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US-Backed Fighters Liberate Syria's Manbij From ISIS


U.S.-backed fighters have liberated the Syrian town of Manbij from ISIS, observers and Syrian-Kurdish officials said Saturday.

Specifics of the operation and the status of thousands of residents in the town were not immediately clear, NBC News reported.

The northern town "is under full control" of rebels, Nasser Haj Mansour of the predominantly Kurdish Syria Democratic Forces (SDF) told the Associated Press.

He said search operations are still underway to find extremists who might be hiding in the town.

"Thank God. We are happy. Thank God we got rid of [ISIS]. May God hold them to account!" an unidentified woman in the town shouted, according to video footage obtained by Reuters.

Photo Credit: AFP/Getty Images

Golfers Try to Beat the Heat with Early Tee Time


For those who had outdoor plans Saturday, they only way to beat the heat was to get them done early in the morning. However, it didn’t take long for the heat and humidity to set in.

Even with a 6 a.m. tee time Orlando Cuadrado couldn’t completely avoid the stifling weather as he golfed.

“It’s already starting to get humid. It’s already starting to get moist out there,” said Cuadrado of Unionville.

At 5:30 a.m. the heat index was 82 degrees and by 9:30 a.m. the “feels like” temperature had already risen to 94.

“I hate it. I hate it. It’s just too hot. You sit in the house in the air conditioning, that’s it,” said Skip McCue of Wethersfield.

His son convinced him to join in on an 8 a.m. tee time.

While the sizzling summer sun wasn’t enough to keep these golfers away from the greens at Goodwin Park in Hartford, it did curtail some people’s plans.

“We came out here originally thinking about playing 18, we decided to play nine,” said David Boudrea of Hartford.

Frances Lynch came from Florida to visit family in Wethersfield. She said Saturday’s weather felt a lot like home.

“You just don’t concentrate on the heat you concentrate on hitting the ball straight and making good puts,” said Lynch.

Staying hydrated was as important as getting the ball onto the fairway as quickly as possible.

“It’s water every couple of holes, drink a lot of water, fortunately our carts have covers so they get a little bit of shade if they’re riding in the cart, if you drive the cart fast enough you can create some wind, and it’s just kind of moving from shade to shade as well,” said Goodwin Park Golf Course Head Golf Professional, Kevin Cloud.

Cloud said business was slow for a Saturday morning with less golfers than usual, but he expected some would wait until evening to head out on the course.

Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut

Manchester's Mike Hartfield Out of Rio Games


It's been a whirlwind two weeks for Manchester's Mike Hartfield.

He was added to the Olympic team as a replacement in the long jump and got that call on July 29-- his late father's birthday.

As a long jumper at Ohio State, Hartfield broke some of the records held by Olympic legend Jesse Owens.

Hartfield's first jump was 7.66 meters. It turned out to be his best jump. He fouled on the second one and did not make the finals.

Had Hartfield made the finals, he would have been jumping on the sixth anniversary of his father's death.

But for family and friends who held a watch party in Connecticut, the results changed nothing.

"I'm so proud of him. This moment was his," said Michael's cousin Phylicia Hartfield.

"He's going to think he let us down, but he didn't. He was already a gold medal winner before he even left town," said Don Logan, who was the best friend of Michael's dad.

Asked what he thinks Michael's father would say, Don said, "He would say, ‘Mike, you did your best. We love you. You got to where you got to, and we couldn't ask from any more.’"

Those close to Michael say he's been through a lot in his 26 years. Along with his father’s death, his mother suffered a stroke a few years ago.

"He's always been battling. He's been putting on his best, so now it's nice everyone sees his story," said Michael's cousin Courtney Roberts.

Family and friends say rest assured, Michael's story doesn't end here.

"No matter what, you're a champion, and we're proud of your accomplishments and what you've achieved thus far," said Michael's uncle Floyd Hartfield.

"I love you. This was your time. This is your season. It's still your season," said Phylicia. "Haven't seen the last of him. Trust me."

"You did all you can do. You did your best, and that's all you can do," said Michael's cousin Tre Roberts. "At the end of the day, he's an Olympic athlete. That's all that matters."

Donald Trump Speaks at Fairfield Rally


Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump made an appearance at a campaign rally at Sacred Heart University in Fairfield Saturday night.

It was Trump's fourth campaign appearance in Connecticut. He appeared at a rally in Hartford on April 15, and visited Crosby High School in Waterbury and appeared at Klein Auditorium in Bridgeport on April 23.

Sacred Heart officials defended the decision to host the rally amid pushback from those opposed to Trump’s views. The school said hosting the event was not a political endorsement, but rather part of a long-standing policy of opening doors to various speakers to promote open dialogue.

The school also said there have been hundreds of request for tickets.

An opposing “Love trumps hate” was also planned for at Sacred Heart on Saturday.

Photo Credit: Getty Images

Fire, Knife Attack on Switzerland Train Leaves 6 Wounded


Swiss police say a knife-wielding man set fire to a train in Switzerland before going on a stabbing rampage that left six people injured, including a 6-year-old child, NBC News reported.

Police in the northeast state of St. Gallen said the 27-year-old Swiss suspect was also hurt during the attack early Saturday afternoon as the train neared the station in Salez. 

The suspect, who has not been indentified, is accused of spilling flammable liquid on the train and setting it on fire. He was also carrying at least one knife, police said. 

The six victims — a 6-year-old, a 17-year-old girl, a 17-year-old boy, a 34-year-old woman, a 43-year-old woman and a 50-year-old man — were hospitalized with burn and stab wounds, as was the suspect, according to police. Some of those wounded were in critical condition.

Photo Credit: Getty Images/Illustration

Boat Trailer Collides with Car During Crash in Tolland


The Tolland fire department had to rescue a person trapped when a boat trailer collided with a car Friday.

Fire officials said crews responded to Crestwood Road around 10:20 p.m. They found a boat trailer had run through a car.

The victim had to be extricated with the jaws of life, officials said. The victim has not been identified and their condition is unknown at this time.

Photo Credit: Tolland Alert

'Star Wars' R2-D2 Actor Kenny Baker Dies at 81


British actor Kenny Baker, who starred as one of science fiction’s most iconic robots, R2-D2, has died after battling a long illness. He was 81 years old.

The 3-foot-8-inch actor was found dead Saturday morning by one of his nephews at his home in northwest England, his niece Abigail Shield told the Guardian, which first reported news of his death.

"When he was a child, he was told that he probably wouldn’t survive through puberty, being a little person in those times, they didn’t have a very good life expectancy," Shield's said. "He did extremely well in his life. He was very ill for the last few years so we had been expecting it."

Baker and Shield's father, Ian, grew up in Birmingham, England.

Baker's agent Jonny Mans confirmed his death, saying "Kenny was truly a great friend, one of the nicest guys you could ever wish to meet and a fabulous and talented performer."

Mans said the two met in the 1960s as club entertainers and worked together before going on to become his agent.

He became a household name in 1977 when he first played the role of R2-D2 in the first "Star Wars" film. He went on to appear with Anthony Daniels' C-3PO character in "Empire Strikes Back" and "Return of the Jedi," as well as the three prequels.

Movie studio 20th Century Fox posted a photograph of C-3PO standing next to Baker's "Star Wars" character, writing: "Rest in peace, Kenny Baker, the heart and soul of R2D2."

The actor also appeared in "Flash Gordon," "Labyrinth" and "Time Bandits."

"He had a very long and fulfilled life. He brought lots of happiness to people and we’ll be celebrating the fact that he was well loved throughout the world. We’re all very proud of what he achieved in his lifetime,” Shield said.

Photo Credit: Jonathan Short/Invision/AP
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Squantz Pond State Park At Capacity, Not Accepting Walk-Ins

Phelps on "#PhelpsFace" Leg Tattoo: 'That's Awesome'


The #PhelpsFace meme made its way around the internet the past few days, and on Saturday it apparently made its way onto someone’s leg.

A tattoo artist in Toronto, Livia Tsang, posted a picture on Instagram of Michael Phelps’ scowling face that she said she tattooed on her boss’s leg.

That image, like the original meme itself, traversed the internet. And yes, it even made its way in front of the swimming sensation himself.

Phelps seemed extremely excited about it during a Facebook Live chat that he held Saturday afternoon before the final race of his Olympic career.

  • WATCH: #PhelpsFace Tattoo Discussed on TODAY
  • “I don’t know if the guy is watching,” Phelps said, “but whoever got that tattoo, that tattoo is amazing. Dude put my face on his calf. That’s awesome.”

    The shop, Chronic Ink Tattoos, also posted the picture on Facebook with the caption, "Congrats on being the G.O.A.T.” which stands for “Greatest of All Time,” for those not in the know.

    Phelps has seen a lot of fandom over the years, but this one apparently stood out.

    "That is so cool,” he said. "I never thought that would happen. It’s pretty incredible."

    Photo Credit: NBC
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    Imam Killed in NYC, Unknown Motive


    The leader of a mosque in Queens and his associate were shot and killed Saturday afternoon after leaving their place of worship.

    Imam Maulama Akonjee, 55, died from a gunshot wound to the head, said NYPD Deputy Inspector Hank Sautner during a news conference.

    His assistant imam, a 64-year-old Thara Uddin, also died of a gunshot wound to the head.

    No motive for the shootings has been established, Sautner said.

    "There's nothing in the preliminary investigation to indicate that they were targeted because of their faith," he said.

    The shootings occurred at about 1: 50 p.m. about two blocks from the Al-Furqan Jame Masjid mosque in the Ozone Park neighborhood. The mosque serves a community of Bangladeshi immigrants.

    Akonjee and Uddin, both dressed in Islamic attire, were approached from behind and shot by a lone gunman, wearing a dark polo shirt and short pants, police said.

    Witnesses told police they saw the armed assailant flee.

    The Council on American-Islamic Relations quickly condemned the shootings.

    "The perpetrator of these senseless killings must be swiftly apprehended and face the full force of the law," said CAIR-NY Executive Director Afaf Nasher. "We ask anyone with information about this attack to contact appropriate law enforcement authorities."

    Mayor Bill de Blasio dispatched his senior liaison with the Muslim community to the scene, said Eric Phillips, the mayor's press secretary.

    "While it is too early to tell what led to these murders, it is certain that the NYPD will stop at nothing to ensure justice is served," he said.

    More than 100 people attending a rally at the shooting site Saturday night chanted "We want justice!" Many said they want the shootings to be treated as a hate crime.

    Editor's Note: A previous version of this article listed an incorrect age for Thara Uddin. He is 64. 

    Photo Credit: Shiv Kadar/NBC 4 New York

    Colorful Hairstyles of the 2016 Summer Olympics


    Some athletes have contributed to the colorful Olympic trend with some impressive hair styles. Ryan Lochte may have gained the most notoriety early on in Rio with his silver lid, but he's not alone. Check out some of the best.

    Photo Credit: Paul Gilham/Getty Images

    Manuel Leads Relay Team to 1,000th Gold for US


    When the Team USA women’s 4x100m relay team anchored by Simone Manuel won gold Saturday night in Rio, it marked a milestone for the United States.

    It was the U.S.’s 1,000th gold medal in its Summer Olympics history.

    The United States is the first country to rack up 1,000 gold medals.

    Photo Credit: AP Images

    This Just In: Michael Phelps Is Really, Really Good


    Michael Phelps finished his Rio Games as the most decorated Olympian in history with 28 total medals, including 23 golds. 

    It’s hard to comprehend just how impressive his swimming resume is. Outside of the Olympics, where he didn’t have the international spotlight shining down him like he does during the Games, Phelps was just as impressive.

    Let’s take a look at some of the highlights of an illustrious career (courtesy of USA Swimming):

    • First American male swimmer to qualify for five Olympic teams
    • Set world records in the 100m fly (first person to ever break 50 seconds), 200m fly, 4x100m medley-relay, and 4x200 free-relay
    • Won eight gold medals at the 2008 Olympic Games, more than any other athlete at an Olympic Games
    • During the nine-day 2008 competition, set seven world records, eight American records and eight Olympic records
    • Set four individual world records and won seven gold medals at the 2007 World Championships to become the winningest athlete in World Championship history Became first athlete ever to win eight medals (six gold) at a non-boycotted Olympic Games in 2004
    • His eight medals tie 1980 USSR gymnast Alexandr Dityatin for most medals by an athlete in a single Olympics
    • Only man to win five U.S. National titles at the same Championships
    • Only man to ever win a U.S. National title in three different strokes at one national championship
    • Youngest male Olympian since 1932 (2000 Olympic Games)
    • Youngest man (15 years, nine months) to break a world record, breaking 200m fly mark at the 2001 Spring Nationals.

    Phelps’ list of Olympic medals alone is jaw-dropping:

    Rio 2016:


    • 4x100m freestyle relay
    • 200m butterfly
    • 4x200m freestyle relay
    • 200m IM
    • 4x100m medley relay


    • 100m butterfly

    London 2012:


    • 100m butterfly
    • 200m IM
    • 4x100m medley relay
    • 4x200m freestyle relay


    • 200m butterfly
    • 4x100m freestyle relay

    Beijing 2008:


    • 200m IM (WR)
    • 200m butterfly (WR)
    • 400m IM (WR)
    • 100m butterfly
    • 200m freestyle (WR)
    • 4x100m medley relay
    • 4x100m freestyle relay (WR)
    • 4x200m freestyle relay (WR)

    Athens 2004:


    • 100m butterfly
    • 4x200m freestyle relay
    • 200m butterfly
    • 400m IM
    • 4x100m medley relay
    • 200m IM


    • 200m freestyle
    • 4x100m freestyle relay

    Photo Credit: NurPhoto via Getty Images

    Phelps Gives a Glimpse Into His Mind on Facebook Live


    Yes, Michael Phelps really is retiring from Olympic swimming after Rio. 

    The American swimmer with 22 gold medals held a Facebook Live session Saturday, answering questions on a wide range of topics as upwards of 60,000 people joined the session.

    He said he thought he would win in a race with Katie Ledecky, and insisted, despite his roommates chanting "four more years," that he's not going to race in one more Olympics despite all the success he's had in Brazil. 

    "We're not going four more years, this is it," Phelps said. "Tonight's the last time that I'll be suiting up and racing at this level. I'm not swimming Masters either — no offense to Masters."

    He insisted he's done even after the hashtag #4moreyears started popping up in his feed.

    Instead, Phelps plans to spend time with his baby son and fianceé, whom he's marrying at the end of the year. When he leaves the Olympics, he said he hopes to put on some weight beyond his 190 pounds, maybe with some burgers and steak.

    Phelps has nabbed four gold medals in Rio, with one more race, a relay, Saturday night. 

    As for Ledecky, who's been the other utterly dominant swimmer in Rio, he thinks they'd have a good race. 

    "I think I could take her in a 400," Phelps said. "800 or above, she would whoop me and tear me to shreds."

    Phelps said the crowd in Rio is loud and gets him "pumped." He tipped his cap to Singaporean swimmer Joseph Schooling, who beat him in the 100-meter butterfly Friday night, saying "that kid swam an amazing race."

    What's going through Phelps' head when he's going through the water? "Hopefully I get my hand on the wall first. That's usually what's going through my head."

    His room can apparently get a little rowdy at nights, with Enrique Iglesias blaring. Some on the team watched the movie "Hoosiers" before a recent race, and Phelps couldn't speak highly enough about it. 

    Already a world-renowned athlete, Phelps gained extra notoriety at the Rio Olympics for two things: his intense #PhelpsFace in the warm-up before the 200-meter buttefly semi-final, and the round bruises all over his body from a restorative process called cupping. 

    The swimmer discussed both in the Facebook Live session, saying he has no idea what the face was but that it "awesome" someone got a tattoo of it, and that cupping is like a quick, intense massage.

    Sports rivalries came to the fore after Phelps identified himself a die-hard fan of the NFL's Baltimore Ravens (the two books he's read this year were both given to him by Ravens great Ray Lewis).

    Steelers fans showed up to the chat, and when an Ohio State fan arrived — Phelps went to Michigan — Phelps tried to find some unity: "Team USA!"

    Missed the session? Watch the replay above, or follow Phelps, who said he'll return for another Facebook Live session as soon as Sunday.

    Some of Phelps' favorite things:

    • Coke or Pepsi: Coca-Cola
    • Movie: "Tommy Boy"
    • Soccer player: Lionel Messi
    • Ice cream flavor: The Tonight Dough, Ben & Jerry's "Tonight Show"-themed brand, featuring Jimmy Fallon on the container.

    Photo Credit: AP Images
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    State Police Arrest 3 In Connection with Armed Robbery


    Connecticut state police have arrested three people in connection with an armed robbery at the rest stop off Interstate 84 in Willington.

    Walter Kirksey, 19, of Birmingham, Ala., Benjamin Cooper, 27, of Birmingham, Ala., and Karanda Clemons, 23, of Roxbury, Mass. all face charges related to the incident.

    Police said two male suspects, later identified as Kirksey and Cooper, allegedly robbed a victim at the eastbound rest stop between exits 69 and 70. The victim reported that one of the suspects pointed a handgun at the victim’s head and the second suspect sprayed the victim with pepper spray. The victim said the suspect fled in a dark-colored SUV.

    Troopers located a dark green Jeep Liberty on I-84 east near exit 74. The lone occupant, later identified as Clemons, was arrested when police saw items reported stolen from the victims in plain view in the vehicle.

    Meanwhile Massachusetts state troopers found Kirksey and Cooper on foot just east of the Connecticut state line looking for a gas station. Police said the two men agreed to return to their vehicle where they were arrested by Connecticut state police.

    Kirksey faces charges including robbery, larceny, reckless endangerment, possession of a firearm without a permit, commission of a felony with a firearms and threatening.

    Cooper faces charges including robbery, larceny, assault, possession of a firearm without a permit, and weapons in a motor vehicle.

    Clemons was charged with conspiracy to commit robbery, conspiracy to commit larceny, and tampering with evidence.

    Each was held on a $250,000 bond and scheduled to appear in Rockville court on Aug. 15.

    Photo Credit: Connecticut State Police

    Severe Thunderstorm Warnings Issued


    Severe thunderstorm warnings were issued for parts of Hartford, New Haven, Litchfield and Fairfield counties on Saturday night.

    Storms moved into the state from west to east just before 9 p.m.  The storms brought lightning, heavy rain and strong winds.

    Earlier in the day, excessive heat warnings and air quality alerts were issued for much of the state Saturday, as well as a severe thunderstorm watch for Litchfield county.

    The National Weather Service issues an excessive heat warning when there is potential for the heat index to reach or exceed 110 degrees in the next 12 to 24 hours. 

    Health officials warn residents to take extra precautions such as wearing light-colored, lightweight clothing and drinking plenty of water. Officials recommend rescheduling strenuous outdoor activities if possible, and taking breaks in shaded or air-conditioned environments whenever possible.

    The Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection has also issued air quality alerts because of high ground-level ozone pollution. This means sensitive groups, such as children or the elderly, may have breathing problems and are at higher risk for respiratory infections.

    We’ll see high temperatures in the 90s across the interior. Eastern parts of the state may only see highs in the mid-80s. Saturday is expected to be humid with a heat index between 100 and 108.

    Sunday will also be hot and humid with temperatures in the upper 80s and low 90s.

    The weekend will be mostly cloudy with a chance for showers and pop-up thunderstorms throughout the weekend.

    Monday will also see a chance for rain but dry air is expected to move back in Tuesday and Wednesday. Temperatures will be more seasonable with afternoon highs ranging from the upper 70s to mid-80s.

    Milwaukee Officials Plead for Calm After Violence Erupts


    Violence and protests erupted in Wisconsin overnight after a man was fatally shot by police during a foot chase, NBC News reported.

    Police said the 23-year-old victim, who has not been identified, was armed with a handgun and shot dead by an officer after fleeing a traffic stop on Milwaukee's north side Saturday afternoon.

    Hours later angry crowds took to the streets, smashing a police car and setting fire to another. A gas station and auto-parts store were also set alight. Police said gunshots were heard and an officer was injured by a flying brick.

    Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett pleaded for calm at an early morning news conference, asking residents to "do everything" to help restore order.

    "If you love your son, if you love your daughter, text them, call them, pull them by the ears and get 'em home," he said.

    Photo Credit: AP
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    Tim Kaine Releases Tax Returns to Criticize Trump


    The day after he released a decade of his own tax returns, Democratic Vice Presidential candidate Sen. Tim Kaine lambasted Republican nominee Donald Trump for not releasing his.

    "Even Richard Nixon released his tax returns to the public when he was running for president," Kaine told a campaign rally in New Hampshire Saturday.

    Nixon didn't actually release his returns while campaigning: he released them while under audit in 1973.

    Trump is undergoing an audit — which his campaign says is why the candidate has not yet released his tax returns. The campaign says the returns will be released once the audit is completed, NBC News reported.

    Kaine on Saturday questioned whether there could be shockers in Trump's finances and whether Trump's investments might show connections with "people we have some questions about."

    Photo Credit: AP

    Rosies Break Guinness World Record


    Thousands of women donning red bandannas and dark blue overalls gathered in Richmond, California, on Saturday to break the Guinness World Record for the largest gathering of people dressed as Rosie the Riveter.

    The Rosie the Riveter Trust — the non-profit that put on the event—rallied together a total of 2,270 people to break the record that was set by Ypsilanti, Michigan, last fall.

    This record marks the second time that Richmond has won this title. In 2014, the Richmond Rosies drew a crowd of 1,084 women.

    Rosie the Riveter has been a popularized image in the media since the 1940s. The surge of women in the WWII war-time workforce inspired songs and eventually paintings of the fictional “Rosie,” a line worker who works tirelessly to help the American war effort.

    Artists J. Howard Miller and Norman Rockwell popularized that image as a muscular woman clad in denim and a red bandanna with the headline “We Can Do It!” The image was originally used as on posters to boost worker morale, but has now become an icon for the modern empowered woman.

    After taking the picture for Guinness at the Craneway Pavilion, the crowd of women headed to Marina Bay Parkway for the Home Front Festival, which included music performances, craft activities and several food trucks to feed all the Rosies.

    Photo Credit: National Park Service

    Trump Solicits Vote Observers for 'Rigged Election'


    Donald Trump is now recruiting "Trump Election Observers" to combat what he has called a "rigged" election.

    A link on his page — that directs participants to donate — rewards registrants with an email that promises to "do everything we are legally allowed to do to stop crooked Hillary from rigging this election."

    The call to action comes less than 24 hours after Trump said Democratic rival Hillary Clinton couldn't win in Pennsylvania unless she cheats and just days after he began inserting voter identification riffs heavily into his stump speech.

    Trump is not the first to deploy election observers. In 2008, then-Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama enlisted "Election Observers" in Pennsylvania to ensure that voters cast their ballots "simply, fairy, and without intimidation."

    Obama and running mate Joe Biden provided a manual that listed do's and do not's for observers. That sort of guidance has not yet been given by the Trump campaign, which is early on in the recruitment process, NBC News reported.

    Photo Credit: AP
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