Review Category : Top Stories

Bachelorette Party Safe After Getting Stranded in Cabo in Odile’s Wake

Courtesy Morgan Essenheimer(SAN DIEGO) — Morgan Essenheimer is relieved to be home, back with her fiance in California.

The bride-to-be was airlifted to San Diego Airport along with seven members of her bridal party after being stranded in Cabo, San Lucas, Mexico for three days with no way to contact anyone back home.

“There was just chaos and madness everywhere,” Essenheimer said. “Not being able to speak with your loved ones or even just hear their voice, that was probably one of the worst things that could have happened to us.”

Essenheimer and her bachelorette party were among 30,000 tourists believed to have been stranded by Hurricane Odile, which wreaked havoc on the resort area Sunday. The storm destroyed buildings, knocking out power and leaving looters in its wake.

For some, the nightmare isn’t over yet.

Daniel Vigil is still trying to contact his relatives. The last contact he had with his missing mother, brother and aunt was a photo they texted to him upon arriving for their week-long vacation on Saturday, five days ago. After the Category 3 hurricane bore down on their hotel, Vigil had no way to get in touch with his family.

“It’s a roller coaster of emotion when you go through something like this,” Vigil said. “You hope for the best, but your imagination can’t help but run wild and fear the worst.”

The hotel where they were staying reported that all of its guests and crew were safe Monday. But Vigil says that’s not much consolation.

“We don’t know how much food is available, whether there’s bottled water, enough bottled water, whether our family knows of how they should evacuate and the availability of the flights,” he said.

Vigil’s not alone, with people using the search topic #FindOdile to track down their loved ones.

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WATCH: Harrowing Moments When a School Bus Crashed into Georgia Home

iStock/Thinkstock(CLAYTON COUNTY, Ga.) — Newly-released video shows the harrowing moments when a school bus crashed into a Georgia home.

The accident happened Monday in Clayton County, in the central part of the state.

The video shows a red car crossing the center lane, causing the bus to swerve. The bus plowed into a mailbox, a bush and through the home’s driveway, into the building.

The windshield shattered in the crash, and the driver can be heard, distraught.

Somehow, the driver and home’s residents escaped serious injury. No passengers were on the bus.

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Jobless Claims Plunge Lower to 280K

iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) — Jobless claims took a dive last week, decreasing by 36,000, according to the latest figures released Thursday by the Labor Department.

For the week ending Sept. 13, the number of people filing for benefits fell to 280,000. The previous week claims stood at 316,000.

The Labor Department said there were no “special factors” impacting that week’s figures.

The four-week moving average slumped as well, falling by 4,750 to 299,500.

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Meredith Vieira Shares Her Experience with Domestic Violence

Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images(NEW YORK) — Meredith Vieira tackled the topic of domestic violence by sharing a personal story.

On Wednesday’s episode of her talk show, Vieira discussed experiences she had with an abusive boyfriend many years ago.

“It started out with, we’d have a fight and he’d just sort of grab my arm. I didn’t think a lot about it, and then it turned into pushing me against the wall and then it went beyond that to actually taking his hand and grabbing my face and saying, ‘I could ruin your career if I wanted to and no one would want you,'” she revealed.

“Then there was the night that, we shared an apartment, and he threw me into a shower, naked in scalding water and then he threw me outside into the hallway, we lived in an apartment building, and I hid in the stairwell for two hours until he came again crying, and said, ‘I promise I won’t do this again.’ And I continued to stay in that relationship until I was offered a job in another state and that’s where I felt I had the ability to get away.”

Vieira, 60, is now happily married to her husband of 29 years, journalist Richard Cohen. They have three children.

However, the experience helped shape the talk show host, who admitted that leaving her abusive ex was difficult.

“I’m a smart woman. A lot of people say, Well, who would stay in that situation? Somebody who doesn’t have the wherewithal to get out, the means to get out. I had that,” she said. “Part of it was fear. I was scared of him and scared if I tried to leave something worse could happen to me. Part of it was guilt because every time we would have a fight he would then start crying and say, ‘I promise I won’t do it again’ and I would feel like maybe I contributed somehow to this.”

Still, she encouraged others who have suffered at the hands of an abusive partner to seek help. And everyone, she said, should be aware of this “rampant” issue.

“We all have to accept the fact that it’s not just an issue with the NFL, it’s an issue with all of our lives,” she said. “Until we take it seriously more and more women are going to get abused.”

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Scots Head to the Polls Thursday to Vote on Independence

iStock/Thinkstock(EDINBURGH, Scotland) — The people of Scotland are heading to the polls Thursday to vote on an historic referendum on whether to secede from the United Kingdom. The polls opened at 7 a.m. local time and will remain open until 10 p.m. local.

A vote to break away would grant Scotland independence for the first time in over 300 years and separate it from the rest of Great Britain, which also includes England, Wales and Northern Ireland.

Various opinion polls show a slight majority favoring maintaining the status quo, but after allowing for margins of error, it’s pretty much too close to call.

The voter turnout is heavy already. As of Wednesday, 98 percent of eligible voters had registered.

It’s a very different kind of election than what would take place in the United States. There is no exit polling or last minute campaigning, just people lining up at the polls and then counting the ballots. It’s expected, given how close this vote seems, that people will not know the results of this referendum until Friday morning breakfast time in Scotland.

Former British Prime Minister Gordon Brown, a Scotsman, seemed almost overcome with emotion Wednesday as he summoned the ghosts of the United Kingdom’s war dead down through the centuries, “Scotsmen, Welshmen, Englishmen and Irishmen lying side by side.”

“We who vote ‘no’ love Scotland,” Brown said.

Scotland’s First Minister, Alex Salmond, supports a “yes” vote for independence. “This is our opportunity of a lifetime and we must seize it with both hands,” Salmond said.

At the heart of the debate for separation from London is a bitter dissatisfaction among many Scots with a trend in the United Kingdom towards a more market-based conservatism than people in Scotland want.

Scots have come to see themselves as more European, more socially democratic, and less reflexively pro-American in foreign policy than the establishment that governs them from London.

President Obama weighed in on the referendum on Twitter. The president tweeted, “The UK is an extraordinary partner for America and a force for good in an unstable world. I hope it remains strong, robust and united. -bo”

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Artificial Sweeteners May Increase Blood Sugar Risks

iStock Editorial/Thinkstock(REHOVOT, Israel) — Many people use artificial sweeteners to avoid sugar and the increased risk of type 2 diabetes that comes with too much of the natural stuff, but new research shows the fake substitutes may be equally bad.

In a study published Thursday in the journal Nature, researchers from the Weizmann Institute of Science in Israel found that artificial sweeteners such as aspartame, sucralose and saccharine may lead to type 2 diabetes just like eating sugar does.

The researchers say the millions of microbes, largely bacteria, in your digestive system may be the reason.

In a number of experiments in people and lab mice, researchers observed the interaction between gut microbes and the consumption of the sweeteners.

Some of the human participants and mice experienced a two- to fourfold increase in blood sugars after consuming artificial sweeteners for a brief time.

Medical experts agree that high blood sugar levels can eventually lead to diabetes.

The researchers cautioned that the study needs to be repeated before they can properly determine if artificial sweeteners can actually increase the risk of developing diabetes.

“I think this issue is far from being resolved,” says Eran Elinav of the Weizmann Institute of Science.

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Another NFL Player Facing Charges; PepsiCo CEO ‘Deeply Disturbed’ by Mishandling of Issues

Jim McIsaac/Getty Images(NEW YORK) — Arizona Cardinals running back Jonathan Dwyer was arrested Wednesday on allegations of aggravated assault for two separate incidents — involving a 27-year-old woman and an 18-month-old child — that occurred at his home in July, according to the Phoenix police department.

Dwyer was booked on one count of aggravated assault causing a fracture, one count of aggravated assault involving a minor, two counts of criminal damage, one count of preventing the use of a phone in an emergency, and assault. He was released Thursday morning after posting the $25,000 bond.

The Cardinals said in a news release that Dwyer has been deactivated from all team activities.

The NFL said Dwyer’s arrest will be reviewed under the league’s personal conduct policy.

Meanwhile, Carolina Panthers defensive end Greg Hardy agreed to be placed on the NFL’s exempt list Wednesday. He will continued to be paid his guaranteed salary of $13.1 million and will be allowed to be at the team facility.

Hardy is awaiting a new trial in North Carolina after appealing a guilty verdict from July on two domestic violence charges.

“I understand that I need to step away from football right now and take care of this legal matter,” Hardy said in a statement. “I am entitled to my day in court and that’s where my focus should be.”

Meanwhile, the San Francisco 49ers appear to be sticking with their decision to allow defensive end Ray McDonald to practice and play while he is under investigation for domestic violence.

McDonald was arrested on Aug. 31, but has not yet been charged.

In Chicago, the father of a woman who once dated Chicago Bears receiver Brandon Marshall when he was with the Denver Broncos called for Roger Goodell to resign Wednesday because he’s disappointed in the way his daughter’s abuse allegations were handled.

Clarence Watley spoke at a news conference arranged by attorney Gloria Allred and said his daughter, Rasheedah Watley, was abused by Marshall. Watley said he and others wrote to Goodell about his daughter’s case and never heard back. Allred is not representing Watley or his daughter.

The Broncos issued a statement saying, “This issue from more than seven years ago involving a former player was taken very seriously by our organization, which firmly believes that violence of any type against women is wrong.”

The NFL issued a statement saying, “There were several incidents that resulted in no charges being filed. Nevertheless, due to the pattern of conduct, the NFL took disciplinary action in 2008.”

Marshall was suspended for three games, but the suspension was reduced to one game. He has denied the allegations and was never convicted.

And yet another NFL sponsor has chimed in on the current state of the league. Indra Nooyi, the chairman and CEO of PepsiCo, released a statement saying that as “a mother, a wife, and a passionate football fan…I am deeply disturbed that the repugnant behavior of a few players and the NFL’s acknowledged mishandling of these issues, is casting a cloud over the integrity of the league and the reputations of the majority of players who’ve dedicated their lives to a career they love.”

Nooyi said when it comes to child abuse and domestic violence, “there is no middle ground. The behaviors are disgusting, absolutely unacceptable, and completely fly in the face of the values we at PepsiCo believe in and cherish.”

The PepsiCo exec noted her company’s “long-standing partnership” with the NFL, and expressed confidence that [Commissioner] Roger Goodell “will do the right thing for the league in light of the serious issues it is facing.”

Nooyi concluded her statement by saying the league has an opportunity to “effect positive change.”

“I urge them to seize this moment. How they handle these cases going forward can help shape how we, as a nation, as a society, and as individuals treat domestic violence and child abuse,” Nooyi wrote.

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Another NFL Player Facing Charges; PepsiCo CEO ‘Deeply Disturbed’ by Mishandling of Issues

Jim McIsaac/Getty Images(NEW YORK) — Arizona Cardinals running back Jonathan Dwyer was arrested Wednesday on allegations of aggravated assault for two separate incidents — involving a 27-year-old woman and an 18-month-old child — that occurred at his home in July, according to the Phoenix police department.

Dwyer was booked on one count of aggravated assault causing a fracture, one count of aggravated assault involving a minor, two counts of criminal damage, one count of preventing the use of a phone in an emergency, and assault. He was released Thursday morning after posting the $25,000 bond.

The Cardinals said in a news release that Dwyer has been deactivated from all team activities.

The NFL said Dwyer’s arrest will be reviewed under the league’s personal conduct policy.

Meanwhile, Carolina Panthers defensive end Greg Hardy agreed to be placed on the NFL’s exempt list Wednesday. He will continued to be paid his guaranteed salary of $13.1 million and will be allowed to be at the team facility.

Hardy is awaiting a new trial in North Carolina after appealing a guilty verdict from July on two domestic violence charges.

“I understand that I need to step away from football right now and take care of this legal matter,” Hardy said in a statement. “I am entitled to my day in court and that’s where my focus should be.”

Meanwhile, the San Francisco 49ers appear to be sticking with their decision to allow defensive end Ray McDonald to practice and play while he is under investigation for domestic violence.

McDonald was arrested on Aug. 31, but has not yet been charged.

In Chicago, the father of a woman who once dated Chicago Bears receiver Brandon Marshall when he was with the Denver Broncos called for Roger Goodell to resign Wednesday because he’s disappointed in the way his daughter’s abuse allegations were handled.

Clarence Watley spoke at a news conference arranged by attorney Gloria Allred and said his daughter, Rasheedah Watley, was abused by Marshall. Watley said he and others wrote to Goodell about his daughter’s case and never heard back. Allred is not representing Watley or his daughter.

The Broncos issued a statement saying, “This issue from more than seven years ago involving a former player was taken very seriously by our organization, which firmly believes that violence of any type against women is wrong.”

The NFL issued a statement saying, “There were several incidents that resulted in no charges being filed. Nevertheless, due to the pattern of conduct, the NFL took disciplinary action in 2008.”

Marshall was suspended for three games, but the suspension was reduced to one game. He has denied the allegations and was never convicted.

And yet another NFL sponsor has chimed in on the current state of the league. Indra Nooyi, the chairman and CEO of PepsiCo, released a statement saying that as “a mother, a wife, and a passionate football fan…I am deeply disturbed that the repugnant behavior of a few players and the NFL’s acknowledged mishandling of these issues, is casting a cloud over the integrity of the league and the reputations of the majority of players who’ve dedicated their lives to a career they love.”

Nooyi said when it comes to child abuse and domestic violence, “there is no middle ground. The behaviors are disgusting, absolutely unacceptable, and completely fly in the face of the values we at PepsiCo believe in and cherish.”

The PepsiCo exec noted her company’s “long-standing partnership” with the NFL, and expressed confidence that [Commissioner] Roger Goodell “will do the right thing for the league in light of the serious issues it is facing.”

Nooyi concluded her statement by saying the league has an opportunity to “effect positive change.”

“I urge them to seize this moment. How they handle these cases going forward can help shape how we, as a nation, as a society, and as individuals treat domestic violence and child abuse,” Nooyi wrote.

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Another NFL Player Facing Charges; PepsiCo CEO ‘Deeply Disturbed’ by Mishandling of Issues

Jim McIsaac/Getty Images(NEW YORK) — Arizona Cardinals running back Jonathan Dwyer was arrested Wednesday on allegations of aggravated assault for two separate incidents — involving a 27-year-old woman and an 18-month-old child — that occurred at his home in July, according to the Phoenix police department.

Dwyer was booked on one count of aggravated assault causing a fracture, one count of aggravated assault involving a minor, two counts of criminal damage, one count of preventing the use of a phone in an emergency, and assault. He was released Thursday morning after posting the $25,000 bond.

The Cardinals said in a news release that Dwyer has been deactivated from all team activities.

The NFL said Dwyer’s arrest will be reviewed under the league’s personal conduct policy.

Meanwhile, Carolina Panthers defensive end Greg Hardy agreed to be placed on the NFL’s exempt list Wednesday. He will continued to be paid his guaranteed salary of $13.1 million and will be allowed to be at the team facility.

Hardy is awaiting a new trial in North Carolina after appealing a guilty verdict from July on two domestic violence charges.

“I understand that I need to step away from football right now and take care of this legal matter,” Hardy said in a statement. “I am entitled to my day in court and that’s where my focus should be.”

Meanwhile, the San Francisco 49ers appear to be sticking with their decision to allow defensive end Ray McDonald to practice and play while he is under investigation for domestic violence.

McDonald was arrested on Aug. 31, but has not yet been charged.

In Chicago, the father of a woman who once dated Chicago Bears receiver Brandon Marshall when he was with the Denver Broncos called for Roger Goodell to resign Wednesday because he’s disappointed in the way his daughter’s abuse allegations were handled.

Clarence Watley spoke at a news conference arranged by attorney Gloria Allred and said his daughter, Rasheedah Watley, was abused by Marshall. Watley said he and others wrote to Goodell about his daughter’s case and never heard back. Allred is not representing Watley or his daughter.

The Broncos issued a statement saying, “This issue from more than seven years ago involving a former player was taken very seriously by our organization, which firmly believes that violence of any type against women is wrong.”

The NFL issued a statement saying, “There were several incidents that resulted in no charges being filed. Nevertheless, due to the pattern of conduct, the NFL took disciplinary action in 2008.”

Marshall was suspended for three games, but the suspension was reduced to one game. He has denied the allegations and was never convicted.

And yet another NFL sponsor has chimed in on the current state of the league. Indra Nooyi, the chairman and CEO of PepsiCo, released a statement saying that as “a mother, a wife, and a passionate football fan…I am deeply disturbed that the repugnant behavior of a few players and the NFL’s acknowledged mishandling of these issues, is casting a cloud over the integrity of the league and the reputations of the majority of players who’ve dedicated their lives to a career they love.”

Nooyi said when it comes to child abuse and domestic violence, “there is no middle ground. The behaviors are disgusting, absolutely unacceptable, and completely fly in the face of the values we at PepsiCo believe in and cherish.”

The PepsiCo exec noted her company’s “long-standing partnership” with the NFL, and expressed confidence that [Commissioner] Roger Goodell “will do the right thing for the league in light of the serious issues it is facing.”

Nooyi concluded her statement by saying the league has an opportunity to “effect positive change.”

“I urge them to seize this moment. How they handle these cases going forward can help shape how we, as a nation, as a society, and as individuals treat domestic violence and child abuse,” Nooyi wrote.

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Funeral for Pennsylvania State Trooper Killed in Ambush Attack

Cpl. Bryon Dickson (right) and Trooper Alex Douglass (left) pictured. (Pennsylvania State Police)(SCRANTON, Pa.) — Mourners are gathering in northeastern Pennsylvania Thursday for the funeral of a state trooper slain last week in an ambush attack.

The suspected gunman remains on the loose.

Cpl. Bryon Dickson, 38, was fatally shot Friday, Sept. 12 outside the rural Blooming Grove barracks in Pike County. Another trooper, Alex Douglass, 31, was wounded.

The funeral for Dickson will be held in Scranton and hundreds of police officers are expected to attend.

The suspect was identified Tuesday as Eric Matthew Frein, 31, a skilled marksman and a survivalist with a grudge against law enforcement and authority. He is considered dangerous, possibly armed with a rifle and an AK-47. A three-state manhunt ensued after the shooting.

Schools in the Pocono Mountain School District remain closed again Thursday while the search for the gunman continues.

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