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Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree Lights Up for 2018 Season

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What to Know

  • The Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree is lit for the holiday season! [hhmc]

  • The tree will be lit every day from 5:30 a.m. to 11:30 p.m. until Jan. 7., except for Christmas Day, when it will be lit around the clock[hhmc]

  • The 75-year-old tree was donated by a couple in Wallkill, 60 miles north of New York City[hhmc]

The Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree burst alive with 5 miles of LED multicolored lights and a 900-pound Swarovski crystal star in a festive extravaganza broadcast on NBC Wednesday night.

Mayor Bill de Blasio flipped the switch Wednesday night to light the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree following a televised extravaganza that featured performances by Diana Ross and Tony Bennett.

Police officers flooded the area and thousands of spectators were funneled through security screening.

The 75-year-old tree was donated by a couple in Wallkill, 60 miles north of New York City.

Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree Lights Up

[NY] Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree Lights Up

The tree's lights will be illuminated every day from 5:30 p.m. to 11:30 p.m. through January 6 and 5:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. on January 7, 2019. On Christmas Day, the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree will be lit for a full 24 hours. You can watch the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree live around the clock on our tree cam through January.

After the tree is taken down January 7, it will be milled into lumber for Habitat for Humanity.

Follow NBC 4 on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter for exclusive behind-the-scenes video and photos from the lighting ceremony.

Here are some historical facts about the Rockefeller Center Tree:

• 1931 – Construction workers building Rockefeller Center put up a Christmas tree, the first-ever Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree.

Fidel Castro Fast Facts

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Personal:
Birth date:
August 13, 1926 Death date: November 25, 2016Birth place: Biran, CubaBirth name: Fidel Alejandro Castro RuzFather: Angel Castro, wealthy landownerMother: Lina Ruz, cook and maid to Angel Castro's first wifeMarriage: Dalia Soto del Valle (date unavailable-November 25, 2016, his death); Mirta Diaz-Balart (October 12, 1948-1955, divorced) Children: with Natalia Revuelta: Alina; with unknown woman: Jorge Angel; with Dalia Soto del Valle: Alexis, Alexander, Antonio, Alejandro, Angel; with Mirta Diaz-Balart: Fidel "Fidelito"Education: Colegio Dolores in Santiago de Cuba, 1942; Colegio Belen in Havana, 1945; University of Havana, doctorate in 1950Other Facts:
Led the overthrow of the Batista dictatorship of Cuba in 1959.Made Cuba the first Communist country in the Western Hemisphere.Brought social reforms to Cuba, but was criticized for oppressing human rights and freedom of speech.During his time in office, thousands of Cubans sought exile in the United States.Timeline:
1947 –
Castro participates in an unsuccessful rebellion in the Dominican Republic against Generalissimo Rafael Trujillo.1952 – Castro runs for parliament. The government is overthrown on March 10, 1952, by Fulgencio Batista, and the elections are suspended. July 26, 1953 – Castro and approximately 150 others attack the Moncada military barracks in Santiago de Cuba in an unsuccessful attempt to overthrow the Batista regime. October 16, 1953 – Castro is sentenced to 15 years in prison. May 15, 1955 – Fidel and Raul Castro are released as part of a general amnesty for political prisoners. They go into exile in Mexico. While in Mexico, they meet Argentine physician Che Guevara. The three organize a group of Cuban exiles into a new guerrilla group.December 2, 1956 – Eighty-two exiles land in Cuba, on a yacht named Granma. Most are killed immediately. The survivors, including Guevara and the Castro's, flee to the Sierra Maestra Mountains. Between 1957 and 1958, they wage a guerrilla campaign from this base, which includes skirmishes with government troops and burning sugar crops.January 1, 1959 – Batista is overthrown by Castro's forces.January 2, 1959 – Manuel Urrutia is named the new president. Jose Miro Cardona is appointed prime minister. February 16, 1959 –Castro takes over as prime minister.April 15-26, 1959 – Castro visits the United States.May 8, 1960 –Cuba and the Soviet Union establish formal diplomatic relations.September 1960 – Castro addresses the United Nations General Assembly.April 17, 1961 – A group of approximately 1,300 Cuban exiles land at Playa Giron (Bay of Pigs). Armed with US weapons, they make an unsuccessful attempt to overthrow Castro. The survivors are released in December 1962, in exchange for $53 million in food and medicine.December 3, 1976 – Castro becomes president of the State Council. This new title replaces the posts of president and prime minister.March 18, 1977 –President Jimmy Carter ends the ban on US travel to Cuba.April-September 1980 – Some 125,000 Cubans immigrate to the United States. This exodus becomes known as the Mariel Boatlift.April 19, 1982 –President Ronald Reagan reinstates the ban on US travel to Cuba.August 19, 1994 – President Bill Clinton announces an end to the US "open door" policy on Cuban refugees, established by President Lyndon Johnson in 1966. From now on, Cubans intercepted at sea will be repatriated, but those who reach land will be allowed to stay. January 21-25, 1998 – Castro welcomes Pope John Paul II as the pontiff begins a historic five-day visit. This marks the first time a pope has ever visited Cuba. December 13, 2000 – Russian President Vladimir Putin meets with Castro in Cuba. June 23, 2001 – Appears ill during a speech and is helped from the podium.Spring 2003 – Castro cracks down on dissidents, giving long sentences to 75 arrested activists.October 20, 2004 – After delivering a speech, Castro falls while leaving the podium.July 31, 2006 – A statement read on Cuban TV announces that Castro is undergoing intestinal surgery and has provisionally handed over power to his brother Raul. The arrangement is expected to last for several weeks while Castro recuperates.June 3, 2007 – Castro is shown on Cuban TV standing and greeting a visitor. October 29, 2007 – Castro publishes his autobiography "My Life" in the United Kingdom. The book contains a series of interviews done with journalist Ignacio Ramonet. The book is released in the US in early 2008.February 19, 2008 – Due to ailing health, Castro announces his resignation as president in a letter published in the middle of the night in the online version of Cuba's state-run newspaper, Granma. December 4, 2008 – In an essay, writes that Cuba would be willing to talk with President Barack Obama's administration. March 22, 2011 – In an essay published in Cuban state media, Castro writes that he resigned as head of the Communist party when he fell ill on July 31, 2006, and never tried to resume his position.February 3, 2012 – Castro publishes a two-volume memoir of his life, "Fidel Castro Ruz: Guerrilla of Time," based on conversations with the journalist Katiuska Blanco. October 22, 2012 – The Cuban government steps up efforts to prove Castro is still in good health. Former Venezuelan Vice President Elias Jaua claims to have met with Castro and shows reporters a photo of the two of them together. January 26, 2015 – A published letter purportedly written by Castro endorses the fledgling talks to restore diplomatic relations between Cuba and the United States even though Castro still "doesn't trust" US policies.March 2, 2015 – Cuba's state-run press publishes photos of Castro speaking with five Cuban intelligence agents recently released by the United States in a prisoner swap.April 19, 2016 – Castro addresses his mortality at the end of a three-day Cuban Communist Party Congress saying, "Soon I will turn 90 years old, never would such a thing have occurred to me and it's not the outcome of any effort; it was fate's whim, soon I will be like everyone else. To all of us comes our turn."November 25, 2016 – President Raul Castro announces the death of his older brother. Cuba begins an official mourning period where all activities and public performances stop, and the flag will fly at half-staff in public and military establishments. Radio and television will broadcast patriotic and historical programming, the Cuban state news outlet reported.February 1, 2018 – Castro's oldest son, Fidel "Fidelito" Castro Díaz-Balart, takes his own life, according to Cuban state media.

Original Article

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CNN

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‘Bomb cyclone’ kills 22, leaves frozen wake of destruction (PHOTOS, VIDEOS)

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The ‘bomb cyclone‘ cold weather system that hit the US east coast this week has moved on, leaving freezing temperatures and more than 20 dead in its wake.

At least 22 people have died as a result of the extreme conditions, CBS News reports. The casualties include a girl who was hit with a pickup truck whilst sledding in Richmond, Virginia, and a man who was killed by a snow plow, also in Virginia.

The National Weather Service said the “arctic airmass [is] to remain entrenched over the eastern US this weekend.”

“Bitterly cold temperatures and dangerous wind chills are likely over the eastern third of the country this weekend,” it warned.

Never again on the #NorwegianBreakaway. That was the scariest cruise ever. All we knew was tenders couldn't make it to NCL private island. Then we just left, no information, no updates, 3+ days of rough waves, and entire family sick, locked inside a tilted ship. Disgraceful….. pic.twitter.com/5ecdPtTrlc

— Los_Angeles (@LA4Life32) January 6, 2018

Passengers on the Norwegian Breakaway cruise ship in the Atlantic Ocean endured a terrifying experience as the 4,000 capacity ship cut straight through the storm as it headed for New York. For two days, the ship battled the storm in an ocean where swells reached 30 feet (9 meters).

Passengers described the experience as traumatic, as the ship began leaking and people suffered seasickness.

“All guests and crew are safe,” Norwegian Cruise Line said in a statement, CBS New York reported. “We sincerely apologize to our guests for these stronger than expected weather conditions and any resulting discomfort they may have experienced."

All seven Comey documents were labeled classified – report

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Every memo by former FBI Director James Comey on meetings with President Donald Trump was classified, a conservative watchdog reported citing a senior FBI official. Comey had testified the documents were his private notes.

Chris Farrell, director of investigations for the conservative group Judicial Watch made the claim in a Thursday evening appearance on Lou Dobbs’ show on Fox News, citing an official in charge of the FBI's Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) program.

“We have a sworn declaration from David Hardy who is the chief FOIA officer of the FBI that we obtained just in the last few days, and in that sworn declaration, Mr. Hardy says that all of Comey's memos ‒ all of them ‒ were classified at the time they were written, and they remain classified,” Farrell said.

After President Trump fired him on May 9, 2017, Comey revealed he had written up a number of memoranda about their meetings since the beginning of the year. He leaked the contents of some of the memos to the press through a friend, later identified as Daniel Richman, a Columbia Law School Professor. Richman originally said none of the memos Comey gave him were classified. In July 2016, however, it was revealed that four of the seven documents were marked as such.

On Wednesday, Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) raised questions about whether Comey violated Justice Department policy when he shared the memos with Richman. Grassley noted that at least one of the four memos Comey gave Richman must have been classified.

Read more

“If it’s true that Professor Richman had four of the seven memos, then in light of the fact that four of the seven memos the Committee reviewed are classified, it would appear that at least one memo the former FBI director gave Professor Richman contained classified information,” Grassley wrote to Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein.

Comey has recently been under scrutiny over revelations that his original statement closing the investigation into Clinton’s use of a private email server was changed by subordinates five times. The edits changed references to terms such as “grossly negligent” and “misdemeanor mishandling,” phrases that would have supported prosecuting the former secretary of state and then-presidential candidate on felony and misdemeanor charges, according to The Hill.

‘Pharma-bro’ Shkreli’s ex-lawyer convicted of helping him to defraud shareholders

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A New York lawyer who advised pharmaceutical businessman Martin Shkreli may be heading to prison after a federal jury convicted him of helping his client to defraud shareholders to pay back previously defrauded investors.

Evan Greebel, who served as outside counsel to Retrophin Inc., the biopharmaceutical company formerly run by Shkreli, was convicted Wednesday on two conspiracy charges to commit securities fraud and wire fraud. The jury found Greebel guilty on both counts after three days of deliberations.

According to a press release from the US Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of New York, Greebel conspired with Shkreli from 2011 and 2014 to steal millions of dollars from Retrophin in order to pay off defrauded investors in two failed hedge funds run by Shkreli, MSMB Capital Management LP and MSMB Healthcare Management LP.

Read more

The jury was presented with evidence that Greebel negotiated “settlement” agreements with the defrauded MSMB Capital and MSMB Healthcare investors. Retrophin reimbursed the investors with more than $2 million in cash and stock for their lost investments, even though the company had nothing to do with their losses.

Prosecutors also presented evidence that Greebel had arranged for certain investors to enter into sham consulting agreements with Retrophin as a way to pay them back.

According to the 2015 indictment, Retrophin did not receive “any legitimate consulting services based on these sham agreements,” but the company paid the defrauded investors more than $7.6 million in cash and stock for their consulting services.

In total, Shkreli and Greebel caused Retrophin and its investors to lose more than $11 million through their settlement and sham consulting agreements, according to the indictment.

The jury was also presented with evidence that Greebel and Shkreli attempted to illegally control the price and trading volume of Retrophin’s stock by concealing the fact that Shkreli controlled the majority of Retrophin’s free-trading shares. Prosecutors presented evidence that Greebel used his law license and training to file false documents with government regulators to hide the fact that Shkreli controlled those shares.

Planes collide at JFK amid fallout from ‘bomb cyclone’ closure (PHOTOS)

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Two planes collided at JFK Airport in New York early Saturday amid chaotic scenes brought on by the recent shutdown of the airport due to a massive snowstorm.

Several planes trying to land at JFK were left stranded for up to seven hours with some forced to turn around due to major capacity issues. The collision occurred when a China Southern plane struck the tail end of a Kuwait Airways aircraft at terminal four, according to the Port Authority.

Both airplanes were damaged as a result but no one was injured in the incident.

Kuwait Airways confirmed the accident on their Twitter account, adding that all passengers had been taken to hotels while alternative flights were arranged.The airline added that they were working with authorities at the New York airport to investigate the incident.

تود الخطوط الجوية الكويتية التنويه بأن إحدى طائراتها من نوع B777 المخصصة لرحلة رقم ١١٨ (نيويورك-كويت) وأثناء وقوفها في المكان المخصص لها في مطار نيويورك قد تعرضت لحادث احتكاك من قبل طائرة تابعة لشركة طيران صينية مما تسبب بعدم إمكانية تشغيلها للرحلة المذكورة، وقد تم التعامل مع -١

— Kuwait Airways (@KuwaitAirways) January 6, 2018

Meanwhile long delays have been reported at the airport with planes apparently forced to wait on the tarmac for several hours for a gate. FlightRadar 24 posted a screenshot Friday night of ground traffic at the airport showing what appear to be several dozen planes waiting.

Delays are still ongoing at the airport and, according to flight trackers, several flights headed for New York turned around Saturday morning due to the capacity issues on the ground.

Because of the ongoing capacity problem at JFK airport, 3 flights have turned around, but there are still 105 aircraft airborne en route to JFK airport. pic.twitter.com/JQNsN0Y9Z6

Teachers shouldn’t be armed because ‘most are women,’ says Alabama lawmaker

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A state lawmaker from Alabama knew exactly how to add fuel to an already controversial issue, saying that teachers shouldn't be armed because… most of them are women. The Twittersphere had a few things to say about that.

Republican State Rep. Harry Shiver (64th District) said Alabama lawmakers need to protect "our ladies" by not arming teachers because most of them are females who are "scared of guns."

"I'm not saying all [women], but in most schools, women are [the majority] of the teachers," he told AL.com. "Some of them just don't want to [be trained to possess firearms]. If they want to, then that's good. But most of them don't want to learn how to shoot like that and carry a gun."

The comments were made while Shiver was discussing a bill sponsored by fellow Republican state lawmaker Will Ainsworth (District 27), which would allow school districts in the state to arm trained, certified teachers on school campuses.

"I've heard…that 75 percent of Republicans support [the bill], but I was there live and in person and I know what it is like in the schools," said Shiver. "Most women wouldn't like to be put in that position. I know from South Alabama, they wouldn't."

It didn't take long for Twitter to respond to Shiver's remarks, calling them outdated, sexist, and stereotypically Alabaman. One person responded with an "are you f**king kidding me" and a "hey Alabama, where do you get these guys?"

So the best reason for teachers not to carry guns that Alabama Rep Harry Shiver could come up with is “because most teachers are women!” Are you f’ing kidding me. Hey Alabama, where do you get these guys? #GunControlNow

— MDMD (@MDabides311) March 16, 2018

"Alabama state representative Harry Shiver stated that teachers shouldn't be armed because most teachers are women…well, I guess that should be considered progress for Alabama," one person wrote.

Alabama state representative Harry Shiver stated that teachers shouldn’t be armed because most teachers are women…

Alleged Drunk Crane Driver Obliterates Cars on LIE: Police

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What to Know

  • Police say a drunk driver operating a construction crane hit four cars on the Long Island Expressway Tuesday evening[hhmc]

  • Brian Sinclair, 47, of Riverhead, was arrested after an officer leaped into the crane and demanded him to stop[hhmc]

  • The officer and three of the four drivers of the cars hit suffered minor injuries[hhmc]

Police say a drunk man driving a construction crane left a trail of destruction on the Long Island Expressway, hitting four cars and completely obliterating one of them.

Brian Sinclair, 47, of Riverhead, was arrested by exit 63 on the LIE after a highway patrol officer spotted him driving erratically and gave chase, according to Suffolk County police. When the crane Sinclair was driving slowed down, the officer leaped into the passenger seat and demanded he stop, which he did near exit 63, police said.

Officials say Sinclair was driving a 2000 Liebherr crane on the LIE in Ronkonkoma on Tuesday evening when he hit a Nissan Altima, then smacked into a Jeep Cherokee, and then barreled into a Honda Civic before striking a Toyota RAV4 and driving off. It was a short time later when the officer spotted the crane and got it to stop.

Three drivers in the cars that were hit along with the officer who got the crane to stop suffered minor injuries and were taken to an area hospital to be treated, authorities said.

Sinclair is charged with driving while intoxicated and leaving the scene of an accident, Suffolk County cops said. The crane was impounded.

Attorney information for Sinclair wasnt immediately clear. He will be arraigned in a Long Island courtroom on Wednesday.

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USA Today

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Alleged political bias of Google revealed in court documents

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Allegations aired by a former Google software engineer fired in 2017 for authoring a memo describing “political bias” within the company as silencing conservative discussion, have been fully revealed in court documents.

Ex-Google engineer James Damore filed a class action lawsuit against the web giant on Monday. The legal case is in response to Damore’s sacking on August 7, 2017, after he shared a document entitled ‘Google’s Ideological Echo Chamber’ with colleagues last year.

The divisive document proposed reasons for gender gap in the technology industry, including that “neuroticism” may contribute to “lower number of women in high stress jobs.”

Damore highlighted diversity programs, designed for people with a certain gender or race, as an example of discriminatory practices within Google.

The ex-employee also offered “non-discriminatory ways” to reduce inequality in the workplace, such as fostering a more balanced work-life within the industry and making “leadership less stressful.”

At the time, Google CEO Sundar Pichai stated that “portions of the memo violate our Code of Conduct and cross the line by advancing harmful gender stereotypes in our workplace.”

Alongside David Gudeman, an employee fired by Google in 2016, Damore claims that people holding different political beliefs to the prevailing views in the company are “singled out, mistreated and systematically punished and terminated” from their jobs.

READ MORE: Google sacks equality memo author, ‘gender stereotypes & conservative politics’ under fire

A copy of the class action complaint concerning labor laws now reveals a series of allegations levelled against Google.

A Google spokesperson told RT.com: “We look forward to defending against Mr Damore’s lawsuit in court.”

How to Watch Macy’s Fireworks Show Live Wherever You Are

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What to Know

  • Macy's 4th of July Fireworks Spectacular airs Wednesday from 8 p.m. to 10 p.m. ET on NBC[hhmc]

  • The 42nd annual show over the East River will feature an incredible pyrotechnic spectacle[hhmc]

  • It'll be one of America's largest fireworks display in more than a decade, with tens of thousands of shells launched from seven barges[hhmc]

The 42nd annual Macy's 4th of July fireworks show over the East River promises to be another spectacular display, with seven barges launching tens of thousands of shells into the air during a two-hour special broadcast on NBC.

Kelly Clarkson, Ricky Martin and Keith Urban join the star-studded roster for the Macy's 4th of July Fireworks Spectacular special on NBC, airing Wednesday from 8 p.m. to 10 p.m. ET with an hour-long encore presentation to follow. Akbar Gbajabiamila and Matt Iseman are the hosts for this year's event.

You can livestream the show on NBCNewYork.com on your desktop or laptop computer or your mobile device by clicking on this link. (http://www.nbcnewyork.com/live). You can also watch the coverage on our free app — download it from iTunes here or from Google Play here. All you need is your TV service providers username and password.

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