WBRZ http://www.wbrz.com/ WBRZ National News National News en-us Copyright 2014, WBRZ. All Rights Reserved. Feed content is not avaialble for commercial use. () () Thu, 28 Aug 2014 07:08:36 GMT Synapse CMS 10 WBRZ http://www.wbrz.com/ 144 25 Omaha police bullet kills 'Cops' film crew member http://www.wbrz.com/news/omaha-police-bullet-kills-cops-film-crew-member/ http://www.wbrz.com/news/omaha-police-bullet-kills-cops-film-crew-member/ National News Thu, 28 Aug 2014 12:05:40 AM Margery A. Beck Omaha police bullet kills 'Cops' film crew member

OMAHA, NE - When the call came from an officer who needed help facing an armed robber at a fast-food restaurant, two members of a reality television show riding along with Omaha police hustled to record the confrontation.

Within minutes, one crew member was dying from a bullet shot by an officer.

Thirty-eight-year-old Bryce Dion of Boston was the audio supervisor for "Cops." He's the first crew member of the long-running TV show ever killed while filming police in action.

Omaha Police Chief Todd Schmaderer says Dion's death was a tragedy, but that police acted properly.

The shooting also killed the robbery suspect, 32-year-old Cortez Washington. The weapon he was carrying turned out to be a pellet gun. But Schmaderer says it seemed so real that both witnesses and officers were fooled.


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Army IDs soldier who shot self at Virginia base http://www.wbrz.com/news/army-ids-soldier-who-shot-self-at-virginia-base/ http://www.wbrz.com/news/army-ids-soldier-who-shot-self-at-virginia-base/ National News Wed, 27 Aug 2014 10:17:41 AM APNewsNow Army IDs soldier who shot self at Virginia base

RICHMOND, VA - The Army has identified the soldier who barricaded herself in a building at a Virginia base and then fatally shot herself in the head.

Fort Lee officials on Wednesday say it was 33-year-old Sgt. 1st Class Paula M. Walker of Yonkers, New York. She was a human resources specialist.

Walker died Monday after barricading herself in an office inside the headquarters for the Army's Combined Arms Support Command and was throwing objects.

The base about 25 miles south of Richmond temporarily locked down.

About 1,100 people were inside the building as law enforcement officials tried to negotiate with her. No other injuries were reported.

Officials say Walker had been in the Army for 14 years and at Fort Lee since December 2011. Officials say her gun wasn't a service weapon.


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US considering new relief mission in Iraq http://www.wbrz.com/news/us-considering-new-relief-mission-in-iraq/ http://www.wbrz.com/news/us-considering-new-relief-mission-in-iraq/ National News Wed, 27 Aug 2014 6:05:49 AM Robert Burns US considering new relief mission in Iraq

WASHINGTON, D.C. - U.S. defense officials say the Obama administration is considering launching a humanitarian relief operation for Shiite Turkmen in northern Iraq who have been under siege for weeks by Islamic State militants.

The imperiled town of Amirli ('Ah-mur-lee) is about 105 miles north of Baghdad and just a few miles from Kurdish territory. About 12,000 to 15,000 people are estimated to have no access to food or water.

The United Nation's top representative in Iraq earlier this week called for relief there.

Three U.S. defense officials said a humanitarian mission is under consideration. They spoke on condition of anonymity because they could not discuss internal administration deliberations by name. It could be similar to the humanitarian airdrops of food and water to Iraq's Sinjar area earlier this month, which included airstrikes.


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Study: Social media users shy away from opinions http://www.wbrz.com/news/study-social-media-users-shy-away-from-opinions/ http://www.wbrz.com/news/study-social-media-users-shy-away-from-opinions/ National News Tue, 26 Aug 2014 10:30:33 AM Anne Flaherty Study: Social media users shy away from opinions

WASHINGTON - People who use Facebook and Twitter are less likely than others to share their opinions on hot-button issues, even when they are offline, according to a surprising new survey by the Pew Research Center.

The study, done in conjunction with Rutgers University in New Jersey, challenges the view of social media as a vehicle for debate by suggesting that sites like Facebook and Twitter might actually encourage self-censorship. Researchers said they detect what they call the "spiral of silence" phenomenon: Unless people know their audience agrees, they are likely to shy away from discussing anything controversial.

In other words, most of us are more comfortable with ice-bucket challenges than political banter.

"People do not tend to be using social media for this type of important political discussion. And if anything, it may actually be removing conversation from the public sphere," said Keith Hampton, a communications professor at Rutgers University who helped conduct the study.

The survey was conducted shortly after Edward Snowden acknowledged leaking classified intelligence that exposed widespread government surveillance of Americans' phone and email records. Hampton said the Snowden case provided researchers with a concrete example of a major national issue that divided Americans and dominated news coverage.

Of the 1,801 adults surveyed, 86 percent they would be willing to discuss their views about government surveillance if it came up at various in-person scenarios, such as at a public meeting, at work or at a restaurant with friends. But just 42 percent of Facebook or Twitter users said they would be willing to post online about it.

What's more, the typical Facebook user - someone who logs onto the site a few times per day - was actually half as likely to discuss the Snowden case at a public meeting as a non-Facebook user. Someone who goes on Twitter a few times per day was one-quarter as likely to share opinions in the workplace compared with those who never use Twitter.

Only when a person felt that their Facebook network agreed with their opinion were they twice as likely to join a site discussion on the issue, the survey found.

Another finding was that social media didn't make it easier for people to share opinions they wouldn't otherwise share. Of the 14 percent of Americans unwilling to discuss the Snowden case with others in person, fewer than one-half of 1 percent were willing to discuss it on social media.

Lee Rainie, director of the Pew Research Center Internet Project, said it's possible that social media actually sensitize people to different opinions.

"Because they use social media, they may know more about the depth of disagreement over the issue in their wide circle of contacts," he said. "This might make them hesitant to speak up either online or offline for fear of starting an argument, offending or even losing a friend."

While many people might say keeping political debate off Facebook is a matter of tact, Hampton said there is a concern that a person's fear of offending someone on social media stifles debate.

"A society where people aren't able to share their opinions openly and gain from understanding alternative perspectives is a polarized society," he said.


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Court bristles at 'traditional' marriage argument http://www.wbrz.com/news/court-bristles-at-traditional-marriage-argument/ http://www.wbrz.com/news/court-bristles-at-traditional-marriage-argument/ National News Tue, 26 Aug 2014 8:30:16 AM Court bristles at 'traditional' marriage argument

CHICAGO - Federal appeals court judges considering whether to uphold gay marriage bans in Indiana and Wisconsin are reserving their toughest questions for the states, asking how the bans help society, especially children of same-sex couples.

A three-judge panel of the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals heard oral arguments in the case Tuesday.

Judge Richard Posner, the panel's lone Republican appointee, bristled when a Wisconsin assistant attorney general repeatedly pointed to "tradition."

Posner said "it was tradition to not allow blacks and whites to marry." He also asked how children of same-sex couples benefit.

Judge David Hamilton pressed lawyers opposing the bans, asking whether they would argue for polygamy on similar grounds.

American Civil Liberties Union attorney Kenneth Falk said two people defined a marriage, and "there's no slippery slope."


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Survey: US consumer confidence near a 7-year high http://www.wbrz.com/news/survey-us-consumer-confidence-near-a-7-year-high/ http://www.wbrz.com/news/survey-us-consumer-confidence-near-a-7-year-high/ National News Tue, 26 Aug 2014 8:29:52 AM Christopher S. Rugaber Survey: US consumer confidence near a 7-year high

WASHINGTON - U.S. consumer confidence this month reached its highest point in nearly seven years, boosted by strong job gains.

The Conference Board says its confidence index rose for a fourth straight month to 92.4 from 90.3 in July. The August reading is the highest since October 2007, two months before the Great Recession officially began.

The optimism suggests that Americans will be more likely to spend in the months ahead, an important boost to the economy. Consumer spending drives about 70 percent of U.S. economic activity.

The survey found that Americans' outlook on the job market brightened considerably. The percentage of respondents who said jobs were "plentiful" rose to 18.2 percent from 15.6 percent in July. That's the highest level since 2008. Consumers' perceptions generally track the unemployment rate over time.


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Napa rattled by 3.9 aftershock http://www.wbrz.com/news/napa-rattled-by-3-9-aftershock/ http://www.wbrz.com/news/napa-rattled-by-3-9-aftershock/ National News Tue, 26 Aug 2014 6:36:19 AM Ellen Kickmeyer Napa rattled by 3.9 aftershock

NAPA, CA - Napa County has been rattled by a small aftershock to the strong and damaging earthquake that hit California's wine capital over the weekend.

The US Geological Survey says the 3.9-magnitude quake struck at 5:33 a.m. Tuesday about 7 miles south of the city of Napa.

A sheriff's dispatcher says the station shook a little, but there have been no calls reporting damage or injuries.

California's wine capital is still recovering from Sunday's 6.0-magnitude earthquake, which is estimated to have caused at least $1 billion in property damage.

There have been a series of small aftershocks, mostly in the 2.0-magnitude range.


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Plane crashes after takeoff, kills four http://www.wbrz.com/news/plane-crashes-after-takeoff-kills-four/ http://www.wbrz.com/news/plane-crashes-after-takeoff-kills-four/ National News Tue, 26 Aug 2014 1:27:15 AM Hunter Robinson Plane crashes after takeoff, kills four

WILLOUGHBY HILLS, OH - Police say a plane has crashed shortly after takeoff at a regional airport, killing four people about 15 miles northeast of Cleveland.

The plane crashed around 10 p.m. Monday after taking off from the Cuyahoga County Airport. It happened near the intersection of Bishop Road and Curtiss Wright Parkway, near the Lake County-Cuyahoga County border.

It was not immediately known where the plane was headed. The names of those on board were not available.

In 2009 two people were killed when a single-engine plane crashed shortly after taking off from the Cuyahoga County Airport.


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Top general: US needs more info on Islamic State http://www.wbrz.com/news/top-general-us-needs-more-info-on-islamic-state/ http://www.wbrz.com/news/top-general-us-needs-more-info-on-islamic-state/ National News Tue, 26 Aug 2014 1:01:49 AM Lolita C. Baldor Top general: US needs more info on Islamic State

KABUL, Afghanistan - The top U.S. military officer says the U.S. has some insights into the activities of Islamic State militants within Syria, but he declined to comment Tuesday on the Obama administration's move to conduct surveillance flights over that country.

Army Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told reporters in Kabul, Afghanistan, that the U.S. wants more clarity on the militants in Syria "as we craft a way forward."

U.S. officials say the military has begun surveillance flights over Syria, which could pave the way for airstrikes against the Islamic State militants who operate from safe havens there and have taken control of swaths of Iraq.

Dempsey has said he would recommend the military move against the Islamic State militants if there is a threat to the homeland.


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VA says no proof delays in care caused vets to die http://www.wbrz.com/news/va-says-no-proof-delays-in-care-caused-vets-to-die/ http://www.wbrz.com/news/va-says-no-proof-delays-in-care-caused-vets-to-die/ National News Mon, 25 Aug 2014 3:51:29 PM Stephen Ohlemacher VA says no proof delays in care caused vets to die

WASHINGTON - The Department of Veterans Affairs says investigators have found no proof that delays in care caused any deaths at a Veterans Affairs hospital in Phoenix.

Revelations that as many as 40 veterans died while awaiting care from the Phoenix VA rocked the agency last spring, exposing a system in which veterans waited months for care while VA employees falsified records to cover up the delays.

The VA's Office of Inspector General has been investigating the delays for months. Deputy VA Secretary Sloan Gibson said a draft of the inspector general's report says investigators could not "conclusively assert" that delays in care caused veterans to die at the Phoenix VA.


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Soldier dies after shooting herself in Virginia http://www.wbrz.com/news/soldier-dies-after-shooting-herself-in-virginia/ http://www.wbrz.com/news/soldier-dies-after-shooting-herself-in-virginia/ National News Mon, 25 Aug 2014 1:50:31 PM Michael Felberbaum Soldier dies after shooting herself in Virginia

FORT LEE, VA - A soldier has died after barricading herself in an office and shooting herself inside a major command's headquarters in Virginia.

Fort Lee officials said the solider was pronounced dead Monday after being taken to Virginia Commonwealth University Medical Center. No other injuries were reported in the morning shooting.

Officials say the soldier went on a rampage in the office, throwing objects. Fort Lee temporarily went on lockdown while she was barricaded in the headquarters for the Army's Combined Arms Support Command.

About 1,100 people were inside the building as law enforcement officials tried to negotiate with her.

Officials said the soldier was a sergeant 1st class who'd been in the Army for 14 years and at Fort Lee for three. Officials say her gun wasn't a service weapon.


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Army: Barricaded in office, soldier shot herself http://www.wbrz.com/news/army-barricaded-in-office-soldier-shot-herself/ http://www.wbrz.com/news/army-barricaded-in-office-soldier-shot-herself/ National News Mon, 25 Aug 2014 7:04:21 AM Michael Felberbaum Army: Barricaded in office, soldier shot herself

FORT LEE, VA - A commanding general at a Virginia Army base says a soldier with a gun barricaded herself in an office, then shot herself in the head as law enforcement officials tried to negotiate with her.

Maj. Gen. Stephen R. Lyons says the soldier went on a rampage in the office, throwing objects. Fort Lee temporarily went on lockdown while she was barricaded on the third floor of the four-story building that is headquarters for the Army's Combined Arms Support Command. Lyons says about 1,100 people were inside the building.

The Army did not identify the soldier or give her condition. She was taken to Virginia Commonwealth University Medical Center. No other injuries were reported.

Lyons says she's a sergeant 1st class who's been in the Army for 14 years and at Fort Lee for three. He says her gun wasn't a service weapon.


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Tropical Storm Cristobal to move away from Bahamas http://www.wbrz.com/news/tropical-storm-cristobal-to-move-away-from-bahamas/ http://www.wbrz.com/news/tropical-storm-cristobal-to-move-away-from-bahamas/ National News Mon, 25 Aug 2014 5:47:41 AM Hunter Robinson Tropical Storm Cristobal to move away from Bahamas

MIAMI, FL - Tropical Storm Cristobal is expected to move northward away from the Bahamas but is forecast to stay away from the U.S. East Coast.

The storm's maximum sustained winds Monday morning increased to near 60 mph. The U.S. National Hurricane Center says gradual strengthening is expected and Cristobal could become a hurricane in the next few days.

Cristobal is centered about 115 miles (195 kilometers) east-northeast of San Salvador and is moving north near 3 mph.

Meanwhile in the Pacific, Hurricane Marie is moving west-northwest as a major Category 4 storm. As of 5 a.m. EDT, Marie's maximum sustained winds were near 145 mph with general weakening expected to begin Monday night. Marie was centered about 465 miles southwest of the southern tip of Mexico's Baja California peninsula.


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Bodies found in water off South Florida coast http://www.wbrz.com/news/bodies-found-in-water-off-south-florida-coast/ http://www.wbrz.com/news/bodies-found-in-water-off-south-florida-coast/ National News Mon, 25 Aug 2014 5:44:16 AM Hunter Robinson Bodies found in water off South Florida coast

HOLLYWOOD, FL - Officials are still trying to determine the identities of four men whose bodies were found floating off the South Florida coastline.

The bodies were discovered Sunday off Hollywood Beach.

The remains were taken to the Broward County medical examiner's office and the Broward Sheriff's Office has joined the investigation.

The U. S. Coast Guard says a Good Samaritan spotted two bodies Sunday morning. Search crews later found two more bodies. Officials say all four bodies were in bad condition, indicating they had been in the water for some time.

Crews searched by air and sea over 60 miles for any other people. The air search was called off at sundown, though Coast Guard officials said the Cutter Dolphin was equipped to continue the search.


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Wildfire threatens 500 northern California homes http://www.wbrz.com/news/wildfire-threatens-500-northern-california-homes/ http://www.wbrz.com/news/wildfire-threatens-500-northern-california-homes/ National News Mon, 25 Aug 2014 12:14:23 AM Hunter Robinson Wildfire threatens 500 northern California homes

WEAVERVILLE, CA - State officials say a fast-growing wildfire near the Northern California town of Weaverville is threatening about 520 homes and businesses.

The California Governor's Office of Emergency Services said late Sunday the fire was about 2 miles west of the historic town and has forced the evacuation of about 150 homes.

State fire spokesman Daniel Berlant said the fire was sparked Sunday afternoon near a highway. It rapidly grew to a little more than 1 square mile, or 650 acres.

Berlant said crews struggled to contain the blaze because of the steep terrain, plus gusty winds and dry conditions that were fueling the flames.

Weaverville, at the base of the Trinity Alps Wilderness area in Trinity County, was a Gold Rush-era boom town in far northern California.


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Hundreds line up for Michael Brown funeral http://www.wbrz.com/news/hundreds-line-up-for-michael-brown-funeral/ http://www.wbrz.com/news/hundreds-line-up-for-michael-brown-funeral/ National News Mon, 25 Aug 2014 12:10:25 AM APNewsNow Hundreds line up for Michael Brown funeral

ST. LOUIS - Hundreds of people are gathering to say goodbye to Michael Brown, who was shot and killed by a Ferguson, Missouri, police officer earlier this month.

A long line of people waited Monday morning in sweltering morning heat to get into the Friendly Temple Missionary Baptist Church in St. Louis for Brown's funeral. Brown's father has called for a day of peace in honor of his 18-year-old son.

Brown's death on Aug. 9 spurred several protests, some that turned into rioting and looting, though recent nights have been calm. A grand jury is considering evidence in deciding whether Ferguson officer Darren Wilson should face criminal charges. The Justice Department is also investigating the shooting.


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Cops: NYC woman said she stepped on tot, who died http://www.wbrz.com/news/cops-nyc-woman-said-she-stepped-on-tot-who-died/ http://www.wbrz.com/news/cops-nyc-woman-said-she-stepped-on-tot-who-died/ National News Sun, 24 Aug 2014 3:14:14 PM Cops: NYC woman said she stepped on tot, who died

NEW YORK - Authorities say a New York City woman charged with killing a toddler in her care told police she threw the boy to the floor and stepped on him three times.

Athena Skeeter was arraigned Sunday on charges of manslaughter and endangering the welfare of a child.

According to court documents, she told police she had been wrestling Friday with 20-month-old Cardell Williamson at her Bronx home after his father dropped him off.

Police responding to a 911 call found Cardell lying on a bed, struggling to breathe. He was pronounced dead at a hospital.

The medical examiner ruled his death a homicide.

Skeeter is in custody and is due back in court Thursday. No attorney information was available for her.


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3 people critically injured after California quake http://www.wbrz.com/news/3-people-critically-injured-after-california-quake/ http://www.wbrz.com/news/3-people-critically-injured-after-california-quake/ National News Sun, 24 Aug 2014 9:21:17 AM ELLEN KNICKMEYER 3 people critically injured after California quake

NAPA, Calif. - Three people were seriously injured after a large earthquake caused significant damage in California's northern Bay Area, and nearly 90 patients have been treated at one hospital.

The city of Napa in California wine country said in a statement Sunday that two adults and one child have critical injuries and Queen of the Valley hospital in Napa has treated 87 people. Hospital spokesman Vanessa DeGier says most patients have cuts, bumps, bruises.

The earthquake struck just before 3:30 a.m. about 4 miles northwest of American Canyon, which is about 6 miles southwest of Napa.

Napa Division Fire Chief Darren Drake says the quake caused six significant fires, including at a mobile home park. Four mobile homes have been destroyed and two others damaged.

Thousands are without power, buildings and roadways have been damaged, and water and gas breaks have been reported.


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Obama sends White House aides to Ferguson funeral http://www.wbrz.com/news/obama-sends-white-house-aides-to-ferguson-funeral/ http://www.wbrz.com/news/obama-sends-white-house-aides-to-ferguson-funeral/ National News Sat, 23 Aug 2014 5:44:15 PM Obama sends White House aides to Ferguson funeral

EDGARTOWN, Mass. - President Barack Obama is sending three White House officials to the funeral service of the Missouri teenager whose death in a police shooting in Ferguson, Missouri, has sparked days of racial unrest.

Leading the group for Monday's service will be the chairman of the My Brother's Keeper Task Force, Broderick Johnson. My Brother's Keeper is an Obama initiative that aims to empower young minorities. Johnson is also the secretary for the Cabinet.

Also attending will be the deputy director of the White House Office of Public Engagement, Marlon Marshall, and an adviser for the office, Heather Foster.

The White House says Marshall is a St. Louis native and attended high school with Brown's mother.


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Crutches might have caused Ferris wheel cab to tip http://www.wbrz.com/news/crutches-might-have-caused-ferris-wheel-cab-to-tip/ http://www.wbrz.com/news/crutches-might-have-caused-ferris-wheel-cab-to-tip/ National News Sat, 23 Aug 2014 10:12:55 AM Crutches might have caused Ferris wheel cab to tip

CHELSEA, Mich. - Authorities say a teen's crutches might have caused a Ferris wheel cab to tip and two children to fall about 15 feet at a southeastern Michigan fair.

The Ann Arbor News reported Saturday that a 16-year-old girl boarded the ride with crutches Thursday night at the Chelsea Community Fair. Investigators say they could have slid out and lodged in a way that caused the cab to tip.

The girl was with her 8-year-old brother, who has been released from the hospital. The girl has not.

Chelsea Police Chief Ed Toth says officers will speak with the girl before determining the cause.

Witnesses say one of her knees was bandaged before the accident.

The ride reopened Friday. Chelsea is about 15 miles west of Ann Arbor.


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