>
<![CDATA[Infected Mosquitoes Can't Transmit Zika Virus: Study]]> Wed, 04 May 2016 20:22:19 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/Zika-GettyImages-506977656%281%29.jpg

Infecting mosquitoes with a strain of bacteria reduced their ability to transmit the Zika virus, according to Brazilian researchers, NBC News reported.

Mosquitoes infected with the Wolbachia bacteria have been released in several countries including Australia, Brazil, Indonesia and Vietnam to help control dengue — and new findings are showing success with Zika. This raises hopes that it might block transmission of the virus.

The new study, by researchers at Brazil's Oswaldo Cruz Foundation and published in Cell Host & Microbe, takes advantage of the naturally occurring strain of Wolbachia, which live in insect cells and are found in 60 percent of common insects. The method involves inserting the bacteria into mosquito eggs, which pass the bacteria along to their offspring. 

After two weeks in the Zika study, mosquitoes carrying Wolbachia had fewer particles of the virus in their bodies and saliva - making them less able to infect humans with the virus. 

Researchers caution this strategy isn’t 100 percent effective and will not eliminate the virus. But it can be used as part of a control strategy.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Flint Official Takes Deal, Pledges to Cooperate in Probe]]> Wed, 04 May 2016 20:01:22 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/FLINT_AP_16103603277244.jpg

A Flint municipal official struck a deal with prosecutors Wednesday, pledging cooperation in exchange for reduced charges as authorities continue investigating lead contamination of the impoverished Michigan city's drinking water supply.

Utilities administrator Mike Glasgow entered a plea to one count of willful neglect of duty, a misdemeanor, in exchange for dismissal of a felony charge of tampering with evidence. The state attorney general's office said the deal will take effect in one year. 

The neglect of duty count is punishable by up to one year in prison and a $1,000 fine. But the attorney general's office said both charges will be dropped if Glasgow keeps his promise to assist and testify during future court proceedings.

Reached at his home, Glasgow declined to comment on the case but said he might make some public statements in the next few weeks. 

Two officials with the state Department of Environmental Quality also have been charged. 

Meanwhile, Michigan senators voted to spend $128 million more this fiscal year in Flint, where the lead pollution has led residents to use faucet filters or bottled water. 

The emergency aid bill, passed 34-3, was sent to the House for consideration. A Senate committee also approved a fund transfer to expand government-provided health insurance coverage to 15,000 children and pregnant women in the Flint area starting next week.

Glasgow, 40, is one of three officials charged with criminal offenses in connection with the disaster. He oversaw day-to-day operations of the water plant when the city changed its water source from Detroit, which draws from Lake Huron, to the Flint River in April 2014. At the time, government operations in the city of nearly 100,000 were controlled by a state-appointed emergency manager. 

Shortly before the switchover, Glasgow complained in an email to a state official that things were moving too quickly and the water plant staff was not ready. Still, prosecutors said he failed to perform duties required of a certified water plant operator. 

Also facing charges of evidence tampering, misconduct in office and safe drinking water violations are Michael Prysby, a former district engineer with the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality, and Stephen Busch, a supervisor in the department's drinking water office. Both pleaded guilty last month. A probable cause hearing scheduled for Wednesday in their cases was delayed. 

Glasgow has said Prysby instructed him not to add anti-corrosive chemicals to the water in what the state department later acknowledged was a misreading of federal regulations. The omission enabled the corrosive river water to scrape lead from aging pipes and reach some homes and schools. 

The funding under consideration by the Legislature would be the fourth round since the health disaster was confirmed seven months ago. Gov. Rick Snyder and legislators previously authorized $67 million for the emergency. 

The latest bill includes $25 million to replace lead pipes that connect water mains to customers and more than $48 million to create a reserve fund for future costs. 

Unlike when the Republican-led Legislature unanimously approved the earlier three aid requests from the GOP governor — who has apologized for regulatory and other failures that created and prolonged the crisis — three Republican senators voted against the new funding. 

"There's a lot of other communities that have similar infrastructure issues that we have with Flint," said Republican Sen. Patrick Colbeck, who contended that the $67 million already allocated is enough to address the actual emergency response and has not been fully spent. "You're setting up community-specific bailouts when a lot of other communities would benefit from that same sort of treatment as well." 

Senate Majority Leader Arlan Meekhof said legislators fatigued with Flint budget bills should keep in mind that the spending would help residents. 

The state Senate also approved a spending bill that includes about $39 million for the Flint emergency in the budget year that begins in October. 

Associated Press writer Ed White reported from Otisville. Flesher reported from Traverse City.

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Man Charged in Killing of 11-Year-Old Girl in NM]]> Wed, 04 May 2016 19:29:21 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/TomBegaye-AP_61100808711.jpg

A man accused of kidnapping and killing an 11-year-old girl from Navajo Nation land in New Mexico on Monday intended to sexually assault her, according to court documents, NBC News reported.

Tom Begaye, 27, of Waterflow, New Mexico, was arrested Tuesday and faces federal charges including murder and kidnapping. He pleaded not guilty on Wednesday.

Begaye allegedly told investigators that he drove the girl and her 9-year-old brother to a dirt road and took the girl away from the van. He said he struck her with a tire iron because she was crying, the criminal complaint said. The boy was told to get out, and was later taken to police by a passing motorist.

The man said little as he appeared before a judge in Farmington Wednesday, according to station KOB. Begaye is being held in federal custody pending a preliminary hearing.

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[What Trump Should Consider in a Running Mate]]> Wed, 04 May 2016 18:25:10 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/TRUMP_AP_16125071253980.jpg

Donald Trump says he will go by the playbook when choosing a running mate, which is an unconventional move that’s unexpected for him, NBC News reports. 

There is a range of criteria — and names — that Trump must consider in filling the position, according to observers. 

Certain names, including John Kasich, Marco Rubio and Rick Perry may help Trump with with particular states, while others like Chris Christie and Keith Kellogg may give the real estate mogul an edge over a perceived weakness. 

Trump may consider tea party darlings like Sarah Palin, who has already been tested on the campaign trail during her time with presidential hopeful John McCain. Palin has also stumped for Trump during the primaries. 

Check out some of the other criteria Trump may need to consider to fill the position.

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[California Chef Brings Cannabis to Fine Dining]]> Wed, 04 May 2016 18:41:06 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/91997111-marijuana-generic.jpg

One chef in California is adding cannabis to his herb and spice rack as the most populous U.S. state prepares for the possible legalization of recreational marijuana in November, Reuters reports.

Chef Chris Sayegh is taking haute cuisine to a higher place with his cannabis-infused menus in private homes for as much as $500 a head, or in "pop-up" banquets around Los Angeles for $20 to $200 a person. For now, diners must show their medical marijuana cards.

Sayegh, 23, who cut his teeth in the kitchens of top restaurants in New York and California, said incorporating cannabis into his recipes creates an entirely new consciousness for diners that goes beyond the effects of a fine wine.

"To me, this is a cerebral experience," he said during a demonstration at his Hollywood apartment last week. "You're eating with a different perception with each bite, with each course."

Photo Credit: Getty Images, File]]>
<![CDATA[Medical Errors No. 3 Cause of Death in US: Experts]]> Wed, 04 May 2016 18:16:05 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/SurgicalInstruments-GettyImages-511163598.jpg

Two medical experts said Wednesday that medical mistakes — from surgical disasters to accidental drug overdoses — are the No. 3 cause of death in the U.S., NBC News reported.

Dr. Martin Makary and Michael Daniel from Johns Hopkins University said a count of all preventable deaths reveals that between 200,000 and 400,000 people a year die from these mistakes. 

Many health policy experts have been trying to call attention to the problem of medical errors for more than a decade. One problem is that mistakes are not usually put on death certificates. 

Cancer and heart disease are neck and neck as the top cause of death in the United States. In 2012, 24 percent of all deaths were from heart disease — 599,711 to be precise. And 582,623 deaths, or 23 percent, were from cancer.

Photo Credit: AFP/Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Facebook Pays $10K Reward to Boy for Reporting Glitch]]> Wed, 04 May 2016 16:22:42 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/AP_351548094733.jpg

Facebook has given a $10,000 reward to a 10-year-old Finnish boy for finding a glitch in its photo-sharing app, Instagram, according to Reuters. 

"I wanted to see if Instagram's comment field could stand malicious code. Turns out it couldn't," Jani, whose last name was not released for privacy reasons, told Finland's Iltalehti newspaper. 

The boy is the youngest ever recipient of Facebook’s “bug bounty,” which is paid to users who find bugs or weaknesses in its platforms. 

"I could have deleted anyone's comments from there. Even Justin Bieber's," he told Iltalehti. 

Facebook said the glitch was fixed in February and the reward paid in March.

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[RedState Calls on Confirmation of Garland to SCOTUS]]> Wed, 04 May 2016 14:28:09 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/garland-GettyImages-515910394.jpg

A conservative website is calling on Republicans to confirm President Barack Obama’s Supreme Court nomination Merrick Garland, NBC News reports.

"Republicans must know that there is absolutely no chance that we will win the White House in 2016 now. They must also know that we are likely to lose the Senate as well. So the choices, essentially, are to confirm Garland and have another bite at the apple in a decade, or watch as President Clinton nominates someone who is radically more leftist and 10-15 years younger, and we are in no position to stop it," Leon Wolf wrote on RedState hours after Donald Trump became the GOP’s likely nominee. 

But not all conservatives agree. Erick Erickson, the former editor of RedState, who is against Trump, doesn’t support the immediate confirmation of Garland, saying Republicans risk taking away "arguments that can persuade independent voters to go with a Republican Senate."

Republican leaders in the Senate, including Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, vow to block Garland’s confirmation, saying the next president should be the one to make the nomination.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Missy Bevers' Husband Speaks]]> Wed, 04 May 2016 20:21:09 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/brandon-bevers-050416.jpg

As the investigation into the slaying of Missy Bevers continues, her husband continues to cooperate with police and says he's found peace and strength by leaning on God.

Missy Bevers was found dead inside the Creekside Church in Midlothian on April 18, where she was set to teach a Camp Gladiator fitness class. 

Police have not named any suspects or revealed a motive but are working to identify a person in tactical gear whose image was captured on surveillance footage in the minutes before Bevers was killed.

After another meeting with police Wednesday morning, her husband, Brandon Bevers, talked with the media about the latest developments in the case and how he is coping with the loss of his wife.

"They didn't call me here, I just occasionally have things in my mind that I want to share with them and so I come up here and say, 'Hey, I'm coming up here —I've got this on my mind,'" Brandon said.

When asked how he was doing, Brandon was frank in his reply that he's only doing as well as he is because of his faith in God.

"If it wasn't for me leaning on God as heavily as I am right now, OK, there is no way — I would be melted just into this asphalt," he said. "There is no way the Brandon Bevers before this would be standing here today without me leaning on God, and His word and His direction, like, I find peace in it. It's very comforting. I obtain wisdom from it."

Brandon Bevers said he has seen the headlines but hasn't read the latest reports that offer details of his wife's slaying — that she "had multiple puncture wounds found on her head and chest" that "are consistent with tools the suspect was carrying throughout the building."

"I haven't even read it, so don't divulge. I haven't even read the story. I saw it and I was unwilling to even...and I'm not even there so don't tell me anything," he said.

Photo Credit: NBC 5 News]]>