<![CDATA[NBC 6 South Florida - National & International News]]>Copyright 2018https://www.nbcmiami.com/news/national-internationalhttp://media.nbcnewyork.com/designimages/NBC+6+LOGO+GOOGLE.pngNBC 6 South Floridahttps://www.nbcmiami.comen-usWed, 21 Feb 2018 15:38:00 -0500Wed, 21 Feb 2018 15:38:00 -0500NBC Owned Television Stations<![CDATA[Evangelist Billy Graham, 'America's Pastor,' Dies at 99]]>Wed, 21 Feb 2018 12:50:23 -0500https://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/graham-in-home.jpg

Billy Graham, one of the nation’s most powerful preachers who helped usher evangelical Christianity into the American mainstream through televised sermons, best-selling books, political appearances and stadium revivals, died Wednesday at the age of 99.

The Billy Graham Evangelistic Association confirmed his death to NBC News. Graham, who long suffered from cancer and other ailments, died at his home in North Carolina.

In his final decade, Graham had suffered Parkinson’s disease and loss of hearing and vision, which forced him to substantially retreat from the public eye. He had been hospitalized several times since May 2011 with pneumonia and respiratory problems, most recently on November 20.

President Donald Trump honored Graham on Twitter Wednesday morning, writing, "The GREAT Billy Graham is dead. There was nobody like him! He will be missed by Christians and all religions. A very special man."

In his final years, even when his brown hair transformed to a shock of white and the finger swiping that punctuated his most passionate speeches faded to milder gestures, Graham continued his decades-long legacy of counseling American leaders and using his influence to gently nudge the course of national politics. During 2012 presidential race, Graham prayed with both President Barack Obama and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, as he had with a long string of other presidents and their rivals, but threw his support behind Romney, urging his followers to “vote for biblical values this Nov. 6 and pray with me that America will remain one nation under God.” He also weighed in on the gay marriage debate, urging North Carolinians to vote for a state marriage amendment that would firmly ban same-sex unions—an amendment that passed by a comfortable margin but later made moot by the U.S. Supreme Court ruling. As he always had, he faced criticism from both sides, some decrying his meddling in secular politics, and others arguing that he did not wield his influence more forcefully in one direction or the other.

It was the sort of criticism he had faced throughout his years as an ordained minister that saw the civil rights movement, which he supported, the sexual revolution of the 60s, which he opposed, wars and disease, economic prosperity and decline.

His influence, however, had always been more religious than political and was far less partisan than that of other evangelical leaders of his time. Throughout his career, he developed relationships—often close relationships—with Republican and Democratic presidents. He spent time in Kennebunkport, Maine, with President George H. W. Bush and his family, and was by the Clinton’s side during Bill's tumultuous second term. In an interview with Time magazine, Graham said he tried to emphasize to all the leaders he grew to know and love, the need for them “to have love for the people who were opposed to them.”

Bush remembered his "good friend" in a statement, writing, "Billy Graham was America's pastor. His faith in Christ and his totally honest evangelical spirit inspired people across the country and around the world. I think Billy touched the hearts of not only Christians, but people of all faiths, because he was such a good man. I was privileged to have him as a personal friend. He would come to Maine to visit with Barbara and me, and he was a great sport. He loved going really fast in my boat. I guess you could say we had that in common. Then we would come home and talk about life. He was a mentor to several of my children, including the former president of the United States."

"Rosalynn and I are deeply saddened to learn of the death of The Reverend Billy Graham," former president Jimmy Carter said in a statement. "Tirelessly spreading a message of fellowship and hope, he shaped the spiritual lives of tens of millions of people worldwide. Broad-minded, forgiving, and humble in his treatment of others, he exemplified the life of Jesus Christ by constantly reaching out for opportunities to serve. He had an enormous influence on my own spiritual life, and I was pleased to count Reverend Graham among my advisers and friends."

But those political ties proved problematic when his close friend Richard Nixon resigned in the Watergate scandal, leaving Graham devastated and baffled.

Graham preached to more than 215 million people and is credited with converting more than 2.5 million people to Christianity, according to the Billy Graham Evangelical Association, which he founded in 1950. He crisscrossed the globe, from the Congo to New York City, where he attracted more than 200,000 people in his final “crusade” in 2005. It was Graham who founded Christianity Today to help unify the country’s evangelical movement and made the “My Answer” column a regular feature in more than 200 newspapers. Fifty-six times, Graham earned a spot on Gallup’s list of the top 10 most admired men in the world, surpassing runner-up Ronald Reagan by a massive margin.

William Franklin Graham Jr. was born near Charlotte, N.C. on Nov. 7, 1918. At age 16 he met an evangelist who inspired him to become a preacher and soon enrolled in Bob Jones University, a religious college in Greenville, South Carolina. He continued his studies at Florida Bible Institute and later Wheaton College in Illinois where he met his future wife, Ruth McCue Bell, the daughter of missionaries. His rise to prominence is traced to the front-page coverage that the Hearst newspapers gave to his 1949 Los Angeles revival.

Graham preached about the sinfulness of man, the wrath of hell, but the promise of redemption from a forgiving and loving God. Though some of his views were divisive, his message was often one that encouraged unity and he was therefore often called upon in moments of national tragedy to offer comfort to the grieving. After the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, he addressed the nation from the National Cathedral, proclaiming that “God cares for us, whatever our ethnic, religious or political background may be.”

Graham celebrated his 95th birthday on November 7, 2013, surrounded by hundreds of well-wishers. In a video, that was recorded over the past year and played at the party, Graham delivered what is being characterized as his final sermon. He spoke of Jesus Christ's saving power and expressed concerns about America's future.

"Our country's in great need of a spiritual awakening," he said. "There have been times that I've wept as I've gone from city to city and I've seen how far people have wandered from God."

Graham lost his wife Ruth in 2007 and will be buried by her at the Bill Graham Museum and Library. and is survived by their five children—Virginia Leftwich, Anne Morrow, Ruth Bell, William Franklin and Nelson Edman—19 grandchildren and many great-grandchildren.



Photo Credit: Getty Images, File]]>
<![CDATA[Mueller Asking If Manafort Promised WH Job to Receive Loans]]>Wed, 21 Feb 2018 12:56:48 -0500https://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-869474958.jpg

Federal investigators are probing whether former Trump campaign chair Paul Manafort promised a Chicago banker a job in the Trump White House in return for $16 million in home loans, two people with direct knowledge of the matter told NBC News.

Manafort received three separate loans in December 2016 and January 2017 from Federal Savings Bank for homes in New York City and the Hamptons. Stephen Calk, who was announced as a member of candidate Trump's council of economic advisers in August 2016, is the president of Federal Savings Bank.

Special Counsel Robert Mueller's team is now investigating whether there was a quid pro quo agreement between Manafort and Calk. Manafort left the Trump campaign in August 2016 after the millions he had earned working for a pro-Russian political party in Ukraine drew media scrutiny. Calk did not receive a job in President Donald Trump's Cabinet.

Federal prosecutors said in court filings they have "substantial evidence" that loans made from the bank to Manafort were secured through false representations made by Manafort, including misstatements of income. The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment, and a Calk spokesperson did not return multiple calls and e-mails over a period of several weeks requesting a response.



Photo Credit: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Parkland Shooting Survivor Calls 'BS' on Politicians' Gun Stance]]>Sun, 18 Feb 2018 12:09:47 -0500https://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/DIT+NAT+Emma+Gonzale+THUMB.jpg

Marjory Stoneman Douglas High senior Emma Gonzalez had a message for president Donald Trump and for other politicians on their failure to enact sensible gun laws: "BS." Gonzalez was one of several survivors to speak at a rally held outside the Federal Courthouse in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, to speak out against the gun lobby.

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<![CDATA[These US Athletes Won Medals at the 2018 Winter Olympics]]>Wed, 21 Feb 2018 10:34:36 -0500https://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/gettyimages-921941232_1024.jpgSee which members of Team USA are bringing home gold, silver or bronze in their categories.

Photo Credit: AP/Kirsty Wigglesworth]]>
<![CDATA[Ariz. Couple Denied Adopted Children Food, Water: Officials]]>Wed, 21 Feb 2018 11:38:08 -0500https://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/Arizona_mugshots.jpg

Four children in Arizona were denied access to food and water and from using the bathroom while being locked inside a room by their adoptive parents, authorities said, NBC News reported. 

Benito Gutierrez, 69, and Carol Gutierrez, 64, were booked on charges of child abuse Tuesday after the children were found living in the horrifying conditions, according to a Pima CountySheriff's Office press release.

Police were led to the Gutierrez's home after one of the children escaped through a bedroom window and asked to use a phone at a nearby Family Dollar on Saturday.

The children, whose ages range from 6 to 12, were regularly denied access to food, water, lights, or bathroom facilities for up to 12 hours at a time, according to the release. The kids were removed from the home.



Photo Credit: Pima County Sheriff's Office]]>
<![CDATA[How to Help the Victims of the Florida High School Shooting]]>Tue, 20 Feb 2018 14:25:48 -0500https://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/918647882-Broward-County-School-Superintendent-Robert-Runcie.jpg

Officials are asking that anyone who wants to donate to the victims of Wednesday's deadly school at a South Florida high school use an official account.

The Stoneman Douglas Victims' Fund, named for Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, was created Thursday to "provide relief and financial support to the victims and families of the horrific shooting," according to the GoFundMe page.

It had received just over $250,000 by 2 p.m. ET, about four hours after it was created, with a goal of $350,000.

It was created to be a credible place to donate money in an attempt to prevent, Broward County Schools Superintendent Robert Runcie said.

"Please keep our babies, our families and this entire community in your prayers as we go through this healing process. It's going to take quite a while," he said at a news conference, where he announced the fund had been created.

Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi said she talked to officials at GoFundMe to ensure it is safe to give there.

"They're pulling bad websites off constantly. They're monitoring everything," she said.

Bondi also said that Florida will pay for the victims' funeral expenses.

For those in the Parkland area, another way to help the victims is by donating blood, especially the universal donor type O negative.

A Parkland family also has launched a site selling t-shirts with different slogans, including Douglas Strong and Parkland Strong, for $20 with all profits going to families and victims affected. To purchase a shirt, click on this link.



Photo Credit: Mark Wilson/Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[The Life and Times of Billy Graham]]>Wed, 21 Feb 2018 08:37:52 -0500https://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/graham-in-color.jpgChristian Evangelist minister, Billy Graham, spread the word of God across America and the globe through his sermons and international crusades. Take a look back at his life in photos.

Photo Credit: ASSOCIATED PRESS]]>
<![CDATA[‘I Was Almost a School Shooter’: Man Calls for Gun Reform]]>Tue, 20 Feb 2018 20:04:30 -0500https://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/highschoolGettyImages-919901294.jpg

Following the massacre of 17 students and teachers at a Florida high school last week, a Colorado father of four wrote an open letter Tuesday claiming that the only thing that stopped him from carrying out his own bloodbath 30 years ago was his inability to get a gun.

“I was almost a school shooter,” Aaron Stark wrote in a letter shared with NBC affiliate KUSA. “I am not a school shooter because I didn't have access to guns. Guns don't kill people, people kill people. But people with guns kill lots of people.”

Stark wrote that he felt like an outcast in 1996, when he attended Denver's North High School, where he was allegedly bullied and had a very chaotic childhood. “I was going to try and kill a lot of people and then kill myself,” he said during an emotional interview. “It was not directed at the people, it was directed at myself.”

Stark said later on MSNBC Tuesday afternoon that “we need to have a hard look at the effect that guns have” and said in the aftermath of the shooting people needed to be looking at both mental health and gun reform. He also called for people to show more compassion to others.



Photo Credit: Getty Images
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<![CDATA[White House Admits Russia Meddled in Election, Maintains There Wasn’t Collusion]]>Tue, 20 Feb 2018 17:02:25 -0500https://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/DIT_NAT_WH_BRIEFING_022018-151916323350500002.jpg

Following a series of tweets President Trump sent over the weekend in response to the Parkland, Florida, shooting and the indictment of 13 Russian nationals who tried to sow discord in the 2016 U.S. election, the White House agreed that Russia tried to meddle with the 2016 election but maintained that there was no collusion between Russia and the Trump campaign.

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<![CDATA['No Reason for Assault Rifles': US Biathletes Call for Gun Control]]>Wed, 21 Feb 2018 11:33:33 -0500https://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/usa-bailey-biathlon.jog_.jpg

Four-time Olympian Lowell Bailey shoots a .22 caliber rifle for a living, but following a spate of mass shootings he said he wants the U.S. to "wake up" and ban ordinary citizens from owning assault rifles "designed to kill people."

The biathlete spoke out in favor of gun control on Tuesday after competing in Pyeongchang in the mixed relay. His comments came in reaction to a mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, where a 19-year old former student allegedly gunned down 17 people with an AR-15 last week.

“I support an assault weapons ban,” Bailey told reporters at the Olympics, The Washington Post reported. “I really do. Our country needs to wake up. Our country needs to change. There’s just no excuse. I compete against all of these other World Cup nations — Germany, Norway. How good are they on the range? They’re great at rifle marksmanship. Do you know how strict their gun controls law are? It’s a travesty America hasn’t changed and continues to go down this path. It just makes me want to cry.”

Bailey is not the only U.S. biathlete in favor of the ban.

Susan Dunklee, a two-time Olympian competing in Pyeongchang said she feels sick to her stomach to learn of mass shootings, according to a report in the Burlington Free Press.

“It really takes a lot of the joy I have out of pursuing a sport like this. It’s tough. It’s so important to have responsible use of firearms. It’s a privilege to use a firearm. It’s not just something that any old person should have.”

Tim Burke, another U.S. biathlete at the Winter Games, is also an avid hunter but said, “if locking up all of my sports rifles and my hunting rifles meant saving one life, I would do it,” according to the Post.

The athletes say their sport isn’t about the thrill of pulling a trigger but about marksmanship and mental focus under physical challenges of a cross-country race. 

"We’re a sport that uses a .22-caliber rifle,” Bailey said. "A .22-caliber rifle that shoots a single round is a much different thing than an AR-15. In my opinion, there’s just no reason for assault rifles to be in the hands of ordinary citizens."

Bailey said biathletes from other countries are puzzled by U.S. gun laws and "how we can continue to put assault weapons in the hands of anyone who wants to walk into a gun store and buy one.”

President Donald Trump is open to strengthening background checks, the White House said Tuesday.

A hundred students from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School traveled 400 miles to Florida's capitol in Tallahassee Tuesday to urge action on gun control. Hours before their arrival, the Florida House voted against taking up a bill that would ban assault rifles. Some Republicans in the state's GOP-controlled legislature have said they would consider other measures, The Associated Press reported

Sen. Bill Galvano, the incoming Florida senate president, said an emerging package would raise the age to purchase any firearm to 21, create a firearm waiting period, ban bump stocks and create gun-violence restraining orders.



Photo Credit: USA TODAY Sports
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<![CDATA[Pyeongchang by the Numbers: Vonn Finishes Third]]>Wed, 21 Feb 2018 11:41:13 -0500https://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/vonn_downshill.jpg

Lindsey Vonn races what's likely her last Olympic downhill, American cross-country skiers break a 42-year medal drought and Liechtenstein's sports royalty shines. Here are the Pyeongchang Games by the numbers: 

33 With a bronze finish in the women’s downhill, Lindsey Vonn became, at age 33, the oldest woman to medal in Alpine skiing in the Winter Games. She takes the record from Austria’s Michaela Dorfmeister, who was just shy of her 33rd birthday when she won the downhill and the super-G at the 2006 Turin Olympics. At the Pyeongchang Games, Vonn's friend and rival Sofia Goggia of Italy finished the downhill in a time of 1 minute, 39:22 seconds, beating her by 0.47 seconds. It was Goggia’s first Olympic gold. And keeping Vonn out of second was a surprise performance from Ragnhild Mowinckel of Norway, only 0.09 seconds behind Goggia. Vonn won a gold in the downhill and a bronze in the super-G at the 2010 Vancouver Games, but was forced to sit out Sochi four years later because of injuries. This will likely be Vonn’s last Olympics. "My body just can't, probably can't, take another four years,” she said after the downhill competition. Vonn has dedicated these Olympics to her grandfather, Don Kildow, who died in November. She has one more race, the Alpine combined on Thursday, but she is not a favorite for a medal.


1 Jessie Diggins and Kikkan Randall became the first American cross-country skiers to win a gold medal, coming in first in the women’s team sprint. Their victory comes 42 years after Bill Koch won a bronze in the 30 kilometer race at the 1976 Winter Games, the only other American cross-country skier to capture a medal. Diggins and Randall earned the first-place position after skiing the fastest overall time during the seminfinals.

7 Tina Weirather, the only woman representing the tiny country of Liechtenstein, added to her family’s legacy when she finished third in the super-G. Seven of Liechtenstein’s 10 Alpine skiing medals were won by her family. Her mother, Hanni Wenzel, is a four-time Olympic medalist, with a bronze in slalom in Innsbruck, Austria, in 1976 and gold in slalom and giant slalom and a silver in downhill in Lake Placid in 1980. Her uncle, Andreas Wenzel, has a silver in men’s giant slalom from Lake Placid, and a bronze, again in giant slalom, from Sarajevo in 1984.

3Three men from Team USA qualified for the big air final Wednesday — Kyle Mack, Chris Corning and Red Gerard — with the sport making its debut at these Olympic Games. With 12 men in the final, the United States has a solid shot at snagging a spot -- or more -- on the podium Saturday (Friday night in the U.S.). But one of the sport’s biggest names already has been eliminated. Norway’s Marcus Cleveland, 18, and thought to be one of the strongest contenders for gold, fell on his second run.

 

16 — Heather Bergsma and Brittany Bowe redeemed what had been a disappointing Olympics with a bronze medal in the women’s speedskating team pursuit. Also skating for the U.S. were Mia Manganello and, in the semifinals, Carlijn Schoutens. This is the United States’ first women’s speedskating Olympic medal since 2002, 16 years ago, when Jennifer Rodriguez won bronze in the 1500 meter. Japan broke the Olympic record to win gold in 2 minutes, 53.89 seconds, beating the record previously set by the Netherlands and the team from the Netherlands. The Japanese women have excelled at the Pyeongchang Games, winning five medals.

3-2 The Olympic dreams of the U.S. men’s hockey team were crushed with a 3-2 loss to the Czech Republic. The quarterfinal game ended with a penalty shootout, during which only one player managed to score, Petr Koukal of the Czech Republic. The Czechs move on to play the winner of a match-up between the Olympics Athletes from Russia and Norway, with the gold medal game scheduled for Sunday. The U.S. team was dominated by college students chosen because the National Hockey League refused to allow its athletes to participate in the Olympics. They were hoping to win the U.S.’ first gold medal since the “Miracle on Ice” against the Soviet Union in 1980. Forward Ryan Donato, who attends Harvard University and who scored five goals in the tournament, called the Olympic experience unbelievable.

0.07 The U.S.’s Elana Meyers Taylor and Lauren Gibbs finished second in women's bobsled with a time of 3 minues 22.52 seconds, just 0.07 seconds back from the gold-medal German sled. That’s the slimmest difference between first and second in any Olympic bobsled race. Germany's Mariama Jamanka, who had never won a major international race until now, drove to gold. Canada's Kaillie Humphries teamed with Phylicia George to get third in 3:22.89. It was the third consecutive medal for both Meyers Taylor and Humphries. Meyers Taylor won bronze as a push athlete in 2010 and silver as a driver in 2014; Humphries won gold in each of those Olympic races.

19 Teams from Jamaica and Nigeria also made history in Pyeongchang. The Jamaican bobsled became the first women’s sled from the country to compete in the games. The women finished 19th. Nigerian women became the first African nation to participate in women’s bobsled. They finished 20th. 

10- 4 America’s men’s curling team is headed to its first Olympic semifinals match since 2006 after the team advanced with a 10-4 win against Great Britain in eight ends. The team secured third place with a 5-4 record and a four-time Olympian in skip John Shuster.




Photo Credit: Getty Images
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<![CDATA['They Will Have to Shoot Me': Teacher Recalls Guarding Kids]]>Tue, 20 Feb 2018 14:20:38 -0500https://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/highschoolGettyImages-919901294.jpg

Mary Trizzino, a 65-year-old math teacher at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, had been trained how to secure her classroom during an active shooter situation. But when a gunman actually opened fire in the halls Wednesday, she "broke protocol" to keep kids safe.

Trizzino said she opened her classroom door — something she was trained never to do — to let a group of children and an adult shelter inside. Then, in those harrowing moments that followed, she turned to comfort the students.

"I turned to the kids and I said, 'I want you to know that if anybody comes through that door to harm you, ... they will have to shoot me to get to you, and maybe that will give you a chance,'" Trizzino said on the "Today" show Tuesday, nearly one week after alleged shooter Nikolas Cruz killed 17 students and teachers at the South Florida school.

Known as "Momma Trizzino" to her students, the teacher is just one year away from retirement. She huddled in her classroom with the kids for 90 minutes until a SWAT team came for them. 

The gunman had been walking through the next building over, where English teacher Dara Hass had watched her students take some of the first bullets. In an emotional interview on "Today," Hass described the moments she saw 14-year-old Alex Schachter lying on her classroom floor.

"I went to shut the blinds, and then I turned to say 'Turn the lights off.' When I turned I saw my student. I saw him and he … he was bleeding," Hass said.

"I called 9-1-1 and they asked if I could get to my student that was injured. And I couldn't get over to him."

Schachter died in Hass' classroom, along with fellow freshmen Alyssa Alhadeff and Alaina Petty.

"It's so hard to grasp that I lost their sweet faces," the teacher said.

Like Trizzino, Hass also worked to bring peace to the children she had been educating.

"I figured if I have to go, I'm gonna hug my students closer," Hass said. "And I kissed my students on their head, trying to comfort them."

Hass mourned the young lives she lost that day, saying, "It's not fair that they had to be taken." Honoring Schachter, she read a poem he had written for one of her homework assignments. Because he would never get to submit it to Hass, Schachter's dad had texted the piece to her.

Hass read from her phone:
"Life is like a rollercoaster
It has some ups and downs
Eventually it all comes to a stop
You won't know when or how
But you will know that it will be time to get off and start new"

Hass, Trizzino and the other Stoneman Douglas staff members are scheduled to return to the school Friday for a day "dedicated to meeting staff members’ needs, with a variety of support services," according to a school statement. Students are set to return on Feb. 27 with a modified schedule and support services available.

In the meantime, about 100 Stoneman Douglas students are in Tallahassee Wednesday to meet with the state's Republican-held legislature and rally for sweeping change to Florida's gun-control laws.



Photo Credit: Getty Images
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<![CDATA[Trump Proposes ‘Bump Stock’ Ban]]>Tue, 20 Feb 2018 17:18:41 -0500https://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/DIT+NAT+TRUMP+BUMP+STOCK+BAN+THUMB.jpg

During the Public Safety Medal of Valor award ceremony, President Trump said that he has been in discussions with Attorney General Jeff Sessions on a proposal to ban “bump stocks,” devices that increase the firing rate of semi-automatic guns to match the firing rate of machine guns.

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<![CDATA[Feb. 21 Olympics Photos: US Teams Win Medals, Break Records]]>Wed, 21 Feb 2018 08:23:54 -0500https://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/gettyimages-921941232_1024.jpgFebruary 21 competition highlights from the Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang.

Photo Credit: Nils Petter Nilsson/Getty]]>
<![CDATA[Donald Trump Through the Years]]>Tue, 31 Oct 2017 07:45:00 -0500https://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 his personal and career milestones and controversies.

Photo Credit: AP, Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Trump Calls Assault Claim Fake News, Denies Knowing Accuser]]>Tue, 20 Feb 2018 11:43:53 -0500https://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-917434382.jpg

After spending the weekend criticizing his political opponents in a tweetstorm, President Donald Trump went on the offense again Tuesday — this time denying a sexual assault claim and attacking the "fake news" that published the story.

Trump seemed to be responding to a Monday story in the Washington Post, which took another look at Rachel Crooks' allegation that Trump kissed her without her consent while she was working as a receptionist for a company based in Trump Tower in New York in 2005.

He tweeted: "A woman I don’t know and, to the best of my knowledge, never met, is on the FRONT PAGE of the Fake News Washington Post saying I kissed her (for two minutes yet) in the lobby of Trump Tower 12 years ago. Never happened! Who would do this in a public space with live security......

....cameras running. Another False Accusation. Why doesn’t @washingtonpost report the story of the women taking money to make up stories about me? One had her home mortgage paid off. Only @FoxNews so reported...doesn’t fit the Mainstream Media narrative."

Crooks, now 35, first told her story to the New York Times in October 2016. In her accounts, she describes meeting Trump at an elevator, where he held her hand and kissed her cheeks. Then, Crooks says, he kissed her mouth.

"It felt like a long kiss,” the Post quoted Crooks as saying. "The whole thing probably lasted two minutes, maybe less."

Crooks is one of at least 16 women who has accused Trump of sexual misconduct, ranging from harassment to forcible groping and kissing over several decades. While Trump has repeatedly denied the allegations, Crooks and two other women recently called on Congress to investigate the claims.

Crooks is currently running as a Democrat for a seat in the Ohio state legislature.

Trump's response to the Post's story comes less than a week after he insisted he is "totally opposed to domestic violence of any kind" following the resignation of his former staff secretary, Rob Porter. 

Porter resigned from his White House position on Feb. 7 after two ex-wives accused him of being physically and emotionally abusive during their marriages. Trump at first praised his former aide and the work he did in the White House, tweeting that "peoples lives are being shattered and destroyed by a mere allegation."

One week after Porter's resignation, Trump spoke out and denounced domestic violence, saying, "it almost wouldn't even have to be said."

The president's heated tweets also come in the wake of reports that Trump had consensual affairs with a Playboy model and an adult film star while married to his current wife, Melania Trump. Both affairs are reported to have been covered up by Trump and his allies.

Trump has refrained from personally addressing either affair, but the relationships have been denied in statements from his lawyer and the White House



Photo Credit: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images, File
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<![CDATA[Suicide Rates Spike in Puerto Rico, Five Months After Maria]]>Tue, 20 Feb 2018 19:57:33 -0500https://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/AP_173578185676611.jpg

Exactly five months after Hurricane Maria, new figures show suicide rates in Puerto Rico reached a new high after years of steady drops.

At least 103 people have died by suicide in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria, which ravaged Puerto Rico on Sept. 20. That’s 14 more people than in the same period the year before. Last year ended with a 29 percent increase in suicide cases reported to Puerto Rico’s Department of Health compared to the previous year.

Although the island’s Department of Health has not done a comprehensive study to correlate the spike in suicide rates with Hurricane Maria, experts say that natural disasters have an impact on people’s mental health. A spike in suicidal ideation, which includes thoughts of suicide, shows a marked increase.

"Previous literature shows, and this is in any part of the world, that during the first six months after a hurricane there’s an increase in mental health symptoms," said Glorisa Canino, director of the Behavioral Sciences Research Institute at the University of Puerto Rico.

SUICIDE PREVENTION HELP: The National Suicide Prevention Hotline (1-800-273-8255) is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.



Photo Credit: AP Photo/Carlos Giusti]]>
<![CDATA[By the Numbers: Canadian Ice Dancers Make Olympic History]]>Tue, 20 Feb 2018 11:04:48 -0500https://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/virtue-moir-ap18051158859359-1024.jpg

Canada's Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir skated into Olympic history, the "Shib Sibs" added to their medal count and Team USA advanced in men's hockey. Here are the Pyeongchang Games by the numbers:

206.07 — Canadian Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir became the most decorated skaters in Olympic history Tuesday (Monday night in the U.S.) when they won their third gold in the ice dance. Their dazzling, dramatic skate to music from “Moulin Rouge” earned them a final score of 206.07, a record high. Their fifth Olympic medal broke the tie with Russia’s Evgeni Plushenko and Sweden’s Gillis Grafstorm for most medals in figure skating. They tie the record for most gold medals with Grafstorm, Norway’s Sonja Henie and Soviet Union’s Irina Rodnina.

5-1 — The United States’ men’s hockey team steamrolled Slovakia5-1, to advance in the elimination round. They move on to face the Czech Republic in the quarterfinals. With National Hockey League players absent in the Olympics, Team USA is comprised of mostly college kids who failed to make it into the professional league. 

 

2 — Alex and Maia Shibutani have won a medal at the U.S. Championships for 13 straight years. In Pyeongchang, the siblings helped Team USA take bronze in the team event. The Shib Sibs' sharply choreographed ice dance program to Coldplay was nearly perfect until a shaky lift late in the skate. They finished with their second bronze medal of the games. 


25 — Canadian Cassie Sharpe won her first Olympic gold medal in the women’s halfpipe freeski on Tuesday (Monday night in the U.S.), knocking off Team USA’s defending champion, Maddie Bowman. The 25-year-old scored a 95.80 on her second run. France's Marie Martinod, who won a silver four years ago in Sochi, t secured the same second-place spot on the podium in Pyeongchang, leaving American Brita Sigourney with the bronze medal. Sharpe draws inspiration from a United States Olympian: 17-year-old Chloe Kim.

 

3 — In the women’s freestyle skiing halfpipe final, defending Sochi champion Maddie Bowman fell on all three of her runs. She finished in 11th place with her highest score a 27. Bowman was attempting back-to-back 900s toward the end of her runs, but collapsed on the landing of the second 900 each time. Canada’s Cassie Sharpe won gold with a 95.80.

 

20Exactly 20 years ago, Feb. 20, 1998, American Tara Lipinski beat teammate Michelle Kwan for gold in women’s figure skating. Lipinski became the youngest gold medalist ever to medal in an individual event at the Winter Games at 15 years and 255 days old. She still holds that title.


28 — Norway extended its lead in the Pyeongchang Games medal count, adding its 28th with a gold in the ski jumping team event led by mustachioed Robert Johansson. Norway is moving closer to the all-time record for medals at a single Winter Games, 37. The country already holds the records for overall most gold, silver and bronze medals at Winter Olympics. 

3 — Biathlete Martin Fourcade helped France deliver a come-from-behind gold medal win in the mixed relay. Fourcade has now won three gold medals in Pyeongchang, the first Olympian to do so. 

—Daniel Macht contributed to this story



Photo Credit: 2018 The Associated Press
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<![CDATA[West Point Honors JROTC Cadet as Military Burial Uncertain]]>Tue, 20 Feb 2018 17:37:11 -0500https://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/022018+peter+wang.jpg

The United States Military Academy Preparatory School accepted a Junior ROTC cadet who died valiantly in the Parkland school massacre Tuesday, on the same day his funeral was being held.

As loved ones awaited word on whether a petition for him to receive a military burial would garner enough signatures, West Point posthumously offered 15-year-old Peter Wang admission to the academy. Loved ones say Wang died a hero in his ROTC uniform, and his dream was to attend West Point and serve in the military.

Family and friends of Wang gathered at Kraeer Funeral Home in Coral Springs to say their final goodbyes to the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School student.

"For as long as we remember him, he is a hero," fellow student Jared Burns said.

Friends say Wang was holding a door open so other students could escape, sacrificing himself and getting shot repeatedly as he put others before himself.[[474189153, C]]

"He was like a brother to me and possibly one of the kindest people I ever met," friend Xi Chen said.

The USMA said in a statement that admitting Wang into the school was an appropriate way to "honor this brave young man."

"West Point has given posthumous offers of admissions in very rare instances for those candidates or potential candidate's whose actions exemplified the tenets of Duty, Honor and Country," the statement said.

A White House petition is calling on Congress to give Wang a proper, full honors military burial. The petition had received more than 56,000 signatures by Tuesday but still needs more than 40,000 signatures before it would get a response from the White House.

"His selfless and heroic actions have led to the survival of dozens in the area. Wang died a hero, and deserves to be treated as such, and deserves a full honors military burial," the petition reads.[[474553553, C]]

In a military funeral, tradition calls for the playing of "Taps" and the folding of the American flag.

"He died in uniform and he saved people's lives. He deserves to have a full military burial," friend and fellow JROTC member Victoria Downing said. "I want him to be remembered as a hero because that’s exactly who he was."

Meanwhile, Gov. Rick Scott has ordered the Florida National Guard to honor Wang and the other two JROTC members killed in the shooting at their funerals this week.

It was also announced Tuesday that the three JROTC members would be given the Army Medal of Heroism, which will be presented to their families.

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<![CDATA[Trump Pushes Insurance Sans Pre-Existing Condition Coverage]]>Tue, 20 Feb 2018 13:13:12 -0500https://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/doctorpatient_1200x675.jpg

The Trump administration announced Tuesday that it is moving to expand the use of low-budget temporary insurance, which could offer customers a cut-rate alternative to plans on the Affordable Care Act's exchange, but undermine more comprehensive insurance for others, NBC News reported. 

The proposed rule, which stems from an executive order by President Donald Trump, would allow people to buy short-term plans for up to a year instead of just the three months previously allowed. Unlike the ACA's plans, they are not required to cover pre-existing conditions, cover specific treatments, or provide unlimited benefits.

The plans are normally supposed to cover a brief lapse in coverage, but the order makes it easier to rely on them as primary insurance. Health experts say they're likely to be cheaper, but they could raise premiums for patients who need comprehensive plans through Obamacare by siphoning away young and healthy customers into a separate market.

The administration predicts 100,000 to 200,000 individuals are likely to purchase short-term insurance coverage.



Photo Credit: Getty Images, File]]>
<![CDATA[Donald Trump's Presidency in Photos]]>Sun, 24 Dec 2017 20:26:31 -0500https://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-898118842.jpgTake a look at significant events from President Donald Trump's time in office, including the signing of the travel ban, Neil Gorsuch's appointment to the Supreme Court, the launch of 59 missiles at Syria's government-held Shayrat Airfiled and more.

Photo Credit: NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Marjory Stoneman Douglas Hopes to Resume Classes Feb. 27]]>Tue, 20 Feb 2018 00:18:18 -0500https://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/nikolas-cruz-pasado-017.jpg

Authorities in Florida say Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, the scene of last week's deadly shooting rampage, will remain closed Tuesday and Wednesday. 

The statement released by Broward County Public Schools said Monday it hopes to resume classes at Parkland's Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School on Feb. 27 following a devastating shooting.

Staff members will return to the school on Friday with the day "dedicated to meeting staff members’ needs, with a variety of support services."

On Sunday, the school will hold a voluntary campus orientation for all students and their parents or guardians from 2 p.m. until 5 p.m. – where support services will also be available.

“Our hearts remain with the victims and families impacted by the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School tragedy,” BCPS said in a previous statement. “Across our community, the difficult and emotional recovery process continues, as we struggle to understand this senseless act of violence and find a way to move forward.”

BCPS said it hopes to open the school on a modified schedule Feb. 27.

Broward Superintendent Robert Runcie described the shooting as a "nightmare."

“It is the worst nightmare you can ever have. It’s one of those things you pray you never live to see and experience. And something of this magnitude it’s really hard to put into words. Some days I wake up and hope I can reverse time…is this really happening?” Runcie said.

Runcie said he "loves" the movement started by students to push for gun reform.

"I love it. It seems like we’ve been preparing our kids for some day really stepping up and taking charge," Runcie added. “I’m not in favor of arming teachers with guns, I’m not in favor of arming teachers with guns. The answers can’t be that we are going to introduce more guns in society. We have more guns in this society than we have people.”



Photo Credit: Getty Images/EFE/NBC]]>
<![CDATA[Grocery Retailer Albertsons to Buy Drugstore Chain Rite Aid]]>Wed, 21 Feb 2018 04:44:31 -0500https://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-609770752.jpg

The privately held owner of Safeway, Vons, Acme and other grocery brands is plunging deeper into the pharmacy business with a deal to buy Rite Aid, the nation's third-largest drugstore chain.

Albertsons Companies is offering either a share of its stock and $1.83 in cash or slightly more than a share for every 10 shares of Rite Aid. A deal value was not disclosed in a statement released Tuesday by the companies.

Shares of Rite Aid, which have shed more than half their value over the past year, surged 26 cents, or 12.2 percent, in premarket trading after the deal was announced.

Shareholders of Boise, Idaho-based Albertsons will own more than 70 percent of the combined company, which is expected to trade on the New York Stock Exchange. The companies say the deal should close in the second half of this year, but regulators and Rite Aid shareholders still have to approve it.

Rite Aid Chairman and CEO John Standley will lead the combined company as CEO, while Albertsons leader Bob Miller will serve as chairman. The companies say they will keep headquarters in both Boise and Camp Hill, Pennsylvania, which is where Rite Aid is based.

Albertsons said it will continue to run Rite Aid stand-alone stores, and most of the grocery operator's pharmacies will be rebranded as Rite Aid. Albertsons also runs Jewel-Osco, Shaw's and Acme stores.

Rite Aid Corp. said earlier this year that it runs around 4,400 stores. Larger rival Walgreens had tried unsuccessfully to buy the chain, but the company scuttled that push last year after encountering regulatory resistance. Last September, Walgreens agreed to buy nearly 2,000 Rite Aid locations and some distribution centers for about $4.38 billion. Rite Aid said late last month that it had transferred about 625 stores to Walgreens.



Photo Credit: Getty Justin Sullivan/Getty Images]]>