Happening Today: Border Wall, Drug Overdoses, Romaine Lettuce, Michael Jackson, R. Kelly - NBC New York

Happening Today: Border Wall, Drug Overdoses, Romaine Lettuce, Michael Jackson, R. Kelly

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    What to Know

    • President Trump is edging closer to declaring a national emergency to fund his long-promised border wall

    • Federal health experts report the U.S. drug overdose rate has soared for middle-aged women between 1999 and 2017, NBC News reported

    • An attorney for Michael Jackson accusers who appear in a documentary says their allegations haven't been discredited and deserve to be heard

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    Trump Closer to Declaring Emergency; 800,000 Won't Get Paid

    President Trump is edging closer to declaring a national emergency to fund his long-promised border wall, as pressure mounts to find an escape hatch from the three-week impasse that has closed parts of the government, leaving hundreds of thousands of workers without pay. Some 800,000 workers, more than half of them still on the job, were to miss their first paycheck on Friday under the stoppage, and Washington was close to setting a dubious record for the longest government shutdown in the nation's history. Those markers — along with growing effects to national parks, food inspections and the economy overall — left some Republicans on Capitol Hill increasingly uncomfortable with Trump's demands. Asked about the plight of those going without pay, the president shifted the focus, saying he felt badly "for people that have family members that have been killed" by criminals who came over the border. Trump visited McAllen, Texas, and the Rio Grande to highlight what he calls a crisis of drugs and crime.

    Jayme Closs Found Alive, Suspect in Custody, Sheriff Says

    A 13-year-old northwest Wisconsin girl who went missing in October after her parents were killed has been found alive, authorities said. The Barron County Sheriff's Department said on its Facebook page that Jayme Closs has been located and that a suspect was taken into custody. Sheriff Chris Fitzgerald said Jayme was expected to be reunited with her family soon. Fitzgerald said a suspect was taken into custody a short time later. The parents of Jayme Closs, James and Denise Closs, were found dead from gunshot wounds in their home in October. Authorities ruled their deaths homicides. Jayme could not be located and authorities determined the teen was missing, but did not believe she had run away of her own volition. Investigators believed she was in danger. No gun was found at the scene, and authorities believed Jayme was in the home at the time of her parents' deaths.

    US Drug Overdoses Rose Most Among Middle-Aged Women, CDC Says

    Federal health experts report the U.S. drug overdose rate has soared for middle-aged women between 1999 and 2017, NBC News reported. It rose a startling 260 percent for women between 30 and 64 years old, according to new research from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The rate of drug overdose deaths rose 492 percent for the same group over the same time period. "Prescription opioids clearly were overutilized for more than a decade," said Dr. Michael Lynch, medical director of the the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center's poison center, who was not involved in the study. Last year, the government reported that overdoses killed more than 70,000 Americans, driven most by opioid drugs like fentanyl.

    US Officials Declare End to Outbreak From Romaine Lettuce

    U.S. health officials are declaring an end to a food poisoning outbreak blamed on romaine lettuce from California. From October to December, the E. coli outbreak sickened 62 people in 16 states. No one died, but 25 people were hospitalized. Illnesses were also reported in Canada. Investigators concluded that romaine lettuce grown in central and northern California was the likely source. They found the same bacteria strain in a reservoir at a farm in Santa Barbara County. Officials said no new illnesses have been reported for a month, and lettuce from the area is no longer in stores or restaurants. Romaine harvesting has since shifted to winter growing areas, primarily Arizona, Florida, Mexico and California's Imperial Valley.

    Michael Jackson Allegations Resurface With New Film

    An attorney representing two Michael Jackson accusers who appear in an upcoming documentarysays their sexual-abuse allegations have not been discredited as the Jackson estate says, and deserve to be heard. Vince Finaldi, who represents Wade Robson and James Safechuck in lawsuits alleging Jackson molested them, said the suits were dismissed on technical grounds, not the credibility of the men's claims, and they are now under appeal. "There were never any rulings to the court as to their testimony," Finaldi said. "We stand by our clients, and we believe them, and we fully expect them to be vindicated." The stories of Robson and Safechuck, who came forward as adults to say Jackson had sexually abused them for years when they were boys, will be heard again in the two-part, four-hour documentary "Leaving Neverland," which will air on HBO and British public broadcaster Channel 4 in the spring. It premieres Jan. 25 at the Sundance Film Festival, the channels announced.

    R. Kelly Celebrates Birthday Amid Misconduct Allegations

    Hours after protesters demonstrated outside R. Kelly's Chicago studio, the rapper - facing increased scrutiny over allegations of a range of misconduct - reportedly partied at a nightclub on the city's South Side, videos posted on social media appear to show. According to multiple clips posted on Instagram and Snapchat, the musician was reportedly spotted at the V75 Lounge, located in the 100 block of West 75th Street in the city's West Chatham neighborhood. The videos appear to show Kelly - clad in a fur coat, red hat and sunglasses - surrounded by fans and smoking a cigar before taking the microphone and giving what looks like an impromptu performance. Along with videos of Kelly and the crowd singing happy birthday, a fan said on Snapchat that they were celebrating Kelly's birthday. He just turned 52.

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