<![CDATA[NBC Chicago - National & International News]]> Copyright 2015 http://www.nbcchicago.com/news/national-international http://media.nbcbayarea.com/designimages/5-Chicago-Blue.png NBC Chicago http://www.nbcchicago.com en-us Tue, 28 Apr 2015 13:18:56 -0500 Tue, 28 Apr 2015 13:18:56 -0500 NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA[Protests in Baltimore Over Death of Freddie Gray]]> Tue, 28 Apr 2015 10:00:02 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/Baltimore-Police-Protest-Freddie-Gray-27-Apr-2015-15.jpg Protests turned violent again on Monday as demonstrators started throwing bricks and rocks, injuring at least 7 police officers.

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[How to Help Victims of the Nepal Earthquake]]> Tue, 28 Apr 2015 11:35:07 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/AP5746129838591.jpg

The U.S. Geological Survey said that the estimated damage from the magnitude-7.8 quake and strong aftershocks that killed at least 5,000 people and devastated Nepal could cost between $100 million and $10 billion.

World leaders and global charities offered emergency aid as hospitals in the poverty-stricken Himalayan nation were overflowing with injured people, NBC News reported. The United States is sending disaster response teams and $10 million to help the people of Nepal, The Associated Press reported.

As the world continues to learn the scope of the disaster, here are ways you can donate:

WORLD VISION

The humanitarian aid group had staff on the ground when the earthquake hit. Members of the organization said survivors need food, water and shelter, spokeswoman Laura Blank told NBC News.

“Infrastructure is down all over the city,” World Vision’s operations director in Kathmandu Philip Ewert also said. “Power is out with limited internet access. Walls and water tanks are damaged. We are also getting reports that people are trapped in temples and other public buildings as there was a large festival here Saturday.”

To make a donation to the organization to address these needs, you can visit their Nepal page or text NEPAL to 777444 to donate $10.

RED CROSS

Volunteers and staff at the Nepal Red Cross Society are providing aid, but they have limited stocks of emergency relief items available in the country, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) said in a statement.

"We are extremely concerned about the fate of communities in towns and villages in rural areas closer to the epicenter," said Jagan Chapagain, the IFRC's Director for Asia Pacific. “We anticipate that there will be considerable destruction and loss of life.”

For information on how to donate, visit the IFRC website.

GLOBALGIVING

The organization hopes to raise 1 million dollars and has created a Nepal-specific page outlining specific issues they hope to address with the funds.

“Initially, the fund will help first responders meet survivors' immediate needs for food, fuel, clean water, hygiene products, and shelter,” the organization said on its page. “Once initial relief work is complete, this fund will transition to support longer-term recovery efforts run by local, vetted local organizations.”

GlobalGiving says it will provide updates about how the funds are being used. You can donate here.

AMERICARES

An emergency team from the AmeriCares India office is preparing shipments of medical aid and relief supplies for survivors. The organization stocks emergency medicine and relieft supplies in its warehouses in the U.S., Europe and India that can be delivered quickly in time of crisis, and launches comprehensive recovery programs.

"Our emergency response team is en route to Nepal and we are prepared to help any way that we can," AmeriCares President and CEO Michael J. Nyenhuis said in a statement. "This is a terrible tragedy and our hearts go out to the families suffereing."

To donate to AmeriCares International Disaster Relief Fund, you can click here.

UNICEF

UNICEF is on the ground in Nepal providing critical emergency aid to children and families.

"UNICEF expects children, an estimated 40 percent of Nepal's poplulation, to be among the worst affected by the earthquake. The first priorities are lifesaving interventions—getting essential medicines, nutrition, and safe water to children and families in immediate need," the organization's website said.

To support the UNICEF relief efforts in Nepal, you can donate here.

MERCY CORPS

Mercy Corps' team is on the ground in Nepal working to get a better understanding of the conditions. The team is focused on delivering lifesaving aid to hard-hit communities. Mercy Corps will be helping communities immediately start to rebuild homes, schools, help people return to work and process the trauma.

To support Mercy Corps' earthquake response team, you can donate here.


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<![CDATA[Baltimore Riots Follow Freddie Gray's Death, Years of Complaints About Police Brutality]]> Tue, 28 Apr 2015 11:51:37 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/freddie-gray-background.jpg

A week after 25-year-old Freddie Gray died from the spinal cord injuries he suffered while in the custody of Baltimore police, the city erupted in riots.

Gray ran from officers on bicycles at Baltimore’s Gilmor Homes on April 12 near where he lived. He surrendered without a struggle when officers caught up with him, police said. His arrest was recorded on a cell phone video, which showed him limp as he was dragged into a police van. 

Gray died a week later, the latest black man to be fatally injured while under arrest.

Police said they put leg cuffs on him when he became irate inside the van. Gray asked for medical help several times, and police have since acknowledged that he should have received assistance immediately. He also was not restrained by a seat belt in the van. Six officers have since been suspended amid an investigation.

Gray's autopsy showed that he died of injuries from a spinal injury. Gray’s family said that his larynx was crushed and 80 percent of his spinal cord was severed.

Authorities have not explained how he was injured. Police said in a charging document that Gray had a switchblade on him, clipped to the inside of his pocket.

His death follows years of complaints about police brutality in the city, according to the Baltimore Sun. An investigation by the newspaper last year found that the city had paid nearly $6 million since 2011 to settle 102 lawsuits alleging brutality. State legislation sought by the mayor to deal with the complaints failed at the beginning of the month.

Gray’s funeral was held on Monday, as tension was building through the city and demonstrations were held almost daily. Saturday night groups of protesters marched to the Camden Yards baseball stadium from City Hall. Later smaller groups looted a convenience store, threw tables through storefront windows, smashed police cars windows, and fought with baseball fans outside a bar.

After school was let out Monday afternoon, the disturbances grew. A flier circulated among students on social media alerted them to a "purge" would begin at 3 p.m. at the Mondawmin Mall, a reference to the movie "The Purge," about what would happen if all laws were suspended, the Baltimore Sun reported.

Groups began roaming through the neighborhood where the funeral was held. A CVS pharmacy was looted and set on fire; stores in the mall where were vandalized and Baltimore police later tweeted that a fire hose had been cut to prevent firefighters from extinguished a fire.

The Orioles postponed their home game against the Chicago White Sox Monday and again on Tuesday.

In the midst of the violence, some people tried to stop it. Young men in black shirts from an anti-violence group urged people to go inside, The New York Times reported. A woman was seen on video smacking a young man, reported by Baltimore TV station WMAR to be her son, and pulling him from the crowd. Gray's family especially condemned the riots and called for calm.

"To see that it turned into all this violence and destruction, I am really appalled," Gray's stepfather Richard Shipley said.

His mother, Gloria Darden, said: "Don't tear up the whole city just for him. That's wrong."

By Monday night, Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake had requested help from Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan to control the rioting and arson. The National Guard was called in and a state of emergency was declared.

Hogan said that although he wanted answers to what had happened to Gray, the rioting was inexcusable and he promised an overwhelming presence of law enforcement to prevent additional clashes.

]]>
<![CDATA[QU President at Off-Campus Party]]> Tue, 28 Apr 2015 12:56:12 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/quinnipiac+party.jpg

When two Quinnipiac University seniors planned a small off-campus party in Hamden for last Saturday afternoon, they never expected the crowd they would draw – or the special guest.

John Lahey, the longtime president of Quinnipiac University, made a surprise visit and a video posted on YouTube shows Lahey with a microphone amid hundreds of college-aged people in the backyard of the Hamden home.

“You guys, Quinnipiac students are the greatest students in the world,” Lahey shouted to the cheering crowd.

The hosts of the party, several Quinnipiac seniors who are about to graduate, said the party on Delsole Road grew much bigger than they had anticipated. Even days later, they were still unsure why Lahey suddenly arrived.

“We were not involved or in contact with trying to get him to come here,” said Rich Borek, who hosted the party with housemate Connor McNamara. “It just happened and he ended up in our backyard.”

Borek and McNamara said they had originally planned a small gathering for members of the senior class. But word of the party spread quickly on social media and attendance grew beyond control.

“Since it was May Weekend, everybody heard about it and it got way too out of hand,” McNamara said.

Lahey didn't seem to mind the party's size. 

“You guys are living proof that May Weekend still exists,” Lahey said to the crowd, even though such parties have been said to have strained the relationship between the school and the community in the past.

Neighbors said Lahey drove away soon after he finished speaking to the guests.

NBC Connecticut contacted the university’s office of public affairs for an explanation as to why Lahey would attend such a party.

“We have a university president who likes and understands young people,” wrote Lynn Bushell, vice president for public affairs.

Besides the short written statement, there was no further explanation as to why Lahey was there.
Meanwhile, neighbors called the police to have the rest of the crowd peacefully dispersed.

“It just seemed like he got them more excited and then he just quickly left,” said Michael Schrader, who has lived in the neighborhood for two decades.

Schrader and other neighbors commended the hosts of the party for coordinating and cooperating with police officers to have the party broken up both quickly and peacefully.

Still, they were stunned to see Lahey on their street, especially amid the festivities.

“As a graduate of Quinnipiac University, I’m very much concerned and embarrassed about him being there,” Schrader said.

No injuries or arrests were reported.
 



Photo Credit: YouTube
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<![CDATA[New Bill Would Put Panic Button in Every Taxi, Livery Cab]]> Tue, 28 Apr 2015 13:16:22 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/214*120/TLMD-taxi-cab-generic.jpg

Every taxi and livery car in New York City could soon have a panic button that riders could use to hail police, if a bill introduced in City Council Tuesday passes.

The Daily News reports that the proposed legislation would outfit all yellow, green and livery cabs with a distress button that passengers could use to alert the nearest police precinct if they’re being attacked or feel in danger. The bill is sponsored by City Council Transportation Committee Chairman Ydanis Rodriguez and Councilwoman Laurie Cumbo.

“With over 400,000 trips a day, keeping our taxi and for-hire passengers safe must be of the highest importance,” Rodriguez told the News.

The proposed legislation comes after a green cab driver was accused of raping a woman he picked up in Brooklyn in February. Police allege he climbed over the front seat and forced her to perform sex acts, then sped off in the cab after the attack.

The suspect, who was a probationary driver at the time, is charged with rape, criminal sex abuse, larceny and kidnapping. He remains suspended while the assault is under investigation.

The city Taxi and Limousine Commission told the Daily News it would review the bill.

“The safety of our drivers and our passengers is a top priority of the TLC,” spokesman Allan Fromberg told the News.

]]>
<![CDATA[WATCH: Woman Pulls Boy From Baltimore Riot]]> Tue, 28 Apr 2015 12:26:54 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/WomanBoyBaltimore.jpg Baltimore TV station WMAR reports that a mother saw her son on television taking part in protests and went to confront him, slapping him.]]> <![CDATA[Carmelo Sounds off on B'more Unrest]]> Tue, 28 Apr 2015 10:51:35 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/Carmelo-Anthony-Baltimore-Protests.jpg

Knicks star player and longtime Baltimore resident Carmelo Anthony called on protesters to “build up our city not tear it down” amid demonstrations that turned violent Monday.

Anthony sounded off in an Instagram post about the unrest in the city following the death of Freddie Gray, a man who died from spinal injuries while in police custody April 19.

Following Gray’s funeral Monday, more than a dozen police officers were attacked while stores were looted and several buildings set ablaze. Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan issued a State of Emergency in the height of the violence Monday evening and the National Guard was called in to restore order.

“To see my city in a State of Emergency is just shocking. We need to protect our city, not destroy it,” Anthony wrote in the Instagram post.

In the post, Anthony said he thinks the protesters should fight for what they believe in but added, "it takes no time to destroy something. But, it can take forever to build it back up."

"If not yourself, then Think about the youth. How this will impact them. Let's build our city up not tear it down," he said.

Anthony was born in Brooklyn but moved to Baltimore when he was 8 years old. He was one of the region’s top high school players before playing his senior year at the basketball powerhouse Oak Hill Academy in southwest Virginia.



Photo Credit: Getty Images
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<![CDATA[Baby Hit With Bat on NY Street]]> Tue, 28 Apr 2015 12:44:15 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/rite+aid+bronx.jpg

A 2-month-old boy suffered a severe brain injury when he was hit in the head with a baseball bat on a Bronx street as blows rained down on his father early Tuesday, police say.

Authorites initially said the baby boy likely would not survive his injuries; his condition was upgraded to stable about 12 hours after the attack, though the extent of potential brain damage is unknown.

Police say the infant's 21-year-old father and 22-year-old mother left a building on Noble Avenue in Soundview with the boy and his 1-year-old sister around 12:15 a.m. to go use the ATM at a Rite Aid.

Two men in a silver Toyota Camry got out of the vehicle near Lafayette Avenue and hit the father with a bat, police said. The father tried to defend himself and the baby, who was in his father's arms, was hit.

Police say the father injured his hand in the attack; the mother and 1-year-old girl were not hurt. Authorities say the family was visiting the building on Noble Avenue; it's not clear where they live.

A heavy police presence was visible outside the Rite-Aid through the morning as caution tape cordoned off the area.

No arrests have been made.



Photo Credit: NBC 4 New York
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<![CDATA[CVS in Baltimore on Fire During Protests]]> Tue, 28 Apr 2015 09:39:57 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/214*120/Screen+Shot+2015-04-28+at+10.11.55+AM.png During protests in Baltimore, in response to the death of Freddie Gray while in police custody last week, a CVS was on fire and being looted.]]> <![CDATA[WATCH: Woman Pulls Youth From Baltimore Riots]]> Tue, 28 Apr 2015 10:39:58 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/WomanBoyBaltimore.jpg Baltimore TV station WMAR reports that a mother saw her son on television taking part in protests and went to confront him, slapping him.]]> <![CDATA[WATCH: The Moment Freddie Gray Was Arrested]]> Tue, 28 Apr 2015 11:07:49 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/FreddieGrayArrest.jpg Freddie Gray died while he was under police custody, because of a severed spinal chord.]]> <![CDATA[Woman Shot, Then Held Captive: Cops]]> Tue, 28 Apr 2015 08:55:16 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/150427-woman-shot-held-captive-rancho-cucamonga.jpg

An Inland Empire man has been arrested for allegedly shooting his girlfriend in front of their 7-year-old son during an argument, then holding the wounded woman captive for 26 days before she escaped, police said Monday.

Police learned of the incident Sunday night after a social worker interviewed the 26-year-old victim at the hospital, where she was found with the couple's son.

The victim said she and her 37-year-old boyfriend, Michael Venegas, were arguing inside a Rancho Cucamonga home in the 10800 block of Terra Vista Parkway on the night of April 1. As she was packed to leave, Venegas -- who is wheelchair bound -- shot her in the chest with a 9 mm handgun, Rancho Cucamonga Police Department officials said. The bullet exited through her back.

She was then held against her will, police said.

"He locks the door, leaves her in the bathtub for like a whole day, 24 hours, comes back to check on her thinking she's probably dead and she's not," said Teresa McMahon of the RCPD. "She basically nurses the wound for the next 26 days."

The victim did not try to escape sooner because she feared for her own life and that of her son and parents, police said. A statement released by the San Bernardino County Sheriff's Department did not provide details regarding how the woman escaped.

After hearing her story, police arrived to the Rancho Cucamonga home in search of Venegas. He was arrested without incident.

Venegas was booked on suspicion of attempted murder, false imprisonment and kidnapping, police said. He was being held on $500,000 bail and expected to make his first court appearance Wednesday.

"It makes me sad that I could've possibly done something and I didn't because I was trying to mind my own business," said a neighbor who recalled hearing the couple argue in the past.

The mother and son were recovering Monday night at a hospital, authorities said.



Photo Credit: KNBC]]>
<![CDATA[Babysitter Interrupts Bloody Attack]]> Mon, 27 Apr 2015 18:29:13 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/Oceanside-Stabbing-0427.jpg

A babysitter hired to watch two children at an Oceanside home Friday night was met by a man covered in blood who said he had just “slayed the beast,” police said.

It took five Oceanside Police officers to subdue David Anthony Strouth, 34, who was found inside an open garage on Santa Rosa Street at approximately 9:30 p.m.

The babysitter had just arrived to the home when she saw Strouth standing near another man lying on the floor of the garage, police said.

The man on the floor was identified as 49-year-old Bradley Thomas Garner. Garner suffered numerous stab wounds to his neck and chest, officials said. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

The woman told officers that when Strouth saw her, he got up and walked toward her. She ran to her car and called neighbors for help.

Oceanside police said the neighbors grabbed a knife and a handgun and went to the home to get the children to safety.

They found Strouth in the garage stabbing himself in the arms and neck, according to officials.

Strouth was airlifted to a Scripps Hospital La Jolla with non-life threatening injuries. He was later booked on homicide charges.

The babysitter and the children, ages two and four years, were not injured.
 



Photo Credit: NBC 7]]>
<![CDATA[Bar Owner Defends Bathroom Two-Way Mirror]]> Tue, 28 Apr 2015 06:52:32 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/youtube-mirror-two-way-in-bar.jpg

A bar owner in suburban Chicago is defending the years-long use of a two-way mirror in the women's restroom with full view of the toilet.

"This is a giant funhouse, ladies and gentlemen," Ronnie Lotz told reporters Monday evening. "I put a lot of heart and soul into this business, and I am sorry to tell you this, but there is no hanky panky going on in that bathroom."

The controversy surfaced when a comedian by the stage name of Tamale Rocks was performing a set at a bar in Chicago’s west suburbs when she visited the women’s restroom and noticed something strange – a full-length mirror directly across from the toilet.

Rocks opened the door behind the mirror and inside found a utility closet large enough to stand in. From the other side she noticed you were able to see through the mirror and into the stall at Berwyn’s Cigars and Stripes.

Shocked, Rocks recorded her findings and posted the video on YouTube. In less than 24 hours the video had garnered more than 70,000 views.

"Why, when I go into a public bathroom, when there's an expectation of privacy, am I having to do that due diligence? It's a bathroom!" Rocks told NBC Chicago.

Many women questioned by NBC Chicago were uncomfortable with the idea of the mirror, and some reported that they were not aware of the two-way mirror at all.

The owner of Cigars & Stripes, located at 6715 Ogden Ave., Ronnie Lotz, first told Gawker’s Jezebel that they have a two-way mirror in their restroom, and it’s been there for nearly 15 years, since since 2001.

In further comment to the publication, the bar's owner reportedly said the bar used to hang a witch's head in the closet as a Halloween gag so that women would look into the closet after using the restroom and "be all weirded out."

He invited people to “come see my mirror; eat my chicken wings,” adding that he enjoyed the attention from those outraged by the mirror because, afterall, he's "selling chicken wings.”

The bar has since shared Jezebel's article on their Facebook page. The owner told NBC Chicago that he has no plans to remove the mirror.

While many are outraged, others don't see the issue. "Ronnie is a great guy and he's not doing anything wrong," said Steven Cusek, a bar patron who said he goes once a week for the last 2 years.

"I'm kinda mad there's not one in the men's restroom," Cusek joked.

However, Rocks and others aren't laughing. While the bar owner maintains that no recordings were made, Rocks isn't convinced that a two-way mirror with a full view of the toilet is a good idea.

"I didn't see anyone, thankfully, at that point, there wasn't anyone," Rocks told NBC Chicago, "but there's nothing to say that there hadn't been in the past."

The Berwyn Police Department is investigating.



Photo Credit: Courtesy Tamale Sepp]]>
<![CDATA[IOSHA Launches Probe Into Indiana Stage Collapse]]> Mon, 27 Apr 2015 17:04:55 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/indiana_stage_collapse_1200x675_433481795832.jpg

The Indiana Occupational Safety and Health Administration on Monday launched a formal safety investigation into the stage collapse at a suburban Indianapolis high school that injured more than a dozen students. 

The department initially said it lacked jurisdiction to investigate because no employees were involved. But it reversed that stance Monday based on new information that employees helped erect the stage.

This investigation will help to verify whether IOSHA has jurisdiction over the matter and if any OSHA regulations were violated," said agency spokeswoman Amanda Stanley. 

The stage at Westfield High School collapsed Thursday night as clapping and singing students performed Journey's "Don't Stop Believin'" in the finale of a concert called "American Pie". 

Westfield Washington Schools Superintendent Mark Keen said he wasn't sure who, if anyone, handles inspections of the district's school stages. He said school officials are delving into records and would provide information to investigators.

Keen said the school often rents its auditorium to outside groups and the facility gets heavy use. He said the orchestra pit cover, which is used during some productions to get the performers closer to the audience, was replaced a few years ago after the original 1997 cover was damaged.

He said officials were checking records to determine whether it had ever been inspected.

The uncertainty surrounding the regulation of the collapse is reminiscent of questions that arose in 2011, when heavy winds toppled stage rigging onto fans awaiting a performance by country duo Sugarland at the Indiana State Fair.



Photo Credit: Sara Camden]]>
<![CDATA[Softball-Sized Hail in Texas]]> Mon, 27 Apr 2015 13:30:45 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/hail-stormchaser.jpg

Softball-sized hail destroyed the windshield of a car driven by storm chasers in North Texas Sunday afternoon.

Lawrence McEwen and Spencer Basoco were chasing a supercell storm in Erath County southeast of Stephenville when they came upon the intense storm that spawned numerous twisters and several inches of rain.

Cameras were rolling inside as stone after stone slammed into the car, some estimated to be five inches in diameter, shattering the windshield.

One of the storm chasers, covered in shards of glass, put on goggles to protect his eyes as they tried to find shelter out of fear the windshield wouldn't hold.

NBC 5 Meteorologist Brian James referred to the softball-sized hail as ice bombs that explode when they slam into cars or glass.

As the chasers waited out the storm, huge hail stones could be seen bouncing off the ground outside.

The windshield took at least three direct hits and was destroyed by the time the storm subsided.

Neither of the chasers reported any serious injuries.

It is never recommended to be outside during a hailstorm and, even when inside, people are advised to stay clear of windows due to flying objects and debris.

The National Weather Service was checking on reports that as many as 18 tornadoes hit North Texas on Sunday.



Photo Credit: Lawrence McEwen, Spencer Basoco]]>
<![CDATA[Man Out-Flexed By Woman]]> Mon, 27 Apr 2015 15:32:58 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/210*120/FlexCam.PNG

One woman brought the big guns to a recent Philadelphia indoor professional football game, but there was no reason to call the police.

"It started with a fun in-arena event and then started to blow up," said Soul Chief Operating Officer, John Adams.

The Philadelphia Soul features a "Flex Cam" during a break in the action, calling out spectators to flex for the camera shown on the jumbo tron. One woman attending the April 12 game gave fans a big surprise when the "Flex Cam" panned toward her.  

The video, posted to the Soul's YouTube channel, begins like most others, showing fans flexing for the camera. The camera focuses on a man with two women sitting behind him who appear to be discussing something as he shows off his muscles.

A little later, the camera comes back to the man who is promptly shown up by one of those women.

"You've been stoned, my brother!" the announcer said.

Turns out, the flex cam was staged and the man and woman featured in the video are an engaged couple, according to Adams. He said, "We take a lot of pride in our in-arena experience and that's all this was meant to be." But when the video was posted to the Soul's Facebook page, it blew up.

The video was shared more than 6-thousand times and had about 600,000 views from the Facebook page as of Monday afternoon. The Soul's YouTube version of the video had been viewed nearly 4.5 million times.

Adams also noted that the Soul were undefeated as of Monday.

Jon Bon Jovi is a former owner of the Philadelphia Soul. 



Photo Credit: Phillysoulfootball Youtube
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<![CDATA[Black & White Cookies Sold at Starbucks Recalled]]> Mon, 27 Apr 2015 15:22:37 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/85489422_BlackandWHiteCookie.jpg

The company that makes the black and white mini cookies sold in Starbucks stores is recalling the treat because they contain milk, an ingredient not declared on the packaging that can cause potentially serious or even life-threatening reactions for people allergic to it.

Sweet Sam's Baking Company of the Bronx issued the recall Friday for the black and white cookies sold in Starbucks stores in New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Washington, D.C., Maryland, Virginia, Florida, Delaware, Georgia, Ohio, South Carolina and West Virginia.

The recall, which was ordered after two customers with milk allergies reported reactions after eating the cookies, applies to any of the treats sold in those stores on or before April 23, the company said.

The product comes in a 2 oz. clear film package, each containing two cookies. Printed upon the front of the package are the words “Black & White Mini Cookies," “A New York City Favorite” and “SKU 408785." The back panel says "Manufactured for Starbucks Coffee Company."

According to the FDA, a product packaging review determined that the private-label packaging design omitted the presence of milk from the ingredient panel. Subsequent investigation indicates the problem was caused by an oversight in the design process of the private label, the agency said. The same cookies sold under Sweet Sam's own trademark do not have the packaging issue, the FDA said, and the label will be changed before the cookies are reintroduced to the market.

Consumers allergic to milk who have purchased the black and white cookies sold at Starbucks made by Sweet Sam's are urged to discard the product or return it to any Starbucks store for a full refund.



Photo Credit: Getty Images/StockFood]]>
<![CDATA[Sea Lion Kidnapper Reward at $10K]]> Mon, 27 Apr 2015 16:40:51 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/sea+lion+stolen+la+beach.JPG

The search for kidnappers who took a sea lion pup from a Southern California beach has intensified as a reward for the culprit's arrest doubled on Monday to $10,000.

The sea lion pup was snatched from Dockweiler State Beach around 3:30 a.m. on April 19 after being harassed by a group of people who were seen throwing rocks and cinder blocks at the pup.

A witness reported the group had carried the sea lion away from the beach in a blanket, put the baby animal in the trunk of a black Honda Civic and drove off, Los Angeles police said. The license plate number may have ended in numbers 5 and 6.

PETA announced a $5,000 reward last week for information to help nab the sea lion pup's kidnappers. On Monday, Shera Danese, the widow of longtime PETA supporter Peter Falk, doubled the reward to $10,000, according to a PETA statement.

"Someone knows who was out on the beach that night, who stole the pup, and who drove away, separating this vulnerable baby from his or her mother and the sea," PETA Senior Director Martin Mersereau said in a statement. "PETA is calling on anyone with any clues about this case to contact the authorities immediately so that these cruel people can be held responsible for their crimes."

When officers arrived to the beach the morning of the sea lion kidnapping, they found a second sea lion trying to make its way out of some bushes and back to shore. That pup was able to escape the attackers and was picked up by Marine Animal Rescue.

A witness described the group as two men and two women in their early to mid-20s, last seen heading south on Vista Del Mar in a black Honda Civic. according to PETA.

Anyone with information about this case is encouraged to contact the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's hotline at 1-800-853-1964.



Photo Credit: Loudlabs]]>
<![CDATA[Pa. Teen Breaks Rubik's Cube World Record]]> Mon, 27 Apr 2015 14:42:58 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/Collin+Burns+WCA.JPG

A teen from Montgomery County has been crowned the king of speed when it comes to solving a Rubik’s Cube.

Collin Burns set a world record at a World Cube Association competition held Saturday at a Bucks County high school.

Burns solved the challenging 3X3X3 puzzle in just 5.253 seconds at Central Bucks West High School in Doylestown. He beat the former world record of 5.55 seconds set by 18-year-old Mats Valk from Netherlands in 2013.

In a video posted on Burn's YouTube account, spectators surround the teen and burst into applause as he speedily solves the puzzle. (Watch the full video below.)

The competition, which helped raise awareness for the organization A Woman’s Place, drew a crowd of approximately 120 local students from the northeast, according to CB West teacher and event organizer Leanne Schrier. 

In addition to participating in the event, Burns helped organize the competition and fundraiser, Schrier said. 

The home-schooled teen, who broke the world record by 0.30 seconds, was named U.S. national champion last summer.

Burns is the first American to hold the world record since 2006, according to the WCA.

 



Photo Credit: Collin Burns YouTube]]>
<![CDATA[Couple From San Diego Reported Missing After Nepal Quake]]> Tue, 28 Apr 2015 11:30:04 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/MattDawnpic3.JPG

A Carlsbad, California, woman has been waiting by the phone for any news on her daughter, who she reported missing after Saturday’s deadly earthquake in Nepal.

Dawn Lightfoot, 30, has been teaching in South Korea for two years and planned to travel around South East Asia with her boyfriend, Matt Schiavon. Schiavon is now also among the missing.

“I want to say I know she's okay and I feel she's okay," said Lightfoot’s mother Cindy Barrows. "If anyone would know anything to please let us know."

According to her itinerary, Lightfoot planned to arrive in Kathmandu, Nepal, on April 15, which would put her in the area of the powerful quakes that have rocked the country.

The death toll from the 7.8-magnitude earthquake in Nepal soared past 4,000 and aid agencies warned that it could skyrocket higher once rescuers make it to rural communities that thus far have been inaccessible, NBC news reported.

Vast tent cities have sprung up in Nepal's capital, Kathmandu, for those displaced or afraid to return to their homes as strong aftershocks continued through Sunday.

Barrows said she’s concerned her daughter doesn’t have shelter or water.

“It’s hard not knowing, you know, as a mom and feeling all these horrible things I won't want to think help them and I just can’t,” said Barrows. “My biggest fear is that she is dead.”

On Sunday night, a friend helped Barrows register Dawn's information as a missing person through the International Committee of the Red Cross.

Barrows said over the past two years she’s been communicating with her daughter via Facebook and photos. Now she’s hoping to get a call, text or Facebook message.

Schiavon’s older sister, Joanna, lives in Santa Barbara. She and her parents are trying to stay positive but it’s not easy.

The last time the family heard from the couple was a Skype call on April 13. Schiavon and Lightfoot talked about their upcoming 18-day trek in Nepal. On April 15, they received an email saying the pair had arrived safely in Kathmandu and haven’t heard from them since.

Joanna said the couple was scheduled to finish the trip on May 2.

The Schiavon family has reached out to the company Earthbound Expeditions to try and contact Lightfoot and Schiavon. They were told the two hikers should be okay but the representative didn’t have any specific information. Since then, they’ve gotten no updates.

They're trying to fill out forms through the website for the U.S. Embassy in Nepal but many of the links are not working.

Barrows keeps checking her daughter's itinerary. Lightfoot has been set to fly into Los Angeles International Airport on May 27.

“If she has Matt, and her and Matt are together, they’re like a rock,” Barrows said, adding that it would be likely her daughter and her boyfriend are helping those affected by the quake.

Lightfoot and Schiavon have traveled the world. This was their big last vacation before settling down to become teachers, according to Barrows.

Both went to Cardiff School and San Dieguito High School Academy in San Diego County.

Friends say Schiavon graduated from La Costa Canyon in 2002.

High school friend Mackenzie Foote said she is praying for his safe return.

“Matt is an adventurous guy with the kindest heart,” Foote said.

Lightfoot graduated from San Diego State University with a business degree before moving to San Francisco with Schiavon.

The couple lived in the Bay Area for four years and got their teaching credentials at San Francisco State University.



Photo Credit: Family photo
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<![CDATA[Girl Battling Cancer Dreams of Meeting Taylor Swift]]> Mon, 27 Apr 2015 11:32:39 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/262*120/emily+beazely.png

A 12-year-old Chicago girl who may be nearing the end of her battle with cancer has inspired an entire neighborhood to help.

Emily Beazley suffers from a form of non-Hodgkin lymphoma that's so aggressive, doctors told the family there's nothing more they can do.

One of Emily’s dreams is to meet her idol, Taylor Swift, so "Emily’s entourage" created a music video to get the attention of the superstar and hopefully make Emily’s dream come true.

Hundreds of Emily’s friends took part in their own rendition of Taylor Swift’s “Shake it Off” in Chicago’s Merrionette Park on Sunday.

Maggie Earner, a supporter of Emily’s, said the idea came from her 5-year-old daughter, Avery.

“She came downstairs and said, ‘Mom, I can't sleep. I’ve been thinking about Emily and I really want her to meet Taylor Swift. What if we got all the kids in the neighborhood together and danced to Shake it Off?’” Earner said.

Hundreds donned Emily’s favorite colors of purple and green to shoot the music video called "Shake it Off Emily Beazley,” complete with choreography.

“I think she's going to feel heartbroken because someone in sixth grade should not have cancer,” said Emily’s friend Brooke Dilger.

When the video is released, the young members of Emily’s entourage plan to turn to the Internet and to the public, who they hope will be listening closely.

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<![CDATA[Who Were the Americans Killed in the Everest Avalanche?]]> Tue, 28 Apr 2015 12:20:41 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/Americans-Died-Avalanche.jpg

As the first group of survivors from Saturday’s earthquake-triggered avalanche on Mount Everest were flown to Nepal's capital, the U.S. State Department confirmed that four Americans were among those killed in the disaster.

Filmmaker Tom Taplin, Google executive Dan Fredinburg, camp doctor Marisa Eve Girawong and avid outdoorsman Vinh Truong all died in the avalanche. Here’s more about their lives:

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Google issued a statement Saturday confirming the death of executive Dan Fredinburg who was the head of privacy for innovation lab Google[x].

Fredinburg had been scaling the mountain for the past three weeks with three other Google employees through U.K.-based tour company Jagged Globe, according to NBC News. The three were found safe, according to Google.

"Sadly, we lost one of our own in this tragedy," the statement read. "Dan Fredinburg a longtime member of the Privacy organization in Mountain View, was in Nepal with three other Googlers, hiking Mount Everest. He has passed away. The other three Googlers with him are safe and we are working to get them home quickly."

Actress Sophia Bush, who Fredinburg dated from 2013 and 2014, expressed her sadness over his passing on social media.

"Today I find myself attempting to pick up the pieces of my heart that have broken into such tiny shards, I'll likely never find them all," the actress said in a statement on Twitter and Instagram. "He was one of my favorite human beings on Earth.”

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Marisa Eve Girawong, from Edison, N.J., was described as an emergency room physician assistant. A Seattle-based mountaineering company said she was serving as a camp doctor for its team on the mountain when she was killed in the avalanche.

She was an avid rock climber and mountaineer who was pursuing an advanced degree in mountain medicine, Madison Mountaineering said in a statement. She attended school in Chicago and had successfully reached the summits of Mt. Washington and Mt. Rainier.

"Our hearts are broken," the company said in a statement.

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Tom Taplin, 61, was a Denver-born filmmaker working on a documentary about the Mount Everest base camp at the time of the avalanche, NBC affiliate KUSA reported.

His wife, Cory Freyer, told NBC News he was a photographer, filmmaker and mountaineer, and had written a book about his experiences climbing South America's tallest peak, Aconcagua, in the early 1990s.

She also said that it was on that trip that Taplin broke his arm after falling into a crevasse. However, he was able to pull himself to a place where he was reached by other mountaineers, she added. He was able to successfully climbed the mountain the next year, she said.

"It sounds trite, but he died doing what he loved doing," Cory Freyer told NBC News.

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Vinh Truong lived in Sunnyvale, California and had studied at the University of Chicago for a master’s in business administration.

He was killed at the Mt. Everest base camp.

Climbing Mt. Everest was a longtime dream, a friend Michelle Fennessy told The Los Angeles Times.

Fennessy, who had been following his adventure on Facebook, said she was stunned by the news of his death.

“To me, there was just no way he could have died on that mountain,” she told The Times. “He is just such survivor.”
 



Photo Credit: Madison Mountaineering, Cory Freyer, Getty Images
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<![CDATA[Man Had 18 lbs of Pot at Airport]]> Mon, 27 Apr 2015 13:23:20 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/Cocaine-Pot-Drugs-LGA-Arrest.jpg

A leaky suitcase led to the arrest of a New York man who is accused of attempting to board a flight at LaGuardia Airport with several pounds of marijuana and a few ounces of crack cocaine in his baggage.

Airport screeners contacted Port Authority police at about 11 a.m. Saturday after noticing liquid leaking from a checked bag that emitted an odor of marijuana, investigators said Sunday.

After finding marijuana inside the bag, police traced it to Kelvin Smith, 55, of the Bronx, who was waiting for a flight at a US Airways gate, investigators said. Police learned that Smith had checked in an additional bag and found that it contained more marijuana wrapped in plastic and 2.8 ounces of crack cocaine.

Smith's two bags contained 18 pounds of marijuana, investigators said.

Smith was charged with first-degree criminal possession of marijuana and second-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance, police said.

It was unclear whether he had retained an attorney who could comment on the charges.

Court records indicate that Smith has 41 prior convictions for drug offenses, investigators said.


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