<![CDATA[NBC4 Washington - National & International News]]>Copyright 2016http://www.nbcwashington.com/news/national-international http://media.nbcnewyork.com/designimages/WASH+NBC4+BLUE.png NBC4 Washington http://www.nbcwashington.comen-usThu, 08 Dec 2016 04:45:59 -0500Thu, 08 Dec 2016 04:45:59 -0500NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA[Who's Who in Trump's Brain Trust]]> Wed, 07 Dec 2016 10:48:52 -0500 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/223*120/trump-cab-adv-th.jpg Here'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['Tonight Show': Raiders and Chiefs Superlatives]]> Thu, 08 Dec 2016 04:44:53 -0500 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/nbc_tjf_hlt_s4e051_586_superlatives_20161207_1200x675_827849795730.jpg Host Jimmy Fallon hands out special accolades to 2016 Oakland Raiders and Kansas City Chiefs NFL players.]]> <![CDATA[Top News: Pearl Harbor Anniversary, Jobs Rally and More]]> Wed, 07 Dec 2016 20:12:52 -0500 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/180*120/GettyImages-628290866.jpg View daily updates on the best photos in domestic and foreign news.

Photo Credit: Kent Nishimura/Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[NY Family Survives House Explosion]]> Wed, 07 Dec 2016 19:37:40 -0500 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/COLLETTI+HOUSE+EXPLOSION+ORANGE+NY+FOLO+PKG+4PM++-+16005604_WNB.jpg

It's an amazing story of survival: a New York family's house was obliterated in a devastating explosion Nov. 29, but everyone escaped alive.

A week after the blast destroyed their home, Denise and Craig Kunish spoke exclusively to NBC 4 New York about what happened that day.

Speaking from a friend's house, Denise described how she had just walked in the door to their home on Wailing Road in the Pine Island hamlet of Warwick.

She was waiting for the couple's three children to arrive home on the school bus, but was overwhelmed by the smell of rotten eggs, even phoning her husband about it.

Then the explosion happened.

"I can't even describe it, it was just so loud and everything was crumbling around me," she said.

The power of the blast blew Denise out of the house and buried her under rubble in the back yard.

"There was a time I was just lying there I thought I was going to die," she said.

Craig arrived home in a panic, looking for only one thing - his wife. "I was running to find Denise," he said.

Luckily she was able to reach her phone, call her husband and climb out of the rubble, with only bruising to her face from the close call. The couple's "precious" wedding album also survived the blast, another reason to be grateful, they said. 

"I'm beyond blessed and thankful and trying to take it one day at a time," Denise said.

The Warwick community rallied to assist the family and raised almost $150,000 for them in the last week. 

"This is just the most incredible town and community and exactly where we were meant to be," Denise said.

The couple said they suspect the blast was related to the septic system under repair, but so far investigators have not determined the exact cause.

They family is currently living in a hotel, and friends in Warwick had offered them a place to stay over the holidays. 


Photo Credit: NBC 4 New York]]>
<![CDATA[Oakland Warehouse Blaze: Faces of the Victims]]> Wed, 07 Dec 2016 10:55:09 -0500 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/oakland-warehouse-fire-victims-collage.jpg They were artists, musicians, students and teachers, as young as 17 and most with long lives ahead of them. But those lives, at least 36, were cut short when an Oakland warehouse-turned-residence went up in flames as it hosted a concert. Here are their portraits and what we know about them.
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<![CDATA[Former Astronaut John Glenn Hospitalized]]> Wed, 07 Dec 2016 16:19:56 -0500 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/AP_16180065064814.jpg

John Glenn, an astronaut who became an American hero and was later elected to the U.S. Senate, is hospitalized in Ohio.

Glenn, 95, was at The James Cancer Hospital at Ohio State University on Wednesday. His condition and exact illness were not known, and officials said his stay at the hospital does not necessarily mean he has cancer.

Glenn had surgery at the Cleveland Clinic in 2014 to replace a heart valve and suffered a stroke, according to Cleveland.com. His health, including his eyesight, has declined in recent years.

"Anybody who's 95, any illness is always bad," Hank Wilson, a spokesman for the John Glenn College of Public Affairs at Ohio State University, told Cleveland.com

Glenn, born in Ohio in 1921, was the first American astronaut to orbit the Earth. One of the “Mercury Seven,” the first group of astronauts picked by NASA, he orbited Earth three times in 1962 aboard a spacecraft he named “Friendship 7." He spent five hours in space.

He returned to space in 1998 when he flew with six other astronauts on the space shuttle. He was 77 at the time.

Glenn was elected to the U.S. Senate from Ohio in 1974. A Democrat, he served for 25 years.

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Hofstra Frat's Hazing Accusations]]> Wed, 07 Dec 2016 22:27:33 -0500 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/cage-frat-hazing-hofstra.jpg

Hofstra University has asked police to investigate allegations of "extreme hazing" at a now-defunct campus fraternity after the Long Island college's student-run newspaper published disturbing images from a former pledge.

The college said in a statement that the photos -- which include images of a man locked in a dog cage, blindfolded students kneeling in front of a swastika with their bodies covered in hot sauce and pledges laying on the ground covered in what appears to be flour -- were allegedly taken off campus and show pledges of the Sigma Pi fraternity's Eta-Gamma Chapter in 2014 and 2015. The frat's chapter lost its charter from the national fraternity organization last spring.

"The University condemns the incidents depicted in the photos and reported in the story and has commenced an immediate investigation," the college said in the statement. " In addition, the University has also reached out to the Nassau County Police Department for their support and investigation of any potentially criminal behavior."

The Hofstra Chronicle reported that members of the class were subjected to what one former frat member, who was later expelled for an alleged sexual assault, called "extreme hazing."

The frat member told the student paper the frat forced members to chug milk and vomit one one another, locked a shorter pledge in a cage and forced members to kneel while blindfolded while they were covered in hot sauce. 

A former student and member of the fraternity emailed the national Sigma Pi Executive Director to report the hazing along with photos and videos of the depicting the described rituals. The fraternity's Hofstra chapter was revoked the next day, the Chronicle reported.

The university said it investigated Eta-Gamma after the national organization revoked the chapter's charter, but Sigma Pi's Grand Council declined to provide any additional information and members of the fraternity did not raise concerns about new member initiation practices. Hostra didn't see evidence of hazing until the Chronicle's story was published.

Several students at the university told NBC 4 New York that they were offended by the photos. 

Photo Credit: Provided by the Hofstra Chronicle]]>
<![CDATA[Seen in Trump's Orbit: Rahm Emanuel, Scott Pruitt]]> Wed, 07 Dec 2016 16:56:02 -0500 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/180*120/Rahm_Emmanuel.jpg Manhattan's Trump Tower in New York City and Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster, New Jersey, have both become political hot spots, as mayors, senators and advisers meet with President-elect Donald Trump during his transition period.

Photo Credit: Spencer Platt/Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Trump Tweets Attacks on Carrier Union Boss]]> Wed, 07 Dec 2016 22:54:20 -0500 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/trump3GettyImages-6218707941.jpg

President-elect Donald Trump pledged to be "so presidential you will be bored" during the election, but he continues to keep Americans on their toes after again taking to Twitter to battle his most recent critic.

Chuck Jones, the president of United Steelworkers 1999, has not been shy to tell publications that Trump broke his promise to save the jobs at the Carrier plant, a pledge on which the president-elect campaigned.

Trump recently proudly proclaimed that he saved 1,000 jobs at the plant, which is untrue. Instead the deal saves 800 positions and in return Carrier's parent company receives $7 million in tax cuts and incentives over 10 years.

Three hundred Carrier jobs are still slated to be sent to Mexico, NBC News reported.

Trump did not address the reasons for the feud directly, but instead — with no evidence or reason — stated via a tweet that Jones had done a terrible job and suggested the union president was the reason companies were leaving the country. A claim that is hyperbolic and baseless.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Stainless Steel Playground Slides Recalled Over Amputation Risk]]> Wed, 07 Dec 2016 16:09:19 -0500 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/playworld-lightning-slides.jpg

Playworld Systems Inc. is recalling 1,300 slides that are used in school and municipal playgrounds after a defect caused two children to suffer finger amputations.

The Lightning Slides were sold by independent distributors between November 2000 and October 2016. They are made of stainless steel and the welds on the slides can crack and separate. A child's finger can get caught in the space.

The company said it is aware of 13 incidents of broken welds and two children who have suffered finger amputations.

Consumers were advised to stop using the recalled slides. They were sold to parks, schools and municipalities for between $1,500 through $4,000.

Playworld, based in Lewisburg, Pennsylvania, is contacting consumers who purchased the slides directly. Buyers can get a free replacement.

For more information, consumers can call Playworld at 1-800-233-8404 from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday, send email to info@playworld.com or visit Playworld.com's Slide Recall Safety Information for more information.

Photo Credit: Playworld/NBC 5 News]]>
<![CDATA[Grooming Linked to Increased Risk of STIs: Study]]> Wed, 07 Dec 2016 15:46:23 -0500 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/disposablerazorfeuerherd.jpg

Grooming pubic hair may be linked to an increased risk of contracting a sexually transmitted disease, according to a new study.

The study, published in the Sexually Transmitted Infections journal, surveyed 7,580 people between the ages of 18 and 65. The researches asked the participants whether they trimmed or shaved their pubic hair; how often they did so and what tools they used. Researches also asked the participants how many sexual partners they've had and whether they've had a sexually transmitted infection. 

The results showed that participants who trimmed or shaved their pubic hair had a higher rate of contracting an STI, but did not prove a direct correlation between the two.  

Participants who regularly groomed their pubic hair were 80 percent more likely to report contracting an STI than those who never groomed, according to the study. 

The researchers note small tears in the skin created during grooming could allow STI-causing bacteria to infect someone who shaves their private parts. 

But the correlation could also be accounted for if the people who groom tend to have more sexual partners, thus putting them at greater risk of contracting an STI.

The study had other limitations, like not asking participants if they used condoms during sex, Debby Herbenick, an associate professor at Indiana University Bloomington, told Live Science. 

Photo Credit: Getty]]>
<![CDATA[Dow, S&P Close at All Time High]]> Wed, 07 Dec 2016 18:51:39 -0500 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/180*120/GettyImages-543439008-news.jpg

U.S. equities closed sharply higher on Wednesday as the Dow and S&P hit new record highs, while investors awaited a monetary policy announcement from the European Central Bank, CNBC reported.

The S&P 500 gained around 1.3 percent while the Dow Jones industrial average gained nearly 300 points, and the Nasdaq composite rose 1.2 percent.

"I think this is more momentum from the Trump rally," said Adam Sarhan, CEO at 50 Park Investments. "You've got the financials, transports, steel stocks, small and mid-cap stocks all trading higher. The areas that have worked [since the election] continue to work."

"While all this is happening, you've seen virtually no selling. That's very good for stocks moving forward," he added.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Rahm Gives Trump Letter on DACA]]> Wed, 07 Dec 2016 16:08:53 -0500 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/TRUMP+EMANUEL.png

Mayor Rahm Emanuel met with President-elect Donald Trump Wednesday morning at Trump Tower in New York City and delivered a letter from mayors across the country calling for protections for young immigrants.   

Emanuel said after the meeting he had a "very good meeting" with Trump, his incoming chief of staff and senior adviser and also discussed transportation, investment in infrastructure and job creation.

"I was clear about where I stood on immigrants, that we welcome them because they are achieving and striving to the American Dream," Emanuel said. "But, also then, how to make, as a city and as a country, key investments in both the talent, the training, as well as the transportation to drive economic growth."

Emanuel, along with mayors from New York City, Los Angeles, Houston, Philadelphia and other cities, warned the incoming Trump Administration about the economic impact eliminating the program would have. They cited the potential loss of $9.9 billion in tax contributions over the next four years. Emanuel hand-delivered the letter to the president-elect Wednesday. 

Trump reportedly called Emanuel, who worked in the Clinton and Obama administrations, following the November election to discuss the ongoing presidential transition process. According to the mayor, Trump asked for an in-person meeting during that call. 

Since Trump was elected, Emanuel has been preparing for a clash over Chicago’s sanctuary city status. Over the course of Trump's campaign, the president-elect promised to deport as many as 3 million immigrants who have a criminal record or are living in the country illegally. Additionally, the billionaire also pledged to cut off federal funding for sanctuary cities.

During a Trump transition press conference Monday, spokesman Jason Miller explained that the real estate magnate who was elected commander-in-chief “has been very direct in where he stands with regard to sanctuary cities, and I expect to see significant action on that front after he is sworn in,” the Chicago Tribune reported.

As a result, Mayor Emanuel and a group of 14 mayors from across the country signed a letter to Trump Wednesday urging him to continue the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals Program until Congress modernizes the country's immigration system and provides "a more permanent form of relief for the close to one million young people who were brought to the United States before they were 16," according to a release.

Following the meeting, Emanuel pushed to protect DREAMers, a designation given to undocumented young people protected under executive orders signed by President Barack Obama in 2012.

"We are clear as mayors that these are DREAMers who are seeking the American Dream and we should embrace them rather than do a bait-and-switch," Emanuel told reporters. "I also spoke out strongly about what it means to be a sanctuary city, where we support and secure the people that are here, like my grandfather who came to the city of Chicago as a 13-year-old 100 years ago."

The mayor added, "Chicago was a sanctuary city for my grandfather. His grandson today is the mayor of this city, which is a testament to the strength of the values and the ideals of being America."

In an interview with Time released Wednesday, wherein Trump was named the magazine's Person of the Year, the president-elect seemed to soften on his immigration stance, despite continuing to push for a border wall.

"I want DREAMers for our children also," Trump said. "We're going to work something out. On a humanitarian basis it's a very tough situation. We're going to work something out that's going to make people happy and proud. But that's a very tough situation."

Emanuel has recently taken a series of steps to protect Chicago's immigrants, including sponsoring a resolution that calls on Gov. Bruce Rauner to publicly support his efforts to promote Chicago as a sanctuary city for immigrants. The measure reaffirms the 2012 Welcoming City ordinance that cements Chicago’s status as a sanctuary city.

Additionally, Emanuel joined Sen. Dick Durbin and Rep. Luis Gutierrez Tuesday in launching a new "Chicago is With You" task force, which is collaborating on mental health, legal services, employer communications, and education polices to ensure the city of Chicago is delivering comprehensive services to immigrants, refugees and other disenfranchised communities.

Emanuel's meeting with Trump comes just days after Chicago city workers removed the remaining honorary "Trump Plaza" street signs near the president-elect's riverfront hotel and condominium tower. Emanuel and a group of aldermen led the effort to remove the signs as a response to Trump's divisive campaign rhetoric and comments about the city's violence. 

Trump also met with Emanuel’s brother, Ari Emanuel, at his New Jersey golf course last month, CNN reported. During the meeting, Trump referred to Emanuel, who is the co-CEO of the powerful WME-IMG talent agency, as "the king of Hollywood."

Emanuel is reportedly not seeking a role in Trump’s administration, but attended the meeting to "discuss some concerns he had," although details remain scarce. Following the meeting, Trump referred to Emanuel as a "great friend."

Emanuel represented Trump in some negotiations with NBC over his reality television show "The Celebrity Apprentice," CNN reported. However, WME-IMG, which bought Trump’s ownership stake in the Miss Universe Pageant in 2015, said it no longer represents Trump.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Survivors, Veterans Observe 75th Anniversary of Pearl Harbor]]> Wed, 07 Dec 2016 17:43:44 -0500 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/NC_pearlharboram1207_1500x845.jpg Veterans and survivors gather in Oahu, Hawaii, on Dec. 7, 2016 to observe the anniversary of the Pearl Harbor surprise attack 75 years ago.

Photo Credit: NBC News]]>
<![CDATA[Recovery Complete in Deadly Oakland Warehouse Blaze]]> Wed, 07 Dec 2016 15:21:34 -0500 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/214*120/1206-2016-OaklandWarehouse-1fix.jpg

The Oakland warehouse fire recovery efforts have been completed, officials said on Wednesday, with the death toll of people killed inside during a dance party Friday night holding at 36.

That news came a day after Oakland officials declared a local state of emergency because of Friday night's deadly fire at 1305 E. 31st Ave. The city council is scheduled to ratify the state of emergency on Thursday, which makes the city eligible for state and federal aid as it copes with the worst fire in its history.

Meanwhile, investigators continue to work on determining what caused the fire at the so-called Ghost Ship warehouse, which had been illegally converted into living spaces and was hosting a dance party when the blaze ignited.

Officials indicated a refrigerator or appliance was a potential source of the fire, but it was too early to say for sure.

"The refrigerator is something that they’re looking at as a potential source of ignition," said Jill Snyder, special agent in charge of the San Francisco Department of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms. "It has not been identified as the smoking gun."

Synder said the fire appears to have started on the first floor and traveled up two stairwells, trapping the occupants on the second floor, who were "consumed by smoke before they could get out of the building."

Oakland Fire Chief Teresa Deloach Reed said that fire crews will be on scene until they can "look family members in the face" and tell them the building has been completely searched, and no more victims have been found.

On Tuesday, families of the loved ones lost in the fire were escorted into the area now being looked at as a crime scene.

Alameda County Sheriff's Office Sgt. J.D. Nelson said some of the victims were found trying to shield each other form the flames.

"They were both on the ground and what looked to be right next to each other," Nelson said.

Nelson said most died from smoke inhalation, and that 35 of the 36 victims have been identified. Thirty families have been notified, Nelson added.

"I hope in my heart it was fast and that they didn't have to suffer," Nelson said of the victims.

In order to access the last 10 percent of the warehouse just before midnight on Tuesday, crews had to knock down walls in an area they already searched.

"We are going to bring closure when they search the rest of the 10 percent," Oakland Police Public Information Officer Johnna Watson said.

Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf during a news conference late Tuesday also discussed past complaints about the warehouse. In 2015, the city received three complaints, including constructing housing without a permit and pallets blocking sidewalks, according to Schaaf.

Jose Avalos lived in the warehouse. The 38-year-old artist said he shut the doors of his studio space inside the warehouse Friday night to keep party goers away.

"By the time I got the doors open flames were starting to engulf my space," Avalos said.

Avalos believes the fire started in the back of the 1,000 square-foot building and quickly spread.

"I know people saying they are looking into arson and thinking that someone did this maliciously, but I truly do not feel like this was a malicious act.

Meanwhile, Avalos said he does not blame his friend, Derick Ion Almena or his wife, who ran the so-called Ghost Ship. But Avalos said everyone who lived there knew the dangers inside.

"I don't blame Derick for this. I do not see how this is his fault," Avalos said.

Public records will be shared with other agencies posted to the city of Oakland website on a rolling basis, officials said.

NBC Bay Area's Cheryl Hurd contributed to this report.

Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[Navy Wife's Body Found 2 Years]]> Wed, 07 Dec 2016 13:38:29 -0500 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/Elizabeth-Sullivan-Missing.jpg

The body of a San Diego woman, a Navy wife, was pulled from the water near Liberty Station two months ago, two years after she was reported missing, investigators confirmed Wednesday.

Elizabeth Sullivan, 31 and a mother of two, was last seen near her home in Liberty Station on the night of October 13, 2014. A text message sent that same day was the last contact anyone had from her.

Sullivan was reportedly spotted near the soccer fields at Liberty Station just two days after her disappearance was reported. But investigators said leads did not turn up any clues for Sullivan’s whereabouts.

A private investigator told NBC 7 San Diego on Tuesday that Sullivan’s body had been found.

And on Wednesday, San Diego police confirmed Sullivan was found in San Diego Bay in early October.

NBC 7 reported on October 5 that a woman's body had been pulled from the water.

Homicide investigators were on the East Coast looking into possible leads. NBC 7 has learned there have been no arrests in the case.

No other information was immediately available.

Sullivan was married to a Navy service member. Her father traveled to San Diego after her disappearance to help search for her.

"It can happen to you. When it does, it gets very personal, and it takes on a whole new light when it happens to you," Edward Ricks told NBC 7 at the time. 

Check back for updates on this developing news story. 

Photo Credit: San Diego Police Department
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<![CDATA[Woman Tries to Run Over Holiday-Decorating Ex: Police]]> Wed, 07 Dec 2016 15:52:27 -0500 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/214*120/GiftsCar.jpg

State police say holiday music was blaring from a Pennsylvania woman's car as she tore up the yard of her ex-boyfriend's home, nearly running the man and his family over.

Forty-seven-year-old Mary Jo Smith was charged Tuesday with multiple offenses stemming from Monday's incident.

Alan McCutcheon says he was setting up a Christmas light display outside of his Fayette County home when Smith yelled "Merry Christmas" and made several passes through his yard.

State police say Smith attempted to hit the 64-year-old along with his wife and adult daughter. No one was injured.

The holiday joyride caused more than $500 in damage, leaving behind tire tracks and a trail of broken lights and decorations.

It's unclear if Smith has an attorney to could comment.

<![CDATA[Lawsuit: Stanford Failed to Stop Years of Sexual Assault]]> Wed, 07 Dec 2016 11:00:35 -0500 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/174*120/GettyImages-493193647.jpg

A male student at Stanford University could have been stopped from sexually assaulting at least four female students at the school if staff were able to connect the dots, according to a lawsuit filed by an advocacy group Monday, NBC News reported.

The suit identifies the alleged sexual predator as "Mr. X," and says he was eventually found responsible in several instances of sexual assault. But despite being banned from campus, he was awarded bachelor's and master's degrees.

The school became the focus of the national campus sexual assault debate earlier this year when a former swimmer was given a six-month sentence for sexually assaulting a woman. The new lawsuit, filed on behalf of one of the accusers, alleges Stanford engaged in systematic negligence.

Stanford said in a statement that sexual assault and misconduct are "abhorrent" but suggested it was not able to act because one or more of the victims did not want to pursue formal charges.

Photo Credit: Getty Images, File]]>
<![CDATA[San Francisco Airport Gets Tutu-Wearing Therapy Pig]]> Wed, 07 Dec 2016 12:58:56 -0500 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/SFO-pig.jpg

This pig can't fly but she can greet people who are about to fly.

San Francisco International Airport introduced “Lilou” the therapy pig this week as the newest member of the airport’s Wag Brigade. And, not surprisingly, she's the first airport therapy pig in the United States, airport spokesman Doug Yakel said, adding that he's sure she'll be a "big hit" with travelers.

Lilou happily let passengers pet her pink snout and her back (all the while wearing a pilot’s cap and a blue tutu) while walking through the busy terminals. At one point on Monday, Lilou did circles and ate treats to entertain the crowds. Lilou wasn't immediately available to snort and oink for an interview, but of course, she has an Instagram page, where she touted her new gig: "City pig & the 1st pig in SF SPCA AAT program."

One traveler tweeted that she was more excited to meet Lilou than any celebrity.

SFO launched the Wag Brigade in 2013 and Lilou is the first pig to join the ranks of friendly dogs, named Bailey and Biggie, to make “passenger travel more enjoyable.” The dogs — and now, one pig — are trained through the San Francisco Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals and certified through their Animal Assisted Therapy Program.

SFSPCA spokeswoman Krista Maloney said the idea for the pig came straight from the swine's owner, Tatyana Danilova.

"She was very interested in having Lilou become certified as a therapy animal," Maloney said. So except for the "sit" and "down" commands, Lilou jumped through the same training hoops that dogs do, and passed with flying colors, Maloney said.

"She's friendly and she's pretty well trained," Maloney said, adding that Lilou also visits hospitals and senior homes to give comfort there as well. "She's also housebroken, which is pretty important in an airport."

Photo Credit: San Francisco International Airport
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<![CDATA[Iowa's Branstad Accepts Post as Trump's Ambassador to China]]> Wed, 07 Dec 2016 15:23:30 -0500 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/iowagovernornfeuerherd.jpg

Iowa Republican Gov. Terry Branstad has accepted Donald Trump's offer to be named ambassador to China, the president-elect's transition team announced on Wednesday.

Branstad, the longest-serving governor in U.S. history, met with Trump on Monday to discuss the post, NBC News reported. He is a longtime friend of Chinese president Xi Jinping, whom he met during a Chinese delegation trip to Iowa in 1985.

The decision comes just days after Trump broke with decades of diplomatic protocol by speaking directly to the leader of Taiwan, which China still considers as part of its territory.

“Governor Branstad’s decades of experience in public service and long-time relationship with President Xi Jinping and other Chinese leaders make him the ideal choice to serve as America’s ambassador to China,” Trump said in a statement.

Trump was an outspoken critic of China throughout his campaign, frequently accusing the country of manipulating its currency and exploiting trade policy.

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Michelle Obama on Election Night: 'I Went to Bed']]> Wed, 07 Dec 2016 08:36:05 -0500 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/michellevogue.jpg

Michelle Obama did not stay out of bed long enough on election night to see Donald Trump pass 270 electoral votes, she said in a recent interview with People magazine. 

“I went to bed. I don’t like to watch the political discourse; I never have,” Obama told People in the joint interview with her husband. “I barely did with him,” she added, referring to her husband. 

“Once you do what you can do, then you rest easy. It was in the hands of the American people,” she said.

Obama stood by her passionate support of Hillary Clinton during the election, telling the magazine, "anything that I felt about the election I said and I stand by.”

But she reinforced her commitment to help a smooth transition to the new administration so they could be "as successful as they can be."

“This is our democracy, and this is how it works,” she said. 

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Twin Pandas Make Adorable Debut in Shanghai ]]> Wed, 07 Dec 2016 09:19:49 -0500 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/vlcsnap-2016-12-06-14h20m06s20.jpg Today's "super cute" animal video alert comes out of Shanghai, China. Visitors at the Shanghai Wild Animal Park got a chance to see one-month old twin giant panda cubs. The two adorable pandas have gained healthy amounts of weight, and recent medical examinations show they are both in excellent condition.

Photo Credit: CCTV VIA RTV]]>
<![CDATA[Volunteer Will Live in Red Kettle Until He Raises $10,000]]> Wed, 07 Dec 2016 09:18:49 -0500 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/NC_kettle1206_1920x1080.jpg During this time of the year, it's common to see volunteers from the Salvation Army standing outside ringing a bell to raise money. One volunteer in Michigan vows to live in a giant red kettle until he raises $10,000.

Photo Credit: WPBN-TV]]>
<![CDATA[US Fighter Pilot Ejects While Training Near Japan]]> Wed, 07 Dec 2016 09:17:35 -0500 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/214*120/us-marine-fa-18-fighter-jet.jpg

A U.S. Marine Corps fighter jet suffered a mishap Wednesday, prompting its pilot to eject, according to a military news release.

Search-and-rescue teams are looking for the pilot, who ejected southeast of Japan's Shikoku island, the military said. The F/A-18 was part of the 1st Marine Aircraft Wing based in Okinawa, Japan and was flying a regularly scheduled training mission.

It's not clear what the cause of the crash was.

Photo Credit: Cpl. Drew Tech / Dept. of Defense, File]]>
<![CDATA[Starbucks Bakeries to Open in 3 US Cities]]> Wed, 07 Dec 2016 09:45:15 -0500 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-2132507.jpg

Starbucks announced Wednesday that it plans to open standalone Italian bakeries in three U.S. cities between late 2017 and early 2018. 

The bakeries, called Princi, will come to New York, Chicago and Seattle, according to an announcement on the global coffee chain's website

In addition, Starbucks plans to open "Reserve Roasteries" in Shanghai, Tokyo and New York in 2017 and 2018. 

The first Reserve Roastery opened in Seattle in 2014 and was advertised as a 15,000 square foot space, "dedicated to roasting, coffee education and increasing availability of the company’s small-lot Reserve coffees." 

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Army Engineers Had Recommended Approving Pipeline Route]]> Wed, 07 Dec 2016 07:18:39 -0500 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/AP_16339043605033.jpg

A civilian leader in the Army made the decision to deny an easement to the controversial Dakota Access oil pipeline despite Army Corps of Engineers recommendations that it be granted, according to officials and a document, NBC News reported. 

But because of the pipeline's size — 30 inches in diameter — its approval went to Assistant Secretary of the Army for Civil Works Jo-Ellen Darcy, an official said. 

"Ms. Darcy had the authority to make the decision on behalf of the Department of the Army, and she did so," Darcy spokesperson Moira Kelley told NBC News Tuesday evening. 

Sunday's decision was hailed as a victory by protesters who oppose the pipeline, saying its construction threatens land believed to be sacred to the Standing Rock Sioux tribe and could threaten its drinking water. The activists call themselves "water protectors."

Photo Credit: AP Photo/David Goldman]]>