Articles on this Page
- 07/05/17--19:40: _10 Arrested in Midd...
- 07/05/17--23:44: _Rep. Scalise Readmi...
- 07/06/17--05:37: _Off-Duty Hartford F...
- 07/06/17--07:44: _Zac Brown Band Show...
- 07/06/17--05:36: _3 Injured in Seriou...
- 07/06/17--06:19: _‘Disruptive Passeng...
- 07/06/17--07:05: _West Hartford K9 Fi...
- 07/06/17--07:44: _Cigna To Pull Out f...
- 07/06/17--07:58: _Mohegan Tribe to Li...
- 07/06/17--08:12: _I-95 South Closed i...
- 07/06/17--05:38: _Service Today for C...
- 07/06/17--07:30: _Missing Suffield Ma...
- 07/06/17--08:51: _Town of West Hartfo...
- 07/06/17--09:04: _Zac Brown Concert R...
- 07/06/17--10:21: _Shelton Man Arreste...
- 07/06/17--11:10: _Smelling Your Food ...
- 07/06/17--11:10: _Law Firm to Help Ha...
- 07/06/17--11:20: _Deprogramming the C...
- 07/06/17--13:18: _Bird Found in GoldR...
- 07/06/17--12:02: _Woman Weds Man 3 Ye...
- 07/05/17--19:40: 10 Arrested in Middletown Narcotics Sweep
- 07/05/17--23:44: Rep. Scalise Readmitted to ICU; Condition Listed as Serious
- 07/06/17--05:37: Off-Duty Hartford Firefighter Shot During Drug Deal: Warrant
- 07/06/17--07:44: Zac Brown Band Show Expected to Bring 25,000 to Hartford
- 07/06/17--05:36: 3 Injured in Serious Crash on I-84 in Cheshire
- 07/06/17--06:19: ‘Disruptive Passenger’ Removed From Chicago-Bound Flight: Airline
- 07/06/17--07:05: West Hartford K9 Finds Missing Man
- 07/06/17--07:44: Cigna To Pull Out from Connecticut Individual Market in 2018
- 07/06/17--07:58: Mohegan Tribe to Light Ceremonial Fire in Preston
- 07/06/17--08:12: I-95 South Closed in Madison
- 07/06/17--05:38: Service Today for CT Sailor Killed in US Destroyer Crash
- 07/06/17--07:30: Missing Suffield Man with Special Needs Found Safe
- 07/06/17--08:51: Town of West Hartford Webpage Hacked: Police
- 07/06/17--09:04: Zac Brown Concert Raises Concern for Underage Drinking
- 07/06/17--10:21: Shelton Man Arrested on Robbery Charges
- 07/06/17--11:10: Smelling Your Food Leads to Weight Gain: Study
- 07/06/17--11:10: Law Firm to Help Hartford Evaluate Restructuring Efforts
- 07/06/17--11:20: Deprogramming the Children ISIS Taught to Kill
- 07/06/17--13:18: Bird Found in GoldRoc Diner in West Hartford
- 07/06/17--12:02: Woman Weds Man 3 Years After Twitter Joke About Marrying Him
A narcotic sweep in the north end of Middletown resulted in ten arrests on Wednesday.
The Middletown Police Department’s Street Crime/Narcotics Unit had been conducting controlled purchases of illegal drugs from suspected dealers in Middletown from April to June.
After surveilling numerous street level dealers who had become targets in the investigation, police were able to obtain 15 arrest warrants.
As a result, the following ten people were arrested:
Kelwood White, 42, Olga Scharborough, 40, Troyd Hunter, 51, Keon Belfrey, 33, Jose Ramos, 26, Denzel Teart, 24, Jiquane Collins, 22, Geoffrey Rios, 19, and Luis Ramos, 47.
All 10 people arrested are Middletown residents and were charged with conspiracy to sell or the sale of narcotics among a list of related charges.
The investigation is still ongoing and additional arrests are expected to be made.
Photo Credit: Middletown Police
First row (R-L): Keon Belfrey, Geoffrey Rios, Kellwood WhiteSecond row (R-L): Olga Scharborough, Jose Ramos, Denzel TeartThird row (R-L): Luis Ramos, Jiquan Collins, Troyd Hunter
U.S. Rep. Steve Scalise has been readmitted to the ICU due to new concerns about infection, according to a statement from MedStar Washington Hospital Center.
The one-line statement was released late Wednesday. Scalise was injured when a gunman opened fire at a Republican baseball practice in Alexandria, Virginia.
Scalise, 51, was struck in the hip and the bullet shattered blood vessels, bones and internal organs along the way. Doctors said he had arrived at the hospital after the shooting at imminent risk of death.
An update from Scalise’s Twitter account said his condition is listed as serious. Another update was expected on Thursday.
— Rep. Steve Scalise (@SteveScalise) July 6, 2017
The congressman had been moved out of ICU on June 23. Four other people were also shot James Hodgkinson, who was shot and killed by responding police officers.
Photo Credit: Andrew Harnik/AP, File
House GOP Whip Steve Scalise, R-La. speaks during an interview with The Associated Press in his office at the U.S. Capitol, on Tuesday, March 24, 2015 in Washington.
An arrest warrant released Wednesday alleges the shooting of an off-duty Hartford firefighter occurred during a drug deal both he and the alleged shooter orchestrated.
Jesus Perez, 37, faced a judge at New Britain Superior Court Wednesday. Police say back in April, at an industrial park in Rocky Hill, Perez shot off-duty Hartford Firefighter Jimmy Ngo, 32, during a drug deal they both planned.
The warrant says Ngo told investigators he used to help Perez pay off debts. But when Ngo decided not to help with the payments anymore, the two planned a drug deal to make money.
On the night of the drug deal, the stories outlined in the warrant differ.
Perez says when the buyer arrived, the buyer did not have $35,000 needed to purchase the narcotics. The buyer then opened fire on Ngo, while Perez hid.
Ngo says, while waiting for an alleged buyer, Perez shot him and beat him with pieces of wood, an angle iron, and a gun. Ngo fought back slicing Perez's hand with a bow saw. Injured, Perez drove off with the car filled with drugs, leaving Ngo to die.
Police say they later found the car used in the drug deal abandoned, and cleaned in New Britain. But not clean entirely. Investigators say they found traces of Perez's blood on the steering wheel and seat belt.
Perez faces multiple charges including armed robbery, tampering with evidence, and attempted murder. He is being held on a $750,000 bond and will appear back in court July 18.
Ngo, who is a firefighter at Engine 1 Ladder 6 in Hartford is recovering from his injuries and is on leave.
Hartford Fire Chief Reginald Freeman released the following statement:
“I am conducting a thorough investigation into any improper conduct related to this incident in conjunction with other city agencies. The Hartford Fire Department expects all employees to live by the highest ethical and professional standards at all times. There is absolutely zero tolerance for the kind of illegal activity depicted/alleged in the arresting affidavit. By no means, should this incident be reflective of the hard work and sacrifice that is demonstrated on a daily basis by the men and women of the Hartford Fire Department. After the investigation is complete, if warranted, this administration will determine what disciplinary measures need to be taken.”
Ngo is not facing any charges at this time. But State Police say the investigation is ongoing.
Photo Credit: Connecticut State Police
Hartford police are warning drivers to expect heavy traffic during the evening rush hour due to a Zac Brown Band concert at the XFINITY Theatre Thursday night.
Hartford Deputy Police Chief Brian Foley said around 25,000 people are expected for the show, which begins at 8 p.m. at the XFINITY Theatre on Savitt Way. Doors open earlier.
Foley warned parents with teens to be aware – at last year’s show police arrested 30 people for drinking underage and sent 32 to the hospital.
Photo Credit: Getty Images
Three people were taken to the hospital after a tractor trailer rear-ended a Nissan Altima on Interstate 84 in Cheshire early Thursday morning.
Connecticut State Police said both vehicles were traveling on I-84 west near exit 26 around 12:36 a.m. when the crash occurred. According to police, for some reason the tractor trailer struck the back end of the Nissan.
The occupants of the Nissan were all taken to the hospital, one with serious injuries. The driver of the truck was not injured.
Both vehicles had to be towed from the scene due to the damage.
The crash remains under investigation.
Photo Credit: Connecticut Department of Transportation
One person was seriously injured and two others suffered minor injuries when a tractor trailer rear-ended a passenger car on I-84 in Cheshire Thursday morning.
A flight bound for Chicago was forced to return to the gate and delayed several hours after a passenger caused a disturbance on the plane, according to an airline spokesperson.
The "disruptive passenger" aboard American Airlines Flight 218 from Atlanta's Hartsfield-Jackson to O'Hare was removed from the flight after she refused to sit down and got into an altercation with flight staff, an airline spokesman said. The incident was captured on cellphone video.
Michael Nash, who posted the video to Facebook, says the woman "attacked" a flight attendant and that he was struck during the scuffle.
It was not clear what sparked the cacophony, but the woman can be heard several times on the video saying someone threw water in her face. Passengers and staff shout at the woman, who is seen in a blue dress and carrying a small dog, to sit down.
“You’re gonna get us killed, lady!” a man is heard yelling as the woman paces the aisle.
After the she confronts what appears to be a flight attendant, more passengers bellow for her to go back to her seat. The woman eventually picks up the dog and sits down as a passenger can be heard saying “we just want to go home.”
“You’re mother f------’ lucky I want to get home, too, cause it’s gonna be a problem when we get to Chicago,” she says, before plugging her headphones into her ears.
“No, we’re going back to the gate, we’re not going to Chicago,” a staff member retorts, prompting lamentations and moans from the passengers.
In another video, a law enforcement officer is seen boarding the plane and escorting the woman off the flight. Nash said he believed the officer was an FBI agent. Atlanta police said it may have assisted in escorting the woman from the plane but the arresting agency would have been a federal one since the flight had technically departed.
“Once the plane leaves the gate it is no longer classified as our jurisdiction,” said Officer Stephanie Brown of the Atlanta Police Department’s Public Affairs team. “Our department may have assisted with escorting her from the airline because of the disturbance; however we would not be the agency that is responsible for making the charges.”
The FBI’s Atlanta office, which would have jurisdiction in the incident, did not immediately respond to request for comment.
American Airlines initially said the woman was arrested by local law enforcement, but Hartsfield-Jackson spokesman Reese McCranie said Thursday she was removed from the flight and released.
The flight later re-departed for Chicago Wednesday night after the woman was removed, American Airlines said. The woman was re-booked on a later flight.
The video of the incident had been viewed more than 1,000 times only three hours after being posted.
Photo Credit: Michael Nash
West Hartford K9 Jett came to the rescue by finding a missing person outside of a long-term healthcare facility Wednesday.
West Hartford police received a call around 10 p.m. reporting a missing person from a long-term health care facility. The victim was a 56-year-old male suffering from multiple health problems, including mental impairment, police said.
Staff called police after searching the building.
K9 Jett and his partner Officer Tommy Lazure conducted a search around the exterior of the facility and found the victim in a nearby wooded area.
The man had suffered minor injuries and was sent to UCONN hospital to be further evaluated.
K9 Jett was treated to his usual reward for a successful find: a burger from Goldroc Diner.
Photo Credit: West Hartford Police Department
K9 Jett with his partner Officer Tommy Lazure
Cigna has announced it is pulling out of the individual market in Connecticut starting in 2018.
A company spokesman confirmed that the company notified individual medical plan holders that their off-exchange individual and family medical PPO plans will be discontinued in 2018. The move will not impact current plans through the end of the 2017 plan year, nor will it affect individual and family dental plans.
The company said they have a small customer base for individual plans in the state, and offering them is not sustainable for their business. It will not affect employer-sponsored plans.
Our decisions are based on where we can provide customers with access to the best combination of affordability, quality, and overall value. In this way, we view each market as a discrete opportunity to test and learn, in order to offer sustainable and affordable health benefits in the communities we serve,” Cigna spokesman Joe Mondy wrote in a statement to NBC Connecticut.
The move comes amid uncertainty about the state of the Affordable Care Act and a possible Republican replacement.
“The decision not to offer plans for 2018 is a difficult one, as we know that it will cause disruption for customers who will have to seek different healthcare coverage options for next year,” Mondy said.
Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut
Mohegan tribal members will light a fire at the future Preston Riverwalk site along Route 12 in Preston this weekend as part of a sacred ceremony.
The fire will be lit at the location of the old Norwich Hospital property, which is being redeveloped into the Preston Riverwalk.
The Preston Redevelopment Authority already endorsed the project, and it was approved by the town of Preston electors at a referendum in March.
Mohegan tribal members are lighting the fire to release spirits of those that passed away, or who worked or visited the land.
The ceremony is about cleansing and healing the past. It is also about unity and bringing people together before the Preston Riverwalk is built. The Riverwalk is a large resort that is expected to bring everything from hotels to shopping to amusement rides.
The tribe will hold the ceremony four times, once for every season. The fire will burn for four days, and members will let it burn itself out late Sunday night.
Photo Credit: Preston Redevelopment Agency
A map of the Preston Riverwalk property provided by the Preston Redevelopment Agency.
Interstate 95 is closed in Madison due to an accident, according to the state Department of Transportation.
The DOT said I-95 south is closed between exits 60 and 59. There are backups on both sides.
Connecticut State Police are on scene and said only minor injuries were reported.
This is a developing story. Check back for updates.
Photo Credit: Connecticut Department of Transportation
A multi-vehicle crash closed I-95 south between exits 59 and 60 in Madison Thursday morning.
A US Navy Sailor who grew up in in the Oakville section of Watertown was among seven service members killed last month off the coast of Japan when their Navy destroyer the USS Fitzgerald collided with a container ship.
Sonar Technician 3rd Class Ngoc "Tan" Truong Huynh, 25, will be laid to rest on Thursday, which is also when his former hometown will honor him.
"This is one of our kids. He's from our town," said Tom Dematteis, a U.S. Navy Veteran who is among those in Watertown who wanted to make sure the young sailor's life is remembered. "It is a brotherhood and a sisterhood," he said of the bond between those who serve.
Huynh was in eighth grade when his family moved to Connecticut. He later graduated from Watertown High School before attending Naugatuck Valley Community College. He enlisted in the U.S. Navy in 2014.
Huynh's family has since left Connecticut and moved to Oklahoma.
"We need to celebrate his life and honor his service and ultimately his sacrifice," said Dematteis.
Huynh only lived in Watertown for a few years, but his life and now his death have had an impact.
A memorial service will be held on Thursday, July 6 at 2 p.m. at the Oakville Green on Route 73 in the Oakville section of Watertown. A funeral service will take place at the same time in Oklahoma, where his family now lives.
The local ceremony was spearheaded by the Watertown-Oakville Veterans' Council.
"It doesn't matter if you know them personally," said Mickey Corcoran of the Veterans' Council. "Being a veteran is like a family."
Photo Credit: Family Photo
Sonar Technician 3rd Class Ngoc T Truong Huynh (Tan), 25, was one of seven sailors who died on board the USS Fitzgerald when it collided with another ship on Friday. He lived in Plainville and Watertown before joining the Navy.
Suffield police have located a 50-year-old Suffield man with special needs who was reported missing after he did not show up to work Wednesday.
Matthew Monette was reported missing when he did not show up for work on Wednesday and family and friends became concerned.
Monette has special needs, memory issues and other medical complications, police said.
Monette was found walking on East Street North after citizens spotted him in the area, police said. He is safe and has been reunited with his family.
Photo Credit: Suffield Police Department
Matthew Monette (center) with his father Robert (left) and Suffield Police K9 Officer Osowiecki and K9 “Taz” at the Suffield Police Department.
West Hartford police are investigating after the town’s webpage was hacked Thursday.
Police said the hack was discovered around 7:30 a.m. The town’s IT department immediately took the page offline and are working to correct the issue. Online services may be unavailable.
West Hartford police are working with the CT Intelligence Center (CTIC) to investigate. CTIC said there have been many recent hacks of government websites and this particular hack reached as far as California.
Police stressed that there is no danger to the public and that the hack was limited to the webpage. No town networks were affected and no personal data was compromised, according to police.
The investigation is ongoing.
Photo Credit: KNBC
Hartford police are preparing for traffic and anticipate a lot of drinking at Thursday’s Zac Brown Band concert at the XFINITY Theatre.
Hartford police are warning drivers to expect heavy traffic during the evening rush hour. The backup, police said, will affect I-91 and I-84, so give yourself plenty of time to get there.
Hartford Deputy Police Chief Brian Foley said around 25,000 people are expected for the show, which begins at 8 p.m. at the XFINITY Theatre on Savitt Way. The parking lot opens at 4 p.m., and other area lots open even earlier.
With good weather in the forecast and a near sold-out show, police have a warning for parents.
"If you have underagers, coming to the concert, teenagers without any adult supervision… there is so much alcohol out there. They will find it and they will take it and use it," Hartford Deputy Police Chief Brian Foley said.
Foley said police plan to up the number of officers on the street and anticipates a lot of arrests as well as a lot of kids being taken to the hospital.
This year police have seen a spike in underage concert drinking. Twenty-nine individuals were arrested for underage drinking and 30 sent to the hospital for alcohol poisoning at the Sam Hunt concert earlier this year. At the Dierks Bentley and Future concerts multiple underage individuals were arrested and hospitalized, police said.
Doctors at Hartford hospitals expect to see some patients tonight.
"They have no experience and typically little to no tolerance, so they go way overboard to the point of vomiting, not uncommonly losing consciousness," said Dr. John Brancato of Connecticut Children's Medical Center.
Police said they will be out in force making referrals for underage drinking to community court and crews will be prepared to ship anyone off the the hospital that needs it.
"The most important thing is to be wary of the risks, a little bit fearful frankly… You want the child to be not afraid to call and ask for a ride and seek help," Brancado said.
Photo Credit: Getty Images
A man accused of robbing the Buck Top Gas Station in Shelton was arrested Wednesday evening by Shelton police.
On Wednesday, police received a call from the Buck Top Gas Station to report that they had been robbed at gunpoint approximately eight hours earlier.
An employee of the gas station wrote down the license plate number which the police used to track down the vehicle at the Quality Suites hotel in Stratford. Officers on the scene confirmed that the vehicle had been stolen from a rental car agency over the weekend.
Police located the suspect vehicle and the suspect at a hotel in Stratford.
The suspect was identified as Ross Kane, 34, of Shelton. He has been charged with first-degree robbery, first-degree larceny, sixth-degree larceny, breach of peace, possession of narcotics, and possession of a fascimile firearm.
Photo Credit: Shelton Police Department
Joey Tribbiani once famously claimed on "Friends" that, “Half the taste [of food] is in the smell.” And according to a new study, the more delicious that meatball sandwich smells, the higher the likelihood that your body may pack on the pounds.
Researchers at the University of California, Berkeley, have found that smell-deficient mice who ate the same amount of fatty foods as mice who could smell, gained twice their normal weight. In addition, mice with boosted scent receptors, “super-smellers,” gained even more weight than those with a normal sense of smell.
The results of the new study were published in the journal Cell Metabolism, and the findings point to an unexplored link between olfactory neurons and weight gain.
The study also found that the genetically-altered rodents who could not smell lost around 16 per cent of their body weight. The study suggests that not being able to smell food could have a surprising effect on the metabolism, potentially helping those struggling with weight loss remain thin even when eating fatty foods.
"Sensory systems play a role in metabolism. Weight gain isn’t purely a measure of the calories taken in; it’s also related to how those calories are perceived," said senior author Andrew Dillin, the Thomas and Stacey Siebel Distinguished Chair in Stem Cell Research, professor of molecular and cell biology and Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigator. "If we can validate this in humans, perhaps we can actually make a drug that doesn’t interfere with smell but still blocks that metabolic circuitry. That would be amazing."
While it seems like something out of the Twilight Zone, Dillin pointed out eliminating a person’s smell may act as a future alternative for gastric bypass surgery.
"This paper is one of the first studies that really shows if we manipulate olfactory inputs we can actually alter how the brain perceives energy balance, and how the brain regulates energy balance," said Céline Riera, a former UC Berkeley postdoctoral fellow now at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles.
Photo Credit: Getty Images
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In this file photo, A judges smells a pie as judging takes place in the World Scotch Pie Championship on November 16, 2010. Researchers at the University of California, Berkeley, found that mice that retained their sense of smell ballooned to twice their normal weight by eating the same amount of fatty food as the mice with no sense of smell.
The city of Hartford is hoping a new legal team can help with their financial woes.
The city has hired the law firm Greenberg Traurig, LLP, to provide legal services as the city assesses its restructuring options to improve its fiscal health and long-term stability. Nancy A. Mitchell, one of the co-chairs for the firm’s restructuring practice, will lead the team. Mitchell has more than 30 years of experience in the field.
“Over the past eighteen months, we have made significant cuts and we continue to pursue aggressive changes in our labor contracts. We have also advocated for a State budget that puts our cities in a position to be strong and vibrant, for the sake of Connecticut’s economic competitiveness.
We will continue to work closely with our legislators as they work to adopt a responsible State budget. In the meantime, as we start a new fiscal year without a State budget and with significant uncertainty, we will have the advice and counsel of an experienced and highly respected restructuring firm,” said Mayor Luke Bronin in a statement.
Hartford’s current 2018 budget relies heavily on revenue from the state. The city started out with a $65 million deficit for the year, but eventually adopted a budget without tax increases. However that plans is counting on tens of millions of dollars in funding from the state level. State lawmakers have yet to agree on a budget as Connecticut faces a $5 billion deficit for the next two fiscal years.
“While we continue to be hopeful that the state government will adopt a budget which provides Hartford with the necessary funding to provide for the health, safety, and welfare of our residents, as responsible stewards, we must carefully review all options. In doing so, we will examine all available tools in a considered and thoughtful attempt to restructure city government working together as a team with our Mayor and administration,” said City Council President Thomas “TJ” Clarke II in a statement.
Photo Credit: AP
One feature of the brutal life under ISIS rule was the creation of schools and mosques that let the terror group inject its ideology into a new generation, one that's now scattered across Iraq in refugee camps, NBC News reported.
"When Daesh came, they taught us how to be suicide bombers and make IEDs," said a tearful Atallah Saleh, 15, in a camp south of Mosul. "They distributed books about their propaganda. The teachers at school taught us how to hold a Kalashnikov, how to shoot and kill, how to become a suicide bomber and fight the jihad."
While ISIS is likely on its way out of Iraq, local leaders worry that the conditions that Atallah's generation face in sometimes inhumane or unsafe refugee camps could fuel an ISIS resurgence in several years.
"When a chicken lays eggs, and then the chicken dies, the eggs stay and turn into new chickens," said Qassem Maslah, a militia brigade commander who has been fighting ISIS.
At At the Hammam al-Alil camp, where Atallah now lives, teachers are trying to undo ISIS' influence and dealing with the deep trauma the kids were left with.
Photo Credit: Karim Sahib/AFP/Getty Images, File
This May 26, 2017, file photo shows displaced Iraqi children flying kites made from plastic bags at the Hammam al-Alil camp for internally displaced people south of Mosul.
A bird was found flying around inside the Gold Roc Diner in West Hartford on Wednesday, police said.
Animal control was called and successfully captured the bird.
The bird appears to be a parrotlet and is the second of its kind to be found this week, according to animal control.
A parakeet was found in the yard of a home on Benwood Road on July 3, West Hartford Animal Control said.
Both birds are being held at West Hartfod Animal Control until their respective owners are located.
Any information information regarding the owner of the bird should be directed to the West Hartford Animal Control (860) 570-8818.
Photo Credit: West Hartford Animal Control
Parrotlet found in GoldRoc Diner
Twitter, she married him. It just took a while.
Almost three years after Llia Apostolou sent a joking message on Twitter in search of a blind wedding date, she and the stranger who answered her made it to a different wedding: their own.
Apostolou, a social media manager from London, explained the romantic saga on her blog. She and a friend went to a pub on Valentine's Day in 2014 to "distract ourselves from our singleness" when she saw a photo of Paul Gibson pop into her Twitter feed.
"I can’t explain what happened next, I felt something shift in my heart," Apostolou said on the blog. "Perhaps it was the whiskey, but I wanted to know you."
A few months later, still in search of a date to her sister's wedding the coming weekend, Apostolou sent that joking tweet.
Gibson responded almost immediately, and the two exchanged light-hearted messages about the idea, even joking about getting married themselves.
She writes, "So our conversation moved from tweets, to direct messages, to long and rambling emails about our lives."
And three years later, that Twitter exchange took them to the altar — and Apostolou's callback to the moment when their romance took off has gone viral, getting retweeted more than 15,000 times.
Apostolou said in another Twitter message that she and Gibson are unavailable to speak to the media because they are on their honeymoon.
Photo Credit: Bethany Clarke/Getty Images
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In this November 7, 2013 photo illustration, The Twitter logo is displayed on a mobile device. Llia Apostolou and Paul Gibson of London married almost three years after meeting over the social media platform and joking about getting married.