<![CDATA[NBC 5 Dallas-Fort Worth - National & International News]]> Copyright 2016 http://www.nbcdfw.com/news/national-international http://media.nbcbayarea.com/designimages/NBC+5-KXAS+Logo+for+Google+News.png NBC 5 Dallas-Fort Worth http://www.nbcdfw.com en-us Thu, 11 Feb 2016 01:04:41 -0600 Thu, 11 Feb 2016 01:04:41 -0600 NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA[FBI Surrounds Protesters Occupying Oregon Refuge]]> Wed, 10 Feb 2016 20:55:33 -0600 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/oregonGetty-507448598.jpg

FBI agents have converged on the Oregon wildlife refuge where the last four followers of Ammon and Ryan Bundy remain holed up, the agency confirmed Wednesday night.

The FBI's Portland office said it has set up at barricades in front of and behind the area of Malheur National Wildlife Refuge where the remaining occupiers are camping, NBC News reported.

Negotiations were under way, and no shots have been fired, bureau said.

Photo Credit: AFP/Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Twitter User Growth Stalls in Fourth Quarter But Company Still Optimistic]]> Wed, 10 Feb 2016 23:31:41 -0600 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/222*120/503572706.jpg

Twitter shares fell in Wednesday after-hours trading as the company revealed that its user numbers had declined sequentially.

The company reported fourth quarter earnings of 16 cents per share on $710 million in revenue. Analysts had expected Twitter to report earnings of about 12 cents per share on $710 million in revenue, according to a consensus estimate from Thomson Reuters.

Twitter said its monthly active users (MAUs) excluding SMS-only users were 305 million for the fourth quarter, down from 307 million in the previous quarter.

"We saw a decline in monthly active usage in Q4, but we've already seen January monthly actives bounce back to Q3 levels. We're confident that, with disciplined execution, this growth trend will continue over time," the company wrote in a shareholder letter.

Photo Credit: Bloomberg via Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[DOJ Sues Ferguson Over Alleged Civil Rights Violations]]> Wed, 10 Feb 2016 16:42:26 -0600 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/AP_882904166282.jpg

The Department of Justice moved to sue the city of Ferguson, Missouri, Wednesday after its city council moved to make several major revisions to a proposed federal consent decree.

The revisions called for by the Ferguson City Council, among other things, would require no mandate for payment of additional salary to police officers or jail staff, a cap on federal monitoring fees at $1 million and extended deadlines for the tentative agreement.

"There is no price for constitutional policing. The citizens and the residents of Ferguson deserve what every American is guaranteed under the constitution," said Attorney General Loretta Lynch at a news conference announcing the suit. She referred to equal protection and freedom from illegal searches and "a fine system that is literally breaking their backs."

The announcement came less than a day after the revisions were filed. Earlier, one of the city's negotiators of the agreement, Councilman Wesley Bell, had said he remained hopeful that the city would be able to avoid a lengthy and costly court battle with the DOJ

Photo Credit: AP/Jeff Roberson]]>
<![CDATA[ICYMI: 5 Things to Know From the NH Primary]]> Wed, 10 Feb 2016 06:58:25 -0600 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/Spotlight-Graphic-5Things-Th.jpg Here's a quick summary of what happened on Tuesday night at the New Hampshire primary.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Senate Votes to Block North Korea's Nuclear Ambitions]]> Wed, 10 Feb 2016 19:38:21 -0600 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/NorthKoreaBill-AP_993302026652.jpg

Senators backed a bill Wednesday to derail North Korea’s quest for a nuclear weapon, NBC News reported.

The bill would mandate sanctions against those involved in North Korea’s nuclear and ballistic missile development program, require a renewed focus on cyber-attacks by North Korea on the U.S. and target those responsible for human rights abuses committed by the country’s government.

The vote was 96 to 0.

The passage of the bill comes days after North Korea launched a long-range rocket and a month after the country claimed to test a hydrogen bomb.  

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[See Photos of NH Primary Vote]]> Wed, 10 Feb 2016 07:18:40 -0600 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-509278698-bernie-sanders-new-hampshire.jpg Voters in New Hampshire took to their polling places to cast their ballots on Tuesday, Feb. 9, 2016.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Gunman Wounded After Killing 2 Women in Alabama]]> Wed, 10 Feb 2016 20:37:46 -0600 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/police+lights+%282%291.jpg

Police wounded a gunman in Alabama who fatally shot two women with whom he had business ties Wednesday morning, NBC News reported.

The victims were shot outside a law office and at an accounting firm, according to NBC affiliate WVTM. Two deputies caught up with Jimmy Cooper, who was armed with a handgun, as he ran down the street. He was shot in the leg and grazed in the arm.

Cooper, 57, will be charged with capital murder in the killings of Donny Miller and Linda Cole, the county prosecutor said.

Police would not give any other information, citing an ongoing investigation.

<![CDATA[Sanders Visits Colbert, Talks Peanuts and Revolution]]> Thu, 11 Feb 2016 00:48:41 -0600 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/sanders-GettyImages-483578708.jpg

Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders took a break from the campaign trail Wednesday night to visit Stephen Colbert on "The Late Show" to talk about, you guessed, the strain on the middle class and the rising oligarchy in America. 

But Colbert also turned Sanders' attention to the manners and culture of the people of South Carolina, where the next primary will be held. For the occasion, Colbert served Sanders beer and boiled peanuts. 

"If you need the vote down there, you have to eat boiled peanuts," Colbert said. "Have you ever had a boiled peanut, OK? The recipe is very simple."

Colbert pulled out a small container of peanuts for both of them, and then presented two beers to go along with the nuts. Sanders sipped to a cheering crowd.

"This wins me South Carolina?" Sanders said.

"Yes it does," Colbert said. "If you like boiled peanuts it will certainly give you a leg up in South Carolina. People up here, when I offer them this food, they say, 'Oh, here comes Colbert with more of his damp food.'"

After the light chat and refreshments, Sanders turned his attention to the "greed of the top 1 percent."

"We're talking about a nation drifting into an oligarchy," Sanders said before invoking political movements like the Civil Rights and the suffragettes of the late19th and early 20th century. 

Broaching the topic of revolution, a commonly proposed idea at most Sanders rallies, Colbert quoted President John F. Kennedy, saying, "Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable."

But Sanders disagreed, and said, "When people come together, we can accomplish great things." 

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[What to Know: Zika Virus Spreads in Americas]]> Tue, 02 Feb 2016 15:11:00 -0600 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/AP_670850476149-zika.jpg The spreading of the Zika virus has caused worldwide concern. Health officials think Zika might be connected to the rise in birth defects in the Americas, though it has not yet been proven. WHO has declared the crisis a global emergency.

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Some Good News for Dementia: Rates Might be Going Down]]> Wed, 10 Feb 2016 23:52:42 -0600 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/DEMENT_GettyImages-472947990.jpg

Researchers have found a small piece of good news for people at high risk of some kinds of dementia: it might be possible to delay it or even prevent it.

They found falling rates of vascular dementia in people who also happened to improve their heart health. The findings, published in the New England Journal of Medicine, support the idea that what's good for the heart is good for the head.

"Our study offers cautious hope that some cases of dementia might be preventable or at least delayed," Claudia Satizabal of the Boston University Schools of Medicine and colleagues wrote in their report.

They looked at more than 5,000 people who have been having their health tracked in minute detail as part of the Framingham Heart Study. The multi-generational study has been going on since 1948 and in 1971 children of the original volunteers signed up. Their memory has been tested since 1975.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[100s of Manatees Keep Warm in River]]> Wed, 10 Feb 2016 21:30:57 -0600 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/214*120/021016+crystal+river+manatees.jpg

Cold weather is sticking around the Sunshine State and now hundreds of manatees are taking shelter in the warm waters of Crystal River on Florida's west coast.

The manatees have huddled together at a refuge inside the Three Sisters Springs, which sits north of Tampa in Citrus County.

The high number of manatees has forced the refuge to close to swimmers who visited the area in hopes of taking a dip with the animals. However, visitors can still check them out from the boardwalk.

On Crystal River's Facebook page, it says: "Thank you for your understanding and patience as we allow the manatees their space to rest and stay warm."

It also says staff will reassess the conditions Thursday morning to see whether the manatee numbers have decreased and an opening of the springs is warranted.

Photo Credit: NBC6.com]]>
<![CDATA[25 Relatives to Fly to Mexico for Pope's Visit]]> Wed, 10 Feb 2016 20:34:20 -0600 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/pope+francis+juarez.jpg

As Pope Francis prepares for a six-day trip Mexico this week, many North Texas Catholics are getting ready to make the trip across the border to see the Pontiff.

A group of 25 relatives in Dallas will depart Thursday from Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport to see the leader of the Catholic Church.

Maria Gonzalez Rocha and her husband, Israel Rocha, actually saw the pope in Philadelphia last year.

"Last time we went to Philly. We didn't get to go inside mass. We just saw him when he did his walk," Maria Gonzalez Rocha said.

For the couple, just seeing the pope from afar was enough for them. It was a dream come true. But then the couple heard the Pope Francis would be in their native Mexico City.

"When we first heard the news about him going to Mexico City it started off as a 'maybe,' then trickled off as, 'OK four of us go,' and so on, and so on and so on," said Israel Rocha.

For Maria Gonzalez Rocha, this time around would be more special because she will have the opportunity to see the leader of the Catholic Church in her native land surrounded by her culture.

"For me going down there it's like, why not, that's where I get my faith," she said. "So now I am going to go back and share my faith with him and the rest of the pilgrims."

And it's faith that will help the 25 relatives make the five-day pilgrimage to Mexico City. Maria Gonzalez Rocha admitted they were a bit crazy to take on such an adventure especially since more than half the people they are traveling with have never taken on such a journey.

"They are very scared because they don't know what to expect, but I just say you have to have faith and be adventurous and enjoy every moment," she said.

For Israel Rocha, it was important to make this road trip and meet the man they say really reaches the masses.

"He's more up-front the way he says stuff. He's so simple – simple words that have a big meaning," he said.

It will afford them more time together and come back more inspired than before.

"Even though you don't expect that you always come back a different person," said Maria Gonzalez Rocha.

Pope Francis arrives in Mexico City on Friday. He will hold a mass on Saturday. The pope will end his six-day trip in Ciudad Juarez by holding a mass at the U.S.-Mexico border.

Photo Credit: NBC 5 News]]>
<![CDATA[Trump Makes Electability Pitch Since N.H. Victory]]> Wed, 10 Feb 2016 21:11:11 -0600 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/TrumpSouthCarolina-AP_446723142501.jpg

Donald Trump is making his first pitch of electability after a landslide victory in New Hampshire.

Trump told nearly 5,000 people in South Carolina that he could win beyond the Palmetto State, NBC News reported.

"You're next," Trump said to the South Carolinians assembled, citing his large margin of victory in the Granite State and promising that a win here would propel him on to run the table.

He also didn’t miss the chance to swipe at Hillary Clinton for her loss to Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, whom he called “wacky socialist guy Bernie” 

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA['Bridal Bandit' Admits Stealing From Brides, Wedding Guests ]]> Wed, 10 Feb 2016 18:24:28 -0600 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/denise+burns+denise+gunderson+1209+2015.jpg

A San Diego woman, dubbed the "Bridal Bandit" by authorities, admitted Wednesday to stealing wallets and credit cards from brides, guests and workers while they were at wedding ceremonies.

Denise Gunderson pleaded guilty to two counts of grand theft and two counts of identity theft, according to the San Diego County District Attorney's office.

Prosecutors said Gunderson made thousands of dollars in fraudulent credit card charges after posing as a wedding guest and rifling through the bags of wedding attendees.

Gunderson, who also goes by the last name Burns, was linked to thefts in Pala Mesa, Coronado, Carlton Oaks and David’s Bridal. Victims’ stolen cards were used to buy gift cards and other merchandise at places like Costco, Walmart and Target.

According to prosecutors, surveillance cameras caught Gunderson using the stolen credit cards, sometimes just minutes after the brides walked down the aisle. She was arrested in Las Vegas in December, accused of stealing a wallet at a church.

Investigators said Gunderson initially lied about her identity, and once they discovered her true name, they found she was wanted in Riverside and San Diego counties on multiple charges.

In her guilty plea, Gunderson admitted to having three separate prior convictions. She agreed to serve seven years in a local prison, though a judge will give her a definite sentence on March 24.

Newlywed Michelle Tietz told NBC 7 her credit cards were stolen on June 7 during her wedding at the Pala Mesa resort in Fallbrook. More than $1,000 charges were made on her card, she realized it when she and her husband were getting ready to leave on their honeymoon.

Yvette Lynch, the catering director at Santee’s Carlton Oaks Golf Course, had her wallet stolen from the purse she left in her office during a wedding. She shared surveillance video with NBC 7 that showed a woman walking around the golf course the day of the theft, allegedly posing as a lost guest.

Photo Credit: San Diego Sheriff's Department]]>
<![CDATA[UAE Names Official 'Minister of Happiness']]> Wed, 10 Feb 2016 19:01:28 -0600 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/OhoodAlRoumi-AP_237365657498.jpg

The United Arab Emirates has named a “minister for happiness” in a new cabinet announced by the prime minister, NBC News reported.

Ohood Al Roumi will now assume the new post of minister of state for happiness. She is currently the director general of Prime Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid’s office, a position that she will also keep.

Mohammed has promised to make happiness a part of the lifestyle in the UAE, and said Al Roumi will “align and drive government policy to create social good and satisfaction.” 

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Top News Photos of the Week]]> Wed, 10 Feb 2016 09:10:53 -0600 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-509154164-floods.jpg View weekly updates on the very best photos in domestic and foreign news.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Trump's Win Came Even as He Ignored New Hampshire's Famed Retail Politics]]> Wed, 10 Feb 2016 16:10:08 -0600 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-509216262.jpg

The governors competing for the Republican presidential nomination all tried to outdo each other in time spent in New Hampshire, staking their campaigns on an electorate more moderate and less religious than in Iowa. But when the polls closed on the country's first primary, it was the candidate who barely stopped for a cup of coffee in the Granite State making the victory speech.

Businessman Donald Trump, who skipped much of the retail politics for which New Hampshire is known, the intimate meet-and-greets at diners, in living rooms and at town meetings, came out on top with 35 percent of the vote. He captured the lead when he announced he was running and held it throughout the race.

Ohio Gov. John Kasich, who finished second, and former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, who finished fourth, both left New Hampshire for the next contest in South Carolina, while New Jersey’s Gov. Chris Christie, so often in New Hampshire that he was criticized for ignoring his own state’s problems, was dropping out.

“If you look at [Trump's] circumstances, you could say that spending time in the state doesn’t matter, and when he did come it was for very large rallies where there was no give-and-take between the candidate and the citizens,” said Linda Fowler, a professor of government at Dartmouth College. “On the other hand, John Kasich really did show that retail politics can still make a difference.”

Kasich began with 2 percent of the voters and ended up with 16 percent in a very crowded field, she said. The governor of a swing state who ran a campaign based on issues instead of insults, he was able to capitalize on his appeal to moderates unhappy with Trump and U.S. Sens. Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio, exit polling showed.

The outspoken Christie, meanwhile, was overshadowed by the even more brash and controversial Trump, and he struggled to gain his footing with voters. He finished sixth in the Republican pack.

“We came here to say that speaking your mind matters, that experience matters, that competence matters, and that it will always matter in leading our nation,” Christie told supporters Tuesday night. “That message was heard by a lot of folks and it was stood for by a lot of folks here in New Hampshire, just not enough. Not enough tonight.”

Christie, who focused most of his resources on a strong showing in New Hampshire, returned to New Jersey on Wednesday to announce he was suspending his campaign.

Bush was pushing ahead to South Carolina after a fourth-place finish despite also failing to stir much excitement around his campaign. At the start of the year, his super PAC, Right to Rise, still had about half of the $118 million it raised last year.

The three governors had trouble differentiating themselves, and some Republicans worried that Christie had the least chance of winning the nomination, Fowler said. In the past, retail politics have been critical for candidates — Sen. John McCain in 2000 and 2008, for example — but at the same time, the field was much less crowded.

“Meeting voters doesn’t necessarily mean they’re going to support you, when they had so many options to choose from,” she said.

New Hampshire’s voters famously demand a chance to see the candidates up close. The state makes a case for its first-in-the-country status by pointing to the scrutiny candidates get as they criss-cross the state for the small gatherings.

On the Democratic side, the primary winner, Sen. Bernie Sanders, swept the state with 60 percent of the vote to 38 percent for former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. The two each made about 90 stops in the state, according to necn's candidate tracker.

Among the Republicans, in the hours before the polls closed, Christie was claiming to have topped Kasich in days on the ground in New Hampshire and town halls attended.

Kasich and Christie each spent about 70 days in New Hampshire to about 55 for Bush. During those visits, Kasich and Christie made 190 stops each at breakfasts, fundraisers, dinners and other events over the course of the campaign, while Bush made 111, according to the necn candidate tracker.

Trump, by contrast, had only 46 stops over 30 days, though his campaign intensified its ground game in the final days.

“We learned a lot about ground games in one week,” he joked after his win.

Fowler cautioned against drawing too much from Trump’s victory, relying as it did on his celebrity.

“It’s hard to generalize because his candidacy is breaking so many rules, not just the one about retail politics,” she said.

Meanwhile, by Wednesday, Carly Fiorina had also suspended her campaign. She had campaigned heavily in New Hampshire, making 149, stops but came in seventh, with only 4 percent of the vote. 

Photo Credit: Getty Images
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<![CDATA[Zika Will Spread Like Chikungunya: CDC]]> Wed, 10 Feb 2016 16:44:33 -0600 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/Mosquito-AP_750626106311.jpg

The head of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is looking towards a virus in Puerto Rico to track how Zika may spread, NBC News reported.

The CDC says Zika is spreading the same way as chikungunya, a virus that’s also spread by mosquitos. Chukungunya, though,causes racking pain, so doctors paid attention to its spread.

The virus was first identified in the U.S. territory in May of 2014, but was spread in almost all of Puerto Rico by October. It has now spread in 45 countries with more than 1.7 million suspected cases reported. 

CDC Director Dr. Tom Frieden said the organization is expecting to see “a significant number of cases” in Puerto Rico and other U.S. territories.  

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Mosque Instructor Abused Girl: DA]]> Wed, 10 Feb 2016 16:10:10 -0600 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/queens+mosque+sex+abuse+arrest.jpg

A sex abuse prevention workshop conducted at a New York City public school prompted a 9-year-old girl to report an alleged case of sex abuse by her religious instructor, resulting in the arrest of the 46-year-old man, prosecutors said. 

The suspect, an after-school instructor at the Masjid Abu Huraira Mosque in East Elmhurst, Queens, is accused of groping the girl on two different occasions while she was attending the program between November 2015 and February 2016, the Queens District Attorney's office said. 

He allegedly said to her, "You are a good girl," as he touched her, prosecutors said.

When a sex abuse prevention workshop using puppets was held at the girl's school, the girl told the workshop instructor what allegedly happened. 

After investigation, authorities arrested the suspect on sex abuse and child endangerment charges. He was awaiting arraignment in Queens Criminal Court Wednesday. It was not immediately clear if he had an attorney.

Photo Credit: NBC 4 NY]]>
<![CDATA[Congressional Black Caucus to Endorse Clinton]]> Wed, 10 Feb 2016 18:38:21 -0600 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/508448996-Hillary-Clinton-necn-Viewer-Question.jpg

The Congressional Black Caucus PAC will endorse Hillary Clinton on Thursday, NBC News has confirmed.

The group will help her campaign to win over minority voters in upcoming primary contests.

Clinton has a strong advantage over rival Bernie Sanders among black voters, and the endorsement could help her solidify support in states where the group plays a key role, like in the upcoming South Carolina Democratic primary.

South Carolina Rep. James Clyburn — an influential voice in the state — is still neutral, telling NBC News he will not endorse ahead of the state primary.  

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Baby Fatally Shot in Face Near LA]]> Wed, 10 Feb 2016 21:36:59 -0600 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/216*120/baby-autumn-compton-021016.jpg

A $25,000 reward was offered Wednesday for information leading to the arrest of the two men responsible for the shooting death of a baby girl Tuesday night in her family's Compton home.

"I stand here before you, deeply saddened. Last night in our community, an unspeakable tragedy occurred that no parent of any family should ever have to endure," Mayor Aja Brown said at a news conference Wednesday. "My heart goes out to the family of 1-year-old Autumn Johnson." 

The search for the attackers was still ongoing.

"Please have compassion for Autumn Johnson's family and help us bring the suspect to justice," Brown said.

Officials urged residents to come forward if they knew the shooter, not only for justice for Autumn and her family, but for their "own personal safety."

Amid building outrage in the community, Brown was joined by council members, deputies and faith leaders who pledged to work tirelessly until the man who fired the gun and man behind the wheel of the getaway car were found.

Sheriff's officials said the intended target in the shooting was likely Autumn's father. 

The baby's mother said she was making a bottle for the girl, who was in her bed, when she heard gunfire coming from outside the home in 200 block of Holly Avenue. The family was in a garage that had been converted to a living space, authorities said.

"There were just gunshots, and I saw my baby lying there," said Blanche Wandick.   

Witnesses said one attacker drove the getaway car while a passenger opened fire. One woman said she saw the baby's father running while holding the baby, who wasn't moving.

"When I grabbed the baby, the baby was slumped over, and she had a hole in her head," said uncle Cornell Patton.

The baby died later at the hospital, according to the LASD. She was six days past her first birthday, family members said.

Many neighbors told NBC4 they were heartbroken.

"I heard the shots, maybe 10-12 shots," said Rev. Maurice Johnson of Kingdom Life Christian Fellowship Church. "I assumed it was firecrackers. On this side of Compton, we don't hear gunshots very often."

The father told NBC4 he was not home at the time of the shooting, which investigators said they suspect was a gang-related attack.

During the initial call, deputies responded to a report of gunfire at 7 p.m. When they arrived, they found the child with a gunshot wound to her face.

Deputies rushed the baby to the hospital in their patrol car.

"The person who did this, honestly, all I can do is pray for them," said aunt Kenyia Hicks.

Activists said after the horrific shooting, they were going to keep close watch, in case gangs are to blame. 

"We're just going to make sure there's no retaliation, and more innocent people getting harmed as a result," Ben Owens of Southern California CeaseFire said.

Deputies said they were searching for a newer blue Chevy Impala that was seen fleeing from the home after the shooting.

Anyone with information on the crime was encouraged to call the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department's Homicide Bureau at (323) 890-5500.

Officials also said anyone could provide information anonymously by calling (800) 222-TIPS.

Patrick Healy contributed to this article.

Photo Credit: Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department]]>
<![CDATA[Zika Found in Fetus With Birth Defects]]> Wed, 10 Feb 2016 18:26:06 -0600 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/ZikaLab-GettyImages-506977656.jpg

Doctors have found the Zika virus in the brain of a fetus with severe microcephaly, which may help experts understand the relationship between the virus and how it affects developing babies, NBC News reported.

A 25-year-old woman was volunteering in Natal, Brazil, and became pregnant. During her 13th week, she came down with a high fever, muscle aches and a rash.

Her first ultrasound looked normal. But after returning home to Europe, another ultrasound in her seventh month showed evidence of microcephaly. The woman terminated the pregnancy.

Researchers conducted an autopsy and found Zika in the brain. The fetus was small and had an abnormally small head, with an underdeveloped brain with scarring throughout.

The report’s publication has been rushed by the New England Journal of Medicine.  

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Missing Missouri Toddler Found Dead in Van: Police]]> Wed, 10 Feb 2016 18:42:31 -0600 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/titus-Tackett-found-dead.jpg

A young boy reported missing from his Missouri home was found dead later Wednesday morning, authorities said.

It was not immediately clear what killed Titus Greyson Tackett, 3, according to the Missouri State Highway Patrol. He was found in a van near his Iron County home, south of St. Louis, NBC News reported.

The boy's parents discovered Titus was missing at around 1 a.m., when they returned home, where the front door was open. The boy's grandparents were babysitting and had fallen asleep.

Photo Credit: Facebook]]>
<![CDATA[Sea Lion Pup Found in Restaurant Booth Recovering]]> Wed, 10 Feb 2016 17:49:58 -0600 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/Seal-Pup-Marine-Room-6-Guillas.jpg

A sickened sea lion pup found curled up in a booth at The Marine Room restaurant in Southern California should make a full recovery, SeaWorld animal care specialists said Wednesday.

The pup nicknamed “Marina” was rescued in La Jolla by SeaWorld workers last week and was malnourished, dehydrated and suffering from an eye injury. She now is in a “stable but guarded” condition, specialists say.

In her time at the park, Marina gained four pounds, now weighing in at 24 pounds, and is slowly undergoing a rehydration process.

Animal care specialists say they are “cautiously optimistic” for her recovery.

“Bloodwork results are encouraging, showing some inflammation, but nothing too worrisome, and no other signs of infection or illness,” a SeaWorld news release said.

Once she is healthy enough, she will be returned to the wild, care staff say.

Somehow, the pup got into the dining hotspot and made his way into a booth with a scenic view of the beach below. Management wasn’t sure how the sea lion snuck in, but it appears he spent the night inside the restaurant.

When the pup was found, Marine Room executive chef took some photos of the whiskered patron that were liked and shared on Facebook thousands of times.

SeaWorld San Diego has been handling many unusual sea lion rescues lately in part due to recent El Niño weather conditions.

“Southern California, and specifically San Diego County, has been having very high tides and very low tides, and also a lot of stormy weather. These pups are looking for high ground and warm areas for the night,” Jody Westberg, a SeaWorld Rescue Team member, said.

Photo Credit: Bernard Guillas/Facebook
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<![CDATA[Tarantula Named for Johnny Cash]]> Wed, 10 Feb 2016 17:44:18 -0600 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/cash-and-spider.jpg

Researchers have named a species of black tarantula native to the Sierra Nevada foothills around Folsom after country music legend Johnny Cash, who dressed in black and sang "Folsom Prison Blues."

In a scientific paper published Feb. 4 in ZooKeys, an open-access, peer-reviewed journal of animal taxonomy, the authors write that they named the spider after the "Man in Black" because the carapace of the mature male Aphonopelma johnnycashi is black.

The female of the species is larger, hairier, and brown or gray.

The spider is native to the western foothills of the Sierra Nevada near Folsom Prison, where Cash performed for inmates and recorded a live album in 1968.

Photo Credit: AP/file/ZooKeys
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<![CDATA[Family's 40-Year-Old Snowball]]> Wed, 10 Feb 2016 16:05:11 -0600 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/new+snowball1.JPG

What is unofficially the world's oldest snowball is finally over the hill.

"If I were 40, I'd be happy," says Betty Shamus, who looks nowhere near her true age of 82.

For the last four decades, she has preserved in her freezer a snowball her then 14-year-old son Jeffrey created on Feb. 5th, 1976 – the last time the floor of the Santa Clara Valley, in California, saw any significant snowfall.  

The Shamus family built a snowman on the front lawn of their Almaden home before the snow quickly melted. And then, at her son's suggestion, they compacted what little remained into a round clump and saved it.

What was once a ball shape of snow has morphed into a crystalline blob of ice that takes up most of the space of an old Skippy Crunchy Peanut Butter twist-off glass jar.

Shamus believes that if she moved from the home, she would've eventually disposed of this oddity that has garnered the attention of the National Enquirer and Ripley's Believe It or Not.

The family, however, stayed in that house – and so did their 40-year-old reminder of that 1976 weather anomaly.

Shamus did receive a phone call a few years ago from someone interested in her snowball.

"I said, 'What?'" she recalled. "And he said, 'Yes, I want to buy your snowball.'"

Shamus hung up before the caller could make an offer, which drew a rebuke from her husband Larry over what could've have been a nice offer of some "cold" cash.

The family plans to celebrate the snowball's milestone with a small neighborhood celebration this weekend.

Photo Credit: Bob Redell ]]>
<![CDATA[Man Pleads Guilty to Torturing, Abusing Stepdaughters]]> Wed, 10 Feb 2016 16:27:19 -0600 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/justinladd.jpg

Warning: The story below contains disturbing content.

A Massachusetts stepfather pleaded guilty Wednesday to torturing and sexually abusing his two stepdaughters, and their mother pleaded guilty for allowing it to happen.

Justin Ladd, 35, pleaded guilty to 32 counts of assault and battery by means of a dangerous weapon, indecent assault and battery, open and gross lewdness and assaulting a person because of their race, according to the Essex District Attorney's Office. 

He was sentenced to 4 to 5 years in state prison, followed by 5 years of probation. While on probation, he will have to wear a GPS bracelet.

His wife, Anne Ladd, 34, pleaded guilty to two counts of reckless endangerment of a child and two counts of permitting bodily injury to a child for which she has care and custody, the district attorney's office said.

She was sentenced to 5 years of probation during which she may only see her children while supervised by the Massachusetts Department of Children and Families and if her daughters wish to see her. The two girls – now 15 and 17 – are currently in foster care.

"While there is no amount of jail time that would reflect the utter depravity of the defendants' conduct, this agreement spares the victims the additional trauma of a trial," District Attorney Jonathan Blodgett said. "As for these young women, who are true survivors, I hope that hearing these people who inflicted such horror admit their guilt helps them to understand that what happened to them was not their fault."

Prosecutors alleged that from 2008 until 2013, while living in North Andover, Massachusetts, Justin Ladd repeatedly abused his two stepdaughters, whose father is Dominican, by telling at them if they "aren't white, they aren't right," ordering them to dance like monkeys, throwing them against the wall, hitting them with a hammer, belt or piece of wood, twisting their tongues with pliers, exposing his genitals to the girls, and threatening to have the Hell's Angels rape and kill them if they told anyone. He also reportedly had Nazi symbols painted on the walls of his home and would order the girls to give him the Nazi salute.

Some of this conduct allegedly took place in front of Anne Ladd, the mother of the two girls.

At one point in 2012, she filed an emergency restraining order against her husband after North Andover Police, school officials and DCF were made aware of what was going on. But she later failed to renew the restraining order, saying she thought the girls were lying.

In early 2013, the Ladds were evicted from their home and moved in with Anne Ladd's family in Fitchburg. They were forced to move to New Hampshire in July of 2013 after Anne Ladd's father obtained a restraining order against Justin Ladd. Shortly after, Justin Ladd was arrested and the children placed in foster care.

Photo Credit: necn]]>
<![CDATA[Suit Says Principal Warned on Porn]]> Wed, 10 Feb 2016 22:35:55 -0600 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/Deonte+Carraway+020816.jpg

Parents and teachers raised concerns about an elementary school volunteer and youth choir director accused of recording "vile sexual acts" between children on school grounds, but the principal took no action, claiming the teachers lacked proof, according to a lawsuit filed by the guardian of a victim.

The family that alerted police about possible sex abuse at Judge Sylvania Woods Elementary School last week is suing the school district and the suspect.

"This is a painful situation for the county to think a person that we entrusted would deliver everlasting harm to our young people, our babies," Prince George's County Executive Rushern Baker said at a news conference Wednesday evening.

The accused teacher's aide, 22-year-old Deonte Carraway, had children openly perform sexual acts in various parts of the school where the abuse should have been obvious, like the school auditorium and bathrooms, according to the lawsuit.

The civil complaint claims a 9-year-old boy was told by Carraway that he was part of a "club" in order to persuade him to participate. The boy was pulled out of his fourth-grade class by Carraway on multiple occasions, the suit says, and Carraway directed a fifth-grade girl to perform a sexual act on him while Carraway recorded the act with his cellphone and shared it with students using the Kik app. 

In January, the 9-year-old's uncle learned Carraway was using Kik to communicate with the boy and other students, according to the lawsuit. The uncle saw inappropriate pictures of students on the boy's phone. 

The complaint also says the uncle and the guardian who filed the suit told Principal Michelle Williams about the abuse Thursday and were told to return to the school in Glenarden, Maryland, for a meeting the next day.

They called police, instead, and Carraway was arrested Friday.

Williams was placed on leave Wednesday morning, Prince George's County Public Schools confirmed. PGCPS CEO Dr. Kevin Maxwell said that was done out of an "abundance of caution."

"When people say things to us, we don't necessarily have to wait until the entire answer is out," he said. "We can take proactive steps."

If anyone at the school had concerns about Carraway and failed to step forward, they could be criminally charged, Prince George's County State's Attorney Angela Alsobrooks said.

"We have a very sacred obligation to the children of this community to protect them, to educate them, to do everything that we can to make sure that they have lives that are productive, and these kids in this case did not receive that protection," Alsobrooks said at Wednesday's news conference.

Police said they have identified 11 victims, including seven directly abused by Carraway. The lawsuit says there could be up to 30 victims. Authorities are investigating whether there are more victims.

A task force of several law enforcement agencies, including the FBI, has interviewed 18 children and more than two dozen families, Prince George's County interim Police Chief Hank Stawinski said.

Since the allegations surfaced, the school district has provided counseling and psychological support for the victims and their families upon request and reviewed policies on abuse with teachers, Maxwell. A meeting with parents to outline additional measures that will be taken is scheduled for Thursday evening.

The district also created a safety hotline for parents and students to report incidents. The hotline, 301-618-8342, opens Thursday morning. 

Several letters to parents were posted Wednesday on the school's website, including one that tells parents how they can work to protect their child from abuse.

Carraway is charged with 10 counts of child pornography charges, one count of sex abuse of a minor and one count of second-degree sex offense. More charges are coming, Stawinski said.

Police, who are being assisted by the FBI, said they found about 40 videos showing victims ages 9-13 performing sex acts with each other or alone. Carraway can be seen in one video molesting a child, according to the documents. In other videos, he can be heard directing the victims.

Carraway, of Glenarden, has admitted being involved in producing child pornography, police said.

Detectives said videos also were created at the Glenarden Municipal Center, the Theresa Banks Memorial Aquatic Center and in private homes.

Carraway also was the director of the Glenarden Voices of Youth Choir at the municipal center, police said. He was a paid assistant at the school during the 2014-15 school year.

Carraway is being held on $1 million bond.

The investigation could take months, police said.

Anyone aware of other possible victims should call Prince George's County police at 301-772-4930, or the FBI at 1-800-CALL-FBI.

Photo Credit: Prince George's County Police]]>
<![CDATA[Man Charged in Decapitation of Grandmother in Okla. City]]> Wed, 10 Feb 2016 16:20:10 -0600 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/QuintonLaster-AP_956657136434.jpg

Police arrested a young man accused of shooting and decapitating his grandmother and her husband in Oklahoma City, police said Wednesday.

Police found Quinton Deshawn Laster outside the home of Sharon Reed and James Earl Reed when they went to do a welfare check on Tuesday, NBC News reported.

Police said three young children were in a covered garbage bag in the home that was being used as a daycare at the time of the murders, but they weren’t injured. They weren’t related to the victims, according to the victims’ relatives.

Laster, 20, was arrested on two counts of first-degree murder.  

Photo Credit: Oklahoma County Sheriff's Office via AP]]>
<![CDATA[Tennessee Mom Says Hospital Performed Procedure On Wrong Baby]]> Wed, 10 Feb 2016 19:22:25 -0600 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/214*120/NateHarper.jpeg

A Tennessee mother is planning to sue after she says the hospital where she went into delivery accidentally performed a frenulectomy — an incision in the tissue that connects the tongue to the floor of the mouth — on her 1-day-old son, NBC News reported.

Jennifer Melton, 31, of Hartsville, says a nurse encouraged the mother to put her baby in the nursery for a few hours so she could get some rest.

"The nurse brought our son back into the room, and she began to explain the care process for the procedure that [the doctor] had done while he was away," Melton told NBC News on Wednesday. "I was like, what are you talking about? What procedure?"

Melton said she panicked and demanded an explanation. The pediatrician explained to Melton that he did perform the procedure, and had asked for her baby "in error."

<![CDATA[SATs to be Offered in Summer Starting Next Year]]> Wed, 10 Feb 2016 15:33:00 -0600 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/SAT-AP_377374190109%281%29.jpg

College-bound students will have the option to take the SATs next year in August, as the standardized test will be offered over the summer, NBC News reported.

The College Board shared the news earlier this month when it rolled out test dates for 2017. It also revealed the elimination of the January SAT test date as of 2018.

The move comes after the Assessments for The College Boards added a September exam date before college applications are due.  

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Rat Complaints Up 140 Percent in NYC's Chinatown]]> Wed, 10 Feb 2016 13:00:50 -0600 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/CHINATOWN+RATS_WNBC_000000010359514.jpg

Eric Lee was surprised when the "check engine" light came on in his brand-new Lexus.

He was even more surprised when his mechanic told him the cause of the problem: Rats had nested in his engine and eaten through his wiring. They’d gnawed through the foam in his engine cover, bitten though parts of the machinery, even left little footprints on the metal.

Lee has lived in Chinatown for the last 40 years — and he parks his car on the local streets. He said he’s always seen an occasional rat in the neighborhood, but lately things seem to be getting worse.

His neighbors seem to agree. The I-Team did some digging and found that 311 complaints about rodents in the area have increased by 140 percent over the last five years – from 228 in 2010 to 549 last year. 

Photo Credit: NBC 4 New York]]>
<![CDATA[Obama Returns to Illinois]]> Wed, 10 Feb 2016 21:00:07 -0600 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/obama-AP_481030974134.jpg

President Barack Obama arrived in Springfield on Wednesday morning prepared to make history, becoming the fourth U.S. president to address the Illinois General Assembly.

Nine years ago was Obama’s last time in Springfield for the frigid February announcement of his candidacy for president. Springfield was just as bitter cold for his arrival Wednesday as it was then, but the welcome for the president was warm. 

"It's great to see so many old friends," Obama said at the start of his address to a standing ovation. "I missed you guys."

Obama spoke on unity and bipartisanship before a body in Illinois that has been criticized for exhibiting neither characteristic. 

The address comes amid a historic state budget impasse in Illinois, something the president did not ignore in his speech. 

"When I hear voices in either party boast of their refusal to compromise as an accomplishment in and of itself, I’m not impressed," Obama said. "All that does is prevent what most Americans would consider actual accomplishments, like fixing roads, educating kids, passing budgets, cleaning our environment, making our streets safe."

The nod to the budget crisis in Springfield received standing ovation from many in the crowd. 

Most of Obama's speech centered around what he called "better politics" and the need to fix the "poisonous political climate that pushes people away from participating."

He continuously emphasized the need for compromise between parties.

"In a big complicated democracy like ours if we can’t compromise, by definition we can’t govern ourselves," he said, noting that "trying to find common ground doesn't make me less of a Democrat or less of a Progressive." 

White House spokesman Eric Schultz said Obama accepts that his call for better politics will be hard.

"It is a lot easier to be cynical than to accept that change is possible," he said. "The president will again call on a politics of hard-won hope."

Rauner said in a statement before the speech he looked forward to "hearing (Obama) speak about finding common ground between Republicans and Democrats."

"Despite our political differences, the President and I share a passion for improving education, especially for young people from disadvantaged backgrounds, a belief in the benefits of term limits and redistricting reform for restoring good government, and a strong desire to see more economic opportunity for all Illinoisans," Rauner said. "I know we can achieve great things for Illinois by having mutual respect for one another and focusing on bipartisan compromise to achieve what’s best for the long-term future of our great state.”

Still, Rauner and other Republicans did not stand when Obama spoke of how collective bargaining is critical to the middle class. 

It has been nearly four decades since a president made such an address in Illinois, the last time being when Jimmy Carter spoke to the state’s lawmaking body in 1978. The difference in Obama’s visit is that he is the first president to have served in the General Assembly and also address them.

U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin stood with Obama in Springfield when he announced his historic run for president and arrived with the president as he landed in Springfield. 

“Working together, we can accomplish great things," Durbin said in a statement. "The promise of hope and change that President Obama brought to Springfield back in 2007 can only become a reality if we are willing to compromise and find common ground.”

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Turkey's Erdogan Blames US for 'Sea of Blood' in Region]]> Wed, 10 Feb 2016 12:59:28 -0600 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/214*120/AP_673149897095.jpg

Turkey's president Tayyip Erdogan rebuked the United States on Wednesday for supporting Syrian Kurdish rebels, saying Washington is to blame for the "sea of blood" in the region. 

Turkey, which sees the Syrian Kurdish PYD as terrorists, fears that their advances against ISIS on its 560-mile border with Syria will fuel separatist ambitions among its own Kurds.

Erdogan said Washington doesn't understand the true nature of the group, which it sees as terrorists, citing their links to the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), which has carried out a violent insurgency for Kurdish autonomy in Turkey's southeast. 

Erdogan's comments came a day after Turkey summoned the U.S. ambassador to express its displeasure after State Department spokesman John Kirby said on Monday the United States did not regard the PYD as a terrorist organization.

Photo Credit: AP]]>