<![CDATA[NBC4 Washington - National & International News]]> Copyright 2016 http://www.nbcwashington.com/news/national-international http://media.nbcbayarea.com/designimages/WASH+NBC4+BLUE.png NBC4 Washington http://www.nbcwashington.com en-us Thu, 11 Feb 2016 12:06:59 -0500 Thu, 11 Feb 2016 12:06:59 -0500 NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA[Bitter Cold Could Break Records Valentine's Day]]> Thu, 11 Feb 2016 12:04:29 -0500 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/cold+weather2.jpg

Lovers, snuggle up. Millions of people from New England to Florida will be in the path of an Arctic blast this weekend, with possible record lows predicted for Valentine's Day.

The Northeast will register single-digit and sub-zero temperatures: In New York, the wind chill could get as low as negative 15 degrees Sunday morning, forecasters said.

According to the Weather Channel, the Northeast will likely see its coldest temperatures of the winter so far, The Weather Channel reported. Subzero cold is also expected in parts of the Midwest, forecasters added.

Meanwhile, in California and Arizona, it could get into the 70s and 80s, the National Weather Service said.

<![CDATA[ICYMI: 5 Things to Know From the NH Primary]]> Thu, 11 Feb 2016 11:06:01 -0500 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/Spotlight-Graphic-5Things-Th.jpg Here's a quick summary of what happened on Tuesday night at the New Hampshire primary.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Repairs After Balcony Collapse]]> Thu, 11 Feb 2016 09:43:16 -0500 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/AP543125309084.jpg

Inspections performed in the wake of last summer's deadly balcony collapse near the University of California, Berkeley revealed more than 400 buildings with balconies, stairways, decks and landings in need of reair, according to a city report released Wednesday afternoon.

Six students were killed — including five from Ireland and one from Rohnert Park — and seven others were injured June 16 when a balcony broke off a downtown Berkeley apartment building during a woman’s 21st birthday celebration.

Wednesday's report notes that Berkeley wanted to respond "swiftly following the tragic collapse of the 4th floor balcony" at 2020 Kittredge Street, known as the Library Gardens apartments, and develop code amendments to "reduce the likelihood that a catastrophic collapse" could occur again.

Problems ran the gamut from minor water intrusion to major leaks, according to the report. The city had 2,200 such buildings with "weather-exposed elements," and inspectors found that 402 needed fixes. The story was first reported by Berkleyside.

Property owners were given 90 days to make the fixes and city spokesman Matthai Chakko said "most" had been completed.

The city council in July required the inspection of all weather-exposed exterior elements in properties with at least three units and ordererd that subsequent inspections take place every three years.

Berkeley also stiffened requirements for building materials and venting in order to make inspections easier to conduct and improve airflow to elements that could be impacted by water damage and other problems.

City staff sent out nearly 6,090 letters to property owners of multi-family buildings to inform them of the new inspection rules. The city received responses to about 4,400, or 72 percent of the letters that were sent, the report notes.

The Alameda County district attorney launched a criminal investigation last year into the cause of the balcony collapse. The DA’s office has not released any information about the probe since its initial announcement in June.

Teresa Drenick, spokeswoman for the office, confirmed Wednesday to Berkeleyside that the investigation is ongoing. 

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[See Photos of NH Primary Vote]]> Wed, 10 Feb 2016 08:18:40 -0500 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-509278698-bernie-sanders-new-hampshire.jpg Voters in New Hampshire took to their polling places to cast their ballots on Tuesday, Feb. 9, 2016.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[U.S. Stocks Tumble Amid Global Sell-Off]]> Thu, 11 Feb 2016 09:31:27 -0500 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/206*120/AP_20200337636.jpg

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


The Dow Jones industrial average was about 190 points lower by midmorning trading after briefly falling more than 250 points in premarket trading.


The S&P 500 was up 6 points from its negative 30 slump at the opening bell. The financial sector fell nearly 2.5 percent, on track for its first five-day losing streak since August.

The Nasdaq composite fell 0.5 percent, as biotechnology stocks and several technology stocks fell.

In midmorning trading, U.S. crude was 49 cents lower, or 1.7 percent, at $26.96 a barrel.

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Trump Won Despite Ignoring NH's Famed Retail Politics]]> Thu, 11 Feb 2016 07:31:53 -0500 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-509216262.jpg

The governors competing for the Republican presidential nomination all tried to outdo each other in time spent in New Hampshire, staking their campaigns on an electorate more moderate and less religious than in Iowa. But when the polls closed on the country's first primary, it was the candidate who barely stopped for a cup of coffee in the Granite State making the victory speech.

Businessman Donald Trump, who skipped much of the retail politics for which New Hampshire is known, the intimate meet-and-greets at diners, in living rooms and at town meetings, came out on top with 35 percent of the vote. He captured the lead when he announced he was running and held it throughout the race.

Ohio Gov. John Kasich, who finished second, and former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, who finished fourth, both left New Hampshire for the next contest in South Carolina, while New Jersey’s Gov. Chris Christie, so often in New Hampshire that he was criticized for ignoring his own state’s problems, was dropping out.

“If you look at [Trump's] circumstances, you could say that spending time in the state doesn’t matter, and when he did come it was for very large rallies where there was no give-and-take between the candidate and the citizens,” said Linda Fowler, a professor of government at Dartmouth College. “On the other hand, John Kasich really did show that retail politics can still make a difference.”

Kasich began with 2 percent of the voters and ended up with 16 percent in a very crowded field, she said. The governor of a swing state who ran a campaign based on issues instead of insults, he was able to capitalize on his appeal to moderates unhappy with Trump and U.S. Sens. Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio, exit polling showed.

The outspoken Christie, meanwhile, was overshadowed by the even more brash and controversial Trump, and he struggled to gain his footing with voters. He finished sixth in the Republican pack.

“We came here to say that speaking your mind matters, that experience matters, that competence matters, and that it will always matter in leading our nation,” Christie told supporters Tuesday night. “That message was heard by a lot of folks and it was stood for by a lot of folks here in New Hampshire, just not enough. Not enough tonight.”

Christie, who focused most of his resources on a strong showing in New Hampshire, returned to New Jersey on Wednesday to announce he was suspending his campaign.

Bush was pushing ahead to South Carolina after a fourth-place finish despite also failing to stir much excitement around his campaign. At the start of the year, his super PAC, Right to Rise, still had about half of the $118 million it raised last year.

The three governors had trouble differentiating themselves, and some Republicans worried that Christie had the least chance of winning the nomination, Fowler said. In the past, retail politics have been critical for candidates — Sen. John McCain in 2000 and 2008, for example — but at the same time, the field was much less crowded.

“Meeting voters doesn’t necessarily mean they’re going to support you, when they had so many options to choose from,” she said.

New Hampshire’s voters famously demand a chance to see the candidates up close. The state makes a case for its first-in-the-country status by pointing to the scrutiny candidates get as they criss-cross the state for the small gatherings.

On the Democratic side, the primary winner, Sen. Bernie Sanders, swept the state with 60 percent of the vote to 38 percent for former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. The two each made about 90 stops in the state, according to necn's candidate tracker.

Among the Republicans, in the hours before the polls closed, Christie was claiming to have topped Kasich in days on the ground in New Hampshire and town halls attended.

Kasich and Christie each spent about 70 days in New Hampshire to about 55 for Bush. During those visits, Kasich and Christie made 190 stops each at breakfasts, fundraisers, dinners and other events over the course of the campaign, while Bush made 111, according to the necn candidate tracker.

Trump, by contrast, had only 46 stops over 30 days, though his campaign intensified its ground game in the final days.

“We learned a lot about ground games in one week,” he joked after his win.

Fowler cautioned against drawing too much from Trump’s victory, relying as it did on his celebrity.

“It’s hard to generalize because his candidacy is breaking so many rules, not just the one about retail politics,” she said.

Meanwhile, by Wednesday, Carly Fiorina had also suspended her campaign. She had campaigned heavily in New Hampshire, making 149, stops but came in seventh, with only 4 percent of the vote. 

Photo Credit: Getty Images
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<![CDATA[What to Know: Zika Virus Spreads in Americas]]> Tue, 02 Feb 2016 16:11:00 -0500 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/AP_670850476149-zika.jpg The spreading of the Zika virus has caused worldwide concern. Health officials think Zika might be connected to the rise in birth defects in the Americas, though it has not yet been proven. WHO has declared the crisis a global emergency.

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Customer Tries to Shoot Barber: PD]]> Thu, 11 Feb 2016 12:06:31 -0500 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/barber+shop+0210+2016.jpg

A woman who said she was unhappy with her haircut returned to a San Diego salon and tried shooting her barber, but the gun jammed and employees tackled the woman, police and the barber told NBC 7.

The incident happened Wednesday morning at the 619 Barber Shop on the 3900 block of 30th Street, where 29-year-old Adrian Blanche Swain went to get a trim.

Barber Manny Montero told NBC 7 she left happy, giving him a $20 tip on top of her $20 cut, but an hour later, Swain returned upset — and with a different haircut.

"She said, 'Look what you did to my hair,'" Montero said. "She came in with a bald spot on the side, and I am like, 'I didn't do that.'" 

Disgruntled, the woman pulled out a gun and tried firing at Montero, police said. The gun was loaded but malfunctioned, clicking three times as Swain allegedly tried to fire off rounds.

"She had it. She was gonna do it," said Montero. "For some reason, God was there."

Chris Tatum, another barber who was watching the confrontation, told NBC 7 if the gun had worked, Swain could have shot three or four people in the shop.

Montero said he was more angry than scared. 

"Grabbed her arm, grabbed the gun," he recalled. "We threw her to the floor and held her until authorities came." 

Police arrested Swain, who was expected to face a charge of attempted murder. Information on an attorney for Swain was not immediately available.

After his brush with death, Montero left work early to see his young sons. Whatever brought Swain back to the shop, she is already forgiven, the mild-mannered barber said.

"Your whole life runs in front of your eyes, so that's what it did. That's what happened," said Montero.

The San Diego Police Department's Mid City Division is investigating. Anyone with information is asked to call San Diego police or Crime Stoppers at 888-580-8477.

Photo Credit: NBC 7
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<![CDATA[Iran Marks Revolution With 'Death to America' Chants]]> Thu, 11 Feb 2016 10:44:40 -0500 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-509517246.jpg

Tens of thousands of Iranians marched in Tehran's Azadi Square Thursday, chanting "Death to America and Israel" and waving anti-Western placards on the 37th anniversary of the country's 1979 Islamic revolution.

"I have a message for Obama, you can't do anything to us and anything you say is a lie," said 37-year-old Ahmad Norouzi, a nurse, wore a bandana on his head that read: "We will not allow foreign influence." 

President Hassan Rouhani gave an address, saying that Iranians will "never yield" to outside pressure.

"Our nuclear victory showed to the world that Iranians are capable of winning any battle, including diplomatic battles," Rouhani told the crowds.

Despite the political message, there was an almost carnival atmosphere with face-painted teenagers frolicking in the streets while vendors sold goods.

Photo Credit: ATTA KENARE/AFP/Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Sheriff's Dept. Sex Scandal]]> Thu, 11 Feb 2016 10:56:19 -0500 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/goforth-harriscounty.jpg

The Harris County Sheriff's Office in Texas has fired two deputies accused of having sexual relationships with a slain deputy's alleged mistress, a witness to the killing.

Deputy Darren Goforth was shot in the back and killed last August at a Houston-area gas station. The suspect, 31-year-old Shannon Miles, is facing a capital murder charge. He was ruled incompetent to stand trial earlier this month.

Attention is now shifting to the sheriff's department itself, which has fired Deputy Marc De Leon, a 14-year veteran, and Sgt. Craig Clopton. The men are accused of having sexual relationships with a woman who claimed to be Goforth's mistress and was seen crying over his body the night of the killing.

Harris County Sheriff Ron Hickman said De Leon initially lied about his own relationship with the woman, and sources said De Leon was also accused of having sex with the woman while he was on duty.

De Leon's attorney, Joshua Normand, said in a statement to NBC affiliate KPRC, "Mr. De Leon has no comment as to the facts surrounding his separation of employment from the Harris County Sheriff's Office, at this time, as he will avail himself of the appeal process under Harris County Civil Service Rules."

Clopton, who was investigating Goforth's murder, was fired last October because of his alleged relationship with the woman. The Houston Chronicle spoke by phone with Clopton, who declined an interview and asked for privacy, the newspaper reports.

"The leader of any organization would be highly embarrassed for the conduct of an officer that would lead up to termination due to some kind of relationship," Hickman said.

The sheriff's office revealed it's investigating similar allegations against a fourth deputy involving the same woman.

"This one seems to be the gift that keeps on giving," Hickman said, but added that he does not believe the department has a pervasive problem.

The sheriff's office drafted a formal policy last week prohibiting deputies from having relationships with people connected to criminal cases. Hickman said the policy was a direct result of these latest incidents.

It's not the first time the Harris County Sheriff's Department has been plagued by such a scandal.

Three deputies were fired in 2013 for allegedly having sex with a married teacher in their patrol cars, KPRC reports. The woman, a volunteer with the Citizens Police Academy who was married to a reserve deputy, participated in ride-alongs with the department.

Photo Credit: Harris County Sheriff's Office/NBC 5 News]]>
<![CDATA[Lawmakers Hold Hearing on Zika Virus]]> Thu, 11 Feb 2016 10:17:44 -0500 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/TH-AP_191300382996.jpg

The director of the Centers for Disease Control will testify before a senate committee Thursday morning to discuss the threat of the Zika virus.

CDC director Tom Frieden along with Anthony Fauci from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases will appear before the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor Health and Human Services.

Senators will discuss President Obama's request for $1.8 billion in emergency funding to combat Zika as well as the emerging health threat of the virus.

While work on a Zika vaccine is under way, the disease continues to rapidly spread across South America, prompting many in the U.S. to worry about the potential for travelers to bring Zika to the United States.

Photo Credit: AP
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<![CDATA[Top News Photos of the Week]]> Thu, 11 Feb 2016 09:14:07 -0500 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/AP_32596541331-korea.jpg View weekly updates on the very best photos in domestic and foreign news.

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[N. Korean Leader Had Military Chief Executed: Sources]]> Thu, 11 Feb 2016 07:03:22 -0500 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/KIMAP_802299039765.jpg

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un executed a top military chief in his army for corruption and other charges, according to various South Korean officials.

"(Army General) Ri Yong-Gil stopped appearing at important functions and I am getting multiple confirmations from diversified North Korean sources that Ri has been executed," a South Korean assemblyman told NBC News.

The Associated Press quoted an unnamed South Korean official who claimed that the execution was done to strengthen Kim's hold.

Ri's execution would be the latest in a series of killings, purges and dismissals since Kim took power in late 2011.

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Chicago Family Massacred]]> Thu, 11 Feb 2016 11:40:26 -0500 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/Gage+Park+4.png

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[5 Charged in NYC Explosion: Sources]]> Thu, 11 Feb 2016 11:58:29 -0500 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/Fire-NY-East-Village.jpg

Four of five people facing criminal charges in the gas explosion that rocked Manhattan's East Village in 2015 were indicted of manslaughter in the blast that killed two people and leveled three buildings.

Landlord Maria Hrynenko, her son, Michael Hrynenko; unlicensed plumber Athanasios "Jerry" Ioannidis; and general contractor Dilber Kukic were all charged with second-degree manslaughter, assault, endangerment and other crimes in connection with the March 26 blast that destroyed Hrynenko's building at 121 Second Ave. along with two other adjacent buildings between East Seventh Street and St. Marks Place.

The blast injured more than two dozen other people and killed Moises Locon and Nicholas Figueroa, whose bodies were both found in the rubble of what had been a ground-level sushi restaurant.

A fifth suspect, Andrew Trombettas, was charged with offering a false filing instrument for allegedly renting his New York City plumbers license to Kukic. 

Investigators allege that the suspects tapped a metered gas line from the sushi restaurant and siphoned the service to apartments above and were responsible for the fatal explosion. 

The five suspects were expected to be arraigned Tuesday afternoon.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[$15 Coffee 'Like Top-Shelf Whiskey']]> Thu, 11 Feb 2016 02:35:50 -0500 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/0210-2016-Coffee2.jpg

A San Francisco Bay Area coffee shop is charging $15 for a cup of joe — and apparently people can't get enough of it.

The not-your-average cup is called Finca Sophia and can be found at Equator Coffee, which has locations in San Francisco and Mill Valley.

The beans are from the Gesha variety, grown way up in the mountains of Panama. It took eight years to produce the first crop, which was not much and prompted a spike in price.

Equator Coffee educator Akaash Saini said various fertilizers are used to grow the coffee beans.

"Doing different things when it comes to farming and harvesting techniques," Saini said. "Whatever we can do to get the best cup of coffee."

Saini said when it comes to Finca Sophia, you get what you pay for.

"It's almost like a top-shelf whiskey, or a $40 bottle of wine compared to an $8 bottle of wine," Saini said.

The Equator Coffee location in San Francisco's Market Street has already sold out of Finca Sophia.

"Amazing, very amazing," San Francisco-resident Myron Tate said of experiencing the premium dark brew.

Steve Jordan drove to Mill Valley from San Francisco just to get his cup of Finca Sophia.

"It's amazing, I really like it," Jordan said. "It's more like a tea mix than a true coffee."

Not everyone, however, shared their opinions.

"I don't really like it," said Mill Valley resident Heidi Connelly, adding that the coffee was bitter.

Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[Cleveland Wants Tamir Rice Estate to Pay $500 Ambulance Bill]]> Thu, 11 Feb 2016 06:02:55 -0500 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/NBC-Tamir-140117-tamir-rice-1847_75878790a4527a9d3f3d341b45f2ca9d.nbcnews-ux-600-600.jpg

The city of Cleveland is seeking $500 in reimbursement from Tamir Rice for the ambulance ride that he was on after being fatally shot by police in 2014.

Assistant Law Director Carl Meyer filed the creditor's claim in Cuyahoga County Probate Court on Wednesday, NBC affiliate WKYC reported.

Tamir was shot in the torso by Cleveland police officer Timothy Loehmann on Nov. 22, 2014, after responding to a report of a "male with a gun" on the swings at a city park.

It turned out the boy had a pellet gun. Tamir died at the hospital the next morning.

"The Rice family is disturbed by the city's behavior," Rice family attorney Subodh Chandra said in a statement to WKYC.

Photo Credit: Courtesy of Rice Family Attorney]]>
<![CDATA[Fargo Officer Shot During Standoff Not Expected to Survive]]> Thu, 11 Feb 2016 08:37:02 -0500 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/Jason+Moszer.jpg

A police officer who was shot amid a domestic disturbance standoff is not expected to survive his wounds, authorities in North Dakota said early Thursday.

Officer Jason Moszer, 33, responded to the home after the suspect's son called police alleging his father shot at his mother but they managed to escape, the Fargo Police Department said.

The suspect fired multiple rounds from inside the house, striking Moszer. Deputy Chief Joe Anderson told NBC News the 6-year veteran was currently on life support but had suffered "non-life-sustaining" injuries. 

While Anderson described the situation as "ongoing" after nine hours, he noted that there had been no contact with the suspect for "some time."

Photo Credit: Fargo Police Department]]>
<![CDATA[Calif. Plane Crash Kills 2 Sheriff's Dept. Employees]]> Thu, 11 Feb 2016 08:12:55 -0500 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/james+chavez+Scott+Ballantyne.jpg

Two sheriff's department employees died when their plane crashed into the side of a mountain in California, officials said Wednesday, NBC News reported.

Tulare County Sheriff's pilot James Chavez, 45, and Deputy Scott Ballantyne, 52, had just finished assisting with an arrest when their aircraft went down near Lake Success at about 4:00 p.m. (7:00 pm ET), the department said.

It was not clear what caused the two-seater plane to crash.

"There was no distress signal and the planes parachute was not deployed," the sheriff's department said. The FAA is expected to begin an investigation on Thursday. 

Photo Credit: Tulare County Sheriff's Office]]>
<![CDATA[Twitter User Growth Stalls in Fourth Quarter But Company Still Optimistic]]> Thu, 11 Feb 2016 00:31:41 -0500 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/222*120/503572706.jpg

Twitter shares fell in Wednesday after-hours trading as the company revealed that its user numbers had declined sequentially.

The company reported fourth quarter earnings of 16 cents per share on $710 million in revenue. Analysts had expected Twitter to report earnings of about 12 cents per share on $710 million in revenue, according to a consensus estimate from Thomson Reuters.

Twitter said its monthly active users (MAUs) excluding SMS-only users were 305 million for the fourth quarter, down from 307 million in the previous quarter.

"We saw a decline in monthly active usage in Q4, but we've already seen January monthly actives bounce back to Q3 levels. We're confident that, with disciplined execution, this growth trend will continue over time," the company wrote in a shareholder letter.

Photo Credit: Bloomberg via Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[25 Relatives to Fly to Mexico for Pope's Visit]]> Wed, 10 Feb 2016 21:34:20 -0500 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/pope+francis+juarez.jpg

As Pope Francis prepares for a six-day trip Mexico this week, many North Texas Catholics are getting ready to make the trip across the border to see the Pontiff.

A group of 25 relatives in Dallas will depart Thursday from Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport to see the leader of the Catholic Church.

Maria Gonzalez Rocha and her husband, Israel Rocha, actually saw the pope in Philadelphia last year.

"Last time we went to Philly. We didn't get to go inside mass. We just saw him when he did his walk," Maria Gonzalez Rocha said.

For the couple, just seeing the pope from afar was enough for them. It was a dream come true. But then the couple heard the Pope Francis would be in their native Mexico City.

"When we first heard the news about him going to Mexico City it started off as a 'maybe,' then trickled off as, 'OK four of us go,' and so on, and so on and so on," said Israel Rocha.

For Maria Gonzalez Rocha, this time around would be more special because she will have the opportunity to see the leader of the Catholic Church in her native land surrounded by her culture.

"For me going down there it's like, why not, that's where I get my faith," she said. "So now I am going to go back and share my faith with him and the rest of the pilgrims."

And it's faith that will help the 25 relatives make the five-day pilgrimage to Mexico City. Maria Gonzalez Rocha admitted they were a bit crazy to take on such an adventure especially since more than half the people they are traveling with have never taken on such a journey.

"They are very scared because they don't know what to expect, but I just say you have to have faith and be adventurous and enjoy every moment," she said.

For Israel Rocha, it was important to make this road trip and meet the man they say really reaches the masses.

"He's more up-front the way he says stuff. He's so simple – simple words that have a big meaning," he said.

It will afford them more time together and come back more inspired than before.

"Even though you don't expect that you always come back a different person," said Maria Gonzalez Rocha.

Pope Francis arrives in Mexico City on Friday. He will hold a mass on Saturday. The pope will end his six-day trip in Ciudad Juarez by holding a mass at the U.S.-Mexico border.

Photo Credit: NBC 5 News]]>
<![CDATA[DOJ Sues Ferguson Over Alleged Civil Rights Violations]]> Wed, 10 Feb 2016 17:42:26 -0500 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/AP_882904166282.jpg

The Department of Justice moved to sue the city of Ferguson, Missouri, Wednesday after its city council moved to make several major revisions to a proposed federal consent decree.

The revisions called for by the Ferguson City Council, among other things, would require no mandate for payment of additional salary to police officers or jail staff, a cap on federal monitoring fees at $1 million and extended deadlines for the tentative agreement.

"There is no price for constitutional policing. The citizens and the residents of Ferguson deserve what every American is guaranteed under the constitution," said Attorney General Loretta Lynch at a news conference announcing the suit. She referred to equal protection and freedom from illegal searches and "a fine system that is literally breaking their backs."

The announcement came less than a day after the revisions were filed. Earlier, one of the city's negotiators of the agreement, Councilman Wesley Bell, had said he remained hopeful that the city would be able to avoid a lengthy and costly court battle with the DOJ

Photo Credit: AP/Jeff Roberson]]>
<![CDATA[Michigan Governor Includes $195 Million for Flint in New Budget]]> Thu, 11 Feb 2016 02:47:39 -0500 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/RICK_GettyImages-507090446.jpg

Michigan's lawmakers are welcoming a proposal that Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder made on Wednesday to send hundreds of millions more dollars to address Flint's water crisis from lead contamination and to update pipes there and across the state

Calling it a "seed investment," Snyder plans to direct $195 million more toward the Flint emergency and $165 million for statewide infrastructure needs, at least a portion of which could replace lead and copper water lines elsewhere. He said $25 million of the Flint funding would replace 5,000 known old lead lines running from city streets to houses.

The Republican governor cited aging infrastructure as a pressing priority, along with restructuring the troubled Detroit school district and addressing skyrocketing specialty medicine costs.

"These areas merit special attention," Snyder said, in a departure from his typically rosier focus on traditional budget spending. "These are issues that we need to take head-on, in a positive, constructive way, with solutions."

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Senate Votes to Block North Korea's Nuclear Ambitions]]> Wed, 10 Feb 2016 20:38:21 -0500 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/NorthKoreaBill-AP_993302026652.jpg

Senators backed a bill Wednesday to derail North Korea’s quest for a nuclear weapon, NBC News reported.

The bill would mandate sanctions against those involved in North Korea’s nuclear and ballistic missile development program, require a renewed focus on cyber-attacks by North Korea on the U.S. and target those responsible for human rights abuses committed by the country’s government.

The vote was 96 to 0.

The passage of the bill comes days after North Korea launched a long-range rocket and a month after the country claimed to test a hydrogen bomb.  

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Gunman Wounded After Killing 2 Women in Alabama]]> Wed, 10 Feb 2016 21:37:46 -0500 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/police+lights+%282%291.jpg

Police wounded a gunman in Alabama who fatally shot two women with whom he had business ties Wednesday morning, NBC News reported.

The victims were shot outside a law office and at an accounting firm, according to NBC affiliate WVTM. Two deputies caught up with Jimmy Cooper, who was armed with a handgun, as he ran down the street. He was shot in the leg and grazed in the arm.

Cooper, 57, will be charged with capital murder in the killings of Donny Miller and Linda Cole, the county prosecutor said.

Police would not give any other information, citing an ongoing investigation.

<![CDATA[Sanders Talks Peanuts and Revolution on Colbert]]> Thu, 11 Feb 2016 07:23:53 -0500 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/sanders-GettyImages-483578708.jpg

Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders took a break from the campaign trail Wednesday night to visit Stephen Colbert on "The Late Show" to talk about, you guessed, the strain on the middle class and the rising oligarchy in America. 

But Colbert also turned Sanders' attention to the manners and culture of the people of South Carolina, where the next primary will be held. For the occasion, Colbert served Sanders beer and boiled peanuts. 

"If you need the vote down there, you have to eat boiled peanuts," Colbert said. "Have you ever had a boiled peanut, OK? The recipe is very simple."

Colbert pulled out a small container of peanuts for both of them, and then presented two beers to go along with the nuts. Sanders sipped to a cheering crowd.

"This wins me South Carolina?" Sanders said.

"Yes it does," Colbert said. "If you like boiled peanuts it will certainly give you a leg up in South Carolina. People up here, when I offer them this food, they say, 'Oh, here comes Colbert with more of his damp food.'"

After the light chat and refreshments, Sanders turned his attention to the "greed of the top 1 percent."

"We're talking about a nation drifting into an oligarchy," Sanders said before invoking political movements like the Civil Rights and the suffragettes of the late19th and early 20th century. 

Broaching the topic of revolution, a commonly proposed idea at most Sanders rallies, Colbert quoted President John F. Kennedy, saying, "Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable."

But Sanders disagreed, and said, "When people come together, we can accomplish great things." 

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Some Good News for Dementia: Rates Might be Going Down]]> Thu, 11 Feb 2016 00:52:42 -0500 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/DEMENT_GettyImages-472947990.jpg

Researchers have found a small piece of good news for people at high risk of some kinds of dementia: it might be possible to delay it or even prevent it.

They found falling rates of vascular dementia in people who also happened to improve their heart health. The findings, published in the New England Journal of Medicine, support the idea that what's good for the heart is good for the head.

"Our study offers cautious hope that some cases of dementia might be preventable or at least delayed," Claudia Satizabal of the Boston University Schools of Medicine and colleagues wrote in their report.

They looked at more than 5,000 people who have been having their health tracked in minute detail as part of the Framingham Heart Study. The multi-generational study has been going on since 1948 and in 1971 children of the original volunteers signed up. Their memory has been tested since 1975.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[100s of Manatees Keep Warm in River]]> Thu, 11 Feb 2016 10:08:18 -0500 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/214*120/021016+crystal+river+manatees.jpg

Cold weather is sticking around the Sunshine State and now hundreds of manatees are taking shelter in the warm waters of Crystal River on Florida's west coast.

The manatees have huddled together at a refuge inside the Three Sisters Springs, which sits about 75 miles north of Tampa in Citrus County.

The high number of manatees has forced the refuge to close to swimmers who visited the area in hopes of taking a dip with the animals. However, visitors can still check them out from the boardwalk.

On Crystal River's Facebook page, it says: "Thank you for your understanding and patience as we allow the manatees their space to rest and stay warm."

It also says staff will reassess the conditions Thursday morning to see whether the manatee numbers have decreased and an opening of the springs is warranted.

Photo Credit: NBC6.com]]>
<![CDATA[Trump Makes Electability Pitch Since N.H. Victory]]> Wed, 10 Feb 2016 22:11:11 -0500 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/TrumpSouthCarolina-AP_446723142501.jpg

Donald Trump is making his first pitch of electability after a landslide victory in New Hampshire.

Trump told nearly 5,000 people in South Carolina that he could win beyond the Palmetto State, NBC News reported.

"You're next," Trump said to the South Carolinians assembled, citing his large margin of victory in the Granite State and promising that a win here would propel him on to run the table.

He also didn’t miss the chance to swipe at Hillary Clinton for her loss to Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, whom he called “wacky socialist guy Bernie” 

Photo Credit: AP]]>