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Death Toll From U.S. Bombing of Kunduz Hospital Increased After Thorough Investigation


An investigation by Doctors Without Borders revealed that the death toll was much higher than originally counted from the U.S. airstrike on a medical charity hospital in Afghanistan on Oct. 3, NBC News reported. 

The revised count of 42 people, up from at least 31 civilians, came after two months of an "in-depth investigation" in the Oct. 3 bombing of a trauma center run by Doctors Without Borders, also known by its French name Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF).

The U.S. Air Force claimed that an AC-130 gunship attacked the hospital because it mistakenly identified the building for a nearby compound being held by the Taliban. 

Photo Credit: AP

20 Pounds Cocaine Seized in Philly


An investigation is underway after U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers seized nearly 20 pounds of cocaine that was concealed inside the cargo hold of a flight from Montego Bay, Jamaica that arrived at Philadelphia International Airport last week.

Customs officers conducted a cabin sweep and a cargo inspection after the flight arrived at Philly International around 6 p.m. on Dec. 5. The officers were examining the cargo hold when they spotted two drawstring backpacks hidden behind an access panel. Investigators say each backpack contained four brick-shaped objects made up of a white, powdery substance that field-tested positive for cocaine.

The cocaine weighed about 19 pounds, 9 ounces and has a street value of approximately $600,000, investigators said.

“Narcotics interdiction remains a CBP enforcement priority, and a mission that we take very seriously. We are pleased that these dangerous drugs will not reach our city’s streets,” said Susan Stranieri, CBP Port Director for the Area Port of Philadelphia. “CBP remains vigilant at our nation’s borders, and we’ll continue to do our part to help keep our communities safe.”

No arrests have been made. Officials continue to investigate.

Photo Credit: U.S. Customs and Border Protection

Man Attempts to Bring Gun to Disney


A Miami Lawyer was arrested last Friday for carrying a concealed firearm in to Disney World, Orange County Sheriff's Office said.

According to a police report, 36-year-old Andrew John Gerson was attempting to walk in to the Magic Kingdom when a security officer noticed a bulge in his waist. The officer then attempted to make contact with Gerson.

"After about 100 yards, the white male turned and made eye contact with me. Once he turned back around, he pulled out his phone, placed it to his ear and started to run." The officer said, "I then drew my firearm and ordered him to stop and after about two times, the subject stopped."

Officers found a silver revolver in Gerson's possession. After checking his Florida concealed weapon permit, it was revealed that his permit expired in 2005.

Gerson reportedly told officers that the gun was left in his bag and he didn't know it was there, and that he was only attempting to leave the park

Gerson was ordered held on $2,500 bond.

It is unclear if Gerson has hired an attorney.

Photo Credit: Orange County Sheriff's Office

Graffiti in SF Linked to Bieber


Justin Bieber may be singing a new "sorry" tune if San Francisco residents have anything to say about it.

In a case of guerrilla marketing gone wrong, Bieber and his publicity team have apparently defaced San Francisco sidewalks to advertise the pop singer’s latest album -- and some city taxpayers are not pleased.

The graffiti, which reads "Justin Bieber," "Purpose," and "#Nov13," has been appearing on sidewalks in the city’s Mission District, as well as areas of SoMa and Haight-Ashbury.

Though the white lettering appears to be written in chalk, some Redditors claim to have tried wiping it off but to no avail.

San Francisco natives have been taking to social media to vent their frustrations with the ad gimmick. Many residents are concerned that taxpayers will be left to foot the bill for Bieber’s alleged sidewalk promotion, which has also appeared in Brooklyn, New York and has been a theme throughout the album's promotional campaign. 

San Francisco has long struggled with graffiti, annually spending more than $20 million in taxpayer dollars on clean up initiatives, according to the San Francisco’s public works department. Def Jam Records has not returned requests for comment regarding the graffiti's removal.

Despite the ill-advised marketing campaign, Bieber’s album has received stellar reviews and sold more than 500,000 albums in its first week alone.

Photo Credit: Andrew Sullivan via Twitter

'American Horror Story: Freak Show' Actress Rose Siggins Dies at 43


Actress Rose Siggins, 43, who played a legless character on "American Horror Story: Freak Show" died in Denver on Saturday, NBC News reported. 

Representatives from the network that created the show, FX, announced Siggins' death on Facebook. 

They wrote, "We are saddened to learn of the passing of Rose Siggins. She was beloved by everyone in the AHS family. She was a kind person, a loving mother and a very talented actor. Our thoughts and prayers are with her family and friends at this time."

The cause of her death remains unclear, NBC News reported. 

Drivers Arrested After Crashing While Playing 'Chicken'


Two drivers both trying to bow out of a game of "chicken" in their cars swerved in the same direction and crashed in Orange; now, they are facing more than the label of "chicken" deemed in the dangerous game's rules -- charges, including a DUI arrest for one of them, according to police.

Daniel Nagorski, 38, of Orange, and Olivia Bones, 19, of Waterbury, are both facing reckless driving charges and Nagorski was charged with a DUI.

Police responded to a head-on two-car crash on Kennedy Drive in Orange on Dec. 9 at 1:29 p.m. and determined the drivers had been playing "chicken." In the game, two vehicles drive toward each other until one of them swerves to avoid a collision, then dubbed the "chicken," police said.

However, in this game, both drivers swerved in the same direction, striking each other's vehicles head-on, police said.

Police took both drivers into custody. They charged both with reckless driving and failure to drive in the proper lane. Nagorski was also charged with DUI, operating a motor vehicle while under suspension and failure to provide an insurance card, police said.

Photo Credit: Orange Police Department

Hartford Police Investigate Deadly Shooting


A 22-year-old man is dead after a shooting in Hartford late Saturday afternoon.

Police say they responded to Griswold Street near Maple Avenue around 4:30 p.m. Saturday for reports of a shooting. There they found the victim suffering a gunshot wound to the neck. He was transported to Hartford Hospital where he was pronounced dead. This is the 31st homicide of the year for the city.

"None of the officers have ever been to a call on this street. This is an old great street," said Deputy Chief Brian Foley.

Police say they found significant evidence at the scene but would not comment on exactly what they found. Griswold Street is currently shut down while detectives from the Major Crimes Division investigate.

Police have made no arrests at this time. It is not immediately known if the victim had any connection to the neighborhood. Check back for updates.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Ted Cruz Leads as Favorite in New Iowa Poll


Republican candidate U.S. SenatorTed Cruz has expanded his campaign efforts in Iowa and a poll reflects this push, putting him ahead of all the other candidates in his party. 

In the new Des Moines Register/Bloomberg Politics poll, Cruz, considered the new evangelical favorite, rocketed past Donald Trump, another candidate. Unlike most of the other candidates, Cruz has avoided criticizing Trump at every turn.

Voters in Iowa will get the first chance at picking the Republican nominee at the caucuses in less than two months on February 1.

Photo Credit: AP

LA Protest After Police Shooting


Crowds began to gather and shout "no justice, no peace" after a suspected armed 28-year-old man was shot and killed in a deputy-involved shooting in Lynwood Saturday that was captured on cell phone video.

The man's family identified him as Nicholas Robertson, a 28-year-old father of three. 

At one point, the crowd tore away "caution" tape and deputies from the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department had to hold it up. 

The sheriff's department was at the ready with tear gas and helmets in case the rally got out of hand.

The shooting occurred around 11:00 a.m. near the area of Long Beach Boulevard and Magnolia Avenue after deputies received word of a man with a gun, according to the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department.

"We're going off brief witness statements [from those] that were standing right next to, or close proximity to, the suspect that say the suspect raised the gun and turned toward the deputies," Lt. Eddie Hernandez said.

The suspect was struck by deputies' gunfire and was pronounced dead at the scene, the sheriff's department said.

"I've seen it to a point. I don't want to watch it because that's my friend -- I don't want to see my friend die," William Winston, friend of the suspect, said referencing the cell phone video.

A loaded .45-caliber handgun was recovered from the scene, LASD said.

No deputies were injured during the shooting.

It is unknown exactly what led to the incident, but the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department told NBC4 that the man fired shots into the air before deputies fired at him.

The shooting was under investigation.

The Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department announced it would address the shooting at a news conference on Sunday. 

"I want to assure the public that the Sheriff’s Department takes deputy involved shootings very seriously and that this investigation will be handled with the utmost professionalism and integrity," Sheriff Jim McDonnell said in a statement. 

McDonnell also said the investigation would be thorough. 

"In this modern age of cell phone video and instant analysis on the internet, I would ask that we keep in mind that a thorough and comprehensive investigation is detailed and time intensive. It will involve, not just one source of information, but numerous sources, potentially including multiple videos, physical evidence and eyewitness accounts," McDonnell said in the statement.

Pushback Against Gun Range


Alpine residents voiced concerns to a county agency about a neighbor they feel is getting special treatment because of his work with law enforcement and the military.

Marc Halcon has been allowing groups onto his property for shooting sessions as guests, specifically law enforcement and military.

Neighbors say his site is unique in our county and allows special forces and other groups a training opportunity they would otherwise have to travel out of town for.

Halcon petitioned the the county to commercialize his range and, without a public hearing, the planning director approved it on temporary basis while a permanent solution gets ironed out.

Neighbors feel like they got the short end of a backroom deal and appealed to the planning County Planning Commission Friday.

“He should not be able to operate in this environment without restrictions and basically he’s been given a free for all, he can do whatever he wants and no one is going to say anything and that's what he’s been doing since 2006," said Robin Williams, a neighbor.

They brought up environmental concerns, worries of fire danger, and questions about who is regulating whether the bullets from the high powered weapons could end up in their backyards.

“Recreational shooting on an interim basis is not the same thing as saying, ‘you can come down here with as many contracts as you can pack in five days a week and do continuous shooting,’" said Marco Gonzalez, an environmental attorney.

More than a dozen activists with PETA also showed up protesting past instances of live tissue trauma training involving pigs.

Halcon says they haven't used that training for more than a year, but refused to rule out using it in the future.

The question in front of the planning commission is whether the East County land owner can turn his personal gun range into a commercial range for police and military training. 

Veterans spoke about how crucial his range is for their training, but neighbors don't think it should be at the expense of their community.

The Commission denied the appeal in a close vote. The County still has many studies to do and data to gather before they make their final decision, which could be well in the future. During that time, neighbors say they will file a lawsuit to stop the commercialized gun range.

Bay Area Gun-Violence Rally


Spurred on by a rash of nationwide mass shootings, the most recent of which claimed 14 lives in San Bernardino, Bay Area residents took a stand against gun violence Saturday.

In Walnut Creek, nearly 150 people joined Moms Demand Action in an Orange Walk, as it is called, to commemorate the upcoming third anniversary of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting on Dec. 14.

"We don’t just need another moment of silence. We need a moment of action,” the organization’s website stressed.

Meanwhile, the San Francisco Police Department teamed up with local anti-violence group United Playaz for a gun buyback program with a "no questions asked" policy.

People dropping off guns at United Playaz' headquarters at 1038 Howard St., were offered $100 for a handgun and $200 for assault weapons.

According to city police, nearly 950 guns have been taken off the streets since gun buybacks were launched in 2011.

A "Stand United Against All Violence" rally was also presented between 12 and 2 p.m. at the United Nations Plaza with Rep. Jackie Speier, Senator Mark Leno, Supervisor London Breed and others expected to speak.

Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area

Campus Cop Shoots Man Dead


University of North Texas police said a man is dead after an officer-involved shooting of a man wielding an axe.

UNT Police said they were called out around 1 a.m. Sunday for person knocking out car windows.

The officer arrived at the scene at Fry and Oak Street and said he found a man, with an axe in his hand.

The officer said the man was still holding the axe when he moved toward the officer. UNT said the officer fired at the man, killing him.

On Sunday, North Texas Daily, the university's student newspaper, released video it received that appeared to show the man walking through a parking garage, carrying something in his hand, before the shooting.

At least seven vehicles were damaged in the parking garage.

"Winshields are smashed, windows are smashed," said resident Benjamin Agrisano. "There are axe markings all over the cars. It was pretty crazy. It looked like something out of a horror movie."

The shooting took place near an apartment complex where students live. Several restaurants and bars are located in the vicinity.

"All of a sudden we heard four shots go pop, pop, pop, pop," said business owner Steve Marks.  "Everyone was having fun, drinking and then all of a sudden everyone just scattered."

NBC DFW viewer Bink Ruckthongsook snapped a picture of paramedics tending to the man lying in the street. Ruckthongsook said he heard three gun shots.

The Tarrant County Medical Examiner's office identified the man killed as Ryan McMillan, he had just turned 21 on Saturday. UNT President Neal Smatresk confirmed McMillan was a student at the university.

"This is a tragic event that saddens us as a university community. We offer our condolences to the individuals, their families and all involved," Smatresk said in a statement Sunday.

The university said McMillan, a sophomore pre-hospitality major,  had transferred to UNT from Weatherford College this fall.

Smatresk said the officer involved is on administrative duty pending the outcome of the investigation.

Whether or not McMillan was the under the influence of drugs or alcohol is under investigation.

UNT says the university's police department is cooperating with the investigation being conducted by the Texas Rangers and the Denton Police Department.

It's not clear when the cars in the parking garage will be fixed or when the damage will be cleaned up.

Photo Credit: Bink Ruckthongsook
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Rubio: Trump 'Attempting to Recapture Limelight' With Muslim Ban


Republican presidential candidate Sen. Marco Rubio said Donald Trump has "touched on some issues that people are concerned about," but dismissed his proposal to ban all Muslims from entering the U.S. as "attempting to recapture the limelight."

"If you look at the statements he made this week, obviously I think he made them partially to recapture the limelight after having lost it," he told NBC's "Meet the Press."

And on that issue, Rubio drew a stark contrast with Trump, saying that officials have to work with Muslims to combat "homegrown violent extremism," because "they may very well be the first ones to see it."

Photo Credit: Meet the Press
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First Women Elected to Public Office in Saudi Arabia


Saudi Arabia said on Sunday that at least two women were elected to public office in the conservative Islamic kingdom after winning seats on municipal councils in Mecca and al-Jawf in Saturday's election.

The preliminary results were announced by local districts and published on the official Saudi Press Agency.

The election was the first in which women could vote and run as candidates, a landmark step in a country where women are barred from driving and are legally dependent on a male relative to approve almost all their major life decisions. 

Photo Credit: AP Photo/Aya Batrawy

Kerry: Social Media Places 'New Burden' on Visa Process


It's possible that going forward, social media posts will be scrutinized in the process of vetting people for U.S. visas, Secretary of State John Kerry said in an interview on "Meet the Press" Sunday.

"We need to look at whether there are meetings and whether we should be and how we can do it," Kerry said. "But clearly the social media has placed a whole new burden and a whole new set of questions."

The discussion around eliminating what Kerry called a "loophole" in U.S. visa vetting comes just weeks after a terrorist attack in San Bernardino, Calif. claimed 14 lives. It was subsequently reported that one of the terrorists had been communicating her radical beliefs on social media prior to applying for what is colloquially known as a fiancée visa. 

Trump Leads National GOP Horserace, Cruz Surges Into 2nd


Donald Trump has moved back into the lead of the 2016 Republican presidential contest, while Ted Cruz has surged into second place, according to a new national NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll.

Meanwhile, Ben Carson — who was ahead in the poll back in late October — has dropped 18 points to fourth place in the GOP race.

In the current poll, Trump is the first choice of 27 percent of Republican primary voters, followed by Cruz at 22 percent, and Marco Rubio at 15 percent.

"Where Cruz picked up is where Carson lost ground," says Democratic pollster Fred Yang of Hart Research Associates, who conducted this survey with Republican pollster Bill McInturff.

"This is a real shift," McInturff adds. 

Photo Credit: AP Photo/Susan Walsh

Rain, Snow, Wind Batter West While Record Warmth Lingers in East


Heavy snow, downpours, twisters and record-breaking warmth — the country has seen it all this weekend.

Back-to-back storm systems Sunday will keep a week-long deluge of rain going strong on the West Coast and continue to blanket the Northwest and Rockies with snow, according to the National Weather Service.

Sunday's snow targeting Oregon, Washington and the Rockies could linger until Monday, according to Weather.com.

Another storm system that delivered tornadoes to Texas Saturday, leaving 50 homes damaged, was winding down, but the Southwest was still at a small risk of seeing some tornado activity, according to the Weather Channel's Dr. Greg Forbes.

Meanwhile, a good part of the country is seeing anything but typical holiday weather. Arctic air that has been locked up in Canada isn't budging, making for record-high temperatures from the South, through the Plains and into the Northeast. 

Photo Credit: Today

Truck Driver Dead in Oregon After Fiery Collision With Cargo Train


A truck driver is dead after colliding with a cargo train carrying hot asphalt in Portland, Oregon, on Sunday morning, authorities said, NBC News reported.

The crash, which occurred in the northwest section of the city, near St. John's Bridge, was reported just before 9 a.m. and sparked a massive fire and a tower of black smoke.

NBC affiliate KGW reported that one train car sustained major damage and appeared to be leaking.

It was unclear what caused the crash. 

Photo Credit: linzphun / Instagram

Fire Ravages Plainfield Home


An historic home in Plainfield was destroyed after a fire ripped through the house early Sunday morning.

According to the Plainfield fire department, 75 firefighters were called to 150 Weston St. around 7 a.m. this morning. It took two and a half hours and 18 tankers to get the fire out.

By the time the fire department got on scene, flames were shooting out of the house and the roof had collapsed.

Fire fighters believe the fire started on the second floor. 

While no one was home at the time of the fire, there was a large Christmas party held at the residence last night. The home is used as a reception hall and formerly as a bed and breakfast.

Part of the home was under renovation at the time of the fire.



Tornadoes Touch Down in East Texas


The National Weather service confirmed at least two tornadoes tore through East Texas on Saturday afternoon.

NWS meteorologists surveyed damage and said that an EF2 tornado tore through the town of Lindale.

"I would say totally unexpected. It was just a pop up situation, we weren't expecting that. You normally don't expect tornadoes in December," said Lindale Volunteer Fire Department Chief Jerry Garner.

Wesley Burke was outside packing his car up to leave his parents' home when the twister hit.

"Shingles were flying in the air, and that's when I realized 'okay this is a tornado,'" said Burke. "So we ran to the bathroom and I shut the front door behind us and as we were going to the bathroom, the front door blew open."

120 mph winds snapped trees like toothpicks. While the tornado lasted only three minutes, it was on the ground for a little less than two miles — long enough to cause a lot of damage.

"A lot of people were at home at the time. And so it's just a blessing that no one was hurt," said Smith County Fire Marshal Connie Wasson.

Garner estimated four or five homes were destroyed and 35 to 40 homes sustained damage, ranging from structural damage to lost shingles.

Support from the community was immediate after the storm, as heavy rain fell.

"We were here 'til about 2 o' clock in the morning tarping all the houses on the other neighborhood," said Paul Johnson, who owns a roofing and construction business. "There was too much debris in this neighborhood for us, the police wouldn't let us in. So then we were back out here this morning with about six guys and started tarping."

Ervie Warren lost his roof and fence, but like most of his neighors, he's thankful there were no injuries.

"I don't worry about the material things, it's the fact that no one got hurt, and we can always get something replaced," says Warren.

"Well it is a miracle that no one was hurt yes, I can't emphasize enough how grateful we are that no one sustained any injuries," said Garner.

Less than an hour later, the NWS said another EF2 tornado hit north of Lindale near the Franklin County town of Purley.

The tornado's path was more than five miles long and 775 yards wide. The twister, with peak winds of 115-125 mph, was on the ground for 10 minutes.

Two people were inside a mobile home that was badly damaged according to Franklin County Sheriff Department Chief Deputy Chris Mars. There was no word on their conditions.

The NWS survey team found four mobile homes were destroyed and more than 20 structures were damaged -- four had major damage.

Lindale is nearly 90 miles southeast of Dallas, while Purley is 105 miles northeast of Dallas.

Photo Credit: NBC News
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