<![CDATA[NBC Southern California - National & International News]]>Copyright 2016http://www.nbclosangeles.com/news/national-international http://media.nbcnewyork.com/designimages/NBC4_40x125.png NBC Southern California http://www.nbclosangeles.comen-usThu, 25 Aug 2016 01:02:05 -0700Thu, 25 Aug 2016 01:02:05 -0700NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA[Killing of Terror Suspect Justified]]> Wed, 24 Aug 2016 15:39:08 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/coverphotoforgallery.jpg

The Boston police officer and FBI agent who shot and killed a man suspected in a terror plot last year have been found justified in using deadly force and no charges will be filed.

Usaamah Rahim, 26, of Boston's Roslindale neighborhood was shot and killed on June 2, 2015 by members of the Joint Terrorism Task Force after allegedly lunging at investigators with a knife when they approached him and about recorded phone conversations.

"The evidence proved beyond a reasonable doubt that Mr. Rahim was armed with a large, military-style knife and posed the threat of death or serious bodily injury to the task force officers," Suffolk County District Attorney Daniel Conley said at a Wednesday afternoon media briefing. "Their use of deadly force was a lawful exercise of self defense and defense of others."

Rahim allegedly plotted with two others to behead conservative blogger Pamela Geller, who organized a Prophet Muhammad cartoon contest in Texas. They abandoned that plot in favor of one where they attacked police officers.

The FBI said they confronted Rahim because he had bought knives and talked of an imminent attack on "boys in blue."

"There is no question that members of the Joint Terrorism Task Force had probable cause to arrest Mr. Rahim," Conley said. "Knowing what they know and knowing what they now know about his plans for that day, they had the duty to stop him before he could act."

The two other men - Nicholas Rovinski of Warwick, Rhode Island, and David Wright of Everett, Massachusetts - were indicted on conspiracy and terrorism charges in connection with the alleged plot and are being held without bail. They are scheduled to face trial sometime next year.

Conley said he met with Rahim's family earlier Wednesday to inform them he would not be seeking criminal charges against the officers. He also released his office's 770-page investigative file to the family.

The district attorney also met with members of the local Islamic community on Wednesday, and said he made it clear that Rahim was being investigated "for his actions, not for his faith."

Rahim's family held their own press conference later Wednesday afternoon, saying they still have concerns about the shooting despite the district attorney's report, feeling that more could have been done to de-escalate the situation.

Family spokesman Ronald Sullivan said Rahim "was the subject of an illegal arrest," and cited comments by Congressman Stephen Lynch and Boston Police Commissioner William Evans after the shooting that implied that police were under orders not to let him go.

"This illegal arrest was the first call in a series of events that led to Usaamah's untimely death," he said.

He also connected Rahim's death "to the many tragic police-involved shootings of other African-American men around this country," saying it was not an isolated event.

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<![CDATA[Dramatic Images: Deadly Quake Rocks Central Italy]]> Wed, 24 Aug 2016 08:26:14 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/QUAKE_GRIEF_AP_16237345369264.jpg Searchers scrambled to rescue people in central Italy where a 6.2-magnitude earthquake struck early Wednesday, collapsing homes as residents slept and killing dozens.

Photo Credit: AP ]]>
<![CDATA[Trump Openly Weighs a Massive Immigration Reversal]]> Wed, 24 Aug 2016 19:21:26 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/Trump-AP_778476028199.jpg

During a town hall that aired Wednesday, Donald Trump floated the possibility of allowing undocumented immigrants to remain in the country, NBC News reported. 

"No citizenship," Trump told Fox News' Sean Hannity in an interview taped Tuesday afternoon in Austin, Texas. "Let me go a step further — they'll pay back-taxes, they have to pay taxes, there's no amnesty, as such, there's no amnesty, but we work with them." 

Trump said he was moved by people concerned with his calls for a “deportation force” to remove all 11 million undocumented people from the United States. 

"When I look at the rooms and I have this all over, now everybody agrees we get the bad ones out," Trump said. "But when I go through and I meet thousands and thousands of people on this subject...they've said, Mr. Trump, I love you, but to take a person that has been here for 15 or 20 years and throw them and the family out, it's so tough, Mr. Trump."



Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Italian Girl Rescued from Rubble]]> Wed, 24 Aug 2016 21:50:25 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/Italy-Pescara-Rescue-2-147208278230500001.jpg A 10-year-old girl was pulled alive from the rubble in Pescara del Tronto on Wednesday 17 hours after the quake struck central Italy.]]> <![CDATA[Cops Stumble Upon Gator in Tub ]]> Wed, 24 Aug 2016 11:29:29 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/gator+in+tub.jpg

Police responding to a call about a burglary at a Staten Island home encountered an unusual suspect — a three-foot-long alligator, and it was in the bathtub. 

The reptile was hanging out in the empty tub when police responding to the anonymous call arrived at the abandoned Mariners Harbor home.

Animal care workers took the gator for evaluation. They're also looking into how the gator got into the tub.

The NYPD tweeted responding officers were "surprised" by the reptile, but no one was injured. The department tweeted photos of cops smiling next to the crate.

No arrests have been made.



Photo Credit: @NYPDPaws
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<![CDATA[Militants Attack American University in Afghanistan]]> Wed, 24 Aug 2016 17:42:18 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/AP_16237561995683.jpg

Two gunmen were killed at American University of Afghanistan in Kabul Thursday, hours after an attack that was launched against the school, NBC News reported. 

The attack began Wednesday evening when a car bomb was detonated a the university’s front gate. Multiple gunmen forced their way inside, according to Interior Ministry spokesman Sediq Sediqqi. 

Special forces responded and engaged the gunmen, and killed two attackers, a senior security official at the scene said. 

More than 30 students and staff were rescued, some with minor injuries, the security official said, and there appeared to be no more hostages. Several special forces were killed and injured, and a search continued for any other possible attackers or victims.

The university in Kabul is not affiliated with American University in Washington, D.C.



Photo Credit: AP
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<![CDATA[Think You Remember the Rio Olympics? Take the Quiz]]> Sun, 21 Aug 2016 19:16:17 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/michael-phelps-200m-im-web-aptopix-rio-olympics-_webf-5.jpg

For 17 days in August, athletes from around the world competed in Rio de Janeiro for the ultimate prize in sports: an Olympic gold medal.

You probably didn't win gold yourself, but you can try to get the next best thing by acing our Olympics quiz.



Photo Credit: AP Images]]>
<![CDATA[Georgia Man Convicted in Boiled Water Attack on Gay Couple]]> Wed, 24 Aug 2016 17:28:53 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/MartinBlackwell-AP_16237618590503.jpg

A Georgia man was sentenced to 40 years in prison Wednesday for throwing scalding water on a gay couple spying in an apartment, NBC News reported. 

Jurors deliberated for about 90 minutes before finding Martin Blackwell, 48, guilty of eight counts of aggravated battery and two counts of aggravated assault in the February attack on Anthony Gooden and Marquez Tolbert. 

Gooden spent about a month in the hospital — two weeks of that in a medically-induced coma. Both men suffered severe burns that required multiple surgeries and skin grafts. 

According to prosecutors, it was a premeditated attack. Tolbert testified that after pouring the boiling water on them, Blackwell grabbed him as he jumped and screamed, telling him: “Get out of my house with all that gay.”



Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Newborn Affected by Zika Stayed Infected for 2 Months ]]> Wed, 24 Aug 2016 17:07:58 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/ZikaBaby-AP_272141986039.jpg

Doctors said a Brazilian baby with brain damage caused by the Zika virus stayed infected for more than two months after his birth, NBC News reported. 

The baby already had brain damage from the virus, which can infect a growing fetus. But the virus continued to actively infect him after he was born, Danielle Oliveira of the University of Sao Paulo and colleagues wrote in a letter to the New England Journal of Medicine. 

"When the infant was examined on day 54, he had no obvious illness or evidence of any immunocompromising condition," they wrote. An immune condition might explain a prolonged infection. The baby was developmentally delayed and had cerebral palsy. 

This suggests that newborns may still be at risk from the virus while their brains are growing and developing — another unpleasant surprise about the virus.



Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Visualizing the Olympics: Medal Counts & More]]> Tue, 31 May 2016 05:53:12 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-149332217-edited.jpg Which countries have the most gold medals? And how much does it cost to host an Olympic Games? Get ready for the Rio Olympics – and the answers to those and many other Olympic-related questions – with this series of graphics. Click here for the visualization.
View Full Story

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Fact Check: A Look at Trump's Comments on Clinton's Emails]]> Wed, 24 Aug 2016 16:21:54 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/clinton-trump-split-serious.jpg

FactCheck.org is a non-partisan non-profit organization that will hold candidates and key figures accountable during the 2016 presidential campaign. FactCheck.org will check facts of speeches, advertisements and more for NBC.

Donald Trump distorted the facts about former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s emails when he said in Texas that “the FBI found thousands [of emails] she never turned over, and now just recently found another 15,000 more.”

Trump is right that the FBI recovered “several thousand work-related emails” that Clinton did not turn over to the State Department, as FBI Director James Comey disclosed in July. But the FBI did not “just recently” find “another 15,000 more.”

Instead, it was recently announced that the FBI recovered a total of about 14,900 emails during its year-long investigation of Clinton, including the “several thousand work-related emails” that Comey cited in July.

Also, Trump claimed that Clinton deleted her emails to “cover up her crimes,” but Comey said the FBI found “no evidence that any of the additional work-related e-mails [that the FBI found] were intentionally deleted in an effort to conceal them.”

Trump made his remarks (at the 45:34 mark) during a rally in Austin, Texas, where he talked about the “new revelations about Hillary Clinton’s email scandal.”

Trump, Aug. 23: She said she turned over all of her work-related emails. But the FBI found thousands she never turned over, and now just recently found another 15,000 more. That was another lie.

The 15,000 emails weren’t “just recently found,” and they are not all work-related.

Let’s recap what happened, beginning with Comey’s announcement on July 5 that the FBI had completed its investigation of Clinton’s use of personal email for government business while secretary of state. The FBI investigation concerned whether there were any violations of federal law on the handling of classified information, and whether there had been any hacking of the email server by foreign or hostile powers.

Comey announced that day that the FBI would not recommend that criminal charges be filed against Clinton or any State Department staffers for mishandling classified information. During his announcement, Comey said that Clinton turned over about 30,000 emails to the State Department in December 2014, but that the FBI “also discovered several thousand work-related e-mails that were not in the group of 30,000 that were returned by Secretary Clinton to State in 2014.”

Comey at the time didn’t say how many total emails the FBI had recovered or exactly how many of them were work-related. However, it was disclosed at a court hearing on Aug. 22 that the FBI had turned over about 14,900 emails to the State Department that it had uncovered during the course of its investigation. The judge, who is presiding over a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit filed by the conservative Judicial Watch, ordered the State Department to expedite its review process and release any emails that are responsive to the group’s FOIA request.

In a statement to us, the State Department said the 14,900 emails included the “several thousand work-related emails” that Comey mentioned at his July 5 press briefing. A department official told us that the FBI turned over the documents in two batches on July 21 and Aug. 5, and not all of the emails are work-related. The State Department needs to determine how many of them are work-related, although the FBI has said that “several thousand” are work-related. It may also turn out that some of these documents were already released.

“State has not yet had the opportunity to complete a review of the documents to determine whether they are agency records or if they are duplicative of documents State has already produced through the Freedom of Information Act,” the State Department said in its statement.

Trump also suggested that Clinton intentionally deleted emails to “cover up her crimes.” But the FBI found no evidence of a coverup.

Comey explained how the FBI recovered the emails that Clinton did not turn over to the State Department in December 2014:

Comey, July 5: We found those additional e-mails in a variety of ways. Some had been deleted over the years and we found traces of them on devices that supported or were connected to the private e-mail domain. Others we found by reviewing the archived government e-mail accounts of people who had been government employees at the same time as Secretary Clinton, including high-ranking officials at other agencies, people with whom a Secretary of State might naturally correspond. … Still others we recovered from the laborious review of the millions of e-mail fragments dumped into the slack space of the server decommissioned in 2013.

Comey said the FBI “found no evidence” that she deleted emails intentionally to conceal them, saying it was “not surprising” that the FBI found emails that Clinton did not turn over to the State Department:

Comey, July 5: I should add here that we found no evidence that any of the additional work-related e-mails were intentionally deleted in an effort to conceal them. Our assessment is that, like many e-mail users, Secretary Clinton periodically deleted e-mails or e-mails were purged from the system when devices were changed. Because she was not using a government account — or even a commercial account like Gmail — there was no archiving at all of her e-mails, so it is not surprising that we discovered e-mails that were not on Secretary Clinton’s system in 2014, when she produced the 30,000 e-mails to the State Department.

So, Trump is not only wrong that the FBI “just recently found another 15,000 more” emails, but he is making an unsupported claim that she deleted the emails to “cover up her crimes.”



Photo Credit: Getty/NBC Universal]]>
<![CDATA[Drone Footage Shows Earthquake Devastation in Italy]]> Wed, 24 Aug 2016 09:07:07 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/Screen-Shot-2016-08-24-at-11.03.39-AM.jpg Drone footage released by the Italian Civil Defense shows the devastation after a 6.2-magnitude earthquake struck central Italy on Aug. 24, 2016, killing dozens. ]]> <![CDATA[Trump: Perry Will 'Do Well' If He Challenges Cruz for Senate]]> Wed, 24 Aug 2016 11:46:04 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/trump43.jpg

Donald Trump is applauding the prospect of former Texas Gov. Rick Perry mounting a possible primary challenge against Republican Sen. Ted Cruz in 2018, saying, "Boy, will he do well." 

At a fundraiser in downtown Austin, Trump was standing next to Perry when he was asked about the Texan's chance to unseat his state's junior senator. Cruz, who unsuccessfully fought Trump for the Republican presidential nomination, notably declined to endorse him at last month's GOP national convention and faces re-election in 2018. 

In a recording of the event first posted online by a Democratic group, the Lone Star Project, Trump answers that he's been "hearing a lot about that." 

"I don't know if he wants to do it, but boy, will he do well," Trump says of Perry. "People love him in Texas. And he was one great governor." 

Two fundraiser attendees verified the recording on Wednesday on the condition that their names not be published. The fundraiser occurred Tuesday. 

Trump hasn't been shy about criticizing fellow Republicans — even those up for re-election. He initially declined to endorse House Speaker Paul Ryan's re-election bid earlier this summer, then formally threw his support behind it before Ryan crushed a primary challenger in his Wisconsin district. 

Cruz sparked an outcry at the GOP convention in Cleveland last month by refusing to endorse Trump during his prime-time speech — rebuffing calls for Republican Party unity behind its nominee. 

Perry left office last year and was a harsh Trump critic as he briefly ran for the Republican presidential nomination, even calling the billionaire businessman a cancer on conservatism. Perry has since endorsed Trump and become a surrogate who has praised him on national television. 

The former governor has kept a low profile since dropping out of the 2016 presidential race last fall. Recent polls suggest Cruz's popularity in Texas has suffered since his convention speech, and one even indicated that Perry would top Cruz in a hypothetical matchup. 

Those close to Perry say he's laughed off the idea of a Senate run, but Perry hasn't publicly ruled it out. 

While running for president, Cruz originally said he'd endorse whoever the eventual Republican nominee was. He said later he'd changed his mind because Trump insulted his family during the bitter White House campaign. 

Mica Mosbacher, an Austin resident and former finance co-chairwoman of the Republican National Committee, was a vocal supporter of Cruz's presidential run but is now is backing Trump. 

"I am deeply disappointed in our senator that he did not honor his pledge," Mosbacher said by phone Wednesday, referring to Cruz's reneging support for Trump. "And I, along with a lot of other donors, are very upset." 



Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Tornado Flattens Starbucks]]> Wed, 24 Aug 2016 13:23:51 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/WMAQ_000000019296045_1200x675_750130243600.jpg A tornado touched down in Howard County, Indiana, Wednesday and leveled a Starbucks coffee shop.]]> <![CDATA[UK's Nigel Farage to Appear at Trump Rally in Mississippi]]> Wed, 24 Aug 2016 17:55:22 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/farage-trump-split.jpg

Nigel Farage, the former head of the UK Independence Party, will accompany Donald Trump when the Republican presidential candidate continues to court African-American voters Wednesday night in Mississippi, NBC News reported. 

Farage confirmed a Sky News report that he’ll appear at the Trump event in Jackson, Mississippi, where he plans on telling the “story of Brexit.” 

Even though he’ll appear with Trump, he won’t be endorsing the candidate. Farage said in an interview that would be hypocritical, since he condemned President Barack Obama for wading into the Brexit campaign during his visit to London. 

Trump’s spokeswoman Hope Hicks did not respond to NBC News’ request for comment about Farage’s appearance.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Controversial Chemical Used In Zika Spraying]]> Wed, 24 Aug 2016 11:36:13 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/NC_zikaspray0824_1920x1080.jpg Naled, currently being used to combat mosquitos in Florida, has been banned in Europe and Puerto Rico, with officials there calling it dangerous. WBBH's Nestor Mato reports.]]> <![CDATA[Chicago Police Dismiss Trump's Claim That Violence Could Be Stopped in a Week]]> Wed, 24 Aug 2016 05:14:26 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/chicago+police+GettyImages-500346628.jpg

The Chicago Police Department denied Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump's claim this week that he met with a "top" Chicago officer and argued the city's violence would not be solved with "tough police tactics."

"We've discredited this claim months ago," CPD spokesperson Frank Giancamilli said Tuesday in a statement. "No one in the senior command at CPD has ever met with Donald Trump or a member of his campaign."

Trump said in an interview Monday that he believed Chicago's violence could be stopped using "tough police tactics," telling Fox News' Bill O'Reilly that he met a "top" Chicago officer who reportedly said he could "stop much of this horror show that’s going on" within a single week. 

Trump added that he knows officers in Chicago who would put an end to violent crime "if they were given the authority to do it," a claim that Giancamilli refuted. 

"Beyond that, the best way to address crime is through a commitment to community policing and a commitment to stronger laws to keep illegal guns and repeat violent offenders off the street," Giancamilli added.

Trump told O'Reilly he didn’t ask the officer for specifics on the plan because he isn’t the mayor of Chicago, but added that police would be "much tougher than they are right now."

"I’m sure he’s got a strategy," Trump added. "I didn’t ask him his strategy."

Trump also claimed that he submitted the officer’s name for some sort of job.

"I sent his name in and I said, 'you probably should hire this guy because you have nothing to lose,'" Trump said. "Look at what’s going on in Chicago, it’s horrible. This guy felt totally confident that he could stop it in a very short period of time."

Trump's campaign told the Chicago Tribune Tuesday that he did not specifically say the officer he spoke with was in senior command, but rather he "spoke with some talented and dedicated police officers on a prior visit."

It's not the first time Chicago police have disagreed with Trump's claims.

During Trump's failed Chicago rally, which was canceled due to violence concerns, the candidate said he met with law enforcement before canceling his appearance. CPD said in a statement, however, the department had not advised Trump's campaign to cancel the rally and did not issue any public safety threats or safety risks.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Sailors Surprise World War II Veteran]]> Wed, 24 Aug 2016 11:21:57 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/191*120/08-24-2016-ernest-thompson-uss-iowa-missour-1.jpg

A World War II veteran's salute-worthy surprise has touched hearts and received millions of social media views after the stirring tribute was captured on video earlier this month.

The video posted on Facebook shows Chief Selects from the Fleet Anti-Submarine Warfare Training Center visiting the Gardena home of veteran Ernest Thompson, who served on the USS Missouri during World War II, on Aug. 13. The sailors performed "Anchors Aweigh" in front of Thompsons' house as he stood on the porch in salute, and neighbors came out of their homes to watch. 

Each sailor then thanked Thompson and shook his hand.

Thompsons' grandson Jonathan Williams wrote in the post that his grandfather called it one of the best days of his life. Williams, CEO of the Battleship IOWA Museum in San Pedro, visited the USS Missouri with his grandfather in 2000, part of a bond between generations.

"I witnessed an 82-year-old man become 18 again and a flood of emotions that affected all that were present tremendously," Williams wrote on Facebook.

Battleship Missouri launched in January 1944 and entered the Pacific battles of Iwo Jima and Okinawa. On Sept. 2, 1945, Allied and Axis power representatives met aboard the ship to sign copies of the Instrument of Surrender, marking the end to World War II.

USS Missouri also was part of the Korean War. The ship now serves as a museum at Pearl Harbor.

The emotional tour of the battleship convinced Williams to help preserve the USS Iowa, which opened to the public in July 2012 as a naval museum at a berth in the Port of Los Angeles. Members of the Chief Selects worked with an IOWA volunteer coordinator to pull off the surprise for his grandfather.

"When they found out that my grandfather was unable to visit the (USS IOWA) lately due to health reasons, they decided to take it to him," Williams wrote.

His original Facebook video had more than 4.5 million views Wednesday morning.



Photo Credit: USS IOWA Museum
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<![CDATA[Rap Video to Welcome 4th Graders]]> Wed, 24 Aug 2016 05:32:39 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/217*120/reed0823.png

A suburban Chicago student-teacher’s passion for music and his classroom has garnered internet acclaim and offers of school supplies after a rap video he made was posted to social media.

Dwayne Reed, 25, a first-year student teacher at Jane Stenson Elementary School in Skokie, posted a rap video titled “Welcome to The Fourth Grade” on YouTube over the weekend. He said he chose a more creative and engaging way to introduce himself than a boring old newsletter so many students have grown accustomed to.

“I wanted a cool way to introduce myself to the students and the parents I was gonna have,” Reed said.

Reed, originally from the north suburban East Garfield Park neighborhood but now living in Skokie, said the idea came to him when a filmmaker friend, Ty Gotham, said he wanted to make a music video.

“I think I’m somewhat gifted at music,” Reed said. “It’s simply a way for me to try to connect with my students.”

Sue O’Neil, principal at Jane Stenson, says she’s happy to be working with Reed.

“I think he’s gonna bring a lot of creativity and I just think the kids are gonna relate to him really well,” she said.

Reed said the video was shot Saturday, edited just after midnight Sunday morning and posted to YouTube.

Users on the social media site Reddit were quick to share the video, encouraging Reed with praise and offering to donate school supplies to his class.

“That would be so amazing,” he said. “I would love for them to donate supplies to my kids. A lot of the students here are low income."

Reed says basic supplies like notepads, pens and folders, to winter clothes and shoes would all be helpful donations. 

He plans to use his passion for music to help kids come up with their own songs to help them study.

“Regardless of how cheesy it is, if it helps them remember something, if it helps them excel on the test, or in life, I’m fine with it, I’m backing it,” he said. “You can’t disconnect music from true life, so if we want our students to live excellent lives, we gotta have music involved in that.”

Reed said his enthusiasm and positivity are heavily tied to his faith and he doesn’t agree with some of the more negative comments that plague posts like his on social media—specifically those that say he will lose his enthusiasm as time goes on.

“My joy, my enthusiasm, my passion isn’t necessarily tied or weighed down by teaching,” he said. “I have that joy, that enthusiasm for every aspect in my life.”


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<![CDATA[Hooded Intruder Breaks Into NJ Home, Watched Family Sleep]]> Wed, 24 Aug 2016 06:54:28 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/belleville+home+intruder.jpg

A man is breaking into homes in a New Jersey community and leaving behind valuables in at least one case to simply survey sleeping family members while walking from room to room, police and victims say. 

One homeowner recounted his bizarre confrontation with the burglar in Belleville at around 4 a.m. last Wednesday. 

"I was standing right there, he was standing right there," said Michael Maldonado, describing how he came face to face with the intruder in his living room in the middle of the night. 

"I freaked out. My blood dropped to my feet. I didn't know what to do," he said. 

In nothing but his boxers, Maldonado had raced upstairs from his basement bedroom after he and his wife were awakened by a chilling FaceTime message from their daughters on the second floor. 

"She actually did say, 'There's somebody up here with us,'" said Maldonado's wife, Milagros.

Daughter Debora, who is 12 years old, said she'd seen a hooded stranger emerge from her brother's room into their little sister's room. There were eight children in the house. 

"I got really freaked out, I thought I was just imagining things," the young girl said. "'Cause I was moving side to side. I was really scared." 

When Maldonado confronted the man, he knew something wasn't right. 

"I asked him, 'What do you want?' His response was, 'I was just upstairs,'" he said.

The dad's blood ran cold. 

"That's when I told him, come outside," he said. 

That's where Maldonado tried to tackle the man wearing a cap and hooded sweatshirt, but the man fought back. 

"He tells me, 'You gonna be like that?' and runs away," Maldonado said. 

The family would later come to find the intruder's muddy footprints in nearly every room of their Smallwood Avenue home. 

"He went into my room while we were sleeping. He was in my daughters' room while they were sleeping. He had stepped over my daughters," said Maldonado.

Strangely, the intruder only took $40 from Maldonado's wallet, and left behind cellphones and tablets in the open. 

Police believe the same suspect has struck or tried to break into at least two other homes on Fairway Avenue and Elena Place within the last week and a half. 

For now, the Maldonados are grateful their children weren't hurt. 

"I really give thanks to God, he did protect our children," Michael Maldonado said. 



Photo Credit: NBC 4 NY]]>
<![CDATA[Alex Brands Infant Building Toys Recalled Due to Choking Hazard]]> Wed, 24 Aug 2016 10:33:12 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/recall-alex-toy-sets.jpg

Alex Brands is recalling 91,000 infant building toy sets due to a choking hazard posed by small parts that can detach from the units, according to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission.

The New Jersey-based company recalled its Baby Builder model 1982, First Pops model 1981P and the First Snaps model 1981S produced before November 2010 after 22 reports of small parts detaching.

No injuries have been reported.

The recalled sets contain 14 or 26 pieces designed to be pulled, pushed, snapped and twisted and come in plastic jars. The toys were sold at Barnes & Noble, Land of Nod and Zulily.com for about $18 to $28. 

The recalled First Snaps sets' containers have the following batch codes: P0002073, P0001713, P0001330, P0000954, P0002107, P0001628, P0001009, P00000814, P0001948, P0001536, P0001098, P0001677, P0001427 and P0000983. 

ALEX advised consumers to immediately contact them for a prepaid shipping envelope to return the products for a full refund.

For more information, call ALEX at 844-310-6691 anytime or online at www.alexbrands.com/recall-information.



Photo Credit: U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission]]>
<![CDATA[Trump Holds Campaign Rally at the Florida State Fairgrounds]]> Wed, 24 Aug 2016 13:50:36 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/Trump+Florida+State+Fairgrounds.png

Donald Trump is campaigning in the battleground state of Florida, where he will hold a rally at the Florida State Fairgrounds in Tampa at 1 p.m. Wednesday.

The campaign event comes a day after Trump suggested during a Fox News town hall in Texas that he is open to "softening" laws dealing with immigrants in the country illegally. It is the latest sign that the Republican presidential nominee is considering easing the hardline stance he has taken since the beginning of his campaign.

Trump will continue to urge African-American voters to support him and is also expected to reiterate his calls for the Justice Department to appoint a special prosecutor to investigate the connection between Hillary Clinton's State Department and the Clinton Foundation, his campaign told NBC News.   

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<![CDATA['Like Dante's Inferno': Italy Quake Death Toll Rises to 159]]> Wed, 24 Aug 2016 17:09:42 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/AP_16237570393567.jpg

The death toll from the magnitude 6.2 earthquake that struck central Italy early Wednesday, has reached at least 159, as rescuers raced to pull residents buried beneath debris.

The strong tremor hit at 3:36 a.m. local time near Norcia and was felt more than 100 miles away in Rome. Some 368 people were injured. The army has been called to help search of survivors, using bare hands, heavy equipment and sniffer dogs. Several large aftershocks followed the quake amid dramatic scenes of rescue and cries for help.

An 8-year-old girl was pulled alive from the rubble, according to The Associated Press. Chief firefighter Danilo Dionesei confirmed to the AP that she was alive and taken to hospital, but did not provide details on her condition. 

Stunned locals wandered through rubble in the worst-affected towns of Amatrice and Accumoli, near Perugia. Aerial images from the fire department showed whole streets in Amatrice flattened.

"We came out to the piazza, and it looked like 'Dante's Inferno,'" Agostino Severo, a Rome resident visiting the damaged town of Illica, told The Associated Press. "People crying for help, help."



Photo Credit: AP
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<![CDATA[Back From Rio, Swimmer Jimmy Feigen Apologizes]]> Tue, 23 Aug 2016 19:58:19 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/feigen-lochte-conger-bentz.jpg

U.S. Olympic swimmer Jimmy Feigen on Tuesday made his first public comments about the incident in Rio de Janeiro last week that involved Feigen, Ryan Lochte and two of their teammates.

In a written statement provided to NBC News, Feigen admitted to initially leaving out details of an early morning incident at a Rio gas station, saying he omitted the facts to police in an attempt to help Lochte.

The Aug. 14 encounter was initially described by Lochte as an armed robbery by men posing as police officers, but the tale soon unraveled into an embarrassing controversy.

By the time a judge ordered Lochte and Feigen to remain in Brazil, Lochte had already left. Feigen eventually paid almost $11,000 to a sports foundation and was allowed to leave Brazil.

Feigen also said he was given an option to pay a fine rather than wait the month in Brazil for the investigation to conclude, but the amount first suggested was the equivalent of $31,250 and 15 days of community service.

When Feigen and his attorneys rejected that offer as unreasonable, the prosecutor increased the proposed fine to the equivalent of $46,875, he said. The smaller agreement was eventually reached.



Photo Credit: Getty Images - AP]]>
<![CDATA[Fact Check: Clinton Campaign’s 'Kremlin' Deception]]> Wed, 24 Aug 2016 03:53:49 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/mookGettyImages-584258326.jpg

FactCheck.org is a non-partisan non-profit organization that will hold candidates and key figures accountable during the 2016 presidential campaign. FactCheck.org will check facts of speeches, advertisements and more for NBC.

Hillary Clinton’s campaign manager, Robby Mook, made the baseless insinuation that Donald Trump compromised national security by inviting a man with Russian ties to his intelligence briefing.

Appearing on ABC News’ “This Week,” Mook said Trump was accompanied to his first intelligence briefing on Aug. 17 by “someone who’s on the payroll of the Russia Times, which is a basically a propaganda arm of the Kremlin.” Mook claimed this “gentleman” — whom he did not name — “was sitting two seats away from Vladimir Putin” at RT’s 10th anniversary gala in December, and he demanded that Trump disclose “whether his advisers are having meetings with the Kremlin.”

Who is this mysterious, unnamed gentleman? The Clinton campaign told us Mook was referring to retired Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, who until two years ago was director of the Defense Intelligence Agency under President Barack Obama.

Flynn is not “on the payroll of the Russia Times.” He was merely one of many speakers at RT’s anniversary conference on Dec. 10, 2015, in Moscow. RT is a Russian government-funded TV station once known as Russia Today.

Mook made his misleading assertion about Flynn shortly after he claimed that “real questions being raised about whether Donald Trump himself is just a puppet for the Kremlin.” Host George Stephanopoulos questioned Mook about that claim — which has been part of the Clinton campaign’s attacks on Trump ever since it was reported that Russia was likely behind the successful attacks on computer servers at the Democratic National Committee and the release of DNC emails.

Stephanopoulos: You’re saying he’s a puppet for the Kremlin?

Mook: Well, real questions are being raised about that. We — again, there’s a web of financial ties to the Russians that he refuses to disclose. We’ve seen over the last few week, him parroted Vladimir Putin in his own remarks. We saw the Republican Party platform changed. She saw Donald Trump talk about leaving NATO and leaving our Eastern European allies vulnerable to a Russian attack. The gentleman he brought with him to his security briefing just last week is someone who’s on the payroll of the Russia Times, which is a basically a propaganda arm of the Kremlin. He was sitting two seats away from Vladimir Putin at their 10th anniversary gala.

There are a lot of questions here. And we need Donald Trump to disclose all of his financial ties and whether his advisers are having meetings with the Kremlin.

Trump has praised Putin and has called for improved relations with Russia, but he has denied that he has had any financial ties with Russia beyond holding the Miss Universe Pageant in Moscow in 2013. Also, Trump’s personal financial disclosure report required of all presidential candidates does not show any investments in Russia.

However, Paul Manafort, who until last week was Trump’s campaign chairman, did have business dealings with Russian-aligned leaders in Ukraine, as uncovered by the New York Times. With Manafort gone, Mook redirected the campaign’s guilt-by-association attack on Trump by questioning Flynn’s associations with the Kremlin.

Trump was joined at his first intelligence briefing on Aug. 17 at FBI headquarters in New York City by Flynn and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie. As Huffington Post wrote, Flynn “was paid by a Russian state-funded television network to speak at its 10th-anniversary gala,” and Putin attended that conference. Reuters reported that Flynn “was pictured sitting at the head table with Putin” at the conference.

In an Aug. 15 article, Flynn told the Washington Post that his speaking engagement was arranged by his speaker’s bureau and that he was paid for it. He said he was introduced to Putin, but did not speak to him.

Flynn was one of many speakers at the conference. Others included former London Mayor Ken Livingstone, Green Party presidential nominee Jill Stein and liberal U.S. media commentator Thom Hartmann.

Flynn sat for a one-on-one Q&A with RT correspondent Sophie Shevardnadze on the Islamic State terrorist group and the crisis in the Middle East. His conference topic coincided with the announcement that he is writing a book with Michael Ledeen on the Middle East called “The Field of Fight: How We Can Win the Global War Against Radical Islam and Its Allies.”

The Clinton campaign provided no evidence that Flynn is “on the payroll” of RT or that he is “having meetings with the Kremlin,” as Mook alleged. It forwarded us a Politico story from May that said Flynn “makes semi-regular appearances on RT as an analyst.” Politico wrote that Flynn is “presumably” paid for those TV appearances, but the retired lieutenant general told the Post that he is not paid by RT or any other TV stations, because “I want to be able to speak freely about what I believe.”

Steve Sestanovich, a senior fellow for Russian and Eurasian studies at the Council on Foreign Relations, told us that Flynn’s appearance at the conference certainly raises a question about Flynn’s “judgment and good sense,” but it probably doesn’t make him a security risk.

Flynn served for more than three decades in the military, including in Afghanistan and Iraq. He became the director of the Defense Intelligence Agency under Obama in July 2012. He was asked to resign after two years and quickly became one of the Obama administration’s most vocal critics on foreign policy. “I was asked to step down,” Flynn admitted in an interview with Foreign Policy. “It wasn’t necessarily the timing that I wanted, but I understand.”

Trump reportedly considered Flynn during his search for a vice presidential candidate, but ultimately picked Indiana Gov. Mike Pence.

The Clinton campaign certainly has legitimate questions it can raise about Trump’s foreign policy positions, such as his comments that he would “certainly look at” pulling the United States out of NATO, because it is “obsolete” and “is costing us a fortune.” But Mook goes too far in falsely claiming that Flynn is “on the payroll” of the government-funded Russia TV station and insinuating without evidence that the retired United States Army lieutenant general is a security risk.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>