<![CDATA[NBC 7 San Diego - National & International News]]>Copyright 2017http://www.nbcsandiego.com/news/national-internationalhttp://media.nbcnewyork.com/designimages/KNSD+RSS+Feed+logo+blue.pngNBC 7 San Diegohttp://www.nbcsandiego.comen-usTue, 25 Apr 2017 09:36:04 -0700Tue, 25 Apr 2017 09:36:04 -0700NBC Owned Television Stations<![CDATA[The Top Trump Controversies of The First 100 Days]]>Tue, 25 Apr 2017 07:40:31 -0700http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-632323930.jpg

The first 100 days of President Donald Trump's time in office have been marked by near-daily controversies, from surprise allegations to early morning tweet storms, NBC News reports.

They started right out of the gate, as White House press secretary Sean Spicer used his first press briefing to chide the media for "shameful" reporting about the size of the crowd at Trump's inauguration the day before, despite photos showing a much smaller turnout than President Barack Obama got in 2009.

The next day, senior Trump adviser Kellyanne told NBC News' Chuck Todd that Spicer's statement wasn't false, he just gave "alternative facts," a phrase that quickly went viral.

Then there were controversial policies, like the travel ban that federal judges have blocked, the Russia-election investigation — plus Trump's allegation that "Obama had my 'wires tapped' in Trump Tower" — and more.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Nasdaq Breaks 6,000-Point Milestone for the First Time]]>Tue, 25 Apr 2017 06:57:18 -0700http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/503901314.jpg

The Nasdaq composite jumped above 6,000 for the first time ever Tuesday morning as markets continued a rally that began Monday, CNBC reported.

The Dow Jones industrial average also rose more than 200 points at the open, nearing the 21,000-point mark it first crossed in March. The S&P 500 advanced 0.5 percent as well.

McDonalds, Caterpillar, 3M and Dupont posted strong earnings before the opening bell. "That's a good sign that corporate America is on a renewed path toward growth," said Peter Cardillo, chief market economist at First Standard Financial.

The major U.S. stock indexes had soared on Monday on the strength of centrist Emmanuel Macron winning the first round of the French presidential election.

Photo Credit: AFP/Getty Images, File]]>
<![CDATA[Obama Focuses on 'Next Generation' of Leadership]]>Mon, 24 Apr 2017 11:12:11 -0700http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Obama_Youth_Power-149305503899600001.jpg

In his first post-presidency event, former President Barack Obama emphasized the importance of preparing the "next generation" of leaders to navigate American politics. "The only folks who are going to be able to solve that problem are young people," he said during his address at the University of Chicago. 

<![CDATA[300 Pounds of Banned Yak Meat Seized at NYC Airport]]>Tue, 25 Apr 2017 09:28:23 -0700http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/YAK+MEAT.jpg

Customs agents seized nearly 300 pounds of banned yak meat at JFK Airport after a shipment was found hidden in sweaters, shawls and pants, officials said Tuesday.

While yak meat is not illegal in America, importing the meat from countries affected by foot-and-mouth disease or other infectious cattle viruses is prohibited. In this case, the seized meat came from Nepal. 

Certain seeds are also prohibited from import into the United States due to concerns about possible native plant contamination. Those, and dung pods, were included with the yak meat in the 291-pound-plus seizure.

According to U.S. Customs and Border Protection, foot-and-mouth disease is a "worldwide concern that can spread quickly and cause significant economic damage." The import from Nepal was destroyed, authorities said.  

It wasn't clear if authorities had identified the person or persons responsible for the shipment. 

Photo Credit: Handout]]>
<![CDATA[Stunning Photos Show Inside Vacant Theaters in Chicago Area]]>Thu, 20 Apr 2017 09:43:08 -0700http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/palace08+thumb.jpgA Chicago photographer managed to capture incredible images of vacant spaces across the Chicago area, including several inside abandoned theaters.

Photo Credit: Darris Lee Harris]]>
<![CDATA[US Navy SEAL Extradited to Virginia for Alleged Child Porn]]>Tue, 25 Apr 2017 08:47:54 -0700http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/handcuffs14.jpg

The Navy SEAL accused of recording himself molesting a young girl while she slept and possessing dozens of images of child pornography has been extradited to Virginia, the District Attorney's Office for the Eastern District of Virginia confirmed.

SEAL Team One Petty Officer 1st Class Gregory Kyle Seerden, 31, of San Diego, was arrested by federal marshals April 3 in California after a three-month investigation. He is a member of SEAL Team One, based in Coronado, California.

Seerden remained in the custody of U.S. Marshals until he was transferred to Norfolk, Virginia, Monday where federal charges have been filed, according to the district attorney's office. It was not immediately known when Seerden would face a judge in Virginia. 

Naval Criminal Investigative Service agents began investigating Seerden in January after a woman reported he had sexually assaulted her at his hotel on the Joint Expeditionary Base Little Creek in Virginia while she intoxicated.

As part of the investigation into the alleged sexual assault, NCIS investigators got permission to seize Seerden’s iPhone 7. Investigators reportedly found 78 images of child pornography, including an image involving a dog, and videos Seerden made of himself a sleeping girl, according to the court documents.

<![CDATA[40-60 Minors Raid Train in Oakland, Rob and Injure Riders]]>Mon, 24 Apr 2017 23:34:10 -0700http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/BART+thefts-0424-2017.jpg

A routine ride on BART over the weekend turned into utter chaos when roughly 40 to 60 juveniles stormed a train in Oakland and committed multiple robberies, according to the transit agency.

The crime spree occurred Saturday night when the unarmed youngsters hopped fare gates at the Coliseum Station and jumped onto a train bound for Dublin, according to BART and witness accounts. Within seconds, the juveniles grabbed purses, snatched cellphones and left at least two victims with face and head injuries, according to BART.

The minors managed to escape moments after raiding passengers on the train and station platform, BART officials said.

A total of seven robberies were reported, officials said. One purse and a duffel bag were seized along with five phones. All but one of the robberies happened on the train.

"To have it happen all at once, obviously it was a coordinated (incident). They knew why they were coming to the station," BART sopeswoman Alicia Trost said.

Trost said it's become common for groups of teens to rush onto BART trains and steal what they can grab. But what's unusual about this incident is the size of the group, she said.

"It is something that occurs frequently enough that we know it’s a problem, and we are working with law enforcement," she said.

An investigation into the crime spree is ongoing. Police are reviewing surveillance footage in hopes of identifying the individuals involved.

Because the suspects are believed to be minors, BART said it won’t be releasing the surveillance video. But they will be sharing the images with all local school districts to try to identify the suspects.

Commuters are hoping BART does something to increase security.

"I’m kind of scared now, how easily can that happen," BART rider Karla Nunez said. "Wasn’t it supervised at all? It concerns me."

Rider Emily Rameriz agreed, saying BART should at least have "a security guard roaming around" stations to make sure it doesn't happen again.

BART said it will be increasing patrols and working with other agencies to track down the suspects.

Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[Donald Trump Through the Years]]>Fri, 24 Mar 2017 09:34:36 -0700http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Trumpthumb.jpgWhat Donald Trump's presidency will look like is unclear to many observers. He has not previously worked in politics, and has made contradictory statements on policy issues in several areas during his campaign. Despite the unknowns, Trump has an extensive public profile that, along with his real estate empire and the Trump brand, grew domestically and internationally over the last few decades. Here is a look at the president-elect's personal and career milestones and controversies.

Photo Credit: AP, Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Texas-Bound United Plane Makes 'Terrifying' Emergency Landing]]>Tue, 25 Apr 2017 08:54:37 -0700http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/liberia-united-flight.jpg

A Texas-bound United Airlines plane was forced to make an emergency landing after one of its engines overheated while flying over the Pacific Ocean, passengers say.

Flight 1516 departed Liberia, Costa Rica, to Houston, Texas, Monday before the 737 experienced "a maintenance issue," according to United Airlines spokesperson Erin Benson.

The pilot returned to Liberia's Daniel Oduber Quirós International Airport for an emergency landing.

Jody Genessy, a passenger on the flight, told NBC News it was one of the most terrifying things he has ever experienced.

"We circled for about an hour dumping fuel and when we went in for a landing, the plane tipped quickly to one side," Genessy said.

"My friends on the other side of the plane said they saw the wings almost touched the tarmac and then went too far back to the other side...and he [the pilot] pulled up. It was about a split second. Then we circled around again and it was wobbly and we were all freaking out."

"It was a pretty horrifying way to end an amazing weekend," Genessy said.

Genessy told NBC News United provided him and his wife meal vouchers and a room at a nearby hotel ahead of their rescheduled flight Tuesday.

"United is getting a lot of grief right now, and I’m a Delta guy, but my hat’s off to the pilot," Genessy added. "As far as I’m concerned, he saved our lives."

A new aircraft was dispatched to take passengers to Houston Tuesday.

Photo Credit: NBC 5 News]]>
<![CDATA[1992 LA Riots: Death, Destruction, Defiance]]>Mon, 24 Apr 2017 10:23:49 -0700http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/AP_92050101716-2.jpg

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Half Have Little, No Faith in GOP Health Care Efforts: Poll]]>Tue, 25 Apr 2017 00:43:36 -0700http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/speaker-paul-ryan-healthcare.jpg

Fifty percent of Americans say they have little to no confidence in the GOP's efforts to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, according to the latest NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll.

The results of the poll released Tuesday show half of Americans have little to no faith that Republicans would make things better — a 16-point increase from the February poll.

A combined 21 percent say they have a great deal of confidence or some confidence in Republican efforts. Eighteen have a mixed opinion.

The NBC/WSJ poll was conducted April 17-20 of 900 adults, including more than 400 who were reached via cell phone. The poll has an overall margin of error of plus-minus 3.3 percentage points.

Photo Credit: J. Scott Applewhite/AP, File]]>
<![CDATA[Antivirus Tool Removes Windows Files, Shuts Down Computers]]>Tue, 25 Apr 2017 03:09:45 -0700http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/166323747-computer-generic.jpg

Popular antivirus service Webroot mistakenly labeled key Microsoft Windows system files as threats Monday, causing the misidentified files to be removed and an untold number of PC computers to be shut down, NBC News reported.

Webroot said it had released an update that caused the malfunction, which lasted for about 13 minutes worldwide. As of early Tuesday, Webroot was still working to resolve the problem, according to the company's website.

Tens of thousands of businesses and millions of people at home use Webroot. Some customers took to social media to complain.

Webroot didn't respond to NBC News' request for comment but said on its website that the company "has not been breached and customers are not at risk."

Photo Credit: Getty Images, File]]>
<![CDATA[Magician Reunited With Pet Cockatoo: 'He's My Baby']]>Tue, 25 Apr 2017 03:20:02 -0700http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/042417+magician+cockatoo.jpg

A Virginia magician's heart dropped when he realized he had lost his beloved pet cockatoo, Sunny.

"It was like a bomb inside of me," Edgar Jorge Vidaurre, aka Dr. Magic, said Monday.

The magician adopted the 17-year-old white bird with a yellow crest seven years ago. He has the run of Vidaurre's Springfield house and is trained to let him know when he needs to go outside to do his "bird business."

"He wakes me up in the morning. He asks to be petted. He says, 'I love you,'" Vidaurre said.

Vidaurre takes Sunny everywhere, perched on his shoulder.

A few days ago, he took the cockatoo to a soccer game. Vidaurre left Sunny in a tree branch while he played — but he forgot to take the bird with him after he left.

Fairfax County Officer Mike Thompson, who arrived after police were called for help, said he found Sunny perched in the tree. Lucky for Vidaurre, Thompson is a bird owner who knew what to do. 

"I walked up to the tree, started talking to the bird, and to my surprise it actually climbed down out of the tree and walked up to me," the officer said. 

Thompson held the bird "like a football" until animal rescue officials arrived to help. Police then helped reconnect the cockatoo with his owner.

Vidaurre said he was overjoyed to be reunited with Sunny.

"He's my baby," he said.

Photo Credit: NBC Washington]]>
<![CDATA[Top News: Israel's Annual Holocaust Remembrance Day]]>Mon, 24 Apr 2017 14:01:04 -0700http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/AP_17114337608647.jpgView daily updates on the best photos in domestic and foreign news.

Photo Credit: Amir Cohen/Pool Photo via AP]]>
<![CDATA[Ex-Priest Wanted in Sex Abuse Case Found in Guatemala]]>Mon, 24 Apr 2017 19:03:38 -0700http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/augusto+cortez.jpg

A defrocked priest wanted for sexually abusing a child in New York was found in Guatemala and extradited back to the U.S. over the weekend, authorities said. 

Augusto Cortez, 53, was wanted for allegedly sexually abusing a girl in 2014 in Southampton, Long Island. He fled to South America when he realized he was being investigated, according to Southampton police.

Cortez ran away to several South American countries before Interpol located him in Guatemala, police say. 

He was extradited back to the U.S. with the help of U.S. Marshals and was arrested at JFK Airport on Saturday.

He pleaded not guilty to charges of first-degree criminal sexual act, first-degree sexual abuse and endangering the welfare of a child. 

He was remanded to jail without bail and is set to return to court on May 15.

Cortez is a registered sex offender, according to Suffolk prosecutors. He was expelled from the Vincentian Order after he was convicted of forcible touching in Brooklyn in 2009. 

Photo Credit: Southampton Police]]>
<![CDATA[Dallas Democrat Fasts to Protest Texas Anti-Sanctuary Cities Bill]]>Mon, 24 Apr 2017 17:32:15 -0700http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/214*120/victora-neave.jpg

State Rep. Victoria Neave is halfway through her four-day fast in protest of an anti-sanctuary cities bill set for debate Wednesday in the Texas House of Representatives.

The bill would ban cities, counties and universities from adopting “sanctuary” policies. It would also allow law enforcement agencies to ask anyone about their immigration status.

As the daughter of an immigrant, Rep. Neave said fighting the bill is a personal and spiritual journey. She has heard anxious and fearful concerns from the families in her district.

“We had more than 1,200 people pack a cafeteria in North Mesquite High School, and I saw the fear in their eyes," Neave told NBC DFW. "I’m hearing from teachers in our district who are talking to us. Their second grade students are afraid of what is going to happen to them if their parents are deported.”

Neave also fears the bill would have a negative effect on law enforcement.

“Individuals are not going to want to testify in court about a crime if they are worried that their immigration status is going to be checked," she said. "We want to encourage community policing efforts, and this will have a detrimental effect on this efforts here in our state."

The bill is up for debate on Wednesday in Austin. Neave said she doesn't think lawmakers have the votes to defeat the legislation.

"My fear is that it will pass, but I am fasting and praying and hoping the hearts of other lawmakers will be soften to vote against this bill as well," she said.

Photo Credit: NBC DFW]]>
<![CDATA[Trump Talks With Record-Breaking Space Station Commander]]>Mon, 24 Apr 2017 10:21:23 -0700http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/672279866-Peggy-Whitson-White-House.jpg

President Donald Trump speaks with Peggy Whitson, the commander of the International Space Station and the American astronaut to have spent the longest time in space, on what funding means to NASA, when the first human might travel to Mars and the realities of living in space. 

Photo Credit: Molly Riley-Pool/Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Aaron Hernandez Suicide Letters Released to Family]]>Mon, 24 Apr 2017 20:28:11 -0700http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/aaronhernandezfeuerherdIB.jpg

Three suicide notes that former New England Patriots star Aaron Hernandez allegedly left in his cell before killing himself last week were handed over to his family Monday, the Worcester County District Attorney's office confirmed.

A lawyer for Hernandez's fiancée filed a motion earlier Monday in Bristol County Superior Court seeking the release of the letters, which the district attorney had previously refused to release to the family.

"The family has the right, during this grieving process, to know their loved one's final thoughts," George Leontire, Shayanna Jenkins-Hernandez's lawyer said.

Paul Jarvey, a spokesman for the district attorney's office, said the letters were emailed to Leontire on Monday after Judge Thomas McGuire ordered their release. Jarvey confirmed one of the letters was addressed to Jenkins-Hernandez and another to the couple's daughter.

The third letter was left for Kyle Kennedy, Hernandez's friend and fellow inmate, Kennedy's lawyer said Monday.

Attorney Lawrence F. Army Jr. said his client has not yet seen the letter, but will request that it be turned over to Kennedy as soon as possible. 

“My client is obviously saddened by the loss of his friend, Aaron Hernandez,” Army said. He said the two were not cellmates.

Army said he met with Kennedy briefly on Monday, and his client is “no longer on suicide watch,” though he was moved to a protective unit after Hernandez’s death “as a standard precaution.” He said he will be meeting more with his client in the coming days, and will provide updates as the case develops. “For now, we will have no further comment.”

Kennedy’s family also issued a statement Monday, saying their thoughts are with Hernandez’s family and their son, and asking for privacy.

Hernandez, 27, was serving a life sentence for murder and was acquitted in two other killings just days before he hanged himself with a bed sheet attached to his cell window at the Souza-Baranowski Correctional Center in Shirley, Massachusetts, in the early morning hours of April 19.

Investigators said Hernandez blocked access to his cell from the inside by jamming cardboard into the door tracks. They said there were no signs of a struggle and Hernandez was alone at the time of the hanging.

Authorities said investigators found three handwritten notes next to a Bible in Hernandez's cell.

Additonally, law enforcement sources tell NBC Boston that Hernandez was found with the words "John 3:16" written on his forehead. The Bible passage reads "For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life."

Jenkins-Hernandez's lawyer are seeking to preserve records related to Hernandez's death, including Hernandez's prison cell video recordings and all of his property, medical and mental health records.

Jenkins-Hernandez has also filed court papers indicating that she may sue over the supervision Hernandez received while in prison. The filing argues that authorities had a legal duty to provide safety and protection from personal injury to inmates in state custody.

Hernandez was locked in his cell around 8 p.m. on March 18 and no one entered until a correction officer observed him around 3 a.m. the following day and forced his way in, according to investigators.

SUICIDE PREVENTION HELP: The National Suicide Prevention Hotline (1-800-273-8255) is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Text HOME to 741741 for a Crisis Text Line.

Photo Credit: Boston Globe via Getty Images
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<![CDATA[California Gears Up to Fight Trump on Car Emissions]]>Mon, 24 Apr 2017 08:18:00 -0700http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/134002821-405-traffic-generic.jpg

Even as President Trump pulls back on regulations governing car emissions, part of a broader policy of overturning environmental protections enacted by the Obama administration, California is determinedly headed in the opposite direction with stricter rules it alone is authorized to enact.

During a visit to Detroit last month, Trump halted the imposition of standards that would cut car emissions almost in half by 2025, including greenhouse gases that are responsible for global warming. The administration instead will reopen a review of the standards at the request of the major automakers, giving them the chance to argue that the rules should be eased.

"This is going to be a new era for American jobs and job creation," Trump said in Detroit.

But California is moving forward with the more stringent tailpipe rules, setting up an expected showdown with the Trump administration. A week after Trump's announcement, the California Air Resources Board not only voted to reaffirm the standards and but also began to consider new ones to take effect after 2025. Likely to join the fight will be the dozen other states that follow California's standards rather than the national ones. States can choose either.

"The Trump administration really is very aggressively proclaiming that we should not be addressing climate change at the federal level," said Sean B. Hecht, the co-executive director of the Emmett Institute on Climate Change and the Environment at the UCLA School of Law. "And the auto companies have taken this as an opportunity…to say, 'Hold on, let's try to back out of this deal where we have these federal fuel economy standards through 2025.'"

Trump has had a mixed record in his first 100 days in office. He began dismantling former President Barack Obama's major climate change policy, the Clean Power Plan, with an executive order lifting carbon restrictions, but has made little headway on many of his other campaign promises. His travel ban is tied up in the courts and an overhaul of Obamacare was withdrawn from the House because it had little support. Now California and other, mostly blue states are vowing to fight any easing of regulations governing car emissions.

California needs to control emissions to meet its ambitious plans for battling climate change, with zero-emission vehicles such as electric cars from Tesla and Chevrolet part of the mix. Last year, legislators passed a bill requiring that by 2030, the state cut its greenhouse gas emissions to 40 percent below its 1990 levels. To send a message about their willingness to take on Trump, Democratic leaders of the California legislature hired former Attorney General Eric Holder to represent them in legal fights with the White House.

California Gov. Jerry Brown and the state's other top Democrats called Trump's move to roll back the emissions standards a cynical ploy.

"President Trump's decision today to weaken emission standards in cars is an unconscionable gift to polluters," Brown wrote to the EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt on March 15. "Once again you've put the interests of big oil ahead of clean air and politics ahead of science."

Electricity production accounted for most of the greenhouse gases produced in 2014 at 30 percent, but transportation was right behind at 26 percent, according to the Environmental Protection Agency's website. In California, that percentage was even higher: Transportation generated 37 percent of its emissions in 2014.

"For sure California is gearing up," said Deborah Sivas, an environmental litigator at Stanford Law School. "Part of it depends on the next moves by the administration."

The EPA did not respond to a request for comment about its plans for the emissions standards. In a statement last month, Pruitt said that along with the Department of Transportation, the EPA would consider whether the emissions standards were good not only for the environment but also for consumers.

"These standards are costly for automakers and the American people," he said. "We will work with our partners at DOT to take a fresh look to determine if this approach is realistic."

Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao echoed his statement, calling Trump's position a "win" for the American people.

Attempts to undercut the standards will prompt drawn-out litigation from states such as California or New York, Sivas predicted. To reverse an earlier decision, the EPA will have to go through the same series of elaborate steps that were taken to put the rules into place.

"They can't just say, 'Oh yeah, well forget that,'" Sivas said.

California earned its unique authority to set regulations tougher than national ones through its pioneering efforts to curb air pollution. When Congress amended the Clean Air Act in 1970, it gave the EPA authority to restrict air pollution from tailpipes as a way to tackle smog. But because California had established its own laws a decade earlier, and because it successfully argued that its air pollution was naturally worse than other states', it was given special status in the law. California may ask the EPA administrator for a waiver to restrict pollution more stringently than the federal government if, in the law's language, the state's standards are at least as protective of public health and welfare and needed to meet compelling and extraordinary conditions.

The EPA has denied California's request for a waiver just once, during the administration of President George W. Bush, when California first moved to regulate greenhouse gases in addition to more traditional pollutants. California sued but the case was never decided because Obama was elected.

If the Trump administration were to deny future waivers, California would certainly push back. 

Hecht said that in the past, California has argued that it has compelling and extraordinary circumstances because it has a very large economy and sells many cars, and so its efforts to reduce greenhouse gases will make a difference. It also has said that climate change will have specific, negative effects on the state: the loss of the snow pack which will threaten its water supply, for example.

"They were accepted by the Obama administration, and the question will be, Will California win that court fight?'" he said.

Nor is there anything in the law giving the EPA administrator the authority to withdraw a waiver already granted.

"It doesn't speak to the issue one way or the other," said Richard Frank, an environmental law professor at the University of California-Davis.

The Trump administration would likely argue that it has the discretion to revoke any waivers granted by a previous administration, while California would say that absent specific language in the law, the EPA lacks the authority, he said.

"Given all that it will be tough for EPA to say we're going to rescind your waiver," Sivas said. "So I think California has the upper hand in that fight if it comes down to that."

At Pruitt's confirmation hearing, he refused to commit to keeping the waiver in place. Pressed by California's Sen. Kamala D. Harris, a Democrat, he said, "I don't know without going through the process to determine that. One would not want to presume the outcome."

If the Trump administration were to try to withdraw the waiver, Sivas thought California would win in court.

"It's pretty clear under the statue that the deference goes to California not to the EPA on whether the waiver is appropriate," she said. "The Congress wrote the statute that way."

The EPA has already concluded both that elevated levels of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere "may reasonably be anticipated to endanger" public health and that emissions from new cars contribute to the dangerous levels of greenhouse gases.

The so-called "endangerment finding" came about after Massachusetts sued the EPA under the George W. Bush administration to force it to regulate carbon dioxide emissions. The U.S. Supreme Court determined that greenhouse gases fit well within the Clean Air Act's "capacious definition of 'air pollutant,'" meaning the EPA had the statutory authority to regulate their emissions from new cars and other vehicles.

When it was challenged, the finding was upheld in a federal court, and the U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear an appeal.

"It is there, and it needs to be enforced and respected," Pruitt said during his confirmation hearing. "There is nothing that I know that would cause it to be reviewed."

Massachusetts — which along with Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont and Washington follow California's lead — is committed to the stricter standards, said Ed Coletta, a spokesman for the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection.

As with California, Massachusetts is relying on lower car emissions to achieve its climate change goals. The administration of Republican Gov. Charlie Baker wants to place 300,000 zero-emission vehicles on the road in Massachusetts by 2025 as part of a multi-state effort.

"Any weakening of those standards would raise concerns about Massachusetts' ability to meet emissions reduction goals and maintain ozone standards," Coletta said.

New York's Department of Environmental Conservation also said it would stick with the California standards to try to reduce greenhouse gas emissions 40 percent below 1990 levels by 2030, and 80 percent by 2050.

"While federal leadership is essential, New York will not stand idly by while clean air protections are eviscerated, and will take any and all actions necessary to ensure public health and our environment are protected," it said.

Meanwhile, the attorneys general of eight of the states plus the District of Columbia and Pennsylvania's Department of Environmental Protection criticized Trump's position as a dramatic wrong turn for the country that would undermine successful efforts to combat pollution.

"An extensive technical study by the Environmental Protection Agency already found that the standards are fully and economically achievable by the auto industry," their March 16 statement said. "Relaxing them would increase the air pollution that is responsible for premature death, asthma, and more – particularly in our most vulnerable communities."

The standards that Trump wants to ease were set in 2012 in an ambitious effort that also created consistency across the country. The agreement, which grew out of an accord that Obama crafted in 2009 after the financial melt-down, brought together the Obama administration, the car manufacturers and the California Air Resources Board. The rules require each company's fleet of vehicles for the model years 2022 through 2025 to achieve on average 54.5 miles per gallon and they enable the manufactures to avoid making two versions of vehicles for different states.

As part of the agreement, the EPA undertook an evaluation mid-way through the period, but expedited its analysis just before Obama's term ended. In November, with Trump about to take office, it announced it would leave the regulations in place.

That decision left many of the car companies crying foul, saying the review had been rushed, and urging Trump to intervene and weaken the standards. Manufactures warned of price hikes over what consumers could pay, and the loss of 1 million automotive jobs, and pointed to the popularity of pickup trucks and other less fuel-efficient vehicles.

"The Trump Administration has created an opportunity for decision-makers to reach a thoughtful and coordinated outcome predicated on the best and most current data," the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers said in a statement after Trump’s announcement.

Now that the review has been reopened, a final decision from the EPA could come as late as April 2018.

Meanwhile in court, the alliance is arguing that the EPA's speeded up review was arbitrary and capricious. California responded by asking the U.S. District Court for the D.C. Circuit that it be allowed to defend the feasibility of the standards in court.

An earlier analysis by the EPA found that the standards would reduce oil consumption by nearly 40 billion gallons of refined gasoline and diesel fuel, decrease greenhouse gas emissions by 540 million metric tons and save consumers more than $1,650 per vehicle, the California politicians said.

"Your action to weaken vehicle pollution standards — standards your own members agreed to —breaks your promise to the American people," Brown wrote to the automobile manufacturers. "Please be advised that California will take the necessary steps to preserve the current standards and protect the health of our people and the stability of our climate."

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[7 in 10 Back Independent Probe of Russia, Election: Poll]]>Mon, 24 Apr 2017 10:05:56 -0700http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/189*120/quien-es-putin17.jpg

Committees in both the House and Senate are looking into Russia's involvement in the 2016 election, but nearly three-quarters of Americans would prefer an independent, non-partisan commission, according to the latest NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll.

A majority of Americans, 54 percent, do believe that that Congress should investigate whether there was contact between the Russian government and the Trump campaign.

But 61 percent say they have little to no confidence in Congress conducting a fair or impartial investigation.

The poll of 900 adults has an overall margin of error of plus or minus 3.3 percentage points.

Photo Credit: Getty Images, File]]>
<![CDATA[College Graduate Has a Message for Stepdad Who Said He'd Fail]]>Mon, 24 Apr 2017 17:05:09 -0700http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Daivon+Reeder1.png

One college graduate's tweet that recalls the chiling words his stepdad told him years ago has resulted in a viral wave of praise across social media. 

Daivon Reeder, 22, took to Twitter last week to tweet a photo of himself smiling in his cap and gown with an ode to his stepdad's previously negative comments. 

The tweet read: "My step dad told me it was pointless to go to orientation, I wasn't going to graduate.....4 years later he in jail & I'm well.... "

By Monday, the Detroit native's tweet garnered more than 602,000 likes and 148,000 retweets. 

"The last few days I've been thinking about all the trials and tribulations I've been going through," Reeder said before he graduated from Eastern Michigan University on Saturday. 

Reeder said his stepdad told him there was "no point" of going to college because he would not graduate. 

“Stuff happens to you. You can run left or right,” Reeder said. “I ran right in a positive way.”

Reeder told Jermont Terry, a reporter at NBC affiliate WDIV-TV, that he did not publish the tweet to bash his stepdad but rather to motivate others who may be faced with challenges. Reeder perservered through school even after losing his academic scholarship. 

Terry reports that Reeder will graduate with a bachelor's degree in criminal justice and a minor in military science. 

Photo Credit: WDIV-TV
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<![CDATA[Maine Man Busted Twice in 2 Days With Stash of Weapons: TSA]]>Mon, 24 Apr 2017 13:49:16 -0700http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Rios+Weapons+Cache.jpg

A Maine man was arrested twice in two days at New York's LaGuardia Airport with a large and unusual assortment of weapons, Port Authority police said Monday.

Michael Rios Jr. of Bangor, Maine, was arrested Friday morning after TSA screeners saw a gravity knife and metal knuckles in his carry-on bag. The items were seized and Rios was apparently released.

Saturday morning, he showed up to LaGuardia and again tried to board a flight. This time, he was carrying a container that held an air pistol, six knives and throwing stars, among other items, police said. 

Rios, 25, was arrested again and charged with criminal possession of a weapon. Attorney information was not immediately available. 

Photo Credit: PAPD]]>