<![CDATA[NBC New York - National & International News]]>Copyright 2017https://www.nbcnewyork.com/news/national-internationalhttp://media.nbcnewyork.com/designimages/4NY_Horizontal.jpgNBC New Yorkhttps://www.nbcnewyork.comen-usWed, 13 Dec 2017 19:35:18 -0500Wed, 13 Dec 2017 19:35:18 -0500NBC Owned Television Stations<![CDATA[Black Voter Turnout, Allegations Doomed Moore: Exit Poll]]>Wed, 13 Dec 2017 10:29:08 -0500https://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/election-line.jpg

The allegations of sexual misconduct against Roy Moore and a Democratic surge boosted by high African-Americans turnout led Doug Jones to his projected election upset win in Alabama, NBC News' exit polls showed.

African Americans made up 29 percent of all Alabama voters, and they broke for Jones by a 96 percent-to-4 percent margin. That essentially matched Barack Obama’s performance with African Americans in the state in 2012.

Ninety-eight percent of black women supported Jones, compared with 34 percent of white women. Still, even that support among white women was more than twice the 16 percent of white women who voted for President Barack Obama in 2012, NBC News reported. Overall, 58 percent of Alabama women voted for Jones. 

Meanwhile, 52 percent of voters in Alabama said allegations against Moore were either "definitely" or "probably" true, and they broke for Jones, 89 percent to 8 percent.

Photo Credit: AFP/Getty Images
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<![CDATA[Schumer, Ex-Staffer Slam Forged Sexual Harassment Documents ]]>Wed, 13 Dec 2017 14:19:32 -0500https://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/AP_17318739073690.jpg

A former staffer for Sen. Chuck Schumer said a draft of a sexual harassment lawsuit naming the Senate minority leader and purporting that she was the accuser is "completely false."

Schumer also described the documents and allegations against him as a "phony" smear.

In a statement to NBC News, the staffer named in the document said "the claims in this document are completely false, my signature is forged, and even basic facts about me are wrong.” The development came hours after news site Axios reported the existence of the document and that Schumer's team had turned it over to Capitol Police.

"I have contacted law enforcement to determine who is responsible," the staffer said. "I parted with Senator Schumer’s office on good terms and have nothing but the fondest memories of my time there."

NBC News is protecting the staffer's anonymity at her request, as she says she's a victim of a crime.

"It was a phony allegation, forged from start to finish," Schumer said Wednesday during a news conference.

He did not say who he believed was behind the document but said his office would pursue "every legal path" on the issue. 

Axios earlier reported that Schumer's office disputed basic facts in the documents, including Schumer's whereabouts during two purported allegations in 2011.

”We have turned it over to the Capitol Police and asked them to investigate and pursue criminal charges because it is clear the law has been broken," a spokesman for Schumer told Axios.

He added, "We believe the individual responsible for forging the document should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law to prevent other malicious actors from doing the same."

Several media outlets were shopped the document, according to The Associated Press. 

Photo Credit: J. Scott Applewhite/AP, File]]>
<![CDATA[Obamacare Sign-Ups Surge; Enrollment Likely Down Next Year]]>Wed, 13 Dec 2017 17:51:31 -0500https://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/Healthcare.gov-website.jpg

Over 1 million people chose insurance through the federal health care exchange last week as open enrollment approaches its Dec. 15 deadline. But the total number is likely to fall short of last year, which featured both a longer enrollment period and a far more robust outreach campaign from the White House, NBC News reported.

According to the latest figures, released Wednesday by the federal Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services (CMS), 388,984 new customers signed up between Dec. 3 and Dec. 9 while an additional 684,937 renewed existing coverage. The numbers are likely to surge again in the home stretch as customers finalize selections and others who have existing coverage, but have not chosen plans, are auto-enrolled.

Just under 4.7 million people have signed up since open enrollment began Nov. 1, up from 4 million at a comparable point last year. But the previous enrollment period was longer and continued through Jan. 31, reaching a total of 9.2 million. 

Top Trump administration officials have made little public mention of the enrollment period in contrast to the previous White House, where President Barack Obama participated in interviews and events to encourage signups.

Photo Credit: Healthcare.gov]]>
<![CDATA[Preschoolers Battle for Baby Jesus Doll ]]>Wed, 13 Dec 2017 17:27:21 -0500https://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/DIT_NAT_JESUS_BABY_FIGHT_1-151319902690400002.jpg

Two preschoolers taking part in a nativity pageant at a Tennessee church engaged in a tug of war over a baby Jesus doll.

<![CDATA[Here’s How You Can Still Help Puerto Rico]]>Wed, 13 Dec 2017 15:26:37 -0500https://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/PRHouse.jpg

Puerto Rico is slowly rebuilding from the destruction Hurricane Maria brought in September. A map created by Google shows organizations and campaigns in need of funds to continue aiding the families, farmers and even pets trying to survive on the island.

Here are a few of them:

The Boricua Organization of Ecological Agriculture
The nonprofit, grassroots organization helps support farming in Puerto Rico. The 28-year-old social justice movement is made up of farmers, educators and activists building sustainable agriculture platforms to make food accessible to rural and urban communities. The organization is asking for donations through its PayPal at organizacion.boricicua@gmail.com.

World Center Kitchen
This organization, which has helped deliver food to victims affected by hurricanes in the past, used #ChefsforPuertoRico to encourage chefs to step out of their kitchens and into the streets to help victims of Hurricane Maria. The organization has served three million meals across 78 municipalities in 20 kitchens. All donations are being accepted through its PayPal.

Puerto Rico Science
The organization aims to unite “science” and “collaboration” with the help of scientists, educators and students to reconstruct Puerto Rico. The program educates the younger generation about renewable energy, environment sustainability, clean and portable water, and ecosystem issues. The idea is that by educating children on these issues, they will help to rebuild a stronger and resilient Puerto Rico in the long term. The organization is asking for $15,000 in donations for the collaboration project.

Light and Hope for Puerto Rico: A Citizen Campaign
The C+Feel=Hope campaign was created to find a solution for the power outage Puerto Rico is still suffering. The campaign provides solar powered lights, mobile phone chargers and hand powered washers for families in need. The campaign is partnered with Solar Sister, Omnivoltaic, Schneider Electric, MPOWERD and Celancut. The campaign has a goal of raising $100,000.

Rock Steady for Life
Organized by Richard ‘Crazy Legs’ from the 80’s group, Rock Steady Crew with Red Bull, Waves for Water and several Puerto Rican artists, the partnership supports water filtration and purification systems. Its Go Fund Me has a goal of $125,000 and it updates on the page how the money is being used. The funds will also support the Boys and Girls Club of Isabela, an organization that is providing shelter, food, and necessities to people in need.

Feminist Solidarity Hurricane Relief Fund
The feminist organization is raising funds for a distribution center for resources and necessities for women, the LGBTQ community and other people in need. The organization is trying to raise $30,000 for its efforts.

The SATO Project
If you’re dog lover you can support the SATO project; an organization dedicated to rescuing abused and abandoned dogs from the southeastern coast of Puerto Rico. Since Hurricane Maria, the organization has helped to evacuate over 300 dogs to safety and to reunite them their owners or find them new families. To help support a furry friend, consider donating to The Sato Project.

Photo Credit: Getty Images
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<![CDATA[Adorable Orphaned Sea Otter Pup Settling in at Oregon Zoo]]>Wed, 13 Dec 2017 17:32:00 -0500https://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/pupotter.jpg

A sea otter pup known as "805" has been taken in by the Oregon Zoo after being orphaned off the California coast.

<![CDATA[‘Sorry About the Door’: Firefighters Save Home, Leave Note]]>Wed, 13 Dec 2017 13:20:25 -0500https://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/Ernie-Valdez-SDFD-Note.jpg

With red-hot embers raining down on homes and rows of palm trees ablaze, San Diego fire crews set out to protect houses caught in the middle of the Lilac Fire. One firefighter left behind a sweet note for a couple whose home was damaged, but saved.

“Sorry about the door and ceiling. Had to get in there to save the home,” the handwritten note on a small piece of notepad paper read. It was signed “San Diego Fire,” followed by a small “Good Luck.”


The note was left behind by Ernie Valdez, an engineer with the San Diego Fire-Rescue Department (SDFD), who worked with other firefighters to save the home of Lindsey Jarrous and her husband, Michael, as the wind-driven Lilac Fire ripped through Bonsall in San Diego’s North County last week.

The 4,100-acre fire, which sparked Thursday around 11:15 a.m. off State Route 76 and Interstate 15, eventually destroyed 157 structures and damaged 64 others.

The Jarrous’ home was damaged, but spared, thanks to the quick work of SDFD crews. When the couple returned home, they found their residence still standing and the nice note left behind by firefighters apologizing for the damage. Lindsey took to social media Monday to share the note in hopes of finding the heroes.

On Tuesday, NBC 7 spoke with the scribe, Valdez, who said he wrote the note to let the residents know what had happened.


“It was just something I did out of the split second,” he recalled. “It was a quick note. I just wanted the homeowner to know we did the damage for a reason. I just decided to write them a quick note, letting them know we’re not a bunch of Neanderthals, just destroying property. We had a purpose for what we did.”

The mission was to save the home and others like it, by any means necessary.

Valdez said the house was part of a complex of townhomes in rural Bonsall surrounded by palm trees. As firefighters drove into the complex, those palms were covered in flames as if they’d been individually set on fire, “like candles on a birthday cake.”

Embers from the trees were shooting down onto rooftops, threatening to burn down the houses, including the Jarrous' home.


“They were 50 to 60-foot Mexican palm trees on fire. They were spitting embers and palm fronds everywhere. That was, in turn, catching yards on fire, houses on fire, burning our firefighters on the neck — everything,” recounted SDFD Capt. Matthew Praizner.

When firefighters reached the Jarrous’ home, the embers were overwhelming the property. They kicked in the door.

The captain told NBC 7 that when his crew went into the home, he immediately noticed the residents’ Christmas decorations.

“There was so much love and warmth in the house,” he said. “And we said, ‘We will do whatever we possibly had to give Christmas to these people.’”

Firefighters ran to an attic space on the second floor where Praizner said the fire was deep-seated, in the insulation. Valdez said the attack was swift and aggressive, all to keep the home from being ravaged by the fire.

“The whole house would’ve burned down – absolutely, for sure,” Praizner added.

Valdez was providing water to the firefighters through their hoses. With the weight of the water on top of the drywall, the rooftop of the Jarrous home collapsed into a bedroom.

Still, firefighters were able to put out the fire.


On a final walkthrough of the property, Valdez noticed the mess left behind in the home.

“The mess we left from our boot prints, to where the hose line was dragged through, to the roof falling on their bedroom furniture,” he explained.

He remembered he had a notepad and pen on him, and quickly wrote the residents a note, leaving it on an entertainment center in the living room.

“I wrote this to let someone know why we caused the damage we did, even though their home was still standing,” he said. “Even though we are the fire department, we are still a customer service department.”


The Jarrous couple said they are certainly appreciative of the work of Valdez, Praizner and their crew.

“We are so so so very grateful for the firefighters who saved our home!” a message posted by Lindsey to Instagram read, in part. “Although we have damage (like water damage and our bedroom ceiling being on the floor) we have our home! We feel very blessed!!”


NBC 7 caught up with the couple Tuesday. They are newlyweds and this will be their first Christmas as a married couple. Thanks to the firefighters, they'll be able to spend the holidays in their home, where the Christmas tree and decorations still stand.

Michael told NBC 7 they were so moved by the letter from Valdez, he now keeps the piece of paper safely tucked away in his wallet. 

"I was really touched. The fact that they made a strong effort to preserve our home; this is the place for us," he said, looking at his wife and holding back tears. "We're just grateful."

"(The note) was just really, really thoughtful. In the midst of all the chaos, they were able to even say sorry that they damaged some of our stuff, but they saved most of it," Lindsey added.

Michael said he writes notes to his wife every morning before he heads out for his very early shift at work. Lindsey leaves notes for him, too. Since notes are something the couple shares often, the note from Valdez tugged at their heartstrings.

"Notes are a big thing for us," said Lindsey. "So, that was special."

The couple said, in their home, notes are a way to say "I love you" when the other person isn't around. They keep every note and never thought they'd be adding one from the San Diego Fire-Rescue Department to their collection.

"We're blessed by their sacrifice and grateful to God for giving them courage to save our home," Lindsey added.

The couple plans to thank Valdez and the SDFD strike team that saved their home in a fitting way: by writing them a note.

As of 7:30 a.m. Wednesday, the Lilac Fire was 95 percent contained, with full containment expected by Dec. 21. Cal Fire said a total of 1,659 fire personnel had worked on the fire since Thursday.

Photo Credit: Lindsey Jarrous/NBC 7 San Diego
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<![CDATA[Black Teen's Gift From Girlfriend's Family Sparks Racial Backlash]]>Wed, 13 Dec 2017 14:49:24 -0500https://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/Hunter+and+Duke.jpg

A viral video of a North Texas teenager surprising her boyfriend with a car for Christmas has prompted a wave of racist comments, tainting the heartfelt gesture with hate.

"Many people were saying I was destroying my lineage," said Madison Duke, who is white. "Every racist comment you could think of, it was there." 

The 16-year-old has been dating Christian Hunter, 17, for 11 months. Hunter is black.

Duke said her parents wanted to gift Hunter a car because he's a "genuine and caring person." She said her parents raised money over the course of six weeks to buy a 2005 Scion.

On the day Hunter was to receive his present, Duke's parents told him they were going out for lunch but needed to make a quick stop first.

A video of the big reveal posted on social media showed Hunter arriving at a garage with Duke's parents, speechless at the site of the car with a big red bow on the hood. 

"Merry Christmas," Duke's stepfather says in the video.

The video, which has been viewed 1.5 million times as of Tuesday night, was posted online Saturday. The couple said the initial wave of positive response was followed by hundreds of hateful comments.

"We were shocked," Duke said.

The comments have since been disabled on the couple's YouTube page. The teens say they're determined to not let hate ruin their happiness.

"Don't judge a book by its cover. People that made all the racists comments about me, they know anything about me. I know I'm an intelligent person. I know I'm very humble. They don't know anything about me," Hunter said.

Photo Credit: NBC DFW
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<![CDATA[Mom: I Was Kicked Off of Flight to NYC After Breastfeeding]]>Wed, 13 Dec 2017 13:25:15 -0500https://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/kicked-off-flight-triptych.jpg

A cancer researcher flying from Texas to New York City told NBC News she was booted off her plane on Friday after breastfeeding her cranky son so he wouldn’t cry on the three-hour flight.

The woman, who asked to only be identified as Dr. Rui for privacy reasons — but who is an accomplished researcher and pianist, according to The Washington Post — said she and her son were forced off the Spirit Airlines plane after she asked flight attendants to give her a little extra time to finish feeding her 2-year-old and transfer him to his seat without waking him up.

“I think they had an issue with either nursing or something,” she said. “I don’t know.”

In a statement Sunday night, Spirit Airlines said Rui “refused to comply with crew instructions during active taxi several times” and that it issued a full refund to her as a courtesy.

Rui told NBC News that she, her son and her elderly parents woke up at 3 a.m. to get ready for their 6:30 a.m. flight from George Bush International Airport to Newark Liberty International Airport, but ended up waiting for several hours for their flight to take off. In that time, her son got upset because he had been woken up and wanted to go back to sleep.

Rui added she decided to breastfeed the boy shortly before departure, noting that passengers and crew members were still walking around in the cabin at the time. But she said not long after she began, two flight attendants asked her to buckle up her son.

“I had asked for a couple minutes of grace period so he could stay asleep and so I can transfer him and he can go to sleep,” she said.

Afterward, Rui said she buckled her son back in, and a woman changed seats because her son began to cry very loudly.

“I felt so bad for everybody on the flight,” she said, adding that she was then asked to get off the plane, where she was met by police and a Spirit Airlines employee.

She then began capturing video of the exchange with the employee, asking "why were we chased off" the plane.

Her son can be heard fussing off camera as the employee replies, "Because you were not compliant with flight crew instructions."

Rui also claimed airline employees threatened to “bring in the FBI” after she was deplaned.

“We were very scared, as you could imagine,” she said.

According to the Post, she never got booked on another flight and didn’t complete the trip to New York City. Instead, she said, while driving home, her father collapsed and had to be taken to the emergency room.

Photo Credit: Provided]]>
<![CDATA[2017 Geminids: How to Watch This Year's Best Meteor Shower]]>Wed, 13 Dec 2017 13:36:51 -0500https://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/214*120/geminds2013_jcc_960.jpg

Nighttime sky-watchers willing to brave the cold can look forward to a spectacular display of shooting stars Wednesday night.

The Geminid meteor shower, which returns every December, is widely regarded as the most impressive of the year, according to a NASA news release.

"With August's Perseids obscured by bright moonlight, the Geminids will be the best shower this year," said Bill Cooke with NASA's meteoroid environment office. "The thin, waning crescent moon won't spoil the show."

The dazzling display of celestial fireworks will reach its peak of one per minute between midnight and 4 a.m. local time, Cook reported. He noted good rates will also be visible between 7:30 p.m. and dawn the morning of Dec. 14.

The Geminids are spawned by pieces of debris from the distant asteroid 3200 Phaethon. Every December, Earth’s orbit crosses the asteroid’s and those particles burn up in Earth’s atmosphere, creating a meteor shower that lights up the night’s sky.

This year, Phaethon will fly its closest distance to Earth since its discovery in 1983, according to NASA.

Meteor showers can be seen with the naked eye and don't require binoculars or telescopes, though the best view is from the Northern Hemisphere. Observers will see fewer Geminids in the Southern Hemisphere.

And if you can't make it out, or if skies are cloudy, you can watch NASA's Geminids webcast live here from the Automated Lunar and Meteor Observatory at Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama, starting at sunset, about 5:40 p.m. ET on Dec. 13.

Photo Credit: Juan Carlos Casado via NASA]]>
<![CDATA[Donald Trump Through the Years]]>Tue, 31 Oct 2017 07:45:00 -0500https://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/Trumpthumb.jpgWhat Donald Trump's presidency will look like is unclear to many observers. He has not previously worked in politics, and has made contradictory statements on policy issues in several areas during his campaign. Despite the unknowns, Trump has an extensive public profile that, along with his real estate empire and the Trump brand, grew domestically and internationally over the last few decades. Here is a look at his personal and career milestones and controversies.

Photo Credit: AP, Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[White House: ‘No Way’ Trump Tweet to NY Sen. Is Sexist]]>Tue, 12 Dec 2017 16:35:47 -0500https://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/DIT_NAT_SHS_BRIEF_GILLIBRAND2-151311313446300002.jpg

President Donald Trump tweeted that Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand would “do anything” for campaign contributions on Tuesday, Dec. 12. Later in the day, White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said Trump’s tweet was not sexist.

<![CDATA[FBI Agent Removed from Russia Probe Called Trump an 'Idiot']]>Wed, 13 Dec 2017 17:33:02 -0500https://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/AP_17342690192155.jpg

Two FBI officials who would later be assigned to the special counsel's investigation into Donald Trump's presidential campaign described him with insults like "idiot" and "loathsome human" in a series of text messages last year, according to copies of the messages released Tuesday.

One of the officials said in an election night text that the prospect of a Trump victory was "terrifying."

Peter Strzok, a veteran FBI counterintelligence agent, was removed over the summer from special counsel Robert Mueller's team following the discovery of text messages exchanged with Lisa Page, an FBI lawyer who was also detailed this year to the group of agents and prosecutors investigating potential coordination between Russia and Trump's Republican campaign.

Hundreds of the messages, which surfaced in a Justice Department inspector general investigation of the FBI's inquiry into Democrat Hillary Clinton's use of a private email server, were being provided to congressional committees, which had requested copies, and were reviewed by The Associated Press on Tuesday night.

The existence of the text messages, disclosed in news reports earlier this month, provided a line of attack for Trump, who used the revelation to disparage FBI leadership as politically tainted. Republicans have also seized on the exchange of texts between two officials who worked for Mueller to suggest that the team is biased against Trump and its conclusions can't be trusted.

The issue is likely to be a focus of a congressional hearing Wednesday involving Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, who appointed Mueller as special counsel in May and oversees his team's work.

A spokesman for Mueller has said Strzok was removed from the Mueller team as soon as the allegations were brought to the office's attention, and that Page had already concluded her detail by that time anyway and returned to the FBI. Strzok has been reassigned within the FBI.

Working telephone numbers for Strzok and Page could not immediately be found.

Strzok had been deeply involved in the Clinton inquiry and was in the room when she was interviewed by the FBI. He later helped investigate whether the Trump campaign worked with Russia to influence the outcome of the 2016 presidential election.

The texts seen by the AP began in the summer of 2015, soon after the FBI launched its email server investigation, and continued over the next year and a half as the presidential race was in full swing and as Trump and Clinton were looking to defeat their primary challengers and head toward the general election.

The messages — 375 were released Tuesday evening — cover a broad range of political topics and include an exchange of news articles about the race, often alongside their own commentaries.

There are some derogatory comments about Democratic officials, including presidential candidate Bernie Sanders and former Attorney General Eric Holder, but some of the harshest comments are reserved for Trump.

In a March 4, 2016, back-and-forth provided to Congress, Page refers to Trump as a "loathsome human" and Strzok responds, "Yet he may win." After Strzok asks whether she thinks Trump would be a worse president than fellow Republican Ted Cruz, Page says, "Yes, I think so."

The two then use words like "idiot" and "awful" to characterize Trump, with Strzok saying, "America will get what the voting public deserves."

In another exchange, on Oct. 18, 2016, Strzok writes to Page and says: "I am riled up. Trump is an (expletive) idiot, is unable to provide a coherent answer. I CAN'T PULL AWAY. WHAT THE (expletive) HAPPENED TO OUR COUNTRY??!?!"

Weeks later, on election day, as it seemed to become clearer that Trump could defeat Clinton, he says, "OMG THIS IS (expletive) TERRIFYING: A victory by Mr. Trump remains possible..."

Page replies, "Yeah, that's not good."

In August 2016, Strzok responded to a New York Times story that carried the headline of "Donald Trump is Making America Meaner" by saying, "I am worried about what Trump is encouraging in our behavior."

But he also adds, "I'm worried about what happens if HRC is elected," using the initials for Hillary Rodham Clinton.

Photo Credit: Evan Vucci/AP, File]]>
<![CDATA[In Photos: Total Devastation in Puerto Rico After Maria]]>Fri, 29 Sep 2017 10:19:36 -0500https://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/180*120/AP_17271040483244.jpgThe island territory of more than 3 million U.S. citizens is reeling in the devastating wake of what Puerto Rico Gov. Ricardo Rossello called "the most devastating storm in a century."

Photo Credit: AP Photo/Ramon Espinosa]]>
<![CDATA[Anderson Cooper: Trump Taunt on Twitter Wasn't From Me]]>Wed, 13 Dec 2017 10:59:31 -0500https://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/anderson-cooper-trump.jpg

CNN's Anderson Cooper said Wednesday that someone had "gained access" to his Twitter account and sent out a tweet calling President Donald Trump a "pathetic loser."

The taunt from Cooper's verified account came after Trump had tweeted in the wake of Doug Jones' projected win in Alabama's Senate election. Trump noted that he had first backed Roy Moore's primary opponent, Luther Strange.

"Oh Really? You endorsed him you tool! Pathetic loser," Cooper's Twitter account replied.

Cooper later posted that he "just woke up to find out someone gained access to my twitter account" and was investigating.

Until Wednesday, no messages had been posted to his account since Sunday.

Photo Credit: Twitter]]>
<![CDATA[Man Strips Naked After Car Crash, Jumps on Passing Vehicle]]>Wed, 13 Dec 2017 18:29:15 -0500https://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/Route+28+Naked+Man.jpg

A man stripped naked and jumped onto a moving truck in freezing temperatures Tuesday near Washington Dulles International Airport, officials say and stunning video shows.

Shocked drivers stopped their cars to gawk at the man's rampage and record it on their cellphones, backing up traffic on Route 28 in Fairfax County, Virginia.

Jose Gonzalez Flores, 32, was involved in a hit-and-run and then assaulted another driver and ran into traffic, police said. He tried to smash the windows of passing cars and used a knife to stab at the roof of the truck he jumped onto, a witness told News4.

The driver of a tractor-trailer said Flores tried to rip him out of his vehicle and then punched out a window, raining glass onto his dog, a German shepherd-husky mix named Emma. The glass cut the dog's face.

A woman recording the scene after the crash started to scream as she realized the man posed a threat.

"Get away from me! Oh my God! Oh my God!" Mahnaz Safi shrieked. 

Flores' rampage just ahead of the evening rush hour Tuesday began after a three-car crash on southbound Route 28 near Frying Pan Road, Fairfax County police said.

Truck driver Adam Allen said he saw a man punch another man near the crash scene. Amid strong winds and temperatures in the 20s, the agitated man started to strip, witnesses said.

"He had a tire in his hand and he had something that had blades. He kept cutting himself," Safi said.

Allen saw the man strip down and then lock eyes with him. Allen's dog, Emma, got uneasy. 

"He looked at me, and she started barking. He hopped up on the passenger side, tried to open the door. When he couldn't get in, he punched a window and shattered it with his fist," Allen said. 

He shouted "Hi-ya!" as if he were doing karate as he broke the window, Allen said. 

The glass cut the dog's face, around her right eye. EMTs would later help her. 

“When the EMTs were cleaning out her eye, they said she shut it just in time," Allen said. 

Video shows the nude man hanging on the door of the tractor-trailer. 

"Got up to 30 miles per hour before he finally let go," Allen said. 

"It was like out of a movie almost," he continued. 

Tariq Hussein saw the whole scene unfold after his dump truck was hit from behind by a blue pickup truck. He said the naked man lay down in the road and tried to damage multiple cars.

"The guy was actually stopping the cars. He was laying down. He started swinging, laying down naked and all that stuff, so people stopped. They don't want to run him down," Hussein said.

"They just stopped, and whoever stopped, he goes to them and tried to smash their window," the witness continued. "Then, he jumped onto this guy's pickup truck flatbed and he just tried [to stab it] with a knife."

Flores broke a window of the truck, police said. 

Then, fully nude, he jumped off the truck and ran into a wooded area, Hussein said.

"He took a tire, a used tire, around his neck and ran into the woods," the witness said.

Fairfax County police were called to the scene about 3:30 p.m. Officers responded from Fairfax County and Loudoun County, as well as the Metropolitan Washington Airport Authority and the Loudoun County Sheriff’s Office.

Flores, of Sterling, was found a short time later in a drainage ditch on Dulles airport property. He was arrested and then taken to a hospital with non-life-threatening injuries. No one else was hurt.

Initially, police could not identify him. 

The car crash and the search for the man blocked traffic for nearly an hour.

Police said it was not immediately clear if Flores had been under the influence of drugs or alcohol, or if he had experienced a medical emergency. 

After he is released from the hospital, police said he will be charged with indecent exposure, felony hit-and-run, throwing an object at a moving vehicle, destruction of property, assault and battery, disorderly conduct and marijuana possession. 

Emma, the dog, is doing ok. 

Police initially said, based on preliminary information, that a driver swerved around the naked man and caused a crash. 

Photo Credit: Tariq Hussein
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<![CDATA[What to Know About Alabama Democrat Doug Jones]]>Wed, 13 Dec 2017 09:00:22 -0500https://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/Doug-Jones-Joe-Biden.jpg

Democrat Doug Jones was the projected winner of the U.S. Senate in Alabama on Tuesday, beating back history in a race that was transformed by allegations of sexual assault and misconduct against Republican candidate Roy Moore in this deeply conservative state.

Although President Donald Trump eventually stuck by Moore, and some experts continued to bet that he would pull out a victory over Jones, pollsters were saying the race was impossible to predict by election day.

Jones' projected win will make him the first Democratic senator to represent Alabama in two decades. Jones campaigned heavily at the end and brought in prominent African-American supporters to draw out the black vote.

U.S. Sen. Cory Booker of New Jersey and former Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick appeared on his behalf. Former President Barack Obama recorded a phone message in Jones' support that the campaign began using on Tuesday.  

Moore meanwhile made few appearances in the last week until a rally Monday with Trump's former chief strategist, Steve Bannon.

Last-minute cash contributions to both candidates were being made by outside political groups, and both were using legal loopholes to hide their donors until after the election, according to NBC News. At the end of November, Jones was outspending Moore by nearly 10 to one.

Some Republicans continued to call for Moore to step down as they scrambled to find a write-in candidate to replace him. Alabama's senior senator, Republican Richard Shelby, said he could not vote for Moore.

"We applaud the courage of these women,” Jones said of the allegations against his opponent in a statement earlier. "Roy Moore will be held accountable by the people of Alabama for his actions."

Moore has called the claims against him "absolutely false."

Jones has said that his campaign strategy did not change in light of the allegations because the issues are still the same.

"Our campaign has been about the people of this state," he told reporters. "It’s never been about me. It’s not about Roy Moore. It hasn’t been about any other candidate. It’s about the people of this state and what they consider to be their important, kitchen table issues."

Jones, 63, has never run for public office. Born into a working class Alabama family of steelworkers and miners, he attended Fairfield High School during the time of Alabama's public school desegregation and went on to study government and law.

Here are the other things to know about the Democratic Senator.

He was named U.S. Attorney by Bill Clinton
After law school, Jones worked as staff counsel to the U.S Senate Judiciary Committee and then as assistant U.S. attorney in Birmingham.

Jones was appointed U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Alabama by former President Bill Clinton in 1997 and he was confirmed by a Republican-majority Senate. He held the position for four years before returning to private law practice.

He has prosecuted Ku Klux Klan members and other extremists
In his time as U.S. attorney, Jones won a conviction in 2002 for former KKK member Bobby Frank Cherry, who murdered four African-American girls in a 1963 Alabama church bombing. The bombing was a turning point in the civil rights movement.

Jones previously convicted another former Klansman, Thomas Blanton, whose case was dormant for nearly 25 years, for his role in the bombing.

He also spearheaded the prosecution against Eric Rudolph, who bombed a women’s health care center in Birmingham in 1998.

According to Jones’s campaign website, civil rights issues are a priority in his campaign.

"Sadly, the pattern of violence as a response to hope has reasserted itself," Jones wrote in a September op-ed in Huffington Post. "We saw it in the Charleston church massacre in 2015. We saw it on display in Charlottesville this past August. We've seen it in the attacks on mosques and synagogues, and against the LGBT community. We see it in the hostility toward the Latino community. We cannot sweep this violence under the rug. We must address the forces that lead to it and prosecute those who perpetrate such acts.”

The Birmingham Civil Rights Institute awarded Jones the 15th Anniversary Civil Rights Distinguished Service Award for his work in civil rights, according to the Public Justice Center, a legal aid office that advocates for racial equality.

Former Vice President Joe Biden campaigned for him
Last month, before the sexual assault and misconduct claims against Roy Moore came to light, the former vice president traveled to Alabama to campaign for Jones.

"I can count on two hands the people I've campaigned for that have as much integrity, as much courage," Biden said of Jones, Business Insider reported.

He also said that Jones’ prosecution of the KKK members “helped remove 40 years of stain and pain” from the state of Alabama.

Former vice presidential candidate Tim Kaine also expressed his support for Jones, asking for donations to the campaign in a recent tweet.  

"When you have a person who speaks to a very unique need for healing in the country right now and is facing off against a guy who will not heal our divisions but will fan them, it’s a good race to be helpful in," Kaine told The New York Times.

On the eve of the election, former NBA star and Alabama native Charles Barkley campaigned with Jones. 

"I love Alabama, but at some point we've got to draw a line in the sand and say, 'We're not a bunch of damn idiots,'" Barkley said.

The grandson of a coal miner, Jones supports the Paris climate accord
"I want to be perfectly clear: I believe in science," Jones wrote on his website.

He said he supports the Paris climate agreement and that the impact of fossil fuel use on the planet is clear.

But as the son of a steelworker and the grandson of a coal miner, Jones has "enormous sympathy with the families in our state that have seen their incomes decline or their jobs vanish as coal prices have dropped," he said, adding that America needs to step up its job retraining and health care for these workers.

He opposes efforts to repeal "Obamacare"
Jones said on his website that while the Affordable Care Act "needs improvement," he is "disturbed about repeated efforts to repeal the bill or weaken it, leaving as many as 32 million more Americans without insurance, driving up rates for others and likely leading to the closure of more rural health care facilities vital in many regions of Alabama."

Jones has said he wants to lower health care premiums and out-of-pocket costs.

He has also called for more funding for education, saying “it is unconscionable to talk about lowering taxes on the wealthy while cutting funding for education, nutrition, child care, housing, and infrastructure.”

Photo Credit: Brynn Anderson/AP Photo
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<![CDATA[Senators React to Jones' Victory in Alabama Senate Race]]>Wed, 13 Dec 2017 00:03:02 -0500https://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-890909758.jpg

Senators took to social media after Doug Jones was the apparent winner to the U.S. Senate on Tuesday, with many Democrats calling it a political setback for President Donald Trump.

"Congratulations to my friend @GDouglasJones. He'll be a great colleague," Sen. Tim Kaine, D-Va., tweeted. "President Trump went all in for Roy Moore, but proud Alabamians wisely repudiated their behavior."

Most Republicans did not immediately react on Twitter to Jones' win.

When news initially broke of Roy Moore's alleged sexual misconduct in early November, many GOP senators called for Moore to leave the race. But in the final weeks leading up to the election, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., walked back his original call for Moore to drop out, Trump explicitly endorsed him and and the RNC started to fund his campaign again. 

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said he thinks Jones will be an "outstanding" senator who "will represent Alabama well."

"As Dr. King said, 'The moral arc of the universe is long but it bends toward justice,'" Jones said during his victory speech, as he thanked Alabamians. "Tonight ladies and gentleman, tonight in this time, in this place, you helped bend the moral arc a little closer to justice."

Sen. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., was the only GOP senator to explicitly show support for Jones. Days before the election, he tweeted a photo of a check he sent to Jones' campaign with the words, "Country over Party."

On Tuesday, after it appeared Jones won the election, Flake was the first Republican senator to tweet: "Decency wins."

Here's a look at how members of the Senate reacted to the Alabama outcome on Twitter.

Photo Credit: Justin Sullivan/Getty
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<![CDATA[Families May Lose CHIP Children's Health Insurance]]>Tue, 12 Dec 2017 21:06:12 -0500https://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/Chip-anniversary.jpg

Officials in several states started warning families this week that funding for the popular Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) is about to run out.

The joint state-federal health plan designed to help uninsured children from low-income households was not renewed by Congress, and, as NBC News reports, for many families that may mean an end to their children’s health coverage.

“I would say most families, their children will go without insurance,” said Linda Nablo, chief deputy director at Virginia’s Department of Medical Assistance Services.

A resolution passed by Congress last week keeps the federal government open for business until Dec. 22 and included a patch for CHIP, but that was just to move money from states that have not yet run out of cash to states whose CHIP programs were about to go broke.

Photo Credit: Keith Srakocic/AP]]>
<![CDATA[US Open to NKorea Talks 'Without Precondition': Tillerson]]>Tue, 12 Dec 2017 21:08:51 -0500https://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/876790472-Rex-Tillerson-White-House.jpg

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said Tuesday that the United States is open to talks with North Korea without preconditions, saying it is unrealistic for the country to give up its nuclear weapons program before discussions can begin.

"It's not realistic to say we're only going to talk if you come to the table ready to give up your program, they have too much invested in it," Tillerson said at the Atlantic Council think tank, NBC News reported.

Tillerson said President Donald Trump "is very realistic about that as well."

"We've said from the diplomatic side, we're ready to talk any time North Korea would like to talk and we're ready to have the first meeting without precondition," Tillerson said.

Photo Credit: Mark Wilson/Getty Images, File]]>
<![CDATA[Donald Trump's Presidency in Photos]]>Fri, 10 Nov 2017 10:51:41 -0500https://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-872519720.jpgTake a look at significant events from President Donald Trump's time in office, including the signing of the travel ban, Neil Gorsuch's appointment to the Supreme Court, the launch of 59 missiles at Syria's government-held Shayrat Airfiled and more.

Photo Credit: AFP/Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[New Generation Calls for 'Passing of the Torch' in Congress]]>Tue, 12 Dec 2017 15:48:14 -0500https://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/nysenate_triptych.jpg

Amid sexual misconduct allegations that have rocked Capitol Hill, a generational divide is becoming increasingly evident in Congress. The upheaval has spurred a wave of younger lawmakers to demand institutional reform and call for top Congressional leaders to step down and make way for the next generation.

"Given the current age profile of the Democrats, it seems like there will be a generational shift," Gregory J. Wawro, a professor of political science at Columbia University, told NBC. "That seems inevitable now. To what extent that will bring about changes in Congress or changes in the Democratic Party, that remains to be seen."

While longtime Congressional leaders stumbled over their responses to the allegations that shook Capitol Hill and resulted in three lawmakers stepping down, younger legislators immediately demanded action.

Rep. Kathleen Rice, 52, and Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, 50, both representing New York, were among the first to call for the resignations of Rep. John Conyers and Sen. Al Franken. Both announced their resignations last week.

In contrast, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, 77, initially questioned the claims made against Conyers after ex-staffers accused him of inappropriate touching.

“Just because someone is accused — and was it one accusation? Is it two? I think there has to be — John Conyers is an icon in our country,” Pelosi said on NBC's “Meet the Press.”

Rep. James Clyburn, 77, the assistant Democratic leader from South Carolina, echoed Pelosi's remarks, initially saying the allegations could have been made up before calling for him to resign. 

Although Pelosi later said she believed Conyers' accusers and also eventually called for his resignation, Rice blasted her response.

“I think that her comments on Sunday set women back and — quite frankly, our party back — decades,” she told reporters at the Capitol on Nov. 29, Politico reported. 

Rice is part of an increasing number of young lawmakers pushing for longtime Congressional leaders to move aside for a new generation of leaders.

“I’ve been vocal about the fact that I think we need new leaders stepping up to offer new strategies and new ideas for our caucus, our party, and most importantly for the people we serve,” Rice told NBC.

Democratic Rep. Linda Sanchez, 48, called for Pelosi’s resignation in an October speech.

“Our leadership does a tremendous job, but we do have this real breadth and depth of talent within our caucus and I do think it’s time to pass the torch to a new generation of leaders,” said Sanchez, 48.

Pelosi, who has served in Congress for 30 years and has held the top Democratic leadership position since 2003, continues to be a top fundraiser for the Democratic Party. She made history as the first woman speaker of the House and has been credited with shepherding the Affordable Care Act into being. But she has been facing mounting criticism that she is out of touch with younger, working-class voters.

“Pelosi is still indebted to the same cadre of donors and party professionals whose perception of the political dynamics in the country is highly distorted,” said journalist Michael Tracey, who wrote a June CNBC op-ed titled “How Nancy Pelosi is helping Republicans win.”

Pelosi said earlier this year she would have retired from Congress if Hillary Clinton had been elected president in 2016. 

“One of the reasons I stayed here is because I thought Hillary Clinton would win, we’d have a woman president and so there would be a woman not at a seat at the table, but at the head of the table for the world,” Pelosi said in a September interview with The New York Times.

A spokesman for Pelosi said that she has no plans to retire.

"[Pelosi] feels it’s important that there be a woman at the table," Drew Hammill told NBC. "She’s the highest ranking woman in American government to this day."

The age of Pelosi and other Democratic leaders is as much of a factor in the criticism against them as their decades of entrenchment in political institutions.

“Our leadership is old and creaky, including me,” former Democratic National Committee Chair Howard Dean, 69, told MSNBC in February.

Hammill said that Pelosi has continuously sought to invigorate younger leadership in Congress and that he sees a disparity between criticism toward Pelosi and toward her male colleagues such as Sen. Bernie Sanders, 76, and Republican Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, 75.

The 115th Congress is among the oldest in history, with nearly 35 percent of its members aged 65 or older. In 1981, the average representative was 49 years old and the average senator was 53, according to a report by Quorum, which pulled data from lawmakers’ official biographies. Today, those averages have gone up to 57 years for representatives and 61 for senators.

Democratic leaders tend to be older than their Republican counterparts.

In the House, the average age for Democratic lawmakers in leadership positions is 72 years old, while the average age of Republican House leadership is 48. Three of the four House Democrats, Nancy Pelosi, Steny Hoyer and James E. Clyburn, are all in their late 70s.

“The Democrats' geriatric tilt in Congress and their leadership is a handicap,” Robert S. Erikson, a professor of political science at Columbia University, told NBC. “Sometimes I wonder if the Democrats' Congressional leadership is itself aware of the optics of this, whether this is for them a cause for concern.”

Saturday Night Live took on the optics of this "geriatric tilt" in a November skit, with the fake Democratic National Committee touting “fresh new ideas delivered by fresh new faces.”

These faces, portrayed by SNL actors, were some of the party's most prominent members, including Pelosi, “hot young thing” Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, 68, Virginia Sen. Tim Kaine, 59, and Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, 76.

Congress needs to adapt to keep up with changes in society, experts say.

“There’s always been a reluctance [in Congress] to change the status quo, Wawro said. “But society is moving very quickly on some of the issues, especially with respect to sexual harassment, and it seems like inevitably the institution will be forced to change, just as the larger society and the workplace that are being forced to change because of increased awareness and victims of harassment becoming more vocal.”

Experts agree that some new leadership in Congress would be beneficial, especially for Democrats.

“I think it would be good if they did have younger members of the party assume leadership positions, assuming those individuals are qualified and have a vision for the party in the current context,” Wawro said.

But he said that the question of whether Pelosi or other top leaders should step aside is a complicated one.

"They got where they are and have stayed where they are for a reason and it’s risky to lose their experience and fundraising prowess if they were to step aside," said Wawro. 

William H. Frey, a senior fellow at The Brookings Institution, said that although some existing Congressional leaders do have the power to pass laws that would benefit the younger generation, leadership inevitably shifts toward the younger generation over time.

"I do think it would be helpful to have some new blood," Frey said. "And there is some new blood around. From what I understand, there are a lot of younger people who haven’t run before running in 2018 in both parties, particularly in the Democratic party, which I think is good news," Frey said.

Rice is one of the newest members of Congress, having represented parts of New York for just two years.

"When you’re newer to an institution like this, I think you’re naturally inclined to look at the status quo and think about how we can make it better," she said.

Rice and Gillibrand are among several younger lawmakers pushing for reform in Congress in how it deals with sexual harassment claims.

Rice, along with four other House members, two of whom are in their 30s, introduced a bipartisan bill to force the House to reveal the names of lawmakers who have settled harassment claims paid out with taxpayer dollars.

“The American people have a right to know if their tax dollars are being used to protect a member of Congress and silence victims of sexual harassment and assault,” Rice said.

Gillibrand introduced a bill last month that would reform the sexual harassment complaint process and increase transparency. She has previously tried to pass legislation to change how sexual assault allegations are handled in the military.

Democratic Rep. Hakeem Jeffries, 47, has been another sharp critic of Congress' handling of harassment claims.

“There is a broken system,” Jeffries said on MSNBC on Dec. 5. “It has not delivered accountability. It has been intimidating for women to come forward who have experienced a hostile work environment or inappropriate behavior and I think our focus should be on fixing that.”

Jeffries, who has represented part of New York in Congress for four years, said that Conyers' decision to retire was the right one and that Congress needs to hold all members accountable to the same standards.

On the Republican side of the aisle, lawmakers have been grappling with sexual misconduct of their own, but are not under the same generational pressure as the Democrats.

Arizona Rep. Trent Franks quit Thursday after complaints of sexual misconduct by two women. His resignation came after House Speaker Paul Ryan confronted him and told him he was recommending an ethics investigation.

Republican Rep. Blake Farenthold from Texas is facing his own ethics investigation, which began in 2015 after a settlement with a former staffer who accused him of sexual harassment and discrimination based on her gender. 

Democrats are quick to accuse Republicans of tolerating alleged abuse. President Donald Trump was elected after he was accused of sexual misconduct by at least 16 women. Trump endorsed Alabama’s Republican Senate candidate Roy Moore, who has been accused of making sexual advances toward teenage girls. Moore has repeatedly denied the claims and ignored calls to drop out of the race.

On Monday, Gillibrand joined four other senators calling on Trump to resign over his own sexual misconduct allegations, prompting the president to call her a “lightweight Senator” and “total flunky” in a tweet early Tuesday.

He said Gillibrand, "who would come to my office 'begging' for campaign contributions not so long ago (and would do anything for them), is now in the ring fighting against Trump."

Gillibrand fired back that she would not be silenced by a "sexist smear."

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>