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US Declares Public Health Emergency in Puerto Rico Over Zika


The federal government declared a state of public health emergency in Puerto Rico Friday, with Zika threatening to spread to 25 percent of the island’s population.

The declaration comes a day after the U.S. surgeon general visited Puerto Rico and said he expected 25 percent of people on the island will be infected by Zika by year's end, according to the Associated Press.

In a prepared statement officials from the U.S. Health and Human Services noted that the declaration is meant to highlight the danger that the public on the island, a U.S. territory is under, especially pregnant women.

"This emergency declaration allows us to provide additional support to the Puerto Rican government and reminds us of the importance of pregnant women, women of childbearing age, and their partners taking additional steps to protect themselves and their families from Zika,” Secretary Sylvia M. Burwell said.

The Puerto Rican government can now apply for funding in hiring and training workers who can stem the spread of Zika-carrying mosquitoes and to educate the public on ways they can help, like identifying breeding ground.

So far the Zika virus has spread thorugh much of South America. More recently, the virus was locally contracted in Florida's Miami-Dade county area.

Puerto Rico has reported 1,914 new Zika cases over the past week.

Health Secretary Ana Rius said Friday there are 10,690 cases altogether, including 1,035 involving pregnant women. Zika has been tied to severe birth defects.

Rius said 90 people have been hospitalized because of the virus.

Officials also say 30 people have been diagnosed with a temporary paralysis condition known as Guillain-Barre that has been linked to Zika.

Zika virus is known to cause microcephaly and other severe fetal brain defects, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.  It has also been associated with other adverse pregnancy outcomes, including miscarriage, stillbirth, and serious neurological problems.

Photo Credit: AP

Former Employees Say Concrete Company's Practices Contributed to Crumbling Foundations


John Soucy drove a concrete truck for the Joseph J. Mottes Company of Stafford for nearly a decade.

He is one of several former employees from the 1970s, 80s and 90s who said the company's regular practices had a direct impact on the quality of the concrete used for residential foundations.

"They didn't want to throw anything away, so if a mixer came back with a yard or two of concrete on it, they would just load on top of it," said Soucy

Frank Willis drove a mixer for Mottes for 8 years.

He said he'd often make seven deliveries or more in a day, and that the company added water all day long to keep the older concrete from hardening in the truck.

"If you got three yards on and they put seven yards on top of you, do a foundation or whatever, that concrete is junk, just junk. Mottes was making 100 percent profit off of leftover concrete, so they wouldn't have you get rid of it," said Willis.

Willis went on to work for at least two other Connecticut concrete operations.

"Most companies tell you throw it away. Mottes, they'd just keep adding to it all day long," said Willis.

We spoke with two other longtime J.J. Mottes employees who chose not to appear on camera. They echoed the same details about the company's daily operation.

Over the past year, hundreds of homeowners across Hartford, Tolland and Windham Counties have discovered they have crumbling foundations. Every one who's either spoken to NBC Connecticut Troubleshooters or has filed a complaint with the state, that knows the source of the concrete, said it's from J.J. Mottes.

Since the NBC Connecticut Troubleshooters brought the problem to light last summer, Mottes officials have repeatedly placed the blame on the foundation installers for adding too much water to make the concrete easier to work with. We reached out to company spokesman John Patton again this week and he sent this statement:

"In the 15 years since we took over the management of the Joseph J. Mottes company, we have adhered to rigorous standards set forth by the American Concrete Institute and the State of Connecticut. We continue to cooperate with the ongoing state investigation so that homeowners can get the answers and real solutions they deserve. One thing that is clear to us is the extensive media and governmental scrutiny has led to another issue arising - in addition to homes affected by damage, there are now large numbers of homeowners and potential home buyers who do not have problems but are being told they will."

Preliminary results from the state's investigation show an iron sulfide mineral called pyrrhotite is present in each of the crumbling foundations. Pyrrhotite oxidizes or rusts when exposed to air and water which causes the foundation to deteriorate.

Contractors said the problem cannot be fixed, forcing homeowners to replace the entire foundation at a cost of 100 thousand dollars and up. Insurers have denied most of the claims.

Colin Lobo, Vice-President of the National Redi-Mix Concrete Association, said traditional tests will not detect pyrrhotite in the stone aggregate, but the presence of the mineral isn't catastrophic in and of itself.

"Water is the problem that causes or deteriorates the quality of the concrete," said Lobo. "The weaker you make the concrete, the more water, the more access the mineral has to oxygen and water."

These days, John Soucy works as an installer, and is now replacing foundations he poured himself years ago. We asked him why as a Mottes driver, he continued to use the old concrete, if he knew it was wrong.

"I never agreed with it, but had I said anything at that point, I wouldn't have had a job," he said.

All the former company employees we interviewed agree on one more thing, in light of their experience working for Mottes, they believe many more foundations will fail.

"How many homes do you think in this part of Connecticut will be impacted by the crumbling foundation problem? I'd be afraid to guess. You think it's hundreds? Thousands. Thousands? Thousands."

The Attorney General's office responded to our investigation saying that the state vetted extensive testimony about the use of excess water and that even if they could prove that excess water was added, there's no way to determine who added it, and at which point in the process.

The Joseph J. Mottes Company has agreed to temporarily stop using stone aggregate from Becker's Quarry in Willington for residential foundations, while the state investigates. To date, 301 homeowners have filed complaints with Department Consumer Protection, but we should get a better idea of the scope of the problem when the State Insurance Department releases data collected from the insurance companies about how many crumbling foundation claims have been filed.

Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut

WATCH: Olympic Weightlifting Highs and Lows


Weightlifters provide plenty of excitement at the Olympics, and it’s not just because of the massive amount of weight that these incredible athletes can raise above their heads.

It’s also because they get really pumped up when they put up the most weight of their lives on the world’s biggest stage.

Take Finnish weightlifter Milko Olavi Tokola, for example. He was so pumped after one of his lifts that he literally fell off the platform while celebrating.

Watch it here:

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Weightlifting also provides an element of shock and horror on occasion when a weightlifter’s body snaps under the pressure.

Unfortunately, that’s exactly what happened to Armenian weightlifter Andranik Karapetyan, who suffered a gruesome arm injury while attempting a 195kg clean and jerk.

You can watch the moment here (warning: graphic content):

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But when things go right, and medals are won, there is plenty to celebrate. The adrenaline rush they feel when they complete a successful lift leads to some euphoric moments.

Check out some of the best from the men’s 56kg weight class in Rio:

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And last but not least, Colombia's Oscar Figueroa won Olympic gold in Rio, and then decided to retire on the spot. He ended his career in perhaps the best way possible.

Watch the emotional end here:

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Photo Credit: AP Photo
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I-84 Reopens After Fire, Self-Inflicted Shooting


Interstate 84 East in Hartford was closed for nearly four hours after a man shot himself on the highway, but it has reopened.

The incident was reported around 10:30 a.m. as a vehicle fire on the eastbound side of highway between exits 46 and 48 and shots fired. 

"At this time, we're not sure if that was actual gunfire, if it was ammunition in the van exploding, if it was vehicle parts - tires or batteries exploding -- that's common with these vehicle fires. So we're not sure what it was, but we did get calls for that," Trooper Tyler Weerden said. 

Two Hartford Fire Department personnel and three state troopers arrived at the scene around the same time and saw a burning van and a man with a gun. 

When they tried to speak with the man, he shot himself. Emergency crews then provided medical care and the man was transported to Saint Francis Hospital, where he is still alive, police said. 

"Due to the nature of this incident and out of an abundance of caution, we used a bomb robot to clear the van, not knowing what would be in there," Weerden said. "The van has been cleared. There's no other hazards at this time."

Police have not released the man's name, but said his last-known address is in Bristol, so State police are at the scene and are working with Bristol Police.

"I just want to stress, there's no threat to the public," Weerden said. "As far as we can tell right now, the only shot that was fired was a self-inflicted gunshot."

Emergency dispatch transmissions released on Friday afternoon detail the chaotic scene first responders encountered. 

One recording said a man was walking on the highway, urinating on a Jersey barrier. Another reported a man near the Jersey barrier had a firearm strapped to him.

Then came a dispatch about live rounds going off and a request for police to respond and to shut down the highway. 

Another transmission was for Department of Transportation inspectors to come out and check the bridge because the van under it was on fire. 

Hartford police, Hartford firefighters and state police all responded to the scene and officers rerouters commuters to clear the road.

The investigation is ongoing and anyone with information is asked to call 860-534-100 or text TIP711 to 274637 with information.

Photo Credit: Joe Brusznicki

Court Date: Body Bag at Border Case


A toddler found dead inside a duffel bag carried by a Southern California couple trying to cross the U.S.-Mexico border into Tijuana was drowned, a San Diego Deputy District Attorney said Friday.

Deputy DA Kurt Mechals said the girl, who was approximately two years old, died from a "residential-type drowning." An autopsy determined the tot also showed signs of malnutrition, dehydration and trauma, Mechals said.

The prosecutor said the investigation is ongoing and he could not release any further details on the toddler's death. He said investigators have theories on the motive but that information is not being released at this time.

On Friday, the couple accused in this case — Johnny Lewis Hartley, 39, and Mercy Maria Becerra, 43, both of Whittier, California — were arraigned side-by-side in a downtown San Diego courtroom.

Each defendant faces one count of first-degree murder in the death of the little girl, as outlined in this complaint filed in court Friday.

If convicted, Mechals said they each face 25 years to life in prison.

Standing next to one another with their heads hung low, both Hartley and Becerra pleaded not guilty. A public defender was appointed for both suspects. A judge set bail at $2 million for each of the suspects.

Mechals said the drowning of the tot happened in Whittier.

Investigators are still trying to determine the relationship of the suspects to the victim, Mechals said. Hartley and Becerra are not the child's parents, but the parents also live in Whittier and know the suspects.

The San Diego Police Department said Hartley and Becerra were arrested at the pedestrian border crossing at the San Ysidro port of entry Tuesday around 12 p.m. after they attempted to cross into Mexico.

SDPD Lt. Ray Valentin said the duo was stopped by Mexican authorities and sent to a secondary inspection point.

Hartley was carrying a duffel bag. When officials scanned his bag in an X-ray machine, they discovered the body of the little girl inside the bag, police said.

At that point, Valentin said Becerra tried to run away from authorities, but was quickly apprehended and taken into custody. Hartley was also arrested. They were deported back to the U.S. side of the border and turned over to U.S. Customs and Border Protection.

The SDPD’s Homicide Unit arrived at the port of entry and took custody of Hartley and Becerra, booking them into jail in San Diego on suspicion of child cruelty and first-degree murder.

After interviewing the suspects, Valentin said SDPD Homicide Unit detectives determined that whatever happened to the little girl occurred in Whittier, which is about 127 miles north of Tijuana.

SDPD detectives are working closely with detectives of the Whittier Police Department on the case.

Mechals said there is still much work to be done. At the suspects' arraignment on Friday, the prosecutor said details were still being developed, including whether the toddler's death was premeditated.

"There are a lot of moving parts," Mechals said of the case.

On Thursday, Valentin told NBC 7 it appears someone drove Hartley and Becerra to San Diego, possibly dropping them off at the pedestrian border crossing. He also said there was no missing person report filed on the toddler out of Whittier.

At this point, Mechals said there are no indications of additional arrests in this case. The name of the toddler has not yet been released. For now, court documents refer to the child as "Jane Doe."

According to the complaint against the suspects, Hartley has a prior conviction on his record from June 23, 2010, out of Orange, California.

An Instragram account for Becerra confirmed by NBC 4 Los Angeles earlier this week said the suspect is a mother of nine. The social media account has since been deleted.

The investigation is ongoing. Anyone with information can call the SDPD Homicide Unit at (619) 531-2293 or Crime Stoppers at (888) 580-8477.

Hartley and Becerra are due back in court on Aug. 18 for a status conference. Their preliminary hearing is set to begin Aug. 25.

Photo Credit: NBC 7 San Diego

Video Shows Enfield Response Team Rescue Stuck Squirrel

New Haven Police Chief Asked to Resign: Union Source


The New Haven police chief has been asked to resign, a union source tell NBC Connecticut.

Mayor Toni Harper and New Haven Police Chief Dean Esserman met on Friday morning, city spokesman Laurence Grotheer said. 

In July, Esserman agreed to take a 15-day paid leave of absence after members of the city's police union overwhelmingly voted to say they had no confidence in him, according to the mayor's office.

Earlier this year, Esserman allegedly berated a waitress at a New Haven restaurant , an employee told NBC Connecticut. The accusations of the incident surfaced during his paid absence. 

It was the second time the mayor punished the chief since he was appointed to the top job in the police department. In 2014, he was reprimanded after a confrontation with an usher at Yale Bowl.

Assistant Chief Anthony Campbell has been acting chief during Esserman's absence.

More Severe Weather to Follow Day of Storms, Flooding


Connecticut is in for more severe weather after being slammed by thunderstorms and flooding on Thursday.

On Friday, before the storms, residents can expect humidity to be off the charts. The heat index will make it feel more than 100 degrees at some points of the day.

More thunderstorms will be forming in the heat. 

Strong to severe storms are possible with much lightning, localized flooding rain, damaging winds.

NBC Connecticut meterologists said there's a low possibility for a tornado. 

Weather is expected to be similiar for the weekend. 

Thursday left thousands without power as severe storms hit the state. 

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Severe Weather Damages Parts of State for 3 Days Straight


Connecticut is on its third day of severe weather and the damage keeps piling up. 

Woodstock is one of the towns pummeled by heavy rain and lightning on Friday. 

State police said multiple roads across the Troop D coverage area are closed due to power lines and trees being down.

Towns drastically impacted include Woodstock, Pomfret, Putnam, Killingly, Hampton and Champlin, state police said. 

The severe storms come after Thursday's afternoon flash flooding in Middletown and a tornado touching down in North Haven on Wednesday. 

Photo Credit: Gretchen Worden

Bradley Releases Casino Concepts after Pressure from MGM


Connecticut's Airport Authority released a trove of documents that detailed the authority's vision for what a casino may look like for passengers and other visitors to Bradley International Airport.

The Town of Windsor Locks and the airport have each demonstrated an interest in being a site for the state's third casino, which would be jointly run by the Mashantuckett Pequot and Mohegan Tribes, the only two federally recognized tribes in Connecticut who operate Foxwoods and Mohegan Sun, respectively.

CAA Executive Director Kevin Dillon said the documents and renderings merely show that the board has been working to figure out how a casino might work and look.

“It’s unfortunate that MGM tries to distort what the process is here that the airport is using to try to come to a conclusion whether or not the airport could actually host a casino” he said. The most substantive discussions about the casino concept were only mentioned during executive sessions of the CAA Board. Despite their legal authority to hold meetings in private, MGM said that's precisely the problem.

MGM executives said the documents that include emails, plans from designers, and discussions with Windsor Locks officials, show a plan concocted in secret without public input.

“Projects like this need to have public input and they need to have public buy-in right from the start," said Alan Feldman, an Executive Vice President with MGM Entertainment.

Feldman and MGM contend that they have been shut out of the bidding process to run a third casino. Feldman said the fact that the tribes are running the site selection process and not the state, makes the entire venture anything but transparent.

"They've turned the process on its head," Feldman said.

MGM is currently building a casino in Springfield, Massachusetts, just miles from the proposed location in Windsor Locks. Feldman said even though MGM initially wanted to keep information the Springfield project confidential for a time, he said that was before a site was selected.

He said the two projects are very different.

"There was a huge public process that included several public meetings held by the state itself in Springfield.”

The renderings, which are merely concept Dillon said, show a facility with a dramatic glass facade at Bradley International Airport. He describes the opportunity as a "good amenity for passengers and a way to drive non-airport revenue."

Feldman said he would prefer to see a casino project competition for a Fairfield County location.

He envisions a Northeast strategy for the corporation that could have included Springfield and Fairfield locations. At the end of the day, he said, it is about opportunities to make money for MGM, and provide an avenue for healthy competition between commercial and Native American casinos.

Feldman said, “Of course it’s about our bottom line. We’re a business. We’re not a public Feldservice but it’s not because we’re in Springfield and want to stultify competition. We believe this is a very busy healthy growing market if you handle the market properly."

Dillon said MGM is trying politicize the issue and use information to fit a narrative. Their arguments, he said, ignore the number of steps left in the process before a site will be selected.

"The town of Windsor Locks has made it very clear that they will conduct a referendum on whatever is ultimately proposed. It's also very clear that our board, a public body, will have to vote on any deal that we reach in public. There will be a public debate and a public vote by our board and the legislature will eventually make a decision on the issue. We have a long way to go."

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Data Expert Suggests Trump's 'Own' Tweets Are Written by Other People


David Robinson, a data scientist at Stack Overflow,set out to see where Donald Trump's tweets are coming from, NBC News reported.

He determined that the angriest tweets from Trump's official Twitter account, @realDonaldTrump, were sent from an Android device — while more moderated messages that focused on events and campaign strategy were sent by an iPhone.

Members of the Republican nominee's campaign staff are known to use iPhones. However, Trump uses a Samsung Galaxy, having sworn off Apple after that company's battle with the FBI over unlocking the phone of one of the San Bernadino attackers.

Tweets from the Android phone were mostly sent in the morning and included emotionally charged words such as "badly," "crazy," "weak," and "dumb."The iPhone tweets come in the afternoon and early evening and include messages heavy with campaign hashtags, such as #trumptrain or #makeamericagreatagain.

Photo Credit: Getty Images

Ledecky Olympic Race Ranks Among Biggest Blowouts in Sports


How does Katie Ledecky's 800m freestyle race rank against some of the biggest blowouts in sports history?

Photo Credit: Lee Jin-man/AP

'Guccifer 2.0' Releases Docs Allegedly From DCCC Hack


The hacker known as "Guccifer 2.0" on Friday released online a trove of documents purportedly stolen from the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) in a cyberattack.

While previous document dumps contained information revealing a bias within the Democratic National Committee in favor of the candidacy of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton over that of Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, the most significant pieces of information in these documents are Congressional contact lists.

There was also shared passwords for the committee shared accounts to various news services, Lexis, and a federal courts public access system called PACER.

Cyber experts have told NBC News they believe Guccifer 2.0 is a Russian front, and also said the leaks show that Russia is seeking to influence the U.S. presidential campaign, perhaps with an eye toward helping Donald Trump.

Photo Credit: Getty Images/Maskot

Fla. Woman Bitten by Alligator


A woman was airlifted to the hospital in critical condition after she was bitten by an alligator in the Florida Everglades near Coral Springs Friday evening.

Rescue workers responded after the woman was bitten in a remote area of Willard's Fishing Camp, about a mile and a half west of Coral Springs, around 6:30 p.m.

Officials said they received a 911 call about a woman who had her hand bitten off by a gator.

The woman was airlifted to Broward North Hospital in Pompano Beach, where she was in critical condition.

Officials said the woman dropped a can in the water and when she reached for it she was bitten. She was with a group of seven or eight people.

"Several people that were there and witnessed this kept her from going in the water when the alligator bit her, they apparently tried to keep her from going into the water so she remained on the dock and did not fall in the water at all," Broward Sheriff Fire Rescue spokesman Mike Jachles said.

The woman's name wasn't released but officials said she is 49 years old and from central Florida.

This is a developing story; check back with NBC 6 for updates.

Photo Credit: NBC 6

What Does 16 Years Between Olympic Gold Look Like?


Anthony Ervin won his first gold medal at the age of 19 during the 2000 Summer Olympics.

Now, at the age of 35, he's a gold medalist again after winning the 50m freestyle Friday in Rio.

A lot has happened in the 16 years since that first brush with gold (including acquiring a lot of tattoos).

Here's a look at what Ervin looked like then and now.

Photo Credit: Dmitri Lovetsky/AP
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New Mexico Police Officer Shot at Traffic Stop


A police officer has died after a shooting during a traffic stop in New Mexico on Friday, according to officials.

Officer Jose Chavez was shot when he approached a car during a traffic stop near a convenience store in the small village of Hatch, New Mexico, the Doña Ana County Sheriff's Department said in a statement.

The three suspects fled the scene after the shooting and drove to a rest area where they shot another person during a carjacking, according to the sheriff's department.

Chavez died as a result of his injuries. He had been with the department for two years, NBC News reported.

All three suspects have been taken into police custody.

Photo Credit: Getty Images

Ferris Wheel Had Worn Out Parts: Report


Worn out rivet fasteners on a Ferris wheel are being blamed for an overturned gondola at an eastern Tennessee fair that earlier this week sent three girls plummeting more than 30 feet to the ground.

The Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development announced late Friday that it has renewed permits for the ride's owner, Family Attractions Amusement, to resume operations at other fairs around the state. But the Ferris wheel is excluded from the permit.

Inspectors hired by the company and the Greene County Fair found that rivets had worn out on the bottom of the tub carrying the girls, allowing a trim piece to come loose and get lodged in the frame of the wheel and tipping the gondola over.

"Ride NOT safe to operate at time of inspection," Frank Guenthner, an inspector hired by ride owner Family Attractions Amusement, wrote in his report.

The Ferris wheel, which inspectors say was correctly assembled at the site, is being sent back to the manufacturer for repair.

Tennessee does not conduct its own inspections of fair or amusement park rides, instead relying on third-party inspectors. The company was allowed to operate in the state based on an inspection made in Indiana in June.

Six-year-old Briley Rae Reynolds suffered a traumatic brain injury in the fall on Monday and her 10-year-old sister, Kayla, broke her arm. Kayla and an unidentified 16-year old have been released from the hospital, but Briley Rae remained in critical condition.

Republican Gov. Bill Haslam told reporters earlier Friday that it was too soon to say what Tennessee might do to avoid future injuries on rides 

"I don't know that right now I have a policy shift of what should happen differently," he said.

It's not the first time Family Attractions Amusement rides have hurt riders.

At the 2013 North Carolina State Fair, five people were injured when an Italian-made ride called the Vortex unexpectedly restarted as they were trying to get off the ride, flinging them through the air and down to the steel deck below. Investigators determined that a safety mechanism had been disabled by ride operators including the son of company owners Dominic and Ruby Macaroni.

Joshua Macaroni earlier this year entered an Alford plea — a concession that there is sufficient evidence for a conviction without admitting guilt — on a felony charge of obstruction of justice. He was sentenced in February to five to 15 months in prison, though the judge suspended that to a month in jail. He was also ordered pay a $22,500 fine.

The Greeneville Sun has reported that Greene County Fair Board officials decided to go through with a five-year contract with a Family Attractions despite the North Carolina incident, citing the company's previous safety record in Tennessee and the owners' claims that they were not involved with the Vortex ride. " 

Their rides were not inspected when they were assembled in Tennessee.

Family Attractions Amusement had already taken down its rides in Greeneville the day before the state decision to allow most of the rides to resume.

Photo Credit: The Greeneville Sun

Rio Day 7: Soccer Stunner, Ledecky Is Golden, Other Moments


A shocking elimination in women's soccer, Katie Ledecky shines and American gymnasts earn another honor. In case you missed any of the excitement, here are some of Day 7's memorable moments.

Soccer Stunner as U.S. Falls to Sweden
The American women had won three gold medals in consecutive Summer Games but on Friday they fell hard, losing to Sweden 4-3 on penalties following a 1-1 draw in the quarterfinals.

It was the first time in Olympic history that the American women did not reach the gold medal match. Until now, they had won a medal in every Olympics tournament since 1996.

The defeat came against the team's former coach, Pia Sundhage, who led the team to victory in 2008 and 2012, before returning home to Sweden.

Afterward, Hope Solo, the American goalkeeper, was castigated for calling the Swedish team "cowards."

"We played a bunch of cowards," she said. "The best team did not win. I firmly believe that."

Responded Sundhage: "I don’t give a crap. I’m going to Rio, she's going home."

Ledecky Is Victorious, Phelps Falls Short
Katie Ledecky became the first Olympic swimmer Friday to sweep the 200-, 400- and 800-meter freestyles since 1968, winning the 800-meter race far ahead of the pack.

Ledecky broke her own world record to defend her first gold medal, which she won in London in 2012. 

This was Ledecky’s fourth gold medal of the Rio Games, plus she has won a silver. Only four other female swimmers have won four gold medals in a single Olympic Games, most recently Missy Franklin in London.

The last swimmer to sweep the three events was the U.S.’s Debbie Meyer at the 1968 Mexico Games.

In an upset, Singapore’s Joseph Schooling defeated Michael Phelps in the 100-meter butterfly Friday. Phelps took silver in a rare three-way tie with Chad le Clos and Laszlo Cseh.

Schooling, who had beaten Phelps in the 100-meter butterfly semifinal, won Singapore's first gold medal.

Schooling thwarted Phelps’ attempt to become the first Olympic athlete to take four consecutive gold medals in two different events.

In the 200-meter individual medley Thursday night, Phelps became the first swimmer to win four consecutive victories in the event.

Phelps now has 22 gold medals, with 13 in individual races. He has 27 medals overall.

At 35, the U.S.'s Anthony Ervin became the oldest swimmer to win an individual gold medal. Ervin was first in the men's 50-meter freestyle. 

American Shooter Goes Six for Six
U.S. skeet shooter Kim Rhode became the first woman to medal in six consecutive Olympic Games when she won a bronze on Friday.

On the men's side, only Italian luger Armin Zoeggeler has accomplished the same feat.

Rhode's record-breaking win concludes a streak that began with a double-trap gold medal at the Atlanta Games in 1996 when she was 17. She switched to skeet shooting when double-trap was dropped from the Olympics.

"Every emotion hits you at once," Rhode told The Associated Press. "You want to run, scream, cry and you just don't know which one to do first."

In Friday's competition, the Italian shooters dominated, with Diana Bacosi taking the gold and her teammate, Chiara Cainero, winning the silver.

Rhode beat Meng Wei of China in a shoot-off in the bronze-medal match, after both hit 15 of 16 targets.

"Kimberly is great; she is the best women's shooter," Cainero said. "It was an honor to be here when she made history."

Rhode overcame four years of pain following the London Games to succeed on Friday. She had a difficult pregnancy, emergency gall bladder surgery and a punishing recovery. Her husband was ill, her father got injured.

She is planning to compete in the 2020 Summer Games in Tokyo.

Cereal Box Fame for Women Gymnastics
The champion U.S. women's gymnastics team will be immortalized in all their gold medal glory on a commemorative Special K Red Berries box.

The "Final Five" were guests Friday on "Today," where all-around gold medalist Simone Biles got to unveil the cereal box.

Those hoping to get their hands on of the "gold medal edition" boxes will have to join the KelloggsFamilyRewards.com website. Kellogg's, which is an Olympic sponsor, announced that it would be giving away the boxes for free to those who sign up while supplies last.

Middle East Tensions Flare
Egyptian judoka Islam El Shehaby elicited loud jeers from the audience Friday after refusing to shake hands with his Israeli opponent.

El Shehaby lost to Israel's Or Sasson in a first-round match with about a minute and a half left in the bout.

The Egyptian backed away and shook his head when Sasson extended his hand. A referee called El Shehaby back to the mat to perform a mandatory bow, which he fulfilled with a reluctant nod.

Before the match, El Shehaby, an ultraconservative Salafi Muslim, faced online pressure to forfeit the match, The Associated Press reported.

This is not the first instance of Middle Eastern politics spilling into the Rio Games.

Israeli and Lebanese athletes clashed last Friday when the Lebanese team prevented Israeli athletes from boarding a bus the Israelis were expecting to share to get to the opening ceremony.

Ethiopia's Ayana Breaks Track Record
Ethiopia's Almaz Ayana broke the world record for the 10,000 meter as she won a gold medal in 29 minutes, 17.45 seconds.

It was the first track and field medal event at the Rio Games.

The previous record of 29:31:78 was held by China's Junxia Wang, who set it in 1993.

The silver medalist, Vivian Cheruiyot of Kenya, the 2015 world champion, finished more than 15 seconds aftter Ayana. Tirunesh Dibaba of Ethiopia, the 2008 and 2012 Olympic champion, got the bronze.

For the first time in Olympic history the running track is colored blue.


Boxer Nico Hernandez ended a medal drought for United States, taking home a bronze along with Cuba’s Joahnys Argilagos. He is the U.S.’ s first light flyweight medalist in nearly 30 years. Hernandez lost his chance at the gold to Uzbekistan’s Hasanboy Dusmatov.

Olympic divers missed morning practice after the green-hued diving well was closed so it could be cleaned. The larger pool next to it that is used for water polo and synchronized swimming has also turned green. The diving well re-opened just 2 1/2 hours before the start of the women’s 3-meter competition. Officials continued to insist the water was safe.

An Olympic security officer who was shot in the head after he got lost in Rio has died. Brazil announced the death of Helio Vieira early Friday morning. Officers from Brazil’s national security force were using GPS to navigate unfamiliar streets when they took a wrong turn. Their truck was sprayed with bullets, the latest crime to mar the Rio Games.

Photo Credit: Lee Jin-man/AP
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Day 8: Highlights From the Rio Olympics


Day 8 of the Rio Olympics features track and field events, including Usain Bolt running a 100m first round, plus Simone Manuel swimming the 50m freestyle and one last Michael Phelps swim in the 4x100m medley relay. Check out highlight photos from these events and more.

Photo Credit: AFP/Getty Images

Pakistan Doctors Accused of Abducting, Selling Newborns


Pakistan police say they have busted a criminal gang, including female doctors, accused of abducting newborn babies from hospitals and selling them to childless couples, NBC News reported.

‎Abbas Majeed Marwat, police chief of the city of Peshawar in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, said the gang also included health workers, nurses and midwives.

Police conducted a raid on a house in Peshawar soon after arresting one member of the gang, identified as Wajeeha Yasmin, and recovered a baby. Seven people have been arrested so far and have admitted to abducting nine babies from different hospitals and selling them to wealthy childless couples.

A five-day old baby recovered during the police operation was going to be sold for $3,000, he said, while some of the other babies were sold for between Rs80, 000 ($800) and Rs150,000 ($1500).

Photo Credit: Getty Images
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