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'They're Going Back': Trump on Syrian Refugees in U.S.


Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump says he’s going to toughen up on Syrian refugees if he wins the upcoming federal election, NBC News reported.

"I'm putting people on notice that are coming here from Syria as part of this mass migration, that if I win, they're going back!" he said at a town hall on Wednesday in Keene, New Hampshire.

The comments are a departure from Trump’s previous, softer remarks about the ongoing refugee crisis. In a speech in Rochester, New Hampshire, two weeks ago, Trump said the U.S. can do something about the crisis, but “we have to get other people to help us.”

This is Trump’s 14th visit to New Hampshire.

Photo Credit: AP

Taliban Driven Out of Most of Kunduz: Afghan Officials


The Afghan government said its forces had recaptured most of Kunduz from the Taliban on Thursday, three days after the militants seized the provincial capital, NBC News reported.

Afghan Ministry of the Interior spokesperson Sediq Sediqqi told NBC News that special forces broke Taliban lines of defense in the early hours of the morning and cleared the city center "without much resistance."

"A massive search and clear operation is underway in all Kunduz city right now," he said. "The remaining enemy forces are being chased by Afghan national security forces."

Taliban spokesmen denied the Afghan government had recaptured the city, and it was not immediately clear what parts of Kunduz were in whose hands.

Photo Credit: AP

New Info in Ill. Officer Shooting


After weeks of remaining silent, Fox Lake, Illinois, officials will to give an update in the investigation into a veteran police officer's fatal shooting Thursday.

On Thursday, Chief George Filenko, Commander of the Lake County Major Crime Task Force and Detective Christopher Covelli, Public Information Officer for the Lake County Sheriff’s Office will be holding a press conference at 10 a.m. CT.

Police said they will "provide limited new information" in the investigation.

Last week, Fox Lake police said that gunshot residue and ballistic tests done during the investigation "do not support or exclude any theory." 

Covelli said at the time that they are still investigating the shooting as a "homicide," based on Fox Lake police lieutenant Joseph Gliniewicz's radio call that he was pursuing three suspicious suspects just before his death and the fact that a canine managed to trace a path from the crime scene.

The Sept. 1 shooting prompted a furious police manhunt.

After flooding western Lake County with over 400 officers, as well as helicopters and canines, the trail now appears to have gone cold, and police have not taken reporters’ questions since Sept. 9.

May Street in Naugatuck Closed After Crash


May Street in Naugatuck is closed between Mayberry and Florence streets after a car hit a utility pole overnight.

Police expect the road to be closed until at least 9 a.m. and they are asking drivers to use alternate routes to avoid delays.

Take Lincoln Street to bypass the area.

Photo Credit: Naugatuck Police

Mountain Lion Roaming SoCal City


Animal control officers put out a warning to residents to be on the lookout for a mountain lion lurking around Hesperia in Southern California on Tuesday.

The mountain lion was spotted near Arrowhead Lake Road.

The warning comes after the release of a stunning photo of a mountain lion perched on a 35-foot telephone pole 22 miles away in Lucerne Valley.

Hesperia Animal Control warned that mountain lions may venture into yards if they are searching for food and water.

The warning also said to never make contact.

Back in 2011, a Hesperia family found a mountain lion living in the garage for several days.

If you spot a mountain lion in the area, Hesperia Animal Control advises to call the following number immediately: 760-947-1707.  

Photo Credit: VVDailyPress.com

Cancer-Stricken Goalie's Mom Wants Artificial Turf Answers


University of Miami athlete Austen Everett died from non-Hodgkin's lymphoma in 2012. Her mother said it was soon after that, as she found out about even more sick players, that she came to believe that artificial turf used on soccer fields was the culprit.

"I realized, 'Oh my God, the thing that she loved most probably killed her,'" June Leahy told NBC News. "And that was hard." Leahy says since her daughter's death, she still hasn't gotten enough answers — or action from lawmakers and regulators.

Crumb rubber turf, which is used in thousands of U.S. schools, parks and professional stadiums, is made from pulverized tires — which can contain carcinogens — and green nylon blades of fake grass. No research has linked crumb or shredded rubber to cancer, and the turf industry says dozens of studies have shown the surface poses no health risk. Some parents and activists, however, say there should be more testing and that federal regulators should take a position on its safety.

Photo Credit: Courtesy June Leahy
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5 Phi Gam Members Arrested in UA Hazing Probe


Five University of Alabama fraternity members were arrested on charges of hazing other students, officials said Wednesday — the latest in a string of campus scandals, NBC News reported.

Their arrest follows an investigation by the university into allegations that members of the Phi Gamma Delta fraternity made pledges stand in buckets of ice and salt, causing burns on pledges' feet, The Birmingham News reported.

"The University of Alabama will not tolerate hazing and takes allegations and incidents of hazing very seriously," Tim Hebson, dean of students, said in a statement.

Phi Gamma Delta has been placed under "interim sanctions," the university said, including "no social events and no new member activities." 

Photo Credit: AP

Man Hit and Killed After Leaving Car Following Crash


A 43-year-old man who got out of his car after a crash in Watertown on Wednesday night was killed when another vehicle struck him, according to state police.

Marc A. Warzocha was driving a 2005 Chevrolet Equinox on Route 8, just before the exit 37 off- ramp at 9:40 p.m., and was injured when he was involved in a one-car crash, police said.

After his car stopped, the 43-year-old man got out of his vehicle, walked across the median and onto Route 8 north, where he was hit by another car.

An ambulance responded and transported Warzocha to Waterbury Hospital, where he later died.
State police are investigating and said the driver who hit Warzocha stopped.

Route 8 northbound was closed for several hours on Wednesday night, but has reopened.

Photo Credit: Shutterstock

Mexico Extradites Alleged Drug Lord 'La Barbie,' 12 Others to U.S.


Texas-born alleged drug lord Edgar "La Barbie" Valdez was extradited to the United States from Mexico, U.S. officials said on Wednesday, NBC News reported.

Valdez, who earned his nickname due to his fair complexion, was among 13 defendants wanted for a variety of violent crimes, including the murder of a U.S. Consulate employee, and drug trafficking-related offenses to be handed over to U.S. Marshals late Wednesday, according to the Justice Department.

He headed the Beltran Leyva cartel until being arrested in August 2010, according to Mexican and U.S. officials.

Photo Credit: Getty Images

Rollover Crash on Route 6 in Southbury

Hiker Dies After Fall at Hubbard Park in Meriden


A hiker died after falling about 30 feet at Hubbard Park in Meriden.

A hiker happened upon an injured hiker near a castle in the park on one of the trails. The Meriden Fire Department responded at about 6:53 p.m. on Wednesday.

It appears the hiker fell about 30 feet down a rock face. It's unknown how the hiker fell.

Meriden police responded and blocked off the parking lot so that a LifeStar helicopter could land, but the hiker died at the scene.

Hubbard Park is located at 979 West Main Street.

Robbers Strike at 7-Elevens in East Hartford, Coventry


Police in Coventry and East Hartford are investigating two separate robberies at 7-Elevens on Thursday morning and they are looking into whether they are connected to several other robberies. 

The robber in both cases had a bag over his head and that matches descriptions from three robberies in Manchester as well, according to police.

The first robbery happened around 1 a.m. at the 7-Eleven on Main Street in East Hartford. The robber pushed the clerk, but the employee was OK, police said.

Officials don't think he had a weapon and said he walked away, heading east on Brewer Street,

Then, there was an armed robbery at the 7-Eleven at 2711 Boston Turnpike in Coventry just after 5 a.m.

Police said they received a 911 at 5:03 a.m. and arrived within three minutes to learn the robber had been dressed all in black and had a yellow plastic bag over his head, with holes cut out for his eyes.

He implied he had a weapon, but never pointed one at staff, police said.

After obtaining the cash, the robber walked away from the scene, heading west on Route 44 and remains at large. Police brought in K9 units, but were not able to find him.

The description of the robber in these two case is similar to the person who robbed a Sam's Mart in Manchester on Tuesday and two convenience stores in one day two weeks ago.

Coventry Police ask anyone with information about the robbery to call the Coventry Police Department at 860-742-7331. To provide an anonymous tip, call 860-742-2400. 

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

WATCH: NBC Anchor Bit By Python


NBC 6 South Florida anchor Keith Jones walked away with a few battle scars after being bitten by a Burmese python while on assignment.

Registration begins Thursday for Florida's 2016 Python Challenge, which encourages hunters to kill or capture the invasive Burmese python from the Florida Everglades. Before registered snake hunters can start tagging and bragging about their prizes, they must first undergo required online or in-person training sessions that teach how to identify Burmese pythons.

Jones was there Wednesday for one of the in-person training sessions held at the University of Florida's Davie campus.

Hunters were taught how to properly pin, handle and double-bag pythons. When Jones went to put his training to use, the 9-foot python ended up catching him, sinking its fangs into Jones' hand.

When asked if it hurt, Jones replied "not at all" as he continued to bag the snake.

Kristen Sommers with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission says the hardest part of catching the invasive snake is spotting it.

"You have passed probably 100 snakes that you should have detected before you saw the one you did," says Sommers.

There are no known native predators to the Burmese python, which contributes to an imbalance in the system in the Florida Everglades. The snakes are known to prey on other native species, including snakes, birds, reptiles and mammals.

Their numbers were once reported to be as much as 100,000 but it's hard to say how many are lurking now.

"There are no good estimates of python numbers, and the reason for that is that detection is so low," said Kristen Sommers of FWC. "You're talking less than one-percent detectability."

All pythons turned in at Python Challenge drop off locations will be humanely killed if they are brought in alive, according to Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission spokeswoman Carli Segelson. Competition rules instruct how to humanely transport the snakes. 

"Scientists will study the carcasses to gather important information from these snakes including the length, weight, gender and location of capture," she said.

The month-long competition will offer cash prizes to teams and individuals who capture the most pythons and the longest python.

It kicks off at noon on January 16th and ends at 7 p.m. on February 14th.

Registration information can be found at pythonchallenge.org.

SCOTUS to Weigh Cash for Iran Terror Victims


The U.S. Supreme Court agreed Thursday to decide whether Congress exceeded its powers when it passed a law in 2012 allowing victims of terrorism to seize nearly $2 billion belonging to Iran's central bank, NBC News reported. 

More than 1,000 victims of terrorist attacks throughout the Middle East sponsored by Iran sued the Iranian government and won their cases. Among them were family members of 241 Marines killed in a 1983 barracks bombing in Lebanon.

The attack was blamed on Hezbollah, the Lebanese Shiite militia backed by Iran.

Because Iran refused to pay, the victims asked a federal court to let them seize Iranian assets held by Bank Markazi in New York that were frozen by the Obama administration. 

Normally, those assets would not be available to the victims, but they asked Congress to pass a law allowing them to seize the money. 

Photo Credit: AFP/Getty Images

Large Numbers of Guadalupe Fur Seals Dying Off in California


Scientists are looking at ocean-warming trends to figure out why endangered Guadalupe fur seals are stranding themselves and dying in alarming numbers along the central California coast.

Approximately 80 emaciated fur seals have come ashore since January — about eight times more than normal - leading the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration this week to declare an "unusual mortality event" for the animals.

The classification diverts additional resources to study the animals, which have been traditionally under-researched, officials said.

Researchers will try to determine if the die-off is a result of a disruption in the seal's feeding patterns from a large-scale warming of the Pacific Ocean, Toby Garfield, an official with NOAA's Southwest Fisheries Science Center, said Tuesday.

The so-called warm blobs occurring during a persistent high-pressure ridge have grown to cover most of the West Coast and have been previously blamed for discoveries of emaciated young sea lions off California and starving seabirds off Oregon and Washington.

Some of the fish species that fur seals usually eat may have moved farther north to escape the unusually warm waters, Garfield said during a teleconference.

"We think that warm water conditions have really changed the range of quite a few of the forage fish species that the fur seals would be going after," he said.

Garfield expects the high-pressure system to persist for a few more months, when El Nino, another ocean-warming phenomenon, could cause further problems.

Of the 80 Guadalupe sea lions stranded so far this year, 42 were found dead, said Justin Viezbicke, a NOAA coordinator in Long Beach. From 2009 through 2014, the agency recorded only about 10 strandings per year.

The spike "demands immediate response," resulting in the designation, Viezbicke said.

The majority of the stranded seals were pups born last year, but at least 4 were adult females, said Tenaya Norris, a scientist at the Marine Mammal Center in Sausalito, where most of the animals were rehabilitated.

The center has responded to stranded fur seals since 1977, and before 2015, the highest number it has admitted in any other year is five, Norris said. SeaWorld in San Diego nursed other emaciated seals back to health.

Guadalupe fur seals breed almost entirely on Guadalupe Island near Baja California, Mexico, more than 600 miles from where they are stranding in central California.

Male fur seals can grow up to 7 feet long and top out at around 400 pounds.

Hunting brought the species to near extinction in the late 1800s, but it had been slowly recovering. The seal has been listed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act since 1967 and also is protected by the Marine Mammal Protection Act.

The current population is estimated at more than 10,000 animals.

An unusual mortality event was declared in 2007 for Guadalupe fur seals in Oregon and Washington, according to NOAA.

Photo Credit: NOAA

Fire Reported at Planned Parenthood


A fire that broke out Wednesday night at a Planned Parenthood building in Thousand Oaks, California, is considered a case of arson, sheriff's investigators confirmed.

The fire was reported around 11:27 p.m. in the 1200 block of West Hillcrest Drive and likely started when someone tossed a container with a flammable liquid through a window, investigators with the Ventura County Sheriff's Department said. Firefighters responded and found a small fire burning in the lobby, which activated the sprinkler system, according to the Ventura County Fire Department.

The sprinkler system put out the fire, which caused minimal damage, firefighters said. More significant damage was caused by water from the sprinkler system, according to the Ventura County Fire Department.

Jenna Tosh, president and CEO of Planned Parenthood of Santa Barbara, Ventura and San Luis Obispo counties, said the location will remain closed Thursday. The same location was targeted by vandals in August, Tosh said.

"It's always very disappointing whenever you hear that something like this has happened," Tosh said.

Firefighters said the fire was "suspicious" and intentionally set. A rock was likely used to smash a window, said Detective Tim Lohman, of the Ventura County Sheriff's Department.

"An incident like this, obviously they're trying to get a point across -- whatever that point might be," said Lohman. "Our job is to make sure the community is safe."

Sheriff's Capt. John Reilly said someone wearing a hooded sweatshirt and a face mask was recorded by surveillance cameras, according to The Associated Press.

Employees for Planned Parenthood were at the office Thursday morning assessing the damage from the fire and trying to reschedule appointments.

No injuries were reported.

Authorities said they were investigating if the Planned Parenthood office in Thousand Oaks received any recent threats.

The health center provides cancer screenings, birth control, sexually transmitted disease tests and other services. Planned Parenthood has faced recent criticism and congressional backlash for its practice of supplying tissue from aborted fetuses for scientific research.

NBC4's Corey Arvin contributed to this report.

Photo Credit: OnScene

Cereal Cafe Sparks Angry Protests


A cafe in London the exclusively sells 120 variety of breakfast cereal has become a flashpoint for protest in a city increasingly polarized between rich and poor. 

Last weekend, a crowd of anti-gentrification protesters with flaming torches and pig masks surrounded the cafe and wrote "scum" on the windows. Anti-poverty protesters say the cafe is a symbol of all that's wrong with London's development.

Tony Tavers, an expert at the London School of Economics, said the cereal cafe is "an innocent casualty of a wider struggle for territory in the city."

One-bedroom apartments sell for 500,000 pounds ($750,000) and up, but almost half of children in the local borough, Tower Hamlets, live in poverty.

Photo Credit: AP

6 Gang Members Arrested


The U.S. Attorney’s Office, ATF, New Haven Police Department, and other law enforcement agencies held a news conference in New Haven on Thursday afternoon and said six members of the Red Side Guerrilla Brims gang have been arrested on murder charges.

A news release distributed before the news conference said they would be announcing federal murder, racketeering, firearms, narcotics and money laundering charges against several members and associates of a violent New Haven street gang.

Firefighters Rescue Trapped Dog


Firefighters came to the rescue of an 8-year-old cock-a-poo that was trapped under slabs of concrete and other construction debris on Wednesday morning.

Heavy rain fell on Wednesday, so the possibility of flooding presented challenges, but crews from Engines 3 and 5, Ladder 2 and Cars 2 and 3 responded.

Fairfield fire crews used structural collapse rescue tools, along with traditional tools they use for digging, freed the dog and returned the pet to the owner.

Photo Credit: Fairfield Fire Department

State Officials Ask for Public to Help Crack Down on Price Gouging During Storms


As we watch the track of Hurricane Joaquin, state officials are warning the public about the dangers of price gouging.

NBC Connecticut First Alert meteorologists say the most likely scenario as of Thursday afternoon is that Joaquin will veer east and miss the United States, but vulnerable consumers have become victims during past major weather emergencies that hit the state, such as Sandy and Irene, state lawmakers said during a news conference Thursday at the New Haven Emergency Operations Center.

During a declared state of emergency, it is illegal in the state for businesses to increase the prices of goods and services.

“There are all kinds of opportunities for people without conscience to engage in predatory behavior," State Senate President Martin Looney (D-New Haven) said.

In 2013, after Sandy caused severe damage along the coastline, the Legislature expanded the law to protect consumers from price gouging of services, like repairing roofs and fixing flood damage.

Looney said people concerned about safety to their homes were approached by contractors charging exorbitant rates.

He added the same type behavior can take place during the cleanup following snowstorms.

According to the anti-price gouging law, consumer protection officials determine if a price is excessive by comparing what the same good or service cost thirty days before the weather emergency.

"When there's a storm coming and you need something to protect your family, doesn't matter how much it costs,” New Haven Emergency Management Coordinator Rick Fontana said. “You want it and last thing you want to know is you've been gouged and taken advantage of."

State officials ask people who think they have been the victim of price gouging during a state of emergency to call the Department of Consumer Protection at 1-800-842-2649.

Photo Credit: National Hurricane Center
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