<![CDATA[NBC 5 Dallas-Fort Worth - National & International News]]> Copyright 2015 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 Wed, 01 Jul 2015 16:55:00 -0500 Wed, 01 Jul 2015 16:55:00 -0500 NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA[Boston Columbus Statue Vandalized With Red Paint, 'Black Lives Matter']]> Wed, 01 Jul 2015 11:28:44 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/Christopher+Columbus+Statute.jpg

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

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

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

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

The photos were originally posted on NorthEndWaterfront.com.

Photo Credit: northendwaterfront.com
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<![CDATA[30 Rock to Light Up With New Comcast Name]]> Wed, 01 Jul 2015 13:50:22 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/30-rock-comcast.jpg

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

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

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

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

Comcast bought GE’s stake in NBCUniversal in 2013.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Photo Credit: Omar Sanders/NBCUniversal]]>
<![CDATA[Your July 4 BBQ Will Cost Less This Year]]> Wed, 01 Jul 2015 13:21:53 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-476834560_July4Burger.jpg

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

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

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

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

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

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

Photo Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto
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<![CDATA[Peas in Guacamole? Obama Weighs in on Twitter Debate ]]> Wed, 01 Jul 2015 16:39:37 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/guacamole-GettyImages-456804252.gif

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

Into the guacamole, at least. 

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

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

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

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

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Photo Credit: Getty Images
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<![CDATA[Top News Photos of the Week]]> Wed, 01 Jul 2015 06:46:39 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/AP_300596455326_Greece.jpg View weekly updates on the very best photos in domestic and foreign news.

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Two Killed in Fiery East Texas Plane Crash]]> Wed, 01 Jul 2015 15:06:40 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/plane-crash-quinlan-02.jpg

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

First responders were seen placing two tarps over what remained of the burned out aircraft, indicating there were two victims in the crash. Officials have not said if anyone else was on board the aircraft.

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

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

Investigators with the FAA are headed to the scene, Lunsford said. At this time, the cause of the crash remains under investigation.

We will update this story with more information as soon as it's available. As this story is developing, elements may change.

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<![CDATA[Stephen Hawking Pops In For Mark Zuckerberg's Facebook Q&A, Asks About 'Gravity and Other Forces' ]]> Wed, 01 Jul 2015 08:31:38 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/210*120/zuck-hawking.jpg

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

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

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

His question received over 6,000 likes.

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

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

Photo Credit: Getty
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<![CDATA[Accused Drug Dealer Ordered 'Keep Kids Drug Free' License Plate: DA]]> Wed, 01 Jul 2015 09:01:01 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/license+plate2.jpg

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Photo Credit: Handout]]>
<![CDATA[WATCH: Take a Turtle's-Eye View of the Great Barrier Reef]]> Wed, 01 Jul 2015 14:53:46 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/ezgif-TurtleCam.gif

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

<![CDATA[Girl Scouts Refuse $100,000 Over Request to Exclude Transgender Girls]]> Wed, 01 Jul 2015 12:30:47 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/girlscouts1.jpg

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

<![CDATA[Macy's Is Latest to Dump Donald Trump]]> Wed, 01 Jul 2015 10:59:39 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/donald-trump-bogota.jpg

Macy's has announced it will no longer do business with Donald Trump in the wake of the Republican presidential candidate's remarks concerning Mexico and immigration.

In a statement to MSNBC Macy's said they "are disappointed and distressed" by recent remarks Trump made about immigrants from Mexico, adding, "We do not believe the disparaging characterizations portray an accurate picture of the many Mexicans, Mexican Americans and Latinos who have made so many valuable contributions to the success of our nation. In light of statements made by Donald Trump, which are inconsistent with Macy’s values, we have decided to discontinue our business relationship with Mr. Trump and will phase-out the Trump menswear collection, which has been sold at Macy’s since 2004."

A longstanding MoveOn.org petition asking Macy’s CEO Terry J. Lundren to end the department store's association with Trump was updated in light of his recent remarks about Mexico and has attracted more than 700,000 signatures. 

Macy’s joins Univision and NBC Universal in severing business ties with the outspoken developer after he said Mexican immigrants were criminals and "rapists" at his presidential announcement on June 16th.

Trump said in a statement that it was his decision to terminate his relationship with Macy's "because of the pressure being put on them by outside sources." He accused both the department store and NBC for supporting illegal immigration.

The real estate magnate also stated he was never happy that the apparel line sold under his name at Macy's was produced in China, and should he start a new product line sometime in the future he "would insist that they are made in America."

Photo Credit: EFE]]>
<![CDATA[Asiana Faces New Suit Related to 2013 Crash]]> Wed, 01 Jul 2015 13:49:05 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/tlmd_asiana_airlines_nuevo.jpg

Asiana Airlines is facing a new class-action lawsuit from passengers on the plane that crashed at San Francisco International Airport nearly two years ago.

Three teenagers from China died in the July 2013 crash of flight 214 while more than 180 of the 300 passengers were injured.

According to Reuters News Service, the lawsuit, filed in South Korea, was brought by 53 passengers seeking compensation for “injuries, mental distress and damage to property.” There was a previous lawsuit filed in the U.S. by 72 passengers, which later settled for an undisclosed amount.

The Korea Herald reported that among the passengers filing the suit are 27 South Koreans, 25 Chinese and one Indian, Jason Ha, who is a lawyer at Barun Law which filed the complaint on June 26. Any action taken against the airline must be made within two years of the incident.

The lawsuit seeks about $30 million in damages for the passengers who suffered injuries.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Woman Killed by Falling Tree While Walking to Car ]]> Wed, 01 Jul 2015 16:13:41 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/Tree-Fall-Student-College-0701.jpg

A 21-year-old community college student and a beloved sister to two siblings died at a hospital where she was a student intern after she was crushed by the trunk of a tree that split in half following heavy rain Wednesday, authorities and relatives say.

Michelle Mian was hit by the Norway maple tree while walking to her car outside her home in New Milford sometime before 7:30 a.m., according to police and relatives. Authorities say family members saw the tree lying over four vehicles when they woke up, and Mian's 23-year-old sister, Tabish Mian, said she found her younger sister on the ground outside when she went to check on the cars.

"I just woke up in the morning and came to the car and saw that her body was there on the ground," Tabish Mian said. "And then I saw she wasn't breathing either, and then we called the ambulance immediately."

Mian was pronounced dead shortly after arriving in the emergency room at Holy Name Medical Center, where she had been an intern in the radiology department for the last year. In a statement, the hospital described Mian as an exceptional student from the beginning of her clinical training, saying those who worked with her in the facility were blessed to have known her.

She was heading to a morning class at Bergen Community College, where she was studying radiography, when she died. The youngest of three children, Mian was an electric, warm woman who will be deeply missed, her family says.

"She was the most amazing person in the entire world and my better half, really," Tabish Mian said. "If you met her, you would have known how beautiful, artistic, talented -- she's the kindest person you'll ever meet. ... It's not fair that she's not here with us right now. It's really not."

"When you lose someone as precious and amazing as Michelle, then you hurt like this," the older sister added. "I'm never going to be OK with this. I never will be."

Police say it's not clear what caused the tree to split in half, but Wednesday morning's heavy rains may have played a role.

The severe storms blasted the region with rain and heavy winds early Wednesday, causing flash flooding in some places.

Photo Credit: Amy Newman / The Bergen Record]]>
<![CDATA[Mom Arrested After Boy, 4, Left Tied on Leash to Bush]]> Wed, 01 Jul 2015 08:25:38 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/child+tied+bush.jpg

A New York mother was arrested on a child endangerment charge after neighbors reported seeing a 4-year-old boy left alone on a sidewalk, his toddler leash tied to a bush, police say. 

The single mother didn't want to miss a day of work at her babysitting job Tuesday morning, but also had no one to watch her own son, her sister told NBC 4 New York. 

So Mery Quinde-Castro, of Rockland County, brought her son to work at the Blueberry Hill apartment complex in Spring Valley, her sister Rosa said. When she went to take out the trash, she took the boy along with her but he refused to come back into the building. 

Police said that's when she tied his plush backpack toddler leash to a bush and went back in to tend to the baby. She left him her phone so he could watch cartoons, police said.

"I don't think she understood the gravity of what had taken place," said Spring Valley Police Chief Paul Modica. "It could have been bad."

A neighbor called police after reportedly seeing the boy unattended for 45 minutes. The boy's mother said it was 10 minutes, police said. Either way, she was arrested and charged with misdemeanor child endangerment. 

Her sister Rosa Quinde-Castro, who frequently watches her nephew, said the boy is hyperactive and he needs the soft leash to stop him from running into traffic. 

"She did nothing wrong. She is a good mother," said Rosa Quinde-Castro. 

Police said the boy was well cared-for and happy, and there were no signs of abuse. They called it a case of bad judgment. 

"The kid could have disappeared, gotten hurt. It's not the proper thing to do," said Modica. 

Rosa said her sister is working to support herself and her son after the boy's father abandoned the family. She said Mery, who's visibly upset in her mugshot photo, would never do anything to hurt her son.

Mery Quinde-Castro was released on $2,500 cash bail. She left the courthouse to pick up her son afterward, relatives said. 

<![CDATA[Tourist's Selfie Atop Bridge]]> Wed, 01 Jul 2015 14:50:00 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/brooklyn+bridge+selfie.jpg

An Instagram selfie showing a tourist posing atop the Brooklyn Bridge has renewed concerns about bridge security in New York City as the July 4th holiday approaches.

David Karnauch took the photo after he climbed the bridge on impulse, he said. He was never questioned or stopped.

"You could just get on a beam and it actually had handrails on the left and right side, and I just walked across the bridge and turned around to take a picture," he told NBC 4 New York over Skype from his home in Chattanooga, Tennesse. 

"I don't recommend anybody else do it. It's not a smart thing to do because I know they take security on the bridges seriously," he said. 

In fact,  the NYPD and other law enforcement officials have been calling for vigilance as July 4th approaches amid some of the highest terror chatter in years. In the last two weeks, there have been three ISIS-related raids in New York and New Jersey, and four arrests. 

"We have no specific information about anything directed at the city, but as reflected by the arrests in this locale in the last couple of weeks, we are always worried about not so much what we know but what we don't know," NYPD Commissioner Bill Bratton said Monday. 

The NYPD said in a statement Tuesday it doesn't consider Karnauch's climb a security breach.

"The person most endangered was the individual whose goal seems to be bringing attention to himself," NYPD Deputy Commissioner of Intelligence and Counterterrorisn John J. Miller said in a statement to NBC 4 New York. "It was however, irresponsible and illegal. Had the officers patrolling the bridge arrived while he was there, he would have been arrested, as others have been. When he called the act 'not a smart thing to do,' he described it correctly." 

Miller added at a news conference Wednesday that Karnauch wouldn't have been able to get much further on the crossover because there is a fence that's "very difficult to climb around." 

"He looked at that and he said, 'Damn, I'm not getting around that, so I'll take my selfie stick and I'll take this stupid picture and I'll put it on my website,' but that's as far as he got," said Miller, calling Karnauch a "knucklehead." 

He reiterated: "If he'd stayed there probably a couple more minutes to get that shot, the roving patrols on the bridge, which are there all the time, would have arrested him or summonsed him as they had had others who have done the same stupid thing," he said. 

Still, the fact that Karnauch was able to get up so easily worried some New Yorkers crossing the iconic bridge Tuesday night.

"It's not only dangerous for the person, but dangerous for the pedestrian crossing the bridge," said Mark D'Alessandro of Brooklyn, who often walks across the bridge with his son.

He added, "It's not the only bridge we have a problem with. New York is big, we have a lot of landmarks." 

Miller said "that particular spot on the bridge has nothing to do with the structural integrity of the bridge from a terrorism standpoint."

"To conflate that behavior with a threat to the 4th of July... is to try and take a story that is no story to build it up into something more than it is," he told reporters. 

He said at the news conference that the NYPD's terrorism bureau has conducted a threat assessment and there is no known credible threat to New York City or the 4th of July celebration. 

Karnauch's stunt follows a year of bridge breaches. In November, French tourist Yonathin Souid climbed the bridge to take photos, and Russian tourist Yaroslav Kolchin climbed a beam last August. Each was sentenced to community service.

On July 22, 2014, two bleached-white American flags were found planted on the bridge span. Two German artists claimed they'd installed the flags as part of a project to celebrate the German engineer who designed the bridge.

"It just shows the NYPD can't be everywhere all the time. We need to create an environment where this isn't possible," said state senator Daniel Squadron, who supported a measure to toughen penalties on bridge climbers. The bill stalled in Albany. 

More than 120,000 vehicles, 4,000 pedestrians and 3,100 bicyclists cross the Brooklyn Bridge every day, said the city's Department of Transportation, which maintains the crossing.

Photo Credit: David Karnauch
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<![CDATA[WATCH: NASA Video Captures Exploding Solar Flare]]> Wed, 01 Jul 2015 08:23:36 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-158957401.jpg

NASA captured video of the sun emitting a huge solar flare earlier this month.

NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory, tasked with constantly monitoring the sun, caught images of the massive eruption on June 18, 2015. The video is time-lapsed over four hours and shows powerful bursts emitting from the side of the sun.

NASA called the eruption a "substantial coronal mass ejection" which means that it sent vast plumes of radiation out into space. The radiation cannot penetrate Earth's atmosphere to harm humans, but at high levels, solar flares can damage GPS and other communication signals.

Photo Credit: Getty Images
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<![CDATA[Group to Burn American Flag in NY]]> Wed, 01 Jul 2015 09:47:01 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/flag+burning.jpg

Hundreds of activists plan to set fire to the American flag at a Brooklyn park that memorializes thousands of Revolutionary War heroes Wednesday in protest of "systemic racism," drawing the ire of lawmakers and residents across the five boroughs.

A group called Disarm NYPD will lead the protest at Fort Greene Park at 7:30 p.m. The group says it will also burn the Confederate flag in a rally against the country’s long history of systemic racism after nine people were killed in a historic South Carolina church earlier this month.

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

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

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

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

The mayor’s office said Tuesday it is urging organizers to cancel the event and “find a respectful way to express their opinions.”

“This protest is a divisive, disrespectful way to express views, and does not reflect the values of our city,” spokeswoman Monica Klein said in an email statement.

Residents had mixed views about the planned protest.

“I wouldn't participate, but I think it's a good thing,” Clinton Hill resident Kevin Barry said. “I think people are exercising their freedom of speech.”

Others wondered if the protest would really make a difference.

“I’m not sure how effective it will be,” said one parkgoer named Stephanie. “Maybe it will draw attention, but I’m not sure how effective it will be.”

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

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

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

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

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

Photo Credit: NBC 4 New York/Facebook]]>
<![CDATA[Jim Carrey Calls Calif. Gov. 'Fascist' Over Vaccines]]> Wed, 01 Jul 2015 07:31:23 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/AP_170468991560.jpg

Actor Jim Carrey turned to Twitter to air his frustrations over California's new strict vaccination law on Tuesday, calling Gov. Jerry Brown a "corporate fascist."

In a series of tweets, the Golden Globe winner insisted that he was "pro-vaccine" but "anti-neutrotoxin" and "anti-mercury," which, he believes causes autism in children. The rant started with Carrey saying California's governor, who signed in the one of the strictest immunization laws in the country, "must be stopped."

Carrey and former girlfriend Jenny McCarthy, who believe McCarthy's son's autism was caused by vaccines, have become activists on the issue. 

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says there is "no link between thimerosal-containing vaccines and [autism], as well as no link between the measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR) vaccine and [autism] in children."

In the same Twitter tirade, Carrey also accused the CDC of being "corrupt" and unable to "solve a problem they helped start."

The California bill removes the state's personal belief exemption for immunizations and instead says that only children with serious health problems may opt out. It came in the wake of a measles outbreak at Disneyland last year that affected more than 100 people in the U.S. and Mexico. 

"This is truly a case where science — and what is the best case for public health — prevailed," state Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de Leon, D-Los Angeles, said at a press conference Tuesday.

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<![CDATA[Navy Ship From San Diego Rescues Group, Infant Lost at Sea]]> Tue, 30 Jun 2015 16:36:27 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/USNS-Rescue-2.jpg

A U.S. Navy hospital ship rescued six people lost at sea in Papua New Guinea Tuesday, including an 18-month-old boy, after the group got stranded on a small island, the U.S. Navy confirmed.

San Diego-based hospital ship USNS Mercy (T-AH 19) is currently in Papua New Guinea for its second leg of a humanitarian mission.

The U.S. Navy said the ship sent an MH-60S Sea Hawk helicopter to retrieve the six injured people from Han Island, a small land mass off the coast of Carteret Island.

Officials said the group got lost at sea in a small boat and swam ashore to Han Island on Saturday. The infant made it to the island with his mother and the group.

That day, USNS Mercy was called by the Chief Secretary of the Autonomous Bougainville Government (ABG) through the U.S. Embassy in Port Moresby to aid in search and rescue efforts for missing boat.

The boat had been in transit from Buka to Carteret Island when it went missing.

The ship launched two helicopters with Navy search and rescue swimmers on board. They searched the area, but were unable to find the boat or any survivors.

Later, the crews discovered six of the surviving boat passengers on Han Island, all in need of medical care. The group was rescued by the chopper and transported to the USNS Mercy treatment facility.

"All patients are currently in good condition," said Capt. Melanie Merrick, the commanding officer of the military treatment facility USNS Mercy.

The Navy said additional passengers of the missing boat remain unaccounted for, but a search operation is ongoing and being led by the Papua New Guinea National Maritime Safety Authority.

According to the Navy, USNS Mercy is currently taking part on its Pacific Partnership mission – the largest annual multilateral humanitarian assistance and disaster relief preparedness mission conducted in the Indo-Asia-Pacific region. While training for crisis conditions, Pacific Partnership missions to date have provided real world medical care to approximately 270,000 patients.

The Mission Commander of Pacific Partnership 2015 is Capt. Chris Engdahl, who directed his maritime operations center aboard the ship to launch a helicopter for this rescue mission.

USNS Mercy left San Diego for this four-month deployment in late May.

Photo Credit: U.S. Navy]]>
<![CDATA[Walmart Apologizes for Making ISIS Flag Cake]]> Wed, 01 Jul 2015 13:46:41 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/Walmart-Generic1.jpg

A Louisiana man said he got Walmart to bake him a cake featuring the flag of the Islamic State after the store refused to make him a cake decorated with the Confederate battle flag and the caption, “Heritage not hate.”  

Activist Chuck Netzhammer posted a YouTube video in which he said he had a Walmart in Slidell, Louisiana, make the ISIS cake to show the store's hypocrisy in banning Confederate flag-themed products but not, apparently, ISIS-themed ones.

“Hi, Walmart, you’ve got some explaining to do,” he said in the video. “I went to buy a printed cake from y’all the other day with this image on it and y’all wouldn’t do it. I’ve got proof. Went back yesterday and managed to get an ISIS battle flag printed. ISIS happens to be somebody we’re fighting against right now who are killing our men and boys overseas and are beheading Christians.”

Walmart spokesman John Forrest Ales said in a statement to NBC Owned Stations on Tuesday: "Our talented bakery associates take pride in what they create for our customers. It's unfortunate that one customer sought to take advantage of an associate who did not know the flag or its meaning. This cake should not have been made and we apologize for the mistake." 

Walmart joined other companies, including Amazon, eBay, Etsy, Sears and Target, in removing Confederate flag-themed items from their sites and stores. The business decision came in the wake of the June 17 mass shooting at Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, South Carolina. Photographs of alleged shooter Dylann Roof emerged online showing him posing with the Confederate battle flag

Editor's note: This post has been updated to correct the date of the Charleston church shooting.  

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<![CDATA[Donald Trump: "I Don't Think It Matters If I'm Nice"]]> Wed, 01 Jul 2015 11:17:25 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/donald-trump-univision-pone-fin-a-relacion-comercial.jpg

Donald Trump spoke in New Hampshire Tuesday night- just one day after getting dumped by NBC Universal and Univision due to his comments about Mexican immigrants.

"They're bringing drugs, they're bringing crime, they're rapists," Trump said during his presidential run kick-off speech.

If you thought Trump would apologize for his comments at his first public appearance since the controversy at a pool-side reception in Bedford, New Hampshire, you'd be wrong. He brought research he said he had done to support his earlier statements.

"I mentioned the word 'rape.' I felt oh, maybe, you know, maybe there's never been a rape. Maybe there's never been a problem. Maybe there's never been a crime," Trump began. "To me, it's impossible to almost believe — 80 percent of Central American women and girls are raped crossing into the United States."

In addition, Trump stirred it up on the topics of Univision and NBC. He announced that he is suing Univision for $500 million for dropping the Miss Universe Pageant that Trump runs.

"What NBC and Univision did to these young women is disgraceful," he said.

Trump spoke for more than an hour, at one point defending himself against critics who say he's not nice.

"I don't think it matters if I'm nice or not, because I really believe this is going to be an election that's based on competence."

On the word that Trump weighs in at number two to Jeb Bush in the latest New Hampshire poll, Trump was stumped.

"It's hard to believe I'm second to Bush," Trump said. "Because Bush is not going to get us to the promised land, folks."

The Republican presidential candidate has made 14 stops in New Hampshire so far ahead of the 2016 primary. 

<![CDATA[Attack of the Leap Second: Sites Impacted Tuesday]]> Wed, 01 Jul 2015 16:09:06 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/amazon-453056767.jpg

UPDATE: The connectivity issue previously identified as a root cause for the outage was unrelated to the "leap second bug." The connectivity issue resulted from a provider outside the AWS network, and prevented some users from accessing the sites. At the same time, the "leap second bug" affected a smaller number of customers. Amazon Web Services was not down and the services did not suffer an outage.

All issues with Amazon Web Services were resolved about 40 minutes after the issues emerged, the company said. "We have worked with this external Internet service provider to ensure that this does not reoccur."

The original article has been updated to reflect the clarification from Amazon.

Several major sites went down after the scheduled leap second on Tuesday evening, including Instagram, Pinterest, Netflix and Amazon.com.

Those sites all rely on Amazon Web Services for their Internet infrastructure. AWS, which powers several other major sites and social media platforms, suffered a connectivity issue between 8:25 p.m. to 9:07 p.m. ET (5:25 p.m. and 6:07 p.m. PT).

"We experienced an Internet connectivity issue with a provider outside of our network," Amazon Web Services said in an announcement on its Service Health Dashboard. "The issue has been resolved and the service is operating normally."

At the same time, a "leap second bug" also disrupted access for a small number of customers.

"We have seen with these reported issues that this has been caused by a leap second bug within the instance operating system," the post on the AWS dashboard said.

Call it the new Y2K bug — except this one actually did some damage.

Several other sites were crippled around the same time, although it wasn't immediately clear what caused those outages. Apple's newly launched music streaming service, Beats 1, apparently suffered an outage for nearly 40 minutes, as did task management sites like Asana, Slack and SocialFlow.

The leap second, as it's known, is a slight adjustment for the tiny inconsistencies in the length of a day.

Photo Credit: Bloomberg via Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Richard Matt's Paintings to Guard Gene Palmer]]> Wed, 01 Jul 2015 05:30:23 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/150701-richard-matt-painting1-jpo-331a.JPG Richard Matt — who escaped from Clinton Correctional Facility in upstate New York with another inmate and was shot dead Friday after three weeks on the run — was also a noted prison painter. Court documents allege that he gave some of his artworks to prison guard Gene Palmer in return for tools.

Photo Credit: NBC News Investigations]]>
<![CDATA[Heartbroken Family Mourns Girl, 10, Who Died on First Day of Summer Camp]]> Tue, 30 Jun 2015 18:40:48 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/girl+dies+summer+camp.jpg

The heartbroken family of a 10-year-old girl who died after collapsing on a soccer field Monday during her first day of summer camp in Queens remembered their child as a great friend and sister with a bright future as they struggled to cope with their unbearable loss.

Laura Palma, who was enrolled in the Queens College Summer Camp, was on the field at Queens College at about 3:10 p.m. when she complained of feeling sick and collapsed, according to authorities and sources familiar with the investigation. 911 was called at 3:14 p.m., the sources said.

Queens College staff administered CPR until emergency crews arrived about eight minutes later; the crews were already trying to save the girl's life by the time police arrived in response to the 911 call, the sources said.

Palma never regained consciousness; she was taken to New York Hospital, where she was pronounced dead.

Monday was her first day of camp

Palma's devastated family said she was a straight A student and rarely left the side of her brother, who has cerebral palsy.

"She was a great sister, a great friend -- she just finished fifth grade on Friday," her mother, Patricia Nolasco said, pounding her first on a table in frustration.

Nolasco said she would remember her daughter as "sunshine in a pink dress."

"She loved life, she loved people, she loved her family," the tearful mother said.

Overcome with emotion, the little girl's father shared the most recent photo he had of his daughter -- and remembered how much she enjoyed the sunshine.

"I said, 'My God, Laura, you look like such a young lady now,'" her father said. "She was gonna be so much."

In a statement, Queens College said it "mourns the tragic loss of this young life and extends its heartfelt sympathy and prayers to her family."

The medical examiner’s office will determine how Palma died. Her mother says she had no medical issues and had just received a clean bill of health in a pre-camp checkup with her doctor Sunday.

The school said grief counseling services are being made available to summer camp students and staff.

Photo Credit: NBC 4 New York]]>
<![CDATA['Like Being in a Furnace': Grill Explosion Survivor Urges Safety Ahead of July 4 ]]> Tue, 30 Jun 2015 12:45:37 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/063015+john+herrera.jpg

A South Florida man who was left badly burned in an accident with his barbecue is sharing his story before the upcoming July 4 holiday.

Firing up a grill left John Herrera with scars and nerve damage he'll keep for the rest of his life.

"It's so painful, it is like being in a furnace where your entire body at the same time is being with with 12, 14, 1,500 degrees," Herrera said at a news conference at Kendall Regional Hospital Tuesday.

Last February, Herrera's wife couldn't get the couple's barbecue lighted so she asked her husband to take a look. What he didn't know was she had left the gas on with the grill cover closed, trapping the gas and causing a small explosion that was caught on camera.

Dr. Carlos Medina said Herrera's burns covered close to 20 percent total body surface area.

"It hits you everywhere," Herrera said.

Herrera spent 10 days in the hospital with second and third degree burns to his arms and legs. He said now he's grateful to be alive.

"You kinda think about things you took for granted before, which you really don't take for granted now," Herrera said.

Herrera said he will be grilling on July 4, but said he hopes others will learn from his lesson.

<![CDATA[Sugary Drinks May Kill 184,000 People Each Year: Study]]> Tue, 30 Jun 2015 13:11:00 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/soda+fountain.jpg

Consumption of soda, energy beverages, and other sugary drinks may be linked to 184,000 adult deaths each year worldwide, according to research published Tuesday in the journal Circulation.

“Many countries in the world have a significant number of deaths occurring from a single dietary factor, sugar-sweetened beverages," said study coauthor Dr. Dariush Mozaffarian, dean of the Friedman School of Nutrition Science & Policy at Tufts University. "It should be a global priority to substantially reduce or eliminate sugar-sweetened beverages from the diet."

The researchers looked at 62 dietary surveys conducted across 51 countries, along with data on national availability of sugar in 187 countries as well as other information. The surveys included data collected from 611,971 individuals between 1980 and 2010.

In the report, sugar sweetened beverages were defined as any sugar-sweetened sodas, fruit drinks, sports and energy drinks, sweetened iced teas, or homemade sugary drinks such as frescas, that contained at least 50 kcal per 8oz serving. Drinks that were 100 percent fruit juice was excluded.

According to the report, the researchers estimated that in 2010 sugary drinks may have been responsible for 133,000 deaths from diabetes, 45,000 deaths from cardiovascular disease, and 6, 450 deaths from cancer.

Researchers found the impact of sugar-sweetened beverages varied widely between populations. In Japan, an estimated percentage of deaths linked to such beverages was less than 1 percent in people over 65 years old, but it stood at 30 percent in Mexican adults younger than 45.

Mexico had the highest death rate attributable to sugar-sweetened beverages with an estimated 405 deaths per million adults (24,000 total deaths) and the U.S. ranked second with an estimated 125 deaths per million adults (25,000 total deaths).

In a statement, the American Beverage Association, a trade group representing soft drink manufacturers, said “This study does not show that consuming sugar-sweetened beverages causes chronic diseases and the authors themselves acknowledge that they are at best estimating effects of sugar-sweetened beverage consumption."

“America’s beverage companies are doing their part to offer consumers the fact-based information and the beverage options they need to make the right choices for themselves and their families," the statement added.

Liz Ruder, a professor of nutrition and dietetics at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, told NBC News it's not certain it was the sugar-sweetened beverages that caused the deaths since the study is not a randomized controlled trial.
"But because the authors have employed sophisticated statistical techniques and they have rich food consumption data I believe that these data are likely to be accurate," Ruder said. 

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA['Pirate' Fired Pistols on Florida Keys Bridge: Deputies]]> Tue, 30 Jun 2015 12:16:10 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/063015+jamie+don+spering.jpg

A man dressed in full pirate costume was arrested after firing his guns on the old Seven Mile Bridge in the Florida Keys Monday night, authorities said.

Jamie Don Spering, 58, is charged with disorderly conduct following his arrest in Marathon, according to the Monroe County Sheriff's Office. It was unknown if he has a private attorney.

Deputies responding to a shots fired call found Spering in costume with operational black powder pistols on each hip, a sword and two knives, authorities said.

Spering, who said he is an entertainer, was on the bridge with friends watching the sunset when the incident happened. He admitted to firing the pistols, which had no projectiles loaded, just the powder, authorities said.

Spering claimed he shot them safely toward the water but witnesses said he fired one at the water and one at cars traveling on the bridge, authorities said.

Photo Credit: Monroe County Sheriff's Office]]>
<![CDATA[Pursuit Exceeds 100 MPH Through 3 Southern California Counties]]> Tue, 30 Jun 2015 22:25:04 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/06-30-2015-pursuit-suv-volvo-orange-la-san-diego.jpg

Officers pursued a sport utility vehicle driver who reached speeds well above 100 mph on at least four different freeways Tuesday afternoon in Los Angeles and Orange counties before he surrendered in San Diego County.

The pursuit began after a traffic violation in the East Los Angeles area just before 1 p.m. The Volvo sport utility vehicle driver, weaving in and out of lanes and reaching speeds of 100 mph, continued on the 60, 710, 605 and 5 freeways with California Highway Patrol vehicles in pursuit.

At about 1:30 p.m., at least three CHP sport utility vehicles were trailing the SUV on the southbound 5 Freeway in southern Orange County. The pursuit entered San Diego County about 15 minutes later and reached an estimated 120 mph as the driver squeezed between other vehicles and a concrete freeway divider in the Carlsbad area.

"Because he was using all lanes, (it was) extremely difficult to predict where he's going to be at the time that we are deploying the spike strip," CHP Officer Pete Kim said. "There were several attempts at it, however they were unsuccessful."

The driver pulled to the side of the 5 Freeway and surrendered at about 2 p.m. Officers said he ran out of gas.

No weapons were found inside the car, officers said.

The driver faces felony evasion charges, officers said. NBC4 is attempting to confirm reports that the occupant was wanted for a drug-related offense.

Vikki Vargas contributed to this report.

Photo Credit: KNBC-TV]]>
<![CDATA["Ghost Wheel" Bounces Through Restaurant Window]]> Tue, 30 Jun 2015 14:48:53 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/Raw_Video_Tire_Bounces_Into_Restaurant_1200x675_473515587685.jpg

Surprised customers scrambled for cover and an employee climbed onto a table Sunday to avoid a fast-moving tire that bounced across at least two streets before slamming through the window of an Orange County restaurant.

A security camera inside Santa Ana's Tacos Sinaloa captured video of the tire, which can be seen through the front window on a collision course with the crowded restaurant. Employee Sayar Zarco was getting sodas for customers when she heard the sound of shattering glass.

"We all just heard a big crash," said Zarco. "There was just a wheel sitting there. No car, nothing. Just a ghost wheel."

Security camera video from outside the restaurant does not provide any answers regarding the source of the mystery tire, but police later determined it came from a vehicle involved in a nearby crash. At least two cameras outside the restaurant captured the tire as it bounded across a street, struck a hydrant and crossed another street before slamming into Tacos Sinaloa.

No injuries were reported.

Photo Credit: KNBC-TV]]>
<![CDATA[More Spanish Speakers in U.S. Than Spain]]> Wed, 01 Jul 2015 05:58:49 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/immigration-GettyImages-75710241.jpg

The U.S. boasts the second largest Spanish-speaking population in the world after Mexico, according to a recent study by Instituto Cervantes. That's more Spanish speakers than there are in the whole of Spain.

The report claims there are 41 million native speakers and 11 million bilingual Spanish speakers -- largely comprised of the children of Spanish-speaking immigrants -- now living in America.

Among the states with the highest concentrations of Spanish speakers are New Mexico (47 percent), California (38 percent), and Arizona (30 percent). In New York, 18 percent of the population speaks Spanish. An estimated 559 million people speak Spanish worldwide, according to the study.

The report cited the U.S. Census, which estimates there will be 138 million Spanish speakers by 2050, which would make the U.S. the largest Spanish-speaking nation in the world.

The Instituto Cervantes was founded in 1991 to promote the Spanish language worldwide and estimates there are 21 million people currently learning Spanish, 7.8 million of whom live in the U.S. The Hispanic population in the U.S. is 53 million.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>