<![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 Thu, 03 Sep 2015 08:31:09 -0500 Thu, 03 Sep 2015 08:31:09 -0500 NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA[Ky. Clerk Blocking Gay Marriages to Appear Before Judge]]> Thu, 03 Sep 2015 06:10:30 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/AP_220157184201.jpg

The Kentucky clerk who has defied the U.S. Supreme Court's gay marriage ruling by refusing to grant marriage licenses to same-sex couples will appear Thursday morning before a federal judge to explain why she should not be held in contempt of court, NBC News reported. 

The judge ordered Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis and all of her deputies to appear before him at 11 a.m. Lawyers for four couples who sought marriage licenses from her but were turned down urged the judge "to impose financial penalties sufficiently serious and increasingly onerous to compel Davis' immediate compliance without further delay."

Davis stopped issuing marriage licenses a few hours after the Supreme Court handed down its ruling in June, saying she's following "God's word" and that granting licenses to gay couples would violate her religious convictions.

A question for the judge will be whether she is unable to comply or, instead, unwilling.

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Toddler Found Drowned on Turkey Beach Identified]]> Thu, 03 Sep 2015 07:41:44 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/AP_905349993017.jpg

Images embedded in this article are graphic. 

The toddler whose lifeless body on a beach in Turkey sent shock waves around the world has a name: Aylan Kurdi, NBC News reported. 

Images were published Wednesday of a boy found face-down on the beach in the Turkish resort of Bodrum. The pictures were splashed on international front pages on Thursday and shared on social media — drawing more attention to the desperate and deadly refugee struggle to reach Europe. 

Turkish media and Canada's National Post identified the victim as 3-year-old Aylan — a Syrian. He died along with his 5-year-old brother Ghalib and mother Rehan while their father survived, according to the Post. The newspaper spoke to the boy's aunt — Teema Kurdi, a Vancouver hairdresser — who confirmed the tragedy.

Canadian lawmaker Fin Donnelly had been working with the dead boys' aunt to appeal to the country's immigration minister to help the family gain entry, according to the Post. 

Photo Credit: AP
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<![CDATA[Ex-Hillary Clinton Staffer to Invoke the Fifth]]> Thu, 03 Sep 2015 05:35:54 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/AP_32190678465.jpg

A former Hillary Clinton staffer who helped set up the former secretary of state's private email server has vowed to invoke the Fifth Amendment and refuse to answer questions after a congressional committee subpoenaed him, MSNBC confirmed late Wednesday.

Bryan Pagliano, who worked for Clinton during her 2008 presidential campaign and at the State Department, has been identified in digital records as the person who set up her email server in 2009.

The House Select Committee on Benghazi, which is investigating Clinton's emails, subpoenaed Pagliano last month to testify. But his lawyer said Monday that the IT specialist would refuse to answer questions, asserting his constitutional right against self-incrimination, The Washington Post first reported Wednesday.

A Clinton campaign aide said in a statement to NBC News Wednesday the candidate has encouraged aides to answer any questions.

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[U.S. Catholics Accept Non-Traditional Families: Survey]]> Wed, 02 Sep 2015 09:31:28 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/112861802.jpg

American Catholics are markedly tolerant of non-traditional families, with large majorities open to divorced, single, unmarried and gay parents, according to a Pew Research Center survey released Wednesday in advance of Pope Francis’ visit to the United States for a meeting on families.

Although nine in 10 U.S. Catholics say a family headed by a married mother and father is ideal, most say other types of families are acceptable. Eighty-seven percent are okay with single parents, 83 percent with divorced parents, 84 percent with unmarried parents and 66 percent with gay parents.

The findings, many out of step with church teachings, come as Francis tries to change the tone of the 1.2 billion-member church that he leads. He has refused to judge gay priests, called for a larger role for women, and though not approving of contraception has said that being a good Catholic does not mean “you have to be like rabbits.” He has criticized what he called an obsession with abortion, gay marriage and contraception and wants the Catholic church to be a home for all.

In the latest break with tradition, the Vatican announced on Tuesday that Francis would allow all priests to forgive women who have had an abortion during the church’s upcoming Holy Year of Mercy, which begins Dec. 8. A woman who has had an abortion is usually excommunicated unless she confesses and receives absolution, typically from a bishop.

Six in 10 Catholics say abortion is a sin, according to the report.

The survey examined topics that could be discussed at the World Meeting of Families in Philadelphia later this month and at the October Synod of Bishops in Rome, among them family life and sexuality. It also looked at Americans' connection to the Catholic church, whether as their religion, culture or ancestry. Most of the question in the survey are new, said Jessica Hamar Martinez, a senior researcher in Religion & Public Life for the Pew Research Center.

Forty-five percent of Americans are Catholic or are in some way connected to Catholicism. One fifth say it is their religion now, while one tenth say they were raised as Catholics but have fallen away from the church, according to the survey. A similar share say they still have a cultural connection to Catholicism. Of those cultural Catholics who were raised in the church, four in 10 say they could imagine returning one day.

But many views expressed by Catholics are not in accordance with the church’s beliefs.

Fewer than half say homosexual behavior, remarriage without annulment, living with a romantic partner and contraception are sins, the report found. Seven in 10 Catholics support married couples who choose not to have children.

Many Catholics say they would like their church to be more flexible toward those who are divorced, who are living with a partner without marriage or who are in same-sex relationships. Six in 10 think Catholics living together or divorced and remarried without an annulment should be allowed to receive Communion. Nearly half, 46 percent, say the church should recognize same-sex marriages.

On many of the questions, Catholics resemble the general public in their views. But there were significant differences in the responses to some questions, Martinez noted. For example Catholics are about as likely as Protestants to say that having an abortion is a sin, 57 percent of Catholics to 60 percent of Protestants, but less likely than Protestants to say engaging in homosexual behavior is sinful, 44 percent of Catholics to 62 percent of Protestants. And Catholics are more likely to say it is acceptable for a man and woman to live together without being married, 55 percent, than white evangelical Protestants, 27 percent, or black Protestants, 42 percent, but less likely than those who are religiously unaffiliated, 81 percent.

The report notes that Catholics’ own experiences may be influencing their attitudes toward families and sexuality. One in four Catholics has divorced, and one in 10 has also remarried. One in 10 is living with a partner and more than four in 10 have done so at some time.

As with other views on families, Catholics who say they attend Mass regularly, about four in 10, were more in agreement with church teachings than others. Many Catholics remain dedicated to their church and seven in 10 say they cannot imagine ever leaving it.

As for some of the beliefs Francis has focused on, six in 10 say working with the poor is essential to their Catholic identity. But only half as many say the same about working to address climate change, the report noted. Hispanic Catholics are more likely to be concerned about the morality of excessive consumption, the report found.

Among ex-Catholics, more than half have a positive view of Francis. And among all Catholics nine out of 10 view him positively, according to a Pew poll in February.

A different poll, done by Gallup in July, found that Francis' popularity in the United States had dropped dramatically, especially among Conservatives. Fifty-nine percent had a favorable view of the pope, down from 76 percent a year ago.

The 2015 Survey of U.S. Catholics and Family Life was conducted among 5,122 adults, among them 1,016 self-identified Catholics, from May 5 to June 7. The margin of error was plus or minus 3.5 percentage points for Catholics and 1.6 percentage points for the full sample.

Photo Credit: Getty Images
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<![CDATA[Migrants Storm Train at Budapest Station]]> Thu, 03 Sep 2015 06:12:57 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/191*120/hungary+migrants.jpg

Hundreds of migrants stormed a train in Budapest’s main railway station on Thursday hoping to travel to Austria and Germany after Hungarian police withdrew following a two-day standoff.

Over 2,000 migrants, many of them refugees from the Middle East and Africa, had been camped in front of the Keleti Railway Terminus, closed to them by authorities saying European Union rules bar travel by those without valid documents.

The standoff has become the latest symbol of Europe's migration crisis, the continent's worst since the Yugoslav wars of the 1990s.

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Labor Day Travel Is on the Rise]]> Thu, 03 Sep 2015 06:12:03 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/travel+generic+photo.JPG

More Americans will take to the streets and skies this Labor Day weekend than last year, in a continuation of recent travel trends.

According to the AAA Labor Day Holiday Travel Forecast, 35.5 million Americans will travel 50 miles or more from home this Labor Day weekend, a 1 percent increase from 2014 and the fourth consecutive year of growth in Labor Day travel.

The report cites the current labor market as a factor in the increased number of travelers this year. Its strength "has helped increase personal income, which, combined with flat prices, has resulted in a boost to disposable income, which is expected to increase 3.5 percent compared to last year."

Drivers can also expect to pay less at the pump this holiday weekend than they have in more than a decade. The average gas price earlier this week was $2.47 nationally, the lowest since 2004. Approximately 30.4 million Americans, or 85.8 percent of all travelers, are expected to jump behind the wheel this weekend. An additional 2.64 million people will travel by air, and 2.4 million will travel by train, bus, watercraft or another mode of transportation.

Americans are expected to pour $13.5 billion into the economy this weekend, up 2 percent over 2014, according to a survey by TNS for U.S. Travel.

The travel industry group also made the case, however, that failing surface and air travel infrastructure will keep 4.1 million potential travelers at home, costing the economy $1.4 billion in spending. U.S. Travel's analysis concluded that the inability of Congress to pass long-term bills on the nation's highways and air travel system will contribute to and worsen Americans' travel woes.

Though consumers appear to be willing to shell out some extra travel money this year, the slight increase in travel is likely because cautious consumers are foregoing travel in order to save or pay off debt, according to AAA. 

—Damian Geminder contributed to this report.

Photo Credit: Getty Images/The Washington Post]]>
<![CDATA[Beluga Whale Photobombs Connecticut Governor's News Briefing]]> Wed, 02 Sep 2015 22:50:16 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/juno+gov+malloy+mystic+whale.jpg

Juno the beluga stole the show Wednesday at a press event with Connecticut Gov. Dannel Malloy.

The governor visited Mystic Aquarium to discuss travel in Connecticut ahead of Labor Day Weekend, touring the facility's Animal Rescue Clinic, Arctic Coast and Pacific Northwest exhibits before addressing the crowd in front of Juno's tank.

As the governor speaks, Juno appears behind him, swimming up to the governor and hovering over his shoulder. At one point, the beloved beluga presses his forehead to the glass, seeming to know he has an audience.

It's not the first time Juno has been playful with visitors or the camera.  He interacted with a mariachi band in 2011 and checked out the work of a sketch artist in 2012.

Watch Juno ham it up for the camera in the video above.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com]]>
<![CDATA[Woman Lied About Suspicious Men Near Fox Lake: Police]]> Thu, 03 Sep 2015 04:50:59 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/kiefer+mug+lake+county.jpg

A suburban Chicago woman allegedly lied to police when she reported seeing two suspicious men in a far northern suburb, prompting a massive police response as authorities continue their search for three suspects in the fatal shooting of a Fox Lake police officer.

Dozens of armed officers, canine units and air support descended on a fielded area in Volo, Illinois, about 5 miles north of Fox Lake, Wednesday after receiving reports of suspicious activity.

Around 9:20 p.m., Kristin B. Kiefer, told police she was traveling northbound on Route 12 south of Route 120 in Volo when she pulled to the side of the roadway because of car trouble. 

After pulling over, Kiefer said two men, one white and one black, came out of a cornfield near the road and tried to take her vehicle but fled because they feared she was calling police. 

Police initially said they had no reason to believe the activity was connected to the ongoing manhunt in Fox Lake, but Lake County Sheriff's Deputies and about 85 federal, state and local law enforcement officers responded to the scene. About 11 canine units and air support units were also brought to the scene. 

Officials searched for about five hours before investigators determined Kiefer "lied about the entire account of her events."

"She fabricated this story because she was looking for attention from a family that she nannies for," Detective Christopher Covelli with the Lake County Sheriff's office said. 

Police also alleged Kiefer told them she chose that location because "she was aware of the death of a police officer in the area."

"It’s very disappointing that our resources could have been used somewhere else this afternoon and this evening and several hours were wasted here today," Covelli said.

Residents in the neighborhood where Kiefer lives said she had previously reported suspicious people and activity in the area.

"Now I’m wondering if those reports were true," said resident Paul Shaw, who is on the homeowner's board. "It just brings a lot of questions. How you could justify doing this I don’t understand. How a person, with all of the turmoil that’s going on in Fox Lake, could justify doing this to the police, to everybody."

Kiefer, 30, of the 0-100 block of Tanwood Court in Vernon Hills, was charged with two counts of a disorderly conduct — falsifying a police report, a felony and a misdemeanor.

She was being held at the Lake County Jail and expected to appear in bond court Thursday.

Photo Credit: Lake County Sheriff's Office]]>
<![CDATA['It's All Gone': Couple Hopes to Recover Baby Pictures After Cameras Go Missing at Disneyland]]> Thu, 03 Sep 2015 07:38:53 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/andrew+heintz+family+photos+3+web.jpg

 A San Diego couple who lost a camera bag at Disneyland Saturday is hoping the power of social media will compel someone to return five lost memory cards filled with baby photos.

“It’s all gone,” said San Diego resident Andrew Heintz. “There’s not a single video…Everything was on there.”

Heintz and his wife, Victoria, were at Disneyland with their 21-month-old daughter when their large black bag carrying their Canon Rebel EOS T3i SLR camera, Sony Handycam camcorder, USB plug-ins, battery chargers and several SD cards, went missing. Only one of the memory cards was backed up.

The incident happened around noon that day when the couple was getting ready to change the baby. By the time Heintz realized he had put the bag by Disney’s Imagination Room and ran back to get it, it was gone.

“That was unreal,” Heintz said. “We couldn’t even really look at each other.”

Heintz filed a report with the Anaheim Police Department in hopes they would be able to access the security footage in the park to help find the perpetrator. The couple also filed a report with Disneyland Lost and Found.

“The gravity of what we lost started really taking over,” Heintz said. “We couldn’t talk.”

As more time goes by, the more the couple believes someone stole their bag. The couple, who bought the cameras before their baby was born, said they went to a store to find top-of-the-line equipment so they would be able to capture every moment of their baby girl growing up. 

“We really did turn into those parents, maybe a little too much, taping and taking photos of everything,” Heintz said. “Everything on there is baby. There’s not a single photo of me and my wife somewhere. Every single shot is baby, baby, baby, just getting older.”

The couple has taken to social media, hoping the person who took their camera will consider returning the property.

“There’s always success stories,” Heintz said. “We’ve found items there before and turned them in and even found the owner of property there.”

At the very least, Heintz said, he hopes someone will return memory cards.

“It’s a plea,” Heintz said. “It’s a plea to the deepest, deepest piece of soul you have.”

Photo Credit: Andrew Heintz]]>
<![CDATA[Dozens Held Hostage After Suspect Breaks Free]]> Thu, 03 Sep 2015 08:18:01 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/James+Richard+McCutchen1.jpg

Dozens of people were held hostage at a jail's visitors' center after a suspect broke free from his handcuffs, commandeered a police car and took an officers' shotgun, officials said.

James Richard McCutchen, 40, allegedly attempted the dramatic escape while being transported to the county jail in Gallatin, Tennessee, on Wednesday on charges of domestic violence, vandalism, and resisting stop, halt, frisk.

Upon his arrival at the Sumner County Jail, McCutchen managed to escape his handcuffs and got into a struggle with his accompanying officer, according to a statement from the Gallatin Police Department.

He got in a police car and then took a police officer's gun at the jail's security gate. McCutchen then ran into the jail's visitors' center, according to police, where he ordered 30 people to get on the ground at gunpoint before being tackled by the civilian and a correctional officer.

Photo Credit: Gallatin Police Dept]]>
<![CDATA[President Obama Takes Selfies on Alaska Trip]]> Thu, 03 Sep 2015 05:33:45 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/208*120/obama+alaska+fish.jpg

President Obama visited the remote villages of Dillingham and Kotzebue in Alaska for the first time Wednesday, but also posted an online travelogue of his journey and used a GoPro to shoot it himself, selfie style.

He's also taken over the White House Instagram feed, posting only photos he takes himself, like a selfie with reality TV star Bear Grylls.

It's President Obama unleashed — relishing his final 15 months in office as a chance to tick off items from his policy to do list and bucket list at the same time.  

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Woman Wanted Man Killed for Giving Grandkids Lice: Cops]]> Thu, 03 Sep 2015 07:57:39 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/line111111.jpg

A Florida woman is charged with trying to hire a hitman to kill a homeless man who she said was giving her grandkids lice, according to police and court records.

Pamela King Vanorsdale, 50, of New Smyrna Beach — who's also referred to in Volusia County court records as "Vanarsdale" — is free on $25,000 bond pending her arraignment Sept. 17 on a second-degree charge of solicitation to commit murder. 

According to the charging affidavit, Vanorsdale called her ex-son-in-law to ask him to "pop" the intended victim with a gun and ammo she would provide.

Referring to a 22-year-old homeless man she said was having an affair with one of her married daughters, Vanorsdale asked the would-be gunman, identified as Daniel E. Dionne of Daytona Beach, to "get him out of here" because the man was "messing with" her grandchildren, according to the affidavit.

She specifically complained that the children were "coming home with lice," investigators said.

Photo Credit: New Smyrna Beach, Florida, Police]]>
<![CDATA[Taco Bell is Testing New Taco Shell]]> Wed, 02 Sep 2015 17:41:06 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-485939211.jpg

The rumors are true.

Taco Bell is testing crispy chicken taco shells. A spokesperson for Yum Brands, Taco Bell's parent company, confirmed the news Wednesday, adding that the shells were being tested exclusively in Bakersfield, California restaurants.

The test began Aug. 27 and will end Sept. 23. The company will then evaluate whether to go forward with a wider launch based on the response from consumers, according to the spokesperson.

Taco Bell fans seem excited by the new taco shells, as evident from comments on a Reddit thread titled "New Naked Chicken Taco."

In the past, Yum, which also owns KFC and Pizza Hut, has introduced mash-ups such as the Double Down Dog and the "Chizza," a pizza that has a chicken crust.

The new item is called the "Naked Crispy Chicken Taco" and it's filled with lettuce, tomato, cheese and avocado ranch sauce, Foodbeast reports.

Way to think outside the box.

Photo Credit: Bloomberg via Getty Images
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<![CDATA[Mom's Message to Bike Thief]]> Thu, 03 Sep 2015 07:58:12 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/214*120/bike+theft+sign.JPG

A Dallas mom has a strong message for the person who stole her 7-year-old daughter's bicycle.

She has it written on a piece of poster board and secured to the pine tree out front of her Pleasant Grove home.

The sign reads:

"To the person that stole my daughter’s new bike, I hope you are proud of yourself for making a seven year old child cry. Congratulations, you have succeeded in becoming a low life!!! – One pi--ed off Mom"

"She's only had it for a month, so I was really angry," said Tommi Mika, the woman who posted the sign. "It makes me very mad."

Someone stole the Hello Kitty!-theme bicycle belonging to Mika's daughter, Lorelai Mika, some time after dark Monday night from the porch of their home in the 8600 block of Woodcastle.

"It makes me sad," the second grader said. "Because that bike, it was mine. It's not theirs. It's mine. If it wasn't theirs they shouldn't have stole it."

"I'm tired of people taking my daughter's stuff, you know?" Tommi Mika told NBCDFW about why she posted the sign. "So I posted that hoping whoever would see it, whoever stole it, would see it and maybe they'd feel bad about it."

"I doubt we're gonna get the bike back, but maybe they'd feel bad and realize that maybe next time they'll think twice before stealing from a child," Tommi Mika added.

Photo Credit: NBC 5 News
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<![CDATA[Teen Killed by Police on Drugs: ME]]> Wed, 02 Sep 2015 19:20:27 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/Christian_Taylor_Arlington.jpg

An unarmed teenager was under the influence marijuana and a psychedelic drug when he was shot and killed by an Arlington, Texas, police officer Aug. 7, the Tarrant County Medical Examiner's Office says.

A report released Wednesday by the medical examiner said 19-year-old Christian Taylor was under the influence of hallucinogenic and psychedelic drugs when he was shot and killed by 49-year-old rookie police officer Brad Miller during a confrontation at a South Arlington car dealership.

Police officers were responding to a burglary call at Classic Buick GMC when they discovered someone had driven an SUV through the showroom glass.

Surveillance video would later show Taylor outside the dealership before police arrive acting erratically, standing on top of and jumping on cars before driving through a gate and through the showroom glass.

Instead of helping to set up a perimeter around the showroom, Miller confronted a person inside the showroom, later identified as Taylor, and ordered him to get down on the ground, said Arlington Chief of Police Will Johnson last month.

Taylor did not comply and, instead, began "actively advancing toward Officer Miller," Johnson said.

Miller's field training officer, who had followed Miller into the showroom, drew his own Taser. The training officer heard a single pop of what he thought was Miller's Taser, but Miller actually had drawn his service weapon and fired it at Taylor, who is believed to have been 7 to 10 feet away from the officer, Johnson said. After Taylor continued to approach, Miller fired his gun three more times.

The officer's Taser had been deployed, according to the medical examiner, but only one of the prongs entered Taylor's body rendering the device ineffective.

A toxicology report from the Tarrant County Medical Examiner's Office confirms Taylor was shot four times, in his chest, throat, abdomen and forearm, and that the presence of drugs were present in both his blood and urine -- specifically THC, 25h-NBOMe and 25i-NBOMe.

THC is the chemical responsible for most of the psychological effects found in marijuana while 25i-NBOMe and 25h-NBOMe are a psychedelic and hallucinogen, respectively.

Following the shooting Johnson fired Miller, saying he breached protocol and that his actions led to the deadly confrontation. Johnson, who has lobbied the Arlington City Council for funding to outfit his officers with body cameras, reiterated his support for the body camera program following the shooting.

Photo Credit: @_lawjohnson / Twitter, Classic GMC Buick
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<![CDATA[Search Underway After Prisoner Escapes Near Princeton]]> Wed, 02 Sep 2015 18:34:42 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/joshua+drinnon.jpg

Police are searching for a prisoner who escaped Wednesday at an I-80 rest stop near Princeton, Illinois.

The Inmate Services Transport Company contacted Illinois State Police around 4:45 p.m. saying Joshua Drinnon, 35, escaped at the westbound Great Sauk Trail rest area (I-80 West at Mile Marker 51), according to police.

Drinnon, who was imprisoned for aggravated robbery, escaped a transport vehicle and was last seen entering a field north of the rest area, according to state police.

The vehicle picked up Drinnon in Blountville, Tennessee, and its destination was not known, police said.

Drinnon is described as a white male, standing about 6-foot-1-inch tall and weighing about 200 pounds. He is bald and has blues eyes. Police say he was last seen wearing a white t-shirt and red wind suit pants.

The state police have sent patrol troopers, air operations, investigators and K9 units to the area as they search for Drinnon.

Residents are encouraged to lock all vehicles, buildings and residences.

Anyone with information should contact authorities.

<![CDATA[Clerk Blocking Gay Marriages Has Divorced 3 Times]]> Thu, 03 Sep 2015 05:44:14 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/AP_1656506643342.jpg

The Kentucky clerk who says she's following "God's word" in her refusal to grant marriage licenses to same-sex couples is a longtime civil servant with her own history of marital struggles.

Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis was divorced three times and had children out of wedlock before experiencing a religious awakening that cemented her obedience to Christian scripture — and her defiance of the country's highest court.

Her act of resistance has rocked her small Appalachia community 60 miles east of Lexington and made headlines nationwide, fed by a video of her denying a marriage license to David V. Moore and his partner of 17 years, David Ermold. The Tuesday confrontation sparked a protest inside the Rowan County Courthouse, with supporters of the couple and of Davis shouting over each other. A similar scene unfolded Wednesday, when a second same-sex couple asked for a marriage license. 

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Man Fatally Shot by Cops May Have Had Knife: Investigators]]> Wed, 02 Sep 2015 14:28:30 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/Gilbert+Flores+Shooting.png

Investigators believe that a Texas man shot to death by deputies with his hands up was holding a knife, the sheriff told reporters on Wednesday.

Footage was posted online of the shooting of 41-year-old Gilbert Flores in San Antonio that appeared to show him raise his hands before being shot. The first piece of footage of the Aug. 28 incident was filmed from a distance. It does not show one of Flores' hands, which was apparently obscured by a utility pole.

A second video that provides more "clarity" of the shooting is being investigated by police, who have not made the video public yet.

"We believe that Mr. Flores had a knife in his hand, and that video will help us have a better idea of exactly what he had in his hand," Sheriff Susan Pamerleau of Bexar County told reporters.

<![CDATA[Taylor Swift Fan Pleads Not Guilty]]> Wed, 02 Sep 2015 23:02:04 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/Christian+Ewing+09022015.jpg

A Taylor Swift fan is facing multiple charges after he allegedly jumped a fence and rushed on stage during the pop star's San Diego concert. 

“When asked why he went on stage, he said, ‘I love that girl,’ referring to Ms. Swift,” said Deputy District Attorney Jessica Coto in court.

Christian Ewing, 26, appeared in a San Diego court Wednesday, pleading not guilty to two felony charges, a misdemeanor and a municipal code violation. Those charges could land him behind bars for almost five years combined if convicted.

The incident occurred Saturday night at Petco Park, where viewer video shows a person running on-stage, just steps away from where the singer was performing her hit, 'Style.' 

Ewing, who appeared in court with a bandage on his head, is accused of hopping a fence at the concert. When a security guard told him he could not be in the area and tried to grab him, Ewing escaped and ran onto the stage, Coto said in court.

When Ewing took off, an altercation occurred, Coto said, and Ewing was eventually dragged off stage. 

One of Swift's security guards suffered severe rib injuries and will need at least eight weeks to recover, Coto said. 

When he spoke with police later, Ewing gave them a false name, Coto said. Officials are investigating whether he had a valid ticket to enter the arena and the entire incident is under investigation. 

Coto said Ewing has an active warrant for a theft-related offense in Florida and has an assault-related offense in Georgia. He was previously convicted out-of-state of attempting to manufacture or manufacturing drugs in 2013. 

Ewing was formally charged Wednesday with assault with force likely to cause great bodily injury, battery with serious injury, both felonies, and a misdemeanor for giving police the wrong name. For entering an area he was not supposed to enter during an event, he also faces a municipal code violation. 

Bail was set at $100,000 due to his flight risk. He is due back in court on Sept. 14.

Photo Credit: NBC 7]]>
<![CDATA[U.S. Stocks Close Higher in Rebound]]> Wed, 02 Sep 2015 15:08:23 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/AP_675155668178.jpg

U.S. stocks closed sharply higher Wednesday, trying to recover from the worst start to a September in 13 years, NBC News reported. 

The Dow Jones industrial average quickly gained 293 points as the major averages advanced more than 1 percent to bring the S&P 500 out of correction, or less than 10 percent away from its 52-week high.

U.S. stocks closed nearly 3 percent lower on Tuesday for the worst first day of September trade since 2002.

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Shots Fired at Mass. Police Cruiser]]> Wed, 02 Sep 2015 21:26:52 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/Millis+Cruiser+090215.jpeg

A police cruiser was shot before crashing and catching fire Wednesday in Millis, Massachusetts, sparking a manhunt and the closure of public schools on Thursday.

State police, local police and a SWAT team, with large rifles drawn, responded to Forest Road after the Millis Police cruiser was shot just before 2:30 p.m. The state police air wing was also on the scene, as were a ballistics unit, crime scene techs and fire investigators.

Police confirm the officer has been hospitalized, but no information on his condition was immediately available.

Investigators are searching for a maroon pickup truck, possibly a Ford F-150. The suspect is described as a man between 25 and 40 who fired a black handgun.

Around 10:30 a.m., Millis Middle School received a call from someone who "indicated a crime may occur" in the town on Wednesday, according to police. About an hour later, the school received a bomb threat by telephone.

"It is bizarre to have the bomb scare and then that, as well," said Heidi Perkins, who lives near the spot where the cruiser crashed.

While police are not sure whether these events are connected, the town's schools will not be open Thursday.

"Basically, we had an officer who was driving down Forest Road here. He was shot at. We believe two to three shots were fired at his vehicle," said Millis Police Sgt. William Dwyer. "He returned fire, we believe three shots."

"It's kind of hectic right now. The police are doing a wonderful job," said neighbor Bill Whelan, who has lived there for 53 years. "Been here a long time, and I've never had anything like this, and I'm sure it's an isolated incident."

With a community on edge as police investigated, one concerned citizen and Army veteran decided to search for the suspect himself.

"I started following the scanners and listening to the descriptions of the vehicle and the person," said Nick Sheridan. "I just, on my own time, my own fuel, just drove around."

In neighboring Norfolk, a reverse 911 call was sent to residents as police worked to find suspect.

"We were nervous. I brought my friend home instead of her walking home because there are woods behind us," said Norfolk resident Susan Antonio.

Buses from the schools in Norfolk were held until police were able to clear the area.

Both the Millis library and town hall were closed Wednesday during the investigation.

Forest Road remained closed Wednesday night, but a shelter-in-place order that had been issued is no longer in effect.

Anyone with information is asked to call (508) 376-2233.

Photo Credit: necn
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<![CDATA[Brothers Awarded $750K Each in Wrongful Convictions]]> Wed, 02 Sep 2015 11:30:12 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/AP287350833863McCollum.jpg

Two North Carolina brothers are finally receiving compensation, three decades after they were wrongfully convicted in the killing of an 11-year-old girl. They were awarded $750,000 each on Wednesday by the North Carolina Industrial Commission. Henry McCollum, 51, was given the money on behalf of himself and his half-brother, Leon Brown, 47, who is in the hospital and could not attend.

McCollum and Brown were released in September 2014 after a judge vacated their convictions, citing new DNA evidence that points to another man in the killing and raping of 11-year-old Sabrina Buie in 1983. McCollum had been the longest-serving inmate on North Carolina's death row. Brown had been sentenced to life in prison.

In the months since their release, both men have had trouble adjusting to the outside world after spending most of their adult lives in prison. Money has been a problem, but McCollum told The Associated Press in June that the most important part of the pardon was having his name cleared. 

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Bear Nearly Bites Hiker, Euthanized]]> Wed, 02 Sep 2015 21:29:57 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/stephanie+rivkin+bear+encounter+crop.jpg

State officials have euthanized a bear that confronted a hiker in Connecticut last week, along with a second bear that also displayed aggressive behavior, according to the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection.

The male bear has been at the center of controversy since a hiker released video of her close encounter with the animal at the Sessions Woods Wildlife Area last Friday. Footage shows the bear approaching her and putting its mouth on her leg.

Wildlife experts analyzing the video said the bear, which was tagged, had a history of aggression and had been relocated in the past. Authorities deemed the animal a danger to the public and opted to euthanize it.

DEEP spokesman Dennis Schain said staff members seeking out the aggressive animal Tuesday night at Sessions Woods found a male and female bear near the area of the encounter.

Schain said the female, which had been tagged for research, matched the description of the bear they were looking for.

According to Schain, the female bear "exhibited similar aggressive behavior" to the animal involved in Friday's incident and charged at DEEP Wildlife Division staff. The female bear, which had also been tagged for research, was euthanized shortly before 5 p.m. Tuesday.

"It was definitely not the outcome anybody was hoping for," said hiker Stephanie Rivkin, whose bear encounter is at the heart of the issue.

DEEP returned to the woods Wednesday and euthanized the male bear.

"Given the incident on Friday and the previous behavior of the bear there was serious concern that it could have injured a person in any future encounter," Schain said in a statement Wednesday afternoon.

Annie Hornish of the Connecticut Humane Society criticized DEEP's decision, saying the agency "overreacted" and that "the bear did not need to be killed."

Hornish said the Humane Society interpreted the bear's actions as curious rather than violent.

She offered to help educate residents about what to do during bear encounters and said parks in northwest Connecticut need better signage warning hikers about the animals.

"I don't think anybody in this position expects something like this to happen, the consequences, the outcome, the backlash," Rivkin said. "But when it does happen, I think it's a great point to learn from it and start a discussion."

Petitions circulated after DEEP announced plans to put down the animal, along with a Facebook group bearing the hashtag #sparethebear.

Sessions Woods remains closed to the public.

Photo Credit: Stephanie Rivkin]]>
<![CDATA[Search for Burglary Suspect in Off-Road Pursuit Called Off]]> Thu, 03 Sep 2015 00:05:45 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/214*120/09-02-2015-suv-pursuit-off-road-1.JPG

A search was called off Wednesday afternoon for a driver after a freeway chase that turned into an off-road pursuit east of Los Angeles.

The driver, believed to be a burglary suspect, jumped from the Toyota sport utility vehicle after coming to a stop in a riverbed area next to a railroad track, according to the sheriff's department. The driver got out of the SUV in a cloud of dust before running down an embankment, climbing a fence and taking cover in thick brush.

Deputies searched for hours for the driver near the San Gabriel River in Santa Fe Springs in southeastern Los Angeles County.

Deputies worked with Los Angeles Department of Water and Power personnel to determine whether the man might have entered a network of tunnels near the river. Neighbors expressed concerns that the man might come up through a manhole cover, said Sgt. Andrew Serrano.

"He could come into one of the houses," said a neighbor, Manual Gonzalez. "I've got a lot of kids right here. They're probably freaking out right now walking home from school wondering what's all the cops doing."

Authorities said they believe the manhole covers were bolted down, Serrano said.

At midday, the pursuit was on the 210 Freeway in the Glendora area before the driver transitioned to the southbound 605 Freeway. The driver of the silver SUV had been on several other San Gabriel Valley freeways after the pursuit started in the Diamond Bar area.

Speeds ranged from 65 mph to 90 mph.

Photo Credit: KNBC-TV]]>
<![CDATA[Seal and Diver Become Instant Besties]]> Wed, 02 Sep 2015 16:34:36 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/f_seal_diver_cute_150902.jpg.jpg

When a diver meets a seal underwater, they have an adorable encounter.

This story uses functionality that may not work in our app. Click here to open the story in your web browser.]]>
<![CDATA[Freddie Gray Pre-Trial Rulings a 'Win' for State]]> Wed, 02 Sep 2015 14:08:53 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/freddieGray-debrief-AP-9-2-15-th.png A Baltimore judge on Wednesday refused to dismiss charges against six police officers facing criminal charges in connection to the death of a black man injured in their custody. He also refused to remove the prosecutor in the case.]]> <![CDATA[Arby's Apologizes After Police Say Florida Officer Denied Service]]> Wed, 02 Sep 2015 22:44:52 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/090215+pembroke+pines+police+jennifer+martin+arbys.jpg

The head of Arby's restaurant chain has apologized to the Pembroke Pines Police Department after an employee at a South Florida restaurant reportedly refused to serve a uniformed officer.

Arby's Chief Executive Officer Paul Brown and Senior Vice President of Operations Scott Boatwright contacted PPPD Chief Dan Giustino to apologize on behalf of the organization, according to a police report.

Both men assured Giustino that the employee's behavior was "unacceptable" and did not represent the company's values.

Giustino accepted the apology, and the department considers the matter closed.

In a Facebook post Tuesday, another officer alleged that on Monday, a fellow uniformed officer was denied service at the Arby's located at 11755 Pines Boulevard near the Pembroke Lakes Mall.

"Real nice, Arby's" the post says, before encouraging others to boycott the restaurant.

According to an incident report, Sgt. Jennifer Martin said she was using the drive-thru when the clerk, identified as 19-year-old Kenneth Davenport, "seemed slightly rude and short with his responses," but she assumed there was a problem with the speaker system.

But when Sgt. Martin pulled to the window and handed her credit card to Davenport, manager Angel Mirabal approached the window.

"He doesn't want to serve you because you are a police officer," Mirabal told Sgt. Martin, according to the report.

Davenport had to be ordered to process Sgt. Martin's credit card, and she told Mirabal she felt uncomfortable and wasn't certain she wanted to dine there, the report said.

Mirabal handed her the food and assured her everything was ok, the report said.

"Mirabal even laughed and said he is allowed to refuse to serve me," Sgt. Martin noted in the report.

Sgt. Martin felt uncertain of the condition of her food and decided to go inside and get a refund. She said Davenport refused to have contact with her, ignored her and refused to give her his contact information, the report said.

At Davenport's home Wednesday, his mother questioned why her son was so bad, considering he was called in to work again earlier in the day.

Davenport showed up at the restaurant later Wednesday with his grandfather and denied the accusation, calling it a joke and a misunderstanding.

"[My manager] just made a joke and she couldn't take it the right way, she has no sense of humor," Davenport said. "It was busy and then she was probably one of the last cars we had, she wasn't for the joke I guess. We're too busy so my manager's like 'oh, I get to serve you instead of him,' like he's getting overboard for that?"

Davenport added that he has no problems with police officers.

"No, not at all, never had a problem but, is this, this kind of changes me now, I'm starting to think like, could it be a publicity stunt, or what is it, racism, something, I didn't do anything to this lady," he said. "Why is this so worldwide, like you guys say? To me I'm just gonna keep living my life and whatever happens happens, there's nothing I can do at this point."

"Their job as an officer is very serious and I appreciate all that they do, but I don't appreciate my grandson that I have raised being accused in something like this," said Thomas McCutcheon, Davenport's grandfather.

In a statement, Pembroke Pines Police Department Chief Dan Giustino said he was "offended" and "appalled" at the incident, and that the department would be contacting the Arby's CEO to demand an apology.

Giustino went on to say that the incident appears to be confined to a single individual employee, and is not in keeping with the support the department regularly receives from the Pembroke Pines community.

"We are very proud of the partnerships we have built within our city," Giustino said. "For an incident like this to have happened is very disappointing for everyone."

In a statement provided to NBC 6 South Florida, Arby's said the company takes "this isolated matter very seriously as we respect and support police officers in our local communities."

"As soon as the issue was brought to our attention, our CEO spoke with the Police Chief who expressed his gratitude for our quick action and indicates the case is closed," the statement reads. "We will be following up with our team members to be sure that our policy of inclusion is understood and adhered to."

John Rivera, the president of the Miami-Dade Police Union, called for a boycott of Arby's until the employees involved are fired.

"It is beyond comprehension and deeply troubling that a business would deny service to a law enforcement officer just for being a law enforcement officer," Rivera said in a statement. "This is yet another example of the hostile treatment of our brave men and women simply because they wear a badge. It is unacceptable and warrants much more than an apology."

Arby's released a second statement Wednesday afternoon stating that they will be taking disciplinary action.

"We take this isolated matter very seriously as we respect and support police officers in our local communities. As soon as the issue was brought to our attention, our CEO spoke with the Police Chief who expressed his gratitude for our quick action and indicated the case is closed," the statement said. "We will be following up with our team members to be sure that our policy of inclusion is understood and adhered to. Further, we will be following through with disciplinary action up to and including termination of the employees involved, as appropriate."

This is a developing story and will be updated as new information becomes available.

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<![CDATA[Bodies of Refugees Wash up on Turkey Beach]]> Wed, 02 Sep 2015 10:43:28 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/topNews-GettyImages-486061356.jpg

Two boats carrying who were believed to be Syrian refugees sank off the coast Turkey en route to Greece, killing at least 11 people, according to Turkey's Dogan news agency.

Photos released by the Turkish Police Wednesday showed a small body of a drowned child on Bodrum Beach.  

NBC News is choosing not to publish the images that show a child face down in the sand. In another image, a Turkish policeman cradles the child in his arms and carries it away. 

The child is the latest victim amid a growing migrant crisis in Europe. Thousands of migrants have been following the same route in search of a better life in Europe and while many have made it safely, scores have perished along the way. 

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Adorable Zoo Babies: Baby Chimpanzee]]> Thu, 03 Sep 2015 07:44:58 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/191*120/ZooBabyChimp.jpeg See all the newest arrivals at zoos around the world. Baby lions, tigers and bears step into the spotlight.

Photo Credit: Dave Parkinson/Tampa’s Lowry Park Zoo]]>
<![CDATA[Texas Man Gets 17 Years Behind Bars for Fake Disney Park Scheme]]> Wed, 02 Sep 2015 11:07:44 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/AX070_40C8_9.jpg

A Plano man has been sentenced to 17 and a half years in federal prison for duping investors into believing he had inside information about a Walt Disney theme park and resort project in North Texas, which turned out to be fake.

Thomas W. Lucas, Jr., 35, of Plano, was convicted in February of seven counts of seven wire fraud counts and one count of making false statements to the FBI.

Court documents show from 2006 to 2010, Lucas devised and executed an elaborate scheme to defraud 280 investors out of approximately $20 million. The US Attorney's Office says Lucas pocketed approximately $450,000.

In court documents, the investors said Lucas showed them fake and forged artist sketches, maps, site plans and other documents related to "Frontier Disney Dallas-Fort Worth" to dupe them. The investors planned to flip the land to developers at a profit when the Disney announcement was made.

The Walt Disney Co., which has its headquarters in Burbank, California, repeatedly denied rumors that it planned to build a theme park in North Texas. However, prosecutors said Lucas told potential investors he had a secret source who tipped him off about the theme park.

Prosecutors said the identity of Lucas' secret source varied depending on who he spoke to. When the FBI confronted Lucas about the scheme, he falsely blamed a man he previously met at a methadone clinic — that man is now dead.

Numerous partnerships, joint ventures and limited liability companies were set up to begin acquiring land in the area. In court, the value of the land purchased was subtracted to determine the overall loss which was approximately $20 million.

The 65 investors who invested in options to purchase land lost all of their money, which was slightly over $8 million, and received no interest in land.

Lucas was ordered to pay restitution in the amount of $8,456,360.00 to the people who invested in options to purchase land. He was immediately handed over to the U.S. Marshals Service. 

CLICK HERE to read more from our media partners at The Dallas Morning News.

Photo Credit: Rose Baca/The Dallas Morning News]]>