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Thousands evacuated after Tennessee train fire

Thu, 07/02/2015 - 04:39

A train carrying toxic chemicals derails and catches fire in eastern Tennessee.

Christie can’t win New Jersey. Does that matter?

Thu, 07/02/2015 - 04:39

Here’s the good news for Christie, if you want to be glass-half-full about it: At least he’s not running for reelection as governor.

U.S. Navy Yard in Washington locked down amid reported shooting

Thu, 07/02/2015 - 04:21

Police on Thursday responded to a report of a shooter at the U.S. Navy Yard in Washington, where a gunman killed 12 people in 2013, and the military installation was on lockdown with employees sheltering in place. A police officer and local media said authorities were responding to a report of an active shooter at the facility. The Navy Yard, a military installation in the nation's capital, was the site of a 2013 shooting in which a contractor killed 12 people.

For New York Puerto Ricans, debt crisis begins to hit home

Thu, 07/02/2015 - 04:08

Before this week, Harriet Richardson's retirement dream was still intact: work a few more years in the United States before heading back to find a quiet, ocean-front house in her native Puerto Rico. Over a plate of fried plantains and rice at El Nuevo Bohio restaurant, a lunch spot popular with Puerto Ricans in New York's Bronx borough, Richardson, a corrections officer, said Puerto Rico's debt crisis may derail her plan.

Macy's dumps Trump; New York City reviewing contracts

Wed, 07/01/2015 - 21:43

LOS ANGELES (AP) — The Macy's department store chain joined an ongoing exodus from association with Donald Trump and New Mexico's governor and New York City's mayor slammed him over his comments on Mexican immigrants.

New warden, security measures after New York prison escape

Wed, 07/01/2015 - 19:51

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — A range of new security measures is being put in place at a maximum-security prison to close gaps exploited by two inmates who escaped last month.

Episcopalians vote to allow gay marriage in churches

Wed, 07/01/2015 - 18:12

Episcopalians overwhelmingly voted Wednesday to allow religious weddings for same-sex couples, solidifying the church's embrace of gay rights that began more than a decade ago with the pioneering election of the first openly gay bishop.

In America's South, black church fires fan racial fears

Wed, 07/01/2015 - 15:18

(Reuters) - Some were deliberately lit. Others were caused by an electrical fault or lightning. But regardless of the origins, a spike in fires at black churches is fraying nerves at a time of heightened racial tensions across the United States.

Obama: 'New chapter' begins as U.S., Cuba to open embassies

Wed, 07/01/2015 - 14:50

President Obama announced the U.S. and Cuba are opening embassies in their respective capitals later this month and formally reestablished diplomatic relations between the two countries for the first time in more than 50 years. "More than 54 years ago at the height of the cold war, the United States closed its embassy in Havana. Today, I can announce that the United States has agreed to formally reestablish diplomatic relations with the republic of Cuba and re-open embassies in our respective countries," the president said in the Rose Garden today.

Man bitten by shark on NC Outer Banks is 7th this summer

Wed, 07/01/2015 - 14:31

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — A shark bit a 68-year-old man several times Wednesday in waist-deep water off North Carolina's Outer Banks, officials said, the seventh in a record-breaking year of shark attacks for the state's coastal waters.

What could happen if Greece leaves European Union?

Wed, 07/01/2015 - 14:05

If Greece and its 11 million people left the European Union, it would be an unprecedented move within the monetary system that gave birth to the currency known as the euro.A referendum, which has already been criticized as confusing and illegal, scheduled on Sunday will help determine whether a "Grexit" -- Greek exit -- from the 19-nation currency bloc could become a reality. Earlier this week, the government issued a maximum cash withdrawal for Greek residents at 60 euros. But due to the shortage of 20-euro banknotes, people mostly have access to 50-euro banknotes. ...

Amtrak seeks to combine lawsuits over fatal Philadelphia derailment

Wed, 07/01/2015 - 13:45

The railroad on Tuesday joined many plaintiffs in requesting that the U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation appoint U.S. District Judge Legrome Davis, who already oversees 16 cases stemming from the accident, to handle all 22 existing lawsuits plus "numerous" others it expects to be filed. Passengers on Train 188 have sued Amtrak in Pennsylvania, New York and New Jersey over injuries linked to the May 12 derailment, which occurred when the train left the track along a northbound curve in Philadelphia after traveling at more than twice the speed limit. Amtrak has said its liability from a single accident is capped at $200 million, under a 1997 federal law.

Maine lawmakers tighten foreclosure rules in win for consumers

Wed, 07/01/2015 - 12:37
Homeowners in Maine gained stronger protection against bank foreclosures under legislation approved late on Tuesday over the objections of some of the United States' largest lenders in what consumer advocates called a win for homeowners. The new law makes Maine one of few U.S. states to legislate over accusations nationwide that banks used suspect mortgage documentation in home foreclosures after the 2008 credit crisis. The focus of the dispute is Mortgage Electronic Registration Systems (MERS), set up by U.S. banks before the housing bubble of the 2000s.

Obama pushes state Medicaid expansion in healthcare hub Nashville

Wed, 07/01/2015 - 12:28

Fresh from another Supreme Court validation of his landmark healthcare law, President Barack Obama visited healthcare hub Nashville, Tennessee on Wednesday to push state governments to expand the Medicaid health program for the poor. Obamacare, as the president's law is known, envisions a major expansion of the program, but nearly half of all U.S. states, mostly Republican-controlled, have rejected that part of the law. Without expansion, 6.9 million low-income Americans, including 292,000 in Tennessee, will not get Medicaid assistance, said the Kaiser Family Foundation.

Baltimore to put cameras in police vans, review riot gear

Wed, 07/01/2015 - 10:52

Cameras that can record will be installed in Baltimore police vans like the one in which Freddie Gray suffered a fatal injury, Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake said on Wednesday. "We're working through a process that will place cameras with recording capabilities in the backs of all our police vans, to ensure that we have a more complete record of what occurs there," Rawlings-Blake told reporters. The van in which Gray was transported had a non-recording camera that the driver could use to monitor the passengers, but it was not working at the time.

Trump loses business deals over comments about Mexicans, but gains in polls

Wed, 07/01/2015 - 10:38

Donald Trump’s comments about Mexican immigrants may be costing him a growing of number of business relationships, but they appear to have given him a bump in the polls.

NY prison escapee's body, unclaimed by family, may be buried by county

Wed, 07/01/2015 - 09:38

No members of prison escapee Richard Matt's family have met a deadline to claim his body and he may now be buried by the New York county where he was gunned down by a federal agent after nearly three weeks on the run, officials said on Wednesday. Matt was no longer a ward of the state when he was killed Friday after escaping on June 6 from the Clinton Correctional Facility in Dannemora, New York, and will not be buried at the prison's cemetery, Franklin County Coroner Bryan Langdon said.

Protecting dementia sufferers from scammers gains ground in U.S

Wed, 07/01/2015 - 09:13

By Suzanne Barlyn and Elizabeth Dilts NEW YORK (Reuters) - Two years after New York socialite Brooke Astor died in 2007, her son, Anthony Marshall, was convicted of bilking her of millions of dollars. The heiress suffered from dementia, and did not know that her son, charged with her care, was paying himself exorbitant amounts from her assets. The Astor story is surprisingly common: a growing number of Americans suffer from Alzheimer's or another form of dementia, and a sizeable percentage of those patients will fall victim to scams.

Clinton raises record $45 million since campaign launch

Wed, 07/01/2015 - 08:55

More than 90 percent of the donations in Clinton's fundraising haul were for amounts of $100 or less, her campaign said.

U.S., Cuba restoring diplomatic ties after 54 years

Wed, 07/01/2015 - 08:17

By Daniel Trotta and Jeff Mason HAVANA/WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The United States and Cuba on Wednesday formally agreed to restore diplomatic ties that had been severed for 54 years, fulfilling a pledge made six months ago by the former Cold War enemies. U.S. President Barack Obama and Cuban President Raul Castro exchanged letters agreeing to reopen embassies in each other's capitals, with the Cubans saying that could happen as soon as July 20. "This is a historic step forward in our efforts to normalize relations with the Cuban government and people and begin a new chapter with our neighbors in the Americas," Obama said from the White House Rose Garden.