Review Category : National News

Why There Is a HUGE Face on The National Mall

Keith Lane/MCT via Getty Images(WASHINGTON) — The National Mall looks different today. You may only notice what looks like a zen garden while walking past it. But from up above the Washington Monument, you’ll notice a face.

The face is a 6-acre portrait shaped by Cuban American artist Jorge Rodriguez-Gerada, who used 2,500 tons of sand and 800 tons of soil. The eye is made from gravel.

But whose face is it? The portrait isn’t of anyone famous. Instead, it is several faces merged into one.

Rodriguez-Gerada told The Washington Post he photographed young men at the National Mall and created a composite image.

The project is called “Out of Many, One,” which is the English translation of E Pluribus Unum.

Commissioned by the National Portrait Gallery, the project was started on Sept. 2 and finished Thursday.

Bethany Bentley, a spokeswoman for the National Portrait Gallery, said that so far people have been enthusiastic about the portrait.

“When they’re looking at it, they’re trying to figure it out. Then they have this ah-ha moment especially when they’re at the top of the Washington Monument,” she said.

The giant portrait will be on display until Oct. 31.

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Woman Acquitted of First-Degree Murder in Husband’s Shooting Death

iStock/Thinkstock(CARLSBAD, Calif.) — A California mother of three was found not guilty Wednesday of first-degree murder in the death of her high school teacher husband, with a mistrial declared.

Jurors were deadlocked on whether Julie Harper, 41, should be convicted on lesser charges of second-degree murder and manslaughter in the 2012 shooting of Jason Harper. Prosecutors haven’t made a decision yet on whether to re-try the case on the lesser charges.

Prosecutors argued that Julie Harper shot and killed her husband during a fight in the couple’s Carlsbad, California, home. Instead of calling for help, prosecutors said, Harper took off with their three children and a getaway bag, driving around town before turning herself in 16 hours later.

“The children, say 8 or 9 a.m., they were downstairs watching cartoons when they heard a thud and heard their dad yell, ‘Ahh,’ and then a thump on the floor,” Deputy District Attorney Keith Watanabe said.

Prosecutors said the couple argued frequently about her weight gain, as well as finances. Five days before the killing, prosecutors said, Julie Harper filed for divorce and allegedly withdrew nearly $20,000.

Julie Harper said the shooting was an accident, maintaining she was a victim of domestic abuse.

“He would just be in an absolute fury, in his rage, yelling and screaming,” she said.

Jurors also heard recordings that Harper made during her husband’s alleged rants, recordings alleged to feature Jason Harper screaming obscenities at his wife and demeaning her.

Los Angeles criminal defense attorney and former prosecutor Michael Kraut said that the domestic abuse claims made it difficult for jurors to convict Harper.

“If a jury hears evidence that the victim shot her husband because she was in fear of being verbally and physically abused, they are gonna use that to find her not guilty of the crime of first-degree murder,” Kraut said.

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Texas Ebola Patient’s Possible Contacts Now Reach 100

Hemera/Thinkstock(DALLAS) — The circle of people who have come into contact with Ebola patient Thomas Eric Duncan is rapidly expanding, jumping from 18 to 80 early Thursday and then leaping to 100, according to Texas health officials.

“Out of an abundance of caution, we’re starting with this very wide net, including people who have had even brief encounters with the patient or the patient’s home,” Texas Department of State Health Services spokesperson Carrie Wilson said in a statement. “The number will drop as we focus in on those whose contact may represent a potential risk of infection.”

Duncan, a Liberian man who is the first person diagnosed with Ebola in the United States, is being treated in an isolation unit at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Dallas after being brought to the hospital by ambulance earlier this week.

Medical authorities initially said that they were interviewing and monitoring 12 to 18 people, including five children, who had been in contact with Duncan since he arrived Sept. 19. But today that number jumped dramatically, though officials expect tracing protocols to eliminate many.

Thompson said four or five members of Duncan’s family are under a “control order” to stay inside their homes.

It’s not clear if these four or five people under the control order are the five school age children who were told to stay home from school.

Dr. David Lakey, Texas health commissioner, addressed the control order.

“We have tried and true protocols to protect the public and stop the spread of this disease,” Lakey said in the statement. “This order gives us the ability to monitor the situation in the most meticulous way.”

Authorities say the family members do not currently have symptoms of Ebola, which include fever above 100.5 degrees, headache, nausea, diarrhea or abdominal pain. The order will continue until at least Oct. 19.

Thompson said he was aware of news reports that Duncan had been vomiting before being admitted to the hospital, but said he was not concerned about the vomiting.

Duncan flew from Liberia to Brussels on Sept. 19. He continued to Washington’s Dulles Airport, before flying to the Dallas-Fort Worth Airport on a United Airlines flight.

Authorities with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have said airline passengers and flight crew members aren’t at risk for Ebola because Duncan wasn’t exhibiting symptoms until days later, but his diagnosis has left residents in Dallas on edge, with scrutiny for Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital, which allowed the man to leave after he told a nurse he had come from West Africa.

Duncan returned to the hospital by ambulance two days later. He remains in an isolation unit, listed in serious condition.

Mark Lester, the executive vice president of Texas Health Resources, said a communication issue was responsible for the lapse. “Regretfully, that information was not fully communicated throughout the full team,” he said.

Five children who are members of Duncan’s family have also been told to stay home.

Authorities also scrubbed down area schools, trying to contain the disease’s spread.

Duncan spoke on the phone Wednesday with family members who live near Charlotte, North Carolina.

“We talked today (with Duncan) and we prayed together with his mother and sister here,” said Joe Weeks, who lives with Duncan’s sister Mai.

Weeks said that the family is concerned that Duncan was admitted to the hospital and put in isolation on Sunday, but hasn’t received the experimental Ebola drugs.

“I don’t understand why he is not getting the Zmapp,” Weeks said.

The manufacturer of the drug has said they have run out of the experimental medicine.

Duncan’s former boss in Monrovia, Liberia, said the patient had been his driver for the last year or two until he abruptly left his job in early September.

“I really don’t know [why he left],” Henry Brunson, general manager of Safeway Cargo, told ABC News. “He didn’t resign. He just left the office. He just walked away.”

Brunson didn’t know where Duncan went until he saw him on the news as the Ebola patient in Dallas, Texas.

Duncan’s identity emerged as Texas health officials outlined efforts to track and monitor the people Duncan was in contact with since becoming sick over the weekend.

Dr. Tom Frieden, director of the Centers for Disease and Control and Prevention, said Wednesday there is a seven-person team in Dallas working with the local health department and the hospital to identify people who came into contact with Duncan.

Three ambulance crew members who brought Duncan to the hospital were also tested for Ebola. The tests were negative, but the crew members were sent home and will be monitored for the next three weeks, the city said in a statement.

Frieden has said he believes the disease will be “stopped in its tracks” in this country.

Although American Ebola patients have been treated in the United States prior to this diagnosis, they all contracted Ebola in West Africa. Ebola has killed more than 3,300 people, with nearly 7,200 cases reported since the outbreak began in March.

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Ebola Patient’s Texas Contacts Zoom to 80, Authorities Say

Hemera/Thinkstock(DALLAS) — The number of people who came into contact with Texas Ebola patient Thomas Eric Duncan has zoomed from as many as 18 to 80, health officials in Texas announced in a statement Thursday.

Duncan, a Liberian man who is the first person diagnosed with Ebola in the United States, is being treated in an isolation unit at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Dallas after being brought to the hospital by ambulance earlier this week.

Medical authorities initially said that they were interviewing and monitoring 12 to 18 people, including five children, who had been in contact with Duncan since he arrived Sept. 19. But Thursday Dallas Health Director Zack Thompson told ABC News television affiliate WFAA that 80 people who may have come in contact with Duncan are being interviewed.

Thompson said four or five members of Duncan’s family are under a “control order” to stay inside their homes.

It’s not clear if these four or five people under the control order are the five school age children who were told to stay home from school.

Dr. David Lakey, Texas health commissioner, addressed the control order.

“We have tried and true protocols to protect the public and stop the spread of this disease,” Lakey said in the statement. “This order gives us the ability to monitor the situation in the most meticulous way.”

Authorities say the family members do not currently have symptoms of Ebola, which include fever above 100.5 degrees, headache, nausea, diarrhea or abdominal pain. The order will continue until at least Oct. 19.

Thompson said he was aware of news reports that Duncan had been vomiting before being admitted to the hospital, but said he was not concerned about the vomiting.

Duncan flew from Liberia to Brussels on Sept. 19. He continued to Washington’s Dulles Airport, before flying to the Dallas-Fort Worth Airport on a United Airlines flight.

Authorities with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have said airline passengers and flight crew members aren’t at risk for Ebola because Duncan wasn’t exhibiting symptoms until days later, but his diagnosis has left residents in Dallas on edge, with scrutiny for Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital, which allowed the man to leave after he told a nurse he had come from West Africa.

Duncan returned to the hospital by ambulance two days later. He remains in an isolation unit, listed in serious condition.

Mark Lester, the executive vice president of Texas Health Resources, said a communication issue was responsible for the lapse. “Regretfully, that information was not fully communicated throughout the full team,” he said.

Five children who are members of Duncan’s family have also been told to stay home.

Authorities also scrubbed down area schools, trying to contain the disease’s spread.

Duncan spoke on the phone Wednesday with family members who live near Charlotte, North Carolina.

“We talked today (with Duncan) and we prayed together with his mother and sister here,” said Joe Weeks, who lives with Duncan’s sister Mai.

Weeks said that the family is concerned that Duncan was admitted to the hospital and put in isolation on Sunday, but hasn’t received the experimental Ebola drugs.

“I don’t understand why he is not getting the Zmapp,” Weeks said.

The manufacturer of the drug has said they have run out of the experimental medicine.

Duncan’s former boss in Monrovia, Liberia, said the patient had been his driver for the last year or two until he abruptly left his job in early September.

“I really don’t know [why he left],” Henry Brunson, general manager of Safeway Cargo, told ABC News. “He didn’t resign. He just left the office. He just walked away.”

Brunson didn’t know where Duncan went until he saw him on the news as the Ebola patient in Dallas, Texas.

Duncan’s identity emerged as Texas health officials outlined efforts to track and monitor the people Duncan was in contact with since becoming sick over the weekend.

Dr. Tom Frieden, director of the Centers for Disease and Control and Prevention, said Wednesday there is a seven-person team in Dallas working with the local health department and the hospital to identify people who came into contact with Duncan.

Three ambulance crew members who brought Duncan to the hospital were also tested for Ebola. The tests were negative, but the crew members were sent home and will be monitored for the next three weeks, the city said in a statement.

Frieden has said he believes the disease will be “stopped in its tracks” in this country.

Although American Ebola patients have been treated in the United States prior to this diagnosis, they all contracted Ebola in West Africa. Ebola has killed more than 3,300 people, with nearly 7,200 cases reported since the outbreak began in March.

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Patient Placed in Isolation in Hawaii over Ebola Concerns

iStock/Thinkstock(HONOLULU) — A person in Hawaii was placed in isolation after exhibiting possible symptoms consistent with Ebola, state health officials said.

The patient is being treated at the Queen’s Medical Center in Hawaii. Authorities said they were being especially cautious because of heightened concern about Ebola, but the patient could have a number of illnesses.

“The hospital is being very careful, as they should be, to take precautions making sure the patient is in isolation and making sure the people and the public stay safe,” Dr. Melissa Viray of the Hawaii Department of Health told ABC affiliate KITV. “That being said, it’s still an if. This is not a ‘for sure’ thing.”

The situation comes days after a man in Texas — identified as Thomas Eric Duncan — became the first person diagnosed with Ebola in the United States.

Ebola has killed more than 3,300 people, with nearly 7,200 cases since the outbreak began in March.

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Sandy Hook School Receives Bomb Threat

Connecticut State Police via Getty Images(MONROE, Conn.) — Students at Sandy Hook Elementary School had to be evacuated Wednesday morning after a bomb threat was phoned in.

Police in Monroe, Connecticut, said the school was thoroughly searched but no device was found. Classes should resume Thursday.

Authorities are now trying to determine who called in the threat.

The school in Monroe has the same name as the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown that was the scene of a devastating shooting spree on December 14, 2012.

Twenty first-grade children and six school officials were gunned downed by 20-year-old Adam Lanza, who earlier killed his mother before taking his own life as police closed in.

The school where the massacre took place was razed in 2013.

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Sandy Hook School Receives Bomb Threat

Connecticut State Police via Getty Images(MONROE, Conn.) — Students at Sandy Hook Elementary School had to be evacuated Wednesday morning after a bomb threat was phoned in.

Police in Monroe, Connecticut, said the school was thoroughly searched but no device was found. Classes should resume Thursday.

Authorities are now trying to determine who called in the threat.

The school in Monroe has the same name as the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown that was the scene of a devastating shooting spree on December 14, 2012.

Twenty first-grade children and six school officials were gunned downed by 20-year-old Adam Lanza, who earlier killed his mother before taking his own life as police closed in.

The school where the massacre took place was razed in 2013.

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Teachers Accused of Three-way Tryst with Student, 16

iStock/Thinkstock(ST. CHARLES, La.) — Two female teachers from the same Louisiana high school are facing possible jail time for allegedly engaging in a sexual threesome with a 16-year-old male student from their school.

Shelly Dufresne, 32, who is married with three children, and Rachel Respess, 24, both teach English at Destrehan High School in St. Charles.

They’ve each been charged with felony carnal knowledge of a juvenile, indecent behavior and contributing to the delinquency of a minor.

Administrators at Destrehan High reportedly got wind of the tryst when the male student, who has since turned 17, allegedly bragged about the encounter to friends.

The legal age of consent in Louisiana is 17.

Respess surrendered to police Wednesday while Dufresne, who initially made $228,000 bail based on a charge of inappropriate sexual contact with a minor, was taken back into custody for her alleged involvement in the tryst. The suspects were then transferred to the Jefferson Parish Correctional Center.

They’ve also been suspended without pay while authorities further investigate evidence that reportedly includes photos and video taken during the alleged threesome.

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UVA Abduction Suspect Jesse Matthew Accused of Sexual Assault While At College

Galveston County Sheriff’s Office(CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va.) — The suspect charged with abducting University of Virginia student Hannah Graham was accused of sexual assault while at college, according to a report the school released Wednesday.

Christopher Newport University made public a “criminal incident information” report that stated Jesse Matthew was investigated for an alleged sexual assault on campus that occurred Sept. 7, 2003.

The school said in a statement that it initially declined to release the report, but said, “The success of the criminal investigation is paramount at this time. The university has consulted with the Virginia State Police again today, and we are now releasing the following non-exempt ‘criminal incident information.'”

The report said the alleged sexual assault took place on the school’s campus and was investigated by university police Capt. Scott Austin. No injuries were reported in connection with the alleged assault, the report said.

It does not indicate whether any criminal charges were filed. Calls to the Newport News police station were not immediately returned, but previous criminal records searches did not turn up any charges of sexual assault. Matthew’s attorney, Jim Camblos, did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

CNU spokeswoman Lori Jacobs said that federal student record privacy laws “limit the information we can provide.”

The report notes that Matthew quit the school’s football team five days after the alleged assault and left the school on Oct. 15.

Jacobs would not say specifically if the campus police investigation into the alleged sexual assault led to him leaving the school, but said, “Students don’t usually leave in the second month of the semester or leave the football team within a month.”

Matthew attended Christopher Newport University after leaving his first college, Liberty University, after only two years.

Matthew is now in police custody after being arrested in connection with the disappearance of Graham. He has not entered a plea.

The news of the Christopher Newport University sexual assault investigation comes as at least two different sheriff’s offices in Virginia reported that they were looking into open murder cases to see if Matthew was connected.

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Man Accused in Oklahoma Beheading Set to Be Released from Hospital

DanHenson1/iStockphoto/Thinkstock(MOORE, Okla.) — Alton Nolen, the man who allegedly beheaded a co-worker and stabbed another at a Moore food processing plant, is set to be released from the hospital.

ABC’s Oklahoma City affiliate, KOCO-TV, reported that Nolen could be released into police custody as early as Wednesday.

Nolen was charged with first-degree murder, assault and battery with a deadly weapon and assault with a deadly weapon on Tuesday in connection with the rampage. He had reportedly been suspended from work. Investigators believe he drove home to retrieve a large knife commonly used by workers at the plant, and returned to the facility, where he allegedly attacked two women in a front office.

Nolen could face the death penalty, if the family of the deceased victim grants their approval.

According to KOCO, the Moore police and the FBI are investigating the incident.

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