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  • Puerto Rico debt adjustment plan not 'realistic' in April: official

    Puerto Rico debt adjustment plan not 'realistic' in April: officialThe executive director of Puerto Rico's federally created financial oversight board said on Monday that a plan to restructure the U.S. commonwealth's core government debt likely cannot be done by the end of April. An attorney for the board last week told a U.S. judge who is hearing Puerto Rico's bankruptcy cases that a draft plan was expected next month, according to local media reports.




  • Three dead, one missing in devastating floods across U.S. Midwest

    Three dead, one missing in devastating floods across U.S. MidwestAs floodwaters began to recede in much of the area inundated by the aftermath of a storm dubbed a "bomb cyclone," Nebraska officials were taking in the damage in a state where 64 of the 93 counties have declared emergencies. "This is clearly the most widespread disaster we have had in our state's history," in terms of sheer size, Governor Pete Ricketts told reporters on an afternoon briefing call. State officials said on the call that 290 people had been rescued by the Nebraska State Patrol, National Guard troops, and urban search and rescue teams.




  • Texas petrochemical storage fire rages, may burn for two days

    Texas petrochemical storage fire rages, may burn for two daysFirefighters were making progress seeking to contain the blaze at Intercontinental Terminals Co (ITC), with the number of giant storage tanks on fire reduced to six from seven earlier, said ITC spokeswoman Alice Richardson. The blaze at a site along the Houston Ship Channel in Deer Park, Texas, began Sunday when a leak from a tank containing volatile naphtha ignited and spread to others in the same complex, the company said. The Houston Ship Channel is home to nine U.S. oil refineries that process 2.3 million barrels per day (bpd), or 12 percent of the national total.




  • Alan Krueger, economic adviser to Obama and Clinton, takes own life at 58

    Alan Krueger, economic adviser to Obama and Clinton, takes own life at 58The statement did not elaborate about the circumstances of Krueger's death, nor did the university when confirming it earlier in the day. Krueger served in the last two Democratic administrations - as chief economist for the U.S. Department of Labor during the Clinton era and as chair of the White House Council of Economic Advisers for Obama. "It is with tremendous sadness we share that Professor Alan B. Krueger, beloved husband, father, son, brother, and Princeton professor of economics took his own life over the weekend," his family said in the statement furnished by the university.




  • Flooded U.S. Air Force base underscores climate risk to security: experts

    Flooded U.S. Air Force base underscores climate risk to security: expertsFlooding at a U.S. Air Force base in Nebraska that damaged buildings and forced the removal of a plane integral to the nation's nuclear attack response highlight the risks climate change poses to national security, experts said on Monday. U.S. President Donald Trump has repeatedly questioned whether humans cause climate change and has been angered by assessments from his military and intelligence agencies that say the phenomenon poses national security risks. Last week's "bomb cyclone" storm flooded about 60 structures including 30 buildings at the Offutt Air Force Base, said Ryan Hansen, a spokesman for the 55th Wing, a unit providing reconnaissance, intelligence and combat support to U.S. leaders.




  • U.S. floods kill three, cut off towns as rivers rise

    U.S. floods kill three, cut off towns as rivers riseThe Missouri River, the longest in North America, has flooded much of Nebraska between Omaha and Kansas City at the Missouri state line. It was expected to crest at 47.5 feet (14.48 m) on Tuesday, breaking the previous record, set in 2011, by more than a foot, the Nebraska Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) said in the latest bulletin on its web page. "This really is the most devastating flooding we've probably ever had in our state's history, from the standpoint of how widespread it is," Nebraska Governor Pete Ricketts said in a Twitter post on Monday.




  • Puerto Rico debt adjustment plan not 'realistic' in April: official

    Puerto Rico debt adjustment plan not 'realistic' in April: officialThe executive director of Puerto Rico's federally created financial oversight board said on Monday that a plan to restructure the U.S. commonwealth's core government debt likely cannot be done by the end of April. An attorney for the board last week told a U.S. judge who is hearing Puerto Rico's bankruptcy cases that a draft plan was expected next month, according to local media reports.




  • Peruvian ex-president arrested for being drunk in public in California

    Peruvian ex-president arrested for being drunk in public in CaliforniaPeru's former president, Alejandro Toledo, considered a fugitive in Peru, was arrested for being drunk in public in California and released early on Monday, authorities in California said. Since 2017, Toledo, a resident of California, has refused to heed orders by a local judge to spend up to 18 months in pre-trial detention in connection with a massive bribery probe. The United States is still evaluating Peru's request to extradite Toledo.




  • Poppy apocalypse: Crowds descend on California city to see 'superbloom'

    Poppy apocalypse: Crowds descend on California city to see 'superbloom'The rare profusion of orange poppies in Walker Canyon, set in the Temescal Mountains and accessible on foot via a trail, owes thanks to above-average rainfall in the arid region. The profusion of tourists in Lake Elsinore, located about 70 miles southeast of downtown Los Angeles, apparently owes thanks to the popularity of Instagram. The city of 63,300 has seen 50,000 tourists from around the country and as far away as Europe come to the 3.5-mile (5.6 km) trail in Walker Canyon over the last two weeks to take in the orange flowers carpeting the surrounding hills.




  • Former UAW vice president charged in U.S. corruption probe

    Former UAW vice president charged in U.S. corruption probeU.S. prosecutors in Detroit on Monday charged a former high-ranking United Auto Workers official in charge of the labor union's relations with Fiat Chrysler (FCA) of misusing funds for lavish purchases for himself and other union officials. Norwood Jewell, who headed the UAW's FCA department from 2014 until his retirement in January 2018, was charged with conspiracy to violate labor laws and accepting improper payments in a criminal information - often a precursor to a plea agreement. Jewell is the highest-ranking former UAW official charged so far in a wide-ranging investigation into illegal payoffs to UAW officials.




  • U.S. top court hands defeat to Hawaii B&B that spurned lesbian couple

    U.S. top court hands defeat to Hawaii B&B that spurned lesbian coupleThe justices refused to hear an appeal by Phyllis Young, who runs the three-room Aloha Bed & Breakfast in Honolulu, of a lower court's ruling that she violated a Hawaii anti-discrimination law by refusing to rent a room to Diane Cervilli and Taeko Bufford in 2007. A state court ruled that Young ran afoul of Hawaii's public accommodation law, which among other things bars discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. The Supreme Court's action came nine months after it sided on very narrow grounds with a Colorado baker who refused to make a wedding cake for two men, citing his Christian beliefs.




  • Massive fire at Houston petrochemical storage terminal may last two more days

    Massive fire at Houston petrochemical storage terminal may last two more daysA massive fire at a fuels storage company along the Houston Ship Channel may burn for two more days, an official said on Monday as the blaze spread a plume of black smoke across the city, shutting schools in two nearby communities. The fire began Sunday morning in a giant storage tank containing naphtha, a volatile substance used to create octane-boosting components of gasoline. No injuries were reported from the fire but nearby residents were encouraged to remain indoors.




  • U.S. high court takes up sentencing appeal in 'D.C. Sniper' case

    U.S. high court takes up sentencing appeal in 'D.C. Sniper' caseThe U.S. Supreme Court on Monday agreed to consider whether a man serving life in prison over his role in a deadly 2002 shooting spree in the Washington area should be resentenced because he was only 17 years old at the time. The nine justices will hear an appeal filed by the state of Virginia objecting to a lower court's decision ordering that Lee Boyd Malvo's sentence of life in prison without parole in the so-called D.C. Sniper crimes be thrown out. Malvo and an older accomplice, John Allen Muhammad, shot dead 10 people over three weeks in Washington, Maryland and Virginia.




  • Top U.S. court spurns Georgia death row inmate's racist juror claim

    Top U.S. court spurns Georgia death row inmate's racist juror claimThe U.S. Supreme Court on Monday paved the way for a black Georgia death row inmate to be executed, turning away his bid to challenge his death sentence for the 1990 murder of his sister-in-law on the basis that the trial was tainted by a racist white juror who questioned whether black people have souls. The allegations of racial bias arose from an interview with one of the jurors years later, not comments made during the trial. Liberal Justice Sonia Sotomayor wrote a statement agreeing with the court's decision not to hear the case, noting that it turned on whether Tharpe could appeal and not the merits of his claim.




  • Supreme Court takes up Kansas identity theft case

    Supreme Court takes up Kansas identity theft caseThe U.S. Supreme Court on Monday agreed to consider a bid by Kansas to revive the state's policy of prosecuting people for identity theft for using other people's Social Security numbers to gain employment in a case linked to immigration issues. The justices will hear the state's appeal of a 2017 Kansas Supreme Court ruling that voided the convictions of three restaurant workers and found that a 1986 federal law, the Immigration Reform and Control Act, prevents states from pursuing such prosecutions. The three men - Ramiro Garcia, Donaldo Morales and Guadalupe Ochoa-Lara - had provided their employers Social Security numbers that were not their own before being prosecuted for identity theft.




  • Nebraska nuclear plant still at full power as floodwaters recede

    Nebraska nuclear plant still at full power as floodwaters recede"We are operating at full power and the water is receding ... and we expect the water level to continue dropping," NPPD spokesman Mark Becker said, noting there was no danger to the plant employees or the public. Becker said NPPD and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers have checked the levees at Cooper and they are "in good shape." He also noted the Army Corps was reducing water releases from the Gavins Point Dam on the Missouri River between Nebraska and South Dakota to help reduce flooding downriver.




  • U.S. youth plan Washington rally to protest climate inaction

    U.S. youth plan Washington rally to protest climate inactionHundreds of youngsters are planning to skip school to join a rally in Washington on Friday as part of what organizers are calling an international Youth Climate Strike to seek action on climate change. The demonstrations, which will call on politicians to take action to combat climate change, express support for measures including the Green New Deal, an ambitious Democratic environmental proposal that has become a lightning rod for Republican criticism. "So many kids are going to be in the street, so many kids are going to influence people, so many kids are finally going to be able to have their voices heard, so many adults are going to finally wake up," said 12-year-old Haven Coleman of Denver, one of three youth organizers of the protest in the United States, in a phone interview.




  • Democratic donor in $292 million bank fraud gets early prison release

    Democratic donor in $292 million bank fraud gets early prison releaseA New York financier and Democratic political donor who pleaded guilty to a $292 million bank fraud is being released early from his 12-year prison term and moving to home confinement, court papers show. Hassan Nemazee, 69, who has spent about 8-1/2 years in prison, obtained approval last week from the federal Bureau of Prisons for the move, which is scheduled for late this week. Nemazee in January had asked his sentencing judge, U.S. District Judge Sidney Stein, for early release.




  • Trump wants GM CEO 'to do something quickly' to reopen Ohio plant

    Trump wants GM CEO 'to do something quickly' to reopen Ohio plantPresident Donald Trump tweeted on Sunday that he urged General Motors Co's chief executive to "do something quickly" to reopen the company's Lordstown, Ohio, plant that was idled more than a week ago. Referring to his conversation with CEO Mary Barra, Trump added: "I asked her to sell it or do something quickly. Trump also tweeted on Saturday to urge GM to reopen the plant, saying: "Toyota is investing 13.5 $Billion in U.S., others likewise.




  • Far-flung job offers pose tough choices for GM Ohio workers

    Far-flung job offers pose tough choices for GM Ohio workersGeneral Motors Co built the final Chevrolet Cruze small car at its Lordstown, Ohio, assembly plant on March 6, despite demands from President Donald Trump, Ohio political leaders and the United Auto Workers union not to close the plant and leave nearly 1,500 workers laid off. Dina Mays, a 14-year veteran of Lordstown Assembly, was not at the plant for its last day. Consumers shifting away from traditional sedans such as the Cruze have left GM with more workers assigned to building cars than the market can support.




  • Americans to bet $8.5 billion on NCAA's 'March Madness' basketball tournament: report

    Americans to bet $8.5 billion on NCAA's 'March Madness' basketball tournament: reportA plurality of bettors - 29 percent - favor Duke University's Blue Devils to win, according to a report from the American Gaming Association (AGA), a casino industry group. The National Collegiate Athletic Association's tournament to determine the Division I men's basketball champions begins on Tuesday and ends April 8 in Minneapolis. This year is the first time the tournament will be held since a U.S. Supreme Court ruling in May 2018 allowed states to legalize, regulate and tax sports betting.




  • Tank fire sends black smoke plume across Houston

    Tank fire sends black smoke plume across HoustonA storage tank fire on the Houston Ship Channel sent a plume of black smoke across the eastern half of the city on Sunday forcing residents in the suburb of Deer Park, Texas, to remain indoors. A giant storage tank containing volatile naphtha at Intercontinental Terminals Co (ITC) Deer Park site continued to burn six hours after the blaze broke out at about 10:30 a.m. local time (1530 GMT). Ships were continuing to move along the ship channel which connects refineries and chemical plants in Houston and Texas City, Texas, with the Gulf of Mexico.




  • More flooding expected for devastated U.S. plains states

    More flooding expected for devastated U.S. plains statesWater levels were expected to rise through the week, according to the National Weather Service, prompting evacuations in communities along the Missouri River on the Nebraska and Iowa border, as well as the Elkhorn and Platte rivers in Nebraska. "We're looking at widespread flooding that continues until at least early next week in the Plains and Midwest region," said meteorologist Marc Chenard with the service's Weather Prediction Center. "The big ones are at record stages right now," Chenard said.




  • Two people hurt in Los Angeles gasoline tanker blast

    Two people hurt in Los Angeles gasoline tanker blastA plume of thick black smoke rose into the sky over 216 West Slauson Avenue in Florence as planes headed for nearby Los Angeles International Airport, according to photographs on social media. "At 7:45 a.m., there were reports of a gas leak with an explosion," firefighter Nicholas Prange told Reuters in a phone interview. "Fire was coming from a storm drain and a leaking tanker," he said.




  • Trump urges General Motors to reopen Ohio plant in tweet

    Trump urges General Motors to reopen Ohio plant in tweetU.S. President Donald Trump urged General Motors Co to reopen Ohio plant in a tweet on Saturday, ten days after the plant made its last Chevrolet Cruze. The last Cruze rolled off the assembly line a week ago Wednesday at GM's plant in Lordstown, Ohio, the first of five plants in North America to end production this year and ending U.S. production of the Cruze.




  • Police have man in custody for murder of New York Mafia boss

    Police have man in custody for murder of New York Mafia bossPolice have a 24-year-old suspect in custody in the slaying of reputed Mafia boss Francesco "Franky Boy" Cali in New York City, authorities said on Saturday. The 53-year-old Cali, who was shot to death on Wednesday outside his Staten Island home, was allegedly the head of the Gambino family, one of the five Italian-American Mafia families that have historically dominated organized crime in New York and New Jersey. Police apprehended Anthony Comello in New Jersey on Saturday and expect to charge him with murdering Cali, the New York Police Department's Chief of Detectives Dermot Shea told a news conference.




  • U.S. seizes 1 million pounds of pork from China on swine fever concerns

    U.S. seizes 1 million pounds of pork from China on swine fever concernsU.S. border agents have seized around 1 million pounds of pork from China, a spokesman for the agency said on Friday, over suspicions that it might contain African swine flu disease which has hit Chinese pork output. "The seizure was in an effort to battle the spread of African swine fever," Anthony L. Bucci, Public Affairs Specialist at U. S. Customs and Border Protection, told Reuters over email. Asked if the seized pork had African swine fever, Bucci said, "This is an ongoing investigation," and added that the federal agents were working with U.S. Department of Agriculture on the issue.




  • U.S. youth rally in Washington protests climate inaction

    U.S. youth rally in Washington protests climate inactionHundreds of youngsters skipped school to rally in Washington on Friday as part of what organizers called an international youth climate strike to seek action on climate change. Chanting "climate action now!", some 1,500 students joined the event in front of the Capitol Building, where Congress sits, while similar rallies were held in 46 states. The demonstrations, which demanded politicians take action to combat climate change, backed measures including the Green New Deal, an ambitious Democratic environmental proposal that has become a lightning rod for Republican criticism.




  • U.S. eases protections for threatened bird in Western states

    U.S. eases protections for threatened bird in Western statesConservation groups denounced the move as a handout to the oil and gas industries, while an industry group praised it. Former President Barack Obama's 2015 plan to protect the ground-dwelling sage grouse imposed restrictions to development in their habitat but fell short of placing the bird on the endangered species list, which would have imposed far more rigid rules. Of the 11 Western states included in the 2015 plans, seven opted for changes, according to BLM.




  • Probe widens into deaths of 22 racehorses at Santa Anita Park near LA

    Probe widens into deaths of 22 racehorses at Santa Anita Park near LAThe Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office has joined the inquiry into circumstances surrounding the recent deaths of 22 horses at Santa Anita Park, one of America's premiere thoroughbred racetracks, the agency said on Friday. Word that local law enforcement was involved in seeking the underlying causes for the spate of deaths came a day after Santa Anita announced an unprecedented ban on the use of drugs and whips in competition there. Santa Anita suspended racing indefinitely in early March to launch its own investigation into whether track conditions led to a unusually high number of breakdowns.




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