<![CDATA[NBC Chicago - National & International News]]>Copyright 2017http://www.nbcchicago.com/news/national-internationalhttp://media.nbcnewyork.com/designimages/5-Chicago-Blue.pngNBC Chicagohttp://www.nbcchicago.comen-usSun, 26 Feb 2017 18:46:54 -0600Sun, 26 Feb 2017 18:46:54 -0600NBC Owned Television Stations<![CDATA[Vandals Damage Headstones at Jewish Cemetery in Philadelphia]]>Sun, 26 Feb 2017 18:31:14 -0600http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/Jewish-Cemetery-Vandalism1.jpg

Vandals targeted a Jewish cemetery in the Wissinoming section of Philadelphia, knocking over hundreds of headstones. 

On Sunday around 9:40 a.m., police responded to a report of a vandalism at Mount Carmel Cemetery on Frankford and Cheltenham avenues. When they arrived they were met by a man who told them three headstones belonging to his relatives were knocked over and damaged. 

Police told NBC10 at least 100 more headstones were knocked over. A rabbi who walked through the cemetery told NBC10 he counted 460 headstones that were toppled or damaged however.

"This is not just a random act," said Rabbi Shawn Zevit of Mishkan Shalom. "To topple so many headstones clearly is a concerted effort with intent."

Local rabbis have visited the cemetery throughout the day to comfort those who have loved ones buried there.

"I'm devastated by this," said Janice Wilson of Overbrook. "I don't know whether to cry or to scream."

Police believe the vandalism occurred between late Saturday night and Sunday morning.

"My heart breaks for the families who found their loved ones' headstones toppled this morning," Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney wrote in a released statement. "We are doing all we can to find the perpetrators who desecrated this final resting place, and they will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. Hate is not permissible in Philadelphia. I encourage Philadelphians to stand with our Jewish brothers and sisters and to show them that we are the City of Brotherly Love and Sisterly Affection."

Governor Tom Wolf also called the vandalism a "cowardly, disturbing act."

"We must find those responsible and hold accountable," he wrote.

No arrests have been made and police have not released information on any suspects. The Anti-Defamation League is offering a $10,000 reward for information leading to an arrest.

An organizer launched a GoFundMe page to raise money for the damage.

Both the Anne Frank Center for Mutual Respect as well as Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesman Emmanuel Nahshon condemned the vandalism.

Last week vandals damaged 154 headstones at a Jewish cemetery in University City, Missouri. The incident sparked national outrage and a crowdfunding campaign that raised around $75,000 for repairs.

More than 10 Jewish Community Centers across the country were also evacuated last week due to bomb threats.

Photo Credit: Derrick Cheston
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<![CDATA[Top News Photos: Palestinians Against Trump, Brazil's Drugs]]>Fri, 24 Feb 2017 10:30:09 -0600http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/AP_677034100869trumppalestine.jpgView daily updates on the best photos in domestic and foreign news.

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Policing the Schools]]>Thu, 23 Feb 2017 20:32:00 -0600http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/policing-schools-th.jpg

[[413737693, BL]]

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<![CDATA[Nominee for Navy Secretary Withdraws From Consideration]]>Sun, 26 Feb 2017 18:36:40 -0600http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/170223-N-KP948-007.jpg

President Donald Trump's choice to be secretary of the Navy, businessman Philip Bilden, said Sunday he was withdrawing from consideration for the post, citing concerns about privacy and separating himself from his business interests.

Bilden's withdrawal raises similar issues to that of Vincent Viola, Trump's nominee for Army secretary who stepped aside earlier this month.

Bilden was an intelligence officer in the Army Reserve from 1986-1996. He relocated to Hong Kong to set up an Asian presence for HarbourVest Partners LLC, a global private equity management firm. Bilden recently retired from HarbourVest Partners after 25 years.

In a statement released by the Pentagon, Bilden said he determined that he would not be able to satisfy the Office of Government Ethics requirements without what he called "undue disruption and materially adverse divestment of my family's private financial interests."

Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said in a statement that he would make a recommendation to Trump for a nominee in the coming days.

Viola cited his inability to successfully navigate the confirmation process and Defense Department rules concerning family businesses. A military veteran and former Airborne Ranger infantry officer, he was also the founder of several businesses, including the electronic trading firm Virtu Financial. He also owns the National Hockey League's Florida Panthers and is a past chairman of the New York Mercantile Exchange.

Photo Credit: U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Alyssa Weeks/Released]]>
<![CDATA[Trayvon's Death Still Fuels Movement 5 Years Later: Analysis]]>Sun, 26 Feb 2017 17:06:15 -0600http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-174109661.jpg

It has been five years since Trayvon Martin's death on February 26, 2012. And yet the seeds of the movement sewn in those early, tumultuous days, continue to grow.

"We can't stop," Tracy Martin, Trayvon's father said at the time. "If we stop, the world will stop. We've got to keep fighting."

In Martin's death, a movement was born.

Many of the young people who took to the streets in those early days, in some cases by the thousands, had never participated in any form of protest before.

For the five-year anniversary of Trayvon Martin's death, his parents released a book they co-authored, "Rest in Power: The Enduring Life of Trayvon Martin."

Trayvon Martin's name has been written in textbooks. Legal and political scholars have studied his case. President Barack Obama, who from the Rose Garden a month after the shooting told the world "If I had a son, he'd look like Trayvon," further immortalized the teen's name.

In death, Trayvon Martin remains a specter of both pain and promise for a generation of young people who came of age in the shadow of his death and who boldly and fiercely proclaim that Black Lives Matter.

Photo Credit: Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Pence to Conservatives: 'This Is Our Time']]>Fri, 24 Feb 2017 05:58:35 -0600http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/NA57R_1200x675_883871299660.jpg

Vice President Mike Pence spoke at the Conservative Political Action Conference Thursday evening in National Harbor, Maryland. It was the ninth time that Pence has spoken at the gathering, but the first in his new role as vice president.

<![CDATA[Trader Joe's Recalls Unsweetened Apple Sauce Products]]>Sun, 26 Feb 2017 16:19:01 -0600http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/TraderJoesRecallAppleSauce.jpg

Trader Joe's has issued a recall for their Unsweetened Apple Sauce products due to the potential presence of glass pieces inside.

The affected products are:

Trader Joe's First Crush Unsweetened Gravenstein Apple Sauce, barcode number 00015905, best before Aug. 8, 2018; Trader Joe's Organic Unsweetened Apple Sauce with barcode number 00194877, best before Oct. 6, 2018; and Trader Joe's All Natural Unsweetened Apple Sauce with barcode number 00014359, best before Dec. 16, 2018.

All potentially affected products have been removed from store shelves and destroyed, according to the company.

Trader Joe's advised consumers to not eat the products with the affected codes. Consumers are to discard the product or return it to any Trader Joe’s for a full refund.

For more information, call Trader Joe’s Customer Relations at (626) 599-3817 (Monday-Friday, 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. PST) or send an email.

Photo Credit: Trader Joe's]]>
<![CDATA[Trump's Approval Stands at 44 Percent as Partisanship Reigns]]>Sun, 26 Feb 2017 08:13:12 -0600http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/trump+CPAC+getty.jpg

President Donald Trump's job approval rating stands at just 44 percent — a record low for a newly inaugurated commander-in-chief — and half of Americans say that his early challenges suggest unique and systemic problems with his administration, according to a new poll from NBC News and the Wall Street Journal, NBC News reported.

In the poll, conducted February 18-22, 48 percent of Americans said they disapprove of Trump's performance as president and 32 percent said that his first month in office demonstrates that he is not up to the job. Asked about early challenges in the first month of his presidency, 52 percent called the issues "real problems" that are specific to his administration, while 43 percent of Americans attributed them to typical "growing pains" for any new president.

The new rating comes two days before Trump is set to address a joint session of Congress, a State of the Union-style speech in which new presidents typically lay out their vision for the country.

Photo Credit: Win McNamee/Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Who's Who in Trump's Brain Trust]]>Fri, 24 Feb 2017 09:38:49 -0600http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/223*120/trump-cab-adv-th.jpgHere's a look at the people who are closest to Donald Trump in the White House, his advisers and his picks for the top jobs in his administration. The nominees for Cabinet positions need Senate approval.
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<![CDATA[Trans Students Face ‘Detrimental’ Health Effects: Experts]]>Sun, 26 Feb 2017 02:55:37 -0600http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/AP_17055026714973.jpg

LGBTQ advocates say President Donald Trump sent a worrying message when his administration withdrew Obama administration guidance on transgender student protections in public schools.

"It makes me feel unimportant. It makes me feel angry. It makes me feel invisible," 16-year-old transgender student Grace Dolan-Sandrino told NBC Out.

The American Academy of Pediatrics was one of many health organizations that released a statement opposing the White House's decision.

"Policies excluding transgender youth from facilities consistent with their gender identity have detrimental effects on their physical and mental health, safety and well-being," the statement read.

According to the 2015 U.S. Transgender Survey, 40 percent of respondents reported attempting suicide in their lifetimes, nearly nine times the rate in the U.S. population.

Photo Credit: Kathy Willens, AP (File)]]>
<![CDATA[Private Prisons: Here’s Why Sessions’ Memo Matters]]>Sun, 26 Feb 2017 05:01:33 -0600http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/AP_17010580743939-session.jpg

The Justice Department's plan to phase out its use of private prisons due to declining inmate populations and concerns about safety and security ended this week — without ever really taking effect.

The new administration has called for a crackdown on crime, and that could lead to more arrests, which could mean more inmates to fill the prisons.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions this week rescinded an Obama-era directive that sought to curtail the government's use of privately run prisons because, he said, it "impaired" the U.S. Bureau of Prisons' "ability to meet the future needs of the federal correctional system."

Those "needs" are not yet fully clear, as NBC News reports.

Photo Credit: Andrew Harnik, AP]]>
<![CDATA[Trump's Cabinet Picks In Their Own Words]]>Mon, 09 Jan 2017 17:41:48 -0600http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/AP_16345069714951-Trump-Wisc-win.jpg

President-elect Donald Trump promised to repeal Obamacare, defeat ISIS, withdraw from the Paris Climate Agreement, create 25 million jobs over the next decade and "drain the swamp" in Washington, D.C. How well do his Cabinet nominees reflect his governing philosophy? Here they are in their own words. 

The retired neurosurgeon and unsuccessful candidate for the Republican nomination grew up in Detroit and has no experience in elected office or in running a large bureaucracy.

"These government-engineered attempts to legislate racial equality create consequences that often make matters worse. There are reasonable ways to use housing policy to enhance the opportunities available to lower-income citizens, but based on the history of failed socialist experiments in this country, entrusting the government to get it right can prove downright dangerous."The Washington Times, 2015

Former secretary of labor under President George W. Bush, deputy transportation secretary under President George H.W. Bush, Chao is married to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.

"If vehicles already meet an acceptable level of safety on a particular aspect of vehicle performance without being required to do so by regulation, I believe the Department should devote its resources to other issues rather than engage in rulemaking simply to affirm the existing level of safety."Statement before DOT deputy secretary confirmation hearing, 1989

A keen advocate for school vouchers and charter schools, influential in Detroit, where charter schools have a poor record and state legislators rejected calls for more oversight, she engages in political battles to help advance God's kingdom, she told a religious gathering in 2001.

"We are stuck in a partisan rut. The political parties are dead-enders when it comes to education revolution. As long as we think political parties might solve the problem it will never be solved. Oddly enough education choice is very unique in that some conservative Republicans and some liberal Democrats are actually on the same wavelength….But those are exceptions. The vast majority of the political class is committed to defending and protecting the status quo." — SXSW in Austin, 2015

The governor of South Carolina and the daughter of immigrants from India, Haley led the drive to remove the Confederate flag from the statehouse and during the Republican primary accused Donald Trump of "irresponsible talk."

"During anxious times, it can be tempting to follow the siren call of the angriest voices. We must resist that temptation." -- Speaking of Donald Trump and others in the Republican response to President Barack Obama’s State of the Union speech, 2016

A retired four-star Marine general, he oversaw the Guantanamo Bay military prison and efforts to stop drug trafficking and other smuggling into the United States.

"In my opinion, the relative ease with which human smugglers move tens of thousands of people to our nation’s doorstep also serves as another warning sign: These smuggling routes are a potential vulnerability to our homeland. As I stated last year, terrorist organizations could seek to leverage those same smuggling routes to move operatives with intent to cause grave harm to our citizens or even bring weapons of mass destruction into the United States."Testimony to the Senate Armed Forces Committee, 2015

Nicknamed "Mad Dog," the retired Marine Corps general and former commander of U.S. Central Command blames President Barack Obama's policy in the Middle East for adding to the rise of extremism.

"Is political Islam in the best interest of the United States? I suggest the answer is no but then we need to have the discussion. If we won't even ask the question, then how to we ever get to the point of recognizing which is our side in the fight. And if we don't take our own side in this fight we're leaving others adrift."— The Heritage Foundation, 2015

Donald Trump's campaign finance chairman, a former partner at Goldman Sachs, and Hollywood financier, he and partners took over failed mortgage lender IndyMac Bank and operated it under the name, OneWest Bank. He pledged to tackle mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

"It makes no sense that these are owned by the government and have been controlled by the government for as long as they have. In many cases this displaces private lending in the mortgage markets, and we need these entities that will be safe. So let me just be clear— we'll make sure that when they're restructured, they're absolutely safe and they don't get taken over again. But we've got to get them out of government control." — Fox Business, November

Perry, the former governor of Texas, has promoted the state's oil industry and has questioned climate change. He has advocated eliminating the department he would head though famously could not name it during a presidential debate in 2012.

"I do believe that the issue of global warming has been politicized. I think there are a substantial number or scientists who have manipulated data so that they will have dollars rolling into their projects. I think we're seeing, almost weekly or daily, scientists are coming forward and questioning the original idea that manmade global warming is what is causing the climate to change. Yes, our climate has changed. They've been changing ever since the earth was formed." -- Town Hall in Bedford, N.H., 2011

Republican congressman from Georgia, an orthopedic surgeon and persistent critic of Obamacare, he has repeatedly introduced his own legislation for replacing it.

"It's a fundamental philosophical difference that we have with the other side …. They believe that government ought to be in control of health care. We believe that patients and families ought to be in control of health care. And sadly what we're seeing right now is that government control that we've seen ramped up over the past six or seven years has resulted in a decrease in quality that's being seen by patients. People have coverage, but they don't have care. They're priced out of the market." American Enterprise Institute, June

Attorney general of Oklahoma, one of the Republicans leading the legal fight against President Barack Obama's attempts to curb carbon emissions, Pruitt questions how much human actions are contributing to climate change, a point disputed by the vast majority of the world's climate scientists.

"Healthy debate is the lifeblood of American democracy, and global warming has inspired one of the major policy debates of our time. That debate is far from settled. Scientists continue to disagree about the degree and extent of global warming and its connection to the actions of mankind. That debate should be encouraged — in classrooms, public forums, and the halls of Congress. It should not be silenced with threats of prosecution. Dissent is not a crime." — with Alabama Attorney General Luther Strange, Tulsa World, May

The CEO of CKE Restaurants, the fast-food company that owns burger chains Carl's Jr and Hardee's, Puzder is an opponent of the Affordable Care Act, which he said created a "government-mandated restaurant recession" and of raising the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour, which he argues would lead to fewer jobs.

"I like our ads. I like beautiful women eating burgers in bikinis. I think it's very American. I used to hear, brands take on the personality of the CEO. And I rarely thought that was true, but I think this one, in this case, it kind of did take on my personality." Entrepreneur, 2015

Turnaround specialist who became rich buying struggling steel, textile, coal and other companies and restructuring them, Ross came under criticism for a deadly explosion at a mine his company had bought.

"Clinton will raise taxes. Trump will cut taxes. Clinton will increase regulation. Trump will decrease regulation. Clinton has vowed to kill the coal industry. Trump will leverage America's energy resources to create new jobs and growth." — with Trump adviser Peter Navarro, CNBC, August

U.S. senator and former U.S. attorney from Alabama who failed to win confirmation to a federal judgeship because of concerns about racially charged comments he was accused of making, he has opposed immigration reform and the legalization of marijuana.

"You have to have leadership from Washington. You can't have the president of the United States of America talking about marijuana like it is no different than taking a drink, saying I used marijuana when I was in high school and it is no different than smoking. It is different. And you are sending a message to young people that there is no danger in this process. It is false that marijuana use doesn't lead people to more drug use. It is already causing a disturbance in the states that have made it legal. I think we need to be careful about this."Senate floor speech, April 2016

Tillerson, the CEO of ExxonMobil, has what he has called "a very close relationship" with Russia's Vladimir Putin, which could be problematic during his confirmation hearing. Although he does not have a political or diplomatic background, he has broad experience negotiating deals for ExxonMobil in troubled spots around the world.

"We do not support sanctions, generally, because we don't find them to be effective unless they are very well implemented comprehensively and that's a very hard thing to do," he said, adding, "We always encourage the people who are making those decisions to consider the very broad collateral damage of who are they really harming with sanctions."ExxonMobil shareholders' meeting, 2014.

Montana's sole representative in the House, Zinke would end a moratorium on federal coal leases on public lands. He is also a hunter and fisherman who opposes transferring public lands to the states.

"It's not a hoax, but it's not proven science either. But you don't dismantle America's power and energy on a maybe. We need to be energy independent first. We need to do it better, which we can, but it is not a settled science."Campaign debate, 2014

Photo Credit: AP
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<![CDATA[Status Check: 'April' the Giraffe Still Pregnant, Calf Moves]]>Sun, 26 Feb 2017 09:48:37 -0600http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/april+giraffe+update.jpg

The 15-year-old giraffe named "April," who has captivated millions of people across the world as they watch a live stream in anxious anticipation of the birth of her fourth calf at an upstate New York zoo, is still pregnant and doing well. 

Veterinarians with the Animal Adventure Park in Harpursville, outside Binghamton, said April is experiencing increased belly movement. The happy and healthy mother-to-be has also started to produce milk and shed a few droplets during a Saturday evening examination.

The spotted beauty gazed into the camera, wiggling her ears as she chewed her breakfast Sunday morning. The zoo said the giraffes will stay inside due to the extreme temperature drop and wet or frozen conditions. 

"Rest assured, they receive extra enrichment and extra attention on days they do not venture out," the zoo said. "A little extra bonding time!"

She and her mate, 5-year-old Oliver, had to be separated from each other while they frolicked outside Saturday afternoon because he got aggressive and wanted to rough house. According to vets, bullish behavior is common for male giraffes during the final stages of pregnancy.

"He does not want to play house -- he wants to ROUGH house," the park wrote in a Facebook post Saturday morning. "That is natural behavior as males take no part in rearing their young, nor have a need for a female once she is pregnant. Sad but true."

Viewers were concerned about the long-necked lovers' separation and questioned the vet's intentions until the zoo offered reassurance and told animal lovers to trust them.

Not much changed as the day came to a close: April alternated between standing still, swinging her tail, drinking water and slowly circling her pen. At one point during the afternoon, the calf could be seen kicking around in her belly.

April's pregnancy was catapulted into global headlines earlier Thursday after YouTube briefly yanked the zoo's live stream following complaints by animal activists that it violated the site's policies concerning "nudity and sexual content." Thousands upon thousands of commenters voiced their frustration on Facebook and YouTube, and the stream was restored within an hour or so. 

More than 30 million people across the globe have tuned in over the last few days to watch it. You can check out the live stream above.

April was seen slinking gracefully around her hay-laden home Friday morning in no apparent distress. Once she goes into active labor, zoo officials say the keepers will go in to help her but the first-time dad will be held out of the pen. Active labo

Giraffe pregnancies last for 15 months. Labor lasts anywhere from a few hours to a few days. The calf will be about 150 pounds and 6 feet tall at birth and up and walking in about an hour. The zoo says it will hold a contest to name it.

Photo Credit: Animal Adventure Park/Mazuri
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<![CDATA[Bears Play in NJ Family's Yard]]>Sun, 26 Feb 2017 06:09:50 -0600http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/Bears-Out-of-Hibernation-in.jpg

A family of bears woke up from hibernating and visited a New Jersey family's front yard on Saturday. 

Arne Bruhns said it's not unusual to see bears in his Vernon yard in the summer, but this is the first time he's seen them in February. 

Bruhns said his kids were playing outside on Saturday when they saw the bears from a distance. They came inside and 10 minutes later, five bears were in his yard. 

The bears pawed against a tree and several of them used the trunk to scratch their backs before running off. 

The weather has been unseasonably warm this week, with temperatures reaching the high 60s. 

Photo Credit: Arne Bruhns ]]>
<![CDATA[Kindergartner Transforms Into Black Female Icons]]>Sun, 26 Feb 2017 16:04:21 -0600http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/Lola+Jones_Rosa+Parks.jpg

A mother and daughter from the Evergreen State have put a new spin on playing dress-up.

Each day in February, Cristi Jones of Kent, Washington, takes to Twitter to post a portrait of her 5-year-old daughter, Lola, dressed up as a black female pioneer to celebrate Black History Month.

"You can be anything you want and you can change your mind — or be a scientist and physician and astronaut like Dr. Jemison,” said Lola.

Lola has transformed into Rosa Parks, Mae Jemison, Misty Copeland and Harriet Tubman, among others, with the help of Jones’ creativity and a cell phone.

"She does very good faces. She does the face she sees in the picture,” said Jones. "As soon as she got dressed (as Harriet Tubman), she did the face and nailed it.”

Using window light and a door or the wall in the kitchen as a backdrop, Jones takes a photo with her cell phone and edits it on Snapfeed, a photo app. Before bed, Jones prepares the lesson and photo shoot for the next day.

Jones is an amateur photographer and enjoys playing with photo filters on her mobile device. Her professional photographer friend Kayleigh Stefanko contributed to the project by shooting three images — Angela Davis, Daisy Bates and Mildred Loving — to give Jones a break.

It took a bit of ingenuity to get the look of the female historical figures. Jones uses mostly things from around her house and Lola’s father’s old glasses. Jones also bought a couple of hats and wigs, and a $2 suit jacket from the thrift store. Her grandmother’s dress made a cameo in the Shirley Chisholm portrait.

Jones created the photo project as an “engaging way to learn about strong women who paved the way for little girls like her, for all of us.”

The project was sparked when Lola came home from school sharing what she had learned about Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in January.

The family decided it was time to teach Lola about Civil Rights and slavery. The mom of two - Lola has a 19-month-old sister, Eden - decided to make the education fun with a twist.

Each night after dinner, the duo spends quality time together reenacting the historical icons.

"We started simple with a simple outfit and did Nina Simone on Day 1. She did well,” Jones said. “Black History Month is already a short month. We only have 28 days to work with. There’s so many more women that deserve to be honored.”

Lola’s teacher shows the images in class and so her friends are learning too.

While Lola’s favorite image is Rosa Parks because Rosa was so brave, she enjoyed becoming Misty Copeland because she felt pretty like a ballerina.

Jones hopes to have the photos bound as a keepsake after their project is done. Lola likes to tell jokes, dance and put on clothes and makeup, and the portrait project has been a great opportunity for her to express her personality and build confidence.

“We’ve paid our tribute (to the women), and hopefully people like them. So it all kind of exceeds my expectations,” said Jones.

Photo Credit: Cristi Jones
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<![CDATA[Body Found in The Magic Castle]]>Sun, 26 Feb 2017 11:13:00 -0600http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/214*120/magic-castle-death-022417.PNG

The magic community was mourning the death of a celebrated magician Saturday morning after he was found dead inside of an iconic Hollywood magician's club Friday night.

Employees at The Magic Castle at 7001 Franklin Avenue discovered a male performer's body and reported the death around 7:24 p.m., according to Sgt. Larry Hernandez of the Los Angeles Police Department.

The man who died was a magician who has been performing on and off at the club for the past few decades, according to police. The cause of his death was from an apparent suicide, Hernandez said.

NBC4 confirmed with the coroner's office Sunday morning that the cause of death was suicide.

Saturday morning, the Academy of Magical Arts identified the man as celebrated magician Daryl Easton.

"The magic community mourns the loss of one of our most beloved and talented performers and the AMA’s deepest regrets and heart-felt sympathy go out to Daryl’s family," the statement read. 

Employees said he died right before he was supposed to perform. They were shocked to learn about his death and said the magician was a beloved act at the club.

Easton was an award winning "close-up magician with over 40 years of experience in both performing and selling the finest magic in the world," read the statement. He had performed thousands of shows, and performed as a headline act in Las Vegas for seven years. 

Sections of The Magic Castle were shut down for the investigation, Hernandez said.

No further details were immediately available.

Photo Credit: NewsChopper4]]>
<![CDATA[Clinton Calls for 'Resistance,' Party Unity in New Video]]>Fri, 24 Feb 2017 17:56:19 -0600http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-6286307641.jpg

Hillary Clinton has come up with a new equation for Democrats who are looking for change.

“Let resistance plus persistence equal progress for our party and our country,” she said in a video posted to the Democratic Party’s Twitter page.

The former Democratic presidential nominee released the statement Friday lauding recent solidarity efforts, from global women’s marches to actions against President Donald Trump’s travel ban at airports across the country.

“Nearly 66 million votes are fueling grassroots energy and activism, and everywhere people are marching, protesting, tweeting, speaking out, and working for an America that’s hopeful, inclusive, and big-hearted,” Clinton said. 

She added, “Among those millions making their voices heard are future mayors, city and state officials, governors, members of Congress -- even future presidents.”

Clinton thanked her base for supporting her presidential bid, which she called “the honor of a lifetime.” She said that during the general election she had run on “the most progressive platform in history” and emphasized the need for Democrats to pull together and “stay focused on the elections we must win this year and next.” 

“As Democrats, we have diverse views and backgrounds,” she said. “We are Democrats, after all. But we’re bound together by the values and hopes we share for our country.” 

Clinton’s call for unity comes before Democrats are expected to choose a new chair for the Democratic National Committee on Saturday.

Tom Perez, Barack Obama’s former labor secretary, is running to “protect President Obama’s accomplishments” and “listen to Democrats at every level,” according to his campaign website.

One of his opponents, U.S. Rep. Keith Ellison of Minnesota, has been endorsed by former presidential candidate U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders and is perceived as an alternative to Perez's establishment background.

Pete Buttigieg, the mayor of South Bend, Indiana,  has emerged as an underdog among D.C. political veterans.

According to the Associated Press, the role of DNC chair is “part cheerleader, part fundraiser, part organizer and recruiter, part public messenger.”

Photo Credit: Getty Images
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<![CDATA[Majority of Americans Want Trump-Russia Probe: Poll ]]>Fri, 24 Feb 2017 16:14:44 -0600http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/Trump_Putin_Split.jpg

About half of Americans believe that Congress should investigate whether Donald Trump's presidential campaign had contact with the Russian government in 2016, while only a quarter say that lawmakers should not probe the issue, according to a new NBC News/ Wall Street Journal poll.

The poll, conducted Feb. 18-22, shows that 53 percent of the American public wants Congress to look into the alleged communications, while 25 percent disagree and 21 percent say they don't have an opinion.

A similar share - 54 percent - believe that Congress should look into Russian interference in the election generally, while 29 percent disagree.

Photo Credit: Getty Images ]]>