<![CDATA[NBC 6 South Florida - National & International News]]>Copyright 2017http://www.nbcmiami.com/news/national-internationalhttp://media.nbcnewyork.com/designimages/NBC+6+LOGO+GOOGLE.pngNBC 6 South Floridahttp://www.nbcmiami.comen-usThu, 27 Apr 2017 13:02:40 -0400Thu, 27 Apr 2017 13:02:40 -0400NBC Owned Television Stations<![CDATA[2 Members of US Military Die in Afghanistan ISIS Operation]]>Thu, 27 Apr 2017 10:30:37 -0400http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/pentagon0GettyImages-136114173.jpg

Two members of the U.S. military were killed in an operation on an ISIS target in Afghanistan, NBC News reported. Another was wounded.

More information on the soldiers, including what service they were in, wasn't immediately available, pending notification of their next of kin, Pentagon spokesman Captain Jeff Davis said in a statement Thursday.

The operation took place in the Achin area, where the military dropped a massive, non-nuclear bomb called the "mother of all bombs" on an ISIS target in Afghanistan two weeks ago, the weapon's first-ever use in combat.

Another American soldier died this month during an operation against ISIS in Afghanistan, where the Taliban and ISIS are fighting over territory, and with government and American coalition forces.

Photo Credit: AFP/Getty Images, File]]>
<![CDATA[Milwaukee Man Removed From Delta Flight After Bathroom Break]]>Thu, 27 Apr 2017 11:46:03 -0400http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/Delta-Plane-Generic.jpg

A Milwaukee man was removed from a Delta Airlines flight in Atlanta last week after going to the bathroom during a delay on the flight, according to footage and witness accounts. 

Video of the incident was posted to social media Friday, showing what appeared to be a flight attendant and a second employee asking the passenger to leave Flight 2035 from Atlanta to Milwaukee just moments after he returned from what he said was an emergency bathroom run. 

“I need more information sir. I haven’t done anything and I paid for this ticket and I actually have– I have to get home,” Kima Hamilton said to the first employee who asked him to leave the plane to discuss the matter.

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But when Hamilton asked the man if the plane was going to depart when he exited, the attendant replied with “I don’t know what’s going to happen.”

Multiple passengers are seen recording the conversation as it unfolds, some even asking the attendant if Hamilton would be able to return to the plane.

In a second conversation with what appeared to be another employee, Hamilton was told that his bathroom break had forced the plane to return to the gate. 

“Because we had to come back, that’s why we want to talk to you about that,” the employee is heard saying before telling Hamilton their conversation was “inconveniencing everyone.”

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Hamilton explained that he had tried to use the bathroom earlier but was told he needed to wait, otherwise the plane would lose its place in line for takeoff. After 30 more minutes, he said he could no longer hold it and it was an emergency. 

Witnesses noted the plane did not move while Hamilton was in the bathroom. 

Hamilton, who told Milwaukee NBC affiliate TMJ4 that he is an art teacher, continued to plea with officials, telling them he had a field trip with 94 students the next morning and needed to return home.

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Soon there was an announcement telling everyone they would need to leave the plane, passengers told TMJ4.

"The whole thing was uncalled for,” Michael Rosalino, who was sitting across the aisle from Hamilton, told the station.

One passenger who filmed the incident wrote in a blog post that she witnessed “the most outrageous treatment of a paying customer.”

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“Not only did your staff truly harm and humiliate one person who was forced to pay hundreds of dollars for a new same-day flight, but you forced the rest of us passengers to endure a 2 hour saga of watching a man being targeted for having a bathroom emergency,” Krista Rosolin wrote. “I am disappointed and horrified at how Delta Airlines staff treated their customers/passengers.”

Rosolin told NBC News she felt the urge to record the incident "to have video of whatever transpired." 

“What I couldn’t understand was, 'Okay, why is this being pursued against him when we didn’t move?'” she said. 

Hamilton told TMJ4 that the rest of the passengers were able to re-board the flight and he was forced to stay back. Delta did refund him for part of his ticket, but his luggage remained on the plane and he ultimately purchased a flight home for three times the original price via another airline.

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"It all escalated so fast," he said.

In a statement to NBC, Delta said its “flight crews are extensively trained to ensure the safety and security of all customers.”

“It is imperative that passengers comply with crew instructions during all phases of flight, especially at critical points of takeoff and landing,” the statement read.

The incident comes as airlines face heightened scrutiny following incidents on United Express and American Airlines flights in recent weeks. 

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Photo Credit: AP Photo/Ted S. Warren, File
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<![CDATA[Promises, Promises: What Trump Said He'd Do But Hasn’t]]>Thu, 27 Apr 2017 08:11:58 -0400http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/214*120/AP_17019801482842.jpg

President Donald Trump hasn't followed through on most of his key campaign promises in his first 100 days in office, according to an NBC News analysis.

Of the 10 core goals NBC News tracked, the president made progress on two, faltered on four, and did little to nothing on the rest.

The tangible progress is mostly due to headline-grabbing executive orders on creating 25 million jobs and rebuilding industry, along with deporting undocumented immigrants. But on others like uniting a divided nation, having so many big wins that America would get bored, and rebuilding the country with a $1 trillion infrastructure plan, Trump has achieved little or nothing.  

"He's issued executive orders in line with what he's said and appointments as well, but at the same time … to a remarkable degree, he doesn't feel his previous statements bind him to anything," presidential historian Michael Beschloss said.

Photo Credit: Evan Vucci/AP, File]]>
<![CDATA[Flyer Protections on Overbooked Plane Flights]]>Wed, 26 Apr 2017 12:09:32 -0400http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/NC_flights0425_1500x845.jpg

NBC reports on the steps that flyers and travelers can take to protect themselves, and their vacation, from an overbooked flight.

<![CDATA[Flynn Was Warned About Accepting Foreign Payments in 2014]]>Thu, 27 Apr 2017 12:22:16 -0400http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/Flynn_Investigation_Full-149330824475800001.jpg

President Donald Trump's former national security adviser Michael Flynn was warned by the military in 2014 not to accept foreign payments without prior approval, according to documents released on Thursday by Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md., the ranking member of the House oversight committee. Separate letters released Thursday show no evidence that Flynn ever sought that approval.

<![CDATA[Army Veteran Accused of Tying Up, Shooting Service Dog]]>Thu, 27 Apr 2017 12:23:09 -0400http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/Jarren+Heng+Marinna+Collins.jpg

An Army veteran is accused of fatally shooting her service dog while her boyfriend, who's also a soldier, filmed it, a North Carolina prosecutor said.

Cumberland County District Attorney Clark Reaves said 23-year-old Marinna Rollins and 25-year-old Jarren Heng tied the dog, Cumboui, to a tree and shot it multiple times with a rifle. In a video posted on Rollins' Facebook page, the two can be heard giggling and laughing as the gray and white male pit bull is being killed, The Associated Press reported.

Both are charged with cruelty to animals. It wasn't immediately clear whether they have lawyers.

Court documents show Rollins, who is originally from Portland, Maine, medically retired from the Army in January, according to the AP. Authorities said Rollins is suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder and Cumboui was her emotional support dog.

Prior to the shooting, Rollins posted a photo of Cumboui on her Facebook page, writing she was "sad that her dog had to go to a happier place," according to court documents, NBC affiliate WCSH reported.

A county animal control officer contacted Rollins after seeing the video on social media. The officer told the sheriff's office that Rollins gave "several excuses" as to why the dog was killed, according to WCSH.

Heng was arrested Monday evening and Rollins was arrested Tuesday afternoon.

Heng is an active-duty soldier from Nebraska assigned to a unit that reports to the Army Special Operations Command at Fort Bragg, Lt. Col. Robert Bockholt said. Bockholt declined to give the exact unit. 

Photo Credit: Cumberland County Sheriff's Office]]>
<![CDATA[California Gears Up to Fight Trump on Car Emissions]]>Mon, 24 Apr 2017 11:18:00 -0400http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/134002821-405-traffic-generic.jpg

Even as President Trump pulls back on regulations governing car emissions, part of a broader policy of overturning environmental protections enacted by the Obama administration, California is determinedly headed in the opposite direction with stricter rules it alone is authorized to enact.

During a visit to Detroit last month, Trump halted the imposition of standards that would cut car emissions almost in half by 2025, including greenhouse gases that are responsible for global warming. The administration instead will reopen a review of the standards at the request of the major automakers, giving them the chance to argue that the rules should be eased.

"This is going to be a new era for American jobs and job creation," Trump said in Detroit.

But California is moving forward with the more stringent tailpipe rules, setting up an expected showdown with the Trump administration. A week after Trump's announcement, the California Air Resources Board not only voted to reaffirm the standards and but also began to consider new ones to take effect after 2025. Likely to join the fight will be the dozen other states that follow California's standards rather than the national ones. States can choose either.

"The Trump administration really is very aggressively proclaiming that we should not be addressing climate change at the federal level," said Sean B. Hecht, the co-executive director of the Emmett Institute on Climate Change and the Environment at the UCLA School of Law. "And the auto companies have taken this as an opportunity…to say, 'Hold on, let's try to back out of this deal where we have these federal fuel economy standards through 2025.'"

Trump has had a mixed record in his first 100 days in office. He began dismantling former President Barack Obama's major climate change policy, the Clean Power Plan, with an executive order lifting carbon restrictions, but has made little headway on many of his other campaign promises. His travel ban is tied up in the courts and an overhaul of Obamacare was withdrawn from the House because it had little support. Now California and other, mostly blue states are vowing to fight any easing of regulations governing car emissions.

California needs to control emissions to meet its ambitious plans for battling climate change, with zero-emission vehicles such as electric cars from Tesla and Chevrolet part of the mix. Last year, legislators passed a bill requiring that by 2030, the state cut its greenhouse gas emissions to 40 percent below its 1990 levels. To send a message about their willingness to take on Trump, Democratic leaders of the California legislature hired former Attorney General Eric Holder to represent them in legal fights with the White House.

California Gov. Jerry Brown and the state's other top Democrats called Trump's move to roll back the emissions standards a cynical ploy.

"President Trump's decision today to weaken emission standards in cars is an unconscionable gift to polluters," Brown wrote to the EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt on March 15. "Once again you've put the interests of big oil ahead of clean air and politics ahead of science."

Electricity production accounted for most of the greenhouse gases produced in 2014 at 30 percent, but transportation was right behind at 26 percent, according to the Environmental Protection Agency's website. In California, that percentage was even higher: Transportation generated 37 percent of its emissions in 2014.

"For sure California is gearing up," said Deborah Sivas, an environmental litigator at Stanford Law School. "Part of it depends on the next moves by the administration."

The EPA did not respond to a request for comment about its plans for the emissions standards. In a statement last month, Pruitt said that along with the Department of Transportation, the EPA would consider whether the emissions standards were good not only for the environment but also for consumers.

"These standards are costly for automakers and the American people," he said. "We will work with our partners at DOT to take a fresh look to determine if this approach is realistic."

Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao echoed his statement, calling Trump's position a "win" for the American people.

Attempts to undercut the standards will prompt drawn-out litigation from states such as California or New York, Sivas predicted. To reverse an earlier decision, the EPA will have to go through the same series of elaborate steps that were taken to put the rules into place.

"They can't just say, 'Oh yeah, well forget that,'" Sivas said.

California earned its unique authority to set regulations tougher than national ones through its pioneering efforts to curb air pollution. When Congress amended the Clean Air Act in 1970, it gave the EPA authority to restrict air pollution from tailpipes as a way to tackle smog. But because California had established its own laws a decade earlier, and because it successfully argued that its air pollution was naturally worse than other states', it was given special status in the law. California may ask the EPA administrator for a waiver to restrict pollution more stringently than the federal government if, in the law's language, the state's standards are at least as protective of public health and welfare and needed to meet compelling and extraordinary conditions.

The EPA has denied California's request for a waiver just once, during the administration of President George W. Bush, when California first moved to regulate greenhouse gases in addition to more traditional pollutants. California sued but the case was never decided because Obama was elected.

If the Trump administration were to deny future waivers, California would certainly push back. 

Hecht said that in the past, California has argued that it has compelling and extraordinary circumstances because it has a very large economy and sells many cars, and so its efforts to reduce greenhouse gases will make a difference. It also has said that climate change will have specific, negative effects on the state: the loss of the snow pack which will threaten its water supply, for example.

"They were accepted by the Obama administration, and the question will be, Will California win that court fight?'" he said.

Nor is there anything in the law giving the EPA administrator the authority to withdraw a waiver already granted.

"It doesn't speak to the issue one way or the other," said Richard Frank, an environmental law professor at the University of California-Davis.

The Trump administration would likely argue that it has the discretion to revoke any waivers granted by a previous administration, while California would say that absent specific language in the law, the EPA lacks the authority, he said.

"Given all that it will be tough for EPA to say we're going to rescind your waiver," Sivas said. "So I think California has the upper hand in that fight if it comes down to that."

At Pruitt's confirmation hearing, he refused to commit to keeping the waiver in place. Pressed by California's Sen. Kamala D. Harris, a Democrat, he said, "I don't know without going through the process to determine that. One would not want to presume the outcome."

If the Trump administration were to try to withdraw the waiver, Sivas thought California would win in court.

"It's pretty clear under the statue that the deference goes to California not to the EPA on whether the waiver is appropriate," she said. "The Congress wrote the statute that way."

The EPA has already concluded both that elevated levels of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere "may reasonably be anticipated to endanger" public health and that emissions from new cars contribute to the dangerous levels of greenhouse gases.

The so-called "endangerment finding" came about after Massachusetts sued the EPA under the George W. Bush administration to force it to regulate carbon dioxide emissions. The U.S. Supreme Court determined that greenhouse gases fit well within the Clean Air Act's "capacious definition of 'air pollutant,'" meaning the EPA had the statutory authority to regulate their emissions from new cars and other vehicles.

When it was challenged, the finding was upheld in a federal court, and the U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear an appeal.

"It is there, and it needs to be enforced and respected," Pruitt said during his confirmation hearing. "There is nothing that I know that would cause it to be reviewed."

Massachusetts — which along with Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont and Washington follow California's lead — is committed to the stricter standards, said Ed Coletta, a spokesman for the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection.

As with California, Massachusetts is relying on lower car emissions to achieve its climate change goals. The administration of Republican Gov. Charlie Baker wants to place 300,000 zero-emission vehicles on the road in Massachusetts by 2025 as part of a multi-state effort.

"Any weakening of those standards would raise concerns about Massachusetts' ability to meet emissions reduction goals and maintain ozone standards," Coletta said.

New York's Department of Environmental Conservation also said it would stick with the California standards to try to reduce greenhouse gas emissions 40 percent below 1990 levels by 2030, and 80 percent by 2050.

"While federal leadership is essential, New York will not stand idly by while clean air protections are eviscerated, and will take any and all actions necessary to ensure public health and our environment are protected," it said.

Meanwhile, the attorneys general of eight of the states plus the District of Columbia and Pennsylvania's Department of Environmental Protection criticized Trump's position as a dramatic wrong turn for the country that would undermine successful efforts to combat pollution.

"An extensive technical study by the Environmental Protection Agency already found that the standards are fully and economically achievable by the auto industry," their March 16 statement said. "Relaxing them would increase the air pollution that is responsible for premature death, asthma, and more – particularly in our most vulnerable communities."

The standards that Trump wants to ease were set in 2012 in an ambitious effort that also created consistency across the country. The agreement, which grew out of an accord that Obama crafted in 2009 after the financial melt-down, brought together the Obama administration, the car manufacturers and the California Air Resources Board. The rules require each company's fleet of vehicles for the model years 2022 through 2025 to achieve on average 54.5 miles per gallon and they enable the manufactures to avoid making two versions of vehicles for different states.

As part of the agreement, the EPA undertook an evaluation mid-way through the period, but expedited its analysis just before Obama's term ended. In November, with Trump about to take office, it announced it would leave the regulations in place.

That decision left many of the car companies crying foul, saying the review had been rushed, and urging Trump to intervene and weaken the standards. Manufactures warned of price hikes over what consumers could pay, and the loss of 1 million automotive jobs, and pointed to the popularity of pickup trucks and other less fuel-efficient vehicles.

"The Trump Administration has created an opportunity for decision-makers to reach a thoughtful and coordinated outcome predicated on the best and most current data," the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers said in a statement after Trump’s announcement.

Now that the review has been reopened, a final decision from the EPA could come as late as April 2018.

Meanwhile in court, the alliance is arguing that the EPA's speeded up review was arbitrary and capricious. California responded by asking the U.S. District Court for the D.C. Circuit that it be allowed to defend the feasibility of the standards in court.

An earlier analysis by the EPA found that the standards would reduce oil consumption by nearly 40 billion gallons of refined gasoline and diesel fuel, decrease greenhouse gas emissions by 540 million metric tons and save consumers more than $1,650 per vehicle, the California politicians said.

"Your action to weaken vehicle pollution standards — standards your own members agreed to —breaks your promise to the American people," Brown wrote to the automobile manufacturers. "Please be advised that California will take the necessary steps to preserve the current standards and protect the health of our people and the stability of our climate."

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Donald Trump Through the Years]]>Fri, 24 Mar 2017 12:34:36 -0400http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/Trumpthumb.jpgWhat Donald Trump's presidency will look like is unclear to many observers. He has not previously worked in politics, and has made contradictory statements on policy issues in several areas during his campaign. Despite the unknowns, Trump has an extensive public profile that, along with his real estate empire and the Trump brand, grew domestically and internationally over the last few decades. Here is a look at the president-elect's personal and career milestones and controversies.

Photo Credit: AP, Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Miami Hero Cop Charged With False Imprisonment, Battery]]>Thu, 27 Apr 2017 11:37:44 -0400http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/013013+miami+police+generic.jpg

A Miami Police Department officer, who at one time was honored by the governor of Florida for heroism, was arrested Thursday on several charges including false imprisonment and battery.

Officer Alexi Figueroa was charged following an investigation by the Miami-Dade Police Department and the State Attorney’s Office. He also faces two counts of simple battery, according to a statement released from Miami Police Chief Rodolfo Llanes.

Figueroa was relieved of duty with pay in February 2016 and will remain that way pending the outcome of his case and the department’s own investigation, Chief Llanes said.

Further details of the case in question have not been released.

In 2013, Figueroa was presented the Medal of Heroism award by Gov. Rick Scott. Figueroa, while off-duty, had stopped a man who was shooting at a Miami-Dade supermarket.

Stay tuned to NBC 6 on air and online for updates.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Missing Girl Found Dead in Ill. Home, Ending 30-Hour Search]]>Thu, 27 Apr 2017 12:01:37 -0400http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/semaj+crosby+found.png

A 16-month-old girl who went missing from her home in a southwest suburb of Chicago was found dead early Thursday morning.

After 30 hours of searching, the body of Semaj Crosby was discovered by local authorities and FBI agents around 12 a.m. inside a home in the 300 block of Louis Road in Joliet Township, according to the Will County Sheriff's Office.

An evidence van could be seen parked outside the home she was found in and yellow crime tape surrounded the area early Thursday.

The house is in the center of what had been a massive search area scoured by more than 100 officers, multiple teams of bloodhounds, divers and volunteers ever since the toddler was reported missing by her mother, Sheri Gordon, on Tuesday evening.

Gordon told authorities her daughter had been playing outside with other children before she wandered away. Semaj was last seen in the yard of the family’s Preston Heights neighborhood home with her cousins that afternoon, around 4 p.m., her mother said.

Early Wednesday morning, the mother came out of her home to speak to NBC 5’s Lauren Petty on the scene and described what she said had happened during a live interview:

“I just want her home with mommy. I just want her home with me,” Gordon said.

Just 40 minutes before Semaj's family said she was playing outside, investigators with the Department of Child and Family Services say they saw the little girl safe at the home. A spokesperson said the agency had visited the home that day and were investigating Gordon for an allegation of neglect.

DCFS investigators checked on the home at about 3:20 p.m., officials said, and all three of the Gordon’s children were there – including Semaj. About three hours later, at about 6:30 p.m., the family reported her missing.

"We have had prior contact with this family including four unfounded investigations for neglect and two prior pending investigation[s] for neglect opened in March 2017," said Veronica Resa, deputy director of communications for DCFS. “There were no obvious hazards or safety concerns at that time. DCFS has been working with the family, offering services since September 2016.”

NBC 5 learned Wednesday that Gordon had hired an attorney as authorities searched fields from helicopters in the air, divers submerged themselves into multiple nearby ponds, and dozens of local residents and volunteers held prayer circles in hopes of finding Semaj safe.

As the search efforts marched past the first full day and Semaj was still nowhere to be found, a tearful Gordon said she was still remaining hopeful for her return.

“That’s my baby girl, that’s my only girl,” she said.

The Will County Sheriff's Office said it was Gordon's attorney that helped authorities get consent to search the home at on Louis Road around 11 p.m. Wednesday, before investigators found the body of the girl an hour later.

The discovery of the girl's body prompted more questions for neighbors reacting to the news of her death early Thursday morning, wondering how the girl could have been found in the same area she was reported missing. 

One man who helped with the search, Adrian Smith, told NBC 5 that he was not surprised she was so close all along. 

“I didn’t think she would have gotten too far… for 16 months [old]?” Smith said. “She wouldn’t have gotten too far anyway, unless somebody came and picked her up. She was only 16 months old.” 

On Wednesday, Semaj’s aunt told NBC 5 the toddler had only learned to walk a few weeks prior and was still wobbly on her feet.

“She just learned to walk, so she can’t get that far,” said Semaj’s aunt Lakershia Crosby. “She’s bow-legged, so every five steps she takes she’s tripping over her feet.”

Authorities have not confirmed that Semaj was found in her own home, but Gordon and other family members were seen walking in and out of the residence during the daylong search on Wednesday.

An autopsy has been scheduled for Thursday to determine the girl’s cause of death.

Photo Credit: NBC 5 / Family Photo
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<![CDATA[Top News: Fox Employees Files Racial Discrimination Case]]>Thu, 27 Apr 2017 08:42:27 -0400http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-673374172.jpgView daily updates on the best photos in domestic and foreign news.

Photo Credit: Spencer Platt/Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[World's Largest Starbucks to Open in Chicago]]>Wed, 26 Apr 2017 19:36:11 -0400http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/Chicago_Roastery_1+%281%29.jpg

The world’s largest Starbucks is coming to Chicago.

The coffee chain announced Wednesday that it will open a Starbucks Reserve Roastery in Chicago on North Michigan Avenue in 2019.

According to the company, the four-story roastery will be a “fully sensorial coffee environment dedicated to roasting, brewing and packaging its rare, small-batch Starbucks Reserve coffees from around the world.”

“Chicago’s Magnificent Mile brings in millions of visitors from across this globe and is the perfect location for a world-class coffee destination,” Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel said in a statement. “This Starbucks Reserve Roastery will be an investment in Chicago and a strong addition to Michigan Avenue, where residents and visitors can enjoy incredible coffees from around the world in a remarkable environment.”

The 43,000-square-foot Starbucks will be located at Michigan Avenue and Erie Street, in the current Crate and Barrel building.

"This building has a unique way of becoming a beacon for a brand, and I can’t think of a better retailer than Starbucks to offer Chicago something new and exciting with its Reserve Roastery,” Gordon Segal, founder of Crate and Barrel, said in a statement.

The interactive space will feature multiple brewing methods, a new menu of coffees and mixology and fresh baking on-site.

It will be the third roastery to open in the U.S. behind the flagship Seattle location, which opened in 2014, and one slated to open in New York in 2018.

“Having opened our first Starbucks store in Chicago nearly 30 years ago, our first outside of Seattle, this is a very special city for me," Howard Schultz, Starbucks' executive chairman, said in a statement. "At the time, it was a true test for Starbucks because the Chicago customer is so savvy and discerning about their coffee." 

Starbucks also revealed plans to open a “Reserve” store in Chicago’s West Loop in 2018.

Photo Credit: Starbucks]]>
<![CDATA[IRS, Postal Inspectors Raid Benny Hinn Ministries]]>Thu, 27 Apr 2017 08:14:39 -0400http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/Benny+Hinn+investigation1.jpg

U.S. Postal Service inspectors and IRS criminal investigators returned Thursday to search the Grapevine offices of prominent televangelist Benny Hinn.

Though NBC 5 crews saw a large number of federal agents walking in and out of the offices with boxes, investigators would not say what they are looking for or even confirm they are investigating Hinn.

Neighbors saw the agents swarm into the building about 9 a.m. Wednesday.

"It looked like a big raid – people everywhere, police people everywhere out there, and just rushing in," said John Ebert, who works next door.

The IRS criminal investigators on scene primarily investigate tax evasion and general fraud against the government.

Investigators said most of the employees had gone home and Hinn himself was not present. According to a schedule posted on his website, Hinn is in Paris, France.

A woman reached by phone at Hinn's offices said no one from the ministry would be making any comments.

Hinn is known around the world for his "Miracle Crusades," revival and faith-healing gatherings broadcast on the televised program "This Is Your Day."

Hinn was one of six well-known televangelists investigated by the Senate Finance Committee beginning in 2007. After more than three years, Hinn and the other pastors involved were cleared of any official wrongdoing.

Hinn said at the time that he complied with tax regulations for religious nonprofits and that following the investigation he made changes to how he ran his ministry and set compensation.

Photo Credit: NBC 5 News/NBC News]]>
<![CDATA['Mayday!' Air Traffic Controllers Tell How They Saved Pilot]]>Wed, 26 Apr 2017 20:51:48 -0400http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/215*120/042617+air+traffic+controllers.jpg

"Mayday! Mayday! I just lost my engines!" A pilot flying over southern Virginia on Easter Sunday 2016 had two failed engines, no working instruments and no visibility. The two air traffic controllers who guided the plane to safety were honored for their expertise. "The recognition is beyond my dreams, however, I never would wish it upon anybody," Rick Wallace said. News4's Kristin Wright reports.

Photo Credit: NBC Washington]]>
<![CDATA[Fossils Show Humans in North America Earlier Than Previously Thought]]>Wed, 26 Apr 2017 23:27:53 -0400http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/mastodon-bones-1992-archives_2.jpg

Fossils uncovered in San Diego 25 years ago show that humans inhabited North America at least 115,000 years earlier than previously thought, according to researchers. 

The San Diego Natural History Museum announced the findings to the public on Wednesday.

“It’s the 130,000 year age of this site that’s the really extraordinary result of our research,” said SDNHM paleontology curator Tom Deméré.

The prehistoric bones were uncovered in November 1992 along the construction site of State Route 54.

Field paleontologist Richard Cerutti carefully worked to extricate the bones of what would soon be known to be a mastodon.

However, the position of other stones and bones in the area created what was described as a “paleo crime scene.”

Scientists soon realized it was an archaeological site, not a paleontological one, that contained preserved evidence of human activity.

“As scientists we follow the evidence no matter where it leads,” said Deméré. “Who would think in this sort of setting we’d make such a startling discovery.”

Sites with evidence of humans in North America are typically around 14,000 years old. Some researchers now believe the San Diego site marks a much older beginning of humans in North America, though that is not definitive.

The site included clusters of rocks believed to have been used as tools. Richard Fullagar of the University of Wollongong, Australia, confirmed stones found at the San Diego site showed the same wear marks as stones used as tools in other sites.

But some are skeptical that the rocks were really used as tools. Vance Holliday of the University of Arizona in Tucson told The Associated Press the paper shows the bones could have been broken the way the authors assert, but they haven't demonstrated that's the only way.

Steve Holen, former curator of archaeology at the Denver Museum of Nature & Science, traveled to San Diego in 2008. His experiments about stone tools were used to determine some of the bone fragments were broken apart in that way.

Holen called the discovery the biggest shock of his scientific career.

“Once I realized in my mind how old this site was, I could not believe that humans were here at that time,” Holen said. “It went against everything I’d ever been taught and everything that I ever thought I knew. It was quite shocking.”

He said they believe the location was a place where humans took bones and made tools. 

In 2011, technological advances enabled Jim Paces of the U.S. Geological Survey to use state-of-the-art radiometric dating methods to date the mastodon bones to 130,000 years old.

“It’s been a long, hard process,” he said. Their results, he said, are based on hundreds of analyses.

“We anticipate people will be curious to see if they can’t replicate those results,” Paces said.

Museum officials said there is no doubt the announcement raises more questions than answers. 

Not all researchers are convinced about the conclusion that humans arrived earlier than previously known. 

"I was astonished not because it is so good and important, but because it is so bad," Donald Grayson, an archaeologist at the University of Washington, wrote in a statement.

Grayson added he feels the "real mystery" is how the report was published in the scientific journal "Nature."

"It is one thing to show that broken bones and modified rocks could have been produced by people, which Holen and his colleagues have done," Grayson wrote. "It is quite another to show that people, and people alone, could have produced those modifications."

Richard Potts of the Smithsonian Institution's National Museum of Natural History, told The Associated Press he doesn't reject the paper's claims outright, but he finds the evidence "not yet solid."

There are plans to begin field surveys looking for other sites of a similar age in geological deposits across Southern California, Holen said. Researchers will also look at museum collections to use similar analysis on those fossils.

Photo Credit: NBC 7
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<![CDATA[Will Trump’s Border Wall Prevent Human Trafficking?]]>Wed, 26 Apr 2017 17:52:18 -0400http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/mexicowall_1200x675.jpg

President Donald Trump has said that his border wall could potentially curb human trafficking, but experts say that isn’t a sure thing, NBC News reported.

Traffickers could use different paths as leverage over their victims if they have trouble getting into the United States, according to one expert. The Department of Homeland Security is unable to comment on whether a border wall could curb human trafficking through the border.

Polaris, a partner of "Blue Campaign," the DHS program to combat human trafficking, keeps records of calls made to Línea Nacional Contra la Trata de Personas and Polaris' National Human Trafficking Resource Center to gain data on trafficking at the border.

Between Sept. 30, 2015 and Aug. 31, 2016, 508 human-trafficking victims were reported. The data also said a majority of traffickers were male adults of Mexican nationality.

Photo Credit: AP, File ]]>
<![CDATA[Cleveland POs Recall Tamir Rice's Shooting in Released Tape]]>Wed, 26 Apr 2017 17:34:07 -0400http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/Tamir_Rice_Vid-149324031944900001.jpg

Footage released nearly two and a half years after the fatal shooting of Tamir Rice, 12, show the reactions of the Cleveland police officers involved in the incident. Timothy Loehmann, the rookie officer who shot Rice, remained stoic throughout the interview. His partner, Frank Garmback, got emotional as he walked through the incident with internal investigators. "I didn't know it was a kid," Garmback said in the interview.

<![CDATA[Cosby Speaks About Sight, 'True Histories' in Rare Interview]]>Wed, 26 Apr 2017 08:57:33 -0400http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-645957880.jpg

Comedian Bill Cosby is blind, he confirmed in a rare interview released Wednesday, in the run-up to his sexual assault trial in suburban Philadelphia.

The interview, published by the National Newspaper Publishers Association Newswire, only features a few quotes from Cosby. He and a public relations expert decided to give the interview to the agency, which focuses on the black community, because they felt the outlet would be more interested in "facts over sensationalism," according to the interview.

It's his first time speaking at length to the press since charges were filed against him for allegedly sexually assaulting a Temple University employee at his home in 2004. Cosby has pleaded not guilty and is free on $1 million bail. He calls the encounter consensual.

His attorneys said in court in November that Cosby is too blind to identify his accusers in photographs. He has been guided into the Montgomery County, Pennsylvania, courtroom for pre-trial appearances.

In the interview, Cosby said he called out to his wife when he woke up one morning without sight, and he also referred to "the true histories" of the United States being different from what is in textbooks.

Cosby also said in the interview that he misses performing: "I think about walking out on stage somewhere in the United States of America and sitting down in a chair and giving the performance that will be the beginning of the next chapter of my career."

His youngest daughter, Evin Cosby, released a statement defending her father as loving and the victim of unproven allegations that were played up because of their salaciousness. Dozens of women have come forward in recent years to allege they were the victims of Cosby's sexual misconduct, which Cosby has denied. He's also argued he can't defend himself against vague accusations stretching back decades.

"The harsh and hurtful accusations of things that supposedly happened 40 or 50 years ago, before I was born, in another lifetime, and that have been carelessly repeated as truth without allowing my dad to defend himself and without requiring proof, has punished not just my dad but every one of us," Evin Cosby wrote.

The trial beings June 5, and the judge expects it to last about two weeks.

Photo Credit: Gilbert Carrasquillo/Getty Images]]>