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Seeing red: Traffic cameras hot topic in Chicago mayoral race

Sat, 02/21/2015 - 08:53

By Mary Wisniewski CHICAGO (Reuters) - It is one of the most dreaded pieces of mail in Chicago - the $100 ticket that comes after being caught by one of the city's red light or speed cameras. Chicago is hardly the only U.S. city to install such cameras. Mayor Rahm Emanuel, who supports the nation's largest automated camera system, is polling slightly under the 50 percent plus one vote he needs to avoid a run-off against the second-highest vote-getter. Chicago has red-light cameras at 174 intersections and 144 speed cameras near schools and parks around the city.

Pentagon chief: US considering slowing exit from Afghanistan

Sat, 02/21/2015 - 08:03

KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) — The United States is considering slowing its military exit from Afghanistan by keeping a larger-than-planned troop presence this year and next because the new Afghan government is proving to be a more reliable partner, U.S. Defense Secretary Ash Carter said Saturday.

Minneapolis police officer wounded in shooting

Sat, 02/21/2015 - 07:09
(Reuters) - A Minneapolis police officer was shot and wounded on Saturday after responding to a burglary call in what police said appeared to be a targeted attack. The officer was shot before 5 a.m. local time in north Minneapolis as he returned to his squad car, Minneapolis Police Department spokesman John Elder said. The incident follows the fatal shooting of two police officers in New York City in December by a gunman who had written that he wanted to avenge the killing of unarmed black men by police.

Moscow protesters strike out against Ukraine and the West

Sat, 02/21/2015 - 07:00
MOSCOW (AP) — For the thousands of Russians gathered near Red Square on Saturday, Maidan — the square in Kiev synonymous with pro-European protests last year — is nothing to celebrate.

Two children dead in New Jersey house fire: report

Sat, 02/21/2015 - 06:10
(Reuters) - A house fire in New Jersey left two children aged one and six dead, local media reported, citing authorities. The blaze broke out on Friday evening at a residence in Orange, outside of Newark, NJ Advance Media reported, citing the Essex County Prosecutor's Office. The children's mother escaped the fire and was "distraught," NJ Advance Media quoted the prosecutor's office as saying in a statement. The Essex County Prosecutor's Office and Sheriff's Office, along with the Orange Fire Department, did not immediately respond to messages seeking comment.

Malcolm X's legacy survives 50 years after his assassination

Sat, 02/21/2015 - 05:41

The uncompromising message of Malcolm X, who had virtually embodied the black power movement in its early years, carries particular resonance today, they say, a half-century after his shooting death in New York on Feb. 21, 1965. His ideas are at the core of a national debate over the treatment of African-Americans and other minorities by the U.S. criminal justice system that heated up after last summer's killings of unarmed black men by white police officers in Ferguson, Missouri, and New York City. Those two galvanizing cases echo an incident in April 1957, when a black man named Johnson Hinton was beaten by police in New York's Harlem neighborhood and a young Malcolm X famously came to his defense. Malcolm X, born as Malcolm Little and also known as Malcolm Shabazz, was a powerful orator who rose to prominence as the national spokesman of the Nation of Islam, an African-American Muslim group that opposed integration with whites.

Dubai skyscraper catches fire, though no one killed in blaze

Sat, 02/21/2015 - 02:15

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — One of the world's tallest residential towers caught fire early Saturday in Dubai's Marina district, sending hundreds of residents pouring into the streets as bright yellow flames raged several stories high. No one was reported killed.

Obama begins sales pitch on trade to wary U.S. public

Sat, 02/21/2015 - 02:05

By Roberta Rampton WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Barack Obama on Saturday began a broad sales pitch to the U.S. public about the merits of free trade deals, an area in which he faces stiff resistance from many in his own Democratic party. Obama has said he wants to work with Congressional Republicans to finalize the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade pact, an agreement that would stretch from Japan to Chile, covering 40 percent of the world economy. "I’m the first to admit that past trade deals haven’t always lived up to the hype," Obama said in his weekly address. "But that doesn’t mean we should close ourselves off from new opportunities." The first step in working with other nations to finalize the TPP deal is to pass "fast track" legislation to streamline the passage of trade deals through Congress.

2 sides in West Coast ports dispute reach tentative contract

Sat, 02/21/2015 - 01:52

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Negotiators reached a tentative contract covering West Coast dockworkers, likely ending a protracted labor dispute that snarled international trade at seaports handling about $1 trillion worth of cargo annually.

Road rage? Mistaken identity? Questions raised in Vegas case

Sat, 02/21/2015 - 01:48

A mother of four who just finished giving her daughter a driving lesson is followed by a driver they encountered on their way home.

Huge blaze guts upper floors of 79-story Dubai skyscraper

Sat, 02/21/2015 - 00:29

Hundreds of panicked residents fled one of the tallest towers in Dubai early Saturday as a huge fire engulfed the skyscraper, causing extensive damage to its luxury flats. The inferno gutted the upper part of 79-storey Torch tower, triggering an evacuation of nearby blocks in the Dubai Marina neighbourhood, an AFP correspondent reported. Civil defence teams cleared the building, which at 336.1 metres (1,105 feet) is one of the world's tallest residential towers. Dubai Marina is a popular expat neighbourhood that has a high concentration of residential towers.

Hundreds to mark 50th year since Malcolm X's assassination

Fri, 02/20/2015 - 22:47

NEW YORK (AP) — Activists, actors, and politicians will remember civil rights leader Malcolm X with a ceremony at the New York site in Harlem where he was killed 50 years ago.

U.S. refinery strike widens to include nation's largest refinery

Fri, 02/20/2015 - 22:02

Shortly after talks between union and oil company representatives ended on Friday night, the union notified Motiva Enterprises [MOTIV.UL] of a strike by its members at the company's 600,250 barrel per day (bpd) refinery in Port Arthur, Texas. The USW also gave notices on Friday of strikes to begin in 24 hours at Motiva's 235,000 bpd Convent, Louisiana and 238,000 bpd Norco, Louisiana refineries and the Shell Oil Co chemical plant in Norco, the union said. "The industry’s refusal to meaningfully address safety issues through good faith bargaining gave us no other option but to expand our work stoppage," USW International President Leo Gerard said in a statement. Motiva is a 50-50 joint venture of Royal Dutch Shell Plc and Saudi Aramco [SDABO.UL].

Analysts: West looks impotent as Ukraine ceasefire frays

Fri, 02/20/2015 - 21:50

The continued fighting in eastern Ukraine has made a mockery of the West's latest attempts to negotiate a ceasefire but may ultimately pave the way for a more durable peace, say analysts. It did not take long for the latest truce, brokered by France and Germany and signed in the Belarussian capital Minsk last week, to look as impotent as previous deals. With barely a pause, pro-Russian rebels continued their assault on the key transport hub of Debaltseve, ultimately forcing the Ukrainian military into a humiliating retreat. "It was a classic case of good intentions paving the way to hell," said Ievgen Vorobiov of the Polish Institute of International Affairs.

Linguistic gap may have contributed to U.S. farmworker slaying, group says

Fri, 02/20/2015 - 19:28
By Eric M. Johnson PASCO, Wash. (Reuters) - A Hispanic immigrant rights group said on Friday that cultural and linguistic differences may have inflamed tensions between police and a Mexican farm laborer shot dead in Washington state last week in a killing that raised questions about use of force. Antonio Zambrano-Montes, 35, an out-of-work orchard worker from Mexico's Michoacan state, was shot and killed in the city of Pasco in Washington's agricultural heartland after he pelted police with rocks and then fled, in a confrontation captured on video. His death sparked protests by demonstrators who accused police in Pasco of overly aggressive tactics in dealing with the Hispanic community and who likened the shooting to two high-profile police killings of unarmed black men in Ferguson, Missouri, and in New York City. "He suffered from mental illness," Felix Vargas, chairman of Consejo Latino, said of Zambrano Montes.

Meningitis bacteria to blame for Oregon student's death

Fri, 02/20/2015 - 18:33
By Courtney Sherwood PORTLAND, Ore. (Reuters) - A bacterial infection related to meningitis is to blame for the death of a University of Oregon student-athlete who was found unresponsive in her dorm room earlier this week, public health officials said on Friday. Freshman Lauren Jones, 18, was found unconscious on Tuesday and declared dead at a nearby hospital. An initial autopsy did not offer conclusive results, but tests completed on Friday confirmed that meningococcemia caused her death, Lane County Public Health spokesman Jason Davis said in a statement. Jones was the fourth student at the school confirmed to have been infected with meningococcemia, a bacterial precursor to meningitis, since an outbreak began earlier this year.

2 sides in West Coast ports dispute reach tentative contract

Fri, 02/20/2015 - 18:32

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Negotiators reached a tentative contract covering West Coast dockworkers on Friday evening, likely ending a protracted labor dispute that snarled international trade at seaports handling about $1 trillion worth of cargo annually.

Massive fire engulfs Dubai skyscraper

Fri, 02/20/2015 - 15:40

Thousands have reportedly been evacuated from one of the tallest residential buildings in the world.

NASCAR suspends Kurt Busch before Daytona 500

Fri, 02/20/2015 - 15:32

The suspension comes hours after a judge said he committed an act of domestic violence.

Cuomo's fracking ban has some New York towns contemplating secession

Fri, 02/20/2015 - 14:14

Environmentalists praised New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo's ban on hydraulic fracturing. But in New York's struggling Southern Tier, the ban was seen not as cause for celebration but as the final straw, prompting some towns to consider seceding to Pennsylvania.