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Professor, two others dead in apparent murder-suicide in Arkansas

Sat, 02/21/2015 - 14:59
By Steve Barnes LITTLE ROCK, Ark (Reuters) - A university professor, his wife and his sister were found shot to death on Friday night in the family’s burning home in a prosperous Little Rock suburb, Arkansas authorities said. “The initial indication is murder-suicide, but it’s an open investigation so I can’t comment beyond that,” Captain Jim Hansard of the Maumelle, Arkansas police department, said on Saturday.  Maumelle is a city of 18,000 located across the Arkansas River from Little Rock, the state capital. The dead included Dr. James Wilbanks, 41, a professor of management at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock.

Standoff nearing end at south Texas prison: report

Sat, 02/21/2015 - 14:39
(Reuters) - Law enforcement said they were making progress on Saturday ending a disturbance at a federal correctional facility in southern Texas were as many as 2,000 inmates were protesting medical services, according to a published report. The disturbance began early Friday at the Willacy County Correctional Center, which primarily holds immigrants who entered the United States illegally, and is run by the private company Management & Training Corp, the San Antonio Express-News reported. The unrest, which prison officials said was not a riot, began when prisoners refused to come to breakfast or report for work to protest medical services at the facility, the Express-News and local broadcaster KGBT-TV reported. Management & Training Corp could not immediately be reached for comment about the standoff.

‘Laser cat’ high school senior commits suicide

Sat, 02/21/2015 - 12:28

The New York high school senior whose 80-style laser portrait with his cat became an Internet phenomenon died of an apparent suicide.


Malcolm X's family tackles enduring controversy of his legacy

Sat, 02/21/2015 - 11:48

Fifty years after his assassination, civil rights leader was seen by many as an extremist.


Spacewalking astronauts rig station for new U.S. space taxis

Sat, 02/21/2015 - 11:20
By Irene Klotz CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla (Reuters) - A pair of U.S. astronauts floated outside the International Space Station on Saturday to begin rigging parking spots for two commercial space taxis. Station commander Barry “Butch” Wilmore, 52, and flight engineer Terry Virts, 47, left the station’s Quest airlock shortly before 8 a.m. EST/1300 GMT to begin a planned 6-1/2-hour spacewalk, the first of three outings over the next eight days. The work will prepare docking ports for upcoming flights by Boeing Co and privately owned Space Exploration Technologies, or SpaceX, which are developing capsules to ferry crew to and from the station, which flies about 260 miles (418 km) above the Earth. The United States has been dependent on Russia for station crew transportation since the space shuttle were retired in 2011.

Another winter storm to pummel eastern United States with snow and sleet

Sat, 02/21/2015 - 09:31

(Reuters) - A fresh band of winter weather was pounding parts of the Tennessee and Ohio valleys with snow and rain on Saturday as it headed toward the U.S. East Coast, threatening to bring more misery to storm-weary Boston. The system cut a 2,000 mile path from southern Missouri to Maine, with a winter storm warning in effect until Sunday for parts of southern Indiana, Ohio, West Virginia and Western Pennsylvania, the National Weather Service (NWS) said. In Kentucky and Tennessee, forecasters warned of possible flooding as rain fell on frozen ground. The system was expected to bring a wintry mix of rain, sleet and snow from Washington to New York City, followed by another blast of bone-chilling cold.


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.


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