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Updated: 2 hours 14 min ago

Extreme cold, ice reveal faults in U.S. northeast mass transit

Tue, 02/03/2015 - 08:50

By Barbara Goldberg and Elizabeth Barber NEW YORK/BOSTON (Reuters) - Wicked winter weather gripping the northeastern United States exposed weaknesses in mass transit systems from Boston to New York, with commuters stranded on icy train platforms amid delays stretching into Tuesday. A day after a deadly snowstorm slammed the region, extreme delays crippled Boston's subways, including the most heavily traveled Red Line, which sees about 273,000 riders each day. "A week of constant exposure to frigid temperatures, ice, and record snowfall has taken a major toll on the MBTA's vehicles and infrastructure," the Massachusetts Bay Transit Authority said in a statement.

ISIS pics purportedly show Jordanian pilot burnt alive

Tue, 02/03/2015 - 08:17

Photos on social media purportedly show captive Jordanian pilot Muath al-Kasaesbeh being killed.

U.S. official says telecommunications firms interested in Cuba

Tue, 02/03/2015 - 07:43

A top U.S. diplomat said on Tuesday that "quite a few" telecommunications companies had been in touch with the government about the possibility of doing business in Cuba. We've been in touch with quite a few," Roberta Jacobson, the Assistant secretary of state for Western Hemisphere affairs, said at a U.S. Senate hearing. The United States is moving to ease restrictions on U.S. telecommunications companies doing business with Cuba as part of its moves toward eventually normalizing U.S. relations with the Communist-ruled island after half a century.

Attorney General: Final Report On IRS Probe To Come Out Soon

Tue, 02/03/2015 - 07:15

By Sarah N. Lynch WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Attorney General Eric Holder said on Tuesday he expects the Justice Department to soon release a list of final recommendations stemming from its probe into whether the Internal Revenue Service wrongfully targeted conservative groups. "I am satisfied with the progress that the criminal division has done; the civil rights division as well," Holder told reporters at a press conference. "I expect that we will have some final recommendations coming up relatively soon. ...

Second Harper Lee novel to be published in July

Tue, 02/03/2015 - 06:56

'Go Set a Watchmen' will be a sequel to 'To Kill a Mockingbird.'

Hillary Clinton weighs in on vaccine debate

Tue, 02/03/2015 - 06:17

The former secretary of state weighed in on the national debate over children's vaccinations, saying they work. "Let's protect all our kids," Clinton tweeted.

Exclusive - The FAA: regulating business on the moon

Tue, 02/03/2015 - 04:08

By Irene Klotz CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (Reuters) - The United States government has taken a new, though preliminary, step to encourage commercial development of the moon. The Federal Aviation Administration, in a previously undisclosed late-December letter to Bigelow Aerospace, said the agency intends to “leverage the FAA’s existing launch licensing authority to encourage private sector investments in space systems by ensuring that commercial activities can be conducted on a non-interference basis.” In other words, experts said, Bigelow could set up one of its proposed inflatable habitats on the moon, and expect to have exclusive rights to that territory - as well as related areas that might be tapped for mining, exploration and other activities. It also bans nuclear weapons in space, prohibits national claims to celestial bodies and stipulates that space exploration and development should benefit all countries.     “We didn’t give (Bigelow Aerospace) a license to land on the moon.

'The world has not really woken up'

Tue, 02/03/2015 - 04:04

By Nita Bhalla NEW DELHI (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - Water scarcity could lead to conflict between communities and nations as the world is still not fully aware of the water crisis many countries face as a result of climate change, the head of the U.N. panel of climate scientists warned on Tuesday. The latest report from the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) predicts a rise in global temperature of between 0.3 and 4.8 degrees Celsius (0.5 to 8.6 Fahrenheit) by the late 21st century. Countries such as India are likely to be hit hard by global warming, which will bring more freak weather such as droughts that will lead to serious water shortages and affect agricultural output and food security. "Unfortunately, the world has not really woken up to the reality of what we are going to face in terms of the crises as far as water is concerned," IPCC Chair Rajendra Pachauri told participants at a conference on water security.

Trial begins for $100 million Paris jewel heist

Tue, 02/03/2015 - 03:15

PARIS (AP) — Eight men charged with one of the world's biggest jewel heists went on trial Tuesday in Paris, accused of stealing more than 100 million euros ($113 million) worth of luxury watches, necklaces, earrings and other valuables from a Harry Winston boutique in two operations.

For striking U.S. refinery workers, Shell shocks with a new style

Tue, 02/03/2015 - 03:09

Officials from Royal Dutch Shell Plc , the lead negotiator for oil companies, were repeatedly saying it would be too hard to meet the union's demands for a new three-year contract to lift pay and tighten safety practices, several union officials told Reuters. Late on Monday, Shell said representatives from the company resumed communications with the union "in hopes of coming to a mutually satisfactory contract agreement." A union official said both sides met but no progress was made. From the union's standpoint, Shell has always been the most flexible of the oil companies, much easier to negotiate with than Exxon Mobil Corp or Marathon Petroleum Corp .

High cost of Colo. theater shooting case

Tue, 02/03/2015 - 00:38

The case against James Holmes has already absorbed at least $5.5 million in public monies.

Northeast's freezing temps could cause dangerous roads

Mon, 02/02/2015 - 22:10

BOSTON (AP) — Forecasters from Philadelphia to Portland, Maine, have warned that "flash freezing" could make roads dangerously slippery a day after snow fell on much of the East Coast.

Cuba publishes photos of Fidel Castro to quiet rumors of poor health

Mon, 02/02/2015 - 21:45

Cuban state media released the first photographs of former president Fidel Castro in nearly six months in a bid to quiet rumors that his health is failing. The images showed the 88-year-old Castro at his home along with his wife Dalia during a meeting with the leader of a students' union, and were published in the state-run newspaper Granma and other official media. Castro had remained quiet publicly after the United States and Cuba announced in December that they were going to restore diplomatic relations after a half century of enmity stemming from the Cold War. The images come after weeks of feverish speculation concerning the Cuban revolutionary leader's medical condition after he disappeared from the public eye.

Snowstorm forces Boston to delay Super Bowl parade until Wednesday

Mon, 02/02/2015 - 21:15

By Tim McLaughlin BOSTON (Reuters) - Boston will delay until Wednesday its parade to celebrate the New England Patriots' Super Bowl victory, after Mayor Marty Walsh decided on Monday to push the event back a day because of a snowstorm pounding the city. "Due to today's bad weather and the worsening forecast tonight, the New England Patriots and the city of Boston have made the mutual decision to postpone the victory parade until Wednesday," Walsh said in a statement. Thousands of fans are expected to turn out to see players including star quarterback Tom Brady and Malcolm Butler, the rookie who snagged a last-minute interception to secure Sunday's victory over the Seattle Seahawks.

Texas marks 'Chris Kyle Day' in honor of sniper

Mon, 02/02/2015 - 19:55
(Reuters) - The U.S. state of Texas declared Feb. 2 "Chris Kyle Day" on Monday, honoring the late Navy Seal marksman portrayed in the film "American Sniper," two years after his death. The movie, starring Bradley Cooper as Kyle who was killed by a disgruntled U.S. veteran on a Texas gun range on Feb. 2, 2013, has been a box office hit and stirred debate between liberals and conservatives. "Today, we commemorate (Kyle's) passing, and we honor his service and the service of his comrades in arms who have joined him to defend our great nation," Texas Governor Greg Abbott, a Republican, said in his proclamation. The American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee said the movie has led to "violent threats" against its members, and asked Cooper and director Clint Eastwood to denounce the hateful language.

Obama joins ally list on Greek austerity relief

Mon, 02/02/2015 - 18:30

Greece's new left-wing government can boast some high-profile allies, from Nobel economics laureates to US President Barack Obama, in its controversial drive against austerity in Europe. Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras says Greece's economy will never truly recover from a six-year recession that has caused a "humanitarian crisis" in the country without growth stimulus and another cut to its massive debt. Germany, which has borne the bulk of Greece's multi-billion-euro bailout, was quick to rule out another debt cut after a 2012 operation slashed Athens' obligations to private creditors by about 100 billion euros ($113 billion). A few days later, US Nobel laureate Paul Krugman noted that demanding Athens create a budget surplus of 4.5 percent of output is akin to "extracting blood from a stone".

Robin Williams' wife, children fight over his estate

Mon, 02/02/2015 - 18:26

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Robin Williams' children and wife have gone to court in a fight over the late comedian's estate.

Snow batters Northeast U.S. for second time in week

Mon, 02/02/2015 - 17:46

By Ellen Wulfhorst and Elizabeth Barber NEW YORK/BOSTON (Reuters) - A deadly winter snowstorm was forecast to lift on Monday night after walloping the Northeastern United States, forcing the delay of Boston's Super Bowl victory parade and snarling air traffic at several major airports. The second major storm in less than a week pummeled residents from New York City to Boston with snow, freezing rain and gusty winds. Weather conditions were a factor in at least seven deaths, including some in the Midwest where the storm hit heavily on Sunday into Monday. Boston, already blanketed by 2 feet (60 cm) of snow from a blizzard last week and predicted to get a further foot, set a record for the snowiest seven-day period in the city's history.

NFL great Warren Sapp arrested on suspicion of soliciting escort

Mon, 02/02/2015 - 16:54

By David Schwartz PHOENIX (Reuters) - National Football League Hall of Fame defensive tackle Warren Sapp was arrested at a Phoenix hotel on Monday on suspicion of soliciting a prostitute and assault, authorities said. Sapp, who had been covering the Super Bowl as an analyst for the NFL Network, was booked into Maricopa County jail after an incident involving two escorts in an apparent dispute over money, said Phoenix police spokesman Sergeant Trent Crump. He was released from jail on Monday afternoon after making an initial appearance in Phoenix Municipal Court.

Bad news for Charles Manson

Mon, 02/02/2015 - 16:45

FRESNO, Calif. (AP) — A 26-year-old woman with the nickname Star who says she is going to marry 80-year-old mass murderer Charles Manson will have to wait a while longer.