Review Category : National News

American Nurse with Ebola Back in US, Making ‘Slow Improvement’

iStock/Thinkstock(ATLANTA) — Nancy Writebol, the American nurse who contracted Ebola while volunteering in Liberia, is said to be improving and is settling in at Emory University in Atlanta.

“Nancy is still very, very weak, but shows continued, but slow improvement,” said SIM USA president Bruce Johnson at a news conference Tuesday afternoon. “She is showing signs of progress and moving in the right direction.”

Unlike her fellow missionary, Dr. Kent Brantly, who walked into the hospital when he arrived on Saturday, Writebol, 59, was taken in on a stretcher. But Johnson said that should not be taken as a reflection of her condition.

“When she was put aboard the aircraft about 1 a.m. Monrovia time today, they took her there on a stretcher, but she could stand up and walk with assistance onto the plane,” Johnson said.

“Nancy is 58 years old, Kent is 33,” Johnson added. “That’s a big difference just in terms of age. … For her to be on a stretcher is not an indication of where she is in Ebola.”

He added that doctors are encouraged by Writebol’s increased appetite and said that she had yogurt before embarking on her nearly day-long plane ride journey to Atlanta.

Writebol’s two sons will be visiting her in the hospital and will get a chance to speak with her through a protective glass barrier. Her husband, David Writebol, who was with her in Liberia as part of his work with SIM, will be returning in the coming days, though those specific plans have not been formalized.

Johnson added that it is still unclear how Nancy Writebol, who is not a doctor but was working in a personnel capacity while at SIM’s hospital in Monrovia, contracted the disease which is believed to spread via contact with infected bodily fluid.

“When this kind of situation happens, it’s all hands on deck and not only Nancy but all of our staff there were asking, ‘How can we help?’” Johnson said. “We don’t know how Nancy contracted this or what she was doing at a particular moment because we don’t know where that contact point was.”

He added that Brantly and Writebol were receiving such good medical care in Liberia that their organizations originally were not going to send them to America for treatment.

“They were receiving extraordinary care in Liberia … but then the opportunity became available,” Johnson said.

Johnson also relayed a statement from David Writebol, who said that watching the Liberian hospital staff take care of his wife “was like watching the love of Christ take place right in front of your eyes.”

Part of the reason why officials decided to fly the Americans to Georgia, Johnson said, was a hope that the team at Emory would be able to work with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, possibly fueling groundbreaking research on Ebola.

The plane carrying Nancy Writebol was the same one that carried Brantly when he arrived in the United States on Saturday. Before landing at Dobbins Air Reserve Base in Atlanta Tuesday, Writebol’s plane stopped in Bangor, Maine, and before that, at a Portuguese air base off the coast of Africa.

Brantly’s wife, Amber, said she has been able to see her husband improve in Emory’s isolation ward every day.

“I know that Kent is receiving the very best medical treatment available,” she said. “I am also thrilled to see that Nancy arrived safely in Atlanta today.”

Relatives of both Brantly and Writebol met for the first time Monday night and prayed together. Brantly’s family has called on the public to pray for Writebol and the Writebols are said to be very thankful for that support.

Nancy Writebol’s arrival in the United States came as U.S. hospitals were exercising caution with a handful of other potential Ebola cases and after health officials in New York lessened fears that a case of Ebola was possible at New York’s Mount Sinai hospital.

“After consultation with CDC and Mount Sinai, the Health Department has concluded that the patient is unlikely to have Ebola,” an official at the New York City Health Department said. “Specimens are being tested for common causes of illness and to definitively exclude Ebola.”

That was not the only international scare reported overnight, as the Saudi Arabian Health Ministry reported that it was testing a man who recently traveled to Sierra Leone, one of the countries with confirmed cases of Ebola.

The man, 40, who has not been identified, is reportedly presenting symptoms of hemorrhagic fever and is in critical condition but is still undergoing tests to rule out other illnesses. He remains in isolation at a hospital in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.

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Woman Crashes Car, Found with Stolen Python Around Her Neck

File photo. (iStock/Thinkstock)(NEW YORK) — Firefighters who rushed to help the woman who crashed into their station and slammed into two firetrucks were surprised to find a python wrapped around her neck.

They were even more surprised to find that the small ball python was reported stolen from a nearby pet store.

Sarah Espinosa, 22, lost control of her 2010 Toyota Prius around 7 p.m. on Monday while driving on Jericho Turnpike in New Hyde Park on Long Island, New York, according to police.

A police report states that Espinosa’s vehicle “drove over the center median striking a Nissan Maxima and continuing through the front garage door of the New Hyde Park Fire House. Her vehicle collided with two fire trucks parked in the firehouse causing damage to the vehicles.”

Fire personnel at the scene rushed to aid Espinosa when they “discovered a small ball python snake wrapped around the defendant’s neck,” which they promptly removed and secured, according to the police report.

“Third Precinct officers responded and determined Espinosa had stolen the snake from [a Garden City] PETCO,” according to the report, which also stated that Espinosa was in possession of marijuana at the time of the accident.

The snake is sold at Petco for $89, a store employee said.

Espinosa was treated and released from a hospital, and the snake was returned to its home at the store, police said.

Espinosa has been charged with reckless endangerment, petit larceny, reckless driving, driving while intoxicated, and unlawful possession of marijuana.

She had not yet been arraigned. Espinosa could not be immediately reached by ABC News for comment.

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American Nurse with Ebola Arrives at Atlanta Hospital for Treatment

iStock/Thinkstock(ATLANTA) — Nancy Writebol, an American nurse with Ebola, has arrived at Emory University Hospital in Georgia after a nearly day-long trip from Liberia.

Two people in protective coverings were seen bringing Writebol into the hospital on a stretcher Tuesday. She was completely covered in a hazmat-style suit.

The plane carrying Writebol, 59, was the same one that earlier carried another American with Ebola, Dr. Kent Brantly, when he arrived in the United States Saturday.

Before landing at Dobbins Air Reserve Base in Atlanta Tuesday, Writebol’s plane stopped in Bangor, Maine, and before that, at a Portuguese air base off the coast of Africa.

Writebol was working with the missionary charity SIM USA to help treat Ebola patients in Monrovia, Liberia, when she contracted the disease.

Before she took off for the flight, the charity she was working for put out a statement Monday saying that she was in serious but stable condition and was showing signs of improvement, including an increasing appetite.

Officials are expected to give an update on her condition Tuesday afternoon.

Like Brantly, who was seen walking from an ambulance into the hospital Saturday, Writebol will be treated at Emory University Hospital in Atlanta. Brantly’s family has been able to visit him, though Brantley is kept separated by glass partitions.

Relatives of both Brantly and Writebol met for the first time Monday night and prayed together. Brantly’s family has called on the public to pray for Writebol and the Writebols are said to be very thankful for that support.

Writebol’s husband, David Writebol, was in Liberia with her and will be arriving in the United States in “a few days,” according to the statement put out by SIM on Monday.

Nancy Writebol’s arrival in the United States came after health officials in New York lessened fears that a case of Ebola was possible at New York’s Mount Sinai hospital, and other U.S. hospitals were treating potential cases cautiously.

“After consultation with CDC and Mount Sinai, the Health Department has concluded that the patient is unlikely to have Ebola,” an official at the New York City Health Department said. “Specimens are being tested for common causes of illness and to definitively exclude Ebola.”

That was not the only international scare reported overnight, as the Saudi Arabian Health Ministry reported that it was testing a man who recently traveled to Sierra Leone, one of the countries with confirmed cases of Ebola.

The man, 40, who has not been identified, is reportedly presenting symptoms of hemorrhagic fever and is in critical condition but is still undergoing tests to rule out other illnesses. He remains in isolation at a hospital in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.

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‘Porch Shooter’ Theodore Wafer Says He ‘Shot on Purpose’

iStock/Thinkstock(DETROIT) — Theodore Wafer testified Tuesday that he “shot in fear” as he tried to convince a Detroit jury that he was justified in killing Renisha McBride on his porch last year.

It was Wafer’s second day testifying in his own defense. He is charged with murder in McBride’s death.

“I shot in fear,” Wafer told the court. “I shot on purpose but there was no aiming effect.”

McBride, 19, was shot in the face, falling on her back, with her feet facing Wafer’s door, prosecutors said.

Wafer, 55, previously told police he didn’t know his gun was loaded and said he shot McBride by accident, according to a recording played to jurors last week.

“It was a threat, a threat that was coming in my house,” he said on Tuesday.

During cross examination, assistant prosecutor Athina Siringas said Wafer never told officers he was scared until they asked.

“I had a lot of emotions, fear, panicking,” Wafer said. “I guess in front of a cop I didn’t want to come across as less of a man.”

McBride’s parents and aunt appeared emotional in court as they watched Wafer’s second day of testimony.

On Monday, a tearful Wafer said it was “devastating” that the teen was no longer alive.

“She had her life in front of her,” he said. “I took that from her.”

Wafer, who is white, will have to convince the jury that he was in fear for his life when McBride, who was black, drunkenly showed up on his porch in Dearborn Heights during the early morning of Nov. 2, 2013.

“I needed to find out what was going on,” he said. “I didn’t want to cower in my house, I didn’t want to be a victim.”

Wafer, who is unmarried and does not have children, testified that he always entered through the side door of his house and did not keep his front porch well-lit.

He told the court he was aware of crime in his neighborhood and has found liquor bottles, beer bottles and syringes on his property.

Wafer sad he purchased a shotgun around 2008 because he “thought it was time to have some kind of security that I could afford.”

“I heard it was a good home defense weapon,” he said of his purchase.

While Wafer showed emotion on the stand, when asked by the prosecution if he cried the night McBride died, he replied that he did not.

Under a 2006 Michigan self-defense law, a homeowner has the right to use force during a break-in. Otherwise, a person must prove his or her life was in danger.

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‘Porch Shooter’ Theodore Wafer Says He ‘Shot on Purpose’

iStock/Thinkstock(DETROIT) — Theodore Wafer testified Tuesday that he “shot in fear” as he tried to convince a Detroit jury that he was justified in killing Renisha McBride on his porch last year.

It was Wafer’s second day testifying in his own defense. He is charged with murder in McBride’s death.

“I shot in fear,” Wafer told the court. “I shot on purpose but there was no aiming effect.”

McBride, 19, was shot in the face, falling on her back, with her feet facing Wafer’s door, prosecutors said.

Wafer, 55, previously told police he didn’t know his gun was loaded and said he shot McBride by accident, according to a recording played to jurors last week.

“It was a threat, a threat that was coming in my house,” he said on Tuesday.

During cross examination, assistant prosecutor Athina Siringas said Wafer never told officers he was scared until they asked.

“I had a lot of emotions, fear, panicking,” Wafer said. “I guess in front of a cop I didn’t want to come across as less of a man.”

McBride’s parents and aunt appeared emotional in court as they watched Wafer’s second day of testimony.

On Monday, a tearful Wafer said it was “devastating” that the teen was no longer alive.

“She had her life in front of her,” he said. “I took that from her.”

Wafer, who is white, will have to convince the jury that he was in fear for his life when McBride, who was black, drunkenly showed up on his porch in Dearborn Heights during the early morning of Nov. 2, 2013.

“I needed to find out what was going on,” he said. “I didn’t want to cower in my house, I didn’t want to be a victim.”

Wafer, who is unmarried and does not have children, testified that he always entered through the side door of his house and did not keep his front porch well-lit.

He told the court he was aware of crime in his neighborhood and has found liquor bottles, beer bottles and syringes on his property.

Wafer sad he purchased a shotgun around 2008 because he “thought it was time to have some kind of security that I could afford.”

“I heard it was a good home defense weapon,” he said of his purchase.

While Wafer showed emotion on the stand, when asked by the prosecution if he cried the night McBride died, he replied that he did not.

Under a 2006 Michigan self-defense law, a homeowner has the right to use force during a break-in. Otherwise, a person must prove his or her life was in danger.

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DC Commuters Vent that Africa Summit Gridlock Is a ‘Mess’

File photo. (iStock/Thinkstock)(WASHINGTON) — A city known for its gridlock on Capitol Hill will see much of the same on the roads this week, even with Congress out on summer recess.

President Obama is hosting leaders from across the African continent this week at the U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit, which the White House is calling the first and largest of its kind.

But an event of this magnitude means traffic troubles and headaches for many commuters heading into the city because of numerous road closures, restricted parking and traffic detours.

The traffic delays, of course, gave many commuters plenty of time to turn to Twitter:

DC’s traffic paralyzed as Africa Summit gets under way. African leaders meeting with US on how to improve the world. It’s a great day.

— Mike Kandel (@Mkandel) August 4, 2014

If u don’t work in DC stay away until Friday! It’s a mess w/ traffic, road blocks, & heightened security!US- African Leader Summit tomorrow!

— RunwayKitty (@RunwayKitty) August 4, 2014

There were even memes created specifically about the summit-related traffic:

When I read the the Africa summit will snarl traffic in DC all week http://t.co/M2bHoX1g7k

— When In Washington (@WhenInWashDC) August 4, 2014

To prevent further frustration in the coming days, the U.S. Office of Personnel Management is urging many agencies and employers to consider allowing their employees to telecommute to alleviate the traffic congestion and road disruptions.

But it’s not just cars and buses that will see altered traffic patterns and delays. Pedestrians may encounter screening areas and heavy foot traffic near the summit events.

To make matters worse, protesters have taken to the streets and sidewalks. And more demonstrations are expected throughout the week.

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American Nurse with Ebola Arrives in Atlanta for Treatment

iStock/Thinkstock(ATLANTA) — Nancy Writebol, an American nurse with Ebola, has landed in Georgia after a nearly day-long trip from Liberia.

The plane carrying Writebol, 59, was the same one that earlier carried another American with Ebola, Dr. Kent Brantly, when he arrived in the United States Saturday. Before landing at Dobbins Air Reserve Base in Atlanta, Writebol’s plane stopped in Bangor, Maine, and before that, at a Portuguese air base off the coast of Africa.

Writebol was working with the missionary charity SIM USA to help treat Ebola patients in Monrovia, Liberia, when she contracted the disease.

Before she took off for the flight, the charity she was working for put out a statement Monday saying that she was in serious but stable condition and was showing signs of improvement, including an increasing appetite.

Like Brantly, who was seen walking from an ambulance into the hospital Saturday, Writebol will be treated at Emory University Hospital in Atlanta. Brantly’s family has been able to visit him, though Brantley is kept separated by glass partitions.

Writebol’s husband, David, was in Liberia with her and will be arriving in the United States in “a few days,” according to the statement put out by SIM on Monday.

Her arrival in the United States comes after health officials in New York lessened fears that a case of Ebola had been reported in Manhattan. A patient was being treated for Ebola-like symptoms at New York’s Mount Sinai hospital and the man is still undergoing tests they are expected to be negative.

“After consultation with CDC and Mount Sinai, the Health Department has concluded that the patient is unlikely to have Ebola,” an official at the New York City Health Department said. “Specimens are being tested for common causes of illness and to definitively exclude Ebola.”

That was not the only international scare reported overnight, as the Saudi Arabian Health Ministry reported that it was testing a man who recently traveled to Sierra Leone, one of the countries with confirmed cases of Ebola.

The man, 40, who has not been identified, is reportedly presenting symptoms of hemorrhagic fever and is in critical condition but is still undergoing tests to rule out other illnesses. He remains in isolation at a hospital in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.

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Former Ohio State Band Director Slams University’s ‘Inaccurate’ Report

The Ohio State University(COLUMBUS, Ohio) — Fired Ohio State University marching band director Jon Waters says the findings of an internal investigation into the band’s culture was inaccurate — and that he worked to improve the program’s culture before the investigation began.

Waters was accused in the report of knowing about and failing to stop a “sexualized culture” of pranks, tricks and rituals. According to the report, students were regularly hazed, forced to perform sexually-explicit stunts and march into the stadium in their underwear late at night in a tradition called “Midnight Ramp.” The investigation was launched after a parent raised concerns.

Waters argued that more than nine current and former band members should have been interviewed.

“The sample size was tremendously small for such an important issue as band culture,” Waters told ABC News.

“I think I was the victim of a rush to judgment and a very inaccurate report.”

Waters had led the band — “The Best Damn Band in the Land,” as it calls itself — since 2012, creating popular halftime shows that drew millions of views on YouTube. He changed the shows by drawing them out on iPads instead of paper, directing marchers who morphed into the shapes of horses, superheroes and dinosaurs appearing to gallop, fly and tromp across the Buckeye football field.

Its technological advances landed the band in an Apple commercial in January. One performance in which the band takes the shape of a moonwalking Michael Jackson has more than 10 million views on YouTube.

But those accomplishments didn’t stop Ohio State President Michael Drake from dismissing Waters on July 24, stating that the dismissal was the only solution.

“Even one instance of harassment or hazing or assault is one too many,” Drake said in a video statement.

Waters argued that the problems started long before he joined the program.

“When you’re dealing with a culture that is entrenched, again, since the 1930s, this does not change overnight,” Waters said.

Waters said the university never gave him guidance on reforming the program’s culture — but he started taking those steps, anyway.

“No one came to me and said the band’s culture needs to change, I realized that myself,” he said.

Ohio State rejected Waters’ allegations in a statement to ABC News.

“The former director was aware or reasonably should have known about this culture but failed to eliminate it, prevent its recurrence and address its effects,” the statement read.

The university named two music professors the interim leaders of the marching band Monday, with one focusing on compliance and student safety. The school plans to find its next permanent director through a national search.

The OSU marching band was the second nationally acclaimed marching band to be rocked by scandal in recent years. Florida A&M’s famed “Marching 100″ was suspended for more than a year and veteran director and university president resigned after the death in 2011 of a drum major in a brutal hazing ritual. FAMU’s band had performed at Super Bowls and presidential inaugurations.

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Relatives ‘Heartbroken’ over North Carolina School Counselor’s Murder

iStock/Thinkstock(NEWTON, N.C.) — Relatives of a popular North Carolina school counselor are heartbroken about her murder — and relieved that a suspect is behind bars.

Maggie Daniels, 31, was found dead in her apartment June 28.

She was four days away from obtaining her master’s degree.

The death remained a mystery for more than a month. Daniels’ relatives hoped that justice would be served. Those hopes were realized Saturday, when Sharman Odom, 34, was arrested and charged with Daniels’ death.

Odom made his first court appearance Monday — the same day that the victim’s relatives released a statement about the tragedy.

“It is clear that Maggie touched countless people’s lives throughout her short time here on earth,” her family said in the statement, obtained by ABC News. “We will never get over the loss of our sweet Maggie and there will forever be a hole in our hearts, but we will focus on all the good in Maggie, continue on with her selfless acts of kindness, and carry on her legacy of pure goodness.”

Her family said it would continue to seek justice.

“We are hopeful that with the recent arrest, it will save another family from having to go through such a tragic nightmare,” the statement read. “Maggie will live in our hearts forever. Only love lives here.”

Daniels was known to have a generous spirit. The Ohio native taught and coached basketball at Newton-Conover High School — she was the school’s teacher of the year in 2011 — before becoming a counselor at Discovery High School in Newton, North Carolina, a 13,000-population town located northwest of Charlotte.

Hundreds of students, colleagues and relatives attended a July 9 memorial service for Daniels.

“She connected with people. She just had this personality that connected with students and adults,” David Stegall, superintendent of Newton-Conover City Schools, said at the time.

One detail from the murder scene reflected Daniels’ character: There was no sign of forced entry. Her front door was open. She often did that, neighbors said, just in case students stopped by.

Daniels apparently fought for her life, Newton Police Chief Donald Brown told ABC News.

“She died of strangulation,” Brown told ABC News. “There was a struggle.”

A search warrant obtained by ABC News indicated there were signs of a violent conflict in Daniels’ apartment, with several items damaged or askew.

Authorities interviewed friends and acquaintances and neighbors. According to the search warrant, a police lieutenant interviewed Odom on July 3 and noticed what appeared to be a patch of hair missing from the front portion of his scalp near his forehead. Police searched Odom’s apartment on July 26 and, according to the search warrant, a section of hair consistent with the missing clump was found in a shoe box in a closet.

Additionally, police said, three “selfie” photos taken June 28, the day Daniels’ body was found, showed Odom sporting a scratch on his right nostril and a scratch below his left eye.

“The injuries appeared pink, suggesting they were new,” the search warrant stated.

Odom smirked as he was escorted to jail by police.

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Syracuse U. Is Partying, Partying, Yeah!

Syracuse University(NEW YORK) — It’s the annual list that college students get a kick out of and administrators dread: the top 20 party schools in the U.S. as compiled by The Princeton Review, not, as always, to be confused with Princeton University.

The crown goes to Syracuse University based on a survey of 130,000 students.

Of course, The Princeton Review’s latest edition of “The Best 379 Colleges” doesn’t just cover parties. Students also rank their schools in terms of education, professors and overall lifestyle.

For instance, Vanderbilt University was number one for happiest campus while Oregon’s Reed College featured the best profs.

Oh, the antithesis of a party school is Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah, which again topped the list of “stone-cold sober” schools, to no one’s great astonishment.

Here are the top 20 party schools:

1. Syracuse University
2. University of Iowa
3. University of California-Santa Barbara
4. West Virginia University
5. University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
6. Lehigh University
7. Penn State University
8. University of Wisconsin-Madison
9. Bucknell University
10. University of Florida
11. Miami University (Ohio)
12. Florida State University
13. Ohio University-Athens
14. DePauw University
15. University of Georgia
16. University of Mississippi
17. Tulane University
18. University of Vermont
19. University of Oregon
20. University of Delaware

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