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US and World News

older | 1 | .... | 889 | 890 | (Page 891) | 892 | 893 | .... | 906 | newer

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    Take a look at photos of extreme weather from the U.S. and around the world, from floods to snow to rough seas.

    Photo Credit: AP

    Vehicles move along a street after a storm clears momentarily to reveal fresh snow on the Flatirons, in Boulder, Colorado, Dec. 7, 2016. A blast of cold weather hit parts of Montana, Wyoming, Colorado and North and South Dakota with temperatures that dropped to minus 14 overnight, according to NBC News. A second, even colder chill could spread into the East Coast and the South late next week, meteorologists warned. A shift in a weather system known as the Polar Vortex may be partially to blame, according to The Weather Channel.Vehicles move along a street after a storm clears momentarily to reveal fresh snow on the Flatirons, in Boulder, Colorado, Dec. 7, 2016. A blast of cold weather hit parts of Montana, Wyoming, Colorado and North and South Dakota with temperatures that dropped to minus 14 overnight, according to NBC News. A second, even colder chill could spread into the East Coast and the South late next week, meteorologists warned. A shift in a weather system known as the Polar Vortex may be partially to blame, according to The Weather Channel.

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    Hillary Clinton appealed Thursday for a bipartisan fight against an "epidemic of malicious, fake news," calling the dissemination of false propaganda a threat with "real-world consequences."

    "It's now clear that so-called fake news can have real world consequences. This isn't about politics or partisanship. Lives are at risk. Lives of ordinary people just trying to go about their days to do their jobs, contribute to their communities. It's a danger that must be addressed and addressed quickly," Clinton told lawmakers at the Capitol during a portrait unveiling in honor of retiring Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid.

    "It's imperative that leaders in both the private and public sector step up to protect our democracy and innocent lives," she added.

    The former secretary of state sounded the alarm one month after her presidential election loss to Donald Trump in a race that was beset by the public spread of misinformation on social media.

    Clinton's reference to the "real-world consequences" of fake news comes days after a man fired an assault rifle at a Washington D.C. pizza parlor. Edgar Maddison Welch, 28, said he went to investigate a fake online news story about a child sex trafficking ring run by Hillary Clinton and prominent Democrats operating out of the restaurant.

    Clinton received sustained applause as she stood to speak, ruefully remarking, "This is not exactly the speech at the Capitol I hoped to give" after the election.

    She joked that after spending several weeks in the woods taking selfies, she thought it would be a good idea to emerge.

    The Associated Press contributed to this story.



    Photo Credit: Getty Images

    Former US Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton speaks during a portrait unveiling ceremony for outgoing Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV), on Capitol Hill December 8, 2016 in Washington, DC.Former US Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton speaks during a portrait unveiling ceremony for outgoing Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV), on Capitol Hill December 8, 2016 in Washington, DC.

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    Photo Credit: NASA

    John Glenn looks into a Celestial Training Device globe at the Aeromedical Laboratory at Cap Canveral, Florida, in this February 1962 photo provided by NASA.John Glenn looks into a Celestial Training Device globe at the Aeromedical Laboratory at Cap Canveral, Florida, in this February 1962 photo provided by NASA.

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    The family of the 14-year-old boy whom police shot and critically wounded at a Nevada high school said Thursday that the officer should have found a better way to resolve things, NBC News reported. 

    A school district police officer shot the boy Wednesday during a confrontation witnessed by more than 40 classmates at Hug High School in Reno, authorities said. They said the boy got into an altercation with a classmate and began threatening other students with a knife. 

    The boy remained in critical condition Thursday at Renown Medical Center, police told NBC News, which isn't naming him because he's a juvenile. 

    "There are many questions to be answered as to what happened and what could have been done to avoid the use of lethal force," the boy's family said in a statement Thursday.



    Photo Credit: AP Photo/Scott Sonner

    A Reno police officer stands guard outside Hug High School on the north side of Reno on Wednesday, Dec. 7, 2016 while other officers talk after a Washoe County School District police officer shot a student following a disturbance at the school. Police say the Nevada high school student who was shot by a campus police officer was the only person wounded on campus.A Reno police officer stands guard outside Hug High School on the north side of Reno on Wednesday, Dec. 7, 2016 while other officers talk after a Washoe County School District police officer shot a student following a disturbance at the school. Police say the Nevada high school student who was shot by a campus police officer was the only person wounded on campus.

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    John Glenn was once called "the last true national hero America has ever made," and when the astronaut-turned-senator died Thursday at 95, it prompted an outpouring of condolences from all walks of American life.

    As the first American to orbit the Earth, Glenn's was one of the most instantly recognizable faces in the United States at the start of the Space Age. It was author Tom Wolfe who dubbed him the nation's "last true national hero," and Glenn rode that fame and love like a rocket into the U.S. Senate, serving Ohio for 24 years before returning to space again in 1998 at 77 years old — another first.

    Both the president and president-elect marked the moment Thursday.

    "When John Glenn blasted off from Cape Canaveral atop an Atlas rocket in 1962, he lifted the hopes of a nation. And when his Friendship 7 spacecraft splashed down a few hours later, the first American to orbit the Earth reminded us that with courage and a spirit of discovery there's no limit to the heights we can reach together," President Barack Obama wrote in a statement. "John always had the right stuff, inspiring generations of scientists, engineers and astronauts who will take us to Mars and beyond—not just to visit, but to stay."

    Trump tweeted that Glenn is "a great pioneer of air and space" who will be missed.

    Former astronaut Buzz Aldrin, the second person to walk on the moon, and who was released from a New Zealand hospital Friday after falling ill, paid tribute as well to his "friend and world space icon."

    "I’m saddened again to hear that we have lost the pioneer of space flight for the United States," Aldrin wrote on his website. "I am very sorry that he has departed us with his wisdom. I join that crowd of people and the entire nation and the world in paying homage to his service."

    Many took to social media to mark Glenn's outsized life.

    "Aren’t many Heroes left," astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson wrote on Twitter shortly after his death was announced.

    "As we bow our heads and share our grief with his beloved wife, Annie, we must also turn to the skies, to salute his remarkable journeys and his long years of service to our state and nation," Ohio Gov. John Kasich wrote.

    NASA, famed Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield and many others said goodbye online as well:



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

    Former astronaut and U.S. Senator John Glenn (D-OH) walks past the Space Shuttle Discovery during an event at the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum on April 19, 2012, in Chantilly, Virginia. Glenn died Thursday, Dec. 8, 2016. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)Former astronaut and U.S. Senator John Glenn (D-OH) walks past the Space Shuttle Discovery during an event at the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum on April 19, 2012, in Chantilly, Virginia. Glenn died Thursday, Dec. 8, 2016. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

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    Erika and Eva Sandoval will be able to share the uncanny connection twins are said to have, but a grueling 17-hour surgery has ensured that they can soon do that safely.

    The 2-year-old twins from Antelope, California, were born conjoined, but as of Wednesday were separated by surgeons at Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital Stanford. The surgery began on Tuesday and lasted through early Wednesday, hospital officials said.

    The girls are in stable condition, hospital officials said Thursday, although they remain in the intensive care unit. 

    Erika and Eva's mother, Aida Sandoval, was overcome with emotion as she spoke to reporters Thursday afternoon. In Spanish, she said that her first words upon seeing the girls emerge from their respective operating rooms were, "You're missing your other part, my daughter. Where is your sister?"

    "It still seems very surreal when I see one on one side and the other one on the other side," Aida Sandoval said. "But it brings us all joy to see them, that it happened, that it was a dream come true for everybody." 

    Dr. Gary Hartman, a pediatric surgeon who led the medical team that performed the lengthy, complicated procedure, recalled meeting the girls' parents, Aida and Arturo Sandoval in 2014. They had just learned that their twins were conjoined and were experiencing "multiple anomalies," he said.

    "From that moment forward, the goal of the family and of all of the providers here at Packard has been the same goal that we have for all of our children — and that is that we end up with two happy, healthy girls," Hartman said. 

    Anyone who met Eva and Erika Sandoval prior to Tuesday's surgery "can testify to the happy part. That is entirely the fault of the Sandovals," he quipped.

    "We think that this week we made a big step toward the healthy part," Hartman explained.

    Aida Sandoval's pregnancy was overseen by Lucile Packard's perinatal center. She was 32 weeks along when the girls were born via emergency C-section, according to Hartman.

    Eva and Erika have spent the first two years of their lives closely monitored by Stanford doctors and others closer to the Sandovals' home in Antelope. 

    "They were basically joined at the pericardium – which is the sac that covers the heart – joined at the sternum, joined at the liver, they shared parts of the ... small and large bowel, and they shared most of the pelvic organs," said pediatric surgeon Dr. Matias Bruzoni. "So for us it was a big challenge, but little by little and with the help of a lot of people … we were able to, from the top down, finally separate them."

    On Tuesday, too, Eva and Erika's surgery depended on about 50 experts in pediatric surgery, orthopedics and anesthesiology as well as plastic surgeons, radiologists, urologists, and more.  

    Bruzoni said that once the girls were separated, the medical team split into two groups for Eva and Erika's reconstruction phases, which lasted longer than the separation.

    "Everyone is very focused on the separation and all the questions are about the separation," Hartman said. But it "doesn’t matter if you get them separated, if you can't get them reconstructed and get them closed."

    Hartman admitted that he was extremely concerned about Erika, the smaller twin. "She basically kept getting smaller. The more calories we gave her, the bigger Eva got," he said.

    Doctors were worried about her ability to make it through the "stress of the surgery," but Hartman said the girls were reconstructed so well that Erika has already been taken off the ventilator and is recovering faster than Eva.

    Hartman joked that he took it upon himself to add levity to the complex surgery.

    "I wanted each girl to have half of [their] belly button so for the rest of their life they can look at that half a belly button and think, 'That was where I was connected to my sister,'" he said. "So that's the goofy thing."

    The Sandovals knew, going into Tuesday, that Erika and Eva faced an estimated risk of mortality of up to 30 percent, Hartman said  

    But Aida and Arturo Sandoval stuck by their decision. 

    "Once you see them, you know their personalities are different," Arturo Sandoval said. "They [got to] have their own lives."

    To that, Aida Sandoval added that it was difficult to watch one child feel sick and seek rest and sleep while the other was healthy, happy and wanted to play. She recalled one of the girls experiencing pain when plastic surgeons used tissue expanders to stretch their skin, but her sister simply wanted to "crab walk."

    Expressing gratitude to the doctors at Stanford for supporting them, Aida Sandoval said that she had heard "how peaceful it was" in the operating rooms during Eva and Erika's separation and reconstruction.

    Now, however, the girls' mother is excited to get "more gray hair."

    "They always say, 'When you have twins, you're going to go crazy because one's over here, the other's over there," Aida Sandoval said. "I want to go chasing after one that way and then go chasing after the other. That’s something I do look forward to doing."



    Photo Credit: David Hodges / DNK Digital

    Erika and Eva Sandoval. (Dec. 6, 2016)Erika and Eva Sandoval. (Dec. 6, 2016)

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    Christmas was saved for many families in Maryland on Wednesday when police caught two people who they say went door to door stealing packages off doorsteps and stuffing them into a box truck. 

    On Thursday night, officers played Santa and returned more than 70 stolen packages.

    "I think everybody's pretty excited about this, the fact that we were able to stop a couple grinches from ruining a holiday," Sgt. Perry Thorsvik said. 

    A Columbia, Maryland, resident called Howard County police about 4:50 p.m. Wednesday and said they saw a truck driving around, police said. Occupants were said to be moving boxes from residents' doorsteps into the truck. 

    Two officers heard the call and arrived in less than a minute to stop the truck in the area of Greystone Lane. The box truck was stuffed with packages, police said. 

    Ernest Ohanyan, 25, and Amjad Jaouni, 28, both of Baltimore, were arrested. Ohanyan posted $5,000 bond and was released. Jaouni still was being held. It wasn't immediately clear if they had attorneys. 

    Officers personally delivered some of the packages Thursday night. 

    "I called my wife, I said a package was supposed to be at the house at 2 p.m. yesterday," said one homeowner who was surprised when an officer showed up at his doorstep with the package Thursday.

    Any packages that cannot be delivered will be available for pickup Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Northern District Station at 3410 Courthouse Drive in Ellicott City. Pickup also will be available Saturday, Dec. 10, from 9 a.m. to noon.

    Residents should bring photo identification and/or proof of address in order to receive their packages. Any questions can be directed to 410-313-3200.

    Police said the packages were stolen from Tamar Drive, Dry Barley Lane, Four Foot Trail, Fire Cloud Court, Sanctuary Court, Dark Hawk Circle, Black Star Circle, Dry Stone Gate, Roan Stallion Lane, Dawn Whistle Lane, Sea Light Lane, Summer Cloud Way, Saddle Drive, Oak Bush Terrace and Silver Trumpet Drive.

    To avoid future package theft, police encourage residents to track their shipments and be home to receive them when they do arrive.

    Otherwise, they should ask their neighbors to take their packages inside. Police also say to keep an eye out for suspicious people and vehicles and call 911 to report any suspicious behavior.



    Photo Credit: Howard County Police

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    A squad of hundreds of cheerleaders from across Texas are traveling to Abilene in a show of spirit and solidarity.

    Last week, a bus filled with cheerleaders from Iraan High School was involved in a crash that left one of the group’s sponsors dead and seven others injured.

    “When my coach told me about it, I was really heartbroken,” Sam Houston High School cheerleader Victoria Limon said.

    Now cheerleaders, including many from North Texas, will travel to Abilene to cheer for Iraan during their playoff game as the school heals from the aftermath of the deadly accident.

    “We’re going to support them at their playoff game since their cheerleaders can’t be there,” Bowie High School cheerleader Alexis Brackens said. “We’re going to support them and just give good vibes out there.”

    “We’re just a big cheer family. Even though we don’t always cheer for the same team, we’re still together,” Martin High School cheerleader Katherine Griffith said.

    Arlington ISD stepped up to help out the school, sending cheerleaders from Bowie, Sam Houston and Martin high schools.

    “It’s sad that they lost one of their own,” Brackens said. “I feel if we lost anyone on our team or that situation happened to us, we’d want other people to come support us and just give good spirits.”

    From 200 to 500 cheerleaders from all over Texas are expected to attend the game in support of the school and their fellow cheerleaders.

    “I think there is going to be a lot of emotions going around because it’s such a small town,” Limon said. “They’re all going to feel it right in their hearts, but we’re there to bring their spirits up as cheerleaders and pump the crowd and try to lead them on to their victory.”



    Photo Credit: NBC 5 News

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    As part of his "Thank You Tour" Donald Trump spoke at a rally in Iowa on Dec. 8, 2016. His was critical of China's trade policies, saying "they haven't played by the rules and I know it's time that they're going to start."

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    A new survey shows that Americans are split on how they think President-elect Donald Trump’s economic policies will affect them, NBC News reports.

    Consumer finance firm Bankrate asked a thousand Americans how they thought the Trump administration would impact their personal finances, and found that the largest group, 39 percent, believe it'll make no difference on their financial status. Twenty-eight percent responded that Trump would have a positive influence on their economic situation, while 26 percent felt the opposite. 

    The results come just three months after participants of another survey overwhelmingly told Bankrate that the largest risk to the domestic economy in the following half year was the result of the 2016 presidential election. The 39 percent in the latest poll may not connect governmental actions with their own bank accounts and tax returns.



    Photo Credit: Getty Images

    Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump signs a hat after speaking at a rally at the Connecticut Convention Center on April 15, 2016 in Hartford, Connecticut. (Photo by Matthew Cavanaugh/Getty Images)Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump signs a hat after speaking at a rally at the Connecticut Convention Center on April 15, 2016 in Hartford, Connecticut. (Photo by Matthew Cavanaugh/Getty Images)

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    President-elect Donald Trump spent $3 million on the family business as campaign expenses in the final weeks of the race, according to the last Federal Election Committee filing of the 2016 campaign, NBC New reported.

    But even while spending millions on Trump-owned entities, he still spent less overall than Democratic rival Hillary Clinton during the closing stretch of the campaign and beyond.

    Trump spent $94.5 million from Oct. 20 to Nov. 28, while Clinton spent $131.8 million over the same period, according to the new filings. The numbers indicate Clinton dramatically increased her spending during the last weeks of the campaign, whereas Trump's remained steady. They spent nearly the same amount, Clinton $50 million and Trump $49 million, during the first 19 days of the month.



    Photo Credit: AP

    President-elect Donald Trump speaks at a rally at Hy-Vee Hall, Thursday, Dec. 8, 2016, in Des Moines, Iowa.President-elect Donald Trump speaks at a rally at Hy-Vee Hall, Thursday, Dec. 8, 2016, in Des Moines, Iowa.

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    The next software update for the Samsung Galaxy Note 7 will make it completely useless, the company said Friday, effectively killing off the ill-fated phone. 

    The update, scheduled for Dec. 19, 2016, will stop the recalled device from charging or working as a mobile device. About 1.9 million Galaxy Note 7s were recalled in the United States, after 96 batteries overheated and 13 burns were reported, according to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission.

    But Verizon said it would not push the update to phones on its network, saying it didn't want to make it harder for people to communicate without a device to switch to. 

    "We will not push a software upgrade that will eliminate the ability for the Note7 to work as a mobile device in the heart of the holiday travel season. We do not want to make it impossible to contact family, first responders or medical professionals in an emergency situation," Jeffrey Nelson, vice president for Global Corporate Communications said in a statement Friday.

    Samsung said that 93 percent of Galaxy Note 7s have been returned. 

    Samsung has instructions for how to replace or refund phones on its website, which was last updated Friday. It continues to advise that anyone who still has one of the phones immediately power it down and return it for an exchange or refund.



    Photo Credit: Getty Images

    A Samsung Galaxy Note 7 is held up as other Note 7 phones sit on a counter after they were returned to a Best Buy on September 15, 2016 in Orem, Utah, when the Consumer Safety Commission announced a safety recall on Samsung's new Galaxy Note 7 smartphone after users reported that some of the devices caught fire when charging.A Samsung Galaxy Note 7 is held up as other Note 7 phones sit on a counter after they were returned to a Best Buy on September 15, 2016 in Orem, Utah, when the Consumer Safety Commission announced a safety recall on Samsung's new Galaxy Note 7 smartphone after users reported that some of the devices caught fire when charging.

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    The pilot of a hot air balloon that crashed in Texas in July, killing 16 people, was taking medications that should have precluded him from flying, medical experts testified at a federal hearing on Friday.

    Experts also testified that Alfred "Skip" Nichols, who was killed along with 15 passengers, went up in the balloon despite knowing that the weather wasn't good.

    The six-hour hearing is part of the National Transportation Safety Board's investigation into the July 30 accident in which the balloon hit high-tension power lines before crashing into a pasture near Lockhart, about 60 miles northeast of San Antonio.

    Nichols suffered from high blood pressure, elevated cholesterol, diabetes, depression, attention deficit disorder, insomnia, fibromyalgia and chronic back pain, according to an NTSB report presented at the hearing. He was prescribed at least 10 different drugs for his ailments, including insulin and oxycodone. Medical experts told NTSB officials that some of the medications Nichols was taking, including oxycodone, would have disqualified him from flying because they would have affected his ability to think and make decisions.

    It's not clear whether the 49-year-old pilot was impaired during the early morning flight. A final NTSB report won't be issued until early next year.

    Nichols flew on a day when the cloud ceiling was 700 feet and the forecast didn't call for the sky to clear.

    "When this accident pilot received a weather briefing, the weather briefer said, 'Yeah, those clouds may be a problem for you. don't know how long you plan to stay, but .' and then the pilot replied, 'Well, we just fly in between them. We find a hole and we go,'" said NTSB board member Robert Sumwalt.

    Several experts testified that they would not have flown in that weather.

    "Going in and out of the clouds really is not an option and it's not a very comfortable feeling as a pilot being up there and being faced with that type of choice," said Scott Appelman, owner of Rainbow Ryders Hot Air Balloon Ride Company, one of the largest hot air balloon operators in the United States.

    Nichols had at least four convictions for drunken driving and twice spent time in prison.



    Photo Credit: AFP/Getty Images

    Authorities investigate the site of a hot air balloon crash in central Texas on Saturday, July 30, 2016. At least 16 people were killed.Authorities investigate the site of a hot air balloon crash in central Texas on Saturday, July 30, 2016. At least 16 people were killed.

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    Snow blanketed parts across the U.S. on Friday as an Arctic chill and winter storm brought plunging temperatures and dangerous winter conditions, NBC News reported.

    In the Pacific Northwest, an advancing storm was expected to dump snow before advancing over a 2,600-mile area through the Rockies, Plains, Midwest and Northeast by early next week, according to The Weather Channel.

    Snow walloped Seattle overnight, with two inches of it hitting parts of the city by 3:30 a.m. (6:30 a.m. ET). The city had been placed under a winter weather advisory.

    Winter storm warnings were issued for Portland, Oregon, which had an inch of snow late Thursday. This swiftly turned into freezing rain.

    The cold weather and snow is expected to advance inland across the country over the weekend.



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

    Traffic on Interstate 84 navigate over ice, packed snow and against heavy winds in the Columbia River Gorge near Bridal Veil, Ore., Thursday, Dec. 8, 2016, as the first winter storm of the season hits the region.Traffic on Interstate 84 navigate over ice, packed snow and against heavy winds in the Columbia River Gorge near Bridal Veil, Ore., Thursday, Dec. 8, 2016, as the first winter storm of the season hits the region.

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    President-elect Donald Trump will attend two official inaugural balls on the night of Jan. 20, as well as the Salute to Our Armed Services Ball, the inauguration committee revealed Friday.

    It was not immediately clear where the balls will be held.

    Inaugural events will span several days, with public events on the National Mall, a welcome rally with Trump, and a parade, the 58th Presidential Inaugural Committee said in a release.

    The Salute to Our Armed Services Ball event will celebrate members of the military, veterans, first responders and their families.

    "This will truly be a powerfully uniting moment for the American people," said Presidential Inaugural Committee Chairman Thomas J. Barrack Jr. "We will celebrate our country, its diverse and patriotic heritage, our democracy and the inaugural process as the greatest display of a peaceful transfer of partisan power in the world."

    For updates on the inauguration, you can follow @TrumpInaugural on Twitter.



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

    President-elect Donald Trump arrives at a rally at the Crown Coliseum in Fayetteville, N.C., Tuesday, Dec. 6, 2016. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)President-elect Donald Trump arrives at a rally at the Crown Coliseum in Fayetteville, N.C., Tuesday, Dec. 6, 2016. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

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    Actor T.J. Miller, known for the HBO series "Silicon Valley" and the movie "Deadpool," was arrested on a battery charge Friday after a driver for a car company demanded his arrest, according to the Los Angeles Police Department.

    Police received a call around 1 a.m. Friday and responded to the 6900 block of Camrose Drive in the Hollywood Hills neighborhood of Los Angeles, said Officer Drake Madison of the LAPD.

    The victim was a driver for an unnamed car company, who demanded a citizen's arrest, Madison said.

    The LAPD's Hollywood Division arrested Miller, whose full name is Todd Joseph Miller, for battery, Madison said. His bail was set at $20,000, but he was released on his own recognizance.

    Miller is in the movie "Office Christmas Party," which was released Friday.



    Photo Credit: Jamie McCarthy / Staff

    T. J. Miller attends the Paramount Pictures with The Cinema Society & Svedka host a screening of 'Office Christmas Party' at Landmark Sunshine Cinema on Dec. 5, 2016, in New York City.T. J. Miller attends the Paramount Pictures with The Cinema Society & Svedka host a screening of 'Office Christmas Party' at Landmark Sunshine Cinema on Dec. 5, 2016, in New York City.

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    A luxurious Lincoln Park mansion will be listed for sale Thursday at a record $50 million. Take a tour inside.

    Photo Credit: Miller + Miller Photography

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    Dozens of teenagers in the Macedonian town of Veles got rich during the United States presidential election producing fake news for millions on social media, NBC News reported.

    The articles, sensationalist and often baseless, were posted to Facebook, drawing in armies of readers and earning fake news writers money from penny-per-click advertising.

    One of them, Dimitri — who asked NBC News not to use his real name — says he's earned at least $60,000 in the past six months, far outstripping his parents' income and transforming his prospects in a town where the average annual wage is $4,800. He is one of the more successful fake news pushers in the area.

    His main source of cash? Supporters of America's president-elect.

    "Nothing can beat Trump's supporters when it comes to social media engagement," he says. "So that's why we stick with Trump."



    Photo Credit: Alexander Smith / NBC News

    "Dimitri," a fake news producer, looks out over the Macedonian town of Veles.

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    NASA chief scientist Ellen Stofan said a human mission to Mars would be a powerful step toward finding alien life, NBC News reported.

    "I am someone who believes it is going to take humans on the surface [of Mars] … to really get at the question of not just did life evolve on Mars, but what is the nature of that life," Stofan said at a scientific workshop in Irvine, California.

    Stofan also said she believes humans are vital in the search for other signs of life because humans can do tasks rovers cannot.

    She is optimistic that NASA will be able to fulfill its plan to send humans into orbit around Mars by the early 2030s and onto Mars' surface by the late 2030s.



    Photo Credit: AP

    This Aug. 26, 2003 image made available by NASA shows Mars as it lines up with the Sun and the Earth. Photographed by the Hubble Space Telescope, it was about 55.8 million kilometers (34.6 million miles) from Earth.This Aug. 26, 2003 image made available by NASA shows Mars as it lines up with the Sun and the Earth. Photographed by the Hubble Space Telescope, it was about 55.8 million kilometers (34.6 million miles) from Earth.

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    A former Santa Claus who made headlines after being accused of body-shaming a young boy during his shift has been hospitalized for a blood clot in his lung. In the midst of controvery and illness, the old Saint Nick has been bolstered by support from those locally who don't believe he's a bad Santa. 

    Earl Crowder, from Forest City, North Carolina, had played Mr. Claus for nearly a decade at his local Santa House until this week. He was hospitalized days after leaving his post as the holiday legend. Crowder resigned when 9-year-old Anthony Mayse accused the former Nicholas of fat-shaming him. Mayse told news station WLOS that Crowder said to “lay off the hamburgers and French fries” on his way out of the photo-op at the Santa House.

    After a day filled with ice skating and other wintertime treats, Santa was supposed to be the grand finale for Mayse and his family’s fun weekend. Instead, the boy told WLOS that he cried himself to sleep because he was teased about his size.

    “I think that’s just mean. Like honestly to make fun of that, that can really hurt a person's feelings,” Covey Fitzgerald told NBC affiliate WCNC

    On Wednesday morning, Crowder experienced shortness of breath and was taken to the hospital, his niece told WLOS.

    The longtime Mr. Claus is reportedly beloved within his community, and a local businesswoman, SunShine McCurry, has set up a Facebook page in support of his recovery. Members are posting their favorite memories with the man from the North Pole. Some have added sweet, sentimental photos of their children sitting on his lap, writing that “Forest City Santa is NOT a BAD SANTA.”

    "I just got word that Santa is improving. ..he is seeing these posts on this page and it has made him happy to know that so many people love him," McCurry wrote. 

    Though Crowder’s township has expressed its solidarity after his hospitalization, some Facebook comments still recognize that the fat-shaming incident was wrong.

    “Any overweight child, or a child who is ‘different’ in any other way, knows it,” a Facebook user wrote. “He probably gets bullied and harassed plenty at school. He doesn’t need Santa Claus joining in to make him feel any more unhappy.”

    In a statement, the town manager told WCNC that "the individual who played Santa Claus at the Santa House in Forest City made a remark that he regretted," and that Crowder "apologized to the parent, the child and the town." 



    Photo Credit: Getty Images/Tetra images RF

    A file photo of a Santa hat. Earl Crowder, from Forest City, North Carolina, had played Mr. Claus for nearly a decade at his local Santa House until this week.A file photo of a Santa hat. Earl Crowder, from Forest City, North Carolina, had played Mr. Claus for nearly a decade at his local Santa House until this week.

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