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  • California wildfire close to becoming third largest ever in state

    A California wildfire was close on Saturday to becoming the state's third largest blaze on record, with more devastation possible from a resurgence of the harsh winds that have fueled the deadly fire's growth. The so-called Thomas Fire has destroyed more than 1,000 structures, including about 750 homes, in coastal communities in Southern California since erupting on Dec. 4, the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection said in a statement. The vast landscape charred by the blaze, which is centered less than 100 miles (161 km) northwest of downtown Los Angeles, is approaching the 257,314 acres (104,131 hectares) destroyed by California's Rim Fire in 2013.

    Sat, 16 Dec 2017 05:16:57 -0500
  • N.J. nuclear power subsidy bill could cost $320 million per year

    Last week, Ralph Izzo, chief executive of Public Service Enterprise Group Inc, which operates three reactors in the state at the Salem and Hope Creek plants, said he may be forced to shut the units unless the state provides subsidies. Izzo, who made his comments at a joint committee session in the New Jersey legislature, said the reactors were profitable now but could start losing money over the next couple of years because cheap natural gas has depressed power prices. If it ultimately passes and becomes law, it would require utilities to recover 0.4 cent per kilowatt hour from customers to cover the cost of the subsidy.

    Fri, 15 Dec 2017 18:24:47 -0500
  • Turkish banker on trial denies helping Iran evade U.S. sanctions

    An executive at Turkey's majority state-owned Halkbank took the witness stand in a New York courtroom on Friday and denied charges that he participated in a scheme to help Iran evade U.S. sanctions. Mehmet Hakan Atilla, who has been on trial in federal court for three weeks, told jurors that he "never" conspired with fellow defendant, Turkish-Iranian gold trader Reza Zarrab, as U.S. prosecutors have charged. U.S. prosecutors have charged nine people with conspiring to help Iran evade sanctions through fraudulent gold and food transactions.

    Fri, 15 Dec 2017 17:50:01 -0500
  • Judge blocks Trump administration rules on contraceptive coverage

    A U.S. judge on Friday blocked President Donald Trump's administration from moving forward with new rules that undermined an Obamacare requirement for employers to provide health insurance that covers women's birth control. U.S. District Judge Wendy Beetlestone in Philadelphia issued a preliminary injunction preventing enforcement of rules the administration announced in October that allowed businesses or non-profits to obtain exemptions on moral or religious grounds. Beetlestone wrote that Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro, a Democrat who sued to block the rules, was likely to succeed in establishing that the administration did not follow proper notice procedures when issuing the new rules.

    Fri, 15 Dec 2017 17:49:38 -0500
  • Former cell phone company executive convicted of text message scam

    A U.S. jury on Friday found the former chief executive of mobile aggregation company Mobile Messenger guilty of defrauding mobile phone customers by charging them millions of dollars for unwanted text messages. Darcy Wedd, 40, was convicted in Manhattan federal court of wire fraud and conspiracy charges after a two-week trial, the office of Acting U.S. Attorney Joon Kim in Manhattan said. Robert Caliendo, a lawyer for Wedd, declined to comment on the verdict, which came after Wedd's third trial.

    Fri, 15 Dec 2017 17:36:34 -0500
  • Crews wary as gusty winds stoke huge California wildfire

    By Dan Whitcomb LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Crews battled shifting winds and difficult terrain on Friday to stop a mammoth wildfire that has burned for nearly two weeks along the scenic California coastline, killing a firefighter and destroying more than 720 homes. The so-called Thomas Fire, which broke out on Dec. 4 near a private college in the community of Ojai, has since raged across 252,000 acres, or nearly 400 square miles, making it the fourth-largest wildfire since record-keeping began in California in 1932. Fire officials said a return of gusty Santa Ana winds made further progress difficult.

    Fri, 15 Dec 2017 16:44:55 -0500
  • Turkish banker on trial denies helping Iran evade U.S. sanctions

    An executive at Turkey's majority state-owned Halkbank took the witness stand in a New York courtroom on Friday and denied charges that he participated in a scheme to help Iran evade U.S. sanctions. Mehmet Hakan Atilla, who has been on trial in federal court for three weeks, told jurors that he "never" conspired with fellow defendant, Turkish-Iranian gold trader Reza Zarrab, as U.S. prosecutors have charged. U.S. prosecutors have charged nine people with conspiring to help Iran evade sanctions through fraudulent gold and food transactions, although only Zarrab, 34, and Atilla, 47, have been arrested by U.S. authorities.

    Fri, 15 Dec 2017 15:57:11 -0500
  • Florida man sentenced to 15 years in prison for vandalizing mosque

    A man who vandalized a Florida mosque in January 2016 and left a raw slab of bacon on its doorstep was sentenced to 15 years in prison on a hate crime conviction, a state attorney's spokesman said on Wednesday. Michael Wolfe, 37, pleaded guilty on Tuesday to criminal mischief to a place of worship in a case considered a felony hate crime, said Todd Brown, spokesman for Florida's 18th Judicial District, which includes Brevard and Seminole counties.

    Fri, 15 Dec 2017 15:40:55 -0500
  • Florida man sentenced to 15 years in prison for vandalizing mosque

    A man who vandalized a Florida mosque in January 2016 and left a raw slab of bacon on its doorstep was sentenced to 15 years in prison on a hate crime conviction, a state attorney's spokesman said on Wednesday. Michael Wolfe, 37, pleaded guilty on Tuesday to criminal mischief to a place of worship in a case considered a felony hate crime, said Todd Brown, spokesman for Florida's 18th Judicial District, which includes Brevard and Seminole counties. Surveillance video after the 2016 incident showed a man with a shaved head and camouflage clothing breaking windows, cameras and lights with a machete at the mosque in Titusville, Florida, near Cape Canaveral, police said.

    Fri, 15 Dec 2017 15:28:14 -0500
  • Penn State's 'shocking apathy' to drinking blamed in hazing death

    Pennsylvania State University's "shocking apathy" to alcohol abuse contributed to the death of a student after he consumed 18 drinks in less than an hour and a half during a fraternity initiation, according a report issued on Friday. Grand jury members wrote the report after hearing testimony on hazing and alcohol use within the sprawling university's fraternity system. Prosecutors issued it at Centre County Court in Bellefonte, Pennsylvania 10 months the death of Timothy Piazza, 19.

    Fri, 15 Dec 2017 15:21:43 -0500
  • Pennsylvania man admits to trading on tips about drug company

    Daniel Perez, who authorities said lived next door to a former Celator accountant in Yardley, Pennsylvania, entered his plea to one count of securities fraud in federal court in Trenton, New Jersey, prosecutors said. Prosecutors at that time announced that three other people, including Evan Kita, the former employee at the New Jersey drug company, had pleaded guilty to participating in the insider trading scheme. Prosecutors said Kita told Perez and another friend, Richard Yu, in 2016 that clinical trials for his company's leukemia drug had produced positive results, allowing both men to place trades before Celator announced the news.

    Fri, 15 Dec 2017 15:08:28 -0500
  • Utah lawmaker invites retailer Patagonia to testify in Congress

    The U.S. House natural resources committee chairman on Friday invited outdoor retailer Patagonia's CEO to testify before the panel after the company criticized the Trump administration's decision to drastically reduce two national monuments in Utah. Patagonia has been feuding with Bishop and Trump administration officials after President Donald Trump said he would reduce the Bears Ears monument, a sacred cultural site for five Native American tribes, by 85 percent and cut the Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument in half.

    Fri, 15 Dec 2017 14:54:43 -0500
  • U.S. court dismisses $3 billion suit against Deutsche Bank by Jewish family heirs

    A U.S. district court in Florida has dismissed a lawsuit by the heirs of a prominent Jewish family seeking $3 billion from Deutsche Bank. The Wertheim Jewish Education Trust, in a suit filed in January, said heirs of the German entrepreneur Joseph Wertheim deposited the family's fortune at Credit Suisse in Switzerland as the Nazis rose to power and they emigrated to Spain. The funds were later transferred to Deutsche Bank but never made it back to the heirs, the plaintiffs said.

    Fri, 15 Dec 2017 12:06:35 -0500
  • Trump administration issues new rules on U.S. visa waivers

    The Trump administration put new requirements in place on Friday for the 38 countries participating in the U.S. Visa Waiver Program, including that they use U.S. counterterrorism data to screen travelers, officials said. The program allows citizens of mainly European countries to travel to the United States for up to 90 days without a visa. Citizens from the 38 countries are required to obtain a so-called travel authorization to enter the United States.

    Fri, 15 Dec 2017 11:39:01 -0500
  • No place like 'Om': Ojai retreats keep their zen in California fire

    The Thomas Fire that has raged through Ventura and Santa Barbara counties for more than a week destroyed more than half of Meditation Mount's gardens and a two-story residence and knocked out the electricity, he said. "It's kind of a miracle that it didn't all go up in smoke," Hall said of the center atop a hill in the picturesque Southern California city. "We also feel tremendous gratitude for what we have left because a lot of people have nothing left," added Hall, who said the center may not reopen for another three weeks.

    Fri, 15 Dec 2017 06:02:53 -0500
  • Firefighter killed battling massive California blaze

    Golocal247.com news

    By Dan Whitcomb LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - A firefighter was killed on Thursday while battling a mammoth California wildfire as crews sought to protect coastal cities and towns in the path of flames that have destroyed more than 700 homes. The flag-draped remains of firefighter Cory Iverson, 32, were driven out of the fire zone in Ventura County, northwest of Los Angeles, in a hearse as his comrades saluted from roadsides and overpasses. "Anne and I are saddened by Engineer Cory Iverson’s tragic death.

    Fri, 15 Dec 2017 03:09:35 -0500
  • U.S. regulators ditch net neutrality rules as legal battles loom

    By David Shepardson WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. Federal Communications Commission voted along party lines on Thursday to repeal landmark 2015 rules aimed at ensuring a free and open internet, setting up a court fight over a move that could recast the digital landscape. The approval of FCC Chairman Ajit Pai's proposal in a 3-2 vote marked a victory for internet service providers such as AT&T Inc, Comcast Corp and Verizon Communications Inc and hands them power over what content consumers can access. Democrats, Hollywood and companies such as Google parent Alphabet Inc and Facebook Inc had urged Pai, a Republican appointed by U.S. President Donald Trump, to keep the Obama-era rules barring service providers from blocking, slowing access to or charging more for certain content.

    Fri, 15 Dec 2017 03:00:18 -0500
  • Inquiry launched into harassment allegations against U.S. appeals judge

    The chief judge of a federal appeals court on Thursday initiated an inquiry into harassment accusations involving another judge that were reported by The Washington Post, a court filing showed. Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals Chief Judge Sidney Thomas asked that allegations against 9th Circuit Judge Alex Kozinski be reviewed by judges in another circuit. Kozinski declined to comment when reached by Reuters on Thursday.

    Thu, 14 Dec 2017 20:45:20 -0500
  • Missouri issues first fines over misuse of farm chemical in 2016

    By Tom Polansek CHICAGO (Reuters) - Missouri has issued its first fines over the misuse of a farm chemical in 2016 that went on to be linked in different formulations to widespread U.S. crop damage this year, the state said on Thursday. Authorities fined eight people a total of $145,125 for improperly spraying the chemical known as dicamba, used to kill weeds, in what Missouri called "the first wave of civil penalties issued to applicators," according to a statement. The delay between sprayings last year and the state's action shows how a long process of investigating many complaints about dicamba use is straining resources in farm states.

    Thu, 14 Dec 2017 19:09:11 -0500
  • White nationalist charged with first-degree murder in Virginia car killing: media

    James Fields Jr., 20, appeared at Charlottesville District Court for a preliminary hearing, during which a previous charge of second degree murder was changed to first degree murder, local TV station WSET and others reported from the court. Fields would face up to life in prison if convicted of first degree murder, while second degree murder carries a penalty of five to 40 years in prison, according to the Virginia penal code.

    Thu, 14 Dec 2017 18:52:21 -0500
  • Nigerian man pleads guilty to taking part in global email scams

    A Nigerian man was sentenced to three years and five months in prison by a U.S. judge on Thursday after he pleaded guilty to taking part in email scams to defraud thousands of victims around the world of millions of dollars, U.S. prosecutors said. David Chukwuneke Adindu, 30, was sentenced U.S. District Judge Paul Crotty in Manhattan, according to an announcement from Acting U.S. Attorney Joon Kim in Manhattan. Prosecutors said in a court filing Tuesday that Adindu tricked victims into wiring more than $25 million into bank accounts he opened in China, where they said the funds would be difficult for victims in the United States to recover.

    Thu, 14 Dec 2017 18:37:34 -0500
  • New York woman charged with laundering money to help Islamic State

    Zoobia Shahnaz, 27, was arrested Wednesday on charges of bank fraud, conspiracy and money laundering, the office of Acting U.S. Attorney Bridget Rohde in Brooklyn announced. Shahnaz pleaded not guilty on Thursday before U.S. Magistrate Judge Kathleen Tomlinson in Central Islip, New York, according to John Marzulli, a spokesman for Rohde's office.

    Thu, 14 Dec 2017 18:35:24 -0500
  • New York, New Jersey commit $3.65 billion to fund tunnel project

    New York and New Jersey on Thursday committed $1.75 billion and $1.9 billion, respectively, to fund a new rail tunnel underneath New York's Hudson River, part of an urgent program to expand and renovate Amtrak's aging and heavily traveled Northeast Corridor line. The announcement by New York Governor Andrew Cuomo and outgoing New Jersey Governor Chris Christie resolves questions about how the states would fulfill a promise to provide half of the funds toward the $12.7 billion Gateway Hudson Tunnel Project, among the country's largest infrastructure programs. New York said it would raise its portion through bond offerings while New Jersey would hike charges on NJ Transit rail passenger trips across the Hudson.

    Thu, 14 Dec 2017 18:24:49 -0500
  • U.S. regulators ditch net neutrality rules as legal battles loom

    Golocal247.com news

    By David Shepardson WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. Federal Communications Commission voted along party lines on Thursday to repeal landmark 2015 rules aimed at ensuring a free and open internet, setting up a court fight over a move that could recast the digital landscape. The approval of FCC Chairman Ajit Pai's proposal in a 3-2 vote marked a victory for internet service providers such as AT&T Inc, Comcast Corp and Verizon Communications Inc and hands them power over what content consumers can access.

    Thu, 14 Dec 2017 18:23:40 -0500
  • Nephews of Venezuela's first lady sentenced to 18 years in U.S. drug case

    Two nephews of Venezuela's first lady were sentenced to 18 years in prison on Thursday following their convictions in New York on U.S. drug trafficking charges. U.S. District Judge Paul Crotty sentenced the two men, Franqui Francisco Flores de Freitas, 32, and Efrain Antonio Campo Flores, 31, at a hearing in federal court in Manhattan. The two are cousins, both nephews of Cilia Flores, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro's wife.

    Thu, 14 Dec 2017 17:11:10 -0500
  • California firefighter killed battling massive blaze: fire officials

    LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - A firefighter was killed while battling a massive blaze burning in Ventura and Santa Barbara counties, the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection said on Thursday.

    Thu, 14 Dec 2017 16:14:28 -0500
  • Homegrown attacks rising worry in U.S. as Islamic State weakens abroad

    By Joseph Ax NEW YORK (Reuters) - The online video's message was clear: Supporters of Islamic State who could not travel overseas to join the militant group should carry out attacks wherever they were in the United States or Europe. Bangladeshi immigrant Akayed Ullah, 27, followed those instructions on Monday when he tried to set off a homemade bomb in one of New York's busiest commuter hubs, in an attack that illustrates the difficulty of stopping "do-it-yourself" attacks by radicals who act alone. "They tend to be less organized and less deadly," said Seamus Hughes, a former adviser at the U.S. government's National Counterterrorism Center.

    Thu, 14 Dec 2017 16:01:54 -0500
  • U.S. states sue Trump administration for not granting student-loan relief

    President Donald Trump's administration is breaking the law in not granting loan relief to students defrauded by Corinthian Colleges and other defunct for-profit schools, according to four U.S. state attorneys general who sued the Education Department and Secretary Betsy DeVos on Thursday. In a complaint filed in the U.S. District Court of the District of Columbia, the top law-enforcement officers of New York, Illinois and Massachusetts also said the administration has unlawfully declared that some of the loans are still valid, which has led to involuntary collections from students' paychecks.

    Thu, 14 Dec 2017 15:57:11 -0500
  • Leadership of New York Times passes to next-generation Sulzberger

    The New York Times on Thursday named a new publisher in 37-year-old A.G. Sulzberger, a fifth-generation descendant of Times leaders whose internal report on innovation has guided a newspaper known as "The Gray Lady" into the digital era. The younger Sulzberger will also join the board at a time of disruption in the media business, when the newspaper faces frequent criticism from U.S. President Donald Trump against the "failing @nytimes" on Twitter. Into that crucible steps Sulzberger, who has long been groomed for a major role at a business his family has owned since 1896.

    Thu, 14 Dec 2017 15:50:21 -0500
  • New York state AG to sue over net neutrality reversal

    New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman and at least two other state law enforcement chiefs said on Thursday he would lead a multi-state legal challenge to the U.S. Federal Communications Commission vote to reverse landmark 2015 net neutrality rules. Schneiderman, a Democrat, said in a statement that states "will sue to stop the FCC’s illegal rollback of net neutrality." The attorney generals of Washington state and Pennsylvania also said they planned to file suit. The Internet Association, a trade group representing companies such as Facebook Inc and Alphabet Inc and the American Civil Liberties Union both said they opposed the reversal and were weighing legal options after the 3-2 vote by the FCC.

    Thu, 14 Dec 2017 15:41:51 -0500
  • White House supports FCC net neutrality vote, 'free and fair internet'

    The White House said on Thursday that it supported the Federal Communications Commission's vote to repeal 2015 rules that aimed to ensure free and open internet, but added that it would continue to support wide access to the internet. "The administration supports the FCC's efforts and at the same time the White House certainly has and always will support a free and fair internet," White House press secretary Sarah Sanders told reporters.

    Thu, 14 Dec 2017 14:31:14 -0500
  • Turkish banker expected to testify in Iran sanctions trial in New York

    A lawyer for Atilla told U.S. District Judge Richard Berman in Manhattan federal court on Thursday that Atilla, an executive at Turkey's majority state-owned Halkbank, would testify. Prosecutors have accused Atilla, 47, of working with Turkish-Iranian gold trader Reza Zarrab and others to help Iran evade U.S. sanctions through fraudulent gold and food transactions.

    Thu, 14 Dec 2017 13:21:32 -0500
  • FCC meeting briefly evacuated ahead of net neutrality vote

    WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. Federal Communications Commission's meeting on net neutrality was briefly interrupted on Thursday as the agency evacuated the meeting room before later reopening it.

    Thu, 14 Dec 2017 13:10:03 -0500
  • EPA seeks input to rework rule on lead in drinking water

    The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency said on Thursday it will seek input from state and local officials as it considers how to rework a 1991 rule meant to protect people from lead and copper contamination in drinking water. The agency invited state officials to give input on revising the Lead and Copper rule at a two-hour meeting on Jan. 8 at the EPA's headquarters in Washington. EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt said the agency is seeking the input to "properly address lead and ensure communities have access to safe drinking water." The move is part of the Trump administration's policy of consulting with state and local officials, or national organizations that represent them, when developing regulations.

    Thu, 14 Dec 2017 12:47:05 -0500
  • Crime data in Native American tribal lands 'virtually useless': watchdog

    The U.S. Justice Department does not adequately collect or use crime statistics from Native American tribes, a problem that has left the department with stale and "virtually useless" crime data, according to a new internal watchdog report released on Thursday.

    Thu, 14 Dec 2017 12:37:18 -0500
  • Drone operator caused U.S. Army helicopter collision: safety board

    A September collision between a small civilian drone and a U.S. Army helicopter was caused by the drone operator's failure to see the helicopter because he was intentionally flying the drone out of visual range, the U.S. National Transportation Safety Board said on Thursday. The incident between a U.S. Army UH-60M Black Hawk helicopter and a DJI Phantom 4 drone near Staten Island, New York occurred as concerns mount over the rising number of unmanned aircraft in U.S. airspace. The helicopter landed safely but a 1 1/2–inch (3.8-cm) dent was found on the leading edge of one of its four main rotor blades and parts of the drone were found lodged in its engine oil cooler fan.

    Thu, 14 Dec 2017 11:15:57 -0500
  • Fierce winds to intensify as California wildfire grows

    By Dan Whitcomb LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - California firefighting crews may face strong winds on Thursday that could feed a volatile wildfire which has grown into one of the biggest in state history. The so-called Thomas Fire overnight grew to the fourth-largest blaze of its kind on record, at 242,500 acres (98,140 hectares) burned, the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (Cal Fire) said in a statement on Thursday morning. The fire grew larger than the Zaca Fire of 2007, which, like the Thomas Fire, struck Santa Barbara County.

    Thu, 14 Dec 2017 10:38:01 -0500
  • U.S. weather forecaster sees La Niña chances exceeding 80 percent

    (Reuters) - A U.S. government weather forecaster on Thursday said La Niña conditions are predicted to continue through the Northern Hemisphere winter 2017-18. The Climate Prediction Center (CPC), an agency of the National Weather Service, in a monthly forecast pegged the chance of La Nina developing at about 80 percent, with a transition to ENSO-neutral most likely during the mid-to-late spring. The agency in its November advisory had projected a 65 percent to 75 percent chance of the phenomenon developing during the Northern Hemisphere's winter.

    Thu, 14 Dec 2017 09:50:15 -0500
  • Record number of Americans to travel during Christmas holiday: AAA

    U.S. travelers will hit the roads, rails and skies this Christmas holiday in their largest numbers on record, lured by cheap plane tickets and a growing economy, the nation's largest motor advocacy group said on Thursday. Roughly 107.3 million Americans will journey 50 miles (80 km) or more from home during Dec. 23 through Jan. 1, a 3.1 percent increase from a year earlier and the most ever recorded, AAA said in a report. “More expensive gas prices are not swaying holiday revelers to stay home,” AAA Senior Vice President Bill Sutherland said.

    Thu, 14 Dec 2017 09:30:50 -0500
  • Anti-pipeline group goes back to work against Keystone XL

    Nebraska's main anti-pipeline group is trying to rally opposition to the TransCanada Corp's Keystone XL project's recently approved route through the state, tracking down landowners it says were not given a voice in the regulatory process. If it succeeds, Bold Nebraska could throw up new roadblocks to the controversial project to move Canadian oil to U.S. refineries, backed by U.S. President Donald Trump, by pressing regulators to revisit TransCanada's application, or by suing if they refuse. The Nebraska Public Service Commission issued an approval for Keystone XL to pass through the state in late November, removing the last big regulatory obstacle for the long-delayed project.

    Thu, 14 Dec 2017 05:02:09 -0500
  • U.S. executions edge up in 2017 but stay at decades' low: study

    U.S. executions and new death sentences rose slightly in 2017 from a year ago but remained the lowest in decades as capital punishment has declined in the country, a survey released on Thursday showed. The United States had 23 executions so far in 2017, with no more scheduled for the year. This is up slightly from 20 last year, the lowest since 1991, but far fewer than the record of 98 in 1999, according to the study from the Death Penalty Information Center, a nonprofit capital punishment monitor.

    Thu, 14 Dec 2017 00:08:18 -0500
  • Kentucky lawmaker a 'probable suicide' amid sexual misconduct accusations

    Johnson, 57, also the leader of the Louisville-area Heart of Fire Church, held a news conference on Tuesday at which he denied accusations contained in a report by the Kentucky Center for Investigative Reporting. The report, published earlier in the week, included accusations from a woman that Johnson molested her in 2013 when she was a teenager. On Wednesday evening, Johnson was found dead in a probable suicide from a single gunshot wound near Louisville, the coroner said, adding that an autopsy would be performed on Thursday.

    Wed, 13 Dec 2017 23:43:57 -0500
  • GM says former UAW Vice President Joe Ashton to resign from board

    Ashton was nominated to his GM board seat by the UAW Retiree Medical Benefits trust, which administers funds that pay for health benefits for UAW-GM retirees. The trust can nominate a replacement for Ashton, but shareholders won't vote on the trust's nominee until the company's next annual meeting in the spring, a GM spokesman said.

    Wed, 13 Dec 2017 22:37:51 -0500
  • Firefighters defend homes as huge California wildfire rages on

    By Dan Whitcomb LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Firefighters grappling with a wildfire that has burned out of control for 10 days on California's scenic coastline, destroying more than 700 homes, sought on Wednesday to defend homes from flames whipped by resurgent Santa Ana winds. The so-called Thomas Fire, already the state's fifth-largest wildland blaze on record, remained a threat to the communities of Santa Barbara, Carpinteria, Summerland and Montecito as darkness fell and winds picked up, fire officials said. "Very high fuel loading, critically low fuel moistures, above average temperatures and single-digit relative humidities will continue to support fire growth on the west, east and north sides of the Thomas incident," the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection said in a statement.

    Wed, 13 Dec 2017 22:07:01 -0500
  • U.S. appeals court vacates conviction of drug distributor over Botox

    A U.S. appeals court on Wednesday vacated the conviction of the owner of a wholesale drug distributor accused of selling authentic Botox and other drugs with foreign labels, dealing another setback to the government, which has struggled at times to successfully prosecute similar such cases. A three-judge panel on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit found that a lower court erred when it declined to allow William "Liam" Scully to introduce evidence at his 2015 trial showing he sought legal advice about importing drugs with foreign labels from one of his lawyers. "I'm so happy with the court's decision to grant Liam a new trial and I look forward to him coming home," his wife, Suzanne Scully, told Reuters.

    Wed, 13 Dec 2017 22:01:16 -0500
  • Ohio passes law barring abortion over Down syndrome diagnosis

    Women in Ohio would be prohibited from receiving abortions because of a fetal Down syndrome diagnosis under a bill that passed the state senate on Wednesday and is heading to Republican Governor John Kasich’s desk. Lawmakers voted 20-12 in favor of the law, which criminalizes abortion if the physician has knowledge that the procedure is being sought due to a diagnosis of Down syndrome, a genetic disorder caused when abnormal cell division results in an extra full or partial copy of chromosome 21. Doctors would lose their medical licenses in the state and face a fourth-degree felony charge under the law if they were to perform an abortion with that knowledge.

    Wed, 13 Dec 2017 20:36:51 -0500
  • Ex-New York town official sentenced to two-and-half years for bond fraud

    A former elected official of a New York City suburb was sentenced to 2-1/2 years in prison on Wednesday following his conviction in what U.S. prosecutors have called the first criminal securities fraud case brought over municipal bonds. Christopher St. Lawrence, who was supervisor of Ramapo, New York, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Cathy Seibel in White Plains, New York, federal prosecutors announced.

    Wed, 13 Dec 2017 17:38:10 -0500
  • Alabama win thrills Democrats as Republicans point fingers

    Golocal247.com news

    Democrats said on Wednesday their U.S. Senate victory in Alabama could lead to a sweeping comeback for the party in 2018 elections, while Republicans sought to assess blame for a defeat in one of the country's most conservative states. Doug Jones, a Democrat and former federal prosecutor, won the special election on Tuesday night after a bitter campaign that drew national attention amid sexual misconduct accusations against conservative Republican candidate Roy Moore. President Donald Trump had endorsed Moore and the loss was a stunning upset for him and fellow Republicans, narrowing their majority in the Senate to 51-49.

    Wed, 13 Dec 2017 17:02:07 -0500
  • Accused N.Y. bomber's family says attack 'our worst nightmare'

    Zulifikar Haider hoped his daughter would live the American dream when she married a fellow Bangladeshi living in the United States, but that dream turned into a nightmare when the family saw pictures of her husband wounded after allegedly trying to set off a bomb in a crowded New York commuter hub. Haider's family had been worried when his son-in-law, Akayed Ullah, 27, missed a regular call to his wife on Monday. "Even in our worst nightmares, we could not have foreseen this," Haider, 62, told Reuters on Wednesday evening, following two days of questioning by Bangladesh's counterterrorism police.

    Wed, 13 Dec 2017 16:29:41 -0500
  • Firefighters defend homes as huge California wildfire rages on

    Firefighters grappling with a wildfire that has burned out of control for 10 days on California's scenic coastline, destroying more than 700 homes, sought on Wednesday to defend homes from flames whipped by resurgent Santa Ana winds. The so-called Thomas Fire, already the state's fifth-largest wildland blaze on record, remained a threat to the communities of Santa Barbara, Carpinteria, Summerland and Montecito despite gains made by crews during a lull in the winds a day earlier. "Very high fuel loading, critically low fuel moistures, above average temperatures and single-digit relative humidities will continue to support fire growth on the west, east and north sides of the Thomas Incident," the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection said in a statement.

    Wed, 13 Dec 2017 16:27:54 -0500
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