<![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-usSat, 25 Feb 2017 00:24:20 -0500Sat, 25 Feb 2017 00:24:20 -0500NBC Owned Television Stations<![CDATA[Poll: More Than Half Disapprove of Trump's Job Performance]]>Fri, 24 Feb 2017 06:38:49 -0500http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/trumpwarpress.jpg

Fifty-four percent of Americans somewhat or strongly disapprove of the way Donald Trump is handling the presidency after a month in office, while 43 percent approve somewhat or strongly, according to the latest NBC News|SurveyMonkey poll.

NBC News reported that Trump enjoys broad support from within his party, but few outside of it, with evident divisions along gender and racial lines as well.

Nine of 10 Republicans or people who lean Republican approve of Trump's performance as president, with the same percentage of Democrats and those who lean Democrat disapproving. 

But independents split two to one against Trump. His aggregate low approval rating is below any other newly elected president since pollsters began tracking presidential job approval.

Photo Credit: Bloomberg via Getty Images, File]]>
<![CDATA[Status Check: 'April' the Giraffe Doing Well, Still Pregnant]]>Fri, 24 Feb 2017 20:42:57 -0500http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/april+giraffe+update.jpg

The 15-year-old giraffe named "April," who has captivated millions of people across the world as they watch a live stream in anxious anticipation of the birth of her fourth calf at an upstate New York zoo, is still pregnant and doing well. 

Veterinarians with the Animal Adventure Park in Harpursville, outside Binghamton, said April's progression continues, but giraffes tend to hide signs of labor as a natural instinct, so they can't confirm active labor.

That said, vets checked in on her twice overnight and "physical posturing and other activity observed would suggest we are close," the group wrote on Facebook Friday morning. Around 8:30 a.m., the live stream actually showed significant movement in April's belly as the long-necked beauty began to walk outside.

Not much changed the day started coming to a close: April alternated between standing still, swinging her tail, and slowly circling her pen.

April's pregnancy was catapulted into global headlines earlier Thursday after YouTube briefly yanked the zoo's live stream following complaints by animal activists that it violated the site's policies concerning "nudity and sexual content." Thousands upon thousands of commenters voiced their frustration on Facebook and YouTube, and the stream was restored within an hour or so. 

More than 30 million people across the globe have tuned in over the last few days to watch it. You can check out the live stream above.

April was seen slinking gracefully around her hay-laden home Friday morning in no apparent distress. Once she goes into active labor, zoo officials say the keepers will go in to help her but first-time dad, 5-year-old Oliver, will be held out of the pen. The dad-to-be will get to go outside with his mate for some exercise Friday, zoo officials said, but they have to be kept apart.

"Her and Oliver will both enjoy yard time today, but are kept separate due to April's condition," the group wrote on Facebook. "His rambunctious play for an extended period could have negative effects. Boys will be boys."

Giraffe pregnancies last for 15 months. Labor lasts 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 it.

Photo Credit: Animal Adventure Park/Mazuri
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<![CDATA[Facebook Users Report Account Outages, Technical Errors]]>Fri, 24 Feb 2017 16:25:44 -0500http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/211*120/Facebook-generic-1.jpg

Some Facebook users are getting logged out of their accounts Friday afternoon due to a technical issue, according to reports being sent on Down Detector. The reports started just after 1 p.m. EST.

Users are getting a message saying "Someone May Have Logged Into Your Account," according to the reports being sent to the site. Facebook prompts them to verify their identities and change their passwords to unlock their accounts.

Users of the popular social media site are also receiving another error message which says "Sorry, this feature isn't available right now. An error occurred while processing this request. Please try again later," with an option to "join Facebook" or "log in to continue."

The error did not appear to affect all accounts.

A Facebook spokesperson reached out to offer the following comment: 

"Earlier today an error in one of our systems designed to help prevent suspicious account access sent a small set of people to our account recovery flow unnecessarily. We have fixed the issue and are in the process of clearing the affected accounts from this recovery flow. We apologize for any inconvenience."

It appears that users getting locked out of their accounts are not victims of a security breach but victims of a technical difficulty.

Users don't need to take any immediate action, but they can change their passwords to unlock their accounts. If no action is taken, the technical issues should be resolved by Facebook soon.

Photo Credit: Bloomberg via Getty Images, File
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<![CDATA[Top News Photos: Palestinians Against Trump, Brazil's Drugs]]>Fri, 24 Feb 2017 11:30:09 -0500http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/AP_677034100869trumppalestine.jpgView daily updates on the best photos in domestic and foreign news.

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Policing the Schools]]>Thu, 23 Feb 2017 21:32:00 -0500http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/policing-schools-th.jpg

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<![CDATA[6 Charged in Death of UConn Student]]>Fri, 24 Feb 2017 23:56:53 -0500http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/UConn+Fire+Truck+Arrests.jpg

Six people linked to the death of a UConn student, who was struck by a university fire department vehicle in October, were arrested. 

Patrick Callahan, Matthew Moll, Austin Custodio, Dominic Godi, Dylan Morose and Jonathan Polansky were arrested and charged with various counts including permitting a minor to illegally possess alcohol and sale or delivery to minors.

Last fall, Jeffny Pally, 19, of West Hartford, was sitting on the ground with her back against a garage bay door at the UConn Public Safety Complex at 126 North Eagleville Road in Storrs when the fire department received a call for service around 1:15 a.m. Sunday, according to police.

"The investigation has just begun," Pally's mom, Shiny Pally, said. "We are hoping the truth will come out. I hope this does not happen to any other child and no other family has to go through this suffering." 

When the bay door Pally was leaning against opened, she fell back onto the ground and a fire department Chevy Tahoe leaving the bay drove over Pally, according to police. Crews from the fire department found Pally around an hour and a half later, when they returned from that call and state police said they were called at 2:48 a.m.

Officials from the medical examiner's office determined she died of blunt injuries to her torso and head and classified her death as an accident.

The fraternity referenced in the arrest warrant affidavit, Kappa Sigma, recently lost its UConn recognition and housing based on off-campus incidents in September and October. Those incidents were unrelated to Pally's death, the university said. 

In January, arrest warrant applications were issued for the people who hosted the off-campus party Pally attended that night on Oct. 16, 2016. They were all released pending their arraignment in Superior Court in Rockville on March 8. It couldn't be immediately determined if they had lawyers.

Patrick Callahan, 21, of Mansfield was charged with eight counts of permitting a minor to illegally possess alcohol. His bond was set at $2,500.

Matthew Moll, 21, of Mansfield, was charged with eight counts of permitting a minor to illegally possess alcohol. His bond was set at $2,500.

Austin Custodio, 21, of Pine Bush, New York, was charged with two counts of sale/delivery to minors. His bond was set at $5,000.

Dominic Godi, 21, of Bolton, was charged with conspiracy to commit sale/delivery of alcohol to minors and possession of alcohol by a minor. His bond was set at $2,500.

Dylan Morose, 22, of Mansfield, was charged with eight counts of permitting a minor to illegally possess alcohol. His bond was set at $2,500.

Jonathan Polansky, 22, of Beverly, Massachusetts, eight counts of permitting a minor to illegally possess alcohol. His bond was set at $2,500.

A university spokeswoman confirmed the students are still enrolled at UConn but said federal student privacy law prevents the university from saying whether any of them face discipline by the school.

"There remain many unanswered questions regarding her death," the family's attorney, Michael J. Walsh, said. "It is the sincere hope of the family that the investigation of this tragic event may be the first step towards the development of measure to prevent any other family from having to experience a similar tragedy."

Jeffny was a sophomore majoring in allied health and aspired to be a nurse, according to the university. The 19-year-old worked as a resident assistant and was joining a sorority.

Photo Credit: Connecticut State Police]]>
<![CDATA[Pence to Conservatives: 'This Is Our Time']]>Fri, 24 Feb 2017 06:58:35 -0500http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/NA57R_1200x675_883871299660.jpg

Vice President Mike Pence spoke at the Conservative Political Action Conference Thursday evening in National Harbor, Maryland. It was the ninth time that Pence has spoken at the gathering, but the first in his new role as vice president.

<![CDATA[Girl Dresses as Female Icons for Black History Month]]>Fri, 24 Feb 2017 21:20:50 -0500http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/TITLE6.jpg

Photo Credit: Cristi Jones ]]>
<![CDATA[Kindergartner Transforms Into Black Female Icons]]>Fri, 24 Feb 2017 21:23:29 -0500http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/Lola+Jones_Rosa+Parks.jpg

A mother and daughter from the Evergreen State have put a new spin on playing dress-up.

Each day in February, Cristi Jones of Kent, Washington, takes to Twitter to post a portrait of her 5-year-old daughter, Lola, dressed up as a black female pioneer to celebrate Black History Month.

"You can be anything you want and you can change your mind — or be a scientist and physician and astronaut like Dr. Jemison,” said Lola.

Lola has transformed into Rosa Parks, Mae Jemison, Misty Copeland and Harriet Tubman, among others, with the help of Jones’ creativity and a cell phone.

"She does very good faces. She does the face she sees in the picture,” said Jones. "As soon as she got dressed (as Harriet Tubman), she did the face and nailed it.”

Using window light and a door or the wall in the kitchen as a backdrop, Jones takes a photo with her cell phone and edits it on Snapfeed, a photo app. Before bed, Jones prepares the lesson and photo shoot for the day.

Jones is an amateur photographer and enjoys playing with photo filters on her mobile device. Her professional photographer friend Kayleigh Stefanko contributed to the project by shooting three images — Angela Davis, Daisy Bates and Mildred Loving — to give Jones a break.

It took a bit of ingenuity to get the look of the female historical figures. Jones uses mostly things from around her house and Lola’s father’s old glasses. Jones also bought a couple of hats and wigs, and a $2 suit jacket from the thrift store. Her grandmother’s dress made a cameo in the Shirley Chisholm portrait.

Jones created the photo project as an “engaging way to learn about strong women who paved the way for little girls like her, for all of us.”

The project was sparked when Lola came home from school sharing what she had learned about Dr. Martin Luther King in January.

The family decided it was time to teach Lola about Civil Rights and slavery. The mom of two - Lola has a 19-month-old sister, Eden - decided to make the education fun with a twist.

Each night after dinner, the duo spends quality time together recreating the historical icons.

"We started simple with a simple outfit and did Nina Simone on Day 1. She did well,” Jones said. “Black History Month is already a short month. We only have 28 days to work with. There’s so many more women that deserve to be honored.”

Lola’s teacher shows the images in class and so her friends are learning too.

While Lola’s favorite image is Rosa Parks because Rosa was so brave, she enjoyed becoming Misty Copeland because she felt pretty like a ballerina.

Jones hopes to have the photos bound as a keepsake after their project is done. Lola likes to tell jokes, dance and put on clothes and makeup, and the portrait project has been a great opportunity for her to express her personality and build confidence.

“We’ve paid our tribute (to the women), and hopefully people like them. So it all kind of exceeds my expectations,” said Jones.

Photo Credit: Cristi Jones
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<![CDATA[Who's Who in Trump's Brain Trust]]>Fri, 24 Feb 2017 10:38:49 -0500http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/223*120/trump-cab-adv-th.jpgHere's a look at the people who are 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 need Senate approval.
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<![CDATA[Clinton Calls for 'Resistance,' Party Unity in New Video]]>Fri, 24 Feb 2017 18:56:19 -0500http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-6286307641.jpg

Hillary Clinton has come up with a new equation for Democrats who are looking for change.

“Let resistance plus persistence equal progress for our party and our country,” she said in a video posted to the Democratic Party’s Twitter page.

The former Democratic presidential nominee released the statement Friday lauding recent solidarity efforts, from global women’s marches to actions against President Donald Trump’s travel ban at airports across the country.

“Nearly 66 million votes are fueling grassroots energy and activism, and everywhere people are marching, protesting, tweeting, speaking out, and working for an America that’s hopeful, inclusive, and big-hearted,” Clinton said. 

She added, “Among those millions making their voices heard are future mayors, city and state officials, governors, members of Congress -- even future presidents.”

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Clinton thanked her base for supporting her presidential bid, which she called “the honor of a lifetime.” She said that during the general election she had run on “the most progressive platform in history” and emphasized the need for Democrats to pull together and “stay focused on the elections we must win this year and next.” 

“As Democrats, we have diverse views and backgrounds,” she said. “We are Democrats, after all. But we’re bound together by the values and hopes we share for our country.” 

Clinton’s call for unity comes before Democrats are expected to choose a new chair for the Democratic National Committee on Saturday.

Tom Perez, Barack Obama’s former labor secretary, is running to “protect President Obama’s accomplishments” and “listen to Democrats at every level,” according to his campaign website.

One of his opponents, U.S. Rep. Keith Ellison of Minnesota, has been endorsed by former presidential candidate U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders and is perceived as an alternative to Perez's establishment background.

Pete Buttigieg, the mayor of South Bend, Indiana,  has emerged as an underdog among D.C. political veterans.

According to the Associated Press, the role of DNC chair is “part cheerleader, part fundraiser, part organizer and recruiter, part public messenger.”

Photo Credit: Getty Images
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<![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. 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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.

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

Photo Credit: AP
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<![CDATA[Experts: Warm February Doesn't Guarantee a Sweaty Summer]]>Fri, 24 Feb 2017 16:18:38 -0500http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-644351372-weather.jpg

This week's weather has been perfect for a picnic across much of the United States. But while you're snacking on a salad in the sun, don't let stressing about whether this unseasonably temperate February will mean an extra-hot summer rain on your parade.

Experts say that warm weather across the East Coast and the Midwest does not necessarily mean it’s going to keep steaming in the next few months.

“There’s no strong statistical link between a warm February and what the summer will be like,” said Jon Nese, associate head of Pennsylvania State University’s undergraduate program in meteorology and host of the school's "Weather World" broadcast.

The U.S. has seen 3,146 record high temperatures in February as of Thursday, according tononprofit climate news organizationClimate Central. With only 27 record lows, that makes it the “most lopsided monthly ratio” in recorded history, the site said.

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American cities that are typically snow-dusted in mid-February felt mild on Thursday and Friday. The sun is shining and spring has seemingly arrived early in Washington, D.C., Philadelphia and New York. In Boston, thermometers recorded 71 degrees Friday, making it the city's warmest documented February day ever. 

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Chicago hit the upper 60s for most of this week, and residents played volleyball on North Avenue Beach Wednesday. The Windy City doesn’t usually warm up this much until mid-May, according to WGN’s weather blog.

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But there's a good reason for all the nice weather: storms on the west coast, not a larger trend, according to Nese and other meteorologists.

“You do not want to draw a line between the unusual warmth that we’re seeing this week and climate change. Instead, you need to take a much broader look at trends over a period of years and decades,” Nese said.

The south also got some heat. Dallas and Houston enjoyed steamy temperatures in the 80s, and Austin and San Antonio were a smoldering 90 degrees long before university kids head to nearby beaches for spring break.

NBC Dallas-Fort Worth meteorologist Brian James crunched the numbers on what a warm winter means when summer comes around — plenty of people have been asking him if "we'll be baking our butts off in the summer," he said.

Turns out there's not much of a correlation at all.

This is North Texas's warmest average winter so far. But the next warmest winter only led to the area's 14th warmest summer, back in 1999-2000, James found. The third warmest winter was 100 years ago, and that turned into the 86th warmest summer on record.

"You don't even correlate a top eight, or even a top 10 for that matter," James said.

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Thomas E. Downs, a meteorologist for WeatherBELL Analytics, said that drawing correlations between seasonal weather patterns can prove misleading.

Winter weather is mostly influenced by El Nino and La Nina cycles in the Pacific Ocean that cause movements in the jet stream, he said, whereas high pressure and warm, calm winds are more of a factor in summertime.

This temperate spell on the East Coast has been a product of an extreme storm that’s now bombarding the West, not evidence of global warming, he explained. 

“This is really just a sign of one storm,” Downs said.

In the past few years, people have mistakenly associated radical but temporary temperature shifts with climate change. Those have instead been due to dramatic El Nino and La Nina cycles, Downs added, while climate change tracks persisting trends over longer chunks of time. These small but significant alterations are much subtler and more difficult to perceive and conceptualize.

“In the short-term, it’s hard for people to relate to things that happen over the course of their lifetimes,” Downs said.

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Meteorologists sometimes use analogue forecasts, which compare current weather to similar situations in the past, to predict future months. Nese said that “sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t,” and he and his colleagues have other tools in their toolkit.

That’s not to say that it won’t be hot in a few months — WeatherBELL is predicting an early warm summer that may taper into cooler days after July. But that's down to El Nino, not the storm passing through this week.

Neverthelss, given recent events, it may be time to fire furry favorite Punxsutawney Phil, the groundhog that predicted another six weeks of winter earlier this month. The U.S. Climate Prediction Center forecasts above-average temperatures for the bottom of half of the Lower 48 through March.

Photo Credit: Boston Globe via Getty Images
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<![CDATA[DHS Puts Out Notice for Border Wall Design Pitches]]>Fri, 24 Feb 2017 17:29:29 -0500http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/AP_17052578645835-donald-trump-african-american-museum.jpg

The Department of Homeland Security will solicit prototype pitches next month to fulfill President Donald Trump's promise to build a border wall with Mexico.

The department announced online Friday that it intends to provide contractors an opportunity to offer proposals for the design and building of "several prototype wall structures in the vicinity of the United States border with Mexico," NBC News reported.

According to the announcement, the pitch process will have two phases.

The first will require a concept paper to be delivered to Homeland Security by March 10. They will then condense the pool of pitches by March 20.

The second phase would require the remaining contractors to fulfill the full proposal request and provide the potential price.

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Majority of Americans Want Trump-Russia Probe: Poll ]]>Fri, 24 Feb 2017 17:14:44 -0500http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/Trump_Putin_Split.jpg

About half of Americans believe that Congress should investigate whether Donald Trump's presidential campaign had contact with the Russian government in 2016, while only a quarter say that lawmakers should not probe the issue, according to a new NBC News/ Wall Street Journal poll.

The poll, conducted Feb. 18-22, shows that 53 percent of the American public wants Congress to look into the alleged communications, while 25 percent disagree and 21 percent say they don't have an opinion.

A similar share - 54 percent - believe that Congress should look into Russian interference in the election generally, while 29 percent disagree.

Photo Credit: Getty Images ]]>
<![CDATA[Shoplifting Costs Retailers and Consumers $30B a Year]]>Fri, 24 Feb 2017 15:31:47 -0500http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/NC_americangreed0224_1500x845.jpg

Shoplifting, normally a petty crime, turns into a $30 billion revenue stream for organized crime rings looking to profit from cosmetics and baby formula swiped from big box retail stores. CNBC's Scott Cohn reports.

<![CDATA[Jameis Winston Speech Angers Parents]]>Fri, 24 Feb 2017 14:27:13 -0500http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/JameisWinston0224_MP4-148796316337200001.jpg

Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Jameis Winston is being criticized after comments he made to students at Melrose Elementary School in St. Petersburg, Florida on Wednesday, Feb. 22, 2017.

<![CDATA[The Secret Life of Mannequins]]>Fri, 24 Feb 2017 14:08:22 -0500http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-597917911manneqiun6.jpgA look at the varied uses of mannequins since the mid-20th Century

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Trump’s Executive Order Takes Aim at Regulations]]>Fri, 24 Feb 2017 13:54:51 -0500http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/DIT+NAT+TRUMPEXECORDER+022417.00_00_43_29.Still001.jpg

President Donald Trump signed an executive order on Friday establishing a regulatory reform task force to investigate which government regulations can be simplified or eliminated. 

<![CDATA[Guests Dangled From Windows as Fire Swept Through NJ Hotel: Fire Chief]]>Fri, 24 Feb 2017 12:40:59 -0500http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/216*120/Ramada+Inn+Fire+Vineland.JPG

A blaze that shot through the roof of a South Jersey hotel overnight left two people, including a police officer, injured.

The blaze at the Ramada Inn on Landis Avenue in Vineland broke out in a second floor room around 2 a.m. Friday and it took firefighters more than two hours to get the flames under control. All 28 guests were accounted for, firefighters said.

When firefighters arrived, they saw guests hanging from windows and throwing out their belongings, Fire Chief Robert Pagnini said.

"They said, 'just get out of here,'" said guest Brendan O'Meara.

A police officer suffered smoke inhalation and a woman -- believed to be staying in the room where the fire began --  was taken to a hospital to be treated for burns and smoke inhalation.

The inn's guests were housed at a nearby hotel, firefighters said.

The cause of the fire remained under investigation early Friday.

Photo Credit: NBC10]]>
<![CDATA[Gabby Giffords to GOP: 'Face Your Constituents']]>Fri, 24 Feb 2017 12:18:57 -0500http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/Giffords-Louie-Gohmert-congress.jpg

With loud protests roiling congressional town halls this week, Rep. Louie Gohmert, R-Texas, decided not to hold one in person, citing the shooting of former Democratic Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords.

NBC News reported that his excuse drew Giffords' ire. She was shot in the head during an event in January 2011, and noted Thursday on Twitter that, despite the shooting on a Saturday, her offices were open for business the following Monday.

"To the politicians who have abandoned their civic obligations, I say this: Have some courage. Face your constituents," Giffords said. "Hold town halls."

She added that town halls and constituent meetings were a hallmark of her tenure, and that representatives who aren't holding town halls also "have opposed commonsense gun violence prevention policies."

Photo Credit: AP/Getty Images, File]]>
<![CDATA[100% Chance There Is a Spy Site in Your Neighborhood]]>Fri, 24 Feb 2017 09:52:24 -0500http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/Georgetown+pizza.jpg

The chances you live within walking distance to a spy site are 100 percent for those living in the D.C. area, according to a former CIA official.

Robert Wallace, who spent 40 years in the CIA, wrote the book “Spy Sites of Washington, D.C., A Guide to the Capital Region's Secret History,” which details hundreds of locations in D.C., Maryland and Virginia with connections to espionage.

Walking the streets of D.C., Wallace said locations where spies lived, worked, held secret meetings and conducted dead drops are all around.

“I think it's about 100 percent certain that there is a spy site in your neighborhood, somewhere in your neighborhood,” he said. “I assure you, you can walk to it.”

In December 1976, retired CIA employee Edwin Moore lived in a home on Fort Sumner Drive in Bethesda, Maryland.

“He decided to go to the other side,” Wallace said.

Moore stole enough classified documents to fill several boxes and tried to sell them to the Soviet Union. He wrapped up a sample of the secret documents with a note and threw the bundle over the fence of the Soviet Embassy, which is now the Russian ambassador’s home. A security guard at the embassy found the package and called D.C. police, fearing it was a bomb.

“They come, retrieve the package, determine it isn't a bomb,” Wallace said. “They open the package, and some very alert police officer in Washington says, ‘Hmm, I think the FBI might be interested in this, and in fact, they were.”

Moore’s note instructed the Soviets to deliver $3,000 in cash to a dead drop location by a fire hydrant right across the street from his house, which undercover FBI agents did.

“He's arrested, he's tried, he's convicted, he's sentenced to 15 years in prison and then subsequently paroled after about three years,” Wallace said.

From the Soviet Union to the United States and Back
The security guard who found the package at the embassy was KGB.

Eight years after turning over Moore’s package of secrets to police, Vitaly Yurchenko returned to the Soviet Union.

“He was a fast-rising officer of the KGB,” Wallace said.

In 1985 after being diagnosed with cancer Yurchenko returned to the United States as a defector.

“He had knowledge of a lot of KGB operations in the United States, so of course we were interested, from a counterintelligence perspective, to debrief him thoroughly, and we did,” Wallace said.

Yurchenko’s defection didn’t last long. One night while having dinner at a Georgetown restaurant that is now the location of an &pizza restaurant, Yurchenko told his CIA security officer he was stepping outside for some fresh air.

“When he walked down the street maybe a block or so he was likely picked up by the KGB at that point,” Wallace said. “We saw him a day or so later on TV announcing that he had been drugged by the CIA for the last three months and he was very happy to be back in friendly hands.”

Spy Tactics Used for a Political Purpose
In his book, Wallace recounts hundreds of spy stories from locations across the area, including the famous garage in Rosslyn where Washington Post reporter Bob Woodward held secret meetings with his Watergate source Deep Throat.

“The Watergate story is in fact an adaptation of espionage techniques for a political purpose,” Wallace said.

“Spy Sites” includes maps of neighborhoods in D.C., Maryland and Virginia.

Photo Credit: NBCWashington
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<![CDATA[Mother Shoots, Kills Teenage Son After Argument, Police Say]]>Fri, 24 Feb 2017 11:51:41 -0500http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/Angelique+Chase+Mug.jpg

Police say a mother shot and killed her teenage son after they got into an argument Thursday night. 

Officers were called to the 6200 block of Buckler Road in Clinton, Maryland, about 9 p.m. When they arrived, they found 17-year-old Christopher Perry suffering from a gunshot wound. 

He died at the hospital a short time later. 

According to court documents, Perry and his mother, 48-year-old Angelique Chase, got into an argument that progressed to a physical struggle prior to the shooting. 

A family member separated Perry and Chase, but Chase told the relative to leave them and go to the basement of the house. When the family member was in the basement, he heard a "loud bang," according to the court documents.

Chase was arrested and charged with second-degree murder and assault. She admitted to shooting Perry in an interview with police, court documents said. 

She is being held on a no-bond status.  

Photo Credit: Prince George County Police Department]]>
<![CDATA[LA DACA Recipient, 22, Accused of Smuggling, Held in Ga.]]>Fri, 24 Feb 2017 10:06:51 -0500http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/214*120/2-23-17-DACA.JPG

The plea from the family and girlfriend of 22-year-old Jesus Alonso Arreola Robles paints a picture of a young man who came to the United States from Mexico with his parents when he was just 18 months old.

He graduated high school, applied for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program initiated by the Obama Administration and was granted temporary legal status. He worked in a North Hollywood hotel with his dad and allegedly as a driver for either Lyft or Uber.

But NBC4 Southern California has learned that Robles is under investigation by the U.S. Customs and Border Patrol for allegedly smuggling into the country another man who didn't have the legal right to be here.

Border Patrol says they arrested Robles on Feb. 12 on State Route 94 near Campo, California. In a statement to NBC4 radio partner KPCC, Robles' attorney, Joseph Porta, falsely claimed local police had arrested his client for a minor traffic violation and handed him over to Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

"I'm a little at odds as to why he's actually being detained right now," Porta said in a Thursday morning news conference at the headquarters of CHIRLA, the Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights in Los Angeles. Porta claims ICE had since moved his client from San Diego to Arizona and ultimately to Georgia where is currently being detained.

"It's very troublesome because it's prevented me from speaking to my client, having access to my client and mounting a defense," he said.

ICE says detainees are often moved around when there's an overcrowding issue and San Diego is a location that often sees cases like that. But they add that Robles has access to a phone 24/7 even though Porta claims he has yet to speak with his client.

In Thursday's public news conference, Porta claimed he didn't know why Robles was arrested and Robles' mother also denied know the details. But NBC4 has learned that in an interview with KMEX in Los Angeles, Rosa Robles admitted that her son had unknowingly picked up a passenger near the U.S.-Mexico border that night. Neither she nor the family attorney have responded to requests for comment.

Meantime, a spokesman for CHILRA says Robles was near the border because he was working at the time as a driver for a ride share app, claiming it was either Lyft or Uber. NBC4 and our partners at Telemundo 52 have confirmed that is also false, with both companies denying Robles was a registered driver at the time of the arrest.

But the fact remains that Robles is in federal immigration custody and faces deportation to a country he's never been to since he left at such a young age, and he faces losing his DACA status. ICE says that since DACA went into effect in 2012, they have deported 1,500 recipients who "pose a threat" to national security.

In a statement to NBC4, ICE says undocumented immigrants granted deferred action from deportation who are subsequently found to pose a threat to national security or public safety may have their deferred action terminated at any time. According to the statement, "this includes those who have been arrested or convicted of certain crimes, or those who are associated with criminal gangs."

Border Patrol would not go into specifics into Robles' arrest but say he was subsequently transferred to ICE custody on Feb. 15 pending a hearing before an immigration judge. It will be up to the judge to determine if he has a legal basis to remain in the U.S.

The question as to his defense lies with his attorney, who says he's not sure about why his client was arrested in the first place.

"I haven't been able to verify that with my client and I need to maintain that silence until I know what's going on," Porta said.

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<![CDATA[Missing 6-Year-Old Connecticut Girl Found in Pennsylvania]]>Fri, 24 Feb 2017 19:04:59 -0500http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/Bridgeport+Amber+Alert+Ends+in+Pennsylvania.jpg

A 6-year-old Bridgeport, Connecticut, girl who was the subject of a multistate Amber Alert was found in Pennsylvania after a high-speed chase and crash involving a car driven by her father, the fugitive suspect in double stabbing, according to police.

Pennsylvania State Police say Aylin Sofia Hernandez suffered minor injuries in the crash at about 11 a.m. Friday on Interstate 99 in Benner Township. Her father, 39-year-old Oscar Hernandez, was taken into custody and brought to a hospital for treatment of injuries. Two state troopers suffered minor injuries.

Oscar Hernandez, an El Salvador national, is a convicted felon who was deported from the U.S. in 2013, Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials tell NBC Connecticut.

The amber alert was issued around 2:45 a.m. Friday after officers responded to the girl's Greenwood Street home and found her mother dead in a grisly, blood-covered scene that police called "horrendous." 

Aylin’s mother, 26-year-old Nidia Gonzalez, had been stabbed and was pronounced dead at the scene. Gonzalez's friend, who police have not identified, had been stabbed about 14 times. She was taken to St. Vincent Medical Center and is listed in critical but stable condition. Police said they believe she will survive her injuries.

Oscar Hernandez was named a suspect.

Police received a tip that the father and daughter were in New York, and expanded the Amber Alert.

Around 11:15 a.m., a Pennsylvania State trooper spotted the car on I-99 and tried to pull it over, police said. Oscar Hernandez led officers on a chase before crashing into a tractor-trailer, causing a pursuing trooper's vehicle to crash into his car, police said. 

Police said the girl and the state trooper sustained minor injuries to her head and leg. The trooper was transported to the hospital to be treated for minor injuries.

Police are now working with the state Department of Children and Families to reunite the girl with other family members.

"Our hearts go out to the family of the deceased and the other young woman that was assaulted. We are concerned for the little girl, and frankly we're also concerned for the father of the little girl," Bridgeport Police Chief Armando J. Perez, said during a news conference Friday morning. 

"This is the ugly, ugly side of domestic violence," Perez added, noting that he has "full confidence" in the Bridgeport Police Department and detective bureau to find Hernandez. 

Bridgeport Mayor Joseph Ganim also spoke during the news conference, calling the incident a "terrible tragedy." 

The Connecticut Coalition Against Domestic Violence also issued a statement.

"We are saddened that another life has been taken because of domestic violence, but are grateful that the victim's daughter has been found," Karen Jarmoc, chief executive officer of CT Coalition Against Domestic Violence, said in a statement. "We urge everyone to be vigilant of the signs that abusive behaviors may be escalating towards fatal violence. We want the public to know that our 18 member organizations are here to help by providing safe, confidential and free services across the state, 24 hours per day, 7 days per week."

The investigation is in the early stages, but police believe the two victims had gone out, arrived home late and an argument ensued. 

Police said they had not responded to the home for domestic incidents in the past, but a protective order had been issued against Oscar Hernandez, who was accused of assaulting another female.

Oscar Hernandez's cousin said through tears that he does not know why his cousin did what he's accused of.

He said he's glad that police found Aylin safe and described Oscar as a great dad who has other children, a "great person" and a great cook.

Photo Credit: WJAC and Police]]>