<![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 Thu, 11 Feb 2016 22:12:21 -0800 Thu, 11 Feb 2016 22:12:21 -0800 NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA[Diplomats Aim for Temporary Syria Truce in a Week]]> Thu, 11 Feb 2016 19:50:52 -0800 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/KerrySyria-AP_839717129155.jpg

Major world powers reached an agreement on a cease-fire to end the conflict in Syria, NBC News reported.

The deal, announced in Munich, calls for a nationwide cease-fire, expansion of humanitarian aid and resumption of peace talks in Geneva. The cease-fire does not apply to military against terror groups like ISIS or al-Nusra Front. 

The U.S. and Russia would lead a task force for a "cessation of violence of hostilities," according to U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry. He said the truce would be a crucial pause allowing parties to negotiate, but by itself, would not end the conflict. 

Russia must also halt air strikes against the opposition if a cease-fire is to be successful.



Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Coast Guard on Cruise Ship Damage]]> Thu, 11 Feb 2016 18:51:09 -0800 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/aotsreturns.jpg

The cruise ship that cut its voyage short after getting battered by rough seas and powerful winds during a storm in the Atlantic Ocean sustained damage to a key part of its propulsion system and officials are ordering it be fixed before the ship returns to sea for its next cruise this weekend, authorities say.

Royal Caribbean insisted for days that the damage to the Bahamas-bound Anthem of the Seas was "cosmetic" and "superficial" after it got caught in a storm off the Carolinas Sunday. The ship returned to its New Jersey port Wednesday, bringing back 1,600 crew members and 4,500 passengers, one of whom declared it a "cruise from hell."

Royal Caribbean said Wednesday that superficial damage to the 1,141-foot ship had been repaired and that the ship will resume its planned itinerary for next week's cruise.

But Coast Guard inspectors examined the ship after it docked back at Bayonne's Cape Liberty, four days after it departed, and they showed NBC 4 New York the wakes behind the ship: only the left propulsion system had powered the return voyage, they said. 

"It's not functioning properly at the moment, and our team is on board working through that to make sure it's functioning property before it is allowed to leave," said Coast Guard investigator Lt. Josh Buck. 

The news is worrisome to the thousands of people planning to depart on the Anthem of the Seas' next trip this Saturday, like Richie Traks, a photographer with NBC.

"My wife's been on the phone trying to get another cruise ship out of Florida, but it's last minute," he said. 

It's a 39th-anniversary cruise for the couple, who have already scheduled their vacation for the week. 

The Coast Guard said every important function of the ship is being examined, from lifesavers to structural integrity to fire suppression, as well as the propulsion system that kept the ship from returning at full speed. 

It's not clear how serious the propulsion malfunction is. The Coast Guard said it hopes it can be corrected by Saturday's sail date but the ship will remain docked in Bayonne until they know it's working properly. 

Royal Caribbean has not responded to several messages requesting comment on the Coast Guard's statements.  

Meanwhile, past and would-be passengers remain frustrated. 

"All the technology we have these days, why would they sail into a storm?" Traks said. 

Royal Caribbean has apologized, saying the storm far exceeded forecasts but the company would be strengthening its storm avoidance policy and adding resources at its Miami headquarters to provide additional guidance to ships' captains.

The National Weather Service's Ocean Prediction Center had issued an alert for a strong storm four days in advance. The first warning was issued Saturday for possible hurricane-force winds in the area the ship was scheduled to sail through.

One passenger told NBC 4 New York that the captain "did tell us in the beginning that we were going into bad weather but he thought he could get around it." 

The captain asked passengers to stay in their cabins as powerful 120-mph sustained winds and waves as high as 30 feet tossed the vessel around beginning Sunday afternoon. 

"Everything was blowing open, the closets were flying open, glass was breaking," said passenger Elaine. "It was a cruise from hell." 

Royal Caribbean says four passengers reported minor injuries.

Passengers will get a full refund and a certificate toward 50 percent off a future cruise.

One man said he actually enjoyed the ride.

"It was so much fun, the rocking back and forth, we enjoyed it," said Randy Kuykendell of Atlanta. "Where else can you get a Disney cruise basically for free and then 50 percent off for the next cruise?" 



Photo Credit: NBC 4 NY]]>
<![CDATA[Congress Hoping for Legislation to Fight Zika]]> Thu, 11 Feb 2016 18:35:34 -0800 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/ZikaVaccine-AP_277080321305.jpg

Congressional leaders hope to move on legislation to increase funding to fight the Zika virus, NBC News reported.

President Obama requested $1.8 billion from Congress on Monday to speed up research on a vaccine.

House Speaker Paul Ryan told NBC News that bipartisan action is expected “because it’s a problem we want to get ahead of.” He said the emergency spending would need to be offset, which means savings would have to be found elsewhere.

The need for funding has become urgent as the first miscarriages were reported in the U.S. because of the virus.  



Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Highlights From the 2016 Campaign Trail]]> Wed, 10 Feb 2016 14:11:18 -0800 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/180*120/kasich-GettyImages-509155622.jpg See photos of candidates running for president for the 2016 election.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[4 Remaining Oregon Occupiers Surrender]]> Thu, 11 Feb 2016 18:55:17 -0800 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/214*120/AP_706528614943.jpg

 

The four remaining occupiers at an Oregon wildlife refuge surrendered Thursday morning after hours of tense negotiations, bringing an end to the weekslong protest over land rights and personal liberties.

 

Federal officials said Jeff Banta, Sean Anderson, Sandy Anderson and David Fry were taken in without incident after FBI agents surrounded the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge overnight. A total of 25 people, including the holdouts, have been indicted on a charge of conspiracy to interfere with federal workers.

The occupation came to an emotionally heated conclusion as Fry, the last to leave, threatened suicide in a phone conversation that streamed live on YouTube.

"Unless my grievances are heard I will not surrender," Fry screamed. "Liberty or death."

All four arrested are expected to face an arraignment before a magistrate judge in Portland on Friday. The ring leaders, Ammon and Ryan Bundy, and other protesters were arrested last month.



Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Apparent Skull Found in NYC Park ]]> Thu, 11 Feb 2016 21:24:11 -0800 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/bones+found+queens+park.jpg

Authorities are investigating after workers found what appeared to be a human skull inside a black garbage bag in a New York City park Thursday.

Workers were cleaning Peters Field Park near 183rd Place and Henderson Avenue in Hillside, Queens when they found the bag near a fence bordering the Long Island Rail Road tracks. 

A neighbor who lives next to the park said he was alerted to the grisly find when he hard the surpised workers shouting.

"There was a commotion," said Cumar Richardson, who brings his son to the playground. 

The medical examiner's office will determine if the skull is actually human. Police are investigating.



Photo Credit: NBC 4 New York]]>
<![CDATA[12 Victims in Child Porn Case]]> Thu, 11 Feb 2016 21:15:30 -0800 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/Judge+Sylvania+Woods+Elementary+School.jpg

The number of children victimized by a school volunteer and youth choir director who police say forced children to perform sex acts on camera has climbed to 12.

Prince George's County Public School officials told parents on Thursday officials will work to ensure children's safety.

“I, like many, was shocked, appalled, disgusted, and disheartened by the allegations that a former PGCPS employee harmed students and vulnerable children," school district CEO Dr. Kevin M. Maxwell said.

The family of an 11-year-old boy in the choir at Judge Sylvania Woods Elementary School, named only as John Doe 2, filed for a class-action lawsuit on Thursday against the Prince George's County school board and the school's principal.

The family's lawyer, David Simpson, said the case against Deonte Carraway, 22, seems to be growing.

"Unfortunately, the more we keep looking, the more we keep finding and the broader the whole matter seems to be getting," he said.

The suspect, a Glenarden resident, is accused of having filmed "vile sexual acts" between children age 9 to 13 at Judge Sylvania Woods Elementary, the Glenarden Municipal Center, the Theresa Banks Memorial Aquatic Center and in private homes.

The family of a 9-year-old boy filed a lawsuit Wednesday, claiming the child was told by Carraway that he would be part of a "club" if he participated in sex acts the school volunteer filmed.

Parents flocked to the school Thursday night for a meeting with administrators.

"We go to work hoping that everything is safe, and we don't feel any safety now," one father said.

Carraway was arrested Friday after after the uncle of that 9-year-old victim saw a disturbing image on the child's phone, in the app Kik, police said. He admitted being involved in producing child pornography, police said. 

The school's principal, Michelle Williams, was placed on leave out of an "abundance of caution, Maxwell said. The family of the first child's family to file a lawsuit in the case said misconduct by Carraway had been reported but that Williams took no action, saying teachers had no proof.

Carraway's pastor, Dr. Henry Davis of First Baptist Church of Highland Park, said that looking back, he sees some red flags in the young man's behavior.

"The strange part was that I never knew his family. He used to come by himself," Davis said.

Carraway was always alone at the church, the pastor said.

Parents at Judge Sylvania Woods Elementary said at the school he was often surrounded by kids.

“He was just always around children -- at the playground, walking to and from school with them,” mother Monique Ganntte previously said.

Nothing criminal was found in Carraway’s background check before he started working for the school in November 2014, officials said.

Here's what PGCPS officials said in an update Thursday that they will do to keep students safe:

At the administrative level, PGCPS leaders met with the Judge Sylvania Woods community to share information on the incident and review policies and procedures for reporting abuse and suspicious activity. Counseling and psychological support will be provided to students and families upon request, and those services will remain in place as long as they are needed. A second meeting will take place at the school this evening.

Dr. Maxwell will also convene a taskforce of internal and external partners to review current policies and procedures and identify areas of immediate improvement. The district will also consult with national experts in this field to ensure the taskforce recommendations are aligned with best practices from across the country.

Next week, staff from the PGCPS Office of General Counsel will address principals during a systemic principals’ meeting and review all laws, policies, and procedures related to an employee’s obligation to report abuse and suspicious behavior.

At the school level, principals will hold mandatory meetings with staff to review the August 2015 training materials and October 2015 memorandum on procedures for reporting abuse and suspicious activities. Professional school counselors will reach out to students and conduct lessons in the classroom that address the differences between appropriate and inappropriate physical contact; personal body safety rules and when to use them; and how to identify trusted adults to whom they can report when they feel unsafe.

“We will work closely with our community partners and use all possible resources to foster a safe and supportive environment for all students and families,” added Dr. Maxwell. “It goes without saying that these type of acts are intolerable and unacceptable.”

If parents or community members have any additional information regarding this case, they should call 1-800-CALL-FBI.



Photo Credit: NBCWashington]]>
<![CDATA[Former Boston Mayor Hits Building]]> Thu, 11 Feb 2016 20:35:31 -0800 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/carcrash31.jpg

Former Boston Mayor Ray Flynn was hospitalized after crashing his car into his neighbor's home in South Boston.

Flynn, 76, says he passed out while driving and sustained a concussion in the crash.

"Thank God nobody got hurt. After working out at the Boston Athletic Club for a couple of hours this morning, I drove home and while parking my car on my street, I got weak and completely passed out," Flynn said in a sttement. "Minutes later I woke up, but my car unfortunately had crashed into another house on my street."

The former mayor thanked responders and current Mayor Marty Walsh for their help.

There was substantial damage to the home across the street from the former mayor's, and roommates Maggie Cole and Kelley Lynch need another place to stay because there could be structural damage to the building on Flint Place.

"I don't even know how he could be going that fast," said Cole. "It's a little alley."

"That's definitely not what I wanted to walk home to," said Lynch. "I'm hoping that everyone's OK."

Lynch added that the home's basement is a mess and that their "stuff is kind of ruined."

Flynn served as Boston's mayor from 1983 to 1993, when he was appointed by President Bill Clinton to serve as U.S. ambassador to the Vatican. He also ran unsuccessfully for Massachusetts' 8th congressional district seat in 1998.

Neighbors are grateful Flynn is expected to be alright.

"I ran into him a couple of other times, and he said he was the former mayor of Boston. I was like 'Oh, you know, that’s cool. You're my neighbor,'" said Lynch. "He's just really nice, his wife is really nice. They always said, 'If you ever need anything, feel free to just knock on the door, let yourself in.'"

Lynch described him as a fatherly figure and recalls him telling her and her roommate not to go out alone late at night.

It's unclear what caused the crash.

Note: Mayor Walsh's office initially said Flynn was not injured.



Photo Credit: Boston Police Capt. John Greland.
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<![CDATA[What to Know: Zika Virus Spreads in Americas]]> Tue, 02 Feb 2016 13:11:00 -0800 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/AP_670850476149-zika.jpg The spreading of the Zika virus has caused worldwide concern. Health officials think Zika might be connected to the rise in birth defects in the Americas, though it has not yet been proven. WHO has declared the crisis a global emergency.

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[1 Shot in 'SWAT' Robbery: Police]]> Thu, 11 Feb 2016 14:31:35 -0800 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/Arlington-Shooting.jpg

An armed man dressed as a SWAT officer robbed a North Texas payday loan store and shot one person with a pellet gun Thursday afternoon, Arlington police said. [[368518501,C]]

The man, identified as Matthew Paul Bender, walked into Texas Car Title & Payday Loan in the 1100 block of East Pioneer Parkway at about 2:15 p.m., officers said.

He allegedly wore a face mask and a vest that said "SWAT" on the back.

Although the weapon Bender was carrying resembled an assault rifle, it was actually a BB gun. Police said the man fired a shot inside the business, striking one person in the ankle.

That individual was transported to Medical Center Arlington.

Bender fled the scene with an unknown amount of stolen cash.

His vehicle was spotted near Collins Street and Park Row Drive a short time later. Bender was arrested the man without incident. He has been charged with aggravated robbery. Additional charges are pending.

Bender was being held in Arlington City Jail on a $15,000 bond. It wasn't immediately clear if he had an attorney.

NBC 5's Tim Ciesco contributed to this report. 



Photo Credit: NBC 5 News
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<![CDATA[California Congressman Hits Vape Pen During Hearing]]> Thu, 11 Feb 2016 18:39:14 -0800 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/504801574-Duncan-Hunter-vape-ecigarettes.jpg

A California lawmaker turned heads at a House of Representatives hearing Thursday when he pulled out his vape pen and took a big puff, blowing out a large plume of vapor.

The unconventional move came while the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee was debating an amendment that would ban e-cigarettes on passenger airplanes. California Rep. Duncan Hunter, a former smoker, was arguing against the ban.

“There’s no combustion. There’s no carcinogens,” Duncan said to his colleagues in the chamber, who chuckled. “This has helped thousands of people quit smoking. It’s helped me quit smoking.”

The Republican representative from San Diego has been outspoken about his fondness for vaping. In December, he penned an editorial for The Hill in which he said that he believed the cigarette alternative had the potential to “save” his life.

“It’s true that vaping isn’t as sexy as smoking old-fashioned cigarettes,” he wrote. “I vape knowing that I’m not inhaling tobacco.”

Hunter’s claims, however, did not stop the committee from adopting the amendment.

The Food and Drug Administration hasn't yet determined what risks or benefits come with smoking e-cigarettes.

According to a study in Therapeutic Advances in Drug Safety, e-cigarettes “are by far a less harmful alternative to smoking and significant health benefits are expected in smokers who switch from tobacco to electronic cigarettes.”

But the vapor has been found to contain toxic chemicals, and studies have also demonstrated that teens who vape are more likely to try real cigarettes.

House members brought up these concerns at the hearing Thursday, while also noting that the vapor might be unpleasant to others when in a confined space, such as an airplane.

“I don’t think we want to have clouds of vapor inside the aircraft,” said Oregon Rep. Peter DeFazio, the committee’s ranking Democrat, according to StatNews. “It’s not something I want to be inhaling.”



Photo Credit: File – CQ-Roll Call,Inc.
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<![CDATA[School Bus Driver Drove Drunk: PD]]> Thu, 11 Feb 2016 19:06:24 -0800 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/poirier+photo.jpg

Police say a school bus driver was driving drunk when he crashed with 11 students on board Thursday afternoon in Dudley, Massachusetts.

Police responded around 3 p.m. to find the bus on Hayden Pond Road with wires from a utility pole on the roof.

None of the children were injured. All of them were taken from the area by another bus shortly after the crash, Dudley Police Chief Steve Wojnar confirmed.

Police spoke with the driver, 42-year-old Scott Poirier of Dudley, and determined he was drunk. He was arrested after failing field sobriety tests and charged with operating under the influence.

It was not immediately clear if Poirier had an attorney.

Wojnar described the crash as "minor," saying preliminary investigation shows that the bus backed into a utility pole, causing damage to the pole.

"You put your kids on the bus, and you expect them to be safe," said Tracy Donais, whose daughter had been on the bus.

"It's kind of surprising," said that girl's father, Andrew Donais. "Right after our daughter gets off the bus, right down the road, the bus driver has an accident. It's just surprising."

Power was knocked out to 280 customers in the area, National Grid said. It was expected to be returned Thursday night.

School officials said they have only limited information on the crash at this time.

"No students were injured and all families of affected students were of course notified of the accident," Dudley-Charlton School Superintendent Gregg Desto said. "Any inquiries related to the driver have to be referred to the Dudley Police as of now."



Photo Credit: Dudley Police Department]]>
<![CDATA[Teacher Punished for Taking Grieving Student for Hot Cocoa]]> Thu, 11 Feb 2016 17:31:02 -0800 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/206*120/21116teach.jpg

A high school art teacher comforting a grieving student is being disciplined for taking her off campus for a hot cocoa.

Janice Graf, who has taught art for 30 years on Long Island, is now barred from her classroom at Center Moriches High School for her act of kindness.

"I was helping a student, helping a child," she told NBC 4 New York.

Graf accompanied Maddy Ziminski, a senior who was trying to deal with the deaths of two friends, to a nearby convenience store. The problem: students aren't allowed to leave the campus during school hours.

"I couldn't stop crying," Ziminski said. "I was just there trying to cope with everything."

School officials placed Graf on administrative duty while they review the circumstances of the rules violation. They didn't return several requests for comment.

Ziminski and her mother have asked school officials to allow Graf to return to the classroom.

"She got my daughter back to school and she took care of my daughter," Joanne Ziminski said. "Now they're trying to ruin her reputation, which is really bad."

Graf would like to return to the classroom before the end of the school year, when she plans to retire. 



Photo Credit: NBC 4 NY]]>
<![CDATA[Top News Photos of the Week]]> Thu, 11 Feb 2016 17:53:46 -0800 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/topNews-GettyImages-509569508.jpg View weekly updates on the very best photos in domestic and foreign news.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Monthslong Calif. Gas Leak Capped]]> Thu, 11 Feb 2016 21:25:44 -0800 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/Porter_Ranch_Gas_Leak_Fix_1200x675_617127491990.jpg

The gas well above Porter Ranch that has been leaking since October has been temporarily capped, Southern California Gas Company said Thursday.

Thousands of households have been relocated after residents complained of ailments they believe are linked to the natural gas leak at the utility’s Aliso Canyon facility.

Residents complained of headaches, nausea, nosebleeds and other symptoms. Public health officials blame the ailments on an odorant added to the gas and have said there shouldn't be long-term health problems.

The blowout at the largest natural gas storage facility west of the Mississippi River has released more than 2 million tons of methane into the air above the San Fernando Valley.

The leak has been stopped by the building of a relief well, but SoCalGas said in a statement it will continue work on a permanent seal to the faulty well.

“We have temporarily controlled the natural gas flow from the leaking well and begun the process of sealing the well and permanently stopping the leak.” said Jimmie Cho, SoCalGas senior vice president of gas operations and system integrity, in a written statement.

Cement will be injected from the relief well into the faulty well as part of the permanent cap. SoCalGas said that could happen in the next couple of days.

Residents in temporary housing including hotels will have up to eight days to return home. Those in rental housing will return home when their leases are up.

Governor Jerry Brown has declared a state of emergency because of the leak, and SoCalGas is facing nearly a dozen lawsuits from regulators, residents and the city.

State and local regulators have launched investigations into the leak, which began Oct. 23.



Photo Credit: KNBC]]>
<![CDATA[John Lewis Questions Sanders' Civil Rights History]]> Thu, 11 Feb 2016 16:52:24 -0800 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/JohnLewis-AP_845681499037.jpg

Rep. John Lewis said Thursday he never saw Sen. Bernie Sanders during the most tumultuous years of the civil rights movement, NBC News reported.

"I never saw him. I never met him," the Georgia congressman said. "I was chair of the student non-violent coordinating committee for 3 years, from 1963 to 1966. I was involved in the sit-ins, the freedom ride, the march on Washington, the march from Selma to Montgomery and directed the board of education project for six years."

Sanders was a prominent figure during the Civil Rights movement in the 1960s, and was arrested for trying to desegregate school housing.

The charge comes as both Sanders and Hillary Clinton are vying for African-American support moving into the South Carolina primary — and as the Congressional Black Congress PAC endorsed Hillary Clinton.
 



Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Millennials Drink Half Wine Bought in America]]> Thu, 11 Feb 2016 13:49:55 -0800 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/Wine-GettyImages-495793758.jpg

American millennials are buying more wine, which is helping to spur the wine industry, NBC News reported.

The group, between the ages of 21 to 38, consumed almost 160 million cases, or 42 percent, of all wine drunk in the U.S. last year, according to a survey by the Wine Market Council. The survey also showed 17 percent of millennials were spending more on wine than baby boomers.

"It's not an exaggeration to say the millennial American consumer has the most varied set of tastes of any wine drinker in history," wrote Wine Spectator.

As for their tastes, millennials are generally favoring new-world producers such as Chile, Argentina and New Zealand.  



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Two Bodies Decapitated in Okla. Daycare With Children Present]]> Thu, 11 Feb 2016 15:55:02 -0800 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/NC_decapitator_1500x845-0.jpg An Oklahoma City man has been arrested after two bodies were discovered inside an in-home daycare where children were still present.]]> <![CDATA[Stocks Cut Losses on OPEC Deal Chatter]]> Thu, 11 Feb 2016 13:07:13 -0800 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/206*120/AP_20200337636.jpg

U.S. equities fell sharply Thursday as investors digested a massive global sell-off and oil prices fell further, CNBC reported. 

The blue chip index briefly fell 400 points in afternoon trading before bouncing back sharply after Down Jones cited comments from OPEC members reporting cuts to oil production.

The S&P 500 dropped about 1 percent, as financial fell. The financial sector was on track for its first five-day losing streak since August. 

The Nasdaq composite turned positive shortly ahead of the close, as Amazon and Cisco Systems rose 3.5 percent and 10.7 percent, respectively.

U.S. crude closed down 4.5 percent, or $1.24, at $26.21 a barrel, before paring losses in after-hours trading.



Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Man Paid 4 Teens for Sex: PD]]> Thu, 11 Feb 2016 21:08:10 -0800 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/timothy-james-burns.jpg

A North Texas man has been arrested, accused of four counts of sexual assault of a child after Keller police say he paid four underage teenage girls for sex and provided them with alcohol and illegal drugs.

Following a two-week investigation, Keller police revealed allegations Thursday that 44-year-old Timothy James Burns sexually assaulted four girls age 16 or younger at his home in Arlington.

Keller police said they began investigating Burns on Jan. 21 after one of the girls told her parents she had sex for money; the girl's parents then notified the police who opened an investigation.

An interview between one of the victims and the Alliance for Children was recorded in an arrest warrant obtained by NBC 5. During the interview, the victim said a friend told her she could get paid for hanging out a man's house, but that she later realized "hanging out was not all that would have to be done for money."

The teenager said they went to the man's house, where he provided marijuana and alcohol. She said "she did not plan to lose her virginity to him," but that she later had sexual intercourse with the man when her friend didn't, according to the affidavit. For this, she told interviewers she was paid $200 and her friend was paid $200 for introducing them.

When asked if she knew the man's age, or if he knew hers, she's quoted in the arrest warrant as saying she thought he was 29 and that he never asked her age but that she assumed her friend had shared that information with him.

A second victim said Burns offered her more money, $350, after she initially turned down his offer for sex. On a subsequent visit, she said she was paid less, $200, because she used his Uber account to get home. The victims said on other visits they were offered between $50 and $500 to perform various sexual acts with the man, according to statements made in the arrest warrant.

Capt. Tommy Simmons, with the Keller Police Department, said all of the reported sexual assaults occurred between September 2015 and January 2016 at Burns' tony Lake Arlington home located on the 2600 block of Perkins Road. In the warrant, the teens described Burns' home, and his bedroom, in great detail.

Little is know about Burns, including how long he may have lived at the Arlington residence, since recent property tax records are not in his name and recent real estate records indicate the $1.2 million home had been listed for sale in October 2015.

Simmons said even though the incidents took place in Arlington, Keller police are leading the investigation since all of the suspected victims, who attend school in the Keller Independent School District, live in their jurisdiction.

Simmons said Burns has no affiliation to the school district and that he met his four victims through an unnamed adult teenager from Keller he met previously on the website SeekingArrangement.com. Officials said it's only a coincidence the victims are all students in the KISD.

"Keller ISD is alarmed to learn of the arrest of an Arlington man on felony charges of sexual assault involving high school students. While Keller PD continues its investigation we have confirmed the suspect has never been an employee of the district. Student safety is a top priority in Keller ISD, and we urge parents to talk to their students and notify authorities with any additional information regarding this matter," the district said in a statement Thursday morning.

Keller police issued four arrest warrants and a search warrant and took Burns into custody at the office of his attorney, Charles Smith, at 10:30 a.m. Wednesday. The attorney has not spoken to the media.

Officers executed the search warrant on Feb. 10 and removed a number of items from Burns' home including multiple phones, computers, tablets, thumb drives, a camera and a clock with a hidden camera inside.

Burns was charged with four second-degree felony counts of sexual assault of a child and is being held in the Keller Regional Jail on $400,000 bond.

Simmons said investigators are not sure if there are more victims, but that parents in the area are encouraged to talk to their children to see if they had been contacted by Burns. If so, parents are asked to call the Keller Police Department at 817-743-4535.

Timothy Burns' Arrest Warrant

Timothy Burns' Search Warrant

NBC 5's Todd L. Davis and Jocelyn Lockwood contributed to this report.



Photo Credit: Keller Police Department
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<![CDATA[Man ID'd as 70s Sex Crime Fugitive]]> Thu, 11 Feb 2016 12:26:20 -0800 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/SelasArraignPIC-PIC_0.jpg

A man who claims marshals arrested the wrong man will still be held without bail, a judge ruled Thursday, deciding he is in fact the fugitive arrested in San Diego last month on allegations of sexually assaulting children decades ago in another state.

U.S. marshals arrested Frank Selas, 76, at his home on Casa Verde Court in Bonita on Jan. 25. Selas has pleaded not guilty to a fugitive charge and is fighting extradition.

In a San Diego courtroom Thursday a judge agreed that prosecutors and marshals had the same individual wanted on a decades-old allegation from Louisiana.

Marshals say they positively identified the defendant based on his physical appearance, his date of birth and his Social Security number.

Also, Selas allegedly told marshals that he was aware of the outstanding arrest warrants, according to Deputy District Attorney Richard Madruga.

The arrest warrant stems from the late 1970s, when Selas was accused of abusing children during a camping trip near Valentine Lake at Kisatchie National Forest in Louisiana. At the time, Selas hosted the "Mr. Wonder" show on KNOE-TV in north Louisiana.

Louisiana law enforcement officials obtained a warrant for Selas' arrest in relation to two counts of obscene behavior with a juvenile.

When officials went to his home, his wife told them her husband had fled in the family car. In the coming days, officials would find Selas' car in Dallas. Selas, then 39, allegedly fled the country and flew from Dallas to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, before investigators could arrest him.

When Selas returned to the U.S., investigators say he changed his last name and Social Security number.

Defense attorney Marc Carlos admitted there was some similarity between his client and the photographs of "Mr. Wonder" but he argued at a hearing Thursday that there is no fingerprint evidence. He also disputes that his client changed the spelling of his last name to avoid detection.

“Szelas is, in fact, his family name, his father’s name and has always been his family name,” Carlos told the court.

The judge ruled prosecutors and marshals have proven Selas is the man wanted in Louisiana. Now, prosecutors say they will await a governor's warrant to proceed with extradition.

Investigators say Selas spent the last three decades living in San Diego and volunteering with community organizations including the Cub Scouts and the American Red Cross.

NBC 7 Investigates is looking into connections between Selas and community groups in our region. If you have information, please contact our hotline at (619) 578-0393 or email NBC7Investigates@nbcuni.com.



Photo Credit: NBC 7]]>
<![CDATA[Uber Agrees to Pay $28.5M to Settle Lawsuits]]> Thu, 11 Feb 2016 15:42:40 -0800 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/Uber-GettyImages-499837184.jpg

Uber said Thursday it agreed to pay $28.5 million to settle litigation brought by customers who alleged the service misrepresented its safety practices and its fees, Reuters reported.

The two cases, filed in a Northern California federal court said Uber charged passengers a “Safe Ride Fee” of $2.30 per trip to support its background check process. But the company doesn’t use the fingerprint identification required by taxi regulators, according to court filings.

As part of the settlement, Uber also agreed to rename the “Safe Ride Fee” to a “Booking Fee.” Around 25 million riders could qualify to take part in the settlement, Uber said.  



Photo Credit: LightRocket via Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[College Cancels Class With 150+ Ill]]> Thu, 11 Feb 2016 18:49:04 -0800 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/212*120/ursinus+students+sick+norovirus+classes+canceled+02112016.JPG

Ursinus College has canceled classes for the remainder of Thursday and Friday after a stomach infection sickened more than 150 students, staff and faculty at the Pennsylvania school.

The decision was made "out of an abundance of caution," according to a school statement sent to students, faculty and staff on Thursday.

The outbreak began Tuesday after dinnertime, when students started exhibiting symptoms such as vomiting, diarrhea and dehydration. More than 30 people were transported to Einstein Medical Center and Phoenixville Hospital as the school worked with the Montgomery County Health Department to identify the illness.

"Ursinus is actively investigating the potential cause of this illness to determine whether it is food-borne or transmitted by person-to-person contact," the college said Wednesday in a statement.

Most of the students are already recovering, according to another statement Thursday. And Wismer Dining Hall was set to reopen Thursday evening from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. after the MCHD completed its inspection, the school later announced.

“The increase in the number of people experiencing symptoms between last night (Wednesday) and today is not surprising, given the incubation period typical for gastrointestinal illnesses,” said Dr. Valerie Arkoosh, Interim Medical Director of the Montgomery County Health Department. “Students or staff who have experienced symptoms may call the Health Department at 610-278-5117 to share information to aid in the investigation,” Arkoosh said in a statement provided by the school.

The college will remain open and provide essential services to students. As a precaution, dining halls are currently shut down, the school said. Wawa, Wegmans and other local eateries stepped in to provide alternate food options for students and the college planned to let student know about other dinner options Thursday afternoon.

All registered social events and other activities are also postponed for the weekend.

The Wellness Center is open and students can get help by dialing x3100.

At one point Thursday, the college reported more than 180 people in the Ursinus community had been sickened, but said later some had been double counted.

Regular classes will resume Monday.


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<![CDATA[Flight With Smoke Divers to LA]]> Thu, 11 Feb 2016 15:17:20 -0800 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/160211-flight-diverted-to-lax.jpg

Eight people aboard an American Airlines flight that was diverted to Los Angeles International Airport on Thursday morning complained of breathing problems after landing, but they were all expected to be OK, fire officials said.

Firefighters were standing by the runway when Flight 564, carrying 125 passengers and five crew members, landed safely shortly before 11 a.m. after the aircraft experienced what the airline described as a mechanical issue.

American Airlines spokesman Ross Feinstein said the mechanical problem may have stemmed from a leak in the hydraulic system. Fluid got into an auxiliary power unit, which caused smoke to enter the rear of the plane, he said.

Eight people complaining of "respiratory irritation" due to an "unspecified odor" were checked out by paramedics, said Brian Humphrey, spokesman for the Los Angeles Fire Department. They included seven passengers and one flight attendant.

The fire department initially said a woman had been taken to the hospital, but later issued a correction saying the woman had asked to be taken to the hospital but changed her mind and was never transported.

A cellphone video posted online showed multiple people receiving medical attention inside a terminal.

The aircraft, an Airbus A319, was taxied to a gate and inspected.

All the passengers were re-booked on other flights, according to the airline.

"We apologize to our customers for the inconvenience, and are working to get them to Arizona as soon as possible," the airline said in a statement. 



Photo Credit: KNBC-TV]]>
<![CDATA[Wife of Accused Georgia Hot-Car Dad Files for Divorce]]> Thu, 11 Feb 2016 15:22:54 -0800 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/LeanneHarris-AP_252271481856.jpg

The wife of the Atlanta-area man charged with killing their toddler by locking him in an SUV has filed for divorce, NBC News reported.

Leanna Harris submitted paperwork, saying the 10 year marriage was “irretrievably broken.”

Her husband, Justin Ross Harris, is behind bars. His trial is scheduled to begin on April 11.

Prosecutors content he was having marital problems and that he left his 22-month-old son Cooper in a hot vehicle on purpose for seven hours. Temperatures topped 92 degrees that day.

The accused dada claims he drove to work and didn’t realize his son was strapped in the back seat.  



Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[43 Percent of Americans Are Still Renting Homes]]> Thu, 11 Feb 2016 14:13:19 -0800 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/ForRent-GettyImages-450103914.jpg

The number of renters across the United States grew to just over 43 percent between 2006 and 2014, according to a new report by real estate site Trulia.com.

According to the survey, half of households in Las Vegas are currently renting, almost a full ten percent increase from the last ten years, NBC News reported.

More millennials between 26 and 34 — 67 percent — were renting rather than buying homes, the survey showed. The increase in men in the rental market was greater than women after the mortgage crisis. Minorities, especially Latinos, were having a hard time recovering from the mortgage crisis.

A recent Bankrate.com survey found poor credit and lack of funds for a down payment were the reasons many American families rent rather than buy their own homes.  



Photo Credit: AFP/Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[16-Year-Old Girl Shot While Walking to School in Chicago]]> Thu, 11 Feb 2016 15:20:14 -0800 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/222*120/16yo+shot+maragos+int.jpg

A 16-year-old girl was shot Thursday morning half a block from her home while she walked to school in Chicago.

The teen, who asked to be identified only as Alex, told NBC 5 she was walking to school with a friend around 8:30 a.m. in the 1400 block of North Kildare Avenue in Chicago’s West Humboldt Park neighborhood and didn't notice an exchange of gunfire happening on the street. 

"I heard two shots behind me and that's when the third shot hit me like a paintball like right behind so I started running," she said. 

Authorities believe the girl was not the intended target and may have been struck by a stray bullet. Nearby residents described a shootout involving someone in a car and a U-Haul driver. 

"They had a shootout," said one witness, who wished to remain anonymous for safety concerns. "They were shooting back and forth at each other."

The teen girl told officers she was walking on the street when she heard gunshots and felt pain in her leg, according to Officer Jose Estrada with Chicago Police News Affairs. She was taken to Illinois Masonic Medical Center in stable condition, officials said. 

Witnesses reported seeing a shootout near the scene, but police could not immediately confirm that information. According to area residents, someone inside a vehicle opened fire at a U-Haul and the U-Haul driver fired back. 

The U-Haul driver attempted to get away, but crashed into a parked car, causing damage to several vehicles, witnesses said. 

Crecia Vinson said her car was among those damaged in the crash. 

"I was just hoping it was some bullet holes," she said. "But that's a whole lot of damage. Not replacable at all."

Alex said the bullet was still in her leg when she returned home from the hospital hours later, but her family said with rest and eventually surgery, she is expected to recover. 

Neighbors said the shooting is frightening as it happened at a time when other children were walking to school. The teen is the second unintended victim to be shot by a stray bullet in the city in the past week. 

On Friday, 25-year-old Aaren O'Connor was shot while returning from work in the city's Heart of Chicago neighborhood. She died two days later, her family said. 

"The violence just needs to stop," Vinson said. "This nonsense about shooting, riding down the street, killing our kids and damaging each other's property, it's sad. It needs to stop... I just pray the little girl is OK and she comes out on top and whoever is responsible goes down for what happened."

Alex told NBC Chicago she plans to spread an anti-violence message in her community following the shooting. 

"I hate violence," she said. "I try to help [prevent] violence and the fact that it happened to me now- it gives me more time to actually tell people the experience and the violence just needs to stop."


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<![CDATA['Broken' Fitbit Reveals Pregnancy]]> Thu, 11 Feb 2016 13:00:41 -0800 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/fitbit-baby-0211.jpg

A Brooklyn man learned a surprising bit of data while trying to troubleshoot what he thought was a problem with his wife’s Fitbit: they were going to be parents.

David Trinidad said he and his wife, Ivonne, had both recently gotten Fitbits with heart rate monitors and were using them to stay in shape. One day his wife mentioned that she thought something was wrong with her device, so he took a look.

Trinidad said his wife’s heart rate was above 100 beats per minute for most of the day and that the device had indicated she had been burning fat for an unusually long 10 hours.

“That’s almost impossible,” he said. “I thought something was wrong with the watch.”

So the 34-year-old went to a Fitbit page on Reddit and outlined his issues, trying to get a fix for the device before sending it back to customer service.

It wasn’t long before one user offered up an explanation, saying maybe his wife was pregnant.

“Has she experienced anything really stressful in the last few days or is it a possibility she is pregnant?” the user said.

The father-to-be said that as soon as he saw the reply, “That’s when the light bulb went off.” He said the pair had been trying to get pregnant for a couple months.

Trinidad said he called his wife and told her to pick up some pregnancy tests on her way home from work. Every test came back positive.

Afterward, they were quick to share the news with their family and on social media, creating @babyfitbit Twitter and Instagram accounts for the little one.

“We’re happy, the grandparents are very happy,” he said. “It’s just been great. Friends and family support us, there’s been tons of support online which has been really unexpected.



Photo Credit: Provided by David Trinidad]]>
<![CDATA[New Whole Foods Stores May Include Tattoo Parlors]]> Thu, 11 Feb 2016 11:46:29 -0800 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/WholeFoods-AP_826610878819.jpg

Whole Foods is going beyond the traditional grocery store experience in an attempt to reach a newer, younger customer-base.

The Austin-based company said its new venture, 365 by Whole Foods Market, will streamline the retail environment for money-conscious millennials. 

“We are investing in expanding Whole Foods Market in thoughtful ways and more strategic ways,” Whole Foods Market co-chief executive officer Walter Robb said to Bloomberg TV.

The company will engage food and non-food related businesses — including health and wellness retailers and tattoo parlors — that will operate independently within each location, according to its website. The 365 locations will be smaller than the average Whole Foods grocery stores. 

Sales at Whole Foods dipped in the last quarter, dropping 1.8 percent in stores open at least 57 weeks, with more consumers turning to cheaper alternatives like Trader Joe’s and even Wal-Mart. The company said it still remains optimistic that the new venture will help it get back into the black. 

Robb told Bloomberg TV the new banner will help bring a “smaller, more curated selection with excellent prices points" to consumers, while helping boost the company's footprint into newer communities. 

The first three 365 stores will open in 2016, with ten more expected to open in 2017.   



Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Texas A&M Racial Harassment Alleged]]> Thu, 11 Feb 2016 21:04:09 -0800 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/tamu-sign-722.jpg

A group of black and Hispanic high school students visiting Texas A&M University say they were harassed, taunted and told by white students they were not welcome to attend the university, according to Texas Sen. Royce West (D-23rd District).

West's office released a statement Thursday saying two black female high school juniors were part of a larger group touring the campus when they were approached by a white female Texas A&M student who asked the girls if they liked her earrings -- which were replicas of the Confederate flag.

Nearby, a group of white male and female students began harassing the larger group of 60 high school students by using racial epithets and telling them to "go back where you came from."

The group of students, from Dallas' Uplift Hampton Preparatory School, were visiting the campus as part of the school's Road To College at Uplift Education Program.

Jayla Alex-Johnson was one of about 60 juniors touring the campus.

“Some students were really upset about it," said Alex-Johnson.

Standing towards the back of the crowd, she could only hear some yelling. It was not until later that she learned exactly what was being said to her classmates.

“I hope that their attitude changes," Alex-Johnson said. "The way they think, the way they believe in everything.”

“I hope they catch those people and find out who it was and they kick them out of whatever,” said Anna Alvarenga, a parent of a student at Hampton Prep.

According to West, the confrontation was witnessed by TAMU officials accompanying the students. A campus police officer initially said the university students were expressing their First Amendment rights, though a report was made on the incident.

Following their tour, Alex-Johnson said TAMU officials met with students to discuss the incident and assure them that the behavior was not in line with the university's beliefs or ideals.

“They were really sincere," she explained. "And they couldn’t believe what happened, like neither of us could, and they just really apologized and told us that this shouldn’t be happening at their school.”

West said the incident is now being reviewed by executive leadership at the university, including Chancellor John Sharp.

"While high level meetings are taking place among A&M administrative, faculty and student leaders, those meetings need to produce results that say that overt acts of racism will not be tolerated anywhere within the university system," West said. "I expect a response that is swift and similar to those taken at the University of Oklahoma. The students responsible for these reprehensible actions should be strongly disciplined, if not expelled."

West implored action must be taken swiftly or the university runs the risk of damaging its credibility. West added that the university has a history of recruiting minority students from urban schools, has established outreach centers in Dallas and elsewhere and has made scholarship monies available to minority students.

"But actions such as what took place Tuesday can undo whatever good has been done. When those student's stories are told to parents and friends, they could undoubtedly, further the belief that the home of the Aggies has a campus environment that has been hostile to Black students; that is those who are not athletes," West said.

Michael K. Young, president of Texas A&M University, said in a statement released Wednesday he was outraged and tremendously disappointed in the behavior of his students and that "appropriate action will be taken."

"I deeply regret the pain and hurt feelings this incident caused these young students. Be assured that we take such allegations very seriously," Young said in a statement. "While the actions of a few certainly do not represent our institution as a whole, it is the responsibility of all of us to stop any incidents that could be considered hateful or biased-based on race, religion, gender, sexual orientation, disability or any other factor."

Uplift Education released a statement Thursday afternoon saying they were "proud of our scholars for the grace and composure with which they responded to the college students who chose to engage in a disrespectful and unacceptable manner."

Uplift added they appreciated the swift response from university leadership and that they hope the incident can broaden the national conversation about inclusion and cultural awareness so that everyone can feel safe and welcome.

At this time, the students involved have not been identified by the university.

Uplift Education Statement

NBC 5's Caroline Connolly and Kevin Cokely contributed to this report.



Photo Credit: File – NBC DFW
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<![CDATA[Chicago Family Massacred]]> Thu, 11 Feb 2016 15:13:11 -0800 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/Gage+Park+4.png

Three "edge weapons" were used to carry out a gruesome slaying of six family members in their home in the Gage Park neighborhood of Chicago, police said.

Police found the bodies around 1 p.m. last Thursday when they were called to a small brick house in the 5700 block of South California Avenue after one of the men failed to show up for work.

Five of the six — 58-year-old Rosaura Martinez; her 60-year-old husband, Noe Martinez Sr.; their 38-year-old son, Noe Martinez Jr.; and the couple's grandchildren,13-year-old Leonardo Cruz and 10-year-old Alexis Cruz — died from either multiple sharp force or multiple sharp and blunt force wounds, police said.

Three types of knives or other bladed cutting instruments were used to carry out most of the killings, according to police, but those weapons were not recovered from the crime scene.

The young children's mother, 32-year-old Maria Herminia Martinez, died of multiple gunshot wounds, police said. A rifle gun was recovered from the home but is not believed to have been used in her shooting, police said.

Authorities are reviewing hours of surveillance video from CTA buses and nearby city cameras for evidence in the investigation. Police said they are closer to ruling out at least one theory on a motive for the slayings of three generations of family members. It's not clear who killed them.

Investigators continue to interview family members coming from Mexico with the aid of the Mexican Consulate in Chicago, which is working to bring the victims’ bodies to Mexico for burial.

The surviving family of the victims has set up a GoFundMe page to raise money to cover funeral and burial expenses. As of Thursday morning it had raised more than $26,000.

A memorial in front of the home on Chicago’s Southwest Side continues to grow with candles, pictures of the victims and prayers.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Judge Says Camille Cosby Can Be Deposed]]> Thu, 11 Feb 2016 11:46:30 -0800 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/214*120/Camille_Cosby_2008.jpg

The wife of embattled comedian Bill Cosby will be deposed in a civil suit involving her husband later this month, NBC News reports.

In January, Camille Cosby appealed a ruling ordering her to be deposed by lawyers for seven women accusing Bill Cosby of defamation.

A Massachusetts federal district judge has since ruled that Camille Cosby can, in fact, be deposed, but "may refuse to answer deposition questions which call for testimony prohibited by the marital disqualification rule and not falling within an exception," according to NBC News.

Camille Cosby's deposition is scheduled for Feb. 22 in Springfield, Massachusetts.

It's unclear whether Camille Cosby's attorneys can appeal the latest ruling.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[U.S. Denies Russian Claim That It Bombed Syrian City]]> Thu, 11 Feb 2016 10:37:25 -0800 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/AleppoSyria-GettyImages-508601178.jpg

The State Department dismissed on Thursday Russia's claims that two American warplanes bombed the war-torn Syrian city of Aleppo, NBC News reported.

The Russian Ministry of Defense claimed that two U.S. Air Force A-10 attack aircraft on Wednesday bombed nine targets in the city, which has been subjected to increased levels of violence in recent days.

The ministry said in a statement Thursday that the U.S. "did not make this mission public" and speculated that "perhaps there had been two hospitals" among the targets.

However, a senior State Department official told NBC News that the Russian claims were "false" and that there had been no U.S. missions over Aleppo on Wednesday or Thursday.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>