New Orleans, a town renowned for staging big celebrations, faces a tricky challenge on Saturday, 10 years to the day from when Hurricane Katrina slammed into southeast Louisiana and triggered flooding that would leave 80 percent of the city under water. Thousands of people are expected to turn out as the city's trademark "second line" parades snake through the streets and New Orleans puts its famous musical traditions on display. "A celebration would not be the right gesture for those who will never be made whole," said Kristian Sonnier, an official at the New Orleans Convention and Visitors Bureau.
By Roberta Rampton WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Barack Obama on Saturday defended his decision to allow Royal Dutch Shell to drill for oil in the Arctic Ocean under what he said were rigorous standards, fending off criticism by environmental groups. The trip is part of a broad campaign to seal an international deal later this year to curb carbon emissions, something the White House hopes will cap Obama's legacy on climate during his time in office. While Obama pushes the world to wean itself from fossil fuels, his administration gave Shell the green light earlier this month to drill in the oil-rich Chukchi Sea.
By David Adams MIAMI (Reuters) - Tropical Storm Erika was soaking Haiti with heavy rain and strong winds on Friday as it swirled across the Caribbean but showed signs of losing steam as it headed toward south Florida, the U.S. National Hurricane Center (NHC) said. Twenty people were confirmed dead on the island of Dominica, Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit said in an address carried on television and online late Friday. Erika was no longer forecast to make landfall in the United States as a hurricane due to some likely weakening over mountainous areas of Haiti and Cuba.
The embittered gunman who shot dead two young American journalists on live TV was seemingly hell-bent on committing more violence before he took his own life, Virginia's governor said Friday. Terry McAuliffe visited the studios of WDBJ television in Roanoke two days after Vester Flanagan killed reporter Alison Parker, 24, and cameraman Adam Ward, 27, as they were conducting an interview. Flanagan, 41, a former WDBJ reporter fired in February 2013, fatally shot himself a few hours later after police caught up with his rented get-away car on a highway that leads into the city of Washington.
A long-standing battle between activists and the City of Chicago over school closures in minority neighborhoods has intensified with a dozen protesters entering their twelfth day of a hunger strike on Friday over a shuttered high school. Camped out on the lawn in front of Dyett High School in South Chicago, the strikers vow to consume only liquids - such as juice and chicken broth - until the city agrees to reopen the school. The protest comes as the Chicago Public Schools, the third-largest school system in the country, cuts 1,400 jobs, seeks a $480 million bailout from the state of Illinois and struggles to beef up underfunded pensions.
CONCORD, N.H. (AP) — A graduate of an exclusive New England prep school was cleared of felony rape but convicted of lesser sex offenses Friday against a 15-year-old freshman girl in a case that exposed a campus tradition in which seniors competed to see how many younger students they could have sex with.
By Ted Siefer CONCORD, N.H. (Reuters) - A former student of an elite New Hampshire prep school was found not guilty on Friday of raping a 15-year-old girl days before graduation last year in a case that has shone a harsh spotlight on the school's culture. Owen Labrie, 19, was found not guilty of three felony counts of raping a fellow student at St. Paul's School in Concord. Central to the trial was the "senior salute," a longstanding tradition among St. Paul's students that involved seniors inviting underclassmen to get together before graduation, often for sexual purposes.
By Lawrence Hurley WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A U.S. appeals court on Friday threw out a judge's ruling that would have blocked the National Security Agency from collecting phone metadata under a controversial program that has raised privacy concerns. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit said there were not sufficient grounds for the preliminary injunction imposed by the lower court. The three-judge panel concluded that the case was not moot despite the change in the law and sent the case back to U.S. District Court Judge Richard Leon for further proceedings.
The columned facade of Pass Christian's city hall looks out over the Mississippi coastline to a refurbished harbor, a new yacht club and a bar where locals streamed in for sundown cocktails. A few miles west, in the city of Bay St. Louis, tourists strolled through the colorful galleries, antique stores and cafes that dot its quaint main street. Ten years ago this week, the eye of Hurricane Katrina ripped through these two small towns, which face each other across a small bay 60 miles (97 km) east of New Orleans.