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Fear of Terror Attack in Israel Triggers Manhunt


Two Palestinian suspects were arrested near a Tel Aviv-area mall on Thursday following a manhunt triggered by what Israeli officials said was a warning about an imminent terrorist attack, NBC News reported. 

The two were appended at an apartment in the city of Givatayim after a chase involving a helicopter and security forces, Tel Aviv police chief Shimon Aviv told the Voice of Israel radio station.

Israeli police spokeswoman Luba Samri confirmed to NBC News that the two suspects had been transferred to Shin Bet, Israel's equivalent of the FBI, for interrogation.

The incident came against the backdrop of severely heightened tensions in Israel and the West Bank. In the past month, eight Israelis have been killed in Palestinian attacks, and 31 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli fire, just under half of whom were identified by Israel as attackers, according to The Associated Press.

Photo Credit: AP

Firefighters Find No Problem at Rocky Hill School


Firefighters went to Stevens School on Orchard Street in Rocky Hill on Thursday morning to investigate an odor of gas, but did not find any problems. 

School will operate as normal.

Photo Credit: NBC 7

School Bus Hits Pole in Stratford

'The Right Thing to Do': Obama Delays Afghan Drawdown


President Obama, elected to the White House seven years ago on a pledge to end America's war in Afghanistan, said Thursday that changing circumstances on the ground required U.S. troops to remain there beyond his presidency to combat Al Qaeda and train local security forces.

"While America's combat mission in Afghanistan may be over, our commitment to Afghanistan and its people endures," Obama said.

Thursday's announcement marks an abrupt turnaround from a plan he outlined last year, in which Obama envisioned keeping only a security force of 1,000 in Kabul.

The announcement followed a months-long review of America's battle against the Taliban which have made aggressive moves to retake territory, including an assault on the city of Kunduz last month that prompted U.S. airstrikes which mistakenly destroyed a Doctors Without Borders hospital.

Photo Credit: AP

Twitter Briefly Goes Down for Some Users


Twitter briefly went down for some desktop and mobile users on Thursday morning.

"Something is technically wrong," a message said on the website. "Thanks for noticing- we're going to fix it up and have things back to normal soon."

It's not clear what caused the brief outage. 

Photo Credit: Twitter

Police Search for Man Who Robbed TD Bank in West Hartford


A man robbed a bank on North Main Street in West Hartford on Thursday morning and police are searching for him.

Police said the man handed a note to a teller at TD Bank at 333 North Main St. at 8:26 a.m. and threatened to hurt her if she did not hand over cash, according to police. 

He did not use a weapon and no one was hurt.

Police are looking for a stocky man in his 30s, who is around 6-feet tall and has brown hair, an overgrown beard and stubble.

He was wearing a charcoal gray hoodie, a black knit hat, sunglasses, light colored jeans and tan work boots. 

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Hitler's 'Mein Kampf' to Return to German Bookstores


More than 70 years after his death, Adolf Hitler's notorious manifesto is set to go back on sale in German bookstores, NBC News reported. 

Historians are readying a new, annotated edition of the Nazi leader's "Mein Kampf" which will be released in January. The Munich-based Institute of Contemporary History (IFZ) — a government-funded research institution — plans to publish it once the copyright to the text expires at the end of the year.

It will feature a total of 3,700 comments providing analysis on its content — which doubles the number of pages of the original version. 

IFZ's Christian Hartmann told NBC News Hitler's "800-page book is in great parts anti-Semitic" and "full of allusions and assertions, which are difficult to understand in the 21st century," which is why every sentence will be explained and critically evaluated in the upcoming edition.

Photo Credit: AFP/Getty Images

Patrols Increased After Assaults on Women in New Haven


A New Haven neighborhood is getting the help it has been asking for after a string of assaults on women. Starting Thursday, two additional beat police officers will become a permanent part of the Wooster Square neighborhood.

“We like to walk the park so it’s great to see that it’s going to be safe now," said Kim Evans, who often walks through Wooster Square.

Evans will have a new layer of protection as two new walking beat officers from the New Haven Police Department will be patrolling the area on bicycles and on foot.

“The neighborhood got involved and the police force is coming right along with them and being a team," said Evans.

Members of the Wooster Square Watch called for more police assistance after the group says several women who were walking alone were assaulted after dark in recent weeks. The group posted warnings as well as invited the unarmed civilian 'Guardian Angels' to patrol the area.

“We’re proactive. We notice things,” said Peter Webster, Captain of the Wooster Square Watch. Webster believes that two permanent beat officers - the first in years in Wooster Square - will make a difference.

“They’re going to get to know all the little nooks and crannies where good things or bad things can happen," said Webster. "They’re like our neighborhood cops, which is what you saw in the old days.”

Still, Webster said, residents should not let their guards down. “People who are scared are marked. So don’t be scared. Be careful.”

Police will be walking their beats in Wooster Square at least four or five nights each week, with this permanent beat assignment taking effect Thursday.

“You really want to feel safe in your neighborhood and I hope that this park and Wooster Square can be one of those places," said Cory Cerritelli, who often visits Wooster Square.

Woman Flown from Scene of Willington Crash


Lifestar flew a Coventry woman to the hospital after she crashed into a tree in Willington early Thursday morning.

Police said Kristal A. Stewart, 21, of Coventry, was behind the wheel when the car she was driving went off Route 74 at 12:33 a.m. and hit a tree.

Police said she was trapped and firefighters had to extricate her.

Lifestar transported Stewart to Hartford Hospital.

Police said her injuries do not appear to be life-threatening.

Police are investigating the crash.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

East Hampton Woman Charged With Hurting Child


Police have arrested a 24-year-old East Hampton woman after investigating injuries a child in her care suffered.

East Hampton police took Felicia Marie O’Brien into custody on Wednesday.

No information was immediately available on what she is accused of, but she was charged with risk of injury to a minor and intentional cruelty to persons.

She is being held in police custody because she was not able to post the $250,000 bond.

She is due in court on Thursday afternoon.

Costco Opens in New Britain


 A new Costco opened for business on Hartford Road in New Britain o on Thursday morning.

The store offers a variety of items and services, including food, electronics, a pharmacy, a gas station, a hearing aid center and eye exams.

This was a project more than four years in the making.

Costco originally planned to build the warehouse across the street, but environmentalist convinced city officials to preserve the forest.

So the store was built on the Stanley Golf Course and the city of New Britain gave Costco $2.1 million in tax credits.

New Britain Mayor Erin Stewart said they will still collect half a million dollars in tax revenue every year.

"We thank Costco for sticking around. It certainly was not an easy process getting this store built, but this is going to be one of the most popular stores in the state, I know it, I feel it today," Mayor Erin Stewart New Britain said.

Hundreds of people arrived on opening day.

"We are members of Costco up in Enfield, but that is a long way to drive. So when we heard they were going to open down here, we live in West Hartford, this is great," Rosemary Wall, of West Hartford, said.

The store sells yearly memberships. During opening weekend, store managers said they will give new customers $20 in Costco cash and $30 in coupons for free merchandise for the $110 executive membership.

For the $55 gold star membership, new customers can get $10 in Costco cash.

Prior to opening, Costco representatives said they signed up thousands of new customers at a temporary storefront in New Britain.

Paula Wilcox, of West Hartford, was enticed by the deep discounts on electronics and decided to buy a flat-screen television. Once she was inside, she said she was impressed by the store.

"It is amazing. It is huge, it is clean, you know the people are so nice, the staff, as soon as you walk in everybody is like, ‘Good morning, welcome.’ It is a really nice store," Wilcox said.

This is the sixth Costco warehouse in the state.

In addition to the New Britain and Enfield locations, there are also Costco warehouses in Brookfield, Milford, Norwalk and Waterbury.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Aunt Who Sued 12-Year-Old Nephew: 'We Love Each Other'


The New York City woman whose lawsuit against her 12-year-old nephew in Connecticut thrust her into the national spotlight called the ordeal "heartbreaking" in an exclusive live interview with NBC's "Today" show Thursday morning.

Jennifer Connell sued her nephew, Sean Tarala, for $127,000 over an injury she suffered at his birthday party in Westport, Connecticut, four years ago. According to the suit, Connell fell and broke her wrist when she tried to catch Sean.

It took a six-member jury 25 minutes to reject the suit Tuesday, which was filed in Bridgeport Superior Court.

This morning, the "Today" show's Savannah Guthrie asked Connell what she wants people to understand about the case. 

"That we love each other very much and that this was simply a case of formality with an insurance claim," Connell explained.

Her attorneys told NBC Connecticut in a statement Tuesday their client was "forced to sue to get medical bills paid." They said Connell has undergone two painful surgeries and is facing a third, which insurance has not covered.

Connell called the media coverage of her lawsuit "a complete shock."

"It was amazing how I walked into court that morning and walked out all over social media," she told Guthrie. "It just spun and spun."

Connell said friends and family called to warn her against turning on the television or checking the Internet. Twitter posts branded Connell the "worst aunt ever," according to Guthrie.

"It was sort of heartbreaking and really painful, but also like walking into a film of someone else’s life and I hadn’t been briefed," Connell said. "So, I’ve just been in shock since that happened."

Guthrie also asked Sean, who appeared on "Today" alongside Connell, what he had to say about the ordeal.

"She would never do anything to hurt the family or myself and she loves us," Sean said of his aunt.

Connell told "Today" the idea of suing her nephew "sounded terrible" from the start, but legally, it was her only option.

"I’m no legal expert, but as I understand it, in Connecticut, it’s not possible to name an insurance company in a suit of a homeowner’s insurance case," she explained. "An individual has to be named, and in this case, because Sean and I had the fall together, I was informed Sean had to be named. I was never comfortable with that."

Guthrie then asked Connell, looking back, how she feels about the experience and the attention it has garnered.

"I’m still in shock, but it’s not been a pleasant experience from the beginning, of course. I am just confused, but I just feel like perhaps it’s the way the legal system is set up, so that the insurance companies are not in the spotlight for stepping up and taking responsibility for handling claims on properties," Connell said.

The law firm representing her, Jainchill and Beckert, released the following statement to NBC Connecticut earlier this week:

"From the start, this was a case was about one thing: getting medical bills paid by homeowner’s insurance. Our client was never looking for money from her nephew or his family. It was about the insurance industry and being forced to sue to get medical bills paid. She suffered a horrific injury. She had two surgeries and is potentially facing a third. Prior to the trial, the insurance company offered her one dollar. Unfortunately, due to Connecticut law, the homeowner’s insurance company could not be identified as the defendant.

"Our client was very reluctant to pursue this case, but in the end she had no choice but to sue the minor defendant directly to get her bills paid. She didn’t want to do this anymore than anyone else would," the statement continues. "But her hand was forced by the insurance company. We are disappointed in the outcome, but we understand the verdict. Our client is being attacked on social media. Our client has been through enough."

Photo Credit: "Today" Show
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Branford Deputy Fire Chief Struck and Killed by Train


The Branford Fire Department is mourning the loss of the deputy fire chief, who was struck and killed by a train in Branford on Wednesday night.

Deputy Chief Ronald R. Mullen, who was also the deputy fire marshal, was on the tracks in the area of Pleasant Point Road in Branford around 7:20 p.m. on Wednesday when a Shoreline East train struck him, officials said.

"It is with deep regret, we relay news of the sudden passing of Deputy Chief/Deputy Fire Marshal Ronald R. Mullen. Deputy Chief Mullen joined the Branford Fire Department as a cadet member in 1976 and became a member of the career staff in 1981. Over his nearly four decade career, he was one of the most respected Incident Commanders, fire investigators, and educators in the state," a Facebook post on the Branford Fire Department page says. 

Police also issued a statement, saying the public safety community is grieving the loss of Deputy Chief Mullen.

"He was well respected not only in our community, but throughout our state and nation. Our heartfelt sympathies go out to his family and his brothers and sisters in the firefighting community," a statement from Captain Geoffrey Morgan  says. 

He added that police have assisted Amtrak Police in their investigation.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Yale Food Trucks Shut Down Amid Ordinance Crackdown


One day the Rubamba food truck was selling arepas to Yale students and others on York Street in New Haven. The next day, it wasn't.

But the truck remained parked in its regular spot for the last four years in protest over an order from the city to move. The order came as a part of a crackdown on an ordinance regulating where food trucks are allowed to park in the city. At least three trucks were forced to stop operations at their normal locations on Wednesday.

"All my food I wasted and threw away," truck owner Ernesto Garcia said about what happened on Wednesday, "because the inspector, he just came around 11 and say, 'You guys have to shut down.'"

"We pay taxes too," read one of several signs on his truck. He sold no food. Supporters signed a petition and Yale law school students offered to help.

"I'm unaware of any reason why the food trucks would not be able to be here," said Conchita Cruz, a third-year Yale law student, "especially because they have been here for the last two and a half years that I've been in school here."

Nearby on Chapel Street, ribs cooked slowly over indirect heat for a hungry crowd of tourists and locals alike in the sunshine outside the Yale art museums.

"We probably won't be out here that much longer during the cold weather because business goes down," said Rick Evans of Ricky D's Barbecue, "but during the warmer months this is a good location for us."

He hadn't heard a thing about an order to move. Meanwhile, Garcia said he'll move the Rubamba truck to wherever the city government tells him to go but he wants to know soon.

The vast majority of food trucks in New Haven are in clusters near Yale's medical school and its ice hockey rink.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Wrongful Death Suit to Be Filed Against Durst


The family of Kathleen McCormack, the missing first wife of real estate heir Robert Durst, is working to file a wrongful death lawsuit against the troubled murder suspect, NBC News reported Thursday night. 

A petition was filed to give James McCormack, the brother of Durst's first wife, authority over his sister's estate, according to a file obtained by NBC News.

"The reason James McCormack wishes to be appointed administrator at this time is to commence a possible wrongful death action against the decedent's husband, Robert Durst," Alex Spiro, McCormack's lawyer, wrote in the petition filed in Surrogate's Court of New York County on Thursday.

In 1981, Kathleen McCormack accused Durst of physical abuse and filed for a divorce. In 1982, Durst was suspected in McCormack's disappearance but was never charged due to lack of evidence. His wife's body was never found but she was legally declared dead in 2001, according to NBC News.

Durst, an estranged member of the family that runs 1 World Trade Center in New York, faces a murder trial in California in the death of his friend and onetime spokeswoman Susan Berman in 2000. 

Last March, Durst was detained at a hotel in Louisiana on the night before the finale of a six-part HBO documentary about him, the disappearance of McCormack in 1982, Berman's death and the death and dismemberment of a neighbor, Morris Black, in Galveston in 2001.

In the finale of the documentary, "The Jinx: The Life and Death of Robert Durst," the real estate heir is wearing a hot mic when he says: "What the hell did I do? Killed them all, of course."

Durst is still in a Louisiana lockup awaiting trial Jan. 11 on a federal charge that he illegally possessed a .38-caliber revolver after being convicted of a felony.

"Anybody can file a lawsuit, but you have no evidence and there is no evidence," Durst's defense attorney, Dick DeGuerin told NBC News about the petition filed by McCormack's brother. "There's a craftily edited television show and there's nothing else."

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Photo Credit: AP

Developers Lay Out Plan for Former Coliseum Site


Eight years ago the Coliseum in New Haven was leveled and the space turned into a parking lot. But now a new proposal by developer LiveWorkLearnPlay could bring a crop of new construction that would breathe life back into the site.

The architect named to design the site plan for the first phase thinks the future is "fabulous".

Herb Newman of Newman Architects will lead the design of 400 apartments, shops, public square, and hotel and conference complex.

"This place," he said in a presentation at his studio, "we think can play a role in bringing people together and making a more vibrant urban community.

Mayor Toni Harp knows Newman from its work on her office and the rest of City Hall, and is throwing her support behind the project.

"I've got to tell you that every time somebody who is new comes into City Hall they remark upon its beauty," she said.

The city government put $12 million into the Downtown Crossing project, the state government $21 million.

Max Reim of LiveWorkLearnPlay said, "When you bring private leadership and public leadership together, to do the right thing, you can create greatness, that lasts not just decades but centuries."

The site plan should be ready next spring so construction can be under way this time next year.

Photo Credit: Newman Architects

Mudslides, Flooding Trap Cars in LA


A Pacific storm swept across Southland mountains and desert areas Thursday afternoon, unleashing intense showers that sent flows of mud and debris into homes and vehicles while cutting off the main artery between Los Angeles and the Central Valley.

Showers and thunderstorms produced heavy rain and hail in the area north of Castaic from the Golden State (5) Freeway to Lancaster and points east. About 2 1/2 inches of rain fell in the affected area, portions of which were covered with golf ball-sized hail. Rainfall records for Oct. 15 were set in Palmdale (0.94 of an inch) and Sandberg (0.65 of an inch), breaking the previous records of 0.04 of an inch and 0.15 of an inch, both set in 1935, according to the National Weather Service. A record was also set at Fox Field in Lancaster, where 0.65 of an inch fell, breaking the previous record of a trace amount set in 2005.

The National Weather Service had earlier issued flash-flood warnings and said downpours could cause slides and flows of mud and debris over slopes that wildfires have stripped of vegetation, including the Powerhouse and Warm fire burn areas. Flooding was reported by the National Weather Service near San Francisquito Canyon and Elizabeth Lake roads and a funnel cloud was spotted near Lake Hughes. Several homes were engulfed in mud in the Elizabeth Lake area and vehicles were trapped in mud flows on Elizabeth Lake Road in the Lake Hughes area. Aerial video showed a mobile home on its side, apparently swept off a road by a mud flow.

Flood and mud also damaged homes in Palmdale. Los Angeles County Fire Department rescue crews airlifted four people to safety after they became trapped in a vehicle, the department's Humberto Agurcia said. There were no immediate reports of injuries, but crews were continuing to survey the area on the ground and from the air in search of any other possible flooding victims. The Golden State Freeway was blocked by rock and debris between Fort Tejon north of Gorman and Parker Road in the Castaic area and was expected to remain so until Friday evening, according to the California Highway Patrol. Dozens of vehicles were trapped on the northbound side of the freeway.

Northbound traffic was being directed off the freeway three miles north of Santa Clarita at Parker Road and southbound traffic at Grapevine Road, according to the CHP. Dozens of vehicles were trapped on the northbound side of the freeway. Patrick Chandler of Caltrans said Interstate 5 was choked by debris, mud and car-sized boulders and urged travelers to take a different route. Finding alternatives was made difficult by flooding on other roads, however.

The CHP reported that state Routes 14 and 58 were closed in the Mojave area in Kern County due to flooding, so southbound motorists were being advised to take state Routes 41 or 166 to southbound U.S. Highway 101 to eastbound state Route 126. Northbound motorists were advised to exit the Golden State Freeway and take westbound state Route 126 to the 101 north. A southerly air flow streamed into the area ahead of the storm system, bringing increased moisture and atmospheric instability, NWS forecasters said.

Drivers were frustrated.

It was Jon Hernandez's first time driving in LA. He's from New York and he got stuck in the mud on the closed 5 Freeway, hours before he was set to play with his band, Timeshares, at the Redwood Bar and Grill in Los Angeles at 9 p.m.

"An emergency worker came up and told everyone around us they're trying to get cars off the freeway," he said. "They are turning the cars around one by one."

CHP officials said they expected the 5 Freeway to remain closed until 2 p.m.

Patrick Healy, Irene Moore, Melissa Etezadi and Jason Kandel contributed to this report.

Photo Credit: NBC Los Angeles
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Rare White Deer Trots Through Texas


Several people in North Texas caught a rare sight Tuesday: a white deer with a full rack of antlers taking a walk through town.

Denton resident Henry Evans said he was driving in the Southridge Drive area when he spotted the large animal walking down the road.

Following it with camera in hand, Evans was able to snap a few close-up photos as the buck walked through a construction site, shocking workers Mark Martin and Brandon Barker.

"I was just kind of stunned, you know, what is that doing out here?" said Barker on Thursday. "We're like in the city almost and you've got this white deer running around. I couldn't believe it."

Barker and Martin watched the buck cross busy Teasley Lane and eventually disappear into the woods at South Lakes Park.

Game Wardens with Texas Parks and Wildlife tell our partners at the Denton Record Chronicle that it is not an albino, but a white fallow buck, which is a species of deer in the area.

Still, they are rarely seen hanging around the busy city and suburban areas like Denton.

The images quickly made rounds online throughout the week, prompting others to report sightings of the animal roaming the area that day.

Photo Credit: Henry Evans

New Haven Police Increase Foot Patrols Across the City


More police officers are hitting the streets in New Haven in an effort to cut crime and connect with residents in the community.

Thirty-one new officers completed a three-month field training program, and on Thursday they spread out across the districts, walked around the city and stopped to introduce themselves to neighbors.

"Those 15 beats are all on foot," Officer David Hartman said. "They're foot patrols that are assigned to specific neighborhoods and specific districts around the city."

Police hope to enhance their community policing by having officers focus on their assigned neighborhoods and address local problems.

They said it allows members of the community and police get to know each other and helps reduce crime.

"These officers are going to be better suited to know, after some time, what is right, what is wrong, what is out of place, because they know what it looks like day-to-day," Hartman said.

New Haven Mayor Toni Harp said the city is proud of the community policing.

"We started it many years ago, stopped it, and started it again, and we really see that it absolutely works," she said.

New Haven residents said additional police presence is reassuring.

"I think it'll be a big plus for the neighborhood. I think it'll make it safer, and I think people are happy seeing police officers walking the beat in the neighborhood," Jack Harris said.

"I think it's good to have that close interaction with the community," Ryan Sowell, of New Haven, said.

New Haven police said the new officers are not replacing officers already on a beat. Instead, the department is adding more neighborhoods to the beat system.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Child's Stick-Figure Sketch Helps Police Nab Suspect


In a room full of police officers being honored in Stratford, Connecticut, Thursday night, one 11-year-old stood out from the crowd.

Rebecca DePietro may not wear a police uniform, but she was honored for some detective work after helping officers solve a string of burglaries on her street.

It all started when her family got a knock at the door a few months ago from a Stratford police officer who wanted to know if they had seen anything or anyone suspicious.

“I was like, yeah I can draw a picture of him,” DePietro said. “It wasn’t like the best picture, it was just a head and some legs and I thought oh he’s probably just going to crumple it up and throw it out.”

However, police took the doodle seriously, superimposing the picture and matching it up with a picture of the suspect. They say it helped them catch the suspect, who has since confessed to 10 burglaries in the area, including the break-in at DePietro’s home.

“It was kind of like payback like you did this and my daughter’s drawing kind of resolved the issue,” Paul DePietro said.

Police say the drawing not only helped them make an arrest, but also recover some of the items the suspect stole.

“For us to take that sketch and match it up, it was remarkable,” Stratford Police Chief Patrick Ridehour said. “Maybe she’s part of our next generation of detectives.”

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com
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