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NATO Troops Killed in Afghanistan ID'd as U.S. Airmen


The two NATO troops killed in an ambush in Afghanistan Wednesday were identified as U.S. special tactics airmen, NBC News reported.

Capt. Matthew D. Roland, 27, of Lexington, Kentucky, and Staff Sgt. Forrest B. Sibley, 31, of Pensacola, Florida, died after gunmen wearing Afghan security forces uniforms opened fire on their vehicle while it was stopped at a checkpoint near Camp Antonik, the Air Force said.

"These two combat controllers were incredible warriors who not only volunteered to join our nation's Special Operations Forces, but earned their way to the tip of the spear in defense of our nation," Col. Wolfe Davidson, 24th Special Operations Wing commander, said in a statement.

Photo Credit: U.S. AIR FORCE

Death Toll of Refugees in Truck Reaches 71: Officials


The number of migrants found dead in a truck abandoned on the side of a highway in Austria has reached 71, Austrian officials said Friday, NBC News reported.

The victims were 59 men, eight women and four children — including a girl who was no older than two years of age, according to Burgenland Police director Hans Peter Doskozil.

Meanwhile, three suspects believed to be involved in people smuggling have been arrested in connection with the case, and at least one other individual is being hunted, authorities confirmed. 

Police originally thought up to 50 refugees had died inside the vehicle, which had been parked up on the shoulder of the busy road, 10 miles from Austria's border with Slovakia and Hungary.

The war in Syria has contributed to record numbers of migrants attempting to cross into Europe from Africa and the Middle East this year, often taking perilous sea crossings and stowing away in trucks.

Photo Credit: AP

'It Was Wild': Gas Pump Explodes After Crash


Police roped off a gas station in East Hartford after an SUV barreled into one of the pumps Thursday, causing a fiery explosion.

Fire officials said the car drove over a median and struck two other vehicles before smashing into a gas pump at the Phillips 66 station on Main Street in East Hartford. Six gas pumps were destroyed.

Footage from the scene shows flames erupting after the crash. A gas pump appears to explode as a police cruiser pulls up to the scene.

"We look out the window from the restaurant and it's just flames shooting up... gas shooting up, tires are melting, cars melting," said Thomas DeCrescenzo, who saw the aftermath of the crash. "We didn't know if the whole place was going to go up, and the gas lines."

Acting Deputy Fire Chief Jay Silver said the crash "produced a fairly significant fireball that shot out from under the pumps."

A gas station attendant told NBC Connecticut the driver walked away with a pinkie injury from the SUV's airbag. Officials said everyone made it out of the gas station safely.

"There was no significant injuries," said Silver. "There was one person transported to the hospital."

Fire officials said the flames were under control within 10 minutes. DeCrescenzo said he's amazed the scene ended without any casualties.

"I heard someone call it the 'Miracle on Main Street,' and that's really what it was. It was wild," he said. "That something could be so violent and aggressively on fire and no one was hurt, it was a miracle."

The fire marshal and state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection are investigating.

Photo Credit: Yan Chen

30 Saint Francis Patients Moved After Transformer Explodes


A transformer exploded near the Saint Francis Hospital emergency department Thursday night, prompting staff to transfer 30 people out of the emergency room and steer incoming patients to neighboring hospitals.

Satin Francis spokesperson Fiona Phelan said a transformer blew behind the John T. O'Connell Tower on Ashley Street in Hartford, which houses the hospital's emergency department.

Although the incident was first reported as a possible fire, officials with the Hartford Fire Department said an electrical malfunction created smoky conditions in the building.

Smoke seeped into the hospital's ventilation system, prompting staff to move 30 emergency room patients to other parts of Saint Francis and divert new patients to other area hospitals, according to Phelan.

No one was injured and all emergency services have been restored, but Phelan said part of the hospital is still being powered by back-up generators. Officials are awaiting word from Eversource before returning to the normal power supply.

"This type of incident is something that Saint Francis continually drills for to (ensure continuous) high quality patient care and seamless service to our patients and their families," Phelan wrote in an email late Thursday night.

Check back for updates on this developing story.

Ashley Madison CEO Stepping Down After Hack


The CEO of Avid Life Media, the parent company of adultery website Ashley Madison, is stepping down after a hack that exposed the personal information of millions of users, NBC News reported. 

"This change is in the best interest of the company and allows us to continue to provide support to our members and dedicated employees," Avid Life Media said in a statement Friday about CEO Noel Biderman. "We are steadfast in our commitment to our customer base."

The company will be led by the "existing senior management team" until a new CEO is chosen, the company said.

Photo Credit: Getty Images

Benedictine Monk Relaxing Atop Wind Turbine Spotted by Drone


A Benedictine monk at a private Rhode Island school has discovered that finding solitude is no easy feat, even 175 feet in the air.

A drone camera took video of Brother Joseph Byron hanging out on top of a wind turbine at the Portsmouth Abbey School, a private catholic boarding school.

That video has now gone viral.

Brother Byron says on Aug/ 16, during the heatwave, he went up on top of the turbine to relax.

That's when he got quite the surprise.

"It's beautiful up there, absolutely gorgeous," he said. "You never know what's hovering around."

Brother Byron says he's the defacto keeper of turbine, which has been there for 10 years. He says the blades only turn with wind at 12 miles per hour, and that day, there wasn't any wind, so he climbed up.

He says he's not afraid of heights.

"The next thing I heard was the buzzing," he said. "And at first, I was kind of - I had never seen one before so, that's kind of cool."

the drone, which was remotely operated by a visiting tourist from California, hovered for a bit and went away, only to come back.

He then noticed the video had been published.

Byron tells the Providence Journal he's never seen a drone before and wasn't thrilled by the encounter. He added that, because of all the attention he's getting, he's going to wait a little while before going back on the turbine again.

Photo Credit: FILE - Getty Images
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Face of Hurricane Katrina Misery Continues Her Journey


Of all the transformations Hurricane Katrina left in its wake, the story of one child's journey may be the most striking.

Arianna Evans, who was born male, captured the nation's attention in the days after the devastating storm. Standing outside the New Orleans' Superdome, 9-year-old Evans, known then as Charles, became the face of the tragedy when an NBC News cameraman captured the child making a plea to the world.

"We just need some help out here," the child said. "It is just so pitiful. Pitiful and shame.... We have over 3,000 people out here with no home, no shelter. What are they gonna do? What we gonna do? Take a look at all of this. Now what they gonna do if the hurricane come again?"

Evans became something of a celebrity, but her story had just begun. In the years that followed, Evans endured more tragedy even as she came to an understanding of being "trapped in the wrong body." In May, she began taking hormones to become a woman. Now, 19, she has traveled a long road from tragedy to triumphant self-realization.

Photo Credit: NBC News
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Roaming Pig Reunited With Owner


Moto, a pet pig, is back home after a wild morning in Wethersfield.

Peter Schuster, of Wethersfield, had quite the surprise when he heard his neighbor's son calling for him, looked outside and found a pig dining on weeds in his yard.

"We have turkeys around here, but definitely not pigs," he said.

So, he called police and helped round up the pig, since identified as Moto.

After getting the call, local police reached out to Newington Animal Control and they were sure the 50-pound pig is a pet.

Brianna Patton was at work when Moto got loose. It was almost 11 a.m. when she got her grandfather's message that Moto was missing, so she raced home.

Fortunately, she soon received word that animal control had Moto, so she went to animal control to get her pet.

This was the second time Moto had escaped this week and Patton put up a fence, but that did not keep Moto from getting loose.

"I don't know how she got over there. I am assuming there was a hole in the fence," Patton said.

ow that she is reunited with Moto, Patton is relieved, and she plans to inspect the fence.

"She's an awesome pet. She's very smart," Patton said.

Moto goes for walks with Brianna, does tricks and even goes to motorcross tracks with her. 

Patton said her love for motorcross actually inspired the pig's name.

"I actually just bought a street-legal bike. ... and I've been trying to figure out something or someway to get her to go on the bike with me," Patton said. "We've been trying to come up with a backpack or something. .. .I know a lot of people bring their dogs, so I've gotta bring my pig."

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

3 Generations Linked by Single Womb After Transplant


For one family in Sweden, a pioneering procedure has led to a baby being born from the same womb that nurtured his mother, uniting three generations.

The new mother, who lost her own uterus to cancer in her 20s, said it was "unimaginable" that she now had her own child, thanks to her mother's donated womb.

"It can't be described how happy we are," she told The Associated Press in an exclusive interview. "It's everything that I hoped for and a little bit more," said the woman, who asked that she and her mother not be identified in order to protect the privacy of her 9-month-old son.

Dr. Mats Brannstrom, who is behind the revolutionary process, has ushered in four babies, all boys, with transplanted wombs; a fifth is on the way. He said there was something very special about this case: "It's one uterus bridging three generations of a family."

Before his breakthrough, there had been two attempts to transplant a womb, in Saudi Arabia and Turkey, but no live births. Doctors in Britain, France, the United States and elsewhere are planning similar operations with wombs from women who have died recently, not living donors.

Brannstrom, a professor of obstetrics and gynecology at Sahlgrenska Hospital at the University of Gothenburg and Stockholm IVF, first transplanted wombs into nine women about two years ago as part of an experimental study, including the new mother, who was the first. Complications forced the removal of two of the wombs. The women in the trial were either born without a womb or had it removed due to cancer.

The new mother, in her early 30s, recalled that as hospital staffers wheeled in her mother for the transplant, "I was crying and told her I loved her and thank you for doing this."

The woman's mother (the baby's grandmother) said she immediately agreed when her daughter raised the idea.

The proud grandmother, in her mid-50s, acknowledged she has difficulty understanding the magnitude of the birth, but "at the same time, I sometimes think that I am a part of history."

The new mother underwent in vitro fertilization to make embryos using her eggs and her husband's sperm. Doctors waited a year after the transplant to ensure everything was OK. After four attempts to transfer embryos into the new womb, she got pregnant. There were no complications, and she delivered via cesarean section, as planned.

"Feeling him against my cheek was the most wonderful feeling ever," the mother said. In tribute to Brannstrom, she and her husband gave the baby the middle name of Mats.

She said they will one day tell the boy how he was conceived. "My thought is that he will always know how wanted he was," she said. "Hopefully when he grows up, uterus transplantation (will be) an acknowledged treatment for women like me and he will know that he was part of making that possible."

Brannstrom and his colleagues are planning more groundbreaking womb transplant procedures. One trial will use wombs from recently deceased women and another will employ robotic surgery to shorten the time of the 10- to 12-hour operations. Brannstrom is working with doctors in India, Singapore, Lebanon and Argentina to do womb transplants there.

Experts marvel at Brannstrom's work and described it as the biggest breakthrough in fertility medicine since IVF.

"This was impossible until Brannstrom did it," said Dr. Antonio Gargiulo, an associate reproductive endocrinologist at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston who has not been involved in the operations. He said removing a womb is unlike any other operation and that the organ must be very delicately grafted onto the recipient's major arteries and veins.

Gargiulo said doctors need to monitor whether babies in the womb get enough nutrients from the placenta and must ensure sufficient blood flow to the arteries.

Brannstrom said the blood flow during pregnancy was normal in all four babies and that all are healthy.

The new mother and her husband are contemplating a second child; the transplanted womb was intended for two pregnancies, before being removed so the mother can stop taking rejection medications.

She said she will be forever grateful to her mother.

"The real unique thing is what me and my mom went through," she said. "It's a big thing and he and his grandmother will have this bond for the rest of their lives."

Bridgeport Police Investigating Carjacking


Bridgeport Police are investigating a carjacking and they are asking to identify a suspect.

A man flagged down a Bridgeport police officer around 3 p.m. on Aug. 21 and said he was the victim of a carjacking and the robber held him up at gunpoint.

He said he was out his wife’s car on Wood Avenue and Olive Street when another car pulled up, parked ahead of him and a man the victim knows as “Boobie,” jumped out of the car and asked about money the victim might owe him, police said.

When the victim responded that he did not owe the other man any money, “Boobie” pulled a handgun from his waistband, so the victim punched him and ran around the corner, police said.

“Boobie” chased after the victim, fired his gun twice near the corner of Wood Avenue and Olive Street and took off in the victim’s wife’s Pontiac four-door sedan, police said.

“Boobie” was wearing a white shirt and black shorts, police said.

Anyone with information about the carjacking should call the Bridgeport Detective Bureau at (203) 581-5201.

Photo Credit: Bridgeport Police

N.C. Police Officer Won't Be Retried for Killing


The North Carolina police officer who shot and killed an unarmed former college football player in 2013 won't be retried, an official said Friday, a week after a judge declared a mistrial in the case, NBC News reported. 

Randall "Wes" Kerrick, 29, killed Jonathan Ferrell, 24, after a traffic accident on Sept. 14, 2013, and was accused of voluntary manslaughter. Kerrick is white; Ferrell was black.

Prosecutors argued Kerrick should have used nonlethal force to subdue Ferrell, a former defensive back for Florida A&M, after Ferrell climbed out of his wrecked car and dragged himself to a nearby house to get help. The woman in the house called 911 to report a possible break-in.

Photo Credit: AP

TSA Agent Accused of Bathroom Sex Abuse at NYC Airport


A Transportation Security Administration screener at LaGuardia Airport has been arrested for allegedly sexually abusing a 22-year-old foreign exchange student when she arrived in Queens this week, Port Authority police sources tell NBC 4 New York.

The Port Authority Police Department and the Queen's District Attorney's Office identified the TSA screener as Maxie Oquendo, 40, of Manhattan. He was arrested Thursday night at the airport.

The student, who is from Korea, lives in Salt Lake City but had come to New York to visit friends Tuesday.

When she arrived at the airport, a male TSA agent approached her and asked her to follow him for "additional screening," the sources said. He said he needed to see if she had a knife or a weapon.

The victim, who does not speak English well, followed him to the men's restroom. There, the screener asked the woman to lift her shirt, according to the Port Authority police sources.

He allegedly touched her breasts and put his hand down her shorts before letting her leave the bathroom.

The woman told other TSA officers about the attack and Port Authority police took a report, the sources told NBC 4 New York.

The TSA has fired the screener, said Peter Neffenger, TSA administrator.

"TSA holds its employees to the highest standards," he said. "As such, we expect our employees to conduct themselves with integrity, professionalism, and with respect for the public we serve. When our employees fail to meet these fundamental ethical standards, we will hold our personnel appropriately accountable."

Photo Credit: Bloomberg via Getty Images

Nazi Gold-Train Hunters Used Map Drawn on Deathbed: Official


Two treasure hunters who claim to have found a Nazi train filled with gold in Poland discovered it by following a map drawn up by one of the people who hid it around 70 years ago, a Polish government minister said Friday, NBC News reported. 

The map was drawn by a man who helped conceal the train at the end of World War II and passed it on "on his deathbed," Poland's Deputy Culture Minister Piotr Zuchowski said.

The deputy minister said officials had been able to locate the 100-yard-long military train using ground-penetrating radar. He stopped short of confirming the claim the train was filled with gold, weapons and valuable art.

According to a local rumor rumor, a German train filled with gold, gems and armaments went missing around the city of Walbrzych while it was fleeing the Red Army advancing towards Berlin in the spring of 1945.

Photo Credit: NBC News

Diabetes Drugs Can Cause Severe Joint Pain: FDA


Certain diabetes drugs can cause severe and disabling joint pain, the Food and Drug Administration warned patients on Friday.

"The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is warning that the type 2 diabetes medicines sitagliptin, saxagliptin, linagliptin, and alogliptin may cause joint pain that can be severe and disabling," the agency said in a statement.

These are generic names for Januvia, Onglyza, Tradjenta, and Nesina, which are all in the same calss and work by making more insulin for the body.

The drugs are already linked with some potentially severe side-effects. Januvia, for instance, can cause a severe inflammation of the pancreas called pancreatitis that's not only excruciating but that can be deadly. Onglyza has been linked with a higher risk of heart failure.

Photo Credit: Getty Images/Caiaimage/FILE

Pilot Dies Practicing Stunts


A pilot died Friday after his propeller-driven stunt plane crashed while he was practicing tricks for a weekend air show in New York's Hudson Valley.

The plane crashed around 2 p.m. at Stewart International Airport in New Windsor, where the New York Air Show is scheduled to take place this weekend

The pilot was the only person in the plane, an experimental aircraft owned by Andrew Wright, of Austin, Texas, said New York State Police Trooper Steven Nevel.

Aviation journalist Benjamin Granucci, of the blog NYC Aviation, tweeted that the plane appeared to be a single-engine Giles G-202.

He said the plane was making a practice run for the weekend's events. He said that it appeared the aircraft crashed into the ground after coming out of a dive.

A woman at the air show box office said the show will go on as scheduled.

Photo Credit: NBC 4 New York

Crash Stalls Traffic on Route 5 North in Enfield


Traffic was diverted around a crash on Route 5 northbound in Enfield on Friday afternoon.

Enfield police said a car struck a utility pole, prompting authorities to shut down the northbound lanes of Route 5 between King Street and Parkway Drive.

Enfield officials said in an alert posted to the town website the road would remain closed for hours, but police said around 4 p.m. Route 5 would reopen soon.

Police described the crash as minor.

Zoo Announces Two New Leopard Cubs


Brookfield Zoo in Illinois has announced the birth of two snow leopard cubs.

The cubs, which are currently off exhibit bonding with their 4-year-old mother Sarani, are scheduled to make their public debut in mid-October.

The two females, which each weigh about 10 pounds, were born on June 16, zoo officials said. 

Sarani and her 5-year-old mate, Sabu, arrived at the zoo in October 2011 from Tautphaus Park Zoo in Idaho Falls and Cape May County Park & Zoo in Cape May Court House, New Jersey.

Snow leopards are listed as an endangered species by the International Union for Conservation of Nature and experts say their numbers are declining. The Snow Leopard Trust estimates population numbers of the elusive cat are between 4,000 and 6,500 remaining in the wild

Photo Credit: Brookfield Zoo

Man Says He Robbed Bank to Pay for Baby's Cancer Treatment


A man sits in a Michigan jail while his 1-year-old daughter awaits her next round of chemotherapy.

Brian Randolph, 23, told police he robbed a bank to help pay for his baby daughter’s cancer treatments because her insurance had been canceled. He was charged with armed robbery and bank robbery following an arrest on Aug. 14 in Detroit. 

"As a parent, I can understand. I want the best for my child too. If all this was supposed to go towards the child's care, why is he is spending money on nice things for himself?” Lt. Chris Sovik of the South Lyon Police Department told NBC Owned Stations. 

Randolph is accused of robbing the Vibe Credit Union in South Lyon of $8,173 on Aug. 12. He allegedly entered the bank with glasses and a baseball cap, passed a note to a teller that stated he wanted $20,000 and had a shotgun in his pants, according to the Detroit Free Press.

He was apprehended by the Oakland County Violent Crime Task Force in a rental car with just over $3,000 in cash and designer clothing on Aug. 14. Randolph is being held on a $500,000 cash bond and his next court date has been scheduled for Sept. 2.

A Go Fund Me account was set up by Asia Dupree, the mother of Randolph’s child, for the baby's battle against retinoblastoma. As of Aug. 28, $29,363 has been raised.

Photo Credit: South Lyon Police Department

Former Brookfield Superintendent Sues for Wrongful Termination


A former superintendent held responsible for the Brookfield school district's $1.2 million overspending is suing the board for wrongful termination.

Anthony Bivona was fired in 2014 after independent auditors found the district had overspent and mishandled bill payments over the course of several years.

According to a lawsuit filed Aug. 18, business manager Arthur Colley was responsible for the town budget and would "push" expenditures to the following fiscal year.

Colley resigned in October 2014 and was arrested in March 2015 on charges of larceny and forgery.

Bivona's lawsuit argues that the town never failed to approve Colley's monthly budgets until a new accounting firm hired in October 2013 took over the town's yearly audits.

Both Bivona and the board of education were "unaware of Colley's practices" up until that point, and even after Colley resigned, "neither the plaintiff nor the defendant knew Colley might also have engaged in criminal activities," the lawsuit alleges.

According to the suit, Colley reported to both Bivona and the board of education. The board's Business and Facilities Committee reviewed Colley's monthly financial reports.

"There was no time during the plaintiff’s seven-year tenure as superintendent that the Business and Facilities Committee failed to endorse Colley’s monthly budget and to forward it to the full board for approval, and the defendant approved every one of them," the lawsuit alleges.

After Colley resigned, Bivona helped balance the budget. The school district ended the 2014 fiscal year with a surplus, according to the lawsuit.

The suit claims the board of education "secretly made a decision to fire Bivona" in violation of his contract, "even though Bivona had discharged his responsibilities satisfactorily."

Bivona asked the board to hold his termination hearing in executive session, but the board declined, "in reckless disregard" for Bivona's professional reputation, according to the lawsuit, which claims the hearing was also "wrought with procedural irregularities."

As a result, the board caused "severe damage" to Bivona's career and reputation, as well as emotional stress, according to the lawsuit. Bivona is suing for more than $15,000 in damages.

NBC Connecticut has reached out to the Brookfield first selectman and board of education chairmen for comment on the lawsuit.

Survivor of Virginia TV Shooting Remembers Dodging Bullets


Vicki Gardner, a local tourism official who was being interviewed by WDBJ-TV when a gunman opened fire on the news crew on live television, remembers dodging bullets before being shot in the back, a spokesman for her family told NBC News on Friday. 

"It happened fast, and it was frightening," Troy Keaton, the family's spokesman, said. "She saw Alison shot, Adam also. She was ducking and dodging and ended up on the ground, kind of hunched over, and he shot her in the back."

Alison Parker, a reporter, and Adam Ward, the cameraman, were killed by a disgruntled former reporter from WDBJ, who later killed himself. Parker was shot in the head and chest, and Ward was shot in the head and torso; both deaths were ruled a homicide, a medical examiner said. 

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