<![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 Thu, 02 Jul 2015 19:18:06 -0400 Thu, 02 Jul 2015 19:18:06 -0400 NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA[WATCH: Judge, Suspect Reunite]]> Thu, 02 Jul 2015 19:00:46 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/070215+judge+mindy+glazer+arthur+booth.jpg

A Miami-Dade judge and one of her old middle school classmates had an emotional reunion in court after he was arrested following an alleged burglary and police pursuit.

Arthur Booth, 49, was arrested Monday by Hialeah Police on several charges including burglary, grand theft, fleeing, and resisting arrest.

On Thursday, he went before Judge Mindy Glazer in bond court. Glazer, recognizing Booth from their days at Nautilus Middle School, asked if he had gone there.

"Oh my goodness, oh my goodness," Booth said, as he covered his head and began crying.

"I'm sorry to see you there, I always wondered what happened to you sir," Glazer said, as Booth continued crying. "This was the nicest kid in middle school, he was the best kid in middle school. I used to play football with him, all the kids, and look what has happened."

Booth continued to repeat "Oh my goodness" as Glazer gave him words of encouragement.

"I am so sorry to see you there. Mr. Booth, I hope you are able to change your ways, good luck to you," she said. "What's sad is how old we've become. Good luck to you sir, I hope you are able to come out of this ok and just lead a lawful life."

According to an arrest report, Booth was spotted driving a gold Honda Accord that was a vehicle suspected of being involved in a home burglary. When an officer tried to stop the Accord, Booth took off, and a pursuit began, the report said.

Booth ran stop signs and was involved in two accidents before crashing the car in the area of Northwest 36th Street and North River Drive, the report said. Booth fled on foot but was caught a short time later, authorities said.

Booth's bond was set at $43,000. It was unknown if he's hired an attorney.

<![CDATA[Fourth of July: What You Should Know]]> Wed, 01 Jul 2015 18:43:05 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/AP863047613399.jpg

There will no doubt be plenty of beer and fireworks this Fourth of July.

Although we celebrate Independence Day on July 4 every year, that may not be the correct date of America's independence from Britain. In fact, John Adams wrote a letter to his wife Abigail hailing July 2 as the day people would celebrate America for generations to come.

That's because on July 2, 1776, the Second Continental Congress voted to approve a resolution for independence. However, America celebrates July 4 because that was the day the Continental Congress adopted the Declaration of Independence.

Here's a look at other things to know this July 4:

15,000 - The approximate number of July 4 fireworks shows that took place in 2014, according to the American Pyrotechnics Association.

41.9 Million - The number of travelers AAA predicts will travel 50 miles or more from home during the holiday weekend.

150 Million - The approximate number of hot dogs to be consumed on the Fourth of July, according to Marketresearch.com.

61 - The number of hot dogs San Jose native Joey Chestnut ate in 10 minutes to win the annual Nathan's Famous Fourth of July Hot Dog Eating Contest at Coney Island in Brooklyn last year for the eighth time in a row. He also proposed to his girlfriend, fellow competitive eater Neslie Ricasa. She said yes.

69 - The hot dog eating record Joey Chestnut set in 2013.

6.8 Million - Number of singles sold of Katy Perry's "Firework" from her third studio album "Teenage Dream," according to the Recording Industry Association of America.

- The percentage of consumer fireworks that are made in China, according to The New York Times.

3 - The number of U.S. presidents who have died on July 4. Thomas Jefferson and John Adams both died on July 4, 1826. James Monroe also died on July 4, five years later.

1870 - The year Congress passed a bill to make July 4 a national holiday, though it has been celebrated as early as 1977, according to Time.

$55.84 - The average cost of a barbeque cookout this summer for 10 people, according to a survey of grocery stores in 30 states.

201.6 Million - The number of pounds of fireworks consumers used in 2014, according to the American Pyrotechnics Association.

15 - The number of seconds San Diego's fireworks show lasted in 2012 when tens of thousands of fireworks were accidentally shot off at the same time.

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA['People Buck Naked, People Doing Sex': Families Furious at Hollywood 'Campsite']]> Thu, 02 Jul 2015 14:16:40 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/188*120/7-2-2015-HHCampsite.JPG

Families in an affluent Hollywood Hills community are outraged after claiming to see people openly drinking and having sex on a campsite being rented out in their community.

Advertised through the Airbnb website, the site is advertised as a "Hollywood Hills Camping Retreat" on La Punta Drive, but sits in middle of a multimillion-dollar neighborhood. For the cost of $40 per night — or $800 a month — people get a tent, spectacular views and are within short walking distance of the Hollywood sign.

The listing appeared to have been taken down as of Thursday morning.

But people living in the well-heeled locale are unhappy at the way they claim renters are behaving during their stays — smoking, having sex and drinking — within view of the surrounding mansions.

"People buck naked, people doing sex out in open. Drinking," resident and father Sanjeeb Kumar told NBC4. "Our own backyard, it's scary. Scared to come out."

"I think it's really hard when a lot of us have children and we are driving by and the kids see strange things and ask, 'Why is that going on there?'" a fellow neighbor said.

Airbnb gave the following statement to NBC4:

"The listing is no longer on the site. Airbnb guests expect unique and authentic travel experiences and in turn communities rightfully expect considerate visitors. We have had more than 40 million guests stay with Airbnb. Problems for hosts, guests and neighbors are extremely rare but when they happen, we work fast to make things right."

Neighbors also voiced concerns that a fire could be sparked as campers have been seen smoking, even though a sign in front of the property, which is surrounded by dry brush, says smoking is not allowed.

"We have a major drought situation, that could go up, take the whole hillside and take the houses with it," a resident said.

According to the now-offline campsite listing, campers may use the mansion's bathrooms during their stay for an extra fee.

Two tents were pitched when NBC4 visited the site Wednesday. When NBC4 tried to speak with the person inside the mansion associated with the site, he or she did not respond, and instead called police. Officers told NBC4 that news crews were allowed to enter the neighborhood.

Neighbors are hoping to have the campsite closed down, and are working to have the city check for any possible zoning violations.

Photo Credit: KNBC]]>
<![CDATA[Local News Crew Mugged, Pistol Whipped at San Francisco Pier]]> Thu, 02 Jul 2015 17:22:56 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/N5A+SET+UP+KRIS+VO+-+00000401.jpg

An NBC Bay Area news crew was attacked early Thursday morning while reporting a story in a mugging that injured the photographer, whose camera gear was also stolen. A second station was also robbed of its gear.

The brazen attack occurred just before 6 a.m. at Pier 14 in San Francisco, where the reporter and photographer – along with several other news stations – were covering a story about a woman who had been shot to death there the night before. NBC Bay Area is not identifying any victims of the attack.

As the two were about to go on air, a man pulled up to the curb in a black four-door BMW, approached the photographer and pistol-whipped him with a gun then shoved him to the ground, the photographer and reporter said. The man then grabbed the photographer's camera gear, and as he was struggling to get it inside his getaway car, returned to pistol whip the photographer again, the news crew reported.

The reporter was not injured and the photographer suffered a cut to his ear. The photographer was checked out by paramedics along the Embarcadero and declared OK. Both returned to work later to the warm embrace of their colleagues.

"I thought I was going to hear a click," the photographer said afterward, meaning that he thought he was going to die. He said he told the man to simply take the camera.

As the attacker, described as a man in his 20s wearing a hoodie, was hurting the photographer, the reporter yelled, "Don't shoot, don't shoot."

A reporter from KTVU was also at the scene, and had to duck out of her live newscast when the attack occurred. What happened was not shown on camera. The suspect took KTVU's gear, too.

Crews from KRON and KGO-TV were there, but they were not robbed, witnesses said.

Witnesses said it appeared as though the attacker got into a getaway car, driven by someone else. There was possibly another person in the back of the car, too. 

Another reporter from KCBS radio tweeted out a photo of an ammunition magazine left at the scene.

Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area
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<![CDATA[Top News Photos of the Week]]> Thu, 02 Jul 2015 07:55:16 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/AP_674589382945_EpiscopalChurchGayMarraige.jpg View weekly updates on the very best photos in domestic and foreign news.

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Wisconsin Is Drunkest State in U.S.: Report]]> Thu, 02 Jul 2015 18:55:02 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/Wisconsin-Beer-Drinking-2-July-2015.jpg

Everything you thought about Wisconsin’s love of beer is true, according to a new report. 

A new study has officially proven what many expected from a state that named its baseball team after its love of breweries: Wisconsinites like to drink.

Detox.net analyzed America’s alcohol consumption from 2011 to 2013 across different states and made a list of states with the most drinkers, based on responses from more than 400,000 interviews.

Wisconsin topped the list, with 65.33 percent of adults saying they had had at least one drink within the past 30 days.

Wisconsin was followed by the District of Columbia (not a state, but considered as one in the survey). Rounding out the top five were Vermont, New Hampshire and Massachusetts.

And when it comes to binge-drinkers, Wisconsin still tops the list, followed by North Dakota, Washington D.C., Iowa and Illinois. Apparently, the Midwest in known as the “binge drinking belt.”

Among the states with the least drinkers were Utah, West Virginia, Tennessee, Mississippi and Alabama.

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Comic-Con to Stay in San Diego for 2 More Years: Mayor ]]> Thu, 02 Jul 2015 18:36:19 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/San-Diego-Comic-Con-2-July-2015.jpg

Comic-Con will stay in San Diego for another two years, the city's mayor announced Thursday.

San Diego's Mayor Kevin Faulconer credited the warm weather, the sun and the sand when he shared the news that "Comic-Con is here to stay in San Diego for another two years.”

Negotiations had been ongoing to keep the region's largest convention – and one of the largest comic book conventions in the world – in the city through 2018.

“It was touch-and-go for a while,” Comic-Con 2015 organizer David Glanzer said. He said there were several issues, including hotel rates, that were eventually worked out.

Comic-Con was under contract to remain in San Diego until next year, and the new deal extends that contract two more years.

The convention has long been lured to relocate to Los Angeles and Anaheim – both are Southern California cities with larger convention centers.

“It’s no secret we have outgrown the convention center space,” Glanzer said adding his team has been allowed to expand into something he described as the Comic-Con “campus.”

"We will be expanding our convention center," Faulconer vowed. "We're going to continue to grow and Comic-Con is going to continue to grow with us in San Diego." 

Comic-Con is a huge asset for San Diego drawing more than 130,000 attendees over the four-day fest and contributing more than $180 million to the city's economy, city officials have said.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[9/11 First Responder Hits $5 Million Lottery Jackpot]]> Thu, 02 Jul 2015 13:24:17 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/Carmelo-Mercado-Lotto-0702.jpg

An FDNY firefighter who responded to the World Trade Center after the Sept. 11 terror attacks -- then had to retire three years later because of the toll it took on his body -- just hit the jackpot.

Carmelo Mercado, a firefighter from Queens who rushed to Ground Zero moments after the second twin tower collapsed and spent two days aiding in search efforts, was presented with a $5 million check Thursday at the New York Lottery's offices in lower Manhattan.

Mercado said that he hit the lottery after buying two tickets earlier this year. He said the first one didn't net him a prize. He said when he saw the first digit of the winning scratcher, he had to do a double-take.

"I said, 'Holy mackerel, that looks like $5 million'," he said. "My mind went blank. I was in shock."

Mercado will take home a $3.3 million lump sum payment, after taxes, lottery officials.

"Talk about Jackie Gleason: Hamana-hamana-hamana that's a lot of money," he said. "Beautiful!"

The former firefighter says he plans to take a cruise and may buy a house in Florida. He also plans to treat his daughter.

"My daughter asked me, 'Does that mean I can get an American Girl doll?'" he said. "So I told her, 'How 'bout 10?'"

He said that the money should also help with any medical expenses that could arise. 

Mercado, a 27-year veteran with the FDNY, had to retire in 2004 after being told by doctors he had developed a lung ailment from responding to Ground Zero.

<![CDATA[All Clear Given at Washington Navy Yard: Police]]> Thu, 02 Jul 2015 19:17:03 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/220*120/2015-07-02_0810.jpg

U.S. Capitol Police have given the all clear at the Washington Navy Yard after the report of a shooting Thursday morning, triggered vivid memories of a 2013 deadly mass shooting at the naval installation. 

D.C. police said a woman called from inside a Navy Yard building to report that she might have heard sounds of gunshots around 7:20 a.m. However, investigators found no sign of a shooting, a shooter or anyone injured.

“We don’t believe that it was a malicious hoax or incident like that,” D.C. Police Chief Cathy Lanier said during a press conference Thursday morning. 

Lanier added that the employee was doing what she was supposed to do. 

After receiving the call, authorities converged on the area and searched each building one-by-one. 

One of the buildings searched was the Humphreys Building, which was the sight of a deadly mass shooting nearly two years ago. The building was formerly known as Building 197. 

The naval installation was placed on lockdown and employees were told to shelter in place. 

"It was pretty much like the first time. There were lots of people running for the exits, running for shelter, a lot of confusion," said Lt. Commander Scott Williams, who was inside the building when Thursday's incident was reported. 

A number of roads were closed in the area as authorities completed their investigations. A nearby elementary school was also placed on lockdown for a short time.  

On Sept. 16, 2013, 12 civilians were killed and four others injured during a mass shooting at Building 197. The gunman, Aaron Alexis, was killed by police. Alexis was a civilian contractor and former Navy reservist who suffered from mental health problems.

It was the second-deadliest rampage on an American military base, after the Fort Hood shootings in Texas in 2009.

The building reopened in February after extensive renovations.

Counselors and chaplains will be provided to any Navy Yard employees who need to speak with someone. 

The Navy Yard, in southeast Washington, is the country's oldest naval installation.

Stay with News4 on-air and online for more on this developing story. 

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<![CDATA[WATCH: Dramatic Escape From Burning Building]]> Thu, 02 Jul 2015 11:48:36 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/fire+jump.jpg

Dramatic video shows two young women jump to their safety from a burning apartment building in Sandy Springs, Georgia. 

When WXIA, an NBC affiliate in Atlanta, arrived at the scene, a young woman could be seen screaming for help after breaking the third-floor window. 

Two neighbors appeared below and convinced the woman to jump into their arms. Moments later, a second young woman jumped from the window to safety. 

"I heard someone banging on the window -- you could see the window all broken, so we just ran over there and helped them out," Deigo Silva told WXIA.

Twenty-nine people from 11 families had their homes destroyed in the fire, officials told WXIA. The cause of the blaze was being investigated. 

Photo Credit: WXIA]]>
<![CDATA[Gay Pride Adaptation of Iwo Jima Photo Draws Backlash]]> Thu, 02 Jul 2015 13:19:10 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/IwoJimaSplit.jpg

Joe Rosenthal’s historic photograph depicting five Marines and a Navy corpsman raising the flag on Iwo Jima is one of America’s most iconic war-related images. It is also one of the most parodied images, but a recent depiction of the event sparked fury on social media. 

On June 26, photographer Ed Freeman posted a picture he took more than a decade ago for the cover of Frontiers, a gay magazine, that shows four male models planting a gay pride flag similarly to how the six soldiers planted the flag at Iwo Jima 70 years ago. Freeman’s Facebook post celebrated the U.S. Supreme Court’s landmark decision to allowing same-sex marriage nationwide. 

“When I took this picture almost ten years ago, it never, never occurred to me that it would someday come to symbolize the victory we are celebrating today,” Freeman said in the post. “Congratulations to all of us! Love to you all.”

The backlash against the photograph was fierce, according to The Washington Post, with many social media users saying that comparing the sacrifice of American soldiers in World War II with the struggle for gay rights was disrespectful. 

"Altering the American flag colors && trying to remake the "Raising the Flag on Iwo Jima" photograph with the gay pride flag is degrading," one user said.

"I get all that gay marriage stuff but to replace the American flag from the iconic Iwo Jima picture, just no," another post read. 

Freeman, whose studio is in Los Angeles, told the Post he even received a death threat that he reported to the FBI.

"This picture was just a flashpoint for a lot people who are looking for a reason to lash out, so I guess I get to be the whipping boy,” Freeman told the Post about the backlash. “I’m fine with that if that’s what it takes.”

The Iwo Jima motif has appeared elsewhere, including to sell beer and promote the Hard Rock Cafe, and its use has been similarly criticized. In 2008, Time magazine was criticized for using an altered version of the Iwo Jima photograph showing soldiers planting a tree. That cover, which was meant to compare the struggle to win the war to the struggle to combat climate change, even drew condemnation from some fellow journalists.

<![CDATA[Amnesia Patient Finds Family]]> Thu, 02 Jul 2015 11:01:20 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/amnesia3.jpg

Five months after showing up in a San Diego-area emergency room without any recollection of her name, age, family, or friends, a woman who calls herself “Sam” has finally rediscovered who she is as she continues to battle cancer.

Ashley Manetta, 53, never married and has sisters in Colorado and Maryland. She was born in Pennsylvania, lived in Flagstaff, Arizona, and several years ago found her way to Southern California, where she lived in La Jolla, Vista, and Carlsbad.

The woman’s plight captured attention worldwide after NBC 7's post went viral with a Facebook reach of 21.2 million people as of Wednesday afternoon. Facebook users shared the post nearly 200,000 times, leading to thousands of tips and suggestions.

Manetta’s nephew watched the NBC 7 story online and immediately called his mom to tell her about the mystery woman: Aunt Ashley.

The FBI took the tip to Manetta and her friend Debbie Rough, her nurse from Tri City Medical Center in Oceanside, who championed the initial search for relatives. The phone call led to tears and details of her forgotten past.

“It was extremely emotional. We were all sobbing. They’re so sorry I had to go through what I did during this time without them,” Manetta said.

The FBI did not officially confirm Manetta's identity, but investigators felt comfortable with the information they've provided to help facilitate a reunion. Manetta's family did not provide independent verification of her identity.

Carlsbad firefighters responded to an emergency call on February 1 and found her  in dire shape. Her blood pressure was so low she was barely conscious. She couldn’t tell paramedics anything about herself.

Doctors at Tri City Medical Center diagnosed her with ovarian cancer, telling her the antibodies from the tumor possibly caused “retrograde amnesia."

Carlsbad police and the FBI got involved in an effort to help identify her. They said more pressing responsibilities kept them from devoting the many hours needed to solve the case.

Searches of their fingerprint database turned up empty.

“He [the FBI agent] said you must be a good girl, otherwise we’d have records of you,” Manetta said.

FBI agents posted Manetta’s picture and story to the Interpol website in an effort to attract global attention.

She spoke with an English or Australian accent and had vivid dreams about time spent in Perth.

"Apparently I have a long time of visiting Australia for extended trips. I’ve been going there throughout my life,” Manetta said. The family lost track of her in 2013, around the same time she showed up in Southern California and attended St. Patrick Catholic Church in Carlsbad.

The FBI said NBC 7’s Facebook post and subsequent stories generated numerous tips, which helped put the pieces of the puzzle together.

Manetta plans to fly back to Maryland and live with one of her older sisters.

“She was just telling me she has a four-bedroom, large house and a lovely king-size bed waiting for me."

Manetta thanks the millions of people around the world who watched her story and prayed and tried to help with leads and suggestions.

The story has seemed almost too remarkable to be true.

The FBI can’t confirm or deny the circumstances, but feels comfortable with the information they’ve provided to help facilitate a reunion. 

Manetta’s close friends and the nurse who championed her story call her a genuine and sweet human being.

They believe she has the genuine faith in God which was the first thing she remembers feeling in the emergency room.

“I had peace where there should be none and I believed He would bring me back together with people that that were family and I trusted Him," she said.

Ashley Manetta will need to continue with chemotherapy to treat the aggressive cancer, but with family and faith she says “she knows where she is going” and now, finally, where she came from too.

Photo Credit: NBC 7, family photo
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<![CDATA[Tips to Avoid Food Poisoning At Your July 4 BBQ]]> Thu, 02 Jul 2015 10:52:00 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/214*120/NC_foodsafety0702001.jpg Don't let food poisoning ruin your holiday.]]> <![CDATA[American Flag Burned in NYC Park]]> Thu, 02 Jul 2015 07:25:30 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/flag+burns.JPG

Activists set fire to the American flag at a Brooklyn park that memorializes thousands of Revolutionary War heroes Wednesday in protest of "systemic racism," though turnout was much smaller than the hundreds expected for the planned event, which had drawn the ire of lawmakers and residents across the five boroughs. 

A group called Disarm NYPD was to lead the protest at Fort Greene Park at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday -- but in a Facebook video posted around that time, the group said: "Last night we decided to take immediate action and burned the flag in Fort Greene Park" after "the usual suspects threw an impressive tantrum" over the flag-burning plans.

The video showed an American flag burning at Fort Greene Park's Prison Ship Martyrs Monument, but it's not clear if it actually took place at the park Tuesday night. 

The group had said it also planned to burn the Confederate flag in a rally against the country’s long history of systemic racism after nine people were killed in a historic South Carolina church earlier this month.

Several activists still showed up Wednesday evening to burn both the Confederate and American flags. A handful of people, their faces covered by scarves, set fire to one American flag near a grassy area, and then set fire to a Confederate flag and an American flag by the monument.

"Let that [expletive] burn," a woman could be heard saying. Others chanted the names of black men who have recently died at the hands of police.

Carlos Cabera, a member of Disarm the NYPD, said, "White supremacy, racism, colonial imperialism still exist, and they're only superficial differences compared with the Confederate flag and the American flag."

Police officers watched nearby but did not interfere because no law was broken, police said. It is legal to burn something in a barbecue grill, they said, which is what happened at the park. 

A group of pro-flag protesters, including about 30 people from a Brooklyn-based biker club, caught wind of what was happening and stormed over to pull the flag out of the fire. They clashed with the flag-burning group, and police followed the chaotic melees as the two groups ran through the park shouting and cursing at each other. 

There were no arrests, police said. 

While the intent of the demonstration may have been to open a dialogue about race, the focus for many was on the burning flag. 

"If you're going to burn the American flag, you're going to run the risk of running into people like me," said John Carroll of Ridgewood, one of the pro-flag demonstrators. "I will stand by this flag all the time." 

Diane Atkins said, "We believe in what the United States of America stands for, and the flag that people have died to protect it." 

The Prison Ship Martyrs Monument, a memorial to the more than 11,500 American prisoners of war who died in captivity aboard British prison ships during the Revolutionary War, sits at the center of the park, atop its tallest hill. The remains of some of those who died on the ships are interred in a crypt underneath the base of the war monument. 

That the protesters would burn the American flag in such a place of memorial doubled the outrage for some.

“It’s wrong,” state senator Marty Golden, a Republican from Brooklyn, said before the event. “It’s a wrong message to send to our children, wrong message to send to our communities. Just plain wrong.”

Golden said he was determined to stop the group, saying that burning anything in a city park is illegal. He said he called on Mayor de Blasio's administration to step in to stop the protest. 

De Blasio's office said protest is a "divisive, disrespectful way to express views, and does not reflect the values of our city." 

Brooklyn Borough President Eric L. Adams said, "I am sympathetic to those protesting institutional racism in our society, but burning the American flag is a fringe act that will do nothing to combat the challenges we face."

The group responded to criticism in a statement on its Facebook page.

“We find it a sign of the times that people can care so much about a piece of cloth, while at the same time be so quiet about black churches being burned all over the country,” the group said.

"We do not believe the ideals of America are anything to be revered ... We dream of what real freedom looks like: freedom from paramilitaries occupying our communities, beating and killing our sons and daughters; freedom from our communities being destroyed by the speculative capital of gentrification; freedom from mass surveillance; and freedom from systemic racism," the statement continued. "So, we will burn the American flag, a symbol of oppression and genocide, and in the same action, dismantle our stunted, cynical expectations of what is possible in the world."

In the Facebook video posted Wednesday, it added: "It is important to remember that while the Confederate flag symbolized the defense of slavery, the institution reigned under the Stars and Stripes for nearly a century. After Jim Crow, segregation, and their current manifestations within the prison-industrial complex, it is clear that both racist flags deserve matches and lighter fluid."

In April, a group of artists hauled a 100-pound statue of NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden to the park in the dead of night and installed it on top one of the war monument's pillars. 

The intent, in that case, was to highlight those who sacrificed their safety to fight against "modern-day tyrannies," the group said. The statue was removed a day after it was installed. 

<![CDATA[Peas in Guacamole? Obama Weighs in on Twitter Debate ]]> Thu, 02 Jul 2015 17:15:38 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/guacamole-GettyImages-456804252.gif

President Barack Obama has a message for The New York Times: please don't pass the peas.

Into the guacamole, at least. 

The president joined the online masses piling on the newspaper on Wednesday afternoon following a much-retweeted story suggesting "adding fresh English peas" to the popular avocado dip.

The tweet sparked cries of culinary foul from users, gaining hundreds of retweets in the process. The Times' public editor even suggested that the backlash could rival the "Minnesota Grape Salad outcry" that hit after the paper listed the obscure recipe as a state favorite. 

When asked about the suggestion during an #ASKPotus Twitter chat Wednesday, the president suggested he'll stick to a more traditional recipe. 

First lady Michelle Obama, a vocal advocate of incorporating more green veggies into daily diets, has yet to weigh in. 

Photo Credit: Getty Images
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<![CDATA[Whole Foods Apologizes]]> Thu, 02 Jul 2015 13:11:35 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/488633883_WholeFoods.jpg

Whole Foods is apologizing to its customers after an investigation by the Department of Consumer Affairs revealed the grocery chain’s New York City stores were overstating the weights of its pre-packaged products and overcharging customers.

Co-CEOs Walter Robb and John Mackey admitted the mistake in a YouTube video posted on Wednesday.

“Straight up, we made some mistakes,” Robb said. “We want to own that and tell you what we’re doing about it.”

Mackey said the mistakes account for a “very small percentage” of fresh food purchases. The mistakes were unintentional – saying sometimes they were in customers’ favor and sometimes they weren’t, Robb said.

“[Mistakes are] inadvertent, they do happen, because it’s a hands-on approach to bringing you the fresh food,” he said.

To prevent these mistakes from happening again, the company says it’s increasing employee training and implementing a third-party auditing system to review food weighing and pricing. In 45 days, the company will report the audit’s findings back to customers.

City inspectors tested 80 different pre-packaged products and found that all of them had mislabeled weights. On top of that, 89 percent of the packages tested didn't meet the federal standard for the maximum amount that an individual package can deviate from its actual weight, as set by the U.S. Department of Commerce.

Investigators called it the worst case of mislabeling they had seen in their careers.

The fine for falsely labeling a package is as much as $950 for the first violation and up to $1,700 for a subsequent violation, according to the DCA. The potential number of violations that Whole Foods faces for all pre-packaged goods in its nine NYC stores is in the thousands.

Whole Foods is offering a 100 percent money back guarantee if customers find a mistake in pricing.

Suggestions can be sent to feedback@wholefoodsmarket.com.

Photo Credit: Getty Images
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<![CDATA[Retired War Dogs Work Combat Drugs in Second Careers]]> Thu, 02 Jul 2015 10:59:12 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/DrugDogs.jpg Military dogs that spent years working in war zones are being redeployed to police departments to help combat meth and other drugs problems.]]> <![CDATA[Suspects Pry ATM Off Ground]]> Thu, 02 Jul 2015 06:51:41 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/atm+robbery+bronx.jpg

Two men stole an ATM from a Brooklyn Checkers by prying it off the floor and wheeling it away on a hand truck, police said.

The men took the ATM from the East New York fast food restaurant Tuesday at about 10:20 p.m., according to the NYPD.

Surveillance video shows the men break the ATM away from the floor and heave it onto the hand truck before carting it away.

Anyone with information is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 800-577-TIPS.

<![CDATA[30 Rock Lights Up With New Comcast Name]]> Wed, 01 Jul 2015 21:36:31 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/30-rock-comcast.jpg

One of New York City’s most popular skyscrapers, 30 Rockefeller Plaza, lit up Wednesday evening with a new corporate name: the Comcast Building.

The rooftop signs on the 70-story building replace the General Electric initials and add the company’s logo and the NBC Peacock logo to the New York City skyline. It's the first time that the iconic peacock has appeared on top of the television network’s historic headquarters.

The day is historically significant for NBCUniversal. On July 1, 1941, 30 Rockefeller Plaza was home to the first commercial television broadcast, with WNBC, then called WNBT, offering a lineup that included a Brooklyn Dodgers versus Philadelphia Phillies baseball game and Lowell Thomas reporting the news from Studio 3H.

This is the third name for the building, which is nicknamed 30 Rock. It was called the RCA building beginning in 1937, after the company that founded NBC. It was then renamed for GE in 1988. GE created the Radio Corporation of America in 1919, owned it until 1930 and reacquired it in 1986.

Comcast bought GE’s stake in NBCUniversal in 2013.

“I remember when it said RCA up there,” said Michael Miscione, the Manhattan borough president. “The fact that they’re bringing GE down is just one step in a many decade evolution of the signage on the building."

The new signs use custom, energy-efficient LED lights that mimic the exposed neon look of the building’s previous signs.

The Comcast letters on the north and south sides are 12 feet high, topped by an 11-foot-tall NBC Peacock. The peacock on the western facade is 18 feet high.

The Comcast name is also on new granite stones at the entrances to the 850-foot building.

Conceived by John D. Rockefeller Jr as a “city within a city,” Rockefeller Center was constructed during the Great Depression, according to the center’s website. It officially opened in 1933 and came to feature the annual Christmas tree and the ice-skating rink.

The Art Deco lobby of 30 Rockefeller Plaza is decorated with murals by European artists Frank Brangwyn and Jose Maria Sert.

Photo Credit: Omar Sanders/NBCUniversal]]>
<![CDATA[LAX X-Ray Machine Reveals Cat]]> Thu, 02 Jul 2015 08:41:08 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/dfw-generic-tsa-01.jpg

Transportation Security Administration officers made a furry find at Los Angeles International Airport Wednesday afternoon when an X-ray machine revealed a passenger’s pet cat inside his checked bag.

The discovery was made after a JetBlue passenger placed his bag, which was not a pet carrier, through an X-ray machine in Terminal 3, according to LAX Police Department spokeswoman Sgt. Belinda Nettles.

TSA officers removed the cat from the bag and determined that it had not been harmed by the machine.

The passenger told a TSA supervisor that he did not know animals were not supposed to be placed through the X-ray machines, Nettles said.

The cat's discovery gained social media attention after several passengers in the terminal tweeted about the event.

Officers determined that the incident was accidental and both the man and the cat were allowed to board their New York-bound flight.

According to Twitter, a similar incident also occurred at LAX Tuesday.

Photo Credit: Getty Images
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<![CDATA[Missing Woman Rescued Cliff-Side]]> Thu, 02 Jul 2015 05:56:49 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/214*120/7-1-15+Simi+Valley+Malibu+Rescue+Woman.JPG

A 40-year-old Simi Valley, California, woman reported missing earlier this week was found stranded Wednesday inside her SUV, which had plummeted about 70 feet over the side of a Malibu cliff.

Los Angeles firefighters responded to a crash about 9 a.m. Wednesday in the Latigo Canyon Road area after a walker reported hearing screams and spotting Jenifer Duron's white Kia Sorento at the bottom of the canyon, officials with the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department said.

Lisa McClelland was walking her dogs in the area with husband John Abbene when she noticed something was amiss.

"I saw skid marks, splayed gravel and matted down grass, so I went to the cliff side and looked over the edge and that's when I saw the white SUV," McClelland said. "I hollered down and I heard a very weak response of 'help me.'"

Her husband waited at the cliff and reassured Duron while his wife went to call emergency services.

"We could see her hand coming out of the back door... so we knew she was OK but she couldn't really verbalize how she felt," Abbene said.

When rescuers arrived they climbed down the steep cliff to reach Duron, who was dehydrated, but talking and conscious. She was lifted to safety and then taken to Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center, sheriff's officials said. She was treated for dehydration and underwent tests for numbness in her legs. Her family said she could return home as early as Thursday.

After the rescue McClelland was told by rescuers if it was not for her Duron would have perished.

"(Rescuers) told me I saved her life and I said no, you guys did the heavy lifting. And he said, 'no you saved her life," McClelland said. "I only did what a good citizen would do."

Duron was reported missing by family members Monday when didn't return home from a jog she was going on in Malibu.

After reuniting at the hospital, Daruty said his daughter was driving home that day when she got distracted by her purse in the passenger seat. Duron swerved, drove off the road and was stranded the next two nights in tough terrain without food, water or cellphone service.

"She could hear cars going by and she didn't know if someone was going to find her or not," Daruty said.

Gordon Tokumatsu, Robert Kovacik and Michael Larkin contributed to this report.

Photo Credit: NewsChopper4-KNBCTV]]>
<![CDATA[350-Pound Dolphin Jumps Onto Boat, Injures Woman]]> Thu, 02 Jul 2015 00:28:49 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/knbc-dolphin-jumps-onto-boat.jpg

A trip out to sea for a Southern California couple celebrating their wedding anniversary turned into a trip to the emergency room after a 350-pound dolphin leaped onto the boat, knocking the woman over and injuring both her ankles.

Dirk and Chrissie Frickman and their two teenaged children were boating off the Dana Point Harbor on June 21 when a pod of dolphins swam alongside them. One of the dolphins jumped onto the 21-foot boat, hitting the railing and bouncing inside the bow.

Chrissie Frickman wound up pinned beneath the thrashing 6-foot dolphin until her husband pulled her free. The dolphin continued thrashing and bleeding from some cuts in the back of the boat.

"It was almost like it fell out of the sky because it was so high, like it was higher than I was. It was really traumatic," " said Chrissie Frickman, who broke one ankle and tore a ligament in the other.

For the next half hour, the Laguna Niguel family was in shock, trying to calm one another.

"The dolphin was kind of sliding all around the boat, so we were trying to anticipate which way it was going to go so we could go the opposite way," the mother said.

The dolphin was bleeding profusely.

"It kind of injured its nose and injured its tail, the blood kind of started splattering all over," Dirk Frickman said. "My daughter looked and was like, 'Oh my God, please don't let it die, don't let it die, don't let it die.'"

Dirk Frickman radioed the Sheriff's Department Harbor Patrol and told them what happened. The patrol responded and pulled the mother and the couple's daughter from the boat to get them to shore and an ambulance. Dirk Frickman continued into the harbor, occasionally pouring water onto the dolphin.

When he made to the harbor, two people helped get a rope on the dolphin and get it back into the water. The wounded animal swam away.

"I was scared for the dolphin," said Chrissie Frickman, a substitute teacher who is still in a wheelchair recovering from her injuries. "Like, I was kind of hoping it would just jump back out, but I knew that wasn't going to happen. I was scared for my kids, and, you know, you're like, 'Can they attack, how scared is it?' You know, just these crazy thoughts go through your head, but I'm sure it was just as traumatized as we were."

The Frickmans, along their 12-year-old son and 16-year-old daughter, were celebrating their 18th wedding anniversary and Father's Day.

Photo Credit: Orange County Sheriff's Department]]>
<![CDATA[F-18 Makes Emergency Landing at MDW]]> Wed, 01 Jul 2015 20:00:33 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/1880652.jpg

A military jet made an emergency landing at Midway Airport Wednesday afternoon, according to officials.

The U.S. Navy F-18 was headed to Virginia from an airshow in Wisconsin when the plane’s pilot requested an emergency landing in Chicago after experiencing an engine malfunction, military officials said.

The jet landed safely at 12:40 p.m. with two passengers on board.

The cause of the F-18’s engine malfunction is under investigation.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Your July 4 BBQ Will Cost Less This Year]]> Wed, 01 Jul 2015 18:26:54 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-476834560_July4Burger.jpg

As millions of Americans across the U.S. get ready to fire up the grill over the July Fourth holiday weekend, they're likely to spend less at the checkout line this year.

All-American staples like hot dogs, hamburgers, pork ribs, and potato salad will cost 3% less this year compared to last, according to a recent survey by the American Farm Bureau Federation.

The survey estimated that the average cost of this summer's cookout for ten people will be around $55.84, or $5.58 per person. The survey was taken at local grocery stores across 30 states and factored in costs for items like condiments, side dishes, snacks, and beverages. 

“Based on our survey, food prices overall appear to be fairly stable. Prices for beef have continued to increase this year, but prices for other meats are generally declining. Dairy product prices are also quite a bit lower,” said John Anderson, deputy chief economist at AFBF. Anderson added that although meat production is beginning to increase generally, beef prices have stabilized and pork prices have been in decline all year. 

"Fuel and other energy prices have also generally been lower so far this year compared to last year," said Anderson. "This helps keep prices down on the more processed items in the basket. Energy is an important component of the final price for these products."

The American Farm Bureau Federation is the country's largest farm organization and has chapters in all 50 states and Puerto Rico. The cookout survey is part of a series which includes an annual Thanksgiving Dinner Cost Survey.

Photo Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto
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<![CDATA[Boston Columbus Statue Vandalized]]> Wed, 01 Jul 2015 20:47:17 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/Christopher+Columbus+Statute.jpg

The Christopher Columbus Statue on Boston's North End was vandalized Monday night with red paint and the phrase "Black Lives Matter," Boston police said.

Red paint was poured over the top and sides of the white marble statute. The slogan, which has become a common refrain at demonstrations across the U.S. in protest of police violence towards African Americans, was spray painted in black letters.

Statues and memorials around the country have been targeted by vandals in recent weeks and Boston police say they will keep an extra eye on the city's monuments.

The Boston Park Department cleaned and restored the statue on Tuesday morning.

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The photos were originally posted on NorthEndWaterfront.com.

Photo Credit: northendwaterfront.com
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<![CDATA[Two Killed in Fiery East Texas Plane Crash]]> Wed, 01 Jul 2015 20:52:47 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/plane-crash-quinlan-02.jpg

Two people were killed Wednesday when a plane crashed and burst into flames shortly after takeoff from an East Texas airstrip, sources tell NBC 5.

First responders were seen placing two tarps over what remained of the burned out aircraft, indicating there were two victims in the crash.

The airstrip's owner, Walter Meziere of Quinlan, was the pilot of the aircraft. Trooper Kyle Bradford of the Texas Department of Public Safety says Meziere, who was 54, and his 49-year-old passenger, Joe Livingston of McKinney, were both killed in the crash.

According to Lynn Lunsford with the Federal Aviation Administration, the single-engine Piper PA-24, which can seat four occupants, had departed the private Rockin' M Airport northeast of Quinlan early Wednesday afternoon.

Only a few moments later, the plane crashed into a field about 1,000 feet east of the north-south grass runway. The plane came to rest a few yards from a residence in rural Hunt County.

At this time, the cause of the crash remains under investigation.

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<![CDATA[Stephen Hawking Pops In For Mark Zuckerberg's Facebook Q&A, Asks About 'Gravity and Other Forces' ]]> Wed, 01 Jul 2015 09:31:38 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/210*120/zuck-hawking.jpg

When Mark Zuckerberg does Townhall Q&As on Facebook to hear from users, he gets thousands of questions.

Sometimes famous people ask questions. On Tuesday, Stephen Hawking asked him a question.

"I would like to know a unified theory of gravity and the other forces. Which of the big questions in science would you like to know the answer to and why?" the world-famous physicist posted on Facebook through a verified account.

His question received over 6,000 likes.

"I don't think Mark would wanna answer this," one Facebook user joked. "Mr. Hawking wins the best question Q&A award," another quipped. "Epic,  respect, legend," others commented.

Zuckerberg responded within minutes, saying: "That's a pretty good one! I'm most interested in questions about people. What will enable us to live forever? How do we cure all diseases? How does the brain work? How does learning work and how we can empower humans to learn a million times more? I'm also curious about whether there is a fundamental mathematical law underlying human social relationships that governs the balance of who and what we all care about. I bet there is."

Photo Credit: Getty
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<![CDATA[Accused Drug Dealer Ordered 'Keep Kids Drug Free' License Plate: DA]]> Wed, 01 Jul 2015 10:01:01 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/license+plate2.jpg

An accused drug dealer specially ordered a license plate for his BMW that read “Keep Kids Drug Free” and bore the letters “LIFTD,” slang for getting high, prosecutors said.

Eric Gomez, 29, was charged along with Brian Poole, 27, in a scheme to bring potent, high-grade strains of California-grown marijuana to Long Island, according to the Suffolk County district attorney’s office.

Prosecutors allege Poole was the ring leader of the operation and Gomez was his chief reseller. Poole allegedly arranged for the monthly delivery of about 80 pounds of marijuana from California to Suffolk County.

He made $500 to $800 per pound, depending on the strain of marijuana he chose to import. The 11 strains of marijuana he imported were marketed with names like “Girl Scout Cookies,” “Chem Dawg,” “OG Kush,” “Death Star,” “Jedi,” “Grand Daddy Purples,” “Hash Train,” “Jack the Ripper,” “Cheese,” and “Green Crack,” officials allege.

Investigators seized several weapons from the men, including a defaced, loaded handgun and an electronic stun gun, prosecutors said. Police also recovered $200,000 in cash from the pot sales, including tens of thousands of dollars in cash that detectives found in a child’s backpack in the trunk of Gomez’s Camaro.

Officials also found the anti-drug license plate with the ironic lettering that Gomez specially ordered for his BMW.

Poole, a prior violent felony offender, is being held on $1 million cash bail and a parole hold and Gomez was released on his own recognizance, prosecutors said. Attorney information was not immediately available.

Photo Credit: Handout]]>
<![CDATA[WATCH: Take a Turtle's-Eye View of the Great Barrier Reef]]> Wed, 01 Jul 2015 15:53:46 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/ezgif-TurtleCam.gif

Take a tour of Australia's Great Barrier Reef with a turtle as your guide.

The World Wildlife Fund’s Australia chapter released a video Monday that gives a turtle’s-eye view of the Great Barrier Reef.

A GoPro camera was attached to the shell of a green sea turtle whose underwater swim shows the diverse flora and fauna of the reef.

The conservation organization released the video in the run-up to the World Heritage Committee’s vote whether to put Australia on probation until the health of the reef improves.

WWF-Australia’s Draw the Line campaign petition garnered 563,480 signatures from 177 countries. The campaign’s supporters are “drawing the line” over continued dredging, shipping, port development and pollution of the reef.

On Wednesday, the World Heritage Committee voted to place Australia on probation and provided a timeline on its expectations for the reef’s improved health.

The Australian government has until 2016 to show that the reef’s health is improving and has until 2019 to show that the reef’s decline has stopped outright. Failure to achieve these goals could lead the committee to vote to designate the reef as an “in-danger” site in 2020. The World Heritage Committee selected the reef as a World Heritage Site in 1981.

Incidentally, the green sea turtle featured in WWF-Australia’s video is listed as endangered. Although the species is not endemic to the Great Barrier Reef, there are two genetically distinct populations of the turtle residing in the region, both of which are currently under threat as a result of the reef’s continued degradation.

<![CDATA[Girl Scouts Refuse $100,000 Over Request to Exclude Transgender Girls]]> Wed, 01 Jul 2015 13:30:47 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/girlscouts1.jpg

A Washington state Girl Scouts chapter says it returned a $100,000 pledge from a donor who asked that the money not be used to help any transgender girls in the program.

Megan Ferland, council head of Girl Scouts of Western Washington, said the request from the donor, who she did not identify publicly, came in May, after news of Caitlyn Jenner's transition made headlines.  

"Please guarantee that our gift will not be used to support transgender girls," the note read, according to a report in Seattle Metropolitan magazine. "If you can't, please return the money."

Girl Scouts of America has allowed transgender girls in their program over the years, with the belief that every girl should be allowed to serve. That stance was cited when the organization announced the would not be accepting the money.

"Girl Scouts is for every girl," Ferland told Seattle Metropolitan. "And every girl should have the opportunity to be a Girl Scout if she wants to."

The donation would have covered nearly a quarter of the council's annual fundraising goal — enough to send 500 girls to summer camp. An Indiegogo online fundraiser set up to recoup the lost cash, called Girl Scouts is #ForEveryGirl," has generated more than $250,000 in donations from 5,000 people.  

The Girl Scouts made headlines four years ago when the organization took to explicitly stating its stance on transgender scouts on its website,saying if the parents and community recognize the child as a girl and she is treated as one, she is allowed to have a spot in Girl Scouts.

That belief drew outrage from religious-centered organizations, with responses ranging from boycots of Girl Scout cookies to demands that Girl Scouts only allow “biological” girls in the program.

"Luckily, we don't serve our critics," Andrea Bastiani Archibald, the Girl Scouts USA's chief girl expert told CNN. "We are proud to serve all girls."