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China Chokes on Smog as World Leaders Talk Climate Change


As world leaders discussed climate change at the U.N. conference in Paris on Monday, millions in China were choking on the most severe air pollution of the year, NBC News reported. 

The air-quality index exceeded 700 — well above the hazardous level — in Baoding, which as classified as China's most polluted, with residents struggling to see through the thick haze of smog on Monday.

Poor conditions were also reported in other parts of northern China, including the capital.

China is the world's biggest emitter of carbon pollutants. According to World Bank, China's emissions amounted to 11 billion tons in 2013, nearly twice as much as America's 5.8 billion tons. The two countries account for almost 40 percent of the world's total greenhouse gas emissions.

Photo Credit: AP

Trooper Takes Care of Orphaned Deer


A Connecticut state trooper stepped in to take care of two baby deer after their mother was killed.

When state trooper Ben Pagoni, from Troop A in Southbury, responded to a call, he found the mother deer had been killed, leaving behind two babies.

With no rescues available, Pagoni obtained permission to take custody of the deer and cared for them at his home for three days with help from his family until a rescue became available.

The deer have since been taken to a rescue.

Photo Credit: Connecticut State Police
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IMF Adds China's Yuan to Basket of Top Currencies


The International Monetary Fund says the Chinese yuan will join a basket of the world's leading currencies.

The IMF announced that the yuan "met all existing criteria" to be included with the U.S. dollar, euro, Japanese yen and the British pound as one of the currencies used for the global organization's Special Drawing Rights, which is used as the standard for dealing with its 188 member governments.

China is the world's second largest economy. Currency traders and economists say the move should encourage the government in Beijing to deliver on promises to make the yuan "freely tradable" and to open up its financial system.

The IMF's decision is set to take effect in October 2016. 

Photo Credit: AP

Suspect in Landlord Murder Held on $1 Million Bond


A 51-year-old man accused of killing the 71-year-old landlord who was evicting him is being held on $1 million bond.

Theodore McMahon has been charged with the murder of his 71-year-old landlord and roommate, George Marshall, and was unable to post bond. 

Marshall tried for months to evict McMahon and hid finally filed the paperwork and arranged for an officer to serve an eviction notice, police said.

When Marshall told McMahon his plan, the two men got into an argument and McMahon stabbed his landlord, police said.

The officer who arrived at 279 Capitol Avenue to serve the eviction notice found the two men covered in blood and saw Marshall unresponsive in his living room chair and bleeding from the chest, so he called police, who responded to the home 8:30 a.m. Friday.

Marshall was pronounced dead at the scene.

Police charged McMahon with murder. 

Photo Credit: Waterbury Police Department

Local, State, Federal Officials Investigating White Powder at Cheshire Rehab Facility


Cheshire police, firefighters and state and federal agencies have responded to Cheshire Regional Rehabilitation Center to investigate a suspicious package that contains white powder

Police said they received a complaint from Cheshire Regional Rehabilitation Center, at 745 Highland Ave., at 10:32 a.m. on Monday.

The center provides physical therapy, occupational therapy, speech therapy and more.

It’s not clear what the white powder is and there are no reports of symptoms from any exposure to it.

No one has been evacuated.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Obama: Climate Talks an 'Act of Defiance' After Paris Attacks


About 150 world leaders joined U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon Monday to kick off a two-week climate summit near Paris.

Each leader will speak about what their country is doing to reduce emissions and slow climate change, according to NBC News.

President Barack Obama on Monday called the global talks an "act of defiance" against terrorism, saluting the people of Paris for "insisting this crucial conference go on" just two weeks after attacks that killed 130.

He urged leaders to "rise to this moment" and fight the enemy of cynicism — "the notion we can't do anything" about the warming of the planet."  

All members of the G-20 submitted their own plans for addressing global warming. Activists expect the plan that emerges from the Paris summit will address a decrease in fossil fuel emissions.

Efforts to agree on a climate deal have been delayed by a disagreement on whether developing nations share the same burden as industrialized nations that have polluted a lot more. The U.S. and other nations have said hat all countries chip in under the new agreement.

Photo Credit: AP
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Dwyane Wade Pays Tribute to Laquan McDonald on Shoes


Laquan McDonald’s death has shaken the nation, and as hundreds of demonstrators gathered in Chicago Friday to rally in his name NBA star Dwyane Wade paid tribute in a different way.

The Miami Heat guard posted a photo of his shoes on Instagram ahead of the team's game against the New York Knicks Friday night and showed he was standing with in solidarity with protestors, having written “#LaquanMcDonald,” “#Chicago” and “#Justice” on the pair.

Wade grew up in Chicago’s South Side and went to high school at Harold L. Richards in Oak Lawn, just miles where the 17-year-old was shot and killed by Chicago police officer Jason Van Dyke.

Van Dyke is scheduled to appear in court on Monday.

Photo Credit: Getty Images
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No Sign of Resident After Willimantic Fire


Firefighters from several towns spent hours battling a house fire in Willimantic on Monday morning and the resident is still unaccounted for.

Fire broke out on Manners Avenue around 5:15 a.m. and 30- to 40-foot flames engulfed the single-family home, collapsing the roof.

Rose Wojnar, of Willimantic, woke up to the flashing lights and said her heart was pounding.

“All I could think of was, is he in there,” she said of the resident.

It took about 90 minutes to get the fire under control and the state fire marshal is investigating.

While officials have not determined the cause of the fire, they do not suspect foul play.

Photo Credit: Willimantic Fire

Parishioner Robbed Outside West Hartford Church


Police are investigating two separate robberies in West Hartford over the weekend, including one outside a church.

A parishioner was walking to the rectory of St. Thomas Church, at 872 Farmington Ave. at 11:15 a.m. on Sunday when a man overpowered the victim and stole money. The victim sustained minor injuries and was treated at the hospital.

The attacker fled and police are looking for a 5-foot-10-inch tall man who weighs 200 pounds. He was wearing a white hooded sweatshirt, black pants, black sneakers and a “dickie” pulled up on his face.

Around 10:30 p.m. on Friday, two people were robbed at gunpoint at Walbridge Road and Farmington Avenue.

Police said officers found a stolen Nissan SUV they believe was involved and are processing the car for DNA and fingerprints.

Police have also found evidence from unrelated crimes within the vehicle.

Police said two males, 15 to 20 years old, were wearing dark clothing with hoodies pulled up over their heads and ran on Farmington Avenue, toward Hartford.

A handgun was also recovered in the area with other evidence.

Witnesses should call the West Hartford Police Department at 860-523-5203.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

No Foul Play Suspected in Death of Man Found at Base of Ridge in Southington


Southington police are investigating the death of a 50-year-old man who was found at the base of a ridge on Saturday morning.

Eric Alberti, 50, of Southington, left his parent’s home on Friday and walked up into the mountainous terrain on the east side of Copper Ridge , police said.

When he did not make it home, his family went looking for him and found him at the base of a ridge in the area of 305 Copper Ridge, police said.

Police responded at 9:07 a.m. on Saturday and Alberti was pronounced dead at the scene.

Police called his death untimely, but said there are no indications of foul play and the case is under investigation.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Accused Chicago Officer Posts Bond


A Chicago police officer charged with murder for fatally shooting a black Chicago teenager 16 times posted bond and was released from jail Monday hours after a judge ordered his bail set at $1.5 million.

Officer Jason Van Dyke appeared in court, shackled at his waist and feet, flanked on either side by burly officers from the Cook County Sheriff’s Emergency Response Team. A spokesman said due to the high tensions of the event, the officers were there for Van Dyke’s protection.

“He’s prepared to defend himself,” said defense attorney Dan Herbert. “He’s very scared about the consequences he’s facing. He’s concerned for his wife and children.”

Van Dyke was charged with first-degree murder last Tuesday, more than a year after the fatal shooting of 17-year-old Laquan McDonald. That same day, officials released graphic dash-cam video of the shooting, prompting a series of protests throughout the city over the Thanksgiving holiday weekend.

The "disturbing" dash-cam footage was played in courtroom 101 during Van Dyke's bond hearing at Chicago's Criminal Court Monday. 

Judge Donald Panarese watched the video, then instructed attorneys to show it again for Van Dyke, and any courtroom spectators who wanted to watch.

The video shows McDonald apparently walking away from police with a small knife in his hand during the October 2014 incident when he was fatally shot 16 times by Van Dyke.

Prosecutors said in court last week that the shooting happened within 15 seconds, but for 13 of those seconds McDonald was on the ground. They added the video "clearly does not show McDonald advancing toward [Van Dyke]."

Prosecutor Bill Delaney asked that Van Dyke remain held without bond, but the judge rejected that, saying everyone is presumed innocent and set Van Dyke’s bail at $1.5 million. Five hours later, Van Dyke posted bond and walked out of jail.

Once again Monday, Van Dyke's attorney defended his client’s actions.

“When you see the video alone, it does not seem like a justifiable shooting,” Herbert said, noting that he has information from his client which paints the shooting in a different light. “It’s a case that’s absolutely defensible, and I’m prepared to present a defense.”

Police have said the shooting was in self-defense and that McDonald lunged at the officer with a knife while authorities were investigating car break-ins in a trucking yard.

Fraternal Order of Police President Dean Angelo also argued Monday that there is more to the shooting than the video reveals.

“You know,” he said, “we don’t get an officer Van Dyke view of that incident.”

An autopsy confirmed McDonald was shot a total of 16 times and had PCP in his system.

A GoFundMe page asking for donations for Van Dyke's bond last week was removed from the fundraising website after raising more than $10,000. The company cited a policy against campaigns for the defense of anyone alleged to be involved in criminal activity.

Shortly after the fundraiser was removed, a local branch of the Fraternal Order of Police created an account to raise bond money for Van Dyke.

Van Dyke is scheduled to return to court Dec. 18.

Men Shoplifted from Adult Store in Newington


Three men in their late teens or early 20s shoplifted from an adult store in Newington earlier this month and police are searching for them.

Police responded to Utopia Intimate Secrets, at 2221 Berlin Turnpike, in Newington around 8 p.m. on Nov. 17 to investigate a larceny and learned that the three teens or young men stole nearly $500 worth of items.

The clerk said one of the males distracted her by asking for help toward the back of the store while the others stole the items and quickly left.

The male the clerk was helping then left without buying anything and a customer in the parking lot as the shoplifters were leaving reported the shoplifting to the clerk, police said.

The customer reported the three shoplifters left in a newer blue BMW.

Included in this press release are images of the suspects captured on store surveillance cameras. Anyone with information regarding this investigation is encouraged to contact Officer Petoskey at (860) 594-6224.

Photo Credit: Newington Police

Sanders Has Hernia Procedure


Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders is undergoing an elective outpatient hernia repair procedure on Monday, according to his U.S. Senate office.

The Vermont Senator is having the procedure done at George Washington University Hospital in Washington, D.C.

He will resume his Senate duties on Tuesday, his office said.

Sanders is currently running second in most national polls, behind front-runner Hillary Clinton. He spoke at a New Hampshire Democratic Party event on Sunday in Manchester.

Photo Credit: FILE - Getty Images

I-84 West in Farmington Congested After Crashes


Interstate 84 West in Farmington is congested after a tractor-trailer crashed into a a pole near exit 37 and two trucks in the backup collided.

The driver from the first crash is out out the vehicle, but there is a possible fuel leak.

Photo Credit: Connecticut Department of Transportation

Icy Roads Possible on Tuesday Morning


Roads could be a bit icy in the Norwest Hills of Connecticut early Tuesday morning, on the first day of December, as rain moves in while temperatures hover around 32 degrees. 

The combination of light rain and freezing temperatures is possible at daybreak in the western part of the state. Elsewhere, rain is expected to hold off until temperatures climb above the freezing point. 

Highs on Tuesday will range from the upper 40s on the shoreline to upper 30s in the interior. A steadier and somewhat heavier rain will develop by late afternoon and early evening tomorrow. 

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Second Ex-Wesleyan Student Charged in Overdose Case Pleads Guilty


A second expelled Wesleyan University student, who was one of five arrested in connection with a slew of party drug overdoses earlier this year, has pleaded guilty to federal charges.

After his former fellow student Zachary Kramer, of Bethesda, Maryland pleaded guilty to federal charges on Nov. 12, former Wesleyan student Eric Lonergan, 22, originally from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, also pleaded guilty in federal court in New Haven on Monday.

Lonergan and Kramer are accused of distributing the controlled substances that caused the overdoses.

Police launched an investigation in February after 11 people, including 10 Wesleyan students, were hospitalized after taking what they thought was the euphoria-inducing stimulant MDMA, or "Molly," authorities said. One of the affected students went into cardiac arrest and almost died, having to be revived when his heart stopped beating, according to police.

Soon after the students sought medical attention, Middletown police suspected they might have ingested a bad batch of Molly and began investigating the drug's origins.

After the February overdoses, one student presented Middletown police with a capsule she had bought from Lonergan in September. Test results showed it did not contain "Molly" and instead contained "Spice" or "K2," a brand of synthetic marijuana, according to the U.S. Attorney’s office.

In November 2013, Lonergan started buying Molly and selling it to students from his dorm for around $200 per gram between 5 and 9 p.m. most evenings, and counseling students on how to use it, according to the U.S. Attorney's office.

Kramer is accused of beginning to buy Molly from Lonergan and selling it to students at Wesleyan in 2014.

Then he took over for Lonergan and became the drug's primary supplier in 2015, distributing what he claimed to be "Molly" and sold it to friends to sell, according to U.S. Attorney Deirdre M. Daly.

"Our hope is that this prosecution puts to bed the misperception that synthetic drugs are harmless party drugs," Daly previously said in a statement. "As the allegations in this indictment clearly show, these drugs are highly dangerous. Many of the Wesleyan students who overdosed were seriously ill and one student nearly died. The growth and evolution of synthetic drugs is a serious public health concern."

Witnesses told police they thought Kramer has bought the recent batch in Washington, D.C., and brought the drugs to campus. Police found several drugs in Kramer's dorm room, according to the warrant.

Lonergan, a former neuroscience student expelled from Wesleyan, was one of five students arrested on state charges amid the investigation. The state has since suspended its cases against him and Kramer.

Lonergan was also arrested in April on charges of trespassing to attend a festival at Wesleyan despite being expelled.

Kramer and Lonergan were then charged federally with conspiring to distribute and possess with intent to distribute MDMA and AB Fubinaca. They are also charged with attempting to distribute MDMA and distributing AB Fubinaca, as well as distributing MDMA near a private college. They have both pleaded guilty.

Photo Credit: Middletown Police

Jury Selection in 1st Gray Case


Seventy-five potential were questioned by a judge in Baltimore Circuit Court Monday as the first trial in the death of Freddie Gray got underway.

Jury selection for Officer William Porter's trial began Monday. When asked by Judge Barry Williams, every juror called said they knew about the Freddie Gray case, were aware of the curfew imposed following the protests and knew about the $6.4 million settlement between the city and Gray's family. 

Gray, 25, suffered a mysterious injury in the back of a police transport van and died April 19, inspiring thousands to take to the streets to protest what they believed was the mistreatment by police of another young black man. On Monday, a handful of protesters gathered outside the courthouse and chanted, "All night, all day, we will fight for Freddie Gray." 

In the weeks following the unrest, six police officers were indicted in Gray's death. Porter is being tried first in part because prosecutors want to use him as a witness in the trials of several other officers.

The group of potential jurors was asked a number of questions to gauge their ability to be impartial. 

A dozen potential jurors said they or their family members or significant others were employed by a law enforcement agency, while 26 said they had "strong feelings" about manslaughter or other misconduct by police. Almost 40 potential jurors said they or a family member had been either a victim of a crime or been investigated, arrested, charged or convicted of a crime.

Two dozen potential jurors said they could not serve for reasons including a planned trip or or a medical condition preventing them from sitting for more than an hour.

Judge Williams also read aloud more than 200 names of possible witnesses, including more than 100 Baltimore police officers, lawyers and prosecutors.

The judge then began meeting privately with 66 members of the pool, which continued until he dismissed court about 5:45 p.m. He told the pool to plan to return Wednesday, but some will be notified before then that they do not need to return, court spokeswoman Terri Charles said.

A new jury panel will report to court Tuesday.

Protesters outside the courthouse marched to Inner Harbor, the World Trade Center, the Baltimore Aquarium and City Hall before wrapping up Monday evening, promising they weren't done, the Baltimore Sun's Colin Campbell tweeted.

A verdict will likely set the tone for the city: If Porter is acquitted there could be protests and possibly more unrest. A conviction could send shockwaves through the city's troubled police department.

"Everything is at stake. The future of the city is at stake,'' Police Commissioner Kevin Davis said.

Porter faces charges of assault, manslaughter, reckless endangerment and misconduct in office. He is accused of checking on Gray during several stops the van made during its 45-minute trip from the Gilmor Homes in Sandtown-Winchester, where Gray was arrested, to the Western District station house, where officers found Gray unresponsive and he was taken to a hospital. He died a week later.

Gray was initially handcuffed. Later during his van ride, his legs were shackled and he was placed back in the van without a seatbelt, a violation of department policy, prosecutors have said.

Porter told police investigators arresting Gray "was always a big scene," according to a pretrial filing by defense attorneys. Porter indicated he knew of a previous arrest in which Gray allegedly tried to kick out the windows of a police vehicle.

"You know, so he was always, always, like, banging around," Porter said in the statement excerpted in the filing. "It was always a big scene whenever you attempted to arrest Freddie Gray."

Defense attorneys say that helps explain Porter's actions during Gray's arrest.

Judge Williams said a jury will be seated in a day or two.

The trial is expected to be complete by Dec. 17.

Photo Credit: Art Lien

U.S.: Russian Jet Entered Turkish Airspace


The United States has independently confirmed Turkey's assertion that the Russian warplane it shot down last week violated Turkish airspace, a State Department official said Monday, NBC News reported.

Spokeswoman Elizabeth Trudeau would not describe how the United States confirmed the Russian craft's flight path. Instead, she said that diplomatic efforts should focus on easing tensions between Russia and Turkey.

Turkish forces shot down the plane on Nov. 24, saying it entered its airspace from Syria, where Russia is conducting airstrikes in support of Syrian President Bashar Assad. One of the plane's pilots was killed, as well as a Russian Marine on the rescue team.

Russia has said it was flying over Syria airspace and was struck unprovoked.

Photo Credit: AP

December 1 Marks World AIDS Day


December 1 is recognized globally as World AIDS Day.

The World Health Organization (WHO) established the annual observance in 1988 as a way to offer communities the chance to unite to fight against the HIV/AIDS stigma, commemorate those who have lost the battle with AIDS, and also show support for those who are living with the disease.

Though new HIV infections have fallen by 35 percent and AIDS-related deaths have fallen by 24 percent since 2000, HIV continues to be a major global public health issue, claiming hundreds of thousands of lives a year, according to WHO.

This year's theme for World AIDS Day 2015 in the U.S., "The Time to Act is Now," demonstrates "the urgent need for action today," the White House announced last month.

"The global HIV epidemic requires a coordinated and united response," the Director of the Office of National AIDS Policy, Douglas M. Brooks, wrote in the White House blog. "In 2015, we know what it takes to prevent HIV infections and improve the lives of people living with HIV, and we are building on the success of the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR)."

PEPFAR has recently partnered with the Elton John AIDS Foundation to launch a $10 million initiative that will contribute grants to organizations working to provide HIV-related needs to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people, including improving access to HIV services and helping to create "non-stigmatizing environments."

Organizations and groups around the world will hold events to celebrate World AIDS Day. Cities and famous landmarks will light up in red to honor those who have lost the battle with AIDS and to show support for those who continue to fight.

Here's some ways you can help:

Go (RED)

The red ribbon has become the universal symbol of awareness and support for those living with HIV. Purchase or make your own red ribbon to show your support for World AIDS Day.

Keeping with the red theme, in 2006, Bono and Bobby Shriver founded (RED), a non profit organization that partners with the private sector to raise awareness and funds to help eliminate HIV/AIDS in Africa.

(RED) partners like Coca-Cola, beats by dr. dre, Apple, Starbucks, Le Creuset, among many others, donate 50 percent of the profits from (RED) products to the Global Fund HIV/AIDS. The organization provides life-saving antiretroviral medication (ARVs) that works to keep the virus from multiplying and can prevent an HIV positive pregnant woman from transmitting the virus to her child.

Ticketmaster and Live Nation have also partnered with (RED). Between November 9 and December 20, the ticket sales companies will display a (RED) button on their websites allowing customers to donate $10 during purchases.

On Tuesday night, Bono is hosting a Shopathon on "Jimmy Kimmel Live." The the star-studded fundraising event will feature "once-in-a-lifetime-experiences" that can be won after donating at least $10 to (RED). Prizes include a bike ride with the U2 frontman or learning to pass a football with Tom Brady himself.

Uber rider's in more than 150 cities nationwide can help drive the effort towards an AIDS Free Generation. The ride-sharing company has partnered with (RED) and will enable drivers to donate $5 to the Global Fund at the end of their trip, Uber announced Monday. Uber cars around the world will turn red to raise awareness around the cause. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has pledged to match all donations made on Dec. 1 to (RED) via the Uber app.


MAC cosmetics is donating 100 percent of the selling price of MAC VIVA GLAM lipstick and lipgloss to the MAC AIDS Fund. The company is featuring two new lip products named after the current VIVA GLAM spokeswoman Miley Cyrus: super-sexy bright orange and coordinating Lipglass gloss with pearl shimmer.

Join the Conversation:

The White House will host a live webcast of its World AIDS Day event highlighting President Obama's commitment to the sustainable development goals outlined by the United Nations. The livestream will begin at 1:00 p.m. ET. You can join the conversation on Twitter with the hashtag #WAD2015.

A #TreatmentForAll

The #TreatmentForAll initiative aims to stem the AIDS epidemic in Africa by treating 28 million people by 2020. United Nations Assistant Secretary General, Ray Chambers, Emmy Award-winning television host Ricki Lake and digital influencers Wesley Stromberg, Sammy Wilkinson, Megan Nicole and Melvin Gregg kicked-off the campaign Monday with the first documentary film officially launched on Facebook. The video ends with a string of social media stars sharing the hashtag, asking viewers to do the same.

Get Tested:

The HIV Testing Sites & Care Services Locator is a first-of-its-kind, location-based search tool that allows user to search for testing services, housing providers and HIV-related health centers near your current location.

Use and share the HIV testing sites and care services locator.

Photo Credit: AP

Lyme Teen Singer Competing in Top 10 on 'The Voice'


A teenager from Lyme continues to shine in "The Voice" competition and he'll sing again tonight in the Top 10.

Braiden, a sophomore at Lyme-Old Lyme High School, sang on Team Gwen in last Monday night's live performance when there were 11 singers left in the competition. Last Tuesday, we learned that America's votes kept him in the running once again, propelling him to the Top 10 live round.

Host Carson Daly said in his introduction on the show last Monday the theme was family in light of Thanksgiving, so the contestants got to spend the week with family as they prepared. Sunshine's father paid him a visit in his voice sessions with vocal coach Gwen Stefani, of No Doubt.

Sunshine made it through the voice battle and knockout rounds on Team Gwen to advance to the live shows. Sunshine is only 15 years old, one of the youngest contestants on the show, and that has stood to impress the judges throughout the season.

In addition to gaining vocal experience on the show, "The Voice" team has also been developing new looks for the teenager with the baby face. Lately, the show stylists have been slicking down his naturally curly hair and straightening it and he's been performing without his glasses.

Braiden has been singing since he was 5 years old and performing in bands since he was 9. He says he wouldn’t be on "The Voice" if it wasn’t for his mom, Elizabeth Sunshine. She was the one who pushed him to audition in New Jersey.

Tune into "The Voice" next week to continue supporting Sunshine in the competition.

You'll be able to cast your vote for him tonight by going to nbc.com/thevoice or voting through "The Voice" app at www.nbc.com/the-voice/app.

You can also vote for him by downloading his songs in the competition from iTunes.

Photo Credit: BraidenSunshine.com
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