<![CDATA[NBC Bay Area - National & International News]]> Copyright 2016 http://www.nbcbayarea.com/news/national-international http://media.nbcbayarea.com/designimages/nbc_bayarea_blue.png NBC Bay Area http://www.nbcbayarea.com en-us Sun, 01 May 2016 20:47:35 -0700 Sun, 01 May 2016 20:47:35 -0700 NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA[A Look at Clinton's Promise of a Cabinet Full of Women]]> Sun, 01 May 2016 14:42:00 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/AP_16122673573195-hillary-clinton-campaign-trail.jpg

Hillary Clinton last week pledged that, if elected, she would appoint a presidential cabinet in which at least half of the members are women, a move that would profoundly shift the look of the people who govern America, according to NBC News.

Clinton, in an interview on Monday with MSNBC's Rachel Maddow, said, "I am going to have a cabinet that looks like America, and 50 percent of America is women, right?" 

Only 30 women have ever held Cabinet posts. Both George W. Bush and Barack Obama appointed a number of women to key posts, but women held just four of the 16 official Cabinet posts during most of their tenures. Clinton is pledging to double that number.

"No hint of quotas or numeric targets — other than 'more than my predecessor' — has ever been part of cabinet head discussions before," said Heather Hurlburt, who served as a senior adviser at the State Department and National Security Council from 1995-2001. "So it's an enormous deal."

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Zika Birth Defects May Be 'Tip of the Iceberg': Experts]]> Sun, 01 May 2016 18:29:56 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/AP_670850476149-zika.jpg

The explosion of cases of birth defects caused by Zika virus may be the "tip of the iceberg," experts said Sunday.

Many cases have probably been missed because babies looked normal when they were born, NBC News reported. But hidden birth defects are almost certain to turn up as the babies grow.

"The microcephaly and other birth defects we have been seeing could be the tip of the iceberg," Dr. Sonja Rasmussen of the CDC said at the annual meeting of the Pediatric Academic Societies in Baltimore. Brazil has confirmed 2,844 cases of Zika in pregnant women.

But there is some good news coming out of the early observations of the yearlong epidemic in Brazil: Children are rarely infected with Zika.

Photo Credit: AP, file]]>
<![CDATA[Massive Fire at Manhattan Cathedral]]> Sun, 01 May 2016 19:57:22 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/flames-st-sava-manhattan.jpg

Firefighters battled a massive fire at a historic church in Manhattan on Sunday, the day its Serbian Orthodox parishioners had joyously celebrated Easter.

The fire started Sunday evening and quickly engulfed the Serbian Orthodox Cathedral of Saint Sava in the Flatiron neighborhood, the FDNY said.

About 700 parishioners had celebrated Easter Mass earlier in the day and enjoyed a luncheon, but the cathedral was empty when the fire started.

A building caretaker attempted to rush inside when he noticed the fire, but was turned back by the flames, fire officials said. He suffered minor smoke inhalation. No other injuries have been reported.

Onlookers watched in horror as flames shot from stained glass windows.

A church priest, the Rev. Djokan Majstorovic, told The Associated Press that he felt like he was "in a nightmare" as he tried to get to the fire scene that was blocked off by firefighters.

Fire officials said portions of the roof had collapsed and the structure was unstable.

The cathedral, formerly known as Trinity Chapel, was designed in 1850 by architect Richard M. Upjohn in the Gothic Revival style.

The chapel was an active Episcopal Church for several decades until 1915, when the area became more commercial and parishioners decided to relocate.

The Serbian Orthodox Church purchased the structure from the Episcopal Diocese in New York in 1943.

The church, on West 25th Street in the city's Flatiron District, was designated a New York City landmark in 1968.

Photo Credit: Cody Joel / Instagram
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<![CDATA[White House Correspondents' Dinner 2016]]> Sat, 30 Apr 2016 18:13:40 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/WhiteHouseDinner-GettyImages-526658212.jpg President Barack Obama hosts the 102nd White House Correspondents' Association Dinner, also known as the "Nerd Prom." The biggest names in politics and entertainment will come out to watch the event, also known as the "Nerd Prom." This is the president's last chance to throw out the zingers at politicians, the press and himself. Obama's final dinner comes amid a heated and frenzied presidential campaign.

Photo Credit: AFP/Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Changes Five Years After Bin Laden's Death]]> Sun, 01 May 2016 20:29:13 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/214*120/OBAMA_GettyImages-113463608.jpg

President Barack Obama announced Osama bin Laden's death shortly before midnight on May 1st, 2011 during a televised appearance in the East Room of the White House. Yet five years later, militant Islamic extremism has hardly receded.

"For over two decades, bin Laden has been al Qaeda's leader and symbol, and has continued to plot attacks against our country and our friends and allies," Obama said. "The death of bin Laden marks the most significant achievement to date in our nation's effort to defeat al Qaeda."

NBC News boiled down three important developments since bin Laden's death. They look at the rise of the Islamic State, an Al Qaeda resurgence and the unintended use of Guantanamo Bay as "key magnets for jihadi recruitment," according to Obama.

Photo Credit: Getty Images ]]>
<![CDATA[Visualizing the Olympics: Medal Counts & More]]> Wed, 27 Apr 2016 08:05:47 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-149332217-edited.jpg

Photo Credit: Getty Images, file
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<![CDATA[Boy Dies After Long Cancer Battle]]> Sun, 01 May 2016 17:01:26 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/Lucas+Bear.png

The young boy battling incurable cancer whose request for birthday cards was shared around the world passed away Sunday, according to his family. 

Lucas "Bear" Cervone would have turned 6 in just under a week, and hundreds of people joined in the effort to fulfill his request for cards for his birthday on May 7. 

In a Facebook post Sunday, the Cervone family asked for privacy, writing, "At 506pm CST, Lucas BEAR took his last breath. He is cancer free and no longer in pain."

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Lucas was first diagnosed with pediatric leukemia in August 2012. 

"He fought through three very long years and very intensive years of treatment and he won, he beat it," said Lucas' father, Anthony Cervone, in an interview this week.

But a short time later, he was diagnosed with another form of cancer, this one incurable. After a stem cell transplant in November 2015 and months in the hospital overcoming viruses, Lucas returned home to celebrate Christmas with his older brother, Franco, in February.

Then, just a few weeks ago, the Cervone family received the news it had been dreading: doctors found an incurable tumor near Lucas' heart.

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"It has been decided that there are no further curative options," the family wrote April 25 on a Facebook page set up to support Lucas. "In simplest terms, there is nothing more we can do to fight this. We have started palliative chemo to attempt to slow the growth of the tumor. The tumor is wrapped around the pulmonary artery and is pressing on Lucas' heart."

The Cervone family then focused on making Lucas' remaining days his happiest. 

"I want him to have the best quality of life I can give him until the end," his father said at the time

Lucas loved to read cards and received 500 letters from well-wishers for Christmas. His family reached out to supporters to try and surpass that number of his birthday. 

That call was heard around the world, with hundreds of people, including 'Modern Family' star Ariel Winter, joining in to send cards to Lucas. 

"He's my hero," said his mother, Rina Cervone. "I don't think I could ever be as strong as him."

"What we want to show him is his family will be here with him, as well as everyone else," Anthony Cervone added.

Photo Credit: Lucas Bear Heroes
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<![CDATA[Sanders Insists He Can Still Win the Dem. Nomination]]> Sun, 01 May 2016 19:32:50 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/526912210-bernie-sanders-contested-convention.jpg

Facing a large delegate deficit, tough odds and just 10 remaining state contests, Senator Bernie Sanders made it clear Sunday that he intends to fight on to become the Democratic presidential nominee, NBC News reports.

Sanders' stated path relies on primary opponent Hillary Clinton not reaching a majority of pledged delegates and on superdelegates' switching their allegiances.

"It is virtually impossible for Secretary Clinton to reach a majority of convention delegates by June 14 with pledged delegates alone," Sanders, a senator from Vermont, said at a news conference at the National Press Club, indicating he would fight to persuade superdelegates to flip their support.

"In other words, the convention will be a contested contest," he said of the Democratic National Convention to take place in Philadelphia in July.

Photo Credit: Getty Images
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<![CDATA[Top News Photos of the Week]]> Sun, 01 May 2016 00:13:23 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/Gathering-of-Native-Nations-AP_16120740233330.jpg View weekly updates on the best photos in domestic and foreign news.

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Study on Why Some Sharks Glow]]> Sun, 01 May 2016 19:32:46 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/UCSD-Catshark-Glow.jpg

San Diego researchers have discovered that some sharks use their flourescent glow to communicate with other sharks deep under water, and their research has provided some really cool images to show how it works.

Scientists from Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego, working with experts at the American Museum of Natural History, used a custom-built "shark eye" camera to do the research.

"This study provides the first evidence that sharks can see the fluorescence of their own species," said Dimitri Deheyn, a researcher at Scripps and coauthor of the study. "It's not just beautiful but has an ecological purpose."

How does it all work?

Well, people and other land animals live in a full-color environment, but fish live in a world that's mostly blue, because water quickly absorbs most of the visible light spectrum the deeper you go. The research team figured out that many fish absorb that remaining blue light, and then re-emit it in neon colors of greens, reds and oranges.

Then researchers were able to take their findings a step further. They designed a camera that could capture that flourescent light and they were able to capture a hidden universe.

They focused on two catsharks: chain catsharks and swellsharks.

The scientists went on a number of expeditions at Scripps Canyon in San Diego County. They observed swellsharks in their native habitat, about 100-feet underwater. The team stimulated biofluorescence during night dives with high-intensity blue lights in watertight cases.

The research team recorded the activity (which you can't see with the human eye) using the custom-built underwater camera. The camera had different sets of filters.

"The set of filters we used for the shark-eye had similar effects as if using yellow filters to see fluorescence, as commonly done by divers," Deheyn told NBC7. "The shark eye filter set is just more finely tuned to match the data collected from the eye."

The scientists mathematically modeled the images from the camera, and found that the contrast of the patterns on the biofluorescent sharks increases with depth. That suggests the animals can not only see the light, but are also probably using it to communicate with one another.

"This is one of the first papers on biofluorescence to show this connection, and a big step toward a functional explanation for fluorescence in fishes," said John Sparks, a curator in the American Museum of Natural History's Department of Ichthyology and a co-author on the paper.

The study was recently published in the journal Scientific Reports.

Photo Credit: J. Sparks, D. Gruber, and V. Pieribone]]>
<![CDATA[Black Cat Crosses Sharks' Rink, Brings Team Good Luck]]> Sun, 01 May 2016 16:04:48 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/IMG_9617.jpg

The San Jose Sharks got an unexpected visit Friday.

Before the NHL team beat the Nashville Predators 5-2 at the SAP Center, a black cat crept out of the player bench area and scurried onto the ice.

As the Sharks warmed up for the first game of their best-of-seven playoff series, fans watched the small feline making a beeline for an oversized, fiberglass shark head, only to escape under the seats at "the Shark Tank," as the arena is known.

The venue’s staff was able to safely rescue the cat and dubbed it Joe Paw-velski, after Sharks captain Joe Pavaleski, the team announced Sunday.

"The amount of interest generated by Joe's appearance and those wishing to adopt him has been overwhelming," said Sharks Chief Operating Officer John Tortora in a statement.

Joe has been taken to a local animal shelter to undergo a health examination, the team said. Staff will also investigate whether the cat has a microchip, in the hopes of reuniting it with its owner.

"If he is indeed a stray, our goal is to find the best home for him with the support of our local animal shelters," Tortora said. "If families are interested in adopting Joe but unsuccessful, we strongly encourage you to consider adopting another animal in need of a good home from one of our terrific local animal shelters."

Photo Credit: San Jose Sharks
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<![CDATA[Illinois Woman Sues Starbucks Over Too Much Ice]]> Sun, 01 May 2016 15:41:41 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/522435114-starbucks-lawsuit.jpg

An Illinois woman is suing Starbucks for $5 million over the amount of ice the coffee giant used in its iced drinks, NBC News reports.

Stacy Pincus filed the class action lawsuit against Starbucks Corp. in Northern Illinois Federal Court Wednesday, according to court documents.

Pincus' suit says customers often end up with half of the amount of drink listed on Starbucks menus because of the amount of ice used in the iced beverages. The suit alleges that Starbucks is purposefully tricking customers into paying for more product than what they are provided with.

Starbucks did not immediately respond to a request for comment made by NBC News on Sunday, but told told TMZ customers expect ice is "an essential component of" iced beverages.

Photo Credit: Getty Images, file]]>
<![CDATA[Trump Leads Cruz in Crucial Indiana Primary: Poll]]> Sun, 01 May 2016 07:17:30 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/AP_161110678355521.jpg

Donald Trump holds a 15-point lead over Texas Sen. Ted Cruz in the potentially decisive May 3 presidential primary race in Indiana, according to results from a new NBC News/Wall Street Journal/Marist poll.

Trump gets support from 49 percent of likely Republican primary voters in the state, followed by Cruz at 34 percent and John Kasich at 13 percent. If that margin holds on Tuesday, Trump would be on path towards obtaining the 1,237 delegates he needs to win the GOP nomination on a first ballot at the GOP convention in July.

According to the poll, 58 percent of likely Republican primary voters in Indiana say they disapprove of Cruz and Kasich teaming up to beat Trump in the state.

Meanwhile, in the Hoosier State's Democratic contest, Hillary Clinton leads Bernie Sanders by just four points, 50 percent to 46 percent.

Photo Credit: AP, file]]>
<![CDATA['Obama Out': President Takes Last Shots at DC]]> Sun, 01 May 2016 06:27:55 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-526694348.jpg

President Barack Obama performed his brand of sharp-tongued comedy at the White House Correspondents' Dinner for the last time — wrapping up with "Obama out" and dropping the mic while the crowd cheered.

Obama's performance Saturday night proved he hasn't lost a step.

"If this material works well, I'm going to use it at Goldman Sachs next year," Obama quipped. "Earn me some serious Tubmans."

Obama drew plenty of laughs with his barbed remarks to a ballroom filled with journalists, politicians, and movie and television stars. It was his eighth appearance at the event and his last as president and he kidded about the pains of being a lame duck.

"Last week Prince George showed up to our meeting in his bathrobe," Obama cracked. "That was a slap in the face."

The president waxed nostalgic at times. "Eight years ago I said it was time to change the tone of our politics. In hindsight, I clearly should have been more specific."

And he acknowledged that the years had taken their toll. "I'm gray, grizzled ... counting down the days to my death panel."

On the other hand, he pointed out that his approval ratings are up. "The last time I was this high," he said, "I was trying to decide on my major." When he said he couldn't explain the rise in his popularity, two photographs of scowling presidential candidates appeared on ballroom screens: Donald Trump and Ted Cruz.

Obama took a few more swipes at the presidential race, noting that "next year at this time someone else will be standing here in this very spot, and it's anyone's guess who she will be."

After calling presidential candidate Bernie Sanders the bright new face of the Democratic Party, Obama contrasted the slogan "Feel the Bern" with one he said was rival Hillary Clinton's: "Trudge Up the Hill." 

Republicans took most of Obama's humorous broadsides. "Guests were asked to check whether they wanted steak or fish," he told the diners, "and instead a whole bunch of you wrote in Paul Ryan." 

Obama said of the billionaire businessman and real estate mogul leading the GOP race: "He has spent years meeting with leaders from around the world — Miss Sweden, Miss Argentina, Miss Azerbaijan."

He added: "And there's one area where Donald's experience could be invaluable, and that's closing Guantanamo — because Trump knows a thing or two about running waterfront properties into the ground."

Turning serious, the president thanked the White House press corps and praised a free press.

Obama took a few hits, too. Preceding his remarks was a tongue-in-cheek video tribute to his seven-plus years in office that contained highlights of his verbal gaffes — his reference to "57 states" and misspelling 'rspect" among them — as well as light-hearted moments.

Comedian Larry Wilmore, the evening's professional entertainment, began by saying, "It's not easy to follow the president." Then he proved his point, offering a series of jokes about the president, different media organizations and various presidential candidates that often were racially tinged and drew a mixture of laughter and groans.

"Welcome to Negro night," Wilmore said, and added that Fox News had reported that "two thugs" disrupted an elegant dinner, also mixing in critiques of CNN's viewership and MSNBC's firing of black anchors.

Wilmore said the president is showing signs that his time in office has been hard on him. "You came in here looking like Denzel, now you're going out looking like Grady from 'Sanford and Son.'"

As usual the Washington Hilton ballroom was a celebrity-spotters dream. Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders joined Vice President Joe Biden, Secretary of State John Kerry and other government officials taking a seat. Also on hand were Republican Party Chairman Reince Priebus, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich and former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg.

Trump, a regular in recent years, was absent this time, but a son and daughter-in-law, Donald Jr. and Vanessa Trump, were spotted on the red carpet.

Among the film and television performers at the event were Oscar winners Helen Mirren and Jared Leto, "Breaking Bad" actor Bryan Cranston, "Independence Day" stars Will Smith and Jeff Goldblum, actress Rachel McAdams, and "Night Manager" miniseries star Tom Hiddleston

Photo Credit: Getty Images
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<![CDATA[Cruz Defends Position on 'Bathroom Bills' ]]> Sun, 01 May 2016 08:03:39 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/CruzMTP-Screen-Shot-2016-04-30-at-7.53.59-PM.jpg

Texas Sen. Ted Cruz is standing his ground in his belief that allowing transgender people to use the bathroom of their choice opens the door for people "who are predators," dismissing criticism from reality TV star and transgender activist Caitlyn Jenner.

"The real danger is not people who are transgendered. It's people who are predators,” Cruz said in an interview with NBC's Chuck Todd. "People who are predators…use that law as an excuse to go target our kids. And that is a real danger," he added.

Following a recent comment by Donald Trump in which he said Jenner could use any bathroom she wanted at Trump Tower, the former Olympian used a women's bathroom at a Trump property and posted a video to Facebook with the caption: "By the way, Ted, nobody got molested."

Cruz also criticized Trump, President Barack Obama and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton for coming out for so-called "bathroom bills" like the one passed in North Carolina.

Photo Credit: NBC News
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<![CDATA[Miami Suspect Tried to Swim Away]]> Sun, 01 May 2016 08:59:19 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/043016+miami+beach+swimming+suspect.jpg

A man who allegedly exposed himself to people on Miami Beach was taken into custody after he attempted to evade officers by jumping in the ocean and swimming away, police said.

Witnesses told police the man was "doing inappropriate things" and "exposed himself" to beachgoers. One witness said he watched the suspect bother several adults and even two children, which prompted him to call the authorities.

"That's when I called police, when I saw the first one. They took him off the beach and the next thing I know, I look over and he was running into the water with his pants coming down," Tyler Morin said. "He swam out and the helicopters and everyone was running after him."

Investigators say the man jumped into the ocean on 61st Street and swam the length of 11 blocks before he was apprehended near Ocean Drive and 72nd Street.

The man, whose name wasn't released, is facing several charges including loitering, prowling and battery on a law enforcement officer.

Photo Credit: NBC6.com]]>
<![CDATA[100-Year-Old Woman Sets Record at Penn. Relays]]> Sun, 01 May 2016 09:15:38 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/216*120/Ida+Keeling+100+Year+Old+Penn+Relays+2016.jpg A 100-year-old woman competed in the Penn Relays Saturday. Ida Keeling, competed in the 80 and older 100-meter dash at Franklin Field in Philadelphia, during the final day of the Penn Relays. Keeling set a new record for 100-year-old runners with a time of 1 minute, 17.33 seconds.]]> <![CDATA[Baghdad Protesters Disperse After Green Zone Breach]]> Sun, 01 May 2016 06:38:58 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-526598646.jpg

Protesters who attacked security forces and stormed the parliament in Iraq's capital disbanded Sunday, shortly after Iraq's prime minister ordered the arrest of the demonstrators whose actions sparked a state of emergency, NBC News reports.

Roads to and from Baghdad had reopened after security forces secured the breach of the heavily fortified Green Zone.

The protesters, who were responding to popular Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr's call to pressure the government to introduce reforms, left the parliament building on Saturday night and were holding a sit-in at the Saddam-era Grand Festivities Square, but retreated Sunday at al-Sadr's prompting.

Iraq has been mired in a political crisis for months, hindering the government's ability to combat ISIS — which still controls much of the country's north and west — or address a financial crisis largely prompted by the plunge in global oil prices.

Photo Credit: AHMAD AL-RUBAYE/AFP/Getty Images
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<![CDATA[Dad Leaves Baby in Car, Goes to Gym]]> Sun, 01 May 2016 09:52:50 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/211*120/noho-24-hour-043016.JPG

A 25-year-old man was arrested on suspicion of child endangerment after he left his 8-month-old daughter in a car for an hour while he went inside a North Hollywood gym, police said.

The man, identified as Solomon Allen, was arrested Friday at 10 a.m. after a passerby reported seeing an infant in a parked car in the garage of a 24-hour Fitness gym located in the 5300 block of Lankershim Boulevard, according to the Los Angeles Police Department.

Police responded and rescued the baby girl. The infant was taken to a hospital as a precaution and is doing OK, police said.

Allen was booked and released from jail Sunday morning after posting $100,000 bail. He is scheduled to be arraigned May 25.

Photo Credit: KNBC-TV]]>
<![CDATA[Obama Roasts GOP Candidates at WH Correspondents' Dinner]]> Sun, 01 May 2016 04:06:40 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/WhiteHouse-GettyImages-526666530.jpg

President Barack Obama pulled out the punches during the White House Correspondents’ Association Dinner in Washington, D.C., Saturday, taking jabs at the candidates vying for the Republican nomination. 

"It is an honor to be here at my last, and perhaps the last White House Correspondents' Dinner," he said, telling the audience how great they looked before getting right down to business.

Obama told the crowd at the 102nd and final dinner that his approval ratings have been rising, even in his final year in office. 

“What has changed?” he asked. “No one can figure it out.” 

Obama paused, allowing a moment to pass before a split-screen of Sen. Ted Cruz and GOP front-runner Donald Trump popped up on screen. 

Obama didn't stop there. He called out top Republicans, who have touted Paul Ryan as a possible nominee, if one can’t be chosen before the GOP convention in July. 

"Steak or fish?” he told the audience, referring to the choice on the evening’s menu. “A whole bunch of you wrote Paul Ryan. You may not like steak or fish, but that’s your choice.“ 

Ryan has said he will not seek the nomination. 

Obama wasted no time cutting into the three GOP candidates, saying “some candidates aren’t polling high enough to qualify for their own joke” over a photo of Ohio Gov. John Kasich. 

“And then there’s Ted Cruz,” he said, calling out the Texas senator for a mistake he made this week in Indiana when he referred to a basketball hoop as a “ring.”

"What else is in his lexicon? Baseball sticks? Football hats? But sure, I’m the foreign one,” Obama said, before moving on to an absent Trump. 

"Is this dinner too tacky for 'The Donald'?"

Trump’s absence “hurt” Obama, who said he “had so much fun last time.” Obama has singled out the real estate mogul in previous years, making fun of Trump's hair and the businessman's quest to see Obama's birth certificate. 

“Is he at home eating a Trump steak?” Obama asked. “What’s he doing?”

The president went on, making jabs at Trump's lack of foreign policy and experience, and his real estate prowess. 

"There's one area where Donald's experience could be valuable. And that's closing Guantanamo, because Trump knows a thing or two about closing waterfront properties into the ground."

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Artist Uses Legos to Repair Buildings and Walls]]> Sun, 01 May 2016 06:02:17 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/Lego-Wall-Chile.jpg

An artist is repairing buildings and structures around the world, but he's using colorful Legos instead of traditional bricks and mortar.

Jan Vormann, a 33-year-old sculptor from Berlin, has invested about six years traveling the planet to fix crumbling walls and buildings with multi-colored plastic toy blocks, NBC News reported.

To date, he has visited nearly 40 cities in Europe, Central America, Asia and the United States. He can use up to 20 pounds of plastic toy bricks in a project.

Many of the locations that he has visited have a historical background or a political meaning. "One idea is to juxtapose the dark history of the architecture with colorful modern elements," Vormann told NBC News.

In some places, officials have interpreted Vormann's "patchwork" as a plea for permanent repairs, according to Vormann.

Photo Credit: Jan Vormann / dispatchwork]]>
<![CDATA[Thousands of Cuban Migrants Stranded in Panama]]> Sat, 30 Apr 2016 22:58:21 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/Cubans-Costa-Rica-AP_931749061600.jpg

Thousands of undocumented Cuban migrants are stranded in Panama, straining humanitarian agencies amid fears that the United States' immigration policy could soon change, NBC News reported.

According to Panamanian government figures, there are more than 2,700 Cuban migrants in the country. About 1,400 of those are in one camp in Paso Canoas, a border town that spills into neighboring Costa Rica.

There is an increased police presence at the border crossing, though it's unclear how many migrants the officers — some in riot gear — have actually stopped.

When President Barack Obama announced in December 2014 that the U.S. and Cuba would move toward restoring diplomatic ties, it sparked a new wave of rumors that U.S. immigration policy regarding Cubans would change sooner rather than later — leading many of the migrants to risk the journey through Central America.

Photo Credit: File/AP]]>
<![CDATA[Tx. Cop Helps NYPD Arrest Suspect]]> Sat, 30 Apr 2016 18:28:22 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/polic+chief+sean+ford+texas.jpg

A Texas police chief vacationing in New York City intervened in a fight between an alleged thief and a store security officer on the street, and helped arrest the suspect, the NYPD said. 

Sean Ford, chief of the Sunset Valley Police Department in the Austin area of Texas, says he was strolling along Fifth Avenue and headed to Central Park when he encountered a scuffle near 58th Street, in front of the Plaza Hotel. 

Police said a store employee followed the suspect out of the Abercrombie & Fitch store after he allegedly swiped a fragrance bottle and chased him down Fifth Avenue. 

The suspect was swinging at the employee and no one appeared to be helping, even as the struggle became more violent, Ford said.

"Everybody was standing around taking pictures," he said. 

Ford's instincts kicked in and he helped break up the fight, holding down the suspect until police arrived, he said. 

"I got the guy, told him I was a police officer and took him to the wall, held him there until NYPD could get there," Ford said. 

"The officers that responded were amazing, as usual. Just what we would expect and what the rest of the nation looks up to." 

The NYPD tweeted a message of thanks to Ford, who now says he feels a little bit more like a New Yorker.

"I probably would not have wanted to do it this way," Ford said, laughing. "But I'm glad I was there and then I got to meet some of the great guys from New York." 

The alleged 26-year-old shoplifter was taken to the Midtown North precinct stationhouse on a larceny charge. He's expected to be arraigned overnight or on Saturday morning. 

Photo Credit: NYPD]]>
<![CDATA[Ariz. Officials Still Pursuing Merritt in Freeway Shootings]]> Sat, 30 Apr 2016 19:01:41 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/LeslieMerrittJr-AP_234296691936.jpg

Arizona officials said they are still gathering evidence against Leslie Merritt, Jr., who was arrested in connection with 11 shootings that took place over two weeks last summer, NBC News reported. 

Prosecutors said they intend to proceed in the case against Merritt, who had been charged in four of the shootings on or near Interstate 10 in the Phoenix area that left drivers on edge. The shootings took place in late August and early September, but authorities say at least one was a “road rage” incident and others may have been copycats. No one was seriously hurt. 

"I believe that we have enough evidence to develop probable cause to believe that he is the correct suspect," Arizona Department of Public Safety Director Frank Milstead told reporters Friday. "Our job was to develop probable cause, the county's job is now to build a case beyond a reasonable doubt." 

Merritt’s lawyers say he is “100% innocent” and that police made a rush to judgment. 

Prosecutors and police this week have faced questions about the investigation and arrest since a judge first reduced Merritt's bail to $0 and ordered him released — and after prosecutors moved to dismiss all charges without prejudice late last week.

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Kenya Burns $150M Worth of Ivory]]> Sat, 30 Apr 2016 14:42:56 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/KenyaIvory-AP_521535328955.jpg

Kenya’s president torched more than a hundred tons of ivory from about 8,000 animals on Saturday, sending a message that trade in animal parts must be stopped, according to NBC News.

"Kenya is making a statement that for us, ivory is worthless unless it is on our elephants," President Uhuru Kenyatta told dignitaries before setting light to the first of almost a dozen pyres. 

The ivory piles, which included elephant tusks and rhino horns, would have been worth a fortune to smugglers.

The country, which staged its first such burning in 1989, is seeking a total world ban on ivory sales as poaching poses an increased risk to endangered species. The call for the ban has been backed by Ali Bongo, president of Gabon, which is home to the forest elephant. 

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[1 Killed in Boston Duck Boat Crash]]> Sat, 30 Apr 2016 17:01:26 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/Duck+Boat+2+043016.JPG

One rider of a motorized scooter was killed and another was injured in a crash with a duck boat in Boston Saturday, police confirm.

Authorities confirm a woman in her early 20s was operating the scooter, with a male passenger riding behind her.

Both victims were transported to Massachusetts General Hospital, where the woman was pronounced dead. The passenger is expected to survive.

"Heart goes out to the family," said Morgan Ralph of Boston. "I heard she was young, so, you know, it's even tougher."

Including the driver, there were 30 people on board the duck boat at the time. They have been taken to the Boston Police Department for questioning.

Police say the incident appears to be a tragic accident. According to Boston Police Commissioner William Evans, both vehicles were apparently on Charles Street, turning right onto Beacon Street when the crash took place.

"We'll conduct an investigation to see why the contact took place here," said Evans.

The duck boat, named Fenway Fanny, is operated by Boston Duck Tours.

"We are still trying to learn what happened," spokesperson Cindy Brown said. "It is very early in the investigation. We are cooperating fully with Boston Police and everyone involved."

This is not the first deadly crash involving a duck boat. Back in September, a duck boat crash killed five people in Seattle. In May of 2015, a Texas woman was struck and killed by a duck boat in Philadelphia

Photo Credit: necn]]>
<![CDATA[7 Tons of Pot Seized From Truck]]> Sat, 30 Apr 2016 16:01:30 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/7-Tons-Marijuana-San-Diego-1.jpg

Authorities discovered more than seven tons of marijuana stashed inside a truck passing through a cargo checkpoint in south San Diego Thursday – a huge haul valued at $7.1 million.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) said officers were working at the Otay Mesa cargo facility when, at around 9:40 a.m., a man driving a Freightliner pulling a trailer entered the port of entry for routine inspection.

The Freightliner was alleged carrying a shipment of furniture. However, when a CBP officer referred the driver to another area for a more in-depth inspection, much more was discovered inside the trailer.

Officers ran the truck through the checkpoint’s imaging system, which revealed anomalies with the shipment. Officers opened the trailer and began sifting through the cargo. At that point, they discovered many boxes scattered throughout the trailer.

When officers opened the boxes, they discovered large, wrapped packages that tested positive for marijuana.

Package after package, CBP officers removed a total of 587 packages of pot from the trailer. Combined, the marijuana weighed 14,219 pounds.

The driver — a 47-year-old Mexican citizen — was turned over to agents with Homeland Security Investigations for further processing. The drugs, tractor and trailer were seized by officers.

Otay Mesa cargo port director Rosa Hernandez said this large-scale seizure demonstrates the commitment of her officers to “keeping our community safe from dangerous contraband.”

The Otay Mesa cargo facility is located less than 23 miles south of downtown San Diego.

Photo Credit: U.S. Customs and Border Protection]]>
<![CDATA[Storms Threaten Southeast, Wreak Havoc in Texas]]> Sun, 01 May 2016 09:45:50 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/Palestine+Texas+Flooding.jpg

A sixth person died in flooding brought on by heavy rains that pounded the Texas town of Palestine, officials said Saturday.

Giovanni Olivas, 30, was found at around 5:30 p.m, Anderson County Sheriff Greg Taylor said. He was swept under by floodwaters after more than 7 inches of rain fell in an hour, officials said, NBC News reported.

The bodies of 64-year-old Lenda Asberry and her great-grandchildren Jamonicka Johnson, 6; Von Anthony Johnson Jr., 7; Devonte Asberry, 8, and Venetia Asberry, 9, were discovered dead after floodwaters receded. She was their legal guardian, her son told NBC Dallas-Fort Worth.

Eastern Texas, southeastern Oklahoma, Louisiana, Arkansas, Mississippi and west Tennessee remained under flash flood watches on Saturday, according to the National Weather Service.

Photo Credit: Chelsey Vasquez.]]>