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US and World News

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    For some Florida residents, Hurricane Matthew may conjure up memories of another election-year storm that hit when a different Clinton was on the presidential ballot.

    In 1992, pundits predicted that the Category 5 Hurricane Andrew could significantly impact the results of an unpredictable three-way race involving Arkansas Gov. Bill Clinton, businessman Ross Perot and incumbent President George H. W. Bush.

    At the time, there was considerable hand wringing over the speed with which Bush's administration responded to the crisis. "Where in the hell is the cavalry on this one? For God's sake, where are they?" lamented Miami-Dade County's emergency operations director Kate Hale to reporters. The president's terse response from the Rose Garden was: "I'm not going to participate in the blame game."

    Eventually, more federal resources were deployed to the Sunshine State and a New York Times/CBS News poll that September showed that a majority of Florida voters approved of Bush's handling of the disaster.   



    Photo Credit: Pablo Martinez Monsivais/AP

    In this Oct. 31, 2012 file photo, President Barack Obama is greeted by New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie upon his arrival at Atlantic City International Airport, in Atlantic City, N.J. Obama traveled to region to take an aerial tour of the Atlantic Coast in New Jersey in areas damaged by superstorm Sandy.In this Oct. 31, 2012 file photo, President Barack Obama is greeted by New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie upon his arrival at Atlantic City International Airport, in Atlantic City, N.J. Obama traveled to region to take an aerial tour of the Atlantic Coast in New Jersey in areas damaged by superstorm Sandy.

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    With Hurricane Matthew bearing down on Florida, Georgia and South Carolina, here is a look at the deadliest storms to hit the United States in its history.

    Photo Credit: Shel Hershorn/Getty Images

    An elderly woman in an apron and bonnet stands in front of a house, which was hit by a boat when Hurricane Audrey struck Louisiana.An elderly woman in an apron and bonnet stands in front of a house, which was hit by a boat when Hurricane Audrey struck Louisiana.

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    Thirty former Republican members of Congress have published a letter against Donald Trump, NBC News reported.

    "Sadly, our party's nominee this year is a man who makes a mockery of the principles and values we have cherished and which we sought to represent in Congress," they wrote.

    Their letter constitutes the largest public announcement against Trump by previously elected officials from the Republican party.

    Some of the members had previously announced their displeasure with the candidate, including Rep. Tom Coleman of Missouri, but nearly half of the signatories are doing so for the first time.


    Donald Trump speaks to a large group of supporters at a Florida airport hanger the day after his first debate with Hillary Clinton on Sept. 27, 2016, in Melbourne, Florida.Donald Trump speaks to a large group of supporters at a Florida airport hanger the day after his first debate with Hillary Clinton on Sept. 27, 2016, in Melbourne, Florida.

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    Donald Trump took about a dozen questions from supporters at his New Hampshire town hall event Thursday. But the first half of the event was more of a speech, where he started by highlighting the latest polls that show him leading Hillary Clinton.

    Trump held the uncharacteristic town hall forum three days before he goes head-to-head with Hillary Clinton at the second presidential debate, which will take a similar format. But don't suggest to Trump that this was in any way a warm-up act.

    "Even today, they said 'Donald Trump is going to New Hampshire to practice for Sunday.' This has nothing to do with Sunday. And it's like they make you into, like, a child," Trump said. "I love the people of New Hampshire. This was set up a little while ago, they were going to cancel it, and I said 'why are you going to cancel it?' 'Well, you want to debate prep.' I said 'Forget debate prep.' I mean, give me a break. Do you really think that Hillary Clinton is debate prepping for three or four days? Hillary Clinton is resting. OK? She's resting. She wants to build up her energy for Sunday night. And you know what? That's fine. But the narrative is so foolish. I'm here for one reason. I love the people of New Hampshire."

    Trump was asked by his supporters to name Obama's foreign-policy failures, what he would say to Hispanics deceived by Obama and if he planned to be tougher on Clinton in the next debate.

    "I did hold back," Trump said of the first debate. "I thought it was just inappropriate to say what I was really thinking I would say and I held back ... I'd much rather have it be on policy, and I didn't like getting into the into the gutter."

    Trump's fired campaign manager Corey Lewandowski, a New Hampshire native, was at the event, as was trusted adviser and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, said to be a key figure in helping Trump to master the "art of the town hall."



    Photo Credit: necn

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    A giant banner featuring Russian President Vladimir Putin was unfurled on the side of the Manhattan Bridge on Thursday afternoon.

    The banner, which shows Putin's portrait along with the word "Peacemaker" began flapping over the side of the span shortly before 2 p.m.

    According to the New York Post, police officers removed the banner at about 3 p.m.

    It's not clear who put the banner there, but the NYPD said it's taken it down. 

    It's not the first time someone's hung something from the bridge. In 2014, activists unfurled a Palestinian flag from the span during a march in support for those in Gaza.

    Also that year, a pair of German artists swapped two U.S. flags atop the Brooklyn Bridge's two towers with a pair of bleached white replicas.



    Photo Credit: @HeathRaymond / Twitter
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    The banner of Vladimir Putin flapps off the side of the Manhattan Bridge on Thursday, Oct. 6. (@HeathRaymond / Twitter)The banner of Vladimir Putin flapps off the side of the Manhattan Bridge on Thursday, Oct. 6. (@HeathRaymond / Twitter)

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    Part of one of the Field Museum’s most well-known exhibits is being temporarily removed for the sake of science.

    Two museum scientists are removing the right forearm from Sue, the biggest Tyrannosaurus rex ever discovered.

    “We’ll carefully disassemble Sue's right forelimb, and she’ll be a one-armed bandit for a few days,” Makovicky and McCarter Collections Manager of Fossil Vertebrates Bill Simpson said in a statement.

    Experts say Sue is the best-preserved and most complete T. rex in the world, making her “a treasure trove of information for paleontologists to learn from.”

    “One of the big mysteries about T. rex is its tiny forelimbs,” Pete Makovicky, associate curator of dinosaurs, said in a statement. “We don’t know how it used them. But there could be clues in the fossils.” 

    Makovicky believes the dinosaur’s bones could hold information on if the bones were fractured or broken and hopes scans can detail on what was inside the bones, giving them information on how much she used them. The scans and X-rays will be done at the Argonne National Laboratory.

    “These X-rays will give us a map of the blood vessels and muscle attachments in the bone, which have never been seen before,” Carmen Soriano, paleontologist and beamline scientist with the Advanced Photon Source at Argonne, said in a statement. “Thanks to these extreme brightness X-rays, we will be able to better understand the fine internal morphology of the skeleton, which will give us clues about how the arm could move and what it was used for.”

    But that’s not all.

    “It’s not just the use of her arm that we’ll learn about—there’s a spike on her upper arm bone where her triceps muscle was torn, and there are some pits on her knuckles that we might be able to learn more about,” Simpson said. “The possibilities are endless. Sue's the gift that keeps on giving.”


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    Vanilla Ice is back with a brand new invention: extreme weather live-tweeting.

    The rapper famous for the 1990 hit single "Ice Ice Baby" announced on the social media network Thursday that he plans to ride out the Hurricane Matthew at his home in South Florida and would give updates on what he saw as the category 4 storm slid over The Sunshine State.

    "This hurricane is going to be serious, and it's coming right at me," he said in one tweet. "I am going to ride it out."

    Vanilla Ice's decision is in direct opposition to Florida Governor Rick Scott's call for residents to evacuate parts of the state.

    "We can rebuild homes, we can rebuild businesses … we can't rebuild a life," Scott said.

    It's the most powerful storm to threaten the U.S. Atlantic coast in more than a decade, and had already left more than 280 dead in its wake across the Caribbean. The National Weather Service warned it could have "potentially disastrous impacts for Florida."

    The rapper, whose real name is Robert Matthew Van Winkle, has spent most of his life in South Florida. His home, in Palm Beach County, is about 72 miles north of Miami and is expected to be under hurricane watch until Friday.

    The hurricane was expected to blow ashore — or come dangerously close to doing so — early Friday north of Palm Beach County.


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    Vanilla IceVanilla Ice

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    Inmates at San Quentin State Prison just cast their votes for president, and for Donald Trump, it’s a good thing those votes won’t count.

    Trump was trounced by Hillary Clinton in a mock election staged by the California prison’s inmate-run newspaper, San Quentin News. Newspaper staffers set up a polling place inside San Quentin’s yard and handed out ballots with choices for president, senate and various ballot initiatives. The ballot even came with a voter guide on the back.

    Clinton won in a landslide, capturing 79 percent of the nearly 500 votes cast by general population inmates. Trump secured a paltry 9 percent of the vote, less than Green Party candidate Jill Stein.

    First Lady Michelle Obama even received two write-in votes.

    San Quentin News staffers also managed to get additional ballots to more than 100 of the 747 men on San Quentin’s Death Row. Clinton also won handily among death row inmates, taking 63 percent of the vote. Trump again had a poor showing, capturing just 15 percent of death row votes. He did, however, manage to eke out a second place finish over Stein, by a two vote margin.

    For many inmates, it was the first time they ever voted.

    “When the idea first came up about creating a mock election for the men at San Quentin, it struck me how I never myself had the opportunity to vote,” San Quentin News Executive Director Arnulfo T. Garcia told San Quentin News reporter Juan Haines. “That is until I was on the run in Mexico, when I went to the polls and voted for the president of Mexico. That gave me a sense of freedom and power that I know the men felt, walking up to the booth to cast their ballots.”

    Perhaps the most interesting result of the mock election was the outcome of Proposition 62 among death row inmates, which would repeal California’s death penalty.

    Despite facing the near-certain fate of a state-sanctioned execution, 42 percent of death row inmates voted against the measure that could spare their lives. General population inmates were much more adamant on whether they support of the ballot measure, with just 9 percent choosing to keep capital punishment on the books.

    While many of San Quentin’s inmates may never cast a real ballot, UC Berkeley journalism professor William J. Drummond, who volunteers with San Quentin News, said the election was a good lesson in the responsibility of citizenship.

    “The prisoners have to start some place, and voting is an excellent place to begin, even if the results don’t count,” Drummond told Haines.

    To read San Quentin News Reporter Juan Haines’ story about the election, click here.

    To read or donate to San Quentin News, click here:



    Photo Credit: Getty Images, File

    A view of the California State Prison at San Quentin on May 15, 2009.A view of the California State Prison at San Quentin on May 15, 2009.

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    Authorities on Thursday released surveillance video that shows the September stabbing rampage at a mall in St. Cloud, Minnesota, that left 10 people injured before the attacker was fatally shot by police, NBC News reported. 

    FBI investigators now say the suspect, 20-year-old Dahir Ahmed Adan, was likely radicalized in the months before the attack.

    He "went from being an excellent student with a GPA to flunking out of college almost overnight," FBI Special Agent Rick Thornton said, adding that witnesses said they heard Adan ask victims if they were Muslim.

    The video released Thursday shows Adan with a knife stabbing a clerk, who runs away, and an officer confronting and shooting Adan.



    Photo Credit: KARE-TV
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    Officials in St. Cloud, Minnesota released surveillance video on Thursday, October 6, 2016, that shows a stabbing rampage at a local mall in September.Officials in St. Cloud, Minnesota released surveillance video on Thursday, October 6, 2016, that shows a stabbing rampage at a local mall in September.

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    Space funerals are no longer a thing of science fiction. Companies such as Celestis and Elysium Space offer space funerals, NBC News reported.

    Celestis, a subsidiary of Houston-based aerospace company Space Services, offers an array of options for those who want to launch human remains in space. And these voyages range in price, depending on how far in the celestial heavens you want to go.

    Its most popular services, which place remains into payloads on third-party commercial rockets, are Earth Rise, where cremated remains are transported suborbitally for a cost of $1,295 and returned to Earth; and Earth Orbit, where remains travel around the Earth and then released into space for a fee of $4,995.

    It also plans to offer a DNA service for those who don't choose cremation next year. The company will take a person's DNA sample and bond it with a silica-type agent to create a fillable capsule that can be transported into space.



    Photo Credit: AP

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    Hurricane Matthew and the fear of strong winds didn't keep these two people from having fun on a beach in Stuart, Florida, on Oct. 6, 2016, in some interesting outfits.

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    During a town hall in New Hampshire on Oct. 6, Donald Trump denied that the event was preparation for the second debate with Hillary Clinton this weekend. "They were saying this is practice for Sunday. This isn't practice, this has nothing to do with Sunday," Trump said about the debate this weekend. "We're just here because we just wanted to be here." At the town hall, Trump also spoke about Hurricane Matthew, briefly mentioning his personal investments and employees in Florida, and saying he had spoken with Florida governor Rick Scott.

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    Texas police were led on a wild police chase in Dallas County Thursday, as the fleeing driver jumped curbs, crossed medians and rammed through signs before crashing into a fence.

    A Dallas police helicopter began tracking the black SUV after a report that the vehicle was stolen. Garland police joined the pursuit when the SUV crossed into their city limits.

    The SUV lost control while cutting across a large median near Audelia Road and Skillman Street in Dallas. The vehicle careened through street signs and narrowly missed several other vehicles before slamming into a fence.

    Officers surrounded the SUV and arrested the driver, who has not been identified.

    Additional information was not immeditately available.



    Photo Credit: NBC 5 News

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    Three transgender Pennsylvania high school students are suing the Pine-Richland school district over new restroom rules that require students to use restrooms corresponding to their "biological sex."

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    Sure, it's only October, but the lottery opens Friday for the 94th annual Christmas Tree Lighting celebration at the White House.

    James Taylor, Chance the Rapper, Kelly Clarkson and gospel singer Yolanda Adams will perform at the holiday party to light the National Christmas Tree on the White House Ellipse on Dec. 1.

    Free tickets will be awarded through an online lottery, which opened at 10 a.m. Friday and closes at 10 a.m. Monday.

    Winners will be notified Oct. 27. To enter the lottery, visit the National Christmas Tree Lighting website.

    If you can't get tickets to the show, you can still catch it on TV -- the Hallmark Channel will broadcast the lighting Dec. 2.

    Reese Witherspoon hosted last year's lighting ceremony, which also featured actress and singer Bellamy Young of ABC's "Scandal;" Crosby, Stills and Nash; Fall Out Boy; Trombone Shorty; Andra Day and Miss Piggy.

    The White House Christmas tree lighting has been a tradition dating back to 1923. President Calvin Coolidge was the first president to light a tree on the White House Ellipse, a 48-foot fir tree decked out with 2,500 electric bulbs. The tree switched to LED lights in 2007.

    And the tree itself has changed over the years. The tree that had been used as the National Christmas Tree since 1978 was felled by high winds in February 2011. Its replacement was planted a month later and lit for Christmas 2011, but died the following spring due to complications from transplant shock.

    The current tree, a Colorado blue spruce, was planted in fall 2012 and has been used for the lighting ever since.



    Photo Credit: AP

    President Barack Obama and the first family stands,  right, after lighting the 2014 National Christmas Tree during the National Christmas Tree lighting ceremony at the Ellipse near the White House in Washington, Thursday, Dec. 4, 2014. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)President Barack Obama and the first family stands, right, after lighting the 2014 National Christmas Tree during the National Christmas Tree lighting ceremony at the Ellipse near the White House in Washington, Thursday, Dec. 4, 2014. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

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    Halloween has provided a great excuse to dress up in silly costumes and eat a ton of sweets while watching horror films. But the sugar-fueled holiday also has a potential to offend. 

    Enter the “Tranny Granny” costume, which was being sold by several retailers this year and last. After facing complaints, Walmart removed the listing from its website because it “obviously” violated its terms of service for third-party retailers, the company told LGBTQNation. “While it’s listed on other sites, it clearly violates our policy and was quickly removed once we were notified. We’re appalled this seller put it on our site to begin with,” a representative for the superstore said.

    Target pulled the product on Wednesday.

    "As a part of our Halloween assortment, we offered a costume that was called 'Women's Granny Costume' in our women’s online costume assortment," a Target representative said. "It recently came to our attention that other websites were selling the costume under a different description. While Target had not received any complaints, out of respect for public concerns people have raised, we made the decision to remove this item from our assortment."

    On Amazon, the company pulled the male version of the costume but "Rasta Imposta girls Kids Grandma Costume," which looks very similar to the adult version, was still available Friday afternoon. 

    Spirit Halloween came under fire last year for offering the “Tranny Granny” costume. The store has renamed it “Adult Granny Costume” and continues to feature it online. A man with a cigarette hanging from painted lips wears a floral print dress and head scarf, broom in hand. The description reads, “Slap on some makeup and get ready for your granny walk and you will have the room roaring with laughter!” 

    The costume has sparked an outcry on social media. One Twitter user wrote, "Walmart and Amazon pull #trannygranny costume. You think?! Marginalized identities aren't for you amusement." Another said the get-up was "everything that is wrong about retail right now."

    “Tranny Granny” is not the first controversy this Halloween shopping season. Disney recently pulled a “Moana” costume from its stores after critics claimed it promoted black face.

    NBC has reached out to Amazon, Walmart and Spirit Halloween for comment. 



    Photo Credit: Getty Images/EyeEm
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    For most restaurants, closing during a major storm would only seem sensible. But when a Waffle House shuts its doors, even disaster specialists take notice.

    In light of Hurricane Matthew, 25 Waffle House locations in Florida, Georgia, and South Carolina have shuttered. Thursday evening, Waffle House announced on Twitter that all restaurants between Titusville and Fort Pierce, Florida, would not be up and running during the hurricane, after previously promising to continue operations. It updated the list Friday to include even more storefronts.

    Waffle House has such a notorious record of staying open during natural disasters that the Federal Emergency Management Agency unofficially analyzes the chain's activity to know how severe a storm is. The closure of even one location is significant.

    FEMA's "Waffle House Index" monitors House closures, focusing on the aftermath of storms and other disasters. Following Hurricane Irene in 2011, for example, only one Waffle House in Virginia was closed the day after 22 locations lost power. That signaled to FEMA where to concentrate its resources.

    People seem more affected by Waffle House's announcement than any made by local officials. Fox News host Todd Starnes tweeted, "Folks, when they shut down the Waffle House -- it's time to leave town." Another Twitter user wrote, "You know it’s serious when Waffle House shuts down." After Waffle House reported more closures this morning, Scott Klein, deputy managing editor at ProPublica, said that FEMA's "Waffle House index" for Hurricane Matthew had moved to red.



    Photo Credit: ASSOCIATED PRESS
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    File photo: Traffic flashes by breakfast diners a a Waffle House near Dawsonville, Georgia, Thursday, July 28, 2005.File photo: Traffic flashes by breakfast diners a a Waffle House near Dawsonville, Georgia, Thursday, July 28, 2005.

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    A flight crew from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) flew into the eye of Hurricane Matthew on Oct. 6. The video shows crew members flying in very turbulent conditions into the center of the storm, which spun dangerously close to Florida's Atlantic coast Friday morning, scraping the shore with howling wind and heavy rain and that left more than 400,000 without power.

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    Andrew Cady was driving away from flooding water as he shot this video in Fort Castillo in St. Augustine, Florida. “The seawall is now totally overrun and the city is flooding. Please pray for those who did not heed the evacuation warning,” Cady said.

    Photo Credit: Andrew Cady

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    A rough surf in Daytona Beach, Florida, with high winds.

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