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Threatened Feminist Cancels College Appearance, Citing Concealed Weapons Allowance

Threatened Feminist Cancels College Appearance, Citing Concealed Weapons Allowance

Image Source Pink/Thinkstock(LOGAN, Utah) -- An avowed feminist blogger openly critical of the portrayal of women in video games cancelled a speaking engagement at Utah State University Tuesday night because of the school's policy that allows people with the proper permits to carry concealed firearms.Anita Sarkeesian tweeted she feared for her safety after receiving "multiple specific threats made stating intent to kill me & feminists at USU."Although Sarkeesian says she's received death threats before, she felt compelled to cancel her appearance because "police wouldn't take steps to prevent concealed firearms at the event. Requested pat downs or metal detectors after mass shooting threat but because of Utah's open carry laws police wouldn’t do firearm searches."The Salt Lake Tribune reported that an email sent to the USU threatened "the deadliest school shooting in American history" if Sarkeesian showed up.On Wednesday, the school said it would have provided extra security personnel and not permitted backpacks inside the auditorium where Sarkeesian was scheduled to speak. However, a spokesperson added that it would not question her decision to back out.Meanwhile, Sarkeesian said the incident would not discourage her from continuing to speak out. "The whole game industry must stand up against the harassment of women," she argued.

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Second Nurse With Ebola Arrives at Emory

Second Nurse With Ebola Arrives at Emory

Photo by Jessica McGowan/Getty Images(ATLANTA) -- A Dallas health care worker found to be infected with Ebola was transferred Wednesday to Emory University Hospital in Atlanta after she became the second person to contract the disease while working in the Dallas facility.Amber Vinson, 29, was one of the nurses who was very involved with the care for Ebola patient Thomas Eric Duncan, who died of Ebola at the Dallas hospital.

Her transfer came as the ability of Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital and any local hospital to handle the disease has been called into question. Dr. Tom Frieden, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said that some of the makeshift protective measures that health care workers at the Dallas hospital were taking increased "the risk of contamination.""By putting on more layers...it becomes much harder to put them on and much harder to take them off," he said in a Wednesday press conference."Some health care workers [were] putting on three or four layers of protective equipment in the belief that this would be more protective," he said, adding that some were using tape to close parts of their gear."We see a lot of variability in the use of protective equipment," Frieden said.Thomas Eric Duncan, the first person to exhibit Ebola symptoms in the U.S. and who is now referred to as the "index patient," was initially turned away from Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital before returning days later in an ambulance after his symptoms had progressed.The nurses' union at the Dallas hospital have detailed what they claim were violations of the CDC's safety protocols, including a lack of proper protective wear to overall ignorance on how the disease spreads. The union said Duncan's contaminated and highly contagious blood test was sent through the hospital's standard testing system, potentially infecting others.Two new Ebola infections at the Dallas hospital have highlighted concerns over whether hospitals are prepared to handle the lethal virus or if all Ebola patients should be sent to specialized facilities."I think it is too much to expect a hospital can become an Ebola treatment unit simply by reading guidelines," said Dr. Richard Besser, ABC's medical correspondent and a former CDC director.One question that has been raised is why Duncan was not transported from Dallas to one of the two other hospitals with specialized isolation units -- one in Omaha, Nebraska, and the other at Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia -- which have successfully treated Ebola patients.No health care workers at the Omaha or Atlanta facilities have reported infections after treating three Ebola patients at Emory University Hospital and Ashoka Mukpo, the American reporter currently in treatment at Nebraska Medical Center."I feel very strongly that the approach that has been taken is wrong. Patients with Ebola should be treated in special facilities that have been training to take care of patients with deadly contagious diseases," Besser said."Given that patients from Liberia have been safely transported to these units, it should be possible to safely transport patients to these units from any hospital in America," he said.Prior to announcing the transfer of one of the health care workers, Frieden said that the CDC's protocol moving forward would be to dispatch emergency response teams to any hospital where there is an infected patient. From there, they said the team may decide to send the patients to a different facility, but that is not the first step.Frieden and other officials have warned that there is a real possibility that more health care workers were infected during their treatment of Duncan. On Tuesday, Frieden said that 76 people could have been exposed to Duncan after his second visit to the hospital.“It may get worse before it gets better, but it will get better,” Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings said at a press conference Wednesday.

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Marriage Licenses Issued to Same-Sex Couples in Idaho

Marriage Licenses Issued to Same-Sex Couples in Idaho

Ivonne Wierink/Hemera/Thinkstock(BOISE, Idaho) -- Same-sex couples in Idaho began receiving marriage licenses on Wednesday, after a federal appeals court ordered the state to issue licenses to same-sex couples.The Idaho Statesman reports that Gov. Butch Otter and Attorney General Lawrence Wasden ended their opposition to the appeals court ruling on Tuesday. The appeals court had overturned the state's ban on same-sex marriages on Oct. 7. However, the following day, Gov. Otter appealed to Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy to stay the ruling. Kennedy initially issued the stay, preventing the appeals court ruling from going into effect until the state could determine a course of action, the Statesman reports. After receiving arguments from attorneys from both the same-sex marriage attorneys and the state, the Supreme Court lifted the stay.Gov. Otter said on Monday that he would continue to challenge the order. On Tuesday, however, he issued a new statement, according to the Statesman, that said while he still felt "the federal courts are mistaken in abandoning the sanctity of traditional marriage and in undermining the will of Idaho voters and each state's right to define marriage," he would respect the rule of law. Also on Tuesday, Wasden instructed all of the state's counties to comply beginning Wednesday morning.

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High School Football Player Charged With Rape Quits Team

High School Football Player Charged With Rape Quits Team

iStock/Thinkstock(HOQUIAM, Wash.) -- A high school football player accused of rape has decided to quit the team despite school officials defending his right to play, saying he is "innocent until proven guilty," his attorney told ABC News Wednesday.Tyler Smith, 18, was arrested last month and faces two counts of rape from an incident alleged to have happened during the summer, and another in 2012, according to court documents."He's not going to play for the rest of the year," Smith's attorney Scott Campbell said. "You show up at practice, there's a news truck there. It's something he and his family decided.""He felt like it was a distraction for his team and the school and he didn't want that," Campbell said.Hoquiam High School and the district's superintendent were allowing Smith to stay on as the team's defensive tackle, despite outrage from other students' parents, ABC affiliate KOMO reported. Hoquiam School District Superintendent Mike Parker said he backed the coach's decision to let Smith play."We felt that he's innocent until proven guilty," Parker told the station. "As bad as the crime might be, as repulsive as the crime might be, we're trusting that the court system will sort that out for us."Smith is accused of raping one girl this past summer and another victim in 2012. The teen admitted to police that one of the victims said no, but stated, "Yeah, but I thought she was saying 'no' for pleasure and not to stop having sex," according to the charging documents.Smith declined an interview with ABC News through his attorney.Smith pleaded not guilty when he was arraigned last month. He is due back in court on Oct. 27 and his trial is scheduled for Dec. 2.His case comes as professional and college football players are also in the spotlight for abuse allegations.

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Second Ebola Nurse Flew to Cleveland to Prepare for Her Wedding

Second Ebola Nurse Flew to Cleveland to Prepare for Her Wedding

Akron Public Schools(CLEVELAND) -- The Dallas nurse who traveled to Ohio before being diagnosed with Ebola had flown to Cleveland to prepare for her wedding, Cleveland officials said Wednesday.Amber Vinson, 29, a nurse at the Dallas hospital where an Ebola patient died, was identified Wednesday as the second health care worker at the hospital to contract the deadly disease."She flew into Cleveland to prepare for her wedding. She came in to visit her mother and her mother’s fiance," said Toinette Parrilla, director of Cleveland Department of Public Health.Vinson stayed at her relatives' home while visiting Ohio and those relatives are employees of Kent State University, the school said in a statement."She did not step foot on our campus," Kent State President Beverly Warren said in a statement.Vinson arrived in Cleveland on Friday, Oct. 10, and returned to Dallas on the evening of Monday, Oct. 13. She was diagnosed with a fever, which is considered to be the first symptom of the disease, on Tuesday Oct. 14. She was tested and her diagnosis was confirmed late Tuesday.The director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention addressed the fact that while she was not ordered into protective custody by the time she traveled, he did suggest that it was a mistake for her to do so."Because at that point she was in a group of individuals known to have exposure to Ebola, she should not have traveled on a commercial airline," CDC Director Tom Frieden said Wednesday.The CDC reiterated, however, that they released her flight data out of an abundance of caution since she would not be contagious until she began showing symptoms.Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins said Wednesday morning that she was dealing with her diagnosis "with grit and grace."Vinson will be transferred from Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital to Emory University Hospital in Atlanta. Emory successfully treated both missionaries who were the first two Americans to be diagnosed with Ebola, Dr. Kent Brantley and nurse Nancy Writebol. They are also treating a third individual, a World Health Organization worker who has never been identified, who was admitted to Emory on Sept. 9.

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Denver Police Warn Parents About Pot-Laced Candy Ahead of Halloween

Denver Police Warn Parents About Pot-Laced Candy Ahead of Halloween

Hemera/Thinkstock(DENVER) -- Denver Police are warning parents to be on the lookout for pot-laced candy this Halloween -- even releasing a video to show parents how similar pot-laced Sour Patch Kids candies, gummy candies and gum drops can look like the real thing.“A kid is not going to be able to tell the difference,” said Denver Police spokesman Ron Hackett. “My daughter is 7 years old. She could care less if it’s growing mold. She’s going to eat it.”The video shown by police features Patrick Johnson, the owner of the Urban Dispensary, who explains why parents need to be vigilant about monitoring what candy their children get."Edibles account for somewhere between 20 and 30 percent of our gross sales here in the shop," Johnson says in the video. "There’s really no way to tell the difference between candy that is infused and candy that's not."Johnson advises parents to check candy brands and throw out any suspicious or unknown brands after their child goes trick-or-treating.Dr. G. Sam Wang, a pediatric emergency room doctor at the Children's Hospital of Colorado in Denver, told ABC News he's worried about the first Halloween since recreational marijuana dispensaries have been widely accessible in Colorado."In our emergency department in the past couple years, we’ve seen an increase of kids with edible exposures," Wang said. "Halloween hasn’t happened yet. It is one of those things that we are concerned about and keeping our eyes open for."Police also have been concerned that kids might be able to sneak a few pieces of pot-laced candy that parents may have intended for themselves, Hackett said.“We kind of wanted to get ahead of anything coming out like that,” Hackett said. “We found that the adults were being irresponsible with them. They were taking them incorrectly and taking more than they should.”

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Previously Undisclosed Video Shows Highway Guardrail Failing in Crash Tests

Previously Undisclosed Video Shows Highway Guardrail Failing in Crash Tests

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- During dramatic court testimony Wednesday, the end terminal of a guard rail system was shown repeatedly failing in crash test videos that were never turned over to the U.S. government.The videos, produced between 2005 and 2006 by Texas-based guardrail maker Trinity Industries, show cars ramming into what a company executive said was an “experimental” configuration of its ET-Plus guardrail system.In five tests done with small passenger cars, plaintiffs in the case against Trinity say that rather than absorbing the impact as the guardrail is designed to do, the metal structures failed, in two cases causing the car to roll over and in another apparently impaling the vehicle.The ET-Plus system was the subject of an ABC News 20/20 investigation in September that looked into allegations that slight changes to the guardrail end terminal made in 2005 without the government’s knowledge made the guardrails hazardous if hit from the front. Rather than buckling and ribboning out to absorb the impact of the vehicle, in some crashes the guardrail locked up and sliced straight through the car, severing motorists’ limbs.According to an internal Trinity email obtained by ABC News, one change, reducing a piece of metal in the guardrail head piece from five inches to four, would also save the company $2 per guardrail -- some $50,000 per year.In testimony Tuesday, Trinity Industries Vice President of International Sales Brian Smith stressed that while the crash tests shown in the video Wednesday were done with the modified four-inch ET-Plus, they were only part of a research and development project that focused on what they say was a different way to install the guardrail -- a change that never went into production. Trinity maintains that because the project was never marketed or submitted to the government for approval, it was not necessary to turn the crash test video over to the Federal Highway Administration.Plaintiffs say the tests show the modified end terminal failing, as motorists have alleged has happened in the real world with the four-inch ET Plus terminals on the road today.Trinity told ABC News for a previous report it has a “high degree of confidence in the performance and integrity of the ET-Plus System” that is on the roads and noted that the Federal Highway Administration has repeatedly accepted the non-experimental ET-Plus System for eligibility on the nation’s highways. The company says design changes featured in the ABC News investigation were made to enhance performance of the ET-Plus and not to save money.When questions were raised by the FHWA about the modified guardrails, Trinity turned over videos of other crash tests it had done on the system in 2005 and 2010, which the company says show the guardrails functioning properly.Still, on Tuesday Virginia became the fourth state to raise questions about the safety of the modified guardrail, following Missouri, Massachusetts and Nevada, which all have suspended use of the new guardrail while they conduct further safety reviews.In response to the announcements from Massachusetts and Missouri, Trinity stated it intends to work with the state departments of transportation to ensure they are "accurately informed regarding our product." Trinity has appealed Nevada’s decision.

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Dallas Ebola Patient Being Transferred to Emory

Dallas Ebola Patient Being Transferred to Emory

Emory University Hospital(DALLAS) -- A Dallas health care worker found on Wednesday to be infected with Ebola will be transferred to Emory University Hospital in Atlanta after she became the second person to contract the disease while working in the Dallas facility.The transfer was announced Wednesday by Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Burwell during a press briefing.The announcement came as the ability of Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital -- and any local hospital -- to handle the outbreak has been questioned."I think it is too much to expect a hospital can become an Ebola treatment unit simply by reading guidelines," said Dr. Richard Besser, ABC News' medical correspondent and a former director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.Thomas Eric Duncan, the first person to exhibit Ebola symptoms in the U.S. and who is now referred to as the "index patient," was initially turned away from Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital before returning days later in an ambulance after his symptoms had progressed.The nurses' union at the Dallas hospital have detailed what they claim were violations of the CDC's safety protocols, including a lack of proper protective wear, to overall ignorance on how the disease spreads. The union said Duncan's contaminated and highly contagious blood test was sent through the hospital's standard testing system, potentially infecting others.One question that has been raised is why Duncan was not transported from Dallas to one of the two other hospitals with specialized isolation units -- one in Omaha, Nebraska, and the other at Emory University in Atlanta -- which have successfully treated Ebola patients.No healthcare workers at either facility have reported infections after treating three Ebola patients at Emory University Hospital and Ashoka Mukpo, the American reporter currently in treatment at Nebraska Medical Center."I feel very strongly that the approach that has been taken is wrong. Patients with Ebola should be treated in special facilities that have been training to take care of patients with deadly contagious diseases," Besser said."Given that patients from Liberia have been safely transported to these units, it should be possible to safely transport patients to these units from any hospital in America," he said.Prior to announcing the transfer of one of the health care workers, CDC Director Tom Frieden said that the agency's protocol moving forward would be to dispatch emergency response teams to any hospital where there is an infected patient. From there, they said the team may decide to send the patients to a different facility, but that is not the first step.Frieden and other officials have warned that there is a real possibility that more health care workers were infected during their treatment of Duncan. On Tuesday, Frieden said that 76 people could have been exposed to Duncan after his second visit to the hospital.“It may get worse before it gets better, but it will get better,” Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings said at a press conference Wednesday.

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Contents of Boston’s 1901 Time Capsule Revealed

Contents of Boston’s 1901 Time Capsule Revealed

iStock/Thinkstock(BOSTON) -- A 113-year-old time capsule found outside Boston's Old State House was cracked opened and the contents of the package were revealed Wednesday by the Bostonian Society.The capsule, which was found inside a lion statue that has long stood guard atop the building, contained sealed letters, photographs, newspaper clippings and the book Foreign Relations of the United States, 1886.Also included was a nail from the Old South church and a piece of wood, along with the message: "Wood removed from the Old Lion age of same 21 years in 1900."Elizabeth Leet, spokeswoman for the Bostonian Society, said the contents were packed tightly inside the shoe box-sized container."You open the box, and it's like they put the stuff in there yesterday. Everything looks like it was just written yesterday," Leet told the Boston Globe.Perhaps even more details of the past will be learned when the Bostonian Society opens the letters. Leet told the newspaper the letters will likely be steamed open to ensure the contents aren't damaged.

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Dallas Nurses Say Hospital had Sloppy Ebola Protocols: Union

Dallas Nurses Say Hospital had Sloppy Ebola Protocols: Union

Creatas/Thinkstock(DALLAS) -- Co-workers of a Dallas nurse who contracted Ebola from a sick patient say they worked for days without proper protective gear -- and that the hospital’s Ebola protocols and procedures were unclear and inadequate, leaving workers and hospital systems prone to contamination, according to a statement by the largest U.S. nurses’ union.The statement, which was provided by National Nurses United on behalf of several registered nurses at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital, details hospital procedures after Thomas Eric Duncan arrived at the hospital. The nurses are not represented by the union, and the group declined to reveal the nurses’ identities.Duncan was diagnosed with Ebola on Sept. 30 and died Oct. 8. On Sunday, Nina Pham – one of about 70 staff members who cared for Duncan – was diagnosed with the virus. Pham’s colleagues say the hospital was ill-equipped to handle the situation.“No one knew what the protocols were or were able to verify what kind of personal protective equipment should be worn and there was no training,” the statement reads.According to the union’s statement, Duncan was left in a non-quarantined zone for several hours, and a nurse supervisor faced resistance from hospital authorities after demanding that Duncan be moved to an isolation unit. Additionally, Duncan’s lab specimens were sent through the hospital’s tube system – potentially contaminating the system, the nurses said.Nurses who interacted with Duncan were given the option of wearing special N95 masks, but some supervisors said the masks were not necessary, the nurses said, according to the statement.“For their necks, nurses had to use medical tape, that is not impermeable and has permeable seams, to wrap around their necks in order to protect themselves, and had to put on the tape and take it off on their own,” the statement reads.“Nurses had to interact with Mr. Duncan with whatever protective equipment was available, at a time when he had copious amounts of diarrhea and vomiting which produces a lot of contagious fluids.”A hospital spokesman did not respond to specific claims by the nurses but said the hospital has not received similar complaints."Patient and employee safety is our greatest priority and we take compliance very seriously," hospital spokesman Wendell Watson said in a statement. "We have numerous measures in place to provide a safe working environment, including mandatory annual training and a 24/7 hotline and other mechanisms that allow for anonymous reporting."Our nursing staff is committed to providing quality, compassionate care, as we have always known, and as the world has seen firsthand in recent days. We will continue to review and respond to any concerns raised by our nurses and all employees."Deborah Burger, Co-President of National Nurses United, told ABC News that the problems encountered at the Dallas hospital are reflective of training and equipment insufficiencies at hospitals across the country.“What concerns me is that this validated what our systems say all over the country throughout the last two months, that hospitals are not prepared to take care of Ebola patients,” Burger said. “It is disturbing to have all of our concerns validated in one hospital.”The criticisms follow a Tuesday admission by Thomas Frieden, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director, who said he regrets not sending a larger team of experts to Texas when Duncan was first diagnosed with Ebola.The CDC could have sent a "more robust management team and been more hands on from day one," Frieden said. "Looking back, we say we should have put an even larger team on the ground immediately."Ebola has killed more than 4,000 people, mostly in the West African countries of Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea, according to recent figures by the World Health Organization.

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Second Nurse Infected with Ebola Was on Jetliner Before Diagnosis

Second Nurse Infected with Ebola Was on Jetliner Before Diagnosis

iStock/Thinkstock(DALLAS) -- A second Texas nurse who has tested positive for Ebola was on a commercial jetliner from Cleveland to Dallas the night before she arrived at the hospital with a fever and was later diagnosed with the deadly virus, officials said Wednesday.The nurse, who has been identified as nurse Amber Vinson, was part of the team at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital who took care of Thomas Eric Duncan, a Liberian man who died of Ebola on Oct. 8. She is the second member of the hospital staff to contract the virus and a Dallas official warned on Wednesday that additional cases among the hospital's health care workers is a "very real possibility."The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is reaching out to the 132 passengers who flew with the woman on Frontier Airlines Flight 1143 on Monday evening, landing in Dallas at 8:16 p.m. Although according to crew members the health care worker had no symptoms during the flight, the CDC is identifying and notifying passengers because she arrived at the hospital with a fever the following morning.Once it landed in Dallas, the plane was cleaned for the evening before flying out the next day, according to a statement from Frontier Airlines, which said its procedures are "consistent with CDC guidelines." It was cleaned again in Cleveland the following night.“The fight against Ebola in Dallas is a two-front fight now,” Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins said, speaking at a Wednesday morning press conference.President Obama was supposed to visit New Jersey and Connecticut on Wednesday, but he canceled the trip to hold a cabinet meeting in the White House to coordinate a response to the Ebola outbreak.Authorities said they are now tracking 75 people following the second hospital worker’s diagnosis. The unidentified health care worker reported a fever Tuesday and was isolated at the hospital, authorities said.The preliminary Ebola test was run late Tuesday at the state public health laboratory in Austin, and results were received at about midnight, authorities said. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has begun confirmation testing.The woman was put into isolation within 90 minutes, and she is dealing with her diagnosis "with grit and grace," Jenkins said.Authorities said this may not be the last case to be found among the hospital’s staff."We are preparing contingencies for more and that is a very real possibility," Jenkins said.Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings also suggested additional people may get sick."It may get worse before it gets better, but it will get better,” the mayor said.Dr. Daniel Varga of Texas Health Resources defended practices at the hospital, which has faced criticism amid the Ebola diagnoses.“It’s clear there was an exposure somewhere, sometime in our treatment of Duncan. Let’s be clear we’re a hospital that serves this community extremely well,” Varga said at the press conference. “We’re the first to diagnose and treat this insidious disease that has attacked two of our own.”City workers went to the neighborhood of the second patient early Wednesday morning to knock on doors to alert people to the news and to be alert to possible symptoms. They handed out flyers and later began robo calls to the area, Varga said.Rawlings said the community remains vigilant.“The only way that we are going to beat this is person by person, moment by moment, detail by detail,” Rawlings said. "While Dallas is anxious about this … We are not fearful.”Health officials interviewed the patient, hoping to track down any contacts or potential exposures in the community, the CDC said in a statement."While this is troubling news for the patient, the patient’s family and colleagues and the greater Dallas community, the CDC and the Texas Department of State Health Services remain confident that wider spread in the community can be prevented with proper public health measures including ongoing contact tracing, health monitoring among those known to have been in contact with the index patient and immediate isolations if symptoms develop," the CDC said in a statement.Authorities visited the patient's apartment Wednesday morning to begin decontamination efforts.The workers donned hazmat suits, trying to protect themselves from exposure.The new diagnosis comes days after nurse Nina Pham, 26, who also treated Duncan, was diagnosed with Ebola. Duncan was diagnosed with Ebola on Sept. 30 and died Oct. 8.CDC Director Thomas Frieden had previously suggested that Pham may not be the only person who became infected while treating Duncan. “It is possible that other individuals could have been infected,” Frieden said.Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Burwell admitted that the reasons for the hospital workers becoming infected aren't clear."Those are people that came in contact because we don't understand exactly how the breach in protocol occurred," Burwell told ABC News Wednesday. "We are taking the precaution of making sure that anyone within that treatment phase will be tracked and monitored in a more serious way."Ebola has killed more than 4,000 people, mostly in the West African countries of Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea, according to recent figures by the World Health Organization.

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Pair of Park Rangers Stabbed on Boston Common

Pair of Park Rangers Stabbed on Boston Common

aijohn784/iStockphoto/Thinkstock(BOSTON) -- A pair of park rangers were stabbed on Tuesday afternoon on Boston Common, with one suffering life-threatening injuries.According to the Boston Police Department, the stabbing occurred at about 4:52 p.m. at 38 Beacon Street. Both of the rangers were injured in the attack. The victim with life-threatening injuries was taken to Massachusetts General Hospital, while the other ranger, who suffered non-life-threatening injuries, was taken to Tufts Medical Center.An investigation into the stabbing was launched immediately, and several individuals were questioned by police. No arrest has yet been made, however.

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Virginia Becomes the Fourth State to Raise Questions About Guardrail Safety

Virginia Becomes the Fourth State to Raise Questions About Guardrail Safety

lily_81/iStockphoto/Thinkstock(RICHMOND, Va.) -- Virginia has become the fourth state to raise questions about the safety of some of the guardrails used on its highways, saying the company that produced the devices made changes to the design years ago without disclosing them.In a letter dated Oct. 10 and obtained by ABC News, Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) officials criticized a Trinity Industries subsidiary, Trinity Highway Products, which makes some of the guardrails that are used across the country, for making “undisclosed modifications to the ET-Plus [guardrail system] in 2005.”“The modified ET-Plus is a different product than that approved by VDOT for use on Virginia roadways in 2000,” the letter says. “This different product has not been approved for use in Virginia by VDOT.”The letter issues an ultimatum to Trinity, saying it has until the end of next week to conduct new tests of the ET-Plus system, for which VDOT officials must be present, and provide new test analysis and reports “including detailed product schematics for the system and the [guardrail] head, depicting all dimensions.” Otherwise, the letter says, the guardrails could be removed from the state's Approved Products List.An ABC News 20/20 investigation in mid-September reported the 2005 design changes, among them the slimming of a piece of metal in the guardrail “head” from five inches to four. Lawsuits filed against the company allege the small change altered the way the guardrail reacted to being hit from the front. In several graphic cases, the guardrail speared straight through the vehicle – severing motorists’ legs -- rather than bending back as designed. According to an internal Trinity email obtained by ABC News, the change would also save the company $2 per guardrail – some $50,000 per year.Trinity told ABC News for a previous report it has a “high degree of confidence in the performance and integrity of the ET-Plus System...” and noted that the Federal Highway Administration has repeatedly accepted the ET-Plus System for eligibility on the nation’s highways. The company says design changes were made to enhance performance of the ET-Plus and not to save money.Three weeks ago, two other states, Missouri and Massachusetts, announced they had halted use of the guardrails while they investigate further. Earlier this year the Nevada Department of Transportation removed the guardrail end terminal from its “Qualified Products List,” meaning it would not purchase them for use on state highways as it reviews the product.In response to the announcements from MassDOT and MoDOT, Trinity stated it intends to work with state departments of transportation to ensure they are "accurately informed regarding our product."Nevada DOT told ABC News their step was “a procedural measure” after it learned that Trinity had failed to disclose those changes made to the ET-Plus, as is required by the state. Trinity has appealed that decision.

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iPhone App Helps Cops Rescue Woman After Her Car Plummets Down Ravine

iPhone App Helps Cops Rescue Woman After Her Car Plummets Down Ravine

oaltindag/iStock Editorial/Thinkstock(SAN JOSE, Calif.) -- A woman whose car flipped 500 yards down a remote ravine in northern California was rescued Tuesday after her family reported her missing. And her rescue was enabled in part thanks to a quick-thinking police officer.Melissa Vasquez was ejected from her vehicle after she crashed in the mountains near San Jose, about twenty miles from where she lives in Campbell, California, police said. Campbell police were alerted of a possible crash on Monday by the car's on-board OnStar security system, but couldn't locate the woman's vehicle, police said."During the investigation, one of our officers asked her stepmom about her iPhone," Sgt. Gary Berg told ABC News Tuesday. "So the officer logged on to the Find My iPhone app and unbelievably he was able to guess her password and log into her account. And at that point, he located the address where her phone was showing on GPS."California Highway Patrol brought in a helicopter and pulled the woman to safety. She had been ejected from her car and was laying face down in the ravine, police said.It's not yet clear how the accident happened, and police are investigating. Vasquez, 28, is being treated for injuries at a hospital, police said."It's pretty remarkable," Berg said. "I would hate to think of the outcome had we not been able to log on."OnStar told ABC News it is aware of the incident and looking into what happened."We are saddened by this incident involving one of our subscribers," the company said in a statement. "Our subscribers' safety and security is OnStar's utmost concern. We are currently conducting a complete investigation, including information we have received from our call centers, our cellular network provider, our engineering team and the local authorities to better understand what occurred."

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Student Stuck in Mexico After Seeing Dying Mom Granted Visa to Return to US

Student Stuck in Mexico After Seeing Dying Mom Granted Visa to Return to US

alexskopje/iStockphoto/Thinkstock(BOSTON) -- A junior at Harvard University who is an undocumented immigrant has been granted a visa to return to the United States after he was stranded in Mexico while trying to save his mother with an experimental cancer treatment.Dario Guerrero knew that he needed permission from U.S. Customs and Immigration to leave the country, but because of his mother's deteriorating kidney cancer, he felt he couldn't wait for an official response any longer, his lawyer said."The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service did a great thing just a few minutes ago and they granted and approved Dario's humanitarian parole visa request so he can return to America. He should be back in America in a few days," Guerrero's lawyer, Alan Klein, told ABC News Tuesday.Guerrero, 21, said he drove down through Tijuana because he wanted to see his dying mother."I thought immigration was being so obtuse about my case. And I decided to take my risk and deal with the consequences later," Guerrero told ABC News earlier Tuesday, before he learned that he had been granted a humanitarian parole visa.Guerrero's mother died in August and he was trying to get back to the United States for another major family event: the birth of his first child."He acted impulsively," Klein said, also noting that his client's baby's due date is Monday."I didn't think it would take this long," Guerrero told ABC News. "I thought I'd be back in time for fall semester. I've learned a lot –- but I'm glad I made this decision."Guerrero's parents brought him to California when he was 2 years old, becoming undocumented residents when they overstayed their tourist visas, his lawyer said.He didn't learn of his immigration status until he was 16, when the community college where he was taking courses flagged up that there was a problem with the Social Security number that he submitted. Guerrero detailed how he navigated the stressful application process and eventually got a full scholarship to Harvard in an article for The Washington Post.When his mother's health deteriorated dramatically this summer, his attention turned from his film studies major at Harvard to his family in California.His mother returned to Mexico in July "to receive treatment that she wasn't able to get or afford in America because she was undocumented," Klein said, and though Guerrero stayed at home in California with his father and two younger siblings, her condition began to deteriorate.Guerrero applied for a parole exception, but did not want to wait any longer for a response."His father told him, 'Go be with your mother on her dying day,'" Klein told ABC News.Colin Manning, a spokesman for Harvard, confirmed that Guerrero is a student at the school, "but federal student privacy laws prohibit me from commenting further.""While I cannot comment on any specific student, generally speaking, Harvard works to ensure it is doing what it can to support its students both on and off campus since it is our goal that all students complete their undergraduate education," Manning said in a statement to ABC News.

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St. Louis Police Say Gunshot Residue Found on Teen Shot by Police Officer

St. Louis Police Say Gunshot Residue Found on Teen Shot by Police Officer

Rex_Wholster/iStockphoto/Thinkstock(ST. LOUIS) -- The Saint Louis Metropolitan Police Department announced on Tuesday that lab results indicate that Vonderrit Myers, the 18-year-old shot and killed by a police officer in south Saint Louis on Oct. 8, had fired at the officer.Police had initially claimed that Myers had been armed and had fired at the officer first, while friends and family had disputed that claim. Tuesday's lab results indicated that gunshot residue was found on Myers' hand, on his shirt and inside the waistband and pockets of his jeans. Protesters have continued to gather in nearby Ferguson after the shooting deaths of Myers and Michael Brown, 18, by police officers have stoked racial tensions in the region. At least 19 people were arrested on Monday during ongoing protests.

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Dallas Nurse Battling Ebola Says She’s ‘Doing Well’

Dallas Nurse Battling Ebola Says She’s ‘Doing Well’

Will Montgomery(DALLAS) -- Dallas nurse Nina Pham, who contracted Ebola while treating a Liberian patient who died of the disease, issued an upbeat statement Tuesday saying that she is "doing well."Pham has received a potentially life-saving transfusion from Dr. Kent Brantly, the missionary doctor who beat the virus two months ago, ABC News has learned.Brantly flew to Dallas on Sunday, one day after Pham tested positive for the virus, sources said. He donated his blood, packed with antibodies that should fight the disease.Pham, 26, expressed her gratitude Tuesday in a statement issued by Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Dallas where she worked and is now a patient.“I’m doing well and want to thank everyone for their kind wishes and prayers. I am blessed by the support of family and friends and am blessed to be cared for by the best team of doctors and nurses in the world here at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Dallas,” she said in her statement.Hospital CEO Barclay Berdan said the hospital staff "are working tirelessly to help her in this courageous fight." Members of Our Lady of Fatima Church in Fort Worth, Texas -- the church that Pham’s family attends -- held a special mass on Monday. Rev. Jim Khoi said the family remains hopeful.“She’s doing well, she’s being treated very well, and she feels comfortable,” Khoi said.Brantly’s blood donation was welcome information for Pham’s family and friends, Khoi said. “I think that is very good news right there,” he said.As the 26-year-old remains in isolation, health officials still aren’t sure how she contracted Ebola.The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is doubling its manpower at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital, and Director Dr. Thomas Frieden says the agency is reconsidering its approach to Ebola.Pham may not be the only person that became infected while treating Duncan, Frieden said.“It is possible that other individuals could have been infected,” Frieden said.

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Cellphone Video Captures Aftermath of Chicago-Bound Bus Crash

Cellphone Video Captures Aftermath of Chicago-Bound Bus Crash

Stockbyte/Thinkstock(INDIANAPOLIS) -- Traffic was snarled for hours Tuesday on a busy Indiana highway after a double-decker bus traveling from Atlanta to Chicago flipped on its side, injuring dozens.Authorities said that a little before 5 a.m. near Indianapolis, the bus -- operated by Megabus -- had attempted to avoid a stopped vehicle that had been in a previous crash on Interstate 65.As the bus swerved, it overturned. Authorities said the bus was carrying about 60 people.One passenger was reportedly hospitalized in critical condition but no life-threatening injuries were reported.Bus passenger Craig Steichen of St. Charles, Illinois, said he was sleeping when the crash occurred. Steichen took cellphone video of emergency responders treating passengers.“The scariest moment was…I guess when I was rolling around not knowing what was going to happen. …I don’t know how many times it (the bus) rolled over but I know I moved about three or four different times,” he told ABC News station WLS-TV in Chicago.Steichen suffered a skin burn on his forehead.He said that it had rained the entire bus ride. State Police said weather likely played a role in the accident.

A second Megabus was sent from Louisville, Kentucky, to transport passengers to their final destination.Megabus “will be providing assistance and support for all of our customers involved in this incident,” said spokesman Sean Hughes. “Safety is our absolute priority and we are assisting the authorities with their investigation into the circumstances of the incident.”

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Sightings of Armed Clowns Continue to Spook California Residents

Sightings of Armed Clowns Continue to Spook California Residents

iStock/Thinkstock(BAKERSVILLE, Calif.) -- Sightings of scary clowns armed with machetes or baseball bats continue, putting some California residents on edge.But police said they hope the pranksters, or whoever is behind the scary phenomenon, are ready to retire their spooky costumes.Bakersville resident Erica Kern told ABC News she drove past a clown in the passenger seat of another car on Monday after seeing reports of the masked jokesters terrorizing residents in her city and nearby Wasco."It didn't scare me but it made me do a double take," she said. "I saw a flash of bright red and orange out of the peripheral and saw this frightening clown mask. It didn't scare me but it certainly could send someone to swerve.""It doesn't help that Halloween is right around the corner, so there are clown masks readily available," she added.Social media accounts using the name "Wasco Clown" claim to be linked to the pranks, but police said they were unaware of any connection. Instagram photos show scary clowns posing in different landmarks in Wasco, Delano and Bakersfield, and the snapshots include taunting captions like "come out and play" and "It's funny you guys think I got arrested."Another Bakersfield resident, Cory Ferrier, told ABC News his mom sent him a text message to warn him about the clowns after seeing the Instagram photos on the news."I didn't really hear about it until my mom texted me to make sure I was OK," he said. "From what I saw, it just seems to be kids running around in clown costumes."Bakersfield police told ABC News there have been 20 reports of scary clowns, including some who reported the clown was armed with a machete or baseball bat, but the last sighting was on Saturday. Sgt. Joe Grubbs said he hopes the hoax is over.Sgt. Ian Chandler of the nearby Kern County Sheriff's Department in Wasco said his department had also received several phone calls about clowns, but the last report was also on Saturday.Despite the 911 calls, police say the clowns weren't generally engaging in criminal activity. There was only one arrest, of a juvenile, last week in Bakersfield. He was allegedly chasing other juveniles while dressed as a clown, and told police he was doing it because of a hoax he had seen online.

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Man Won’t Take Down Obama Tombstone, Despite Anger

Man Won’t Take Down Obama Tombstone, Despite Anger

iStock/Thinkstock(OKLAHOMA CITY) -- An Oklahoma man doesn't think he'll remove a mock-bloody gravestone for President Obama from his Halloween lawn exhibit despite an offended neighbor and online anger.The uproar over Dwayne Dockens' Obama tombstone went public after Jamilla Phillips, a neighbor who moved to Edmond, Oklahoma, less than a year ago, complained to a local TV station, ABC News affiliate KOCO in Oklahoma City."Regardless of your political views, Democrat or Republican, he is the president of the United States," Phillips told ABC News, while declining to provide her political affiliation. "I just think it was disrespectful not just to me, but [Obama]."

The coverage of Phillips' complaint prompted a reaction from local Democrats."It's disrespectful and completely unpatriotic in a time of worldwide conflict," Dana Orwig, vice-chairwoman of the Oklahoma Democratic Party, said in a prepared statement. "We need to stand behind our country and president. But it's also typical of the intolerant and the hypocrisy that we see so often."Dockens told ABC News that he apologizes if anyone was upset, but that he now is less inclined to take down the front-lawn exhibit because Phillips did not confront him directly about it. He said he learned about the complaint when KOCO News asked to interview him."This could have been settled over an afternoon talk," Dockens said. "It's ridiculous what this has evolved into."Dockens said he set out his tombstone decorations, featuring silly phrases such as "Ima Gonner," on his front lawn as he has for the past three years without receiving any complaints. The Obama stone features Obama's name with lines of painted blood dripping over it and a question mark where his birth date should be, referencing a past controversy surrounding the president's date and origin of birth.Dockens said the signs were meant as a joke, not to disrespect anyone."Just kind of something we thought was humorous for the time," he said.

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