• iStock/Thinkstock(COLUMBIA, Tenn.) -- A suspect armed with a machete was taken into custody late Friday after he took nine people hostage at a Tennessee bank earlier in the day.According to ABC affiliate WKRN-TV, the man was tackled by police after he emerged from the bank. Police had yet to confirm the man was taken into custody early Saturday.All of the hostages had been released Friday afternoon prior to the man being taken into custody, according to police.The 54-year-old man initially took nine people hostage at the Community First Bank & Trust in Columbia, Tennessee, before releasing four people, a spokesperson for the Columbia Police Department said. Hours later, the remaining five hostages were released, according to Columbia Police Capt. Jeremy Alsup.None of the hostages were injured during the ordeal, Alsup said.Emergency dispatchers responded to a call for an armed robbery in progress, police said, though officials later clarified that the hostage situation "does not appear to be a robbery at this time."The motive is unknown, Alsup said.Further details on the incident were not immediately available.Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.
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  • ABC News(MIAMI) -- ABC News reporters helped assure a worried daughter that her family in Puerto Rico is safe after she could not reach them in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria. Miami resident Tere Blanca sent ABC News reporters a video message Friday saying she was desperate to hear from her family in Ponce, on the island's southern coast. In the video, she said she had not been able to contact her father and brother. Puerto Rico is virtually without power or cell service after Maria made landfall on the island as a powerful Category 4 storm early Wednesday morning. People in the United States have been struggling to reach loved ones after the hurricane decimated the island. Debris, downed power lines and trees littered the streets as ABC News reporters drove from San Juan to Ponce. Once they arrived in Ponce, ABC News reporters on the ground found Tere Blanca's father, Antonio Blanca, alive and well at his home. Antonio Blanca told ABC News that he and his wife, Julie Blanca, are safe. They have food and water, but no electricity, he said. The father also said that his son, Tony Blanca, is OK and had stopped by their home on Thursday. Julie Blanca said she and her husband had last spoken to his daughter on Tuesday, hours before the storm hit Puerto Rico. At that point, "nothing was happening," Julie Blanca said. After 1 a.m. Wednesday, conditions began to worsen, Julia Blanca said. "It was terrible," she said. Antonio Blanca recorded a message for his daughter, telling her he loves her and his two granddaughters and instructing her not to worry about them. "I love you, Tere -- a lot," Antonio Blanca said. At least seven people in Puerto Rico were killed by the storm, officials said. The entire island is without electricity after its power grid was destroyed in the storm.
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  • YakobchukOlena/iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- The authority tasked with regulating the nation's aviation industry is facing a partial shutdown as its authorization to do so expires next Saturday.To avoid such a shutdown of the Federal Aviation Administration, Congress must pass either an extension of the old piece of legislation or pass an entirely new bill.But how did we get here? What does it mean? Would air travel come to a halt? ABC News breaks it all down:Your flights would still operate, but many FAA employees would be furloughedIf Congress fails to pass any kind of reauthorization by Sept. 30, thousands of nonessential FAA employees will face a temporary leave of absence and airport construction workers.While the construction workers are furloughed, government-contracted projects at airports and FAA facilities intended to increase traffic capabilities will be delayed.The government will also be unable to collect on airfare taxes, potentially surrendering hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue in a matter of weeks.Airlines will continue to fly safely and passengers are unlikely to see any tangible difference in their flying experience if Congress doesn't pass a reauthorization before October.Many FAA employees, like air traffic controllers and safety inspectors, would continue to work through the partial shutdown.Nevertheless, representatives and those in the industry alike are calling the reauthorization a "must-pass" piece of legislation. In addition to furloughing thousands of Americans, it would significantly hinder the FAA's modernization program called NextGen, a project the agency has already spent $7 billion on.The last time the FAA operated without congressional reauthorization, The Washington Post reported the agency was losing an estimated $30 million a day.A short-term extension is needed after lawmakers couldn't agree on a long-term planThe FAA currently operates under a 2016 extension of a 2012 three-year reauthorization, which expires Sept. 30.The house is scheduled to vote on a six-month extension next week after senators and representatives could not agree on a long-term total reauthorization.President Donald Trump declared privatizing the FAA's air traffic control responsibilities a formal legislative priority back in June; an agenda for years pushed by House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman Rep. Bill Shuster.Shuster and Trump claim their push to spin the country's air navigation system into a nonprofit corporation is part of their broader plan to modernize infrastructure across the board, but they've struggled to get enough of Shuster's colleagues on the hill onboard.Democrats have formed a united front in opposition to the privatization plan, but it's Republicans giving Shuster the biggest headache.Members of Congress and the Senate from more rural areas of the United States believe such a corporation would favor the country's largest airports and airlines, ignoring the needs of the general aviation community and smaller airports.“This is a tough sell in states like my state of Mississippi, where small airports are very concerned about where this will leave them," said Sen. Roger Wicker, R-Miss., at a hearing.While Shuster wants to push a short-term path extending through the end of 2017, Democrats on the hill are demanding a slightly longer version.“We will not support less than six months,” ranking Democrat on the House Transportation Committee Rep. Peter DeFazio, D-Ore., said last week.Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.
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  • aradaphotography/iStock/Thinkstock(RIVER OAKS, Texas) -- Using an iPad, Valerie McDaniel started an audio diary to record her deepest thoughts. In her entries, the 48-year-old talked about her daughter, her dating adventures as a new divorcee -- and a dark secret.“I hate the idea that everybody thinks I’m a monster,” McDaniel says in the recording she made on March 15, 2017.And in her last recording made on March 25, McDaniel says, “I never wanted to hurt anyone.”McDaniel was a veterinarian living in a two-bedroom condo at a luxury high-rise in the wealthy Houston neighborhood of River Oaks. When she wasn’t treating animals at the veterinary clinic she owned, friends and colleagues said McDaniel spent weekends on Tiki Island near Galveston, where she regularly hosted friends at her beach home.She had been married to her business partner, Marion “Mack” McDaniel, but the two divorced after 17 years together and agreed to share custody of their now 9-year-old daughter. Friends said she was miserable in the marriage and her husband was never around.“She would be very hurt by her husband,” said Dr. Brittany King, a veterinarian who worked for Valerie McDaniel. “It would be… a text or a phone call and then she would be in tears, and it’s so hard to watch someone in that much pain.”She was largely unhappy until she was introduced to Leon Jacob, the now 40-year-old son of her neighbor and divorce attorney.“I was completely turned off immediately by his attitude,” McDaniel recalled in a diary entry about meeting Jacob for the first time. “I was drawn to him but disgusted at the same time.”But eventually, Jacob won her over. When they were first intimate, McDaniel recalled in a diary entry that, “it was like a movie moment… It was the most passionate, romantic moment in my life.”Valerie McDaniel and Leon Jacob are pictured together in this undated photo.Watch the full story on ABC News "20/20" TONIGHT at 10 p.m. ETJacob moved into her condo and the two began living together early this year. In an interview with “20/20,” Jacob said they cooked together, even shared bank accounts and told people they were getting married.But on March 27, McDaniel jumped off her seventh-floor balcony to her death. She left behind multiple notes detailing her final wishes and recorded her final words on her iPad, saying, “I have two great loves in my life -- I have my daughter, I have Leon.”“It was just as much of a shock to me as it was to everybody else around her,” Jacob said. “There was nothing wrong.”McDaniel's friends said they had a bad feeling about Jacob."[He was] very arrogant and full of himself," said her longtime friend Maggie Whitley, "I've just never seen anything quite like that... I've got a pretty strong intuition about people, and I did not feel good about it. And I let her know that."It turns out some of Jacob's past relationships were tumultuous, including the one he had with his ex-wife, Annie Jacob. Leon Jacob recalled that relationship as having many highs and lows.“We would fight, fight, fight, and love, love, love, fight, fight, fight, love, love, love,” Jacob said of his ex-wife. “It was one of those relationships that people are like, ‘God, they're crazy, but they're their crazy, and we love that.’”After 11 years of marriage, Annie Jacob filed for divorce in 2013 and later pressed charges against him for aggravated stalking and intimidation. Court documents obtained by ABC News say he made calls, sent texts and emails, threatening to inflict bodily harm. But Jacob said it was blown out of proportion.“Attempted cyber harassment is what I plead guilty to,” Jacob said. “She went a little overboard with her complaints about me.”Jacob served probation for attempted cyber stalking and the other charges w
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  • HsinJuHSU/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Following months of controversy, the Education Department said on Thursday it would end Obama-era guidance on campus sexual assaults.In a "dear colleague" letter, released in 2011, the Obama administration instructed schools to use a "preponderance of evidence" standard, rather than the more stringent "clear and convincing evidence standard, to prove sexual assault.But the Trump administration argues using a lower standard of proof in sexual misconduct cases "suggests a discriminatory purpose."Quoting a recent court decision, the newly-released interim guidance said the Obama administration policy represents "a deliberate choice by the university to make cases of sexual misconduct easier to prove -- and thus more difficult to defend, both for guilty and innocent students alike."Under the new guidance, schools can choose which standard of proof they use, but it should be "consistent with the standard the school applies in other student misconduct cases," according to a document released on Thursday.Education Secretary Betsy DeVos first broadcast her intent to withdraw the "failed" Obama-era guidance in a press conference earlier this month, saying it was unfair to alleged perpetrators."One rape is too many ... And one person denied due process is too many," she said at George Mason Law School. "Every student accused of sexual misconduct must know that guilt is no predetermined.""It's no wonder so many call these proceedings kangaroo courts," she said, referencing the lack of due process for both victims and the accused in on-campus sexual assault proceedings.Academic studies put the prevalence of false allegations between 2 and 10 percent.Thursday’s announcement comes just months after DeVos sparked a controversy by meeting with so-called "men's rights" groups like the National Coalition for Men and groups that speak out on behalf of the accused, like Families Advocating for Campus Equality.Volunteers for these groups say they just want to make sure all involved get a fair process."Victims for a long time weren't taken seriously, and President Obama tried to correct that -- but some of us think that he over-corrected, to the point where those who haven't committed any crimes, like myself, are at a risk of losing their futures, losing their lives, and being destroyed, essentially," Jonathan Andrews, a 23-year-old volunteer who says he was falsely accused of rape after he himself was sexually assaulted, told ABC News in July.But survivor's advocates, with whom the secretary also met, say the groups push harmful, blame-the-victim stereotypes."She's meeting with groups and individuals today who believe that sexual assault is some sort of feminist plot to hurt men," said Mara Keisling, Executive Director of National Center for Transgender Equality.In response to today's announcement, the National Women's Law Center called the move "devastating.""It will discourage students from reporting assaults," the group said in a statement, adding the standards set forth today represent "a huge step back to a time when sexual assault was a secret that was swept under the rug."The American Association of University Women went even further, saying in a statement, "today’s announcement confirms our suspicions: the U.S. Department of Education’s intent is to roll back critical civil rights protections for students."Obama Education Secretary John King tweeted that the move is "shameful and wrong" and "undermines student safety."Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.
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  • ABC News(SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico) -- In Puerto Rico, nursing home caregiver Maria Ortiz is trying desperately to get ahead of the suffering her patients may face if she doesn't get aid and supplies quickly for them."We can't let them die. We can't let them die. And we need all the help we can get," said Ortiz as she stood in line for water. "We need help. We need diesel for the generator. We need electricity. We need water."Hurricane Maria came ashore as a catastrophic Category 4 hurricane on Wednesday, hitting the island with devastating winds and torrential rains. At least six people have been reported dead so far in the most powerful storm to strike Puerto Rico since 1932.Ortiz brought ABC News to the nursing home, situated in a residential neighborhood. The grounds were still wet and littered with debris and flattened, dead trees. Ortiz also pointed out the lone generator, droning loudly, on the side of the home."This is terrible," she said.Puerto Rico's emergency management agency said Wednesday that 100 percent of the island had lost power, noting that anyone with electricity was using a generator. Authorities said telecommunications throughout the island had also collapsed.Ortiz told ABC News that she had no way to even communicate with her family on the island, though she said she could see her relatives' house from the nursing home.As she walked through the nursing home checking on residents, Ortiz said she was worried about them and felt responsible for their livelihood."We're giving them what they need. ... We're taking care of them," she said. "All they have now is me and my personnel here. That's all they have."Ortiz said that while no patients were suffering at the moment, the nursing home could face dire conditions eventually, especially if the generator went out or she couldn't get more fuel.
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