Articles on this Page
- 10/03/15--10:58: _Person Hospitalized...
- 10/04/15--04:30: _14-Year-Old Charged...
- 10/03/15--17:24: _Priest Points Gun a...
- 10/03/15--13:40: _Dry Chemical Releas...
- 10/03/15--15:56: _Community Mourns Ha...
- 10/04/15--06:49: _Registered Sex Offe...
- 10/03/15--18:12: _Crews Respond to Ne...
- 10/04/15--07:15: _Coast Guard Finds L...
- 10/03/15--18:10: _12 Doctors, 7 Patie...
- 10/03/15--15:43: _SF More Expensive D...
- 10/03/15--22:09: _ER Nurse Treats Dyi...
- 10/03/15--21:01: _Hundreds Missing an...
- 10/03/15--21:48: _Clinton Campaign Co...
- 10/04/15--04:37: _U.S. Airmen Killed ...
- 10/04/15--04:38: _Doctors Without Bor...
- 10/04/15--02:28: _Meet Architect Phil...
- 10/04/15--06:42: _'Once in 200 Years'...
- 10/04/15--06:41: _Pope: Marriage Is a...
- 10/04/15--06:55: _Israel Restricts Pa...
- 10/03/15--13:34: _Officials: Oregon C...
- 10/03/15--10:58: Person Hospitalized in Hartford Stabbing
- 10/04/15--04:30: 14-Year-Old Charged in 15 Robberies
- Sept. 30, 400 block of N. Preston Street
- Sept. 29, 3900 block of Baring Street
- Sept. 27, 400 block of N. 41st Street
- Sept. 21, Preston Street and Powelton Avenue
- Sept. 21, 4400 block of Sansom Street
- Sept. 18, 32nd Street and Haverford Avenue
- Sept. 18, 3100 block of Hamilton Street
- Sept. 18, 500 block of N. 34th Street
- Sept. 18, 600 block of N. 34th Street
- Sept. 17, 600 block of N. 32nd Street
- Sept. 10, 4000 block of Baring Street
- Sept. 5, 4000 block of Spring Garden Street
- Sept. 5, 34th Street and Mantua Avenue
- Sept. 5, 3500 block of Hamilton Street
- Aug. 30, 400 block of N. 35th Street
- 10/03/15--17:24: Priest Points Gun at 8-Year-Old Boy
- 10/03/15--13:40: Dry Chemical Released at Ellington Gas Station
- 10/03/15--15:56: Community Mourns Hartford Woman Killed in Hit-and-Run
- 10/04/15--06:49: Registered Sex Offender Exposed Himself on Trail: PD
- 10/03/15--18:12: Crews Respond to New London Fire
- 10/04/15--07:15: Coast Guard Finds Life Ring in Hunt for Missing Cargo Ship
- 10/03/15--18:10: 12 Doctors, 7 Patients Killed From U.S. Airstrike
- 10/03/15--15:43: SF More Expensive During Gold Rush
- 10/03/15--22:09: ER Nurse Treats Dying Brother
- 10/03/15--21:01: Hundreds Missing and at Least 73 Dead in Guatemala Mudslide
- 10/03/15--21:48: Clinton Campaign Courts Latino Voters
- 10/04/15--04:37: U.S. Airmen Killed in Afghan Plane Crash ID'd
- 10/04/15--04:38: Doctors Without Borders Leaves Afghan City After Deadly Airstrikes
- 10/04/15--06:42: 'Once in 200 Years' Downpour Threatens S.C.
- 10/04/15--06:41: Pope: Marriage Is an 'Indissoluble Bond'
- 10/04/15--06:55: Israel Restricts Palestinian Access to Jerusalem's Old City
- 10/03/15--13:34: Officials: Oregon College Shooter Died of Apparent Suicide
A person was hospitalized in a stabbing early Saturday morning in Hartford.
Police near the intersection of Main and Pavilion Street heard what sounded like a gunshot and then discovered a person on the roadway at Pavilion and Wooster streets, police said. It happened just after midnight early Saturday morning.
Officers gave the person first aid on scene before he was transported to an area hospital.
Doctors evaluated the wound and determined that it came from a knife, not a bullet.
Police have not identified a suspect or witnesses and didn't find evidence at the scene.
The person stabbed is listed in stable condition at the hospital.
Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com
A 14-year-old boy was arrested and charged in connection to 15 robberies near Drexel University in Philadelphia in August and September.
During an incident on Sept. 29, a woman and another victim had just gotten into her car around 11:15 p.m on the 3900 block of Baring Street. The woman told police she tried several times to close her car door but believed it was stuck. She then heard the other victim repeatedly yell, “Mom,” police said. The woman told investigators she then looked up and saw the teen boy holding a gun.
The boy then allegedly told her, “Get out of the car you f****** b****,” several times. The woman and second victim then fled into a nearby home while the boy entered their car, police said. After a few moments, the teen exited the car and fled in another direction.
While the boy didn’t take anything during that incident, during other robberies the teen stole cellphones, cash, credit cards, house keys, and medication, police said. He also allegedly pistol whipped a victim during an incident on Sept. 18 on the 500 block of North 34th Street and punched a woman twice in the face during an incident on Sept. 30 on the 400 block of N. Preston Street.
On Sept. 30, detectives interviewed the victim of a robbery on the 400 block of N. Preston Street. Investigators told the woman, who is a student at Drexel, to log into her Discover Credit Card account to cancel her stolen card. While she was logging in the woman received an email stating that a suspicious transaction occurred at a business on the 700 block of N. 38th street around 7:24 a.m. that day, police said.
An investigator went to the business and recovered surveillance video of the teen suspect using the woman’s credit card at the ATM machine inside the store, according to police. Investigators then retrieved still images of the suspect.
On Friday police officers spotted the suspect riding a purple bicycle on 37th Street and Fairmount Avenue, investigators said. The officers noticed the teen looked like the suspect in the surveillance video and that he was riding a purple bicycle that was described in some of the previous robberies. The teen was taken in for questioning and officials obtained a search warrant for his home.
As they searched they found clothing he wore in previous robberies as well as other bicycles he used, police said.
The teen was arrested and charged with 15 counts of robbery and other related offenses. Police believe he used a BB gun during the robberies.
The robberies occurred at the following times at the following locations:
Photo Credit: Philadelphia Police
A New Jersey church priest pointed a musket at an 8-year-old child inside his church and threatened him with it over an apparent sports rivalry, prosecutors say.
The 54-year-old priest at St. Margaret of Cortona Roman Catholic Church in Little Ferry was arrested Friday on charges of endangering the welfare of a child and aggravated assault by pointing a firearm, the Bergen County Prosecutor's Office said.
The priest allegedly approached the boy before Mass services at the church on Sunday, Sept. 13, and asked to see him in one of the rectory rooms, according to prosecutors.
Once they were in the room, the priest allegedly had the boy stand against the wall, then retrieved a musket and pointed it at him, prosecutors said, citing several witnesses.
"As he raised his weapon and pointed it at the boy, he said, 'I'm going to shoot you,'" Bergen County Prosecutor John Molinelli told NBC 4 New York Friday.
The boy was not hurt, Molinelli said.
One of the parishioners who witnessed the incident contacted Newark Archdiocese officials on Sept. 25, and the Archdiocese in turn contacted the prosecutor's office on Sept. 28.
The prosecutor's office began investigating along with Little Ferry police, and on Friday, interviewed the priest at the rectory. A search of the room turned up the weapon that was allegedly used -- a functioning Civil War-style musket -- as well as gunpowder, ammunition and other associated items for the gun, authorities said.
Prosecutors said the priest, a Giants fan, was apparently unhappy because the boy planned to root for the Cowboys in a game against the Giants later that day.
"The young boy was apparently a fan of a particular football team, the priest was not. So perhaps we have indication it started out as that," said Molinelli.
"There's no such thing as joking around with a weapon when you're dealing with an 8-year-old kid," he added.
The Giants lost to the Cowboys 26-27 on Sept. 13.
The priest, Kevin Carter, was jailed on $15,000 bail. He was still in custody at Little Ferry Police headquarters Friday night and could not be reached; it wasn't immediately clear if he had an attorney.
The Archdiocese did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The prosecutor's office says Carter was ordained in Newark in November 1986 and has since worked at various Roman Catholic churches across the Archdiocese. He has been at St. Margaret of Cortona since February 2013.
Priest Kevin Carter was arrested on accusations he pointed a gun at a boy
Apparent white fog surrounded a Cumberland Farms in Ellington Saturday after a dry chemical was released during a fire alarm call.
Ellington firefighters responded to the gas station at 5 Wappingwood Road for a fire alarm call.
There was no fire when they arrived, according to the department, however a large amount of a dry chemical that is in fire extinguishers was released, causing the appearance of white fog.
No one was injured.
The dry chemical release shouldn't put anyone in danger.
Family and friends are remembering a Hartford woman who died after a hit-and-run.
On Saturday, there was a wake and vigil for 60-year-old Felicita Ayala.
“She was a really nice person and she had a good heart, really good heart,” says Sonia Moody.
Moody cannot believe she lost a former coworker, who friends and family called Fela.
Police say Ayala was crossing Garden Street last weekend when she was hit by an SUV which then took off northbound. Police rushed Ayala early Sunday morning to the hospital. She died several days later.
“The fact of the matter is that this was a human being and she didn’t deserve to die the way she died,” says Rev. Henry Brown of Mothers United Against Violence. “I’m hoping what we’re doing here (Saturday) will inspire justice to come for this young woman.”
A witness told police the SUV was a white Dodge Durango. That driver is still on the run and people at the vigil prayed whoever it is will be held accountable.
“I hope so. I hope they find out who did it,” says Moody.
The family says Ayala’s funeral is scheduled for Sunday.
Anyone with information about the crash is asked to call Hartford police.
Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com
A registered sex offender is facing breach of peace and public indecency charges after a jogger told police he saw him on a trail without pants and with his genitals exposed, police said.
Police arrested Richard Hammond, 52. of Stratford, on Saturday in connection to the May 10 incident.
A jogger came up to a police officer to report seeing a exposed man on the Shelton Trails while he was jogging in the area of Shelton Avenue. The man, who wasn't wearing any pants and had his genitals exposed, gestured to the jogger and then darted into the woods, the jogger told police.
Police found Hammond on the trails and identified him as the suspect.
Hammond has been a registered sex offender since 1998, police said.
Police charged him with second-degree breach of peace and public indecency.
Photo Credit: Shelton Police Department
New London firefighters responded to a two-alarm fire Saturday night.
The fire broke out at a home at 61 Summer Street around 6:28 p.m. It took crews around an hour to get the blaze under control and firefighters spent another hour fighting hotspots. No injuries were reported.
Approximately 30 to 35 firefighters from the New London fire, Mohegan tribe fire, US naval sub base fire, Norwich fire, and Waterford fire responded.
As of 9 p.m. units were beginning to clear the scene. The cause of the fire is under investigation.
The U.S. Coast Guard has found a life ring from a cargo ship that went missing during Hurricane Joaquin, searchers announced Saturday.
The Coast Guard said in a tweet that they have confirmed the life ring is from the El Faro, a 790-foot container ship that went missing Thursday with 33 people aboard — including 28 Americans.
The El Faro was last heard from Thursday around 7:20 a.m. when it sent a distress call indicating it had lost power and was taking on water. It left for San Juan in Puerto Rico Tuesday from Jacksonville, Florida.
Joaquin was a topical storm when the ship departed, but the storm quickly grew in intensity and became a Category 4 hurricane when it lashed the Bahamas on Thursday.
Photo Credit: Capt. William Hoey
Missing cargo ship El Faro is pictured.
Twelve Doctors Without Borders staff along with seven patients, including three children, were killed after an apparent U.S. airstrike hit the international charity's hospital in the Afghan city of Kunduz.
Another 37 others were injured in the strike: 19 staff members, including five in critical condition, and 18 patients and caretakers, according to Jason Cone, the executive director for Doctors Without Borders in the U.S. The organization didn't comment on the identities of the victims, but said all international staffers were alive and accounted for.
Coalition spokesman Col. Brian Tribus confirmed that a U.S. airstrike conducted at around 2:15 a.m. local time on Saturday (5:45 p.m. ET Friday) "may have caused collateral damage to a nearby health facility." The incident was being investigated, he added.
Photo Credit: AP
The Doctors Without Borders trauma center is seen in flames, after explosions near their hospital in the northern Afghan city of Kunduz. Doctors Without Borders announced that the death toll from the bombing of the group's Kunduz hospital compound has risen to at least 16, including 3 children and that tens are missing after the explosions that may have been caused by a U.S. airstrike. In a statement, the international charity said the "sustained bombing" took place at 2:10 a.m. (21:40 GMT). Afghan forces backed by U.S. airstrikes have been fighting to dislodge Taliban insurgents who overran Kunduz on Monday.
San Francisco’s tech boom may be the cause of rising rents in the city, but, apparently, it’s nothing compared to the cost of living in California during the Gold Rush.
In 1849, as men flocked to the San Francisco area in hopes of hitting gold, local retailers took advantage of the situation by charging exorbitant prices for commodities, The Smithsonian reports. Back then, a dozen eggs could cost the equivalent of $90 today.
The Smithsonian cites the writings of Bayard Taylor, a reporter who wrote about the Gold Rush for the now-defunct New York Tribune. According to Taylor’s articles, some individual hotel rooms cost upwards of $10,000 a month – the equivalent of about $300,000 today.
But that’s not all.
Coffee could cost the equivalent of $1,200 per pound while a pair of shoes would run about $3,000.
While researchers have made various estimates for commodity pricing during the Gold Rush – some have priced coffee at around $100 per pound -- most of them agree: it was a very expensive, if not the most expensive time to live in the city.
Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area
A suspect was arrested in the fatal hit-and-run crash of Cesar Andres Medina, authorities said Saturday.
Andrew Christopher Michaels, 19, of Laguna Niguel was arrested in connection with the crash, according to the Orange County Sheriff's Department.
An emergency room nurse, Jennifer Medina, was trying to cope with the heartbreak after she discovered that the patient she was treating while working the night shift at a Southern California hospital was her dying brother, Cesar.
Medina, known to friends as Andy, was transported to Mission Hospital Regional Medical Center in Mission Viejo after being struck by a hit-and-run driver in San Juan Capistrano Friday night.
His sister, Jennifer Medina, was working a busy shift at the hospital when her 23-year-old brother was brought in unresponsive and not breathing.
As doctors worked frantically to save Medina, Jennifer Medina and her coworker looked for his identification. "I recognized the wallet ... And she opened it up and it was my brother's face right there," said Jennifer Medina in tears. "Everything just collapsed I just couldn't hold it together."
The collision was reported around 10:10 p.m. on Del Obispo Street and Paseo Carolina, according to the Orange County Sheriff's Department.
Witness accounts and evidence shows Medina was struck in the crosswalk as he crossed from the south to the north side of Del Obispo, OCSD said. Witnesses also said Cesar Andres Medina had the right of way while crossing on a green light.
"Please I'm begging the guy that killed my nephew to go to the police," said Mary Floyd, the victim's aunt.
"I just knew I wanted to say my last goodbyes to Andy after they cleaned him up," said Jennifer Medina. "And tell him how much I love him."
A GoFundMe page has been set up in Cesar Andres Medina's memory.
Orange County Sheriff’s Department investigators said deputies located a truck matching the description of the vehicle believed to be involved in the hit-and-run.
The Dodge Ram truck was parked int he driveway of a home.
Michaels contacted the sheriff's department and after authorities interviewed him, he was arrested on felony hit-and-run.
He was set to be booked in Orange County Jail.
Anyone with information about the vehicle or who witnessed this collision is asked to call the Orange County Sheriff's Department's Traffic Bureau at (714) 647-7000 or (949) 425-1860.
Cesar Andres Medina was struck and killed by a hit-and-run driver in San Juan Capistrano Friday, Oct. 2, 2015.
Hopes faded of finding any remaining survivors of a massive landslide in Guatemala that killed at least 73 people, even as families scrabbled through rubble hoping to find the bodies of loved-ones, with hundreds of others still missing, NBC News reported.
Distraught relatives of the victims shoveled alongside diggers through the mounds of earth that destroyed homes in Santa Catarina Pinula on the southeastern flank of Guatemala City after the collapse of a hillside on Thursday night.
Every fresh batch of earth turned up by the diggers held more personal belongings, from mattresses and books to toys and Christmas decorations, reminders of around 350 people who authorities said were still unaccounted for.
Photo Credit: AP
Rescue workers help a woman after she identified two family members who were killed in a mudslide as their bodies are retrieved in Cambray, a neighborhood in the suburb of Santa Catarina Pinula, on the outskirts of Guatemala City, Saturday, Oct. 3, 2015. Rescue workers recovered more bodies Saturday after a hillside collapsed on homes late Thursday, while more are feared still buried in the rubble.
Capitalizing on her still positive polling numbers with Latinos, Democrat Hillary Clinton is making the most of Hispanic Heritage Month to bolster her backing in the community and overall nationally, NBC News reported.
The campaign said Thursday it is launching "Latinos for Hillary" with several events that it will roll out over the next several weeks.
Clinton, the frontrunner early in the 2016 election, has seen her positive ratings drop among all voters and the wide lead over closest rival for the Democratic nomination, Sen. Bernie Sanders, shrink or disappear in New Hampshire and Iowa.
The most recent NBC/Wall Street Journal poll released this week shows Clinton with a negative popularity rating, 39 percent to 47 percent (-8) favorable/unfavorable among all voters.
Photo Credit: AP
Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Rodham Clinton gestures as she speaks at Human Rights Campaign gathering in Washington, Saturday, Oct. 3, 2015.
The six U.S. airmen killed Friday when their C-130 transport plane crashed during takeoff in Afghanistan have been identified, NBC News reported.
On Saturday, the Department of Defense named the dead Americans as Capt. Jonathan J. Golden, 33, of Camarillo, California; Capt. Jordan B. Pierson, 28, of Abilene, Texas; Staff Sgt. Ryan D. Hammond, 26, of Moundsville, West Virginia; Senior Airman Quinn L. Johnson-Harris, 21, of Milwaukee, Wisconsin; Senior Airman Nathan C. Sartain, 29, of Pensacola, Florida; and Airman 1st Class Kcey E. Ruiz, 21, of McDonough, Georgia.
The four-engine turboprop aircraft plummeted shortly after midnight local time (3:19 p.m. ET) at Jalalabad airfield, coalition spokesman U.S. Army Col. Brian Tribus said. In total, 13 people were killed.
Photo Credit: AFP/Getty Images
A US helicopter flies over Afghanistan's Jalalabad Airport where a US C-130 military transport plane crashed in Jalalabad on October 2, 2015.
The International medical charity Doctors Without Borders said on Sunday it had withdrawn from the northern Afghan city of Kunduz after a deadly airstrike destroyed its hospital and killed 19 people, including 12 MSF staffers, NBC News reported.
"MSF hospital in Kunduz is not functional anymore," Kate Stegeman, a Kabul-based spokesperson for the charity also known as Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF), announced in a tweet on Sunday.
The group blames the U.S. for the airstrike. Afghan officials said helicopter gunships returned fire from Taliban fighters who were hiding in the facility.
Investigations are continuing into Saturday's bombing of the hospital.
You may not know his name, but you probably know his work.
He designed the National Center for Civil and Human Rights, which opened with much fanfare in Atlanta in June of 2014. His portfolio also includes the Museum of the African Diaspora in San Francisco, Emancipation Park in Houston, multiple library projects for the Washington D.C. Public Library System and the Durham County Human Services Complex in North Carolina.
Phil Freelon is widely considered one of the country's most talented architects.
A President Obama appointee to the National Commission of Fine Arts, a Fellow of the American Institute of Architects (FAIA) and a recipient of the Thomas Jefferson Award for Public Architecture, the proud Philly native who now calls Durham, North Carolina home, also happens to be African American.
Photo Credit: File--The Washington Post/Getty Images
Architect Phil Freelon, co-designer of the new Smithonian National Museum of African American History and Culture, at the National Building museum on February, 16, 2012 in Washington, DC.
Some 22 million East Coast residents braced for more deadly flooding on Sunday as a "once in 200 years rainfall event" threatened South Carolina, NBC News reported.
At least four weather-related deaths have been reported since rains spread over the Eastern Seaboard. Overnight, 37 people were rescued from rising waters in Charleston, according to Charleston Fire Chief Karen Brack, who said she expected that number to rise as residents woke up and realized that they are trapped in their homes.
Forecasters also warned that wind gusts would top 35 mph across the Carolinas and Virginia, likely downing trees and power lines in the early hours. Flooded roads were closed throughout the mid-Atlantic region and power companies reported scattered outages in several states.
Flood watches and warnings also are in effect in Delaware and parts of New Jersey, Maryland and Virginia.
Photo Credit: AP
Waves crash over an experimental sea wall to protect homes during high tide on the Isle of Palms Saturday, Oct. 3, 2015. The South Carolina coast is getting hammered with historic rains along with an unusual lunar high tide causing flooding all over the state. Traditional sand bags are seen at bottom of photo.
Pope Francis opened a divisive meeting of the world's bishops on family issues Sunday by forcefully asserting that marriage is an indissoluble bond between man and woman. But he said the church doesn't judge and must "seek out and care for hurting couples with the balm of acceptance and mercy."
Francis dove head-on into the most pressing issue confronting the meeting of 270 bishops during a solemn Mass in St. Peter's Basilica: How to better minister to Catholic families experiencing separation, divorce and other problems when the church's teaching holds that marriage is forever.
He insisted that the church cannot be "swayed by passing fads or popular opinion." But in an acknowledgment that marriages fail, he said the church is also a mother, who doesn't point fingers or judge her children.
"The church must search out these persons, welcome and accompany them, for a church with closed doors betrays herself and her mission and instead of being a bridge, becomes a roadblock," he said.
One of the major debates at the synod is whether divorced and civilly remarried Catholics can receive Communion.
Francis launched the synod process two years ago by sending out a 39-point questionnaire to bishops, parishes and ordinary Catholic families around the world asking about their understanding of and adherence to church teaching on family matters. Their responses showed a widespread rift between official Catholic teaching and practice, particularly on sex, marriage and homosexuality.
A first meeting of bishops ended last October with no consensus on how to better welcome gays and divorced and civilly remarried Catholics in the church. Conservatives insisted that Catholic doctrine is clear and unchanging. Progressives acknowledged the doctrine but sought wiggle room in pastoral practice.
In the ensuing 12 months, both sides have dug in and sparks are expected to fly in Round 2. In fact, few Vatican meetings have enjoyed as controversial a run-up as this one. There have been allegations of manipulation and coercion; secret caucuses to plot strategy; de-facto laws passed to take the wind out of the debate.
And on the eve of the synod, a Vatican monsignor outed himself as gay and denounced widespread homophobia in the church.
"We are happy if there is turbulence," said Cardinal Lorenzo Baldisseri, the Italian running the synod. "We are in the sea, and so there has to be some turbulence."
Cardinal George Pell, the Vatican's finance manager who is firmly in the conservative camp, predicted little more than a reaffirmation of the status quo would emerge in Round 2, albeit with perhaps better explanation as to why the status quo exists.
"It's quite impossible for there to be any change in the church's teaching on Communion for the divorced and remarried," Pell said on the sidelines of a conference last week about helping gays overcome their homosexual tendencies.
The conference was one of many initiatives launched by conservatives in the run-up to the synod aimed at reasserting traditional Catholic teaching on homosexuality, which holds that gays are to be respected but that homosexual acts are "intrinsically disordered."
In a clear challenge to that teaching, a mid-level official in the Vatican's orthodoxy office, Monsignor Krzysztof Charamsa, announced Saturday that that he was a proud gay priest (with a boyfriend), called for the synod to take up the plight of gays, and denounced homophobia throughout the church.
The Vatican summarily fired him.
Gay rights activists, who were in Rome to try to influence the synod from the sidelines, came to his defense and urged the synod fathers to assert that there is no place for homophobia in the church.
Former Irish President Mary McAleese, a practicing Catholic with a gay son, said she hoped that more transparency would help "kill for once and all this terrible lie" that everyone was born heterosexual.
But there is little sense the synod will show any new great opening to gays after the first round pulled back on a ground-breaking welcome initiated mid-way through. In that mid-way report, the bishops said gay unions could provide "precious" support for partners.
In a new book "The Rigging of a Vatican Synod?" author Edward Pentin asserts that the mid-way report was essentially manipulated by the Vatican's synod organizers, using heavy-handed, coercive tactics that didn't reflect the synod membership.
More movement may emerge on the other hot-button issue, whether divorced and civilly-remarried Catholics can receive Communion.
Catholics who divorce and want to remarry in the church must first obtain an annulment, a ruling from a church tribunal that their first marriage was invalid. Without the annulment, these civilly remarried Catholics are considered to be living in sin and cannot receive Communion, a condition that has lead generations of Catholics to feel shunned by their church.
Francis has sought a more merciful approach, insisting that these remarried Catholics be fully part of the life of the church. Progressive prelates led by German Cardinal Walter Kasper have called for a process by which a bishop could accompany these remarried Catholics on a path of penance that, over time and on a case-by-case basis, could lead to them receiving the sacraments.
Earlier this year, a handful of progressive German, Swiss and French bishops met in secret at Rome's Pontifical Gregorian University to plot strategy ahead of the synod, allowing in only a handful of friendly progressive media in behind closed doors.
In the meantime, Francis pulled the rug out from under the debate to some degree by radically reforming the annulment process to make the decrees easier to obtain. Canon lawyers and conservatives have balked at the new law, asserting that it amounts to "Catholic divorce" — a charge Francis has vigorously denied.
Like it or not, however, the new law will make it easier for Catholics to get annulments, which may lessen the urgency of coming up with a definitive solution for the divorce/remarried issue at the synod.
Photo Credit: AP
Pope Francis raises the book of the Gospels as he celebrates the opening Mass of the Synod of bishops, in St. Peter's Basilica at the Vatican, Sunday, Oct. 4, 2015.
In an unprecedented measure, Israeli police barred Palestinians from Jerusalem's Old City on Sunday in response to stabbing attacks that killed two Israelis and wounded three others, as Israel's prime minister vowed a "harsh offensive" to counter rising violence.
Tensions have flared in recent weeks over an Old City holy site sacred to Muslims and Jews, a series of so-called "lone wolf" attacks on Israelis and a security clampdown, which on Sunday saw Israeli troops launch a bloody arrest raid in the West Bank.
The latest spike in violence comes at a time when many Palestinians no longer believe statehood through negotiations with Israel is possible. Israeli commentators raised the possibility of a third uprising, though Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has so far prevented major outbreaks of violence despite his growing friction with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
In response to the recent violence, Israeli police said they would prevent Palestinian residents of Jerusalem from entering the Old City for two days during a Jewish holiday. Palestinians who live, work and study within the Old City, as well as Israelis and tourists, will be allowed in.
"This is a drastic measure that's being taken in order to make sure there are no further attacks during the Jewish festival where you can see thousands of people visiting the Old City," Israeli police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said.
Israel captured the Old City and east Jerusalem in the 1967 Mideast war, and later annexed the areas. Palestinians claim east Jerusalem as the capital of their hoped-for state.
Some 300,000 Palestinians live in Jerusalem, making up about a third of the city's population. They live in the predominantly Arab eastern district and have residency status in the city, but do not hold Israeli citizenship.
They are usually free to enter the Old City in east Jerusalem, where major Muslim, Christian and Jewish holy sites are located. Jerusalem expert Danny Seidemann said it is the first time since Israel captured the Old City in 1967 that it has prevented Jerusalem's Palestinians from entering.
In the latest attack, Israeli police say a Palestinian teenager stabbed and moderately wounded a 15-year-old Israeli early Sunday morning in Jerusalem before being shot dead by Israeli police.
Israeli TV showed footage of the alleged assailant walking along the city's light rail tracks as bystanders screamed, "Shoot him!" In the video, a police car arrives on the scene, multiple gunshots are heard, and the attacker is then seen lying on the ground.
The attack came hours after a Palestinian teen fatally stabbed two Israelis in the Old City and wounded the wife and toddler of one of the slain men, before the attacker was shot dead by an Israeli police officer. Israeli officials identified the victims of Saturday's attack as Aharon Banita, a 21-year-old soldier, and Rabbi Nehemia Lavi, a father of seven who was a rabbi at a seminary in the Old City's Muslim Quarter.
Tensions have soared in recent weeks over a major holy site known to Jews as the Temple Mount and to Muslims as the Noble Sanctuary, the site of the Al-Aqsa Mosque. Israeli police and Palestinian demonstrators have clashed repeatedly there in recent weeks.
The unrest has spread to the West Bank, where at least 18 Palestinians were wounded in clashes with Israeli troops Sunday during an Israeli arrest raid. On Friday, an Israeli couple was killed in a Palestinian drive-by shooting in the West Bank.
Netanyahu said he would meet with security officials Sunday to decide on a "harsh offensive on Palestinian Islamic terror," according to a statement on his Facebook page. "We are in an all-out war against terror," Netanyahu wrote.
Israel's leading newspaper commentator, Nahum Barnea, called the recent violence the "Third Intifada," referring to Palestinian uprisings in the 1980s and the early 2000s. "Not calling it by name allows the political and military establishment to evade, repress, shirk responsibility," he wrote in the Yediot Ahronot newspaper.
But Hani al-Masri, a Palestinian political analyst, said it was not likely the start of a new Intifada. "Intifada needs a leadership and the Palestinian political leadership is against it," he said.
Relatives of the teen behind Sunday's attack identified him as Fadi Alloun, 19, from traditionally Arab east Jerusalem. On Saturday, he wrote on his Facebook page: "Either martyrdom or victory."
Muhannad Halabi, the 19-year-old Palestinian behind the deadly stabbing attack on Saturday, also wrote a post on Facebook before the attack: "What's happening to our holy places? What's happening to our mothers and sisters in the Al-Aqsa mosque? We are not the people who accept humiliation. Our people will revolt."
The sacred hilltop compound is a frequent flashpoint and its fate is at the core of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. It is known to Jews as the Temple Mount, site of the two biblical Jewish temples. Muslims revere it as the Noble Sanctuary, where they believe the Prophet Muhammad ascended to heaven in a night journey.
Non-Muslim visitors are only allowed to enter the site at specific hours and are banned by police from praying there. Many Muslims view Jewish visits as a provocation and accuse Jewish extremists of plotting to take over the site. Israel has promised to ensure the delicate arrangement at the site and insists it will not allow the status quo there to be changed.
In the West Bank, Israeli troops shot and wounded at least 26 Palestinians in an arrest raid in the Jenin refugee camp, a Palestinian hospital director said. The refugee camp was the scene of some of the fiercest fighting of the second Palestinian intifada.
Monther Irshaid, director of the Khalil Suleiman Hospital in Jenin, said the Palestinians were shot in the legs with live bullets and two suffered serious leg injuries.
The clashes broke out as troops surrounded the home of a Palestinian suspect. Witnesses said Israeli troops fired a "small missile" at the house to force the suspect out. The Israeli military said a few dozen Palestinians attacked troops with pipe bombs and that troops responded with "riot dispersal means."
Troops arrested two Palestinians suspected of "terror activity," the army said. One armed suspect barricaded himself inside a building and a fire broke out during the arrest, the army said without elaborating. The army said troops found explosive devices inside.
Photo Credit: AP
Israelis attend the funeral of Rabbi Nehemia Lavi, at a cemetery in Jerusalem, Sunday, Oct. 4, 2015. In an unprecedented measure, Israeli police barred Palestinians from Jerusalem's Old City on Sunday in response to stabbing attacks that killed Lavi and another Israeli, and wounded three others, as Israel's prime minister vowed a "harsh offensive" to counter rising violence.
The man armed with several guns who walked into a Thursday morning writing class at a rural Oregon community college and fatally shot nine people, died of an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound.
Douglas County Sheriff John Hanlin, speaking at a news conference Saturday, said the medical examiner's office has determined the cause of death as suicide.
Officials initially said the shooter, identified as 26-year-old Christopher Harper-Mercer, was killed during a shoot out with officers responding to the Umpqua Community College campus. The worst mass shooting in Oregon history also injured nine people.
Hanlin also revealed an additional gun was found at the apartment Harper-Mercer shared with his mother, bringing the total number of weapons seized to 14.
Harper-Mercer was armed with a 9mm Glock pistol and .40-caliber Smith & Wesson, according to a Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives incident report obtained by The Associated Press.
Mercer also had a .40-caliber Taurus pistol traced to someone in Portland and a .556-caliber Del-Ton.
ATF Assistant Special Agent in Charge Celine Nunez announced Friday at a news conference that six weapons were recovered at the college campus and an additional seven were found at the shooter's home.
Nunez said the firearms were purchased legally by the shooter or a family member in the last three years. Officials did not say whether the latest gun found at Harper-Mercer's home was purchased legally.
Investigators also found a flak jacket next to a rifle at the school, which contained steel plates, Nunez said.
Officials conducting searches at the school, shooter's residence and vehicle have also seized documents and digital media, Hanlin said.
"The Oregon State Police Crime Lab as well as the ATF and FBI Laboratories are all engaged in the effort to move forward with processing this evidence," he added.
Douglas County District Attorney Rick Wesenberg said the Oregon State Police's investigation into the officer-involved shooting is "nearing conclusion."
"I expect to be presented with the case early next week. Once I receive the case, I will do a thorough review and make a determination on whether the use of force was justified," he said.
In a statement, Harper-Mercer's family expressed their grief and offered prayers to the families of the victims.
"We are shocked and deeply saddened by the horrific events that unfolded on Thursday, October 1. Our thoughts, our hearts and our prayers go out to all of the families of those who died and were injured," the statement read.
Law enforcement officials told NBC News that Mercer left behind a multi-page document at the shooting scene espousing what one of them called "a philosophy of hate."
Two officials familiar with the contents say he wrote that he would be "welcomed in Hell and embraced by the devil."
The officials said he lamented the fact that he had no girlfriend. "He said he had no life," another official said, adding, "He felt the world was against him."
Photo Credit: AP
Sheriff's deputies man a roadblock on the road leading to Umpqua Community College Saturday, Oct. 3, 2015, in Roseburg, Ore. Armed with multiple guns, Chris Harper Mercer, 26, walked in a classroom at the community college, Thursday, and opened fire, killing nine people and wounding several others.