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US and World News

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    An FDNY battalion chief was killed by falling debris when a suspected drug den exploded in the Bronx Tuesday, leveling a two-story home and injuring at least 12 other people.  

    Battalion Chief Michael Fahy was a 17-year FDNY veteran and father of three. A convoy of uniformed and non-uniformed firefighters stood outside the hospital to pay their respects as his body was taken to a funeral home.

    "He was on the rise. He was a star," a visibly emotional FDNY Commissioner Daniel Nigro told reporters, adding that he knew Fahy's father - a former fire chief himself - personally.

    "It's a sad day. Thankfully, this doesn't happen every day, but when it does, it doesn't make it any easier. We lost a hero today," Nigro said.

    A person of interest in the case, a renter of the exploded home, was picked up by law enforcement in Cliffside Park, New Jersey Tuesday afternoon. 

    Multiple police, civilians and Con Ed workers were injured following the 7:30 a.m. blast at the private home on West 234th Street near Tibbett Avenue in Kingsbridge. About an hour before the explosion, firefighters had responded to a report of a gas smell at the location and found the drug lab, police say. 

    A law enforcement source tells NBC 4 New York officials believe the home was a marijuana growing operation. Flammable materials like propane are used to manufacture the drug, but the alleged pot growhouse would be the first such drug lab to blow up in the city, the law enforcement source said. 

    The NYPD had an ongoing investigation on that block over the last two weeks, Police Commissioner James O'Neill said.

    After the FDNY found the suspected lab, it called the NYPD in to investigate but the house exploded before officers could assess the location, according to police. Correspondence on emergency radio revealed immediate concern.

    "We got men down ... with an explosion," a firefighter told a dispatcher, requesting multiple ambulances on a rush. "We got a man down ... firefighter down ... bad shape."

    Streets were shut down in the area as utility crews, firefighters and police cordoned off the site. Video from the scene shows the home completely demolished, the roof in shambles, partially collapsed over one of the building's sides. Piles of debris rained onto the street, covering the road and nearby parked cars. 

    The Department of Buildings was inspecting buildings in the area for structural stability. Full-vacate orders have been issued to buildings no. 300 and 304 on West 234th Street, and a partial-vacate order was issued for the side yard at 3251 Tibbett Ave., a spokesman said. 

    One Instagram user said the blast "shook my whole neighborhood," adding it "felt like a bomb went off." Another neighbor said her windows shook. Still another said she felt as if there had been an earthquake.  

    A photo taken from the 238th Street subway platform showed a plume of smoke rising into the air. 

    The DEA was assisting the NYPD in the investigation. 

    Fahy, who was promoted to chief in June 2012, had a doctorate from New York Law School. He got his undergraduate degree from Binghamton University in 1994 and his master's degree at the Center for Homeland Defense and Security's Naval Postgraduate School, according to education records.


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    If the stars suddenly seem to be out of alignment, you don't need to consult a horoscope to find out what happened — there's a rumor going around that NASA changed the zodiac.

    But while some news outlets are saying that NASA found a 13th constellation that shifts the dates of the 12 other signs, the space agency offered a fact check: it didn't change any zodiac signs, it was just doing math on how the ancient Babylonians measured the sky.

    The article that shook the stars, which surfaced in The Washington Post, among many other places, was a blog post in January that resurfaced last week.

    It said a girl who was born on August 4 was actually born "under the sign" of Cancer, not Leo, because the sun moves through 13 constellations — not 12 — and spends varying amounts of time lining up with each one. Cancer is overhead on August 4, not Leo, despite what you'd see in an astrology chart, which divides the sky up evenly.

    The agency also noted that the Earth's axis doesn't point in the same direction as it did when the orignal constellations were drawn, shifting dates around.

    But as NASA posted on its Tumblr page, "Here at NASA, we study astronomy, not astrology. We didn’t change any zodiac signs, we just did the math."

    The findings don't mean people have different star signs now, NASA argues, it was just pointing out that the system that the Babylonians developed don't actually correspond with real constellations.

    With perhaps a lack of sympathy for people who believe in astrology, and maybe a hint of Leo about them (it was founded on July 29, after all), NASA noted that astrology is not science, so their finding doesn't change anything at all: "No one has shown that astrology can be used to predict the future or describe what people are like based on their birth dates."



    Photo Credit: Getty Images, File

    The Lagoon Nebula, also known as M8, is located in the constellation Sagittarius. According to NASA, the Babylonians left out a constellation when forming the zodiac calendar, part of the reason why the actual constellations apparently don't line up with the ones in astrology charts.The Lagoon Nebula, also known as M8, is located in the constellation Sagittarius. According to NASA, the Babylonians left out a constellation when forming the zodiac calendar, part of the reason why the actual constellations apparently don't line up with the ones in astrology charts.

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    A Washington state trooper ticketed a driver trying to get through the carpool lane with a giant cutout of Donald Trump's head Tuesday morning.

    "You see a lot of things in your career, including mannequins, but this was something else," said Trooper Rick Johnson, a spokesman for the Washington State Patrol.

    He said the trooper stopped the car on State Route 167 near Auburn, told the driver, "This is just awesome" — and handed him a $136 citation for violating the HOV lane.

    "He let him keep his Donald Trump cutout," Johnson said.



    Photo Credit: Washington State Patrol

    Greg Ulrich, a Washington State Patrol trooper, pulled over a driver in the carpool lane who had a cutout of Donald Trump in the passenger's seat in Auburn, Washington.Greg Ulrich, a Washington State Patrol trooper, pulled over a driver in the carpool lane who had a cutout of Donald Trump in the passenger's seat in Auburn, Washington.

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    Photo Credit: Getty Images

    Dee Gordon of the Miami Marlins wearing a Jose Fernandez jersey in honor of the late pitcher during the game against the New York Mets at Marlins Park on September 26, 2016 in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Rob Foldy/Getty Images)Dee Gordon of the Miami Marlins wearing a Jose Fernandez jersey in honor of the late pitcher during the game against the New York Mets at Marlins Park on September 26, 2016 in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Rob Foldy/Getty Images)

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    The battle for the key Syrian city of Aleppo is intensifying after the collapse of a cease-fire brokered by the U.S. and Russia, NBC News reported, with government forces reportedly taking a central neighborhood from a rebel group.

    The Syrian military's massive new offensive brought it control of the Farafra neighborhood, state television reported. The area was once bustling but has been reduced to ruins, with the World Health Organization saying hospitals are overflowing with the dead and dying.

    The offensive on land and in air — which Russia allegedly played a part in — has sparked outrage in the West, but trapped rebels told NBC News the fight is far from over.

    "We will stay here until we die or we win," activist Ali Abo Al-Jod said. "I lost my whole family, I have nothing else to lose. I will not leave. I will stay here until I die ... this is my city."



    Photo Credit: Syrian Civil Defense White Helmets via AP
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    In this photo provided by the Syrian Civil Defense group known as the White Helmets, Syrians inspect damaged buildings after airstrikes by government helicopters on the rebel-held Aleppo neighborhood of Mashhad, Syria, Tuesday Sept. 27, 2016. With diplomacy in tatters, the Syrian government is trying to recapture the northern city of Aleppo.In this photo provided by the Syrian Civil Defense group known as the White Helmets, Syrians inspect damaged buildings after airstrikes by government helicopters on the rebel-held Aleppo neighborhood of Mashhad, Syria, Tuesday Sept. 27, 2016. With diplomacy in tatters, the Syrian government is trying to recapture the northern city of Aleppo.

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    New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie knew about George Washington Bridge lane closings in Fort Lee as they were happening, longtime Christie aide David Wildstein testified publicly for the first time Tuesday.

    Pictures of Christie, Wildstein and Bill Baroni were taken the morning of Sept. 11, 2013 at the World Trade Center memorial site. It was there that Wildstein claimed he and Baroni bragged to the governor about the traffic nightmare the lane closures caused - and their refusal to answer phone calls from Democratic Mayor Mark Sokolich, who declined to endorse Christie's reelection.

    Wildstein, testifying at the criminal trial of Baroni and Christie aide Bridget Kelly, claims the governor also told his Port Authority appointees not to communicate with Jersey City Mayor Steve Fulop - who also refused to endorse the governor.

    Wildstein has pleaded guilty in the scheme to tie up traffic at the bridge.

    Baroni was Wildstein's boss at the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, the agency that operates the bridges, airports and other facilities including the World Trade Center. Kelly was Christie's deputy chief of staff and headed an office responsible for outreach to county and municipal officials.

    They are accused of reducing access lanes to the bridge and face fraud, conspiracy and civil rights charges. They have pleaded not guilty and have said the government has twisted federal law to turn their actions into crimes. They also have said other people with more power and influence were involved in the lane closures but aren't being prosecuted.

    Christie has denied knowing about the bridge scheme until well after it was carried out, and a taxpayer-funded report he commissioned absolved him of wrongdoing. He hasn't been charged.



    Photo Credit: AP Images

    David Wildstein, left, Bridget Kelly, center, and Bill Baroni, right.David Wildstein, left, Bridget Kelly, center, and Bill Baroni, right.

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  • 09/27/16--15:27: Elon Musk's Plans for Mars

  • It was a press conference with a little bit of everything — space travel, science, technology and the offer of a kiss.

    Welcome to the world of Elon Musk.

    Musk spoke at the International Astronautical Congress about SpaceX's plan to take us to Mars.

    Spoiler alert: It's going to take some time, and there's no guarantee of a return trip.

    Musk was honest about the speculative nature of it all; it will be very expensive (at least at first), and very time consuming.

    Also, he was fairly honest about the fact that it's just not yet possible.

    He showed a "timeline," admitting (a nod to Tesla deliveries) that "I'm not very good at these."

    He also addressed whether or not he himself would travel to space, saying that "I may die, so I'd want a succession plan in place."

    A crewed mission to the Red Planet could come in 10 years "if things go super well," Musk said, as CNBC noted. The spaceship would have to fit around 100 people and come with everything needed to build a colony: "iron foundries, pizza joints, you name it."

    During a surreal Q&A session, Musk was asked if Mars was like Burning Man (he's not sure), and if someone could come up to the stage and give him a "good luck kiss."

    He demurred.

    With NASA, Richard Branson, Jeff Bezos and others talking about space travel, Musk laid out more detail than we've heard before. You can see his whole talk here:

    Scott scans the skies on Twitter: @scottbudman



    Photo Credit: AP
    This story uses functionality that may not work in our app. Click here to open the story in your web browser.

    SpaceX founder Elon Musk speaks during the 67th International Astronautical Congress in Guadalajara, Mexico, Tuesday, Sept. 27, 2016. In a receptive audience full of space buffs, Musk said he envisions 1,000 passenger ships flying en masse to Mars, 'Battlestar Galactica' style. He calls it the Mars Colonial fleet, and he says it could become reality within a century. Musk's goal is to establish a full-fledged city on Mars and thereby make humans a multi-planetary species.SpaceX founder Elon Musk speaks during the 67th International Astronautical Congress in Guadalajara, Mexico, Tuesday, Sept. 27, 2016. In a receptive audience full of space buffs, Musk said he envisions 1,000 passenger ships flying en masse to Mars, 'Battlestar Galactica' style. He calls it the Mars Colonial fleet, and he says it could become reality within a century. Musk's goal is to establish a full-fledged city on Mars and thereby make humans a multi-planetary species.

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    Hillary Clinton won applause from supporters in North Carolina for her performance in Monday night's debate. 

    They greeted the Democratic presidential candidate with cheers on Tuesday after Clinton asked if they saw her first face-off with Republican rival Donald Trump. 

    Clinton said she was happy to have the opportunity to lay out her vision for the United States. She said she has an "old-fashioned idea that if I'm asking for your vote, to actually tell you what I want to do."

    Clinton also urged supporters to register to vote. She predicted record turnout in November.

    Trump briefly addressed his first faceoff with Clinton during a Tuesday afternoon appearance near Miami's Little Havana neighborhood. The audience was largely Cuban-American.

    Trump described the debate as "an interesting evening" and said more than 80 million people watched it. He said he tried not to think about the large television audience.

    He said, "I think we did very well." He suggested he was the winner in virtually all post-debate polls. That's despite many Republican leaders and voter surveys suggesting that Clinton came out on top.

    Trump called it, "a very big moment, a very important moment."



    Photo Credit: Getty Images

    Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton speaks to reporters aboard her campaign plane before departing from Westchester County Airport on Sept. 27, 2016, in White Plains, New York. Hillary Clinton is campaigning in North Carolina a day after facing off with Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump in the first presidential debate.Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton speaks to reporters aboard her campaign plane before departing from Westchester County Airport on Sept. 27, 2016, in White Plains, New York. Hillary Clinton is campaigning in North Carolina a day after facing off with Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump in the first presidential debate.

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    Secretary of Labor Tom Perez on Tuesday said he would initiate a "top-to-bottom" review of labor practices at disgraced bank Wells Fargo, NBC News reported.

    Perez was responding to a letter from eight Democratic senators who had requested a probe into whether Wells Fargo had violated wage and working hour laws by failing to pay overtime to tellers and sales representatives who stayed late to meet sales quotas.

    "We take the concerns raised in your letter very seriously," Perez told the lawmakers, whose action was spearheaded by Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts.

    "Given the serious nature of the allegations, I have directed enforcement agencies within the department to conduct a top-to-bottom review of cases, complaints or violations concerning Wells Fargo over the last several years," wrote Perez. 

    Later Tuesday, Wells Fargo said CEO John Stumpf and the executive who ran the bank's consumer banking division will forfeit tens of millions of dollars in bonuses as it tries to stem a scandal over its sales practices.

    The Associted Press reported that Stumpf will forfeit $41 million in stock awards, while former retail banking executive Carrie Tolstedt will forfeit $19 million of her stock awards, effective immediately. Both are also giving up any bonuses for 2016.  



    Photo Credit: AP

    FILE - A Wells Fargo bank office.FILE - A Wells Fargo bank office.

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    The 9-year-old Charlotte girl whose tearful testimony on racism and policing Monday captured attention around the world said her decision to address City Council was a last-minute one.

    "I was a little nervous, so I decided to just go up there and tell them how I feel," Zianna Oliphant, told NBC News Tuesday.

    "I was just feeling like what the police are doing to us, just because of our skin, is not right," the fourth-grader said.

    Zianna and her brother, Marquis, both spoke at a City Council meeting in which members of the city's black community called for changes after police fatally shot an African-American man, Keith Lamont Scott, last week.


    Zianna OliphantZianna Oliphant

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    The U.S. military is reviewing claims that one of its airstrikes killed people after it hit a residential building in Afghanistan, NBC News reported.

    A local lawmaker told The Associated Press that 13 civilians were killed. NBC News could not independently confirm that account.

    American officials confirmed in an email to NBC News that one strike was carried out in the Achin district of Nangarhar province and that they were "aware of some claims of Afghan casualties."

    Local lawmaker Esmatullah Shinwari told the AP that an airstrike in Achin had hit a residential building where a crowd had gathered to welcome home a tribal leader returning from the Hajj, an annual Muslim pilgrimage to Saudi Arabia.



    Photo Credit: Google Maps

    A map of Afghanistan with the Achin district marked in the Southeast near the border with Pakistan.A map of Afghanistan with the Achin district marked in the Southeast near the border with Pakistan.

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    A Texas high school student was forced to change out of a slave costume worn for "Decades Day" during homecoming Spirit Week.

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    Newly released video showing the horrific t-bone crash of two New Jersey Transit buses in downtown Newark last month is offering a new perspective on the crash that killed a bus driver and a passenger. 

    The crash happened near Military Park, at the intersection of Raymond Boulevard and Broad Street, just after 6 a.m. on Friday, Aug. 19. Video from nearby NJ Transit light-rail cameras shows NJ Transit bus no. 59 heading west on Raymond Boulevard, then crashing right into the side of bus no. 13 on Broad Street. 

    The force of the crash killed 70-year-old driver Joseph Barthelus and 49-year-old passenger Jesy Garcia, and injured 17 others. Many were carried off the bus by witnesses who rushed over to help. 

    "We ran down here trying to pull people out of the bus, guys climbing in through the roof of the bus, breaking the windows, trying to pull out some people," witness Khalil Smith told NBC 4 New York at the time. "But we couldn't get some out, they were smushed in between the seats." 

    Investigators haven't said what caused the collision but possible causes include speed, mechanical failure or a medical emergency that made it impossible for Barthelus to stop at the red light. 

    Witness Anthony Castiglia said previously, "He flew by me, like he was driving on the highway, that's how fast he was going." 

    Garcia, a mother and grandmother, was on her way to the factory where she worked. 

    NJ Transit officials said Tuesday they are still investigating and they still haven't concluded what caused the crash between their two buses. 


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    Three 18-year-old brothers and their two 18-year-old sisters have landed their first jobs, together, at a McDonald's in Michigan.

    The non-identical quintuplets say they can usually get through a working day without any customers recognizing they are siblings.

    MLive reports that Leith, Logan and Lucas Curtis all work in the kitchen at the restaurant in Potterville, near Lansing. Lauren Curtis works at the front counter and drive-thru, and Lindsey Curtis handles the lobby.

    Lucas and Lauren Curtis began working at the McDonald's a year ago. Leith Curtis signed up in March, and Lindsay and Logan Curtis joined two months later.

    Restaurant manager Jennifer Walters says the five siblings are great for business because they learned their jobs quickly and work well together.



    Photo Credit: Getty Images

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    A black man reportedly acting erratically at a strip mall in suburban San Diego was shot and killed by El Cajon police a minute after they arrived on scene, authorities confirmed to NBC 7 San Diego. Police say the man pulled an object from his pocket, pointing it at officers and assuming a "shooting stance."

    The man, 38, now identified as Alfred Olango, was first reported to be walking in and out of traffic in the middle of the street and “not acting like himself,” when a woman police believe may be the man’s sister called officers for help just after 1 p.m. Tuesday.

    El Cajon Police Department Lt. Rob Ransweiler said two officers first arrived at the scene at approximately 2:10 p.m. Tuesday. The officer-involved shooting happened at 2:11 to 2:12 p.m., between one to two minutes after they arrived. 

    El Cajon Police Chief Jeff Davis said that when officers arrived on scene and located Olango, he “refused multiple instructions by the first officer on the scene,” and put his hands in his pants pocket. When officers arrived on scene, they were not aware of Olango's criminal history, as far as he knows, said Ransweiler. 

    At the time, there was a Psychiatric Emergency Response Team (PERT) in the area, but they were responding to another call of a reported man darting in and out of traffic. 

    He allegedly pulled an object and held it out “like he would be firing a gun,” Davis said during a press conference on Tuesday night. Police did not clarify what that object was.

    "At one point the male rapidly drew an object from his front pants pocket, placed both hands together on it, and extended it rapidly toward the officer taking what appeared to be a shooting stance putting the object in the officer's face,” Davis said. 

    The second officer on scene began to immediately prepare a less lethal electronic control device, or Taser, as the first officer covered him, Davis said. 

    The officer deployed his Taser to try and subdue the subject, Davis said, though it is unclear whether the Taser struck the man. Davis said that aspect of the incident is under investigation. At the same time, the other officer fired his weapon. It is unclear how many shots were fired. 

    Davis said there was also no indication that Olango was suffering an epileptic seizure during the encounter. Officers gave initial first aid to Olango before paramedics arrived and the man was then transported to an area hospital. 

    Shortly after the shooting, a witness came forward and told officers she had video footage of the incident, Davis said. The witness “voluntarily provided” the cell phone video to the department and gave written consent for officers to use it.

    “This was the only cell phone video provided to the officers and no cell phones were taken from anybody,” Davis said. He added that video from the scene coincides with the officers’ statements.

    Officers with the El Cajon Police Department are not currently outfitted with body-worn cameras.

    Following the incident, witnesses questioned the police motives in the shooting. Crowds gathering by the scene of the shooting began chanting, demanding answers from police. 

    The protest was angry but peaceful. Several dozen people, most of them black, gathered and some cursed at officers guarding the scene, The Associated Press reported. They chanted "black lives matter!" and "hands up, don't shoot!" 

    Davis urged the community to remain calm and said the investigation will be thorough. 

    "This will be transparent," he said. "This will be looked at by multiple sets of eyes, and not just ours." 

    The district attorney was on scene and also will investigate.

    During the press conference, Davis also urged the community to cooperate with the investigation and come forward if they have any information.

    "I would like to convey my sincerest appreciation to the community of El Cajon for the strength that they have shown in light of this tragic event," he said.

    The woman they believe may be Olango's sister on scene has not cooperated with investigators, Davis said.

    “As you can understand, she was upset; she was not cooperating with us,” Davis said. “We can’t even confirm that it was his sister.”

    That woman is believed to have called the police to report the initial incident early Tuesday afternoon, Davis said. He added it took officers at least 50 minutes to arrive on scene after the first call.

    El Cajon police are asking for the woman come forward, as she may have information they are looking for.

    Davis said that the two officers involved in the shooting, who have not been identified, both have more than 21 years of service as police officers.

    Both officers have been placed on administration leave.

    The entire shooting was captured on cell phone video, but the video will not be released as it is part of an ongoing investigation, Davis said. 

    Meantime, other videos quickly surfaced showing the aftermath, according to the AP. In one posted to Facebook, an unidentified woman is heard telling police at the scene that the man was ordered to take his hand out of his pocket.

    "I said: 'Take your hand out your pocket, baby, or they're going to shoot you.' He said 'no, no, no,' " the woman said. "When he lifted his hand out ... he did have something in his hand but it wasn't no gun, and that's when they shot him."

    Lucy Peterson, who was wearing hospital-style work clothing, said she's Olango's sister. She appeared distraught, repeatedly shrieking and crying, telling officers that she had called them to help her brother, who she described as mentally ill.

    "I just called for help, and you came and killed him," she said.

    Olango was born in Uganda and emigrated to the U.S. in 1991 when he was 12 years old, NBC 7 has learned.

    Michael Ray Rodriguez was among the witnesses who said the man had his hands in the air. He said that he was driving out of his apartment complex past the shooting scene and saw a shirtless black man with his hands raised.

    The officer "let go of the trigger and shot him again and again," Rodriguez told the San Diego Union-Tribune.

    The shooting in the community east of San Diego occurred just three days after police in Charlotte, North Carolina, released video showing the Sept. 20 killing of Keith Lamont Scott. In Tulsa, Oklahoma, a police officer shot and killed 40-year-old Terence Crutcher on a highway six days after the Charlotte shooting. In that case, Officer Betty Shelby, has been charged with manslaughter.

    Both shootings have reignited protests questioning the actions of law enforcement officers in cases where encounters ended with African Americans being fatally shot.

    El Cajon City council members approved the purchase of 88 body cameras this past May, but Davis said he was hoping to have the cameras in use by the start of 2017.

    Pastor Miles McPherson of Rock Church followed Davis in the press conference and urged members in the community to pray, and to remain peaceful while the facts continue to unfold.

    El Cajon, which is about 15 miles northeast of San Diego, has a population of about 100,000. It is 69 percent white and 6 percent black, according to 2010 census figures, and has become a home for many refugees fleeing Iraq and, more recently, Syria.



    Photo Credit: El Cajon Police Department
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    The El Cajon Police Department released this still from witness video, showing the suspect in confrontation with officers.The El Cajon Police Department released this still from witness video, showing the suspect in confrontation with officers.

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    McCain Foods USA announced it is voluntarily recalling frozen onion ring products nationwide because of mislabeled packaging that poses an allergy risk.

    The packaging of frozen onion rings, sold under various brand names, does not declare milk as an ingredient. Those who suffer from milk allergies could accidentally eat the onion rings and suffer potentially life-threatening reactions.

    The FDA said there have been no reported illnesses.

    The recalled onion rings include 16-ounce bags under the Krasdale brand, 40-ounce bags under Save-A-Lot’s Premium Pick 5 brand, 20-ounce bags under the Spartan brand, and 16-ounce bags under the Shur Fine brand.

    The affected frozen onion rings were manufactured between Oct. 20, 2015 and before Sept. 23, 2016. The production date code on the products begins with the letter “V.”

    Consumers who are allergic to milk should throw out the unused product or return it to the place of purchase for a full refund.

    The FDA website has more information about the recall.



    Photo Credit: Getty/FDA

    Onion ringsOnion rings

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    Nine out of ten people worldwide live in areas where air pollution exceeds guidelines, the World Health Organization said. The pollution puts these people at higher risk for heart disease, strokes and cancer. 

    "Air pollution continues take a toll on the health of the most vulnerable populations — women, children and the older adults," Flavia Bustreo, assistant director general at the WHO said in a news release, NBC News reported. 

    The new WHO air quality monitor shows that 92 percent of people live in places with dirty air. Approximately three million deaths each year are linked to outdoor air pollution. About 90 percent of those deaths occur in low- and middle-income countries.



    Photo Credit: AP

    In this Saturday, Nov. 28, 2015, file photo, people wearing face masks walk across Tiananmen Square on a day with poor air quality in Beijing. The new WHO air quality monitor shows that 92 percent of people live in places with dirty air.In this Saturday, Nov. 28, 2015, file photo, people wearing face masks walk across Tiananmen Square on a day with poor air quality in Beijing. The new WHO air quality monitor shows that 92 percent of people live in places with dirty air.

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    Santa Cruz County residents were allowed to return to their homes Wednesday as firefighters looked to cooler temperatures for a much-needed boost in fighting the 2,250-acre Loma Fire.

    Sheriff's officials lifted evacuation orders in Santa Cruz County around 2:30 p.m., but road closures remained in effect in the area, they said. Non-residents are urged to avoid Ormsby Cutoff, Haven Hill Lane, Pacific Rim, Loma Prieta Way, and Rancho Prieta, Mt. Bachi and Summit roads.

    "Last night went great," Cal Fire Battalion Chief Scott McLean told reporters early Wednesday. "Granted, the fire did continue to burn. But the lower temperatures are going to be a big help."

    Cal Fire officials said they could probably contain the fire, which has charred nearly 3.5 miles in the Santa Cruz Mountains, by Monday.

    For the last several days, temperatures have been in the high 90s and near 100 degrees, and were considered “hazardous,” by the National Weather Service.

    "The fire was burning during the night time as though it were the day time," McLean said.

    But Wednesday’s weather conditions were expected to be substantially cooler and last past the weekend. By the end of the week, temperatures should drop to the 60s and mid-70s, according to the NWS. Meteorologists were even predicting some light rain on Sunday and Monday.

    That should be great news to the nearly 1,100 firefighters who had contained 10 percent of the fire – 5 percent more than the day before – and were working furiously to protect the 300 homes and communication towers that stood in the fire’s path. As of Wednesday, one home was destroyed and one was damaged, according to Cal Fire. Six other outbuildings were also destroyed.

    The NBC Bay Area helicopter flew over the fire early Wednesday morning, capturing plumes of grey smoke billowing against the dark blue sky. The smoke drifted miles away, prompting the San Jose Unified School District to require principals to keep students inside for the day due to possible health risks.

    The fire broke out Monday about 3 p.m. at the southern edge of Santa Clara County off Loma Prieta Road and Loma Chiquita Road, 20 miles northwest of Morgan Hill. The cause is under investigation.

    This is the fourth significant wildfire to rock the area in 14 years: The Croy Fire erupted in 2002, the Summit Fire broke out in 2008, and another Loma Fire burned in 2009.



    Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area
    This story uses functionality that may not work in our app. Click here to open the story in your web browser.

    A firefighter gazes on the Loma Fire in the Santa Cruz Mountains, which had charred 2,240 acres by Wednesday, Sept. 28, 2016A firefighter gazes on the Loma Fire in the Santa Cruz Mountains, which had charred 2,240 acres by Wednesday, Sept. 28, 2016

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    Two hospitals in the rebel-held territory of Aleppo were attacked Wednesday morning, further eliminating medical aid that the area desperately needs.

    After the collapse of the Syrian cease-fire deal, a new government offensive has left hundreds dead this past week, NBC News reported.

    A doctor said the hospital has been taken out of service "completely and indefinitely," calling it a "sad day" for medical professionals.

    At least two people were killed and three injured in the latest strike.

    An estimated 29 doctors are left to treat an estimated 250,000 Syrians, a ratio that medical organizations have warned is unsustainable. The recent attack in Aleppo is being called the worst bombardment since the civil war erupted.



    Photo Credit: Syrian Civil Defense White Helmets via AP

    In this file photo provided by the Syrian Civil Defense White Helmets, men stand in rubble after airstrikes hit eastern Aleppo, Syria, Friday, Sept. 9. Hundreds of people have been killed over the past week amidst a blistering new government offensive that was launched to retake the city after a cease-fire deal collapsed.In this file photo provided by the Syrian Civil Defense White Helmets, men stand in rubble after airstrikes hit eastern Aleppo, Syria, Friday, Sept. 9. Hundreds of people have been killed over the past week amidst a blistering new government offensive that was launched to retake the city after a cease-fire deal collapsed.

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    A police officer's dachcam video captured a driver fighting off a deer to prevent the buck from jumping inside her car after she pulled over on a New Jersey road.

    Howell Police Officer Nicholas Austin was on Oak Glen Road on Sept. 17 at about 8 p.m. when he saw the deer run across the road directly toward a car in front of him that was pulling over. 

    The car had struck the deer moments before, police said. 

    Video shows the driver of the car opening her car door and the deer immediately trying to rush into the vehicle. 

    The driver then kicks the deer out of the car and shuts the door.

    The driver was not seriously injured, but the deer died because of its injuries, police said.  



    Photo Credit: Howell Township Police Department

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