<![CDATA[NBC Southern California - National & International News]]>Copyright 2016http://www.nbclosangeles.com/news/national-international http://media.nbcbayarea.com/designimages/NBC4_40x125.png NBC Southern California http://www.nbclosangeles.comen-usTue, 24 May 2016 16:34:13 -0700Tue, 24 May 2016 16:34:13 -0700NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA[DOJ to Seek Death Penalty in Charleston Church Shooting]]> Tue, 24 May 2016 14:38:28 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/184*120/odio1.jpg

The Department of Justice will seek the death penalty against accused church shooter Dylann Roof, U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch announced Tuesday.

Lynch said in a statement that her department came to that decision after a "rigorous review process," NBC News reports.

"The nature of the alleged crime and the resulting harm compelled this decision," she said.

Roof, 22, will stand trial for the massacre of nine people last June at the historically black Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, South Carolina. He was charged with nine counts of murder, three counts of attempted murder and possession of a weapon during the commission of a violent crime.

Photo Credit: Charleston County Sheriff's Office via Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Family Health Care Costs Have Tripled Since '01: Analysis]]> Tue, 24 May 2016 13:44:53 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/160*120/HEALTH_GettyImages-544488581.jpg

The costs of providing health care to an average American family surpassed $25,000 for the first time in 2016 — even as the rate of health cost increases slowed to a record low, a new analysis revealed Tuesday.

CNBC reports that the $25,826 in health-care costs for a typical family of four covered by an employer-sponsored "preferred provider plan" is $1,155 higher than last year, and triple what it cost to provide health care for the same family in 2001, the first year that Milliman Medical Index analysis was done.

And it's the 11th consecutive year that the total dollar increase in the average family's health-care costs exceeded $1,110, the actuarial services firm noted in releasing the index.

A significant cost driver identified by the index was the rapid growth in what health plans and insured people are paying for prescription drugs.

Photo Credit: Caiaimage/Chris Cross via Getty Images, File]]>
<![CDATA[Top News Photos of the Week]]> Tue, 24 May 2016 07:47:34 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-533867496-rainbow.jpg View weekly updates on the best photos in domestic and foreign news.

Photo Credit: VCG via Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[VA Chief Compares Wait Time to Disneyland]]> Tue, 24 May 2016 09:42:37 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/104328862.jpg

Veterans and lawmakers blasted Veteran Affairs Secretary Bob McDonald Monday after he compared the "experience" of waiting for medical care at his agency's facilities to lines at Disneyland, NBC News reported. 

"The days to an appointment is really not what we should be measuring. What we should be measuring is the veteran's satisfaction," McDonald told reporters at a Christian Science Monitor breakfast in Washington on Monday. "When you go to Disney, do they measure the number of hours you wait in line? What's important? What's important is: What's your satisfaction with the experience?"

Georgia Republican Sen. David Perdue called the comparison "offensive and shameful" and Rep. Tammy Duckworth, D-Ill., a combat veteran who receives her own health care at the Hines VA Hospital in Illinois, called the remark "tone-deaf."

The scandal over long wait times at VA hospitals and clinics nationwide broke open in 2014, when a whistleblower at a Phoenix facility alleged that up to 40 patients may have died while waiting for appointments. 

The VA said in a statement later Monday that it needed to "transform" how it conducts its business.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[2 FBI Agents Shot, Suspect Dead]]> Tue, 24 May 2016 11:59:08 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/Park+Forest+Final.png

Two FBI agents were shot Tuesday morning while attempting to serve a warrant to a man who was later found dead in his south suburban Chicago home.

The Cook County medical examiner's office identified the suspect as 50-year-old Melvin Toran. Court records show Toran had a long criminal history, including a conviction for murder in 1986.

He was paroled from prison on Feb. 18, 2013, according to the Illinois Department of Corrections.

SWAT teams were seen swarming Toran's home on Rich Court in Park Forest around 8:30 a.m. Multiple neighbors told NBC 5 they noticed the police activity as early as 6 a.m.

FBI special agent Garrett H. Croon said two agents suffered non-life threatening gunshot wounds during the attempted arrest of Toran, who was later found dead in his home. 

The commotion caused Park Forest-Chicago Heights School District 163 to delay their start time until 9:15 a.m., temporarily requesting parents to keep their children indoors and home from school while the FBI activity was ongoing.

One neighbor seemed surprised to find that Toran was a wanted man, saying that he "seemed nice" and had always been seen walking his dog.

Toran was a high-ranking gang member, according to the Chicago Tribune. The FBI was reportedly trying to arrest him on narcotics trafficking charges after Toran allegedly sold heroin to an undercover agent.

Toran's manner of death has not been released.

Photo Credit: Illinois Department of Corrections
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<![CDATA['Ikea' Reveals How to Pronounce 'Ikea']]> Tue, 24 May 2016 14:10:11 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/180*120/AP_288255360356.jpg

Americans have been pronouncing the name of the Swedish furniture store Ikea all wrong, "Today" found out.

Instead of emphasizing the the first letter and saying "eye-kee-ah," the way the word was intended to be pronounced is apparently "ee-kay-uh."

An Ikea representative confirmed to "Today" that Americans, in fact, say the Swedish store's name differently from its actual pronunciation.

Photo Credit: AP, File
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<![CDATA[WATCH: Snowbirds Fly Over DC]]> Tue, 24 May 2016 15:44:39 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/20160524+Snowbirds2.jpg

They picked the right day for it: The Canadian Armed Forces' Snowbirds flew over the National Mall in Washington, D.C., about noon Tuesday.

The air demonstration team passed over the Mall, then headed to Dulles International Airport, trailing "show smoke" during the flyover. Ten aircraft flew in formation.

The show is meant "to highlight the relationship between Canada and the United States of America," according to the Royal Canadian Air Force.

Guests can learn more at a "Meet the Snowbirds" event at the National Air and Space Museum's Udvar-Hazy Center from noon until 5 p.m. Wednesday.

The Snowbirds' Canadair CT-114 Tutors will be on display, and pilots will demonstrate their maneuvers through presentations and video.

Photo Credit: NBC Washington]]>
<![CDATA[Gwynn's Family Sues Tobacco Ind.]]> Tue, 24 May 2016 14:41:56 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/102871071.jpg

The tobacco industry used the late Tony Gwynn's addiction to chewing tobacco to turn him into a "walking billboard," his family alleges. 

"He never knew it but they were using him to promote their dip to the next generation of kids and fans who idolized him," Gwynn's daughter, Anisha Gwynn, said Tuesday in San Diego.

Gwynn’s family has filed a wrongful-death lawsuit against the tobacco industry, claiming the San Diego Padres legend was targeted to use the smokeless tobacco that led to the cancer that killed him.

The suit was filed Monday in San Diego Superior Court against Altria Group, Inc. (formerly known as Philip Morris USA) and several other defendants. Altria Group, Inc. makes Skoal chewing tobacco, the brand Tony Gwynn preferred and used extensively. 

The Gwynn family alleges the tobacco industry induced Gwynn to begin using smokeless tobacco when he was a star athlete at San Diego State University in the late 1970’s. 

When asked about the lawsuit, an Altria representative told NBC 7 San Diego, "We have no comment."

In the suit, the Gwynn family says the tobacco company "continued to deluge Tony during his college years with countless free samples of 'dip' tobacco products they purposely adulterated to make more addictive. All the while, they did not mention either the highly addictive nature of their products or their toxicity."

The suit alleges Gwynn used up to two cans of smokeless tobacco per day, claiming that is the equivalent of smoking four to five packs of cigarettes daily. In the suit the Gwynn family alleges the tobacco industry chose Gwynn specifically because it was trying to market its product to African-Americans, and that it intentionally misled Tony to use the product.

"Tony Gwynn was the Defendants' marketing dream come true," says the lawsuit. "They knew youngsters looking up to Tony would hope to one day hit like Tony, and be like Tony, so they would also want to 'dip' like Tony."

On Tuesday, Gwynn's daughter Anisha spoke of her dad's legacy, saying the baseball legend “wouldn’t want to see another player or any other person have to get sick and die."

Gwynn used smokeless tobacco for 31 years, despite seeing signs it may be harming his health as early as the 1990’s. Gwynn admitted an addiction to the substance and when he tried to stop using he reportedly needed prescription drugs to fight the anxiety and cravings he felt in its absence.

In recent years, Gwynn had multiple surgeries on his neck to remove both an abscess and a malignant tumor. He died in 2014 from salivary gland cancer at the age of 54.

Tony Gwynn was an elite athlete who “cared about his body,” his son said Tuesday.

“If he had known how addictive and harmful to his health dip was he would not have started using in college,” Tony Gwynn, Jr said of his dad.

The lawsuit does not ask for specified damages, instead requesting a jury trial to rule on grounds of negligence, fraud and product liability by the tobacco industry.

Gwynn’s death has brought about a change in some part of baseball. Multiple young players have either stopped using smokeless tobacco or simply not picked up the habit because of what happened to Mr. Padre.

Photo Credit: Getty Images for Pepsi MLB Refre]]>
<![CDATA[FBI K-9 Sniffs Out Digital Evidence]]> Tue, 24 May 2016 14:18:11 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/fbi+puppy.jpg

One of the newest members of the FBI has a decidedly low-tech method of sniffing out digital evidence: she uses her nose.

Iris, an 18-month-old Labrador retriever, is the FBI's first electronic-detection K-9 and can sniff out just about any electronic device that stores memory —regardless of how well a criminal has hidden it.

Iris graduated from a program pioneered by the Connecticut State Police last month and is one of just a handful of dogs trained to detect a chemical used to cool memory chips on electronics.

"She went into four weeks of imprinting class with them, where they basically just had her every day and imprinted her on the scent," said her handler, FBI Agent Jeffrey Calandra. "That chemical is unique to thumb drives, hard drives, really anything that’s electronic that can store memory."

Now, just about anytime she's brought to a scene to sniff out the chemical, she alerts her handler in a way similar to bomb and drug dogs. 

"She’s a passive alert dog so when she finds the device she’ll sit and then she’s fed," said Calanda.

After there is enough probable cause for the FBI to obtain a search warrant, Iris is used to search specific locations for electronic devices. Iris’ unique cyber-sniffing ability can be used in a wide range of investigations, including counter intelligence, counter terrorism and child pornography.

"We encounter subjects of our investigations who are very clever and they will do their best to hide electronic devices in the most unique places," said Michael Brodack, assistant special agent in charge of the Newark FBI office.

Some subjects will store incriminating evidence and thumb drives in places that may not even be thought of as electronic devices.

"You can find thumb drives in earrings, cuff links, pens, you name it," said FBI Supervisory Special Agent Philip Frigm. "They are very small and are getting smaller so it’s very difficult for a human who is in the process of conducting a search warrant to find some of those devices."

Other agencies have used dogs trained to detect the chemical successfully. Most notably, a black Lab named Bear sniffed out a hidden thumb drive containing child porn belonging to former Subway spokesman Jared Fogle.

Broadack said "the sky is the limit" with Iris. 

"It will make our jobs a little bit easier and it’ll ensure that we find all of the pieces of evidence that we need to find," he said.

When the work day is over, Iris is just a regular dog living with her FBI handler and his family.              

"She loves to play, she has a great personality but when it’s time to work, she loves to work — she gets fed when she works," said Calandra.

The Newark FBI will make Iris available to other FBI offices and law enforcement agencies to assist in cases where electronic devices are used and may go unseen without her skills.

"Electronics are a part of everyone’s daily lives and they are everywhere,” said Frigm. "Expectations are that she is going to be very busy in the near future."

<![CDATA[School Bus Erupts in Flames]]> Tue, 24 May 2016 16:13:40 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/school+bus+fire+nj.jpg

A group of New Jersey high school students narrowly avoided being caught in a dangerous blaze when the bus they were riding to school erupted in flames. 

School bus driver Jose Rodriguez says he sensed trouble with his vehicle as the engine stalled on the road Monday. He quickly pulled over and ordered the students out. Moments later, the bus was engulfed in fire.  

"I said 'Get out, kids, get out,'" Rodriguez said Tuesday. "And within seconds, it took over." 

Rodriguez was driving around 20 students from Paramus High School when the bus started sputtering. With 20 years of experience as a bus driver and a trained mechanic, he didn't hesitate to get the students out in front of East Brook Middle School. 

"I thought it was going to blow up because there was a lot of smoke and it was right where the engine was," said Kyle Kaiser, 16. 

"Someone opened the back door and we started jumping out the back," said Stephanie Kravitz, 15. "It was kind of scary, if we didn't get off in time."

Rodriguez ran out with a fire extinguisher as the students jumped out the rear exit door. Dozens of gallons of diesel fuel added to the fire. 

"I think it could have been really dangerous," Kravitz said. "We are lucky no one got hurt." 

There are 20 grateful families along Rodriguez's bus route three miles north of Paramus High School, thankful that their children made it home safe.

The bus manager said the bus that caught fire was just inspected last week. Rodriguez was happy to be back driving his route — in a different bus — on Tuesday. 

"The kids got to the school safe. I'm not a hero, anyone could have done it," Rodriguez said. 

Photo Credit: Provided to NBC 4 NY]]>
<![CDATA[American ISIS Defector's Unsealed Case Details Escape]]> Tue, 24 May 2016 15:07:57 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/IS-AP_539830332381.jpg

A judge has unsealed the case against an American ISIS defector whose identity is still hidden, NBC News reported.

The 27-year-old former Columbia University student, who is identified as Mo, spoke with NBC News last week — with the permission of prosecutors — about why he signed up with the terror group, the violence he saw and his desperate escape. Prosecutors acquiesced to revealing the defector's information after the interview.

Among other things, the case file details Mo's initial contact with the FBI in 2014. He told the FBI, "I just want to get back home. All I want is this extraction, complete exoneration thereafter and have everything back to normal with me and my family…Please help me get back home."

FBI officials have told NBC News that Mo pleaded guilty to two terrorism charges that carry between 10 and 25 years in prison — though he could get less because of his ongoing cooperation.

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[NYC Man Accused of Trying to Join ISIS]]> Tue, 24 May 2016 16:34:05 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/isis-suspect-color-0524.jpg

A Bronx man was arrested early Tuesday after he allegedly tried to join ISIS and later helped an undercover informant who he thought was trying to join the terrorist organization, according to a criminal complaint.

Sajmir Alimehmeti, 22, was arrested in the Bronx by the Joint Terrorism Task Force and is charged with providing material support to a terrorist organization, according to a complaint filed by the U.S. Attorney's Office.

"Alimehmeti is charged today with actions that show a clear intention to support a terrorist organization that is hell-bent on murder and mayhem," said U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara.

According to the complaint, he tried to travel to the Middle East to join ISIS on two occassions in 2014 but was blocked each time by British authorities. Then, this year, he allegedly tried to help an undercover agent who claimed to be attempting to join the organization. 

The complaint alleges that Alimehmeti first traveled to tlahe United Kingdom in October of 2014 in an attempt to continue on to the Middle East but was denied entry to the country when British authorities at Manchester Airport found nunchucks and camouflage clothing in his luggage.

He tried again that December, according to the complaint, and was again stopped in the United Kingdom after British authorities at Heathrow Airport in London found images of ISIS and improvised explosive devices on his cellphone.

"As alleged, Alimehmeti continued his quest to support ISIL’s deadly terrorist agenda, after being denied entry into Europe with a bag full of military gear," said NYPD Commissioner Bill Bratton. "When he returned home, to the Bronx, he allegedly turned to helping others join the terrorist organization as he built his own arsenal of weapons."

Alerted by UK authorities, the FBI went to work, introducing Alimehmeti to undercover law enforcement agents who posed as ISIS recruits interested in traveling to Syria, according to court papers.

A year after the second attempt, Alimehmeti tried to get a new passport and claimed he had lost his old one, according to the complaint. But he allegedly told undercover agents that he already had $2,500 to travel to Syria but needed to get a new passport in a different name because his had rejection stamps from the United Kingdom and was "already in the system."

Late last year and earlier this year, Alimehmeti began communicating with undercover agents, according to the complaint. When meeting with the agents, the man allegedly expressed interest in joining ISIS, telling one who he thought was set to head overeas "I'm ready f---ing go with you, man...You know I would... I'm done with this place."

He then bought that agent a phone to be used overseas and allegedly talked about "apps" that would encrypt his communications. He also bought two agents boots to use while fighting with ISIS at a sporting-goods store in Manhattan. The complaint also alleges that Alimehmeti also took one of the agents to John F. Kennedy Airport so the agent could fly to join ISIS.

According to the complaint, Alimehmeti played two ISIS-produced music videos that depicted prisoners being beheaded for the undercover agents. He allegedly told the agents that the videos helped him stay motivated while exercising.

Photos from the complaint show him posing in his Bronx apartment with what appears to be an ISIS flag. He also allegedly bought knives, steel-knuckled gloves, a pocket chainsaw, handcuffs and masks, and had MP3 files containing lectures by former al-Qaida official Anwar al-Awlaki.

The court papers said Alimehmeti told the undercover contacts he and his brother "had our own plan" to travel from Albania to Syria but that his brother had been arrested in Albania.

In a footnote, the FBI said in court papers that Alimehmeti's brother was arrested on weapons and assault charges in Albania last August.

Alimehmeti, who also faces fraud-related charges, was held without bail Tuesday and is scheduled to appear again in court on June 7. Information on whether he has an attorney who could comment on the charges wasn't available.

More than a half dozen individuals have been arrested since mid-2015 by the task force in New York and New Jersey on similar charges.

The investigation was conducted by the Joint Terrorism Task Force, comprised largely of FBI agents and NYPD detectives, and the NYPD's Intelligence Division.

Photo Credit: U.S. Attorney's Office ]]>
<![CDATA[10 Years of Spelling Bee Champions]]> Tue, 24 May 2016 10:45:18 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/AP080530028994_1_ScrippsBee.jpg Click through the last 10 years of National Spelling Bee champions.

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[How Well Can You Spell? National Spelling Bee Knockout Words]]> Tue, 24 May 2016 10:24:25 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/AP_854384059073.jpg

Stichomythia. Guetapens. Laodicean. 

Those hard-to-pronounce words have also spelled victory for some of the country's most lexical students: champions of the Scripps National Spelling Bee. 

But for the rest of the 200-plus students who participate in the spell-fest each year, the highfalutin vocabulary words prove more vexing. See with this quiz if you could have outspelled the studious contestants who made it to the finalist round. All the words featured in the quiz knocked out participants in recent years. 

And for those who want to continue to play along from home, this year's competition will take place from May 24 to May 26 at the Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center in National Harbor, Maryland. 

Photo Credit: AP
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<![CDATA[Sports Authority to Close All of Its Stores]]> Tue, 24 May 2016 08:32:08 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/sports-GettyImages-513328004.jpg

Sports Authority is getting ready to close all of its 463 stores and has launched a big going-out-of-business sale, according to NBC's "Today" show. 

The chain filed for bankruptcy protection a few months back, but its attempts to restructure its debt failed.

The final sale in Sports Authority stores is expected to start this weekend and last until end of August. 

Photo Credit: Getty Images
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<![CDATA['Natural' Mosquito Repellents Don't Last: Consumer Reports]]> Tue, 24 May 2016 07:48:43 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/ZikaMosquitoAP_791168702393.jpg

Most so-called natural mosquito repellents containing naturally derived oils smell nice but don't keep mosquitos off as long as those containing synthetic chemicals, Consumer Reports found.

Consumer Reports said it tested 16 products to see which work best against the Aedes mosquitoes that spread Zika as well as against Culex mosquitoes, which spread West Nile, and the ticks that carry Lyme. The products contain a range of active ingredients, including conventional chemicals like DEET, synthetic plantlike compounds that resemble those found in nature, and plant oils like citronella and rosemary, according to the group.

Their three top pics contain a different synthetic chemical: Sawyer Picaridin (20 percent picaridin); Ben's 30 Percent Deet Tick & Insect Wilderness Formula (30 percent DEET) and Repel Lemon Eucalyptus (65 percent p-menthane-3,8-diol, a synthetic derivative of eucalyptus).

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Surprise From 'Avengers' Stars]]> Tue, 24 May 2016 08:55:03 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/Ryan-Wilcox-Visit-IMG_2231.jpg

A San Diego teenager who is battling cancer welcomed Captain America, Iron Man and Pepper Potts into his home, just two weeks after his classmates stood behind him in support.

Ryan Wilcox, 18, is a Grossmont High School student who is also a die-hard "Captain America" and "Avengers" fan.

In a video played at the school May 6, Chris Evans offered Wilcox well wishes and told him to "stay strong."

The clip not only went viral but prompted "Avengers" co-star Gwyneth Paltrow to suggest a trip to San Diego.

The trip became a reality Monday when Paltrow, who plays Pepper Potts in the "Avengers" movies; Evans, who portrays Captain America; and Robert Downey Jr., also known as Iron Man, showed up on the Wilcox family's doorstep.

"I saw this car pull up and I saw them walking. I was just like — what?" Ryan told NBC 7's Greg Bledsoe in an interview Monday.

The stars spent some time with Ryan in his room and even signed his wall. They left behind souveniers and a lot of memories.

"We're all a little numb. I knew for a couple days it was gonna happen but until you see them walk through that door, you don't know how you're going to feel. And they just were awesome. They didn't want cameras, they wanted to do it quietly," said Ryan's mom, Amy Wilcox. "They came into our home, sat on our couches and just visited with us."

She said the trio sat down with the family and just talked.

Photo Credit: Family Photo
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<![CDATA[Baby Left in Car in Fla. Dies]]> Tue, 24 May 2016 15:05:50 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/052316+baby+inside+car.jpg

An 11-month-old girl died after she was left inside her parents' parked car Monday in South Florida, possibly for hours, according to police.

Emergency responders were called to the 3500 block of West 86th Terrace in Hialeah around 4:10 p.m. The baby was found unconscious and taken to Palmetto General Hospital, where she was pronounced dead. 

Police said the baby had been left inside her parents' parked vehicle with the engine turned off. It's not clear how long she was there, but police said it may have been a few hours. The child's name has not been released.

The temperature outside climbed into the upper 80s on Monday afternoon, according to the National Weather Service.

Authorities have not taken anyone into custody or filed charges in connection with the case. Police are working with the Miami-Dade state attorney's office to investigate.

According to HeatStroke.org, the child is the first to die in a vehicle in Florida this year and the eighth nationwide.

Janette Fennell, president and founder of Kids and Cars, a nonprofit organization focused on improving child safety around cars, recommends the following tips to parents:

  1. Look before you lock. Open the back door and look in the back seat to make sure everyone is out of the car (even if you think there is no one back there).
  2. Keep something you need in the back seat. Put your cellphone, briefcase, computer, lunch, ID badge, left shoe or anything essential to your daily routine next your child.
  3. Travel with a furry companion. Keep a stuffed animal in the car seat. When a baby is in the seat, the stuffed animal rides shotgun. The furry passenger serves as a reminder that baby's in the back.
  4. Always lock the doors. Even if the car is in the garage, keep the doors locked to prevent curious children from getting into the car.
  5. Put the keys and fobs away. Kids might want to play with keys and be able to get into the car without parents knowledge.
  6. Have a plan with child-care provider. If your child does not show up to daycare or school without prior notice, someone should call to locate child.
  7. If you see something, do something. If you see a child alone in a car, do not hesitate to call 911.

Photo Credit: NBC6.com]]>
<![CDATA[No Harm From 'Cry It Out' Baby Sleep Method: Study]]> Tue, 24 May 2016 06:00:35 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-74146469-%281%29.jpg

A new study suggests that infants left to CIO — "cry it out" or cry themselves to sleep will not suffer any emotional, behavioral or parental attachment problems, Today.com reported.  

Researchers in Australia studied infants 6 months through 16 months and found that CIO did not produce any more signs of stress in the babies than a "gentler" method, according to the study published Tuesday in the journal Pediatrics. 

The lead author of the study, Michael Gradisar, an associate professor and clinical psychologist at Flinders University in Adelaide, Australia, said "graduated extinction was better in reducing the number of times the infants woke during the night, as well as the amount of time they spent awake during the night."

The new study adds to existing research showing that children sleep better when parents adopt the extinction method, said Dr. Marc Weissbluth, a professor of clinical pediatrics, emeritus, at Northwestern University's Feinberg School of Medicine.

Photo Credit: Getty Images/Aurora Creative
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<![CDATA[Ospreys Drop Fish, Kitten From Nest]]> Tue, 24 May 2016 06:52:02 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/osprey+nest+stratford.jpg

The Stratford Fire Department is plagued with an unusual problem: Two ospreys that built a nest above the station are dropping sticks, fish and even a kitten in the path of unsuspecting firefighters below.

The ospreys, which can grow up to 2 feet long with wingspans over 5 feet, have nested on a communication antenna at the fire station along the Connecticut shoreline.

They often drop large sticks, and in some cases entire fish — their main source of food — in front of the main entrance below.

"We have ospreys that have built a nest up there and basically it's causing a little bit of problems with dropping stuff down on the main entrance of the fire station," said Stratford Fire Chief Robert McGrath.

An air conditioning unit was damaged last week after a dropped bass landed inside. Firefighters said the birds dropped a kitten on Sunday.

The other concern is that the nest could prevent the communication antenna from operating properly, according to the chief.

"It could compromise the signal going back and forth from the two towers," said McGrath.

According to the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection, osprey are no longer endangered. The nest can be moved if there are no eggs inside, which firefighters say is the case with this one.

DEEP officials said April and May are egg-laying months for the birds, so firefighters are working on a plan to get the feathered visitors to leave.

"It's entertaining, I can tell you that, at best. But really, it's a nuisance," McGrath said.

Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut]]>
<![CDATA[NYPD-NYFD Brawl During Charity Game]]> Tue, 24 May 2016 13:00:38 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/fdny+nypd+brawl.jpg

A charity football game between members of the FDNY and the NYPD was meant to be a family-friendly outing in Coney Island but quickly turned into a bloody brawl when a verbal dispute escalated on the field. 

New York's Finest and New York's Bravest met on the field at the MCU Park Saturday for a friendly football game, the proceeds of which would go to help families in both departments. But the Fun City Bowl ended with fists flying. 

"I think one of the FDNY guys exchanged words with the NYPD player and then from there, I couldn't see what was happening, I just saw the crowds come around the player," said Angel Zayas, a freelance photographer who was filming the game on the sidelines. "I heard it happening before I saw it happening." 

Zayas watched one of the firefighters walk away with blood dripping down the side of his face.

"He was pulled out of the crowd, the FDNY guy," he said. "It was trickling out the side, you could see the blood on the side of his head." 

Moments later, a second fight broke out, and players on the sidelines ran to the center of the field to jump in as families watched from the stands.

Zayas described another FDNY member being tackled, "and then they surround him and everyone jumps into the center of that."

Then the arguing, fighting and tackling subsided, and the crowd cheered and applauded in an attempt to encourage the goodwill. Handshakes and hugs were exchanged between the red and the blue, and a man could be heard telling one of the teams: "Listen up. Don't embarrass yourselves, you hear me?"

"At the end, they were all talking, it was like water under the bridge," Zaya said. 

The NYPD said in a statement, "Football is a competitive sport, whether it is the NFL Super Bowl or the annual NYPD-FDNY challenge. It is part of the spirit of the sport, but it all ends on the field."

The game ended with the NYPD winning 29-13. 

It's not the first time the teams have brawled during a charity game. Last year, members of the NYPD and FDNY fought on the ice during a hockey match at Nassau Coliseum. 

Photo Credit: Angel Zayas]]>
<![CDATA[Nation's Top 12-Year-Old Boxer]]> Mon, 23 May 2016 18:03:00 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/box+GIF_19483400.gif

The highlight of 12-year-old David "Dynamite" Lopez’s life was becoming the country’s No. 1 boxer for his age and weight last year.

But a close second was sparring at his dad’s gym with undefeated super middleweight world champion Andre Ward one day this May. Ward threw a few fast punches. One or two landed on David’s headgear, throwing the boy back.

"It was uncomfortable," said the young boxer from Oakland, California. "But I didn’t cry."

Still, his nose smarted a bit and he got to play hooky from Westlake Middle School, where he is a sixth grader.

"It was awesome," he added, his green eyes twinkling.

Chance to be No. 1 Again
The scrappy pre-teen now has a chance to win No. 1 again. He qualified to attend the Junior Olympics National Championships in Dallas, Texas, next month. This round, he’s 85 pounds — a weight he begrudgingly achieves by following a "no hot chips" and no-soda diet. His father is now trying to raise enough funds to get there, as traveling the world to win boxing championships, especially for a working-class family, will be a feat.

David hasn’t read Malcom Gladwell’s "Outliers," which touts the idea that 10,000 hours of practice are required to excel at something.

But David intrinsically understands the book’s theory. He’s already put in about 7,000 of those hours, having started to box when he was just 5. That work led USA Boxing to dub him the top 70-pound boxer in the country in 2015. He also won the national title in Puerto Rico the same year.

"Practice," David said simply when asked why he’s so good. "Boxing is just what I do."

"Dedicated," chimed in Jasper McCargo, 29, who made the U.S. Olympic boxing team in 2014 and trains alongside David at his father’s gym in Oakland, Lightning’s Boxing Club. "And he has a great father." 

Father and Son Box Together
David’s father, Kris "Lightning" Lopez, 39, was a two-time Golden Glove champion and now runs a respected youth boxing program. Father and son train together for two hours every day after school. They also have an unusually close bond, which is obvious to anyone, even when meeting them for the first time.

The elder Lopez echoed that "repetition" is why his son is so skilled. But Lopez also added: "It’s in our blood." Lopez’s great-grandfather was a bigtime fighter in the Philippines in the 1920s. 

Half the week, David goes home with his mother, Wells Fargo corporate finance administrative assistant Denielle Allen, who can’t bear to watch her son fight in the ring.

"My mom will ask how a fight went, but she doesn’t want to come," David said. He added proudly he’s never suffered a concussion, and only broken his hand once.

He's close with his mom, too. She's the one who cooks him the rare feast of fried chicken and ice cream, no matter if he wins or not.

"I went to one fight," Allen said, "and I got sick for three days to my stomach." While David's boxing, she sits at home and prays with her Acts Full Gospel community for his safe return from the ring.

The other half of the week, he goes home with his father and his wife, who moved to Pittsburg, California, when they were priced out of Oakland.

Of Lopez’s four children, two are boxers, including his 20-year-old son, Daniel, who has also won national championships and now attends Laney College in Oakland.

Michael Jordan-Type Talent
Ever since he was in kindergarten, people could see David had something special. His jabs are blazing quick. His feet are light. When he jumps, the rope whizzes by too fast to see. He makes karate-like exhales when he jabs. He never backs down. He's confident but not a showoff.

"He’s got a talent that you see every 100 years," Lopez said. "Michael Jordan-type talent. He’s better than Andre Ward was at 11. At 5, you could see he was stronger and faster."

Ward met David two years ago at the 30th anniversary of King’s Boxing Gym in Oakland. Ward, who is Oakland born and now lives in Danville, noticed David’s quick feet and expert jabs.

"He said, 'You got skills,'" David recalled of the conversation, adding that the champion boxer then asked, "What’s your Instagram?"

The two have been sparring ever since. And last week, Ward stopped by the club unannounced to work out with David. That’s when Ward threw some fast ones at David’s headgear.

"He had never done that before," David said. It hurt. And tears sprang to his eyes. But David said, "I wasn’t going to back down."

Andre Ward Raves About 'Dynamite'
Colorado-based USA Boxing spokeswoman Julie Goldsticker knew David’s name with no prompting, mostly because she works with Ward, who "just raves about David." She said David walked Ward out for his last two fights.

As for finding sponsors to offset boxing costs for young people and families, Goldsticker acknowledged it’s a challenge. Mostly, she said, that’s because boxing is an individual sport and harder to find companies and wealthy entities to support one athlete, as opposed to a team. David’s father estimates it might cost $4,000 for the two of them to fly to the Junior Olympics June 26 to July 2 in Dallas, and stay at hotels for the week.

When David’s not boxing, he’s getting good grades in the hopes of attending Yale University one day. He still wants to box when he grows up, but said wisely: "I might study business as a fallback."

Hard to Remember He's a Kid
Family friend and mentor Jose Grace said he thinks David will accomplish anything he sets his mind to.

"He’s serious, he’s a scholar, he’s the full package," Grace said. "Sometimes I have to remember that he’s just a kid."

Follow David's achievements on Facebook or help send him to the Junior Olympics by donating to his GoFundMe page.

Photo Credit: Kris Lopez
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<![CDATA[Poll: 61 Percent of Voters Concerned About Trump's Experience]]> Tue, 24 May 2016 02:27:08 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/DonaldTrumpNRA-AP_16141699817702.jpg

Donald Trump has highlighted his credentials as an outsider throughout his 2016 campaign, but six-in-ten American voters say they're unsure about his lack of military or government experience, a new NBC News/ Wall Street Journal poll shows.

And more than 40 percent say they're very uncomfortable about the holes in his resume, which would make him the first president without a record of military or elected public service, NBC News reported.

Asked in the new survey about Trump's experience, only five percent of registered voters said they were enthusiastic about his unconventional professional history, while another 15 percent said they were comfortable with it.

But a combined 61 percent say they have reservations (19 percent) or are outright uncomfortable (42 percent) with Trump's lack of experience in the kinds of positions traditionally held by American commanders-in-chief.

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Video Appears to Show West Point Cadet Texting During Graduation March]]> Tue, 24 May 2016 06:36:00 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/NA26M-146402181520900001.jpg A video published to the Facebook page for the United States Military Academy at West Point on May 21, 2016, has gone viral after it appeared to show a cadet texting while marching to a graduation ceremony. As of Tuesday morning, the video has been shared nearly 6,000 times and viewed more than 600,000 times. Facebook users' comments criticize the cadet for her lack of discipline while others point out other cadets' lack of marching formation. In a statement to NBC, the academy's spokesman Lt. Col. Christopher Kasker said, "Cadets have an individual responsibility for ensuring their appearance and actions reflect the highest level of military professionalism. While in formation or marching cadets may carry, but not use, a mobile device. The graduating cadet was marching from the barracks to the graduation ceremony and should not have been using a mobile device. This type of infraction is usually addressed by an on-the-spot-correction."]]> <![CDATA[Teen Convicted of Killing Iraqi Man]]> Mon, 23 May 2016 23:59:57 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/nykerion-nealon-AP_843560315899.jpg

An 18-year-old was convicted of murder Monday in the killing of an Iraqi man who was taking photos of his first snowfall in Texas.

Nykerion Nealon faces up to life in prison in the death of Ahmed Al-Jumaili, 36, who was outside his Dallas apartment complex taking pictures of snow with his wife and brother on the night of March 4, 2015, when he was fatally shot.

Police said at the time that Nealon told officers he had been hunting for people he thought had shot at his girlfriend's nearby apartment complex that evening. Police said they didn't believe Nealon knew Al-Jumaili.

Defense attorney Russell Wilson argued that his client was at the apartments when the shooting took place but someone else pulled the trigger.

But a friend of Nealon's testified that Nealon pulled the trigger, and prosecutors said Nealon had searched online for how to beat a murder charge and how to survive prison shortly after the shooting, according to local media. 

The jury deliberated for two hours before finding Nealon guilty, WFAA-TV reported. The sentencing phase is set to continue Tuesday.

Al-Jumaili had fled violence in Iraq to reunite with his wife, who had moved to Dallas earlier. He saved money for more than a year for the move by providing Internet connections to Iraqi homes, his father-in-law, Mohammed Altaae, told The Associated Press last year.

"For a young man and a young woman, oh, God, so many dreams together," Altaae said. "They wanted to have children and educate them well."

Al-Jumaili had been in Texas just three weeks when he was killed.

Photo Credit: AP/Dallas Police Department]]>
<![CDATA[Derailment Survivor Meets Rescuers]]> Tue, 24 May 2016 04:55:16 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/Bob-Hewett-Meets-Rescuers.jpg

A man who was badly injured during last year’s Amtrak train derailment in Philadelphia finally met the group of first responders who saved his life.

“Finally, I know the identity of these brave individuals and have been able to thank them – even have lunch with four of my guardian angels,” said Robert Hewett. 

On May 12, 2015, Hewett, 58, was sitting in the first car of Amtrak 188 when it derailed in Philadelphia, killing eight people and injuring more than 200 others.

“Right before I lost consciousness, I crashed head-on with another gentleman,” Hewett said. “I woke up laying on a pile of rocks. All my clothes had been ripped off. I couldn’t move my legs. I couldn’t see out of my right eye.”

Hewett said fires burned in the field near where the train careened off the tracks, but he was too badly hurt to move himself to safety. So he waited.

"I was scared laying there," Hewett said. "I couldn't move, I couldn't get away. I started yelling for help."

Eventually, that help came. First responders carried Hewett away from the scene.

"I remember [the rescuer] saying, 'This guy's gotta go now or the whole back of his head's coming off,'" Hewett recalled.

Hewett was the first derailment survivor to arrive at Hahnemann Hospital but the last to leave. He suffered several fractures, a collapsed lung and spent seven weeks in a medically induced coma. The severity of his injuries required lengthy and extensive medical treatment.

After watching Hewett recount his rescue on the one-year anniversary of the crash earlier this month, Lisa Hogan knew her husband, Philadelphia Fire Lieutenant James Hogan, was one of the men who rescued him. Hogan then reached out to Hewett and helped identify all of the first responders who came to his aid and rushed him to Hahnemann Hospital, including Lt. Hogan, firefighter Michael Flacco, Philadelphia Police Officer Padraic Feeney, Officer Kevin McGorty, Officer Bryan Turner and Officer Sean King. Hewett, his wife and their two children met with all of his rescuers except for Turner and King and had lunch with them in Center City back on May 18.

“We all now share a very special bond and I look forward to continuing to stay in touch,” Hewett said.  “We are forever grateful for what these first responders do every day.”

Photo Credit: Emily Hewett
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<![CDATA[Drug-Addicted Puppy Recovers]]> Tue, 24 May 2016 04:41:47 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/222*120/bubba-drug-doggy-052316.jpg

A puppy found to be under the influence of heroin and meth in a motel drug bust in Southern California was recovering from his drug addiction Monday.

During a May 5 drug bust officers arrested two people possessing large amounts of drugs in a Tustin, California, motel, and found a pup named Bubba under the influence, Tustin police said.

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Orange County Animal Car officials took Bubba in and began treating the pup, who had nicotine, heroin and methamphetamine in his system due to living with his "drug-using owners," police said, citing toxicology results.

The terrier mix was doing "excellent" and was still being treated, police said.

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The former owners were facing animal cruelty charges.

Once Bubba is all better, he will be placed with a rescue organization.

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On the Tustin Police Department's Facebook page, Bubba's story has received at least 560 reactions, and more than 120 shares.

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Photo Credit: Tustin Police Department
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<![CDATA[TSA Replaces Head of Security as Airport Lines Grow]]> Mon, 23 May 2016 19:34:53 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-74969380.jpg

The Transportation Security Administration on Monday replaced its head of security and created a centralized incident command team, moving dramatically to address the issue of long airport lines.

Kelly Hoggan, the agency's assistant administrator for security operations since 2013, will be replaced by Darby LaJoye, TSA Administrator Peter Neffenger said in an internal memo obtained by NBC News.

LaJoye, a deputy assistant TSA administrator, was previously a top security official at two of the world's busiest airports: Los Angeles International Airport and JFK in New York.

Hoggan, who has been the focus of congressional inquiries into staffing and pay decisions, was reassigned to new duties, Neffenger said.

The appointment is part of a series of moves that Neffenger has taken since hundreds of passengers were stranded in security lines as their planes took off at Chicago's O'Hare International Airport earlier this month.  

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>