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Thai PM: Prime Suspect in Bangkok Shrine Bombing Arrested


Thailand's prime minister said Tuesday that authorities have arrested a man they believe is the main suspect in a bombing at a shrine in central Bangkok two weeks ago that killed 20 people.

Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha said the man is a foreigner and was arrested in eastern Thailand near the Cambodian border. He described him as the main person in the bombing but did not directly say he is suspected of actually planting the bomb.

It was not immediately known if the arrested man is the person who was seen in a security video wearing a yellow T-shirt and leaving a backpack at the shrine shortly before the blast there.

Photo Credit: Reuters

Bear That Confronted Hiker Has History of Aggression


The black bear that prompted state officials to block off hiking trails in Connecticut last week after it was caught on camera circling a hiker has a history of aggression, according to the state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection.

The bear, which is tagged, caused problems in the past while living near Bradley International Airport, according to DEEP wildlife biologist Jason Hawley.

At one point, the animal chased a woman into her workplace and put its paws up against the glass, Hawley said. The bear also forced its way into a home in the area, pounding on the door until he got inside.

DEEP relocated the animal to Sessions Woods Wildlife Management Area in Burlington, the site of last week’s encounter.

Hiker Stephanie Rivkin captured footage of the animal approaching and circling her on a walking trail Friday. Video shows the bear opening its mouth as if to bite her leg.

"You never expect a bear to have a rap sheet, but he does," said Rivkin.

The incident prompted state officials to close down the hiking trails while they searched for the animal. DEEP announced plans to euthanize the bear, prompting public backlash, but officials said the animal is dangerous and the move is warranted.

"The incident here at Sessions Woods was far more disturbing than any of the other behaviors he has displayed up to this point," said Hawley. "To someone who’s not familiar with bear behavior, it may look like the bear is curious. Maybe it’s just trying to get a good sniff of the person."

Hawley went on to say, however, that the animal was displaying clear signs of aggression.

"If you look at the actual body language of the bear, the bear is actually circling her. Whenever she turns her back on the bear, it actually rushes her. You can hear it several times popping its teeth, popping its jaw; that’s a sign of aggression," he explained. "Its hackles are up; the hair on its back is actually sticking up. It actually pins its ears back a couple of times."

Hawley said the animal’s track record is concerning.

"In our minds, with our training, we know that this bear is a potential threat to public safety, so there’s no question that we need to remove this bear from the population," Hawley said.

He added that some 600 to 700 bears live in Connecticut, and "removing one from the population doesn't change anything." In fact, he said, euthanizing the animal could help protect bears' reputation by preventing an attack.

Rivkin, who first said she hoped the bear could be saved as thousands signed petitions to halt euthanization plans, explained Monday she understands the state’s rationale.

"They’re making the decision for a reason, and after having heard the reason, I kind of want to be neutral," she said. "I’m kind of 'spare the bear' at the moment and I’m also 'spare the other people and hikers that may be in danger also.'"

Rivkin said she and her family have received threats on social media in the days since her story went public. She's asking people not to blame her for the bear's fate.

"Anyone who knows me, anyone on social media who has my back knows me, and I’m an animal lover. I’m a nature lover and no, I don’t want the bear killed," she said. "I want him to be relocated but apparently that’s already been done, so they’re taking the steps to do what’s right for everybody, the bear population, the people population."

Photo Credit: Stephanie Rivkin

Day Care Workers Force-Fed Tots


Two day care teachers on Long Island were arrested after investigators say they force-fed, pushed and slammed children onto the floor, according to authorities. 

Kathleen Culver, 33, of Southampton, and Sarah M. Dawber, 23, of Mastic Beach, were arrested Friday after an investigation into allegations of abuse at Side by Side Day Care in Southampton, police said. 

The women, who worked in the infant room at the day care, are accused of roughly handling children ranging in age from 4 months old to 18 months old. 

One 18-month-old child vomited from the alleged force-feeding, police said. No other injuries have been reported. 

A complaint filed with police led to an investigation by Southampton police, the New York State Office of Children and Family Services, and Suffolk County Child Protective Services after a complaint was filed with the police department.  

Culver and Dawber were arrested by detectives during a visit to the day care Friday. 

The workers were processed and released on desk appearance tickets for misdemeanor child endangerment, police said. They're expected to appear in court at a later date. 

Messages were left with the day care. Attorney information for Culver and Dawber wasn't immediately available. 

Two mothers went to the day care Monday night to pack up their children's belongings. They said they do not plan to bring their children back to the center. 

"I'm not comfortable leaving my child in a place where something like this goes on," said Sharon Sweeney. "This says to me they're not caring about the quality of people they're hiring to take care of these children, whether or not they're special needs children. I'm not comfortable with what I'm hearing so I decided to come tonight to take my son's wheelchair in case they decide to close up and not tell the parents what's going on."

Sarah Chapman, whose son has been going to the day care for the past two years, said she's recently seen too many red flags, including stories from a former roommate and parent whose autistic son came home and said teachers there would hit him on the buttocks with a stuffed animal.

"Neither of us will be back," she said, adding that her own mother once worked there and left the day care, along with many other "good people who worked there," because of the low pay. 

"This is what you get for that," said Chapman. 

Photo Credit: Southampton Police

6 Detained After Plane Diverted


A Southwest Airlines flight headed for Chicago was diverted to Amarillo, Texas, late Monday night after an altercation on the flight, officials said.

Southwest Airlines said in a statement that “several passengers traveling together became disorderly” and “refused to obey instructions from the crew.”

Amarillo police received a call around 10:20 p.m. reporting an altercation on Southwest Airlines Flight 1522. The flight landed at Rick Husband Amarillo International Airport and six men were detained by police, according to authorities. Southwest Airlines said six other members of the group deplaned and stayed in Amarillo.

The men were in custody as of Monday morning and no charges had been filed.

Tiffany Darge, who said she was sitting next to the group on the plane, told NBC Chicago the men were being rowdy and asked a flight attendant for alcohol during the flight. When the flight attendant denied them, Darge said the group called the woman "racist" and "a pig." Darge also said the group started making offensive comments to her when she got up to go to the bathroom and the crew later moved her seat away from the group. 

The flight, which came from San Diego, continued to Midway Airport after the altercation and landed without further incident, according to the airline.

The incident prompted concerns from some passengers following the unscheduled landing.

“Safety is the top priority at Southwest Airlines, and we will always take appropriate actions to ensure the safety and security of our crews and customers,” the airline said.

Photo Credit: AP
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Pope to Allow Priests to Forgive Abortion During Holy Year


Pope Francis will allow priests to absolve women who have had abortions if they seek forgiveness during the Roman Catholic Church's upcoming Holy Year, the Vatican announced Tuesday, NBC News reported. 

The pontiff said he will allow priests "discretion to absolve of the sin of abortion those who have procured it and who, with contrite heart, seek forgiveness for it" during the holy year beginning December 8.

"I am well aware of the pressure that has led [women] to this decision. I know that it is an existential and moral ordeal," Francis added. 

Abortion is considered a grave sin by the Catholic church, and those who seek it are usually excommunicated. In normal circumstances, forgiveness can only be granted by senior church figures.

Photo Credit: Alberto Pizzoli/AFP/Getty Images

'Daddy's Mad at Me': Couple Charged in Child Abuse Case


A Plainville couple is facing charges after the man abused their 3-year-old daughter and the woman did nothing to stop it, according to police.

Richard Martel, 23, and Danielle Wells, 28, were arrested Thursday and Sunday, respectively.

Police began investigating after Wells reported a domestic incident involving Martel on July 6 and said he had also been abusing their daughter, according to the warrant for Martel's arrest.

The toddler suffered a bump on her forehead, swelling on her elbow, marks on her face and neck, bruises on her legs and redness on her back, police said.

When a caseworker from the Department of Children and Families asked about her injuries, the child said, "I'm scared," and "Daddy's mad at me," according to police. DCF asked who caused the wounds and the child responded, "Daddy."

The toddler was treated at Connecticut Children's Medical Center. A doctor from the hospital's Suspected Child Abuse and Neglect Program told investigators a hematoma on the toddler's forehead was "a result of significant blunt force trauma" and was "much too extensive to have resulted from a fall," the arrest warrant states.

The doctor also told police hemorrhages on the little girl's neck were "diagnostic of inflicted trauma."

Wells told police her boyfriend suffers from bipolar disorder and "when a kid cries, it sets Martel into a 'rage.'" She said he started going "downhill" in March and became "worse" over the past month, according to the arrest warrant.

She described times when Martel would pick the child up by her neck and throw her onto the bed. Wells said Martel hit their daughter and once punched her in the stomach, the warrant states.

She said she never reported the abuse because Martel would "follow her or take her cellphone," according to the warrant.

Martel denied hitting or injuring the child and told police the toddler had fallen off her bike. Investigators said they couldn't verify his story.

He admitted to slapping her once on the buttocks, causing a bruise, and said he threw her "softly" onto the bed "when she would get under his skin and he needed a break," according to the arrest warrant. He also said he once "softly back handed (the child) in the mouth" after she swore at her mother.

The child is now in the custody of DCF.

"It's my understanding that there's no permanent damage," said Plainville police Lt. Nicholas Mullins.

Martel was charged with risk of injury to a minor, third-degree assault and second-degree reckless endangerment. Wells was charged with risk of injury to a minor and reckless endangerment.

Both are due back in court next month. It's not clear if either has an attorney.

Wells could not be reached for comment Monday evening. Martel's father declined to comment on the case.

Photo Credit: Plainville Police

Man Shot and Killed on Porch in Hartford


A 32-year-old Hartford man was shot and killed as he sat on his porch late Monday night and police are now investigating the city's 23rd homicide of the year.

Police said they responded to 52 South Prospect Street just before midnight and the man was pronounced dead at the scene.

The man's wife was a witness to the shooting and said she and her husband were on their porch when someone fired several shots and ran from the scene. 

The victim was shot several times in the chest and torso, police said.

Hartford Mayor Pedro Segarra arrived at the scene and said the city has brought in more resources and they are doing everything they can to try and stop the homicides.

Police have not arrested a suspect and said they believe the victim was targeted.

Officials originally said this was the 22nd homicide in the city this year, but then said the medical examiner's officer had ruled a death earlier this year as a homicide, making this case the 23rd.

As police search for the shooter, neighbors are on edge.

"I saw the police coming through and the fire truck come through and I came out to see what was going on. Then after awhile, we saw yellow tape go up, so we had a feeling, I had a feeling it was a homicide," said Sherrail, who did not want to give her last name. "After I walked down to see what was going on, I heard screaming. I heard someone screaming down there. It sounded like he said something about my brother."

Serial Sniper? 4 Vehicles Shot Along Phoenix Interstate


Officials are investigating four separate shootings at cars over three days along I-10 in Arizona, NBC News reported. It was not immediately clear if the incidents were related. 

Multiple rounds were fired in all of the incidents, according to NBC station KPNX. Investigators believe the shooter was also in a vehicle traveling on I-10, KPNX reported.

The shooting occurred on Saturday just after 11 a.m. local time when a sport utility vehicle was fired upon and struck, according to a statement from the Arizona Department of Public Safety. A teen girl riding in the passenger seat was treated on the scene for a cut to her right ear.

Minutes later, according to officials, a bus traveling in the opposite direction was hit by a bullet. There were no injuries. The third shooting was later that night and on Monday a bullet hit a work truck en route to a work site.

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Debris Causes Flat Tires on I-91 South in Hartford


Several cars were disabled on Colt's Curve on Interstate 91 South in Hartford on Tuesday morning after cars struck 2-by-4s with nails sticking out of them, which caused flat tires.

Crews responded to clear up the road.

This was just south of the Whitehead Highway.

Photo Credit: Connecticut Department of Transportation Cameras

Obama to Call for More Icebreakers in Arctic


President Barack Obama is set to call on Tuesday for the United States to buy or build more icebreakers for the Coast Guard in the Arctic Ocean to compete with Russia.

As sea ice melts because of climate change, marine traffic for mining, shipping and tourism is expected to increase in the Arctic, NBC News reported. 

The United States has only two fully functioning icebreakers in its fleet — and only one capable of heavy-duty work, the White House said. By comparison, Russia has 40 in its fleet and 11 more planned or being built.

Obama will also call for stepping up American scientific research in the Arctic "to increase our understanding of this vital region."

Photo Credit: AP

LA Selected as U.S. Candidate for 2024 Olympics


Los Angeles is officially in the running to host the 2024 Olympics.

With Boston bowing out earlier this year, the LA City Council voted unanimously Tuesday to approve a proposal to authorize Mayor Eric Garcetti to execute agreements related to the Olympic bid. The U.S. Olympic Committee later announced that it had selected LA as the United States candidate.

"We all know the next two years are about fleshing out the details, but this is in our DNA," said Garcetti, citing the city's experience with the 1932 and 1984 Olympics. "We know how to do Olympics, we know how to do them well, we know how to do them  economically."

Officials lit the cauldron at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum Tuesday night symbolizing hopes that the Olympics could return to the city in 2024.

"We could use the shot in the arm, just as a people," said Danny Harris, an silver medalist in the 1984 Olympics.

United States Olympics Committee CEO  Scott Blackmun officially announced that LA is the U.S. candidate for 2024 at a beach-side news conference in Santa Monica about an  hour after the council's vote.

Rome, Paris, Hamburg, Germany and Budapest, Hungary are already in the mix. The International Olympic Committee will pick the host city in 2017.

"This is a great Olympic city," Councilman Paul Krekorian said. "Let Paris and Rome and whoever else who wants to compete know, we're in this to win it, and I think we will."

The Summer Olympics were last held in the United States in 1996, when  Atlanta was the site.

The United States did not make a bid to host the 2020 Summer Olympics,  which were awarded to Tokyo in 2013. Los Angeles sought to be the U.S.  candidate to host the 2016 Games but was beaten by Chicago, whose bid was  ultimately rejected by the International Olympic Committee in favor of Rio de  Janeiro.

LA is looking to join London as the only cities to host the  Summer Olympics three times. The second-largest U.S. city initially lost the opportunity to bid to Boston but regained it after the East Coast city backed out over concerns about financial liability.

But many financial details of the Los Angeles plan remain vague. City analysts said last week that based on the information given to the city so far, "it is difficult to determine the fiscal impact and risk to the city of hosting the 2024 Games at this time."

The City Council's Ad Hoc Committee on the 2024 Summer Olympics backed an agreement last week that would show the United States Olympic Committee that the city of Los Angeles is committed to pursuing a bid to host the Games, but the full council was given extra time to review bidding documents that were delivered to the city last week. The "joinder" agreement was requested by the United States Olympic Committee.

Some city officials and residents have urged caution in pursuing the bid, saying the city could be on the hook for cost overruns incurred by hosting the Olympics, which boosters of the bid estimate as costing about $4.6 billion to run. Time has also been limited for Los Angeles, which was given only a few weeks to review the pact before the IOC's deadline -- compared with the several months that Boston had to study the idea.

That deadline was Sept. 15.

Last week was also the first time many city leaders and analysts were able to review a 200-page draft bid book and a proposed contract between the USOC and LA24, the nonprofit formed to pursue the bid and potentially manage the games if Los Angeles is picked as the host city. LA24 chair Casey Wasserman, a businessman and philanthropist, assured the committee last week that he believed "that this can be and will be the most responsible Games possible."

The ad hoc panel voted in favor of the effort after revisions were made to the agreement to clarify that the city will still have the opportunity to negotiate a more comprehensive "host city contract" at a later date. City attorneys told the panel that by backing the bid effort Tuesday, the city will not be exposed to any major financial obligations or liabilities.

A preliminary review of the budget appeared to show that one of the major capital projects, the Olympic Village, "may significantly exceed the projected $1 billion," City Administrative Officer Miguel Santana and Chief Legislative Analyst Sharon Tso wrote in a report Thursday. The analysts said more than half of the budget may go toward just remediation and relocation costs.

Supporters of the Los Angeles bid have said the city will more likely see a surplus, saying that unlike other cities, Los Angeles already has many of the needed sporting venues in place.

The Olympic Village would be next to the Los Angeles River in Lincoln Heights -- in a Union Pacific rail yard known as the "Piggyback Yard" -- and calls for track-and-field and the opening and closing ceremonies to be held at a renovated Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum.

Photo Credit: Getty

POTUS Posts to Instagram for the First Time


President Barack Obama is upping his social media game.

POTUS made his very first post on Instagram last night as he journeyed to Alaska.

The image was taken out the window of Air Force One. The blue sky breaks out along the horizon line as a blue engine from the airplane can be seen in the foreground. 

"Incredible view as we near Anchorage. I'll be spending the next few days touring this beautiful state and meeting with Alaskans about what’s going on in their lives," wrote Obama on the White House Instagram feed. 

The White House tweeted that the post was the president's first on Instagram. The presidents signs all his social media posts with 'bo.'

In addition to showing off his social media skills, Obama is on a wilderness trek to be filmed as part of TV show '"Running Wild with Bear Grylls," talking to Alaskans about "what's going on in their lives," and surveying the impacts of climate change. 

In May, Obama began tweeting from his own POTUS Twitter account and broke the Guiness World Record for acquring one million followers in less than five hours.

Photo Credit: AP
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Car Hits Woman in Front of Vernon Supermarket


A woman was struck by a vehicle in front of a supermarket on Route 83 in Vernon on Tuesday morning and no information was immediately available on the extent of injuries.

The crash happened in front of Price Chopper at Tri-City plaza on Talcottville Road.

No additional information was immediately available.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Electrican Shocked at Nomads in South Windsor Has Died


An electrician is dead after falling and grasping onto high-voltage wires at an indoor adventure center in South Windsor on Tuesday afternoon.

Police responded to Nomads Adventure Quest at 100 Bidwell Road, in South Windsor after receiving reports of a person “wrapped in wires” and found that the licensed electrician from Northern Lights Electric in Bolton had been injured.

The man, who is in his 40s, was believed to be working on a platform, removing light fixtures, in the laser tag section when he fell.

Employees thought the power was off to the fixtures and emergency responders called Eversource to make sure power was out to the building during the emergency response, police said.

South Windsor Police, South Windsor Fire and Ambulance Service of Manchester paramedics began CPR and the victim was transported to Manchester Memorial Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

Police have not released the man's name.

Crews from the Occupational Safety Health Administration have been called to assist with the investigation.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Police Investigating 8 Car Break-Ins in Norwalk


Police are investigating after burglars broke into eight cars in Norwalk overnight and they are warning residents to lock their cars and leave valuables out of sight.

Police said burglars hit cars parked in residential drives that had items visible.

The residents discovered the burglaries on Tuesday morning.

Police are investigating the crimes and ask residents to leave nothing in the car that would be visible to would-be thieves, to lock vehicles and take the keys inside with you.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Suspect in September Hartford Murder Arrested


Hartford police have arrested a suspect in a murder at a gas station and convenience store in September.

Benjamin White, 28, of Hartford, has been charged with the murder of Anthony Wortham, 37, of Hartford. Wortham was shot and killed at R and D Food Mart and Sunoco station on Albany Avenue on Sept. 28, according to police. http://www.nbcconnecticut.com/news/local/One-Person-Killed-in-Shooting-at-Hartford-Sunoco-Gas-Station-277359981.html

According to police, Anthony Wortham had gotten into an altercation with White’s brother and White retaliated when he learned of it.

At 1:12 a.m., less than one hour after the argument, White showed up at the gas station and convenience store with a gun, walked through a crowd of bystanders and shot Wortham in the head at close range, killing him, police said.

The Harford police major crimes division led the investigation and obtained video surveillance from both incidents before obtaining an arrest warrant for White, who has been charged with murder, criminal possession of a firearm and criminal use of a firearm.

Police took White into custody around 10 a.m. on Tuesday and a judge has set bond at $1 million.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Man With Life Sentence for Marijuana Walks Free


A man sentenced to life in prison without parole on a marijuana-related charge walked out of a Missouri prison a free man on Tuesday, after spending two decades behind bars, The Associated Press reported. 

The release of Jeff Mizanskey followed years of lobbying from family, lawmakers and advocates for the legalization of marijuana, who argued that the sentence was too stiff.

Mizanskey was sentenced in 1996 after police said he conspired to sell 6 pounds of marijuana to a dealer connected to Mexican drug cartels. The life with no parole sentence was allowed under a Missouri law for persistent drug offenders; Mizanskey already had two drug convictions — one for possession and sale of marijuana in 1984 and another for possession in 1991.

Photo Credit: AP

Woman Charged With Animal Cruelty After Puppy Found Dead


Shelton police have arrested an Ansonia woman on animal cruelty charges after finding a puppy dead and four other animals in poor conditions, without enough water, food and heat, police said.

Shelton Animal Control received a complaint in January about the welfare of animals at a home on Soundview Avenue and found two dogs and two cats in unsanitary conditions without adequate food, water or heat, as well as a dead puppy, police said.

Police and animal control were able to determine that Charlotte D’Amico, 31, of Ansonia, used to live at the house and was responsible for the animals, but was not living there when the investigation started, police said.

The animals were signed over to the animal shelter in January and police served D’Amico with a warrant. She has been charged with five counts of cruelty to animals.

D’Amico posted a $2,500 bond and is due to appear in Derby Superior Court on Sept. 11.

The two dogs and one of the cats were adopted immediately after they were signed over to the Animal Shelter. The other cat was adopted after recovering from multiple surgeries.

NBC Connecticut was not able to find a telephone number for D’Amico and it is not clear if she has an attorney.

Photo Credit: Shelton Police

3 Charged in New Haven Armed Robbery


Police have arrested three men in connection with the armed robbery of a group of New Haven residents outside their apartment early Tuesday morning.

Karis Westley, 22, Rajoun Julious, 23, and Robert Fairweather, 23, are facing charges. Westley and Julious are both convicted felons, according to police.

Police said one of the men confronted three victims who had stopped near their apartment on Elm Street to look at a bureau left curbside. The robber held them at gunpoint and demanded their valuables, cellphones and cellphone passwords.

He left with two other men in a Toyota Corolla, which was last seen heading northbound on Ella T. Grasso Boulevard.

Police were able to track one of the victim’s cellphones about an hour later, which led them to the area of Morse Street in the Newhallville neighborhood.

Officers arrived to find the three suspects and spotted two guns in the car: one stashed beneath the driver’s seat and another in the seat-back pocket on the driver’s side, according to police.

All three men were handcuffed and arrested.

Westley was charged with first-degree armed robbery, conspiracy to commit armed robbery, carrying a weapon in a motor vehicle, second-degree larceny, conspiracy to commit larceny, carrying a pistol without a permit, criminal possession of a firearm.

Julious was charged with commit first-degree armed robbery, carrying a weapon in a motor vehicle, second-degree larceny, conspiracy to commit larceny, carrying a pistol without a permit, criminal possession of a firearm, possession of a controlled substance, possession with intent to sell.

Fairweather was charged with conspiracy to commit first-degree armed robbery, carrying a weapon in a motor vehicle, second-degree larceny, conspiracy to commit larceny, carrying a pistol without a permit.

It’s not clear if any of the suspects has an attorney.

Photo Credit: New Haven Police Department

Meeting Tonight to Focus on Ansonia Burglaries


Burglars broke into 10 Ansonia homes in around two weeks and the mayor and police officers will be meeting with the community tonight to share advice on how to stop it.

The burglaries happened in the Hilltop area and started on Aug. 6 and police said they believe the burglar is targeting houses with unlocked windows.

The burglaries happened between 11 p.m. and 7 a.m. in the areas of Reservoir Drive, Farrell Drive, Martin Terrace and Birchwood Drive.

Police believe the same person is behind the spree, but the only description is that the burglar is male.

Residents are being asked to make efforts to close and lock windows in their homes at all times, especially overnight hours.

The meeting is set for 7 p.m. at the Hilltop Hose Company No. 5, at 80 Pulaski Highway. Authorities will be talking with the community about the investigation into the burglaries as well as form a block watch.

If you see anything suspicious, call police immediately at 203-735-1885 or 911.

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