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Mario Cuomo, former New York governor, dead at age 82

Thu, 01/01/2015 - 16:06

Mario Cuomo, the former governor of New York, died Thursday. He was 82.

Enbridge oil facility in North Dakota catches fire; damage unclear

Thu, 01/01/2015 - 15:41
By Ernest Scheyder WILLISTON, N.D. (Reuters) - An Enbridge Inc crude oil storage and pipeline facility just south of Williston, N.D., has caught fire, eyewitnesses said. The facility serves as a key gathering and distribution hub for crude oil produced in North Dakota, the second-largest crude oil producer in the United States. It was not immediately clear if the blaze had been contained. It was also not clear if the fire was affecting crude oil storage tanks or other parts of the complex. An Enbridge spokeswoman was not available to comment. ...

Police car strikes, kills student lying on Massachusetts road

Thu, 01/01/2015 - 14:20
(Reuters) - A Chatham, Massachusetts, police cruiser ran over and killed a college lacrosse player lying on an unlit road early on Thursday, authorities said. Garrett Gagne, 22, of Longmeadow, Massachusetts, was lying on an unlit road at about 4 a.m. when he was struck by a Chatham police car responding to an emergency call, police said in a statement. Gagne, a senior at St. Lawrence University in Canton, New York, was taken to Cape Cod Hospital where was later pronounced dead, the statement said. ...

Federal judge allows gay marriages to begin across Florida

Thu, 01/01/2015 - 13:53

By Bill Cotterell TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (Reuters) - A federal judge in north Florida on Thursday ordered the start of gay marriages in all parts of the state after Jan. 5, when a stay expires on his earlier ruling that found the state's same-sex marriage ban unconstitutional. In an emergency order, U.S. District Judge Robert Hinkle of Florida's Northern District in Tallahassee addressed confusion among court clerks about the reach of his Aug. 21 ruling, and whether it applied beyond Washington County and the two men named as plaintiffs in the case. ...

NY Governor Cuomo vows to rebuild trust in police in second term

Thu, 01/01/2015 - 11:09

By T.G. Branfalt (Reuters) - New York Governor Andrew Cuomo kicked off his second term on Thursday, saying he is governing in “troubled times” and that education, the economy and rebuilding public trust in law enforcement would top his agenda over the next four years. He lauded his first term as a success, saying the state now has a record 7.6 million jobs, a $5 billion budget surplus, effective and smart gun control laws, marriage equality and expanded healthcare that reaches 1.5 million people. ...

Georgia police chief says accidentally shot, critically hurt wife

Thu, 01/01/2015 - 11:03
By David Beasley ATLANTA (Reuters) - A suburban Atlanta police chief on Thursday shot his wife and critically wounded her in what he described as an accidental discharge of his service weapon at the couple's home, officials said. Peachtree City Police Chief William McCollom, who has been placed on administrative leave while the shooting is investigated, called 911 to report the shooting before dawn, Peachtree City Police Lieutenant Mark Brown said at a news conference. ...

Is Jim Webb for real?

Thu, 01/01/2015 - 09:46
“I’m not running against Hillary Clinton,” Jim Webb told me this week, when I tried to draw him out on the presumed Democratic front-runner. “I’m not even running at the moment, and she isn’t, either.” That’s all technically true, but Webb’s recent announcement that he was taking the first official step toward a 2016 presidential bid nonetheless set off a round of commentary about the contrast between him and his former Senate colleague.

Greece, Italy vary wildly on ferry missing numbers

Thu, 01/01/2015 - 09:14

BRINDISI, Italy (AP) — Greece and Italy have issued widely different figures for how many people are still not accounted for in the ferry fire that killed at least 11 people in the Adriatic Sea.

Two killed in crash of sheriff's office helicopter in Arizona

Thu, 01/01/2015 - 08:16
(Reuters) - A pilot and a mechanic died in the crash of a helicopter used by Arizona's Cochise County Sheriff's Office and a federal investigation was under way on Thursday into what caused the crash, officials said. The helicopter had just undergone routine maintenance in the Phoenix area and the pilot on Wednesday was flying with the mechanic from there to the Sierra Vista airport in Cochise County when it went down, the Sheriff's Office said in a statement released late on Wednesday. The debris field was discovered near Benson in southern Arizona, according to the Sheriff's Office. ...

Magnitude 5.1 quake hits in waters off Northern California coast

Thu, 01/01/2015 - 06:41
(Reuters) - A magnitude 5.1 earthquake struck in the Pacific Ocean off the Northern California coast on Thursday, about 70 miles (113 km) west of the town of Ferndale, the U.S. Geological Survey said. A Ferndale police dispatcher said there were no reports of injuries or damage from the quake, which according to the USGS's website occurred at 4:16 a.m. Pacific Time. No tsunami warning was issued for the area following the magnitude 5.1 quake, according to the USGS and the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center. Ferndale is about 190 miles (306 km) northwest of Napa, California, where a magnitude 6. ...

First AirAsia funeral as bad weather hampers search

Thu, 01/01/2015 - 04:29

Relatives held the first funeral for a victim of AirAsia Flight QZ8501 Thursday as bad weather hampered efforts to locate the wreckage of the plane which crashed into the Java Sea off Borneo with 162 aboard. Nine bodies have so far been retrieved in the search for the Airbus A320-200, which disappeared from radar during a storm Sunday en route from Indonesia's second city of Surabaya to Singapore. "The problem we faced today is unfriendly weather conditions," search and rescue agency chief Bambang Soelistyo told a press conference. He said a National Transport Safety Committee team was in Pangkalun Bun, a town on Borneo island with the nearest airstrip to the crash site.

1st body identified from AirAsia crash; 8th body found

Thu, 01/01/2015 - 02:21

SURABAYA, Indonesia (AP) — A passenger aboard AirAsia Flight 8501 became the first victim of the crash to be returned to her family Thursday, one of many painful reunions to come, as search crews struggled against wind and heavy rain to find more than 150 people still missing.

Five ways to know you’re speaking to white supremacists

Thu, 01/01/2015 - 01:38
There was a simpler time in America, a time when racists wore white hoods and carried torches, when Nazis wore swastikas and a skinhead could shave his scalp without being mistaken for a metrosexual. But those days are long behind us. Now, apparently, white supremacists hold conferences with guest speakers and video hookups to their colleagues overseas, kind of like a Davos for the intellectually vacant.

Shanghai NYE stampede kills 36 after fake money thrown from building

Thu, 01/01/2015 - 00:08

By Adam Jourdan SHANGHAI (Reuters) - A stampede killed at least 36 people during New Year's Eve celebrations in Shanghai, authorities said, possibly caused by people rushing to pick up fake money thrown from a building overlooking the city's famous Bund waterfront district. The government in China's gleaming business capital said large crowds started to stampede in Chen Yi Square on the Bund just before midnight in the cosmopolitan city's worst disaster since 58 died in an apartment building fire in 2010. ...

North Korean leader open to summit with South

Wed, 12/31/2014 - 22:48

PYONGYANG, North Korea (AP) — North Korean leader Kim Jong Un said in a New Year's speech Thursday that he is open to more talks or even a summit with his South Korean counterpart, a statement welcomed by Seoul, which in turn urged the North to take concrete steps toward normalization of relations.

Jeb Bush quits board posts ahead of possible White House run: Washington Post

Wed, 12/31/2014 - 22:28

(Reuters) - Potential U.S. Republican presidential candidate Jeb Bush has resigned from all of his corporate and non-profit board member positions, the Washington Post reported on Wednesday, as the former Florida governor explores a run for the White House. The Post, citing a statement emailed to the paper by one of Bush's aides late on New Year's Eve, said he even stepped down from the board of his education foundation. ...

Maryland governor commutes sentences for remaining death row inmates

Wed, 12/31/2014 - 18:37

By Victoria Cavaliere (Reuters) - Maryland Governor Martin O'Malley on Wednesday commuted the death sentences of the last four inmates remaining on death row, effectively ending capital punishment in the state. Maryland lawmakers voted two years ago to abolish the death sentence for future offenders beginning 2013. O'Malley, a Democrat and possible White House contender, on Wednesday said that leaving the last four prisoners to await the death penalty "does not serve the public good. ...

New York celebrates 2015 with Taylor Swift and a big ball

Wed, 12/31/2014 - 18:19

Hundreds of thousands of revelers braved frigid temperatures and poured into New York's Times Square for America's annual New Year party that this year features Taylor Swift. About a million people were expected to pack the famous square, known across the globe for its non-stop bustle, giant illuminated billboards and New Year tradition of dropping an enormous crystal ball down a pole. Ryan Seacrest will host a televised live show ahead of the 2015 countdown, and several musical acts including Taylor Swift and singer-songwriter Idina Menzel will perform. "We made it!" he told the New York Daily News, sporting an American flag across his shoulders and a pair of 2015 glasses.

N. Korea's Kim says open to 'highest-level' talks with South

Wed, 12/31/2014 - 18:00

North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un said Thursday he is open to the "highest-level" talks with South Korea in a surprise overture delivered during the communist supremo's traditional New Year message. South Korean media said Kim was referring to a summit with South Korean President Park Geun-Hye. The last inter-Korean summit was held in Pyongyang in 2007 between South Korea's late president Roh Moo-Hyun and the North's late leader Kim Jong-Il. The message came days after Ryoo Kihl-Jae, the South's unification minister in charge of inter-Korean affairs, offered to hold high-level talks with North Korea in January.

Deadly winter storms batter California, chill New Year's Eve

Wed, 12/31/2014 - 17:42

By Eric M. Johnson and Mark Guarino (Reuters) - Two people died on a wind-thrashed California island, and scores of motorists were left stranded on snow-swept mountain roads farther inland as winter storms chilled much of the Western United States on New Year's Eve, officials said on Wednesday. High winds also toppled a tree onto a home overnight in the Northern California town of Redding, killing a woman and injuring a child, a fire official said. ...