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US and World News

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    Rates of Alzheimer's disease and other types of dementia appear to have fallen considerably since 2000, and better education may be partly responsible, researchers reported Monday.

    Better treatment for diabetes and cardiovascular disease may also be helping, the researchers reported in the Journal of the American Medical Association, NBC News reported.

    Dr. Kenneth Langa of the University of Michigan and colleagues studied records from 21,000 people with an average age of 75. 

    Their study showed the rate of Alzheimer's disease and other dementias in adults aged 65 and up dropped to about 9 percent in 2012 from nearly 12 percent in 2000, continuing a decline noted in earlier research.



    Photo Credit: Scott Eisen, AP (File)

    In this June 21, 2013 file photo, a poster with information about Alzheimer's Disease hangs in the library at the Alzheimer's Association Headquarters in Chicago.In this June 21, 2013 file photo, a poster with information about Alzheimer's Disease hangs in the library at the Alzheimer's Association Headquarters in Chicago.

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    President-elect Donald Trump released a video Monday afternoon laying out a plan for executive action during his first days in office. The Trump transition team created and distributed the video. The president-elect has bucked tradition in the 12 days since his election win by not allowing press to interact with him via a "protective pool."

    Photo Credit: Donald Trump Transitional Team

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    Kanye West was under observation at a Los Angeles area hospital late Monday after the remaining dates of his national tour were abruptly canceled, multiple authorities familiar with the case told NBC News.

    The admission followed a week of bizarre incidents during which the provocative rapper publicly railed against fellow music stars Beyoncé and Jay Z and retroactively endorsed President-elect Donald Trump.

    A source familiar with the case said Los Angeles police responded to a medical welfare call about 1:20 p.m. (4:20 p.m. ET). No criminal activity was involved; the decision to hospitalize West was for his own health and safety, the sources said.



    Photo Credit: Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

    Kanye West preforms during the closing ceremony on Day 16 of the Toronto 2015 Pan Am Games on July 26, 2015, in Toronto, Canada.Kanye West preforms during the closing ceremony on Day 16 of the Toronto 2015 Pan Am Games on July 26, 2015, in Toronto, Canada.

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    Donald Trump held court from his perch high above Manhattan on Monday, receiving a line of former rivals, longtime allies and TV executives while overseeing a presidential transition that at times resembles a reality show like the one he once hosted.

    Trump met with nearly a dozen prospective hires, all of whom were paraded in front of the cameras set up in the Trump Tower lobby as they entered an elevator to see the president-elect. Out of public view himself, he fell back on his TV star roots by filming a video that touted his legislative goals once he takes office.

    Trump; did not immediately announce any appointments after the meetings, which came on the heels of a two-day whirlwind of interviews at his golf course in Bedminster, New Jersey.

    Unlike his predecessors, who often spoke with Cabinet candidates under a cloud of secrecy, Trump has turned the search into a very public audition process. The extraordinary exercise took on a routine feel on Monday: First, former Massachusetts Senator Scott Brown stepped off the gold-plated elevator into the marble-coated lobby after his meeting to declare to waiting reporters that he was "the best person" to become Veterans Affairs secretary.

    Next, Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin, a candidate for interior secretary, did much the same, striding off the lift to say she had "a wonderful discussion" with Trump. Former Texas Governor Rick Perry declined to speak to reporters, but he did take time for a photo with the Naked Cowboy, the underwear-sporting, guitar-strumming New York institution who is normally a fixture at Times Square but has spent recent days camped out at Trump Tower singing about the president-elect.

    Democratic Hawaii Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, who resigned her post on the Democratic National Committee after endorsing Bernie Sanders over Hillary Clinton, also met with Trump but entered and exited out of sight. She later defended crossing party lines to meet with Trump about U.S. involvement in Syria, saying in a statement she would never "play politics with American and Syrian lives."

    Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, a longtime Trump ally, also arrived with his wife, Callista, and told reporters that he indicated to Trump that he was interested in being a "senior planner" to coordinate long-term political efforts among the Republicans in control of all three branches of government.

    Senior adviser Kellyanne Conway said of the visitors, "Not all of them will be in his Cabinet and his federal government, but they are all incredibly important in offering their points of views, their experience and certainly their vision of the country."

    No one was saying whether Trump would announce more appointments before heading to Florida for Thanksgiving. He was planning to leave Tuesday or Wednesday to spend the holiday at his Mar-a-Lago estate, while Vice President-elect Mike Pence will spend Thanksgiving in Mississippi, where his Marine son is stationed.

    Trump has largely remained out of sight since winning the election, save for a flurry of brief public appearances over the weekend, often with Pence at his side, to flash thumbs-ups and provide quick updates on his progress in building a government. He remained in the upper floors of his skyscraper Monday, seeking counsel on the phone and interviewing candidates all while keeping an eye on the cable news coverage of the day's events.

    He appeared in a two-and-a-half minute video released late Monday in which he pledged to the American people that he was appointing "patriots" to his administration and reiterated a number of his campaign promises, including plans to renegotiate trade deals, scrap excessive regulations and institute a five-year ban on executive officials becoming lobbyists.

    The video — which made no mention of key pledges to build a border wall with Mexico or repeal the Affordable Care Act — continues the president-elect's practice of trying to go over the heads of the media and take his case directly to the American public. Since Election Day, he has twice ditched the group of reporters designated to follow his movements and has so far eschewed the traditional news conference held by the president-elect in the days after winning.

    Trump has not held a full-fledged news conference since July.

    But the media were clearly on his mind as he met with executives and on-air personalities from TV networks. He frequently singled out the media — declaring them "so dishonest" — for criticism during the campaign, but it's not unusual for presidents to hold off-the-record meetings with journalists when trying to promote policies or programs.

    Among the attendees were NBC anchor Lester Holt and "Meet the Press" host Chuck Todd, ABC's "Good Morning America" host George Stephanopoulos and anchor David Muir, CBS' "Face the Nation" host John Dickerson, CNN's Wolf Blitzer and several executives at the networks.

    None of the attendees would discuss the meeting with reporters in the lobby, though Conway said it was "very cordial, very productive, very congenial."

    Those Trump met with over the weekend included former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, a former critic now being considered for secretary of state; retired Marine Corps Gen. James Mattis, who Trump dubbed an "impressive" prospect for defense secretary, and billionaire investor Wilbur Ross, who is under consideration for Commerce secretary.

    "We've made a couple of deals," Trump said Sunday. He gave assurances that "incredible meetings" would be bringing "incredible people" into the government.



    Photo Credit: Getty Images

    President-elect Donald Trump (L), and former Texas Gov. Rick Perry.President-elect Donald Trump (L), and former Texas Gov. Rick Perry.

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    The white nationalist who said "Hail Trump" and "hail our people" during a conference in Washington D.C. on Saturday — and who received straight-armed Nazi-like salutes in response — told NBC News Monday that his comments were meant to be "cheeky," "exuberant" and "ironic." 

    The remarks from Richard Spencer, whose National Policy Institute was described by the Southern Poverty Law Center as one of the most influential purveyors of academic racism in the country, were published in a video by the Atlantic on Monday.

    Spencer, 38, told NBC News that the conference was the "next step" for the "alt-right," a soft euphemism for the once-fringe network with ties to white nationalism that vaulted into the mainstream political scene with Donald Trump's chief strategist, Steve Bannon, and includes everyone from hardcore white supremacists and neo-Nazis to critics of so-called "political correctness."



    Photo Credit: Linda Davidson/The Washington Post via Getty Images

    Richard Spencer is in town for the largest white nationalist and Alt Right conference of the year in Washington, DC on November 18, 2016.Richard Spencer is in town for the largest white nationalist and Alt Right conference of the year in Washington, DC on November 18, 2016.

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    Heinz is voluntarily recalling about 500 cases of its HomeStyle Bistro Au Jus Gravy because some jars have been mislabeled as Heinz Pork Gravy without mentioning it contains milk and soy.

    The labeling issue could present a health risk for people with allergies or sensitivity to milk or soy who consume the gravy. There have been no consumer reports of illness related to this product, according to the FDA recall notice.

    Recalled jars can be identified with UPC 013000798907. They wre distributed to retailers across the United States.

    “We deeply regret this situation and apologize to any consumers we have disappointed,” Heinz said in a statement about the recall.

    The statement recommended consumers return or exchange the product. They can contact the company directly for a full refund by calling 866-572-3808 between 9 a.m. and 6 p.m. ET.

    The 12 oz jars of Heinz HomeStyle Gravy Bistro Au Jus is the only Heinz product being recalled. No other size or flavor has been mislabeled.



    Photo Credit: FDA

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    President-elect Donald Trump on Monday announced a list of "executive actions" he plans to implement on the first day of his presidency meant to "restore our laws and bring back our jobs," NBC News reported. 

    Trump said he will signal the United States' intention to withdraw from the Trans-Pacific Partnership, roll back energy regulations, take steps to guard against cyber attacks, investigate visa program abuses and implement rules against members of his administration leaving to become lobbyists.

    The Trump transition team created and distributed the video. Trump himself has not held a formal press conference in the 12 days since winning the election, and he has so far declined to allow journalists to participate in a formal "protective pool," which allows a small group of reporters to broadcast information about the movements of the president or president-elect.



    Photo Credit: Donald Trump Transitional Team

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    Hawaii Democratic Rep. Tulsi Gabbard characterized her meeting with president-elect Donald Trump on Monday as a "frank and positive" conversation, NBC News reported.

    Hawaii was Trump's single worst state (he got only 29 percent of the vote).

    Gabbard, who has often challenged President Barack Obama on national security and supported Bernie Sanders' presidential candidacy, said she discussed Syria and other foreign policy issues with Trump.

    Gabbard, a member of the House Armed Services Committee, also said she and Trump discussed legislation that she is pushing that would end what she described as "our country's illegal war to overthrow the Syrian government."

    Sanders embraced Gabbard and she became an effective surrogate for his campaign, appearing in a Sanders ad that featured her surfing and discussing the cost of war.



    Photo Credit: AP

    In this July 26, 2016 file photo, Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, D-HI., nominates Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-VT., for President of the United States during the second day of the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia. Gabbard, a Democrat critical of the Obama administration’s approach in Syria, says she had a “frank and positive” conversation Monday, Nov. 21, 2016, with President-elect Donald Trump on a variety of foreign policy issues.In this July 26, 2016 file photo, Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, D-HI., nominates Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-VT., for President of the United States during the second day of the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia. Gabbard, a Democrat critical of the Obama administration’s approach in Syria, says she had a “frank and positive” conversation Monday, Nov. 21, 2016, with President-elect Donald Trump on a variety of foreign policy issues.

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    Jordan reacts as he listens to President Obama's remarks during the Presidential Medal of Freedom Ceremony.

    Photo Credit: NBC

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    Nearly three quarters of a million Toyota Siennas are being recalled over the possibility their sliding doors can open while driving, the auto manufacturer announced Tuesday.

    The recall affects minivans between model years 2011 and 2016, and the company is currently developing a fix. Owners will be notified by mid-January when a remedy for the problem is established for the 744,000 vehicles affected.

    The recall was prompted by a set of conditions that can cause Sienna motor circuits to overload, opening the door if it's latch is in an unlatched position. That only occurs if the sliding door opening operation is impeded, Toyota said.

    Customers can call 800-331-4331 for more information, or they can look up their vehicle identification number at toyota.com/recall to see if their vehicle is impacted.



    Photo Credit: Getty Images, File

    A 2016 Toyota Sienna Minivan on display at the Chicago Auto Show on February 19, 2016. (Photo By Raymond Boyd/Getty Images)A 2016 Toyota Sienna Minivan on display at the Chicago Auto Show on February 19, 2016. (Photo By Raymond Boyd/Getty Images)

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    The fallout continues at a Boston charter school after allegations that a 6-year-old sexually abused other children on a school bus.

    As necn Investigates has learned, Boston Renaissance Charter School in Hyde Park did not contact officials from the Department of Education. According to state officials, they are legally obligated to contact the state after a "significant incident" within two business days.

    "They are not facing penalties at this time, although we expect to send them a formal letter about the reporting requirement in addition to the conversations and correspondence we have had with them over the last 24 hours," said Jackie Reis, a spokesperson for the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education.

    Boston Public Schools has placed the bus driver on paid administrative leave as a precaution. BPS provides transportation for the charter school.

    Earlier Tuesday, the charter school did send out a notice to parents outlining why they did not immediately notify parents on Nov. 3.

    "We consulted with the Child Advocacy Center and followed applicable state and federal legal guidelines in determining how to communicate with the families involved and the broader school community," the letter read. "We have been cooperating fully with these agencies from the beginning ... This is a highly sensitive matter. We ask our school community to respect the privacy of our students and families, and allow the school to handle this appropriately."

    Meanwhile, community advocates are urging Boston Public School officials to put monitors on all school buses.

    Boston Police said they can't say much about the investigation because of the children's ages, including when the alleged incidents happened or how many children may have been assaulted. The mother of one of the children who was allegedly assaulted said the incidents began at the beginning of the school year, and alleged at least four students were assaulted.

    "We have to look at this issue. Our children are not safe on any school bus that does not have a monitor," community activist Mary Franklin said at a press conference Tuesday. "Our mayor has to step up and he has to see these children as valuable human beings and protect them and keep them safe."

    Police were first notified of the incidents on Nov. 3 by Boston Renaissance Charter School in Hyde Park. They referred the matter to the Children's Advocacy Center of Suffolk County because of the ages of the students involved. The state Department of Education was also not notified within the required two-day window.

    The Suffolk County District Attorney's Office said it is aware of the allegations and is coordinating with Boston Police, the school and the Children's Advocacy Center. Juvenile court only has jurisdiction over children age 7 or older, so no charges can be brought against someone under that age.

    Advocates now want parents and citizens, along with Mayor Marty Walsh and Superintendent of Schools Tommy Chang to meet for a town hall on Dec. 29 to discuss school bus monitors.

    "Every school bus carrying the most precious cargo, which is our children, our grandchildren, family members, and friends, have the right to ride to and from school safely and to be respected," Franklin said. "Let me be clear here - monitors are needed, regardless of a school being a public charter or district."

    Parents said the school only notified them of the incidents on Monday - more than two weeks after police were called - after some of the details were shared by a parent on Facebook over the weekend.

    The mother of one alleged victim said her son was molested a number of times.

    "He said it happened more than 10 times," said the mother, who did not want to be named. "As a mom, I lost it. My son was being touched on the bus by another child that's 6 years old. The kid wanted my son to play with his genitals and he wanted my son to play with his genitals also. He mentioned a lot of grabbing of the buttocks."

    The mother said the boy, who is now under investigation, also made threats.

    "He made mention that there were guns at his house and if he was going to say anything that he was going to kill me," she said.

    According to the mother of the alleged victim, she was told by school officials that another student saw what happened and told an administrator.

    Boston Renaissance Charter School issued a statement Monday saying that it is taking the matter "very seriously" and has taken steps to ensure student safety and to protect the privacy of the students involved.

    "We are aware of the Facebook post that has been circulating regarding an alleged incident on a school bus earlier this month," the school said. "We can assure all Boston Renaissance families that the school leadership team took immediate action and followed appropriate legal protocols, contacting law enforcement immediately upon learning of the issue.

    "This is a highly sensitive matter," the school added. "We ask our school community to respect the privacy of our students and families, and allow the school to handle this appropriately."

    Franklin, the grandmother of a 6-year-old student in Boston schools, said it's time for the "lies and excuses" to end.

    "There are too many horrific stories of abuse, neglect and dangerous behaviors that are taking place on many school buses," she said. "These occurrences are added trauma to the overwhelming issues our children are confronted with in their communities.

    "As parents and concerned citizens, we can no longer allow our children to be mistreated, abused and viewed as if they don't matter to the City of Boston. We want to ensure that our children are safe going and coming to school."

    Renaissance Charter School is not part of the Boston Public School District. Boston Public Schools provides bus service to all public and charter schools in the city of Boston.

    The school will be holding a meeting with parents Monday night at 6 p.m. to address concerns.

    They told necn it is not open to the public. Only parents will be allowed to attend.



    Photo Credit: necn

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    A popular Italian restaurant in Washington, D.C., has issued an apology for unintentionally hosting a white nationalist group that performed a Nazi salute while eating there.

    Maggiano's Little Italy posted an apology on its Facebook page Monday, saying the restaurant said it didn't realize it was hosting a banquet Friday for a group called the National Policy Institute. Its website says it advocates for the heritage and identity of those of European descent in the U.S.

    The post said the group made a reservation at the chain's Friendship Heights location at the last minute using a different name. The group was gathered in Washington for a conference and celebrated Republican Donald Trump's election.

    A photo tweeted from a guest showed people making a Nazi salute, the post said. The tweet came from reality star Tila Tequila, according to the Washington Times. Twitter has suspended her account.

    The next day, the National Policy Institute held a conference in a federal building in D.C., where its leader was seen on video saying "Hail Trump" and "hail our people" and receiving straight-armed Nazi-like salutes in response, and said white people don't gain from the presence of other racial groups. The man, Richard Spencer, told NBC News Monday he was being "cheeky," "exuberant" and "ironic."

    Bryan Lanza of Trump's transition team issued a statement Monday after widespread reporting of the conference: "President-elect Trump has continued to denounce racism of any kind and he was elected, because he will be a leader for every American. To think otherwise is a complete misrepresentation of the movement that united Americans from all backgrounds."

    And Trump told The New York Times Tuesday "I disavow and condemn" the white nationalist sympathizers who celebrated his election during the conference.

    Maggiano's said it has donated its profits from the evening to the Anti-Defamation League.

    The full message, from Steve Provost, president of Maggiano's Little Italy:

    "On Friday night, Maggiano’s in Friendship Heights was the inadvertent site of a protest that caused us to close our restaurant to protect the safety of our Teammates and Guests.

    The protesters were upset because of a banquet we were hosting for a group called the National Policy Institute (NPI). This was a last minute booking made Friday afternoon, and the reservation was made under a different name, therefore we were not aware that NPI was dining with us or what the group represents. After the event, a Guest sent a tweet in which she made a "Sieg Heil salute" in support of Hitler and white supremacy. This expression of support of Hitler is extremely offensive to us, as our restaurant is home to Teammates and Guests of every race, religion and cultural background.

    We want to sincerely apologize to the community of Friendship Heights for inadvertently hosting this meeting, which resulted in hateful sentiment. We want you to know that at the suggestion of one of our Guests, we are donating the profits from our restaurant sales on Friday, $10,000, to the DC office of the Anti-Defamation League, which for decades has been working to bring people together in peace and understanding."



    Photo Credit: NBC4 Washington

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    A young bull escaped from a Philadelphia slaughterhouse Tuesday afternoon, leading police on a chase past a city high school and down Interstate 95.

    The 550-pound bovine broke free from a truck outside the Saba Live Poultry meat processing facility along the 2100 block of North Hancock Street in the city's Kensington neighborhood around 2 p.m. Tuesday.

    Pablo Rosario, the owner of Saba Live Poultry, told NBC10 the bull escaped an unloading truck.

    "Well when I opened the door the animal took off," Rosario said.

    A worker at the plant, who refused to give his name, also told NBC10 that staff were preparing to unload the bull from the truck when it charged them and scampered off.

    The man placed blame on the truck driver, saying he failed to properly pull the truck into a loading dock.

    The animal then began a more than 4-mile trek through several city neighborhoods and onto two highways.

    One of his first stops was at Kensington High School along East Cumberland Street. Witness Pete Colon said the bull darted in front of his car before walking up to the school.

    "He stopped at the doors and looked at his reflection in the glass, then ran toward Thompson Street," Colon said.

    The bull then made its way toward the Delaware River and onto the northbound lanes of Interstate 95, heading against traffic.

    Stunned drivers stopped their cars as the scared steer meandered through the jam.

    "I did not believe my eyes," said Karen Harr, who spotted the animal as it ran loose in Fishtown. "I did not believe what I was seeing. I pulled over at this fire hydrant and that's when it ran right by me straight up Commerce Street to Delaware Ave. I was afraid of it charging my car."

    A woman, who did not want to give her name, said at first she thought a horse was running at her car.

    "[I] thought it was going to trample over and smash me and my car," she said after tweeting a photo of the bull staring at her through the windshield.

    From there, the bovine made its way back onto city streets in Chinatown. It ducked into some brush and trees next to the Interstate 676-95 interchange at 7th and Vine streets. Police and state conservation officers cornered him there.

    Concerned about the public's safety, a Pennsylvania Game Commission conservation officer fired on the animal three times using a 12 gauge shotgun, killing it.

    "In an extreme situation, in an emergency situation, for public safety, we chose to put it down," Pennsylvania Game Commission conservation officer Jerry Czech told NBC10.

    No humans were injured in the incident, police said.



    Photo Credit: SixersChix
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    A driver snapped this photo of the bull after it ran at her car on Interstate 95 near Spring Garden Street in Philadelphia on Tuesday.A driver snapped this photo of the bull after it ran at her car on Interstate 95 near Spring Garden Street in Philadelphia on Tuesday.

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    The owner and staff of a neighborhood pizzeria in Northwest D.C. have reportedly found themselves at the center of an online conspiracy theory that has sparked death threats.

    Posts to Facebook and Reddit claim that Comet Ping Pong, a family-friendly restaurant on the 5300 block of Connecticut Avenue, was the home base of a child sex abuse ring run by former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and her presidential campaign chair, John Podesta.

    Twitter accounts, including that of Breitbart News, drew connections between Podesta's emails -- which were hacked and then published by WikiLeaks -- and the pizzeria. Users of the online message board 4Chan saw that Podesta had emailed with Comet Ping Pong owner James Alefantis about hosting a Clinton fundraiser, The New York Times reported.

    4Chan users then speculated that Comet Ping Pong was part of a Democratic child trafficking ring, according to the Times. A Reddit thread on the topic, dubbed Pizzagate, gained thousands of subscribers.

    Politifact found that the conspiracy theory presented without documentation or named sources "fails to rise above rumor or hoax." It received a "pants on fire!" reading on the Politifact Truth-o-Meter.

    Since the conspiracy theory began circulating, Alefantis has received hundreds of death threats, he told the Times. "I will kill you personally," one message said.

    Photos of the children of restaurant staff members have appeared in fake news articles and presented as proof of the existence of a pedophilia ring.

    D.C. police told the Times it was monitoring the situation and told NBC Washington in a statement that it is "aware of general threats being made against this establishment." The department has not received a criminal complaint about a child sex abuse ring being run by Clinton at Comet Ping Pong.

    Alefantis told the Times he was contacted the FBI, which refused to comment to the newspaper on whether an investigation was underway. 

    No one answered a phone call to the business Tuesday afternoon.

    The conspiracy theorists have moved on to target businesses near Comet Ping Pong, Alefantis told Washington City Paper.

    "Apparently there are networks of satanic tunnels built under the entire block," he reportedly said the conspiracy theorists believe.



    Photo Credit: The Washington Post/Getty Images, File

    The Hottie pizza at Washington, D.C.'s Comet Ping Pong. The restaurant has become the center of an unconfirmed conspiracy theory about Hillary Clinton and her presidential campaign chief. (Photo by Deb Lindsey For The Washington Post via Getty Images).The Hottie pizza at Washington, D.C.'s Comet Ping Pong. The restaurant has become the center of an unconfirmed conspiracy theory about Hillary Clinton and her presidential campaign chief. (Photo by Deb Lindsey For The Washington Post via Getty Images).

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    Michael Jordan may be “more than just an internet meme,” but his emotional reaction to receiving the Presidential Medal of Freedom Tuesday became just that.

    With tears in his eyes, the five-time MVP was presented with one of the highest civilian honors by President Barack Obama at the White House – and the Twitter-verse took notice.

    Images of Jordan’s face during the ceremony quickly sparked a flurry of new and old memes as the sports icon became yet another viral sensation.

    Yet, in celebrating Jordan’s achievements, Obama noted that the NBA icon is more than just some of the historic moments he made in sports history.

    “MJ is still more than those moments, more than just the best player on the two greatest teams of all time – the dream team and the 1996 Chicago Bulls—he’s more than just a logo, more than just an internet meme,” Obama said, referring to the infamous "Crying Jordan" meme.

    Jordan’s tear-stained face during a 2009 speech at his Basketball Hall of Fame induction ceremony became a viral meme on social media, used by the sports world as the go-to symbol of sadness in defeat. The meme often features Jordan's watery mug superimposed onto losing team's players, fans, mascots, coaches and beyond, employed to comment on any number of sports failures.

    “[He’s] more than just a charitable donor, or a business donor committed to diversity,” Obama added. “There is a reason we call somebody 'the Michael Jordan of' — the Michael Jordan of neurosurgery or the Michael Jordan of rabbis or the Michael Jordan of outrigger canoeing. They know what you're talking about. Because Michael Jordan is the Michael Jordan of greatness.”

    But as Jordan’s eyes filled during Obama's remarks, the "Crying Jordan" meme came to life in front of our eyes, and the Twitterverse churned out a new batch of memes: Crying Jordan 2.0

    Photos of Jordan’s emotional reaction began sprouting on the social media site, many side-by-side with his long-viral meme.

    Jordan was among 21 recipients for this year’s Presidential Medal of Freedom, including fellow sports icons Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, the NBA's all-time leading scorer, and Vin Scully, who spent 67 seasons as the broadcaster of the Brooklyn and Los Angeles Dodgers.

    They also included Ellen DeGeneres, who has advocated for equality and fairness, and Tom Hanks, who has worked for social and environmental justice.

    Obama said the activists, athletes and artists "helped push America forward, inspiring millions of people around the world along the way." He added that the medal is "a tribute to the idea that all of us, no matter where we come from, have the opportunity to change this country for the better."



    Photo Credit: NBC
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    Cassie De Pecol is set to become the fastest person, as well as the first woman, to visit all 196 countries after the 27-year-old spent months traveling as an ambassador for the International Institute for Peace through Tourism. See some of her photos from around the world...

    Photo Credit: Courtesy of Cassie De Pecol

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    Photo Credit: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

    President Barack Obama embraces popular music icon Diana Ross during a ceremony in the East Room of the White House Nov. 22, 2016 in Washington, DC. Obama presented the medal to 19 living and two posthumous pioneers in science, sports, public service, human rights, politics and the arts.President Barack Obama embraces popular music icon Diana Ross during a ceremony in the East Room of the White House Nov. 22, 2016 in Washington, DC. Obama presented the medal to 19 living and two posthumous pioneers in science, sports, public service, human rights, politics and the arts.

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    The Dow Jones industrial average closed above 19,000 for the first time ever in its 120-year history as a post-election rally continues to push market into record territory. Discount store chains made large gains, but health care companies tumbled, The Associated Press reported.

    "What we're seeing is a shift in the sectors that are participating" in this rally, said Quincy Krosby, market strategist at Prudential Financial. "It hasn't been parabolic in some sectors."

    The S&P 500 and the Nasdaq composite also closed at all-time highs, CNBC reported. 

    Tuesday's record-setting session came a day after the three major indexes, along with the small-caps Russell 2000, closed at all-time highs. Monday's rally was led by oil, which rose nearly 4 percent to lift energy stocks.

    The Dow has closed at a record high six times in the two weeks since the presidential election, but trading volume has fallen in recent days. U.S. trading will be closed Thursday for Thanksgiving and markets will close early on Friday.



    Photo Credit: Getty Images

    Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) on November 22, 2016 in New York City. U.S. stocks continued their advance into record highs on Tuesday with the Dow Jones Indistrial average hitting 19,000 for the first time.Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) on November 22, 2016 in New York City. U.S. stocks continued their advance into record highs on Tuesday with the Dow Jones Indistrial average hitting 19,000 for the first time.

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    Consumers should keep an eye on what they purchase this holiday season, as recalled toys may still be available in online stores, a new report says.

    In its annual "Trouble in Toyland" report, the U.S. Public Interest Research Group Education Fund alerts consumers to recalled toys from January 2015 to October 2016 that may still be in their home, or available for sale online.

    "We should be able to trust that the toys we buy are safe. However, until that’s the case, consumers should understand two things: first, not all recalls may be well-publicized so you should check your house for previously recalled toys and second, some toys that are recalled may still be available online," said Dev Gowda with U.S. PIRG in a statement. 

    Some of the toys included on the list that are available online include a toy glockenspiel recalled due to high lead levels in the paint; a remote controlled-flying toy with a USB charging cord that can overheat and a pencil case containing two magnets that can detach from the case’s lid. Each of the items is said to pose health risks for children.

    In a statement, the Toy Industry Association refuted the PIRG’s report, saying many of the items are juvenile products like hoverboards and children's jewelry and are not toys.

    "U.S. PIRG calls their annual report "Trouble in Toyland" – but their 2016 report doesn’t indicate any trouble at all," the group said.

    The inclusion of things like pacifier clips and other products "in a supposed 'toy' safety report undermines the toy industry’s deep and ongoing commitment to ensuring that toys are among the safest consumer product categories found in the home."

    The group cited U.S. toy safety requirements as "among the strictest in the world, with more than 100+ standards and tests in place to ensure that all toys found on store shelves are safe."

    The Trouble in Toyland list has been published for over 30 years, and has led to over 150 recalls and other enforcement actions, according to a press release from U.S. PIRG. The research group says that it has notified the Consumer Product Safety Commission about potential sales of recalled products, which it says is illegal under the CPSC’s rules. It also urges consumers to remain aware of recalled toys that may still be in their homes. 

    In their statement, the Toy Industry Association urged consumers to “always shop at reputable stores and online retailers that they know and trust, and exercise caution when buying toys at flea markets, garage sales, second-hand / thrift stores, etc., as these vendors may not be monitoring for recalled products. Families are also encouraged to stay up-to-date on toy recalls to ensure that all recalled products are kept out of their homes – and out of children’s hands.”



    Photo Credit: U.S. PIRG

    Some of the toys listed by the U.S. PIRG in its Some of the toys listed by the U.S. PIRG in its "Trouble in Toyland" list for recalled toys are shown above.

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    Saying they had touched him in a powerful and personal way, President Barack Obama awarded the nation's highest civilian honor to 21 groundbreaking actors, musicians, athletes and others during a ceremony Tuesday at the White House.

    "These are folks who have helped make me who I am," Obama said as the celebration concluded in the White House East Room.

    Among those getting the Presidential Medal of Freedom were actors Tom Hanks, Robert De Niro, Robert Redford and Cicely Tyson.

    Michael Jordan and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, two of the best basketball players ever, were also among the honorees.

    Bruce Springsteen and Diana Ross were recognized for their music.

    Other honorees included philanthropists Bill and Melinda Gates, comedian Ellen DeGeneres and broadcaster Vin Scully.

    Obama said the people receiving the medal helped push America forward and inspired millions around the world.

    The award recognizes especially meritorious contributions to the national interests of the United States, to its culture, or to other significant endeavors.

    Posthumous honors went to Native American advocate Elouise Cobell and Rear Adm. Grace Hopper.

    Others receiving the award included: Richard Garwin, an inventor and polymath physicist who made pioneering contributions to the nation's defense; Frank Gehry, one of the world's leading architects; Margaret H. Hamilton, a mathematician and computer scientist; Maya Lin, the designer of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial; Lorne Michaels, producer of "Saturday Night Live"; Newton Minow, a former Federal Communications Commission chairman devoted to numerous public and charitable causes; and Eduardo Padron, president of Miami Dade College.



    Photo Credit: AFP/Getty Images

    President Barack Obama speaks before presenting the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation's highest civilian honor, during a ceremony in the East Room of the White House in Washington, DC, November 22, 2016.President Barack Obama speaks before presenting the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation's highest civilian honor, during a ceremony in the East Room of the White House in Washington, DC, November 22, 2016.

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