<![CDATA[NBC4 Washington - National & International News]]>Copyright 2017http://www.nbcwashington.com/news/national-internationalhttp://media.nbcnewyork.com/designimages/WASH+NBC4+BLUE.pngNBC4 Washingtonhttp://www.nbcwashington.comen-usThu, 23 Feb 2017 13:30:23 -0500Thu, 23 Feb 2017 13:30:23 -0500NBC Owned Television Stations<![CDATA[Donald Trump Is CPAC's Conquering Hero, but Tensions Remain]]>Wed, 22 Feb 2017 21:33:17 -0500http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/AP_907826241278.jpg

President Donald Trump is expected to be the headliner at the Conservative Political Action Conference this week in Maryland, where a slew of top White House officials will also appear, NBC News reported.

Trump is set to address the crowd on Friday at the annual showcase, run by the American Conservative Union. Vice President Mike Pence will speak on Thursday, with White House chief of staff Reince Priebus and chief strategist Seve Bannon participating in a panel discussion. Education Secretary Betsy Devos is also on the list of speakers.

This is an opportunity for another victory lap for Trump, who has had a rocky relationship with the conservative showcase. An estimated 9,000-10,000 people are expected to attend, according to a CPAC spokesman.

Trump enjoys strong approval ratings among Republicans, but the difficult lead-up to the event this year is a reminder that the conservative movement is still divided over the president and his ideas.



Photo Credit: AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster]]>
<![CDATA[NY Zoo Giraffe Stream Banned for 'Nudity' Back After Outcry]]>Thu, 23 Feb 2017 12:34:30 -0500http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/giraffe8.jpg

YouTube has apparently restored an upstate New York zoo's livestream of a giraffe preparing to give birth that had been abruptly suspended Thursday after animal activists complained about "nudity and sexual content" in violation of the site's policy. 

More than 20 million had been viewing the cam, placed in the stall of “April” the giraffe at the Animal Adventure Park in Harpursville, in anticipation of the birth of her fourth calf. People from all over the world watched the long-necked animal slink gracefully around her hay-laden home, giddy with excitement.

Suddenly, shortly before 8 a.m., the stream stopped.

The Animal Adventure Park posted on Facebook that YouTube yanked the stream for "nudity & sexual content" and said "Animal Rights Extremists" were responsible.

The post was shared more than 6,200 times within an hour as thousands of commenters voiced frustration over "the miracle of life" being banned from YouTube. At least one person suggested the zoo put clothes on the giraffe. 

In a Facebook live addressing the controversy, the zoo's owner, Jordan Patch, said, "This is a perfect example of why we cannot have nice things."

Patch said it's OK that some animal activists don't agree with the zoo's decision to stream the birth, but that they were wrong to get YouTube to pull it.  

"This has pulled an educational tool away from tens of millions of individuals," he said.

A two-hour stream documenting part of the giraffe's labor was allowed to remain online, though the comment section was rife with angry users demanding YouTube restore the live video. By 9:45 a.m., it was back up. 

YouTube didn't directly respond to the controversy, but clearly delineated policies on its site ask users to flag content they believe violates standards. The site has an appeals process in place for users, and if content is removed in error, YouTube works quickly to reinstate it.

Giraffes are pregnant for 15 months. Labor will last anywhere from a few hours to a few days. The calf will be about 150 pounds and 6 feet tall at birth and up and walking in about an hour. The zoo says it will hold a contest to name the calf.

Though it'll be 15-year-old April's fourth calf, it'll be a first for 5-year-old dad Oliver, the zoo says. 


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<![CDATA[Top News Photos: Pipeline Protest Fires, Fleeing Mosul ]]>Thu, 23 Feb 2017 10:27:22 -0500http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-643812162-Standing-Rock.jpgView daily updates on the best photos in domestic and foreign news.

Photo Credit: Stephen Yang/Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Policing the Schools]]>Tue, 21 Feb 2017 10:54:48 -0500http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/policing-schools-th.jpg

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<![CDATA[White Nationalist Richard Spencer Kicked Out of CPAC]]>Thu, 23 Feb 2017 12:47:09 -0500http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/richardspencerfeuerherdII.jpg

Richard Spencer, the white nationalist who popularized the term "alt-right," was kicked out of the Conservative Political Action Conference Thursday after holding an impromptu press conference in a hallway where the gathering is being held. 

"He is not welcome here," a spokesman for CPAC told NBC News.

Spencer said he was initially given credentials to attend the conference, but they were taken from him after he spoke to reporters in the hallway of the Maryland convention center. 

Spencer has espoused racist and anti-Semitic views, and reiterated those thoughts in a brief interview with NBC as he was leaving CPAC.

He told NBC race plays a major role in identity and that he believes whites are becoming a persecuted minority in the United States. 

Spencer also said he thinks CPAC attendees and younger conservatives would rather hear what he has to say, rather than establishment Republicans. 



Photo Credit: Getty]]>
<![CDATA[Super-Soaking Storms Cut Severe Drought to 4 Percent]]>Thu, 23 Feb 2017 11:27:47 -0500http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/222*120/02-23-2017-drought.jpg

More than 80 percent of California is no longer in drought after a series of winter storms, including last week's hourslong soaker in Southern California.

About 17 percent of the state remains in drought, according to this week's U.S. Drought Monitor report, the first since last Friday's powerful storm. That's a dramatic turnaround from one year ago when 94 percent of the state was in drought during an historic five-year dry spell.

This week's report even showed improvement for parts of Southern California that have been struggling to escape severe drought.

"Santa Barbara and Ventura Counties, which have been the epicenter of drought in California in recent weeks, received much-needed rainfall," according to the Drought Monitor report.

More than 8 inches of rain was reported at two stations near Santa Barbara, one of several Southern California communities that were hammered Friday by one of the state's strongest storms in years. This week's report shows only 4 percent of the state in severe drought, affecting areas in Santa Barbara and Ventura counties, and extreme southeastern California.

Last week, 7 percent of California was in severe drought. 

At this time last year, 82 percent of California was in severe drought. The Monitor features four drought categories -- moderate, severe, extreme and exceptional. No part of the state is in extreme drought for the first time since August 2013. 

"Generally a one-category improvement to drought conditions was made from central California to the Los Angeles basin," according to the Monitor report.

Santa Barbara County's Cachuma Lake serves as a bellwether for just how dramatic the turnaround has been over the last year. The reservoir rose 24 feet in just one day, bringing the lake to 42 percent of capacity.

Early this month, Cachuma Lake, which has not reached 50 percent capacity since 2014, was at 15 percent of capacity.

The storms, produced by atmospheric rivers that pull streams of moisture up from the tropics, have boosted the state's critical Sierra snowpack and reservoir levels. The Sierra Nevada snowpack is 186 of average, a good sign for spring when that snow melts and runs into the state's water reservoirs ahead of the dry summer months.

In a dramatic turnaround for California from last winter, when reservoir levels were significantly lower and the site of the Sierra snowpack survey was a dry patch of grass, the storms have produced flooding in Nothern California. Some residents returned home Wednesday in San Jose after being evacuated when a bloated creek carrying engine fuel and sewage water flooded thousands of homes.

With water levels from Coyote Creek receding late Wednesday, officials said some of the 14,000 evacuated residents would be allowed to return home, although an evacuation order remained for parts of the city. Authorities warned residents to be careful about hygiene and handling food that may have come into contact with flood water.

Flood warnings were in place until Saturday because waterways were overtaxed, and another storm was forecast Sunday.

Authorities also reopened two lanes of U.S. 101 south of San Francisco after it was closed because of flooding. The California Highway Patrol closed all lanes in both directions at 4:40 a.m. Wednesday when water spilled into a low point on the freeway.

There is no estimate when the key commuter artery will fully reopen.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.



Photo Credit: USGS
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<![CDATA[Who's Who in Trump's Brain Trust]]>Wed, 07 Dec 2016 10:48:52 -0500http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/223*120/trump-cab-adv-th.jpgHere's a look at the people who will be closest to Donald Trump in the White House, his advisers and his picks for the top jobs in his administration. The nominees for Cabinet positions will need Senate approval.
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<![CDATA[Some San Jose Residents Return to Waterlogged Homes]]>Thu, 23 Feb 2017 13:07:26 -0500http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/180*120/GettyImages-643917336%281%29.jpg

Some residents returned home to sort through waterlogged furniture, toys and clothing after being abruptly evacuated when a surging creek carrying engine fuel and sewage water inundated thousands of homes in San Jose.

With water levels from Coyote Creek receding late Wednesday, officials said some of the 14,000 evacuated residents would be allowed to return home, although an evacuation order remained for parts of the city. Authorities warned residents to be careful about hygiene and handling food that may have come into contact with flood water.

"The water is not safe,'' San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo said. "There is contamination in this water and the contamination runs the gamut."

Residents in knee-high rubber boots waddled through inundated street to get to their homes, passing by cars submerged in muddy water.

Victor Chen, his two children, ages 8 and 10, and his wife evacuated Tuesday night and returned to their home on 21st Street earlier Wednesday.

"It's really tough to see. A home is all we worked for, and our family is all here," Chen, 42, told the San Francisco Chronicle. "And we had to leave it behind when the water was rising."

Toys, extra mattresses, a TV, bikes and clothing were all ruined after the garage, dining room and one of the children's bedrooms were flooded.

Liccardo acknowledged that the city failed to properly notify residents to evacuate during a flood emergency early Wednesday when some people said they got their first notice by seeing firefighters in boats in the neighborhood.

"If the first time a resident is aware that they need to get out of their home is when they see a firefighter in a boat, that's a failure," Liccardo said at a news conference. "We are assessing what happened in that failure."

Liccardo declined to go into detail, saying there would be time for reflection after the emergency was over.

Updated maps showing the evacuation areas were being posted on the mayor's website.

Flood warnings were in place until Saturday because waterways were overtaxed, and another storm was forecast Sunday.

Meanwhile, officials have closed two evacuation centers set up for residents forced to leave their homes two days ago because of floods.

The centers were places where evacuated people could get food and water and rest. Two overnight shelters remained open and people there were trying to find out if they would be allowed to go home.

A steady of stream of people, like resident Marnie Scharmer, stopped by the centers dropping off donations of clothing and toys for the children.

“My heart just goes out to the victims of the flooding, so last night my son and I went through our closets and grabbed what we could to help out,” Scharmer said.

The city began alerting residents of the flood situation on Tuesday via social and mainstream media and sending emergency alerts to those who had signed up for it, said city spokesman Dave Vossbrink.

When water levels changed dramatically overnight, they sent police and firefighters door-to-door during the dramatic overnight evacuation.

 "It was scary," said Irma Gonzalez, 59, whose two-story apartment complex is alongside the creek. She was awakened about 2:30 a.m. by police pounding on her door. "They were like, 'You've got to hurry up and go! Move it!'"

Gonzalez spent the night at her sister's house and said she was thankful for the wakeup call and evacuation. "It's better than to wake up and have water coming in."

Several residents faulted the city for failing to provide proper warnings.

"The city dropped the ball on making sure that people were notified of the potential impact of this flood," said resident Jean-Marie White, whose house and backyard were flooded. "Nobody had any clue.''

The flooding also stranded more than two dozen horses who were expected to be rescued from ranches Thursday after standing for two days in water if the water receded enough so authorities could get to them.

Bob Benjamin, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service, said the water level in 30-mile long Coyote Creek reached a 100-year high during this week's storm.

Downpours in the past few weeks have saturated the once-drought-stricken region and wreaked havoc for residents. At least four people have died as a result of the storms throughout the state in the past week.

Assistant San Jose City Manager Dave Sykes said officials first became aware of the rising water late Tuesday when firefighters began evacuating about 400 people from a low-lying residential area.

City officials did not believe the waters would spread to other neighborhoods and did not expand the evacuation orders.

Coyote Creek flooded after Anderson Dam in Santa Clara County reached capacity during heavy weekend rains.

Managers of the dam are taking advantage of a break in the storms to draw down the reservoir, which is supposed to be limited to 68 percent of capacity because of earthquake concerns but is now at 100 percent, said Jim Fiedler, a chief operating officer at the Santa Clara Valley Water District.

He said it could take nine weeks to bring it down to normal levels. Inspectors in 2010 discovered the dam is vulnerable to a major quake and $400 million is being spent to make it earthquake-proof by 2024.

AP writers Kristin J. Bender and Jocelyn Gecker in San Francisco, Scott Smith in Fresno and Amanda Lee Myers in Los Angeles contributed to this report.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Trump's Cabinet Picks In Their Own Words]]>Mon, 09 Jan 2017 18:41:48 -0500http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/AP_16345069714951-Trump-Wisc-win.jpg

President-elect Donald Trump promised to repeal Obamacare, defeat ISIS, withdraw from the Paris Climate Agreement, create 25 million jobs over the next decade and "drain the swamp" in Washington, D.C. How well do his Cabinet nominees reflect his governing philosophy? Here they are in their own words. 

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The retired neurosurgeon and unsuccessful candidate for the Republican nomination grew up in Detroit and has no experience in elected office or in running a large bureaucracy.

"These government-engineered attempts to legislate racial equality create consequences that often make matters worse. There are reasonable ways to use housing policy to enhance the opportunities available to lower-income citizens, but based on the history of failed socialist experiments in this country, entrusting the government to get it right can prove downright dangerous."The Washington Times, 2015

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Former secretary of labor under President George W. Bush, deputy transportation secretary under President George H.W. Bush, Chao is married to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.

"If vehicles already meet an acceptable level of safety on a particular aspect of vehicle performance without being required to do so by regulation, I believe the Department should devote its resources to other issues rather than engage in rulemaking simply to affirm the existing level of safety."Statement before DOT deputy secretary confirmation hearing, 1989

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A keen advocate for school vouchers and charter schools, influential in Detroit, where charter schools have a poor record and state legislators rejected calls for more oversight, she engages in political battles to help advance God's kingdom, she told a religious gathering in 2001.

"We are stuck in a partisan rut. The political parties are dead-enders when it comes to education revolution. As long as we think political parties might solve the problem it will never be solved. Oddly enough education choice is very unique in that some conservative Republicans and some liberal Democrats are actually on the same wavelength….But those are exceptions. The vast majority of the political class is committed to defending and protecting the status quo." — SXSW in Austin, 2015

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The governor of South Carolina and the daughter of immigrants from India, Haley led the drive to remove the Confederate flag from the statehouse and during the Republican primary accused Donald Trump of "irresponsible talk."

"During anxious times, it can be tempting to follow the siren call of the angriest voices. We must resist that temptation." -- Speaking of Donald Trump and others in the Republican response to President Barack Obama’s State of the Union speech, 2016

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A retired four-star Marine general, he oversaw the Guantanamo Bay military prison and efforts to stop drug trafficking and other smuggling into the United States.

"In my opinion, the relative ease with which human smugglers move tens of thousands of people to our nation’s doorstep also serves as another warning sign: These smuggling routes are a potential vulnerability to our homeland. As I stated last year, terrorist organizations could seek to leverage those same smuggling routes to move operatives with intent to cause grave harm to our citizens or even bring weapons of mass destruction into the United States."Testimony to the Senate Armed Forces Committee, 2015

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Nicknamed "Mad Dog," the retired Marine Corps general and former commander of U.S. Central Command blames President Barack Obama's policy in the Middle East for adding to the rise of extremism.

"Is political Islam in the best interest of the United States? I suggest the answer is no but then we need to have the discussion. If we won't even ask the question, then how to we ever get to the point of recognizing which is our side in the fight. And if we don't take our own side in this fight we're leaving others adrift."— The Heritage Foundation, 2015

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Donald Trump's campaign finance chairman, a former partner at Goldman Sachs, and Hollywood financier, he and partners took over failed mortgage lender IndyMac Bank and operated it under the name, OneWest Bank. He pledged to tackle mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

"It makes no sense that these are owned by the government and have been controlled by the government for as long as they have. In many cases this displaces private lending in the mortgage markets, and we need these entities that will be safe. So let me just be clear— we'll make sure that when they're restructured, they're absolutely safe and they don't get taken over again. But we've got to get them out of government control." — Fox Business, November

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Perry, the former governor of Texas, has promoted the state's oil industry and has questioned climate change. He has advocated eliminating the department he would head though famously could not name it during a presidential debate in 2012.

"I do believe that the issue of global warming has been politicized. I think there are a substantial number or scientists who have manipulated data so that they will have dollars rolling into their projects. I think we're seeing, almost weekly or daily, scientists are coming forward and questioning the original idea that manmade global warming is what is causing the climate to change. Yes, our climate has changed. They've been changing ever since the earth was formed." -- Town Hall in Bedford, N.H., 2011

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Republican congressman from Georgia, an orthopedic surgeon and persistent critic of Obamacare, he has repeatedly introduced his own legislation for replacing it.

"It's a fundamental philosophical difference that we have with the other side …. They believe that government ought to be in control of health care. We believe that patients and families ought to be in control of health care. And sadly what we're seeing right now is that government control that we've seen ramped up over the past six or seven years has resulted in a decrease in quality that's being seen by patients. People have coverage, but they don't have care. They're priced out of the market." American Enterprise Institute, June

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Attorney general of Oklahoma, one of the Republicans leading the legal fight against President Barack Obama's attempts to curb carbon emissions, Pruitt questions how much human actions are contributing to climate change, a point disputed by the vast majority of the world's climate scientists.

"Healthy debate is the lifeblood of American democracy, and global warming has inspired one of the major policy debates of our time. That debate is far from settled. Scientists continue to disagree about the degree and extent of global warming and its connection to the actions of mankind. That debate should be encouraged — in classrooms, public forums, and the halls of Congress. It should not be silenced with threats of prosecution. Dissent is not a crime." — with Alabama Attorney General Luther Strange, Tulsa World, May

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The CEO of CKE Restaurants, the fast-food company that owns burger chains Carl's Jr and Hardee's, Puzder is an opponent of the Affordable Care Act, which he said created a "government-mandated restaurant recession" and of raising the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour, which he argues would lead to fewer jobs.

"I like our ads. I like beautiful women eating burgers in bikinis. I think it's very American. I used to hear, brands take on the personality of the CEO. And I rarely thought that was true, but I think this one, in this case, it kind of did take on my personality." Entrepreneur, 2015

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Turnaround specialist who became rich buying struggling steel, textile, coal and other companies and restructuring them, Ross came under criticism for a deadly explosion at a mine his company had bought.

"Clinton will raise taxes. Trump will cut taxes. Clinton will increase regulation. Trump will decrease regulation. Clinton has vowed to kill the coal industry. Trump will leverage America's energy resources to create new jobs and growth." — with Trump adviser Peter Navarro, CNBC, August

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U.S. senator and former U.S. attorney from Alabama who failed to win confirmation to a federal judgeship because of concerns about racially charged comments he was accused of making, he has opposed immigration reform and the legalization of marijuana.

"You have to have leadership from Washington. You can't have the president of the United States of America talking about marijuana like it is no different than taking a drink, saying I used marijuana when I was in high school and it is no different than smoking. It is different. And you are sending a message to young people that there is no danger in this process. It is false that marijuana use doesn't lead people to more drug use. It is already causing a disturbance in the states that have made it legal. I think we need to be careful about this."Senate floor speech, April 2016

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Tillerson, the CEO of ExxonMobil, has what he has called "a very close relationship" with Russia's Vladimir Putin, which could be problematic during his confirmation hearing. Although he does not have a political or diplomatic background, he has broad experience negotiating deals for ExxonMobil in troubled spots around the world.

"We do not support sanctions, generally, because we don't find them to be effective unless they are very well implemented comprehensively and that's a very hard thing to do," he said, adding, "We always encourage the people who are making those decisions to consider the very broad collateral damage of who are they really harming with sanctions."ExxonMobil shareholders' meeting, 2014.

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Montana's sole representative in the House, Zinke would end a moratorium on federal coal leases on public lands. He is also a hunter and fisherman who opposes transferring public lands to the states.

"It's not a hoax, but it's not proven science either. But you don't dismantle America's power and energy on a maybe. We need to be energy independent first. We need to do it better, which we can, but it is not a settled science."Campaign debate, 2014

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Photo Credit: AP
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<![CDATA[Treasury Secretary: Expect Tax Overhaul by August]]>Thu, 23 Feb 2017 10:21:01 -0500http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/632094848-Steve-Mnuchin-Senate-Hearing.jpg

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Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin says he would like to see "very significant" tax reform passed before Congress’ August recess, CNBC reported.

In his first television interview since assuming office, Mnuchin told CNBC Thursday that he’s been working closely with leadership in the House and the Senate to get the ball rolling.

Mnuchin said the administration is mostly focused on a middle income tax cut — a pledge that President Donald Trump ran his campaign on. Trump has promised to release a tax plan in the coming weeks.

Mnuchin added that simplification for business is another focus of the administration’s, and said that he’s focused on canceling out any tax cuts for the wealthy with closed loopholes. He said the administration's tax plan should be judged by the economic growth it could create, rather than by the how much tax revenue drops.



Photo Credit: Getty Images
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<![CDATA[Host of Documents Still Missing From White House Website]]>Thu, 23 Feb 2017 10:12:12 -0500http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/whitehouseatnightfeuerherd.jpg

Public-facing documents scrubbed from the White House's website shortly after President Donald Trump was inaugurated — including White House visitors' logs, waivers of ethics regulations and a host of other records — still haven't been replaced, fueling advocates' concerns about the new administration's transparency, NBC News reported.

During the first week of February, 31 databases — reporting legally mandated White House payroll reports to Congress, budget documents, White House visitor records and public response documents — were removed from the White House Open Data portal, the platform created to disclose information about 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue and its operations.

The previous presence of the documents was confirmed through publicly available archived versions. Some of the data, preserved by the National Archives and Records Administration, are also available on the White House website of former President Barack Obama.



Photo Credit: Getty]]>
<![CDATA[Study Builds Case Linking Autism, Infections During Pregnancy]]>Thu, 23 Feb 2017 07:14:39 -0500http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/180*120/embarazo22588.jpg

Women with active genital herpes infections early in their pregnancy were twice as likely to have a child with autism than women who did not, according to a study released Wednesday.

NBC News reported that the study, published in the journal mSphere, adds to evidence that some cases of autism may be caused by the mother's immune response to infections.

The team from Columbia University and the Norwegian Institute of Public Health believe that the mother's reaction to herpes infection may be crossing the placenta and affecting the fetus' developing brain. A 2013 study found a similar rise in autism rates in pregnant women who had flu.

"We are now looking at other triggers. We think that a wide range of different types of infections can cause this," said Dr. Ian Lipkin, a Columbia epidemiologist and infectious disease expert who oversaw the research.



Photo Credit: Media for Medical/UIG via Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[$5.8M Settlement Over Keurig Machine Burn Reporting]]>Thu, 23 Feb 2017 08:34:33 -0500http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/keurig11.jpg

The maker of Keurig coffee brewers agreed this week to pay a $5.8 million penalty after allegedly failing for years to report a defect that caused more than 100 burns, according to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission.

Vermont-based Keurig Green Mountain recalled 6.6 million of its Keurig MINI Plus brewers in December 2014. Keurig received about 200 reports of water, coffee or coffee grounds overheating and spraying out of the device during brewing between 2010 and 2014, the CPSC said in a news release.

Some of the more than 100 injury reports received involved second- and third-degree burns, according to the CPSC.

Two people reported facial scarring and one reported an eye injury, according to a settlement filing that says Keurig did not report to the CPSC when a retailer brought incidents to its attention.

Keurig's settlement was announced on Tuesday. It does not constitute an admission of guilt of the charges, but the company did agree to create a compliance program to ensure it complies with federal product safety law, the CPSC said.

At the time of the recall, Keurig offered free repairs to the MINI Plus coffee brewers.



Photo Credit: CPSC]]>
<![CDATA[Trump Admin Lift Fed Guidelines on Transgender Bathroom Use]]>Wed, 22 Feb 2017 19:23:59 -0500http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/Politics160222_MP4-148779938212700001.jpg

The Trump administration lifted federal guidelines for bathroom use that allowed transgendered students to use public school bathrooms and locker rooms matching their chosen gender identity enacted during President Barack Obama's era on Wednesday, in a stark reversal of President Donald Trump's stance on the issue as a presidential candidate. Trump had supported use of facilities based on chosen gender identity as a candidate. 

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<![CDATA[The Fight Over Dakota Access Pipeline at Standing Rock]]>Wed, 22 Feb 2017 16:21:04 -0500http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-643812166.jpgAfter a winter of protests from Native Americans and activists at the Oceti Sakowin Camp on the edge of the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation in North Dakota trying to halt the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline, newly-elected U.S. President Donald Trump moved to advance construction of the Keystone XL and Dakota Access oil pipelines.

Photo Credit: Stephen Yang/Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Morgue Holding Kim Jong Nam’s Body Has Break-In Attempt]]>Wed, 22 Feb 2017 16:02:58 -0500http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/AP_17045430318274.jpg

Armed guards have begun 24-hour security around the Malaysian morgue where North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un's estranged half-brother Kim Jong Nam's body is being kept after an alleged break-in attempt, officials said Wednesday.

Since Kim Jong Nam's death on Feb. 13, no claims have been made to the body, but police have asked for DNA samples from a relative to ensure that it is in fact Kim Jong Nam.

Dental records and finger prints are currently being used to identify the corpse, the hospital carrying out the post-mortem examination confirmed to NBC News.

Malaysian officials said they do not believe the North Koreans were behind the forced entering — a suspect has been identified but they didn't release any information about the person.

It's also not clear what Malaysian officials classify as a "break-in."



Photo Credit: AP Photo/Shizuo Kambayashi, File]]>
<![CDATA[Reality TV Star Charged in Rhino Horn Smuggling Scheme]]>Wed, 22 Feb 2017 15:53:58 -0500http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/rhino+horn+generic+file.jpg

A Beverly Hills auctioneer and star of a short-lived reality TV show has been indicted in Manhattan for allegedly conspiring to smuggle rhinoceros horns in a years-long trafficking scheme, prosecutors said Wednesday. 

Jacob Chait, the Director of the natural history department and head of acquisitions at I.M. Chait Gallery/Auctioneers, appeared in court Tuesday to face the charge in violation of the Lacey Act, a 1900 law that bans illegal wildlife trafficking. It wasn't immediately clear if Chait, who played himself in six episodes of the 2012 Discovery series "Final Offer," entered a plea. 

A rhinoceros horn is worth more per pound than gold due to the high demand in Asia and increasing scarcity of supply, officials say. The trade has been restricted since 1976 under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), a treaty signed by over 180 countries around the world. 

According to the indictment, the 34-year-old Chait and his co-conspirators allegedly were involved in the dealing, or attempted dealing, of at least 15 rhinocerous horns worth about $2.4 million between 2009 and 2012. In one case, Chait allegedly smuggled two endangered black rhino horns to China in his luggage. 

"Rhinoceros have no known predators other than humans, and yet, driven by the illegal trade in their horns, literally worth more than their weight in gold in the black market, rhinoceros are on their way to extinction," Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said in a statement. 

The indictment stems from an ongoing nationwide crackdown by the Department of the Interior's Fish and Wildlife Service and the Department of Justice on illegal trafficking in rhino horns and other wildlife crimes. 

The single count Chait faces carries a maximum sentence of five years in prison. The name of his attorney wasn't immediately available.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>