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Trump Family Has Given Nearly $20,000 to Chuck Schumer


President-elect Donald Trump's most powerful adversary in the Senate will be incoming Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer. Both men appear to have at least one thing in common: they both rooted for the Democrat when he was up for elections from 1996-2010.

According to the Federal Election Commission's filings, Trump has given Schumer about $9,000 in political donations over a 14-year span. Trump's three oldest children, Donald Jr., Eric and Ivanka have also donated a combined $6,800 to Schumer. Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner has given Schumer $4,000. 

“The Trump family campaign contributions to Sen. Schumer – like most sizable campaign contributions – are often intended to curry access if not favor with a sitting lawmaker who has some oversight authority over their business interests,” said Craig Holman, a public affairs lobbyist with the government watchdog group Public Citizen. “Schumer has generally shown an independent streak not easily influenced by such contributions, but he is now in a situation of directly negotiating one-on-one with President-elect Trump and the Trump family.”

Holman said that if Schumer were to compromise with Trump those past contributions could give the appearance of "undue influence."

“Schumer would do himself a great favor by returning the donations,” he said. 

Schumer’s office has not yet returned NBC’s request for comment.

In April 2011, Trump went on Sean Hannity’s Fox News show to talk about his donations to Democrats when he was considering a run for the Oval Office five years ago, Politico reported. Up until that point, Trump had given the majority of his political donations to Democrats.

“I’ve contributed to Schumer ... I’ve known Schumer for many, many years,” Trump said. “And I have a good relationship with him. The fact is, that I think it is time that maybe we do all get along.”

Starting with the 2012 election cycle, however, Trump exclusively donated to Republicans at the federal level.

Just last month at the Al Smith dinner in New York, Trump jokingly made the remark that Schumer “used to love me when I was a Democrat.”

After Schumer was voted the senate minority leader on Wednesday, he told reporters that he plans to work with Trump when possible.

“When we can agree on issues, then we're going to work with them," Schumer said. "But I've also said to the president-elect on issues where we disagree, you can expect a strong and tough fight."

Photo Credit: Getty Images

Shoplifter Crashed Into Lowe’s Employee: Police


A man who shoplifted at the Lowe’s store in Dayville hit a store employee with his car while fleeing from the scene, according to state police. 

The shoplifter stole items from the Lowe’s Home Improvement Store at 1150 Killingly Commons in Dayville just before 3 p.m. Friday, set off the alarm and fled toward a car in the parking lot, where a female passenger was waiting, according to police. 

A store staff member followed the man and was trying to get the license plate number when the shoplifter accelerated, heading right for the Lowe’s employee and hit him, police said. 

The driver kept going with the store employee trapped on the hood until the man fell to the pavement. He was injured and the driver kept going, police said. 

The shoplifter appeared to be in his mid-40s to 50s. He is around 5-feet-11 and has a heavy build and a receding hair line. 

He was last seen driving a four-door late-model silver Chrysler/Plymouth sedan that was light gold or light brown with a sun roof. 

Anyone with information should call Detective Hunt at Troop D in Danielson (860) 779-4900, or text “TIP711 with the information” to 274637.

Photo Credit: Connecticut State Police

Senators Working on Loans to Help Fix Crumbling Foundations


Two state senators have a plan to help Connecticut homeowners whose home foundations are crumbling and said they are working on giving towns the ability to float bonds so they can give homeowners loans that could possibly be forgiven.

Sen. Tim Larson (D-East Hartford) and Sen. Cathy Osten (D-Sprague) presented their plan this morning during a news conference and said they are proposing that the state authorize towns with affected homes to adopt a loan program and raise municipal bonds to provide funds to help eligible homeowners replace severely damaged foundations.

“We've tried to be as thorough as we can. There will be some moving parts, but we wanted to present this as an option so that, infact, we could get people a solution to this traumatic problem that people are having,” Larson said.

So far, 399 homeowners in 23 towns in Hartford, Tolland and Windham counties have filed complaints about their foundations and a team of researchers at UConn conducted several inspections, tested the concrete and determined that an iron sulfide mineral called pyrrhotite is the major contributing factor to the deterioration of house foundations.

There are no construction standards anywhere in the United States regarding pyrrhotite levels in concrete, but standards were established in Europe over the past 20 years.

Osten said she has listened to many people’s heart-breaking stories, including a couple in their 70s who was losing everything because the house foundation was crumbling, she said.

“Where at one time they were hopeful of selling their home, they no longer could sell their home and then they couldn’t afford to repair it, so it was particularly devastating,” she said.

They said in a news release that there would need to be a strict application process to ensure that money granted to property owners is not misappropriated for issues other  than crumbling foundations.

After the news conference, Senate Republican Leader Len Fasano released a statement, accusing the senators of turning the problem into a partisan issue and taking credit for something he said lawmakers from both parties have been working on. 

"Up until today the entire effort to address crumbling foundations has been bipartisan, with Republicans and Democrats working together with state officials to explore solutions. But today we see a press conference and a news release that completely ignores that teamwork," Fasano said in a statement. "Instead, they stood in front of cameras to take credit for working on an issue that has been a serious problem that many lawmakers on both sides of the aisle and in both chambers are working hard to address. They made this into a partisan issue, at a time when we need bipartisanship and collaboration.” 

Gov. Dannel Malloy had reached out to the Federal Emergency Management Agency in October and asked for the agency to set up operations in northeastern Connecticut to conduct a preliminary damage assessment to determine the extent and impact of what he described as around 34,000 homes in the area with foundations that could be at risk of crumbling and actually collapsing.

FEMA rejected the request earlier this month and said that while the chemical reaction that caused the crumbling is natural, pouring foundations is a manmade event so the issue is not a natural catastrophe.

FEMA did, however, offer to designate a staff member to work with Connecticut on the issue.

State Rep. Kelly Luxenberg owns two properties in Manchester that have crumbling concrete and she said she is working with colleagues in Hartford to draw up legislation to provide money for homeowners affected by the problem.

"We're committed to getting something through this year and working hard on that," Luxenberg said.

Read more on the crumbling foundations issue. 

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Man Attacks Woman With Protective Order at Groton Hotel: PD


A man was arrested for attacking a woman at a Groton hotel who had an active protective order against him, police said. 

In October, Joseph M. Fitzgerald, 35, assaulted the victim at a hotel, causing serious injuries, including a deep laceration in her arm that was caused by a sharp object, Groton Town Police said. 

The woman had a protective order against Fitzgerald at the time of the attack, police said. 

Police were made aware of the incident on Thursday and arrested the suspect on Friday. 

Fitzgerald was charged with first-degree assault, reckless endangerment, violation of a protective order and breach of peace. His bond was set at $100,000.

An investigation by the Groton Town Police Patrol Division is ongoing. 

Photo Credit: Groton Town Police

Route 44 in Bolton Closed Following 2-Car Accident

Mohegan Sun Opens New Earth Tower Hotel


Four-hundred brand new hotel rooms opened at Mohegan Sun Friday as part of the $139 million new Earth Tower.

Mohegan Sun's president, the Mohegan Tribal Chairman, along with Governor Dannel Malloy and Lt. Governor Nancy Wyman, participated in the ribbon cutting for the grand opening of Mohegan Sun's second hotel.

Not only will the new hotel attract more tourism, Mohegan employed 2,000 construction workers and created 200 permanent positions. The local A/Z Corporation managed the development of Earth Tower, which is adjacent to the Earth Casino.

"We have people, believe it or not, that commute here to work all the way from the Hartford County area and the New Haven County area," said Kevin Brown, Mohegan Tribal Chairman.

Brown said Earth Tower is already 100 percent booked for the weekend.

The hotel features lounging areas, a cafe and wine bar, spa and fitness center. 

Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut

Child Struck by Car in Rocky Hill


A child was struck in Rocky Hill on Friday night. 

At 5:20 p.m., the girl and another juvenile were trying to cross New Britain Avenue during rush hour, police said. 

Police said the victim is a "elementary school age" and is suffering from fairly serious injuries. 

"It is a safe road considering the volume of traffic that it handles but at this time of day it is dangerous for pedestrian traffic," Lt. Robert Catania with the Rocky Hill Police said.

Catania said there was an adult on the scene but it was not clear if he was crossing with the children. 

The driver stayed on the scene and is cooperating with police. 

An investigation is ongoing.

No other details were immediately available. Please check back for updates. 

Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut

Connecticut Children Find New Homes on Adoption Day


Connecticut celebrated Adoption Day today with 73 children being adopted in courthouses across the state by 57 families.

Of the 73 children children adopted, 16 pairs are siblings.

Adoption Day is part of a partnership between the Department of Children and Families and the Juvenile Courts.

NBC Connecticut got the chance to watch three deserving families officially come together to finalize the adoption process.

Diedre and Saaul Vachier is from Allentown, Pennsylvania – and it’s been a long road to get to adoption day.

“For us it’s been a hard journey we tried in Vitro for 14 years and we lost two beautiful kids and we gained two beautiful kids,” said Saaul in tears before the judge and a full courtroom filled with family members and DCF workers. Now, the couple has adopted 5-year-old Jaziah and 4-year-old Jaylah, who are both siblings.

Patrick Pierre and Monica Lou of Hamden tell NBC Connecticut the process of adopting has been overwhelming, but it’s been well worth it.

"We’re so excited that it’s here and we can go home as a family and not have to worry about any court proceedings or anything like that anymore," said Patrick.

"Yes, it’s over. The family is now complete," said Monica.

Their birth-son, Alexander, said he is excited for the adoption of his new little brother and sister, Zoey and Wes. The family plans on buying a larger home soon to fit the whole family.

It was a happily ever for siblings 3-year-old Jude and 2-year-old Airella, as well. They were adopted by Jeff and Jennifer Johnson of Boynton Beach, Florida.

"They’re our kids they mean everything to us," said Jennifer Johnson.

Adoption Day is designed to raise awareness and draw attention the rewards and joys of adopting a child. Every year, 400 to 500 children are adopted out of the Connecticut foster care system.

Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut

Wisconsin Police Have Suspect in Death of Saudi Student


Wisconsin police say they have a suspect in the fatal beating of a Saudi college student more than two weeks ago, NBC News reported.

The Menomonie Police Department said Friday investigators have found no evidence indicating the death was a hate crime. Police are withholding the suspect's name until prosecutors decide whether to charge the suspect.

Hussain Saweed Alnahdi, 24, died after being beaten near a pizzeria in downtown Menomonie early Oct. 30. Alnahdi was from Saudi Arabia and was a junior majoring in business administration at University of Wisconsin-Stout.

UW-Stout spokesman Doug Mell thanked police for their efforts, and said it continues to send thoughts and prayers to Alnahdi's family and friends.

Photo Credit: University of Wisconsin-Stout

Scott Brown Strongly Considered for Trump Cabinet


Former Sen. Scott Brown tells necn President-elect Donald Trump is seriously considering him for a Cabinet position.

"The Pres Elect called and said I am under strong consideration," Brown wrote in a direct message to political reporter Alison King. "Nothing for certain. Said he will be in touch next week. Honored."

Brown was an early supporter of Trump's presidential campaign.

In an interview with necn earlier this week, Brown listed the VA and housing as potential areas of interest.

Photo Credit: necn

Faith Leaders Gather At Greater Hartford Mosque


Dozens of people from all faiths gathered to process the result of the presidential election Friday afternoon, hoping to spread the message of coming together and moving forward.

As President-elect Donald Trump continues his transition period into the White House, people of all religions came together at the Islamic Association of Greater Hartford. They sat before faith leaders in the community to talk about how they can promote positivity and stand together after the presidential election.

“Together we are stronger against hate and divisiveness,” said Fatma Antar with the Board of Islamic Association of Greater Hartford.

While that’s the overall message to those listening inside the Berlin mosque, Antar said she is nervous about what the future holds after such a bruising presidential campaign.

“As a Muslim, as an immigrant, as a woman and as a mother I am very worried about the future. I’m worried particularly about our children. Some have been subjected to bullying and harassment,” said Antar.

“What happens to the Muslim community hurts the Latino community. So we’re all together in this,” said Pastor of Bloomfield Congregational Church, Edward Ayala.

Those from Muslim, Jewish and Christian faiths – all of many different races -- listened to words of hope from faith leaders. They said it is important to build on the interfaith community, such as holding events like the one at the Berlin mosque, in order to heal now from what many consider a difficult time in our nation and work together later for what may lie ahead.

“What gives me hope is that we will not face this wave of hatred alone, but in the company of all of you,” said Islamic Association of Greater Hartford Imam Regai Arefin.

“Right now I think we need the power of open hearts above all else and I believe that coming together helps to remind us about the stories we all share in common,” said Reverend Dr. Steve Jungkeit of the First Congregational Church of Old Lyme.

The Islamic Association of Greater Hartford plans to have what they're calling "youth hangouts” beginning January 29, which aims to connect young people of all faiths in the community. A time and place for the event has not yet been set.

Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut

Hartford Sells PD's Horses for Few Hundred Dollars


The City of Hartford has disbanded the police department’s mounted patrol unit and sold the animals and equipment for a shockingly low price, according to the city council.

The city accepted to sell the police department's two horses, a trailer, saddles, and more to the Rockland County, New York's Sheriff Department for $500.

City Council President TJ Clarke told NBC Connecticut that the horses and equipment were sold, but the city council was not aware of the sale until Friday.  

"It doesn't sit with me well. I do know this was probably the direction we were going in, but the mere fact that we weren't given a heads up is alarming," said Clarke.

Clarke says the Mayor's administration never communicated with city council that at least a month ago a Request for Proposals, or RFP, had been sent out. Rockland was the only bidder at $500.

Hartford is currently facing a $50 million deficit. Maintenance for the horses costs about $30,000 a year, Clarke said. 

"We are receiving $500, which does not even offset any of the costs that we have incurred for the current fiscal year," said Clarke.

Several years ago, the police department said it warned the previous administration that severe staffing shortages meant they did not have the officers available for the horses.

Hartford police said the department has no control over the sale, and that it was the city’s decision, police said.

Clarke says the beloved horses do a lot of good in the city and a community activist, Hyacinth Yennie, agrees.

"It brings the community together. When you have horses at a community event, who do you think mostly comes around? The children of the community," said Yennie. "We do need those horses in our neighborhoods."

"Not having the mounted patrol to me, as one would look at it, there's a cost savings, but again you take a look at the safety and security of the people of the City of Hartford, people don't benefit from this (deal) at all," said Clarke.

Police Union President Rich Holton told NBC Connecticut that they'd managed to secure donations to pay for care and maintenance of the horses and were looking at getting volunteers or interns from a university to help out to add no burden for the city.

Yennie said the community would have also rallied to help pay for any expenses regarding the horses.

In addition, Waterbury police told NBC Connecticut that a couple months ago, they began negotiations for Hartford's horses and equipment, claiming they would have offered more than $500. Waterbury police said they had no idea about Hartford's RFP and were surprised to learn about the deal.

Waterbury police say they're looking into mounted patrols because it's a good fit for the city and would help them with community policing. They said after some research, they were ready to pay at least $5,000 per horse.

Hartford police said losing the horses will not have a big impact on their community outreach but others disagree.

"It brings people together. It brings residents and police together. That's what it's all about," said Yennie.

Clarke said he has been told this is all a done deal. Yennie said she spoke to Hartford's police chief, who told her it is not signed off yet.

NBC Connecticut reached out to the mayor's office multiple times to get clarification. 

Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut

Missing Meriden Man With Developmental Disorder Found Safe


Police tell NBC Connecticut that 22-year-old David Feliciano, who had been reported missing on Friday was located in Cheshire at around 3 a.m. on Saturday morning.

Meriden Police say Feliciano has since been reunited with his family and the investigation has been closed.

On Friday in Meriden, a Silver Alert had been issued for Feliciano who has a development disorder, police said. 

Police said Feliciano had been missing since 3 p.m. on Friday.

No Injuries Reported in New Britain House Fire


Some New Britain residents received a scary wake-up call Saturday morning when fire broke out at a multi-family home on Carlson Street.

Fire officials confirmed crews responded to 17 Carlson Street around 6 a.m. Residents told NBC Connecticut that everyone made it out safely.

According to fire officials, the fire appears to have started on the third floor. The residents of the unit were in the process of moving out and not home at the time.

The building sustained heavy fire damage to the third floor and water damage to the first and second floors. The Red Cross has responded to assist the residents.

The cause of the fire is under investigation.

Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut

Iraqi Troops Face Stiff Resistance From IS in Eastern Mosul


Iraqi troops faced stiff resistance Saturday from Islamic State militants as they pushed deeper into eastern Mosul, backed by aerial support from the U.S.-led international coalition, a senior military commander said.

At dawn, troops moved into the Muharabeen and Ulama neighborhoods after fully liberating the adjacent Tahrir neighborhood on Friday, said Maj. Gen. Sami al-Aridi of the Iraqi special forces. Al-Aridi said IS militants were fighting back with snipers, rocket-propelled grenades and mortar rounds.

Thick black columns of smoke were seen billowing from the two areas, while dozens of civilians were seen fleeing to government-controlled areas. Shortly before noon, a suicide bomber emerged from a house in the Tahrir neighborhood and attacked security forces, wounding four troops. Another suicide car bomber hit the troops in Aden neighborhood afternoon, killing a soldier and wounding three others.

Late on Friday, a group of IS militants attacked the village of Imam Gharbi south of Mosul, controlling most of it for hours before airstrikes from the U.S.-led international coalition were called in, an officer said. The clashes and multiple suicide bombings left three policemen dead, including an officer, and four others wounded, he said. Nine IS fighters were killed, he added. The officer spoke on condition of anonymity as he was not authorized to brief media.

To the west of Mosul, government-sanctioned Shiite militias took full control of the Tal Afar military airfield Friday night, said Jaafar al-Husseini, spokesman for the influential Hezbollah Brigades. Al-Husseini said the clashes almost destroyed the airport and that it will be an important launching pad for the troops in their advance.

The extremist group captured Mosul, Iraq's second largest city, in the summer of 2014.

The offensive to retake the city, which was launched on Oct. 17, is the biggest military operation in Iraq since American troops left in 2011. If successful, the retaking of Mosul would be the strongest blow dealt to IS' self-styled caliphate stretching into Syria. The Shiite militias are leading an assault to drive IS from Tal Afar, which had a majority Shiite population before it fell to the militants in the summer of 2014, and to cut IS supply lines linking Mosul to Syria.

According to the United Nations, more than 56,000 civilians have been forced from their homes since the operation began out of nearly 1.5 million civilians living in and around Mosul.

In the heavily damaged town of Bashiqa, about 13 kilometers (8 miles) northeast of Mosul's outskirts, Christians rang the bells of Saint George's church for the first time to celebrate its liberation from IS, which was driven out earlier this month. Much of the town has been reduced to rubble from artillery strikes and air raids.

Parishioners, peshmerga fighters and Kurdish officials sang hymns and played band music as they walked in procession into the church, which was heavily vandalized by IS fighters. Men prepared a large cross to mount on the rooftop, replacing one destroyed by the extremists.

"The first thing they did was break the cross, we want to replace it and tell Daesh that the cross is still here and we are not leaving at all," said Rev. Afram al-Khoury Benyamen, using the Arabic acronym to refer to the group.

Bullet holes marked the walls inside the church courtyard, strewn with garbage and graffiti left by the extremists, including some of their names. Much of the church's inside had been smashed, with rubble strewn across the ground and holy inscriptions covered with black paint. In an upper level, pews had been pushed back to make room for cushions and carpet beneath a broken window that had been used as a sniper's nest, marked out by scattered spent bullet casings.

Broken brass instruments and a torn bagpipe from the church's boy scout band lay scattered across the site, with pills and syringes on the floor in one area. The church graveyard was desecrated, with graves broken into and tombstones smashed and painted over.

"It's good they're gone but how happy can we be — look at this mess," said 22-year old Youssef Ragheed, a drummer from the band who had fled the town when IS controlled it, but returned for Saturday's ceremony.

Photo Credit: AP

Avon Firefighters Open Training Course to Community


Saturday people in Avon gained a bit of gratitude for the hard work of the volunteer firefighters who serve their community.

“It’s definitely a lot harder than it looks,” said Laura Ward.

She was one of dozens in Avon who answered the call to put on the helmet and pick up a hose Saturday morning.

“We’ve set up a course of 13 firefighting tasks that are expected to be done in the first 15 minutes of every fire scene,” explained volunteer fire captain and ER doctor Adam Corrado.

The course was both a test of strength and endurance.

“The ladder was definitely the most difficult. It’s heavy, it’s awkward, it’s taller than you, and it’s wobbling all over the place,” she said.

Senior members of the department were first put to the test under the summer sun in July. Saturday, it was the rest of the department’s turn. Despite the chilly temperatures, completing the course wasn’t any easier this time.

“Well I’ve got to be honest with you, I feel like it’s in the middle of July, I’m sweating really hard,” said volunteer firefighter Frank Lupis.

The department opened up the test to the whole community, both as a recruitment effort and also to give people a better appreciation of just what it takes to be a firefighter.

“To really expose the firefighters as an occupational athlete,” said Corrado.

Patty Trick didn’t need a better appreciation of the job, she’s married to the chief. Still, she said it was an eye opening experience.

“It’s intense, but it shows the community what it takes to do this and we’re doing it for each other,” said Trick.

Lupis said the course indicated to him the skills he needs to brush up on before the next emergency.

“I’ve got a lot more practice to do and somebody’s life is on the line,” he added.

While not everyone who took the test is ready to fight fires, the participants said they gained a better understanding of the sacrifices made by the department’s 70 volunteers.

“It’s something that takes a special kind of individual who’s ready to step up and face the challenge, be an everyday hero,” Ward said.

Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut

Michelle Obama Joins Mourners at Gwen Ifill's Funeral


First Lady Michelle Obama and former Attorney General Eric Holder were among those who attended funeral services for trailblazing journalist Gwen Ifill Saturday. 

Mourners gathered at the Metropolitan African Methodist Episcopal Church in Washington D.C. for the services, which were presided over by Senior Pastor Reverend William H. Lamar. 

Holder was among those who spoke at the funeral, joining journalists John Dickerson and Judy Woodruff in offering reflections on Ifill's life. 

Ifill, the former moderator and managing editor of Washington Week and co-anchor and co-managing editor of PBS NewsHour, died on Nov. 14 after a cancer battle. She was 61.

In October 1999, Ifill became the moderator of the PBS program "Washington Week in Review." She was also senior correspondent for the PBS NewsHour. Ifill has appeared on various news shows, including "Meet the Press." 

A former newspaper reporter, Ifill switched to television and worked for NBC News and PBS. She moderated two vice presidential debates.

She took a leave from her nightly show for health reasons earlier this year, never making public her illness. A week ago, she went out on leave again, taking her away from election night coverage. 

President Obama remarked on Ifill's passing at a press conference after Ifill died. "Gwen was a friend of ours and extraordinary journalist. She always asked tough questions, holding people in power accountable. I always appreciated her reporting, even when I was on the receiving end of one of her tough interviews," he said.

"She not only informed today’s citizens, but she also inspired today’s journalists Gwen did her country a great service and Michelle and I join her family and everyone who loved her in remembering her fondly today," he continued.

Sara Just, PBS "NewsHour" executive producer, called Ifill "a standard bearer for courage, fairness and integrity in an industry going through seismic change."

Photo Credit: Sarah Glover

Facebook Fixing Fake News Problem With CEO at Trade Summit


Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg urged world leaders meeting in Peru on Saturday to help get more people online to improve global living standards while separately announcing new measures to cut down on fake news stories on the social network that some suggest could have helped sway the U.S. presidential election.

The Facebook founder took on the role of an evangelist for "connectivity" as he spoke at an Asian-Pacific trade summit, lamenting that half the world has no access to the online world and is being deprived of its economic potential as well as advances in science, education and medicine. He urged leaders to work with his company and others to close that gap.

"If we can connect the 4 billion people who aren't connected we can lift hundreds of millions of people out of poverty," Zuckerberg said as he addressed business and government leaders at the 21-nation Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Forum.

But as he was promoting the benefits of the online world in the speech, he took to his Facebook page to address one of the downsides of the internet: the rapid dissemination of bogus news stories on social networks.

Zuckerberg said in a post late Friday that his company was taking measures to curb what he said was a "relatively small" percentage of deliberately false stories. The measures include developing new tools to detect and classify "misinformation" and to make it easier for users to report the material.

He said the company also is looking into the possibility of working with established fact-checking organizations to evaluate content and into the feasibility of warning labels for stories flagged as false.

Critics have complained that a surge of fake news stories on Facebook may have swayed some voters to back President-elect Donald Trump. The company said on Monday that it was clarifying its advertising policy to emphasize that it won't display ads — thus cutting revenue — for sites that run information that is "illegal, misleading or deceptive, which includes fake news." That followed a similar step by Google, which acknowledged that it had let a false article about the election results slip into its list of recommended news stories.

"The bottom line is: we take misinformation seriously," the Facebook CEO said in his post. "Our goal is to connect people with the stories they find most meaningful, and we know people want accurate information.

Zuckerberg's comments came after President Barack Obama, who is also attending the APEC summit, and others have been sharply critical of the spread of fake news online.

In a news conference Thursday in Berlin, Obama called bogus stories disseminated on Facebook and other social media platforms a threat to democracy. The president decried "an age where there's so much active misinformation and it's packaged very well and it looks the same when you see it on a Facebook page or you turn on your television."

Zuckerberg called the problem "complex, both technically and philosophically." It is also sensitive issue for a company that does not want to censor content such as legitimate political satire that some people find offensive. Facebook sees itself not as a traditional publisher, but as a facilitator of global communication.

It was that lofty vision of the company that was on display as Zuckerberg spoke at the APEC forum.

He described Facebook efforts in artificial intelligence programs that could lead to advancements in medicine and education, as well as a high-altitude solar-powered drone, still in the development stage, to provide online access to places with none. He also described a program to work with local operators around the world to provide free basic internet.

"We can't afford to leave anyone behind," he said.

Photo Credit: Manu Fernandez/AP

#Boycotthamilton: Social Media Reacts To Trump Twitter Feud


President-elect Donald Trump's criticism of the "Hamilton" cast on Twitter sparked debate on social media Saturday about his motives for the tweets and the cast's decision to address Vice President-elect Mike Pence. 

The cast spoke directly to Pence as he sat in the audience after a show Friday night, saying they hope the production inspired him to govern in a way that protects a diverse America. 

"We, sir, we are the diverse America who are alarmed and anxious that your new administration will not protect us, our planet, our children, our parents, or defend us and uphold our unalienable rights, sir," said actor Brandon Victor Dixon, who plays Aaron Burr, with the cast assembled behind him.

Trump accused the cast of "harassing" Pence and demanded an apology On Twitter Saturday morning. 

Trump's conservative backers began tweeting support and calling for a boycott of the wildly-popular Broadway show.


The hashtag #boycotthamilton began trending on Twitter Saturday afternoon. 

But, Trump's critics argued his tweets were a smokescreen to distract the media's attention from his settlement of the lawsuits brought against Trump University. 

Other Twitter users chose no side in the debate, but looked to benefit if #boycotthamilton actually spread off Twitter.  

Photo Credit: NBC 4 NY
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Enfield Police Seek Armed Robbery Suspect


Enfield police are searching for a man who robbed a local gas station at gunpoint Saturday afternoon.

Police said that around 1 p.m. a male suspect wearing glasses, an orange knit cap, a green jacket and tan pants entered the Sunoco Gas Station at 600 Enfield St. with a knife and demanded money from the clerk. The suspect fled south toward the Enfield Plaza.

The suspect is described as approximately 5-foot-9 with a medium build. Anyone with information or who recognizes the subject pictured above is asked to contact Enfield detectives at 860-763-6400.

Photo Credit: Enfield Police Department
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