The U.S. government is appealing a federal court ruling that reduced the potential penalty BP Plc must pay for the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill by almost $4 billion. The appeal, which was filed on Friday in U.S. District Court in New Orleans, challenges a January decision by U.S. District Court Judge Carl Barbier that set the size of the spill at 3.19 million barrels. The appeal did not detail what aspects of Barbier's ruling it was challenging.
By Nick Carey and Jim Young FERGUSON, Mo. (Reuters) - Nearly 48 hours after two officers were shot in racially charged Ferguson, Missouri, investigators had dozens of leads but no arrests to report on Friday in the hunt for a gunman who turned a late-night protest against police into bedlam. St. Louis County Police Chief Jon Belmar said authorities had "a pretty good idea" where the gunshots that wounded the officers had originated, without providing any specifics. The latest bout of violence in the St. Louis suburb, first rattled by the killing of unarmed black teenager Michael Brown by a white officer last summer, brought out signs of sympathy for the police. One protester stood opposite the Ferguson police department with a sign "Cops Lives Matter," playing on the "Black Lives Matter" slogan that sprang up in the wake of the deaths of Brown and an unarmed black man in New York City.
By Heide Brandes OKLAHOMA CITY (Reuters) - A lawyer hired by the board of directors of a University of Oklahoma fraternity linked to a racist video said on Friday he has no current plans to sue the school but wants to ensure the safety of fraternity members after some received death threats. "The last thing I want to do is go to court," Stephen Jones, a high-profile attorney who represented convicted Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh, told a news conference. Jones said while he is not currently planning to sue the university for punishments it has imposed against the Sigma Alpha Epsilon chapter, he is not ruling out legal action. The university shut down the Sigma Alpha Epsilon house and expelled the two members who it said were the leaders in the video.
Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel's challenger in next month's runoff election offered a plan on Friday to address the city's financial woes that seeks cost-savings through intergovernmental collaboration and creates a committee to examine revenue options. Mounting pension pressures led Moody's Investors Service to lower Chicago's credit rating by five notches since July 2013, with the last downgrade to Baa2 occurring on Feb. 27.
U.S. producer prices fell in February for a fourth straight month, pointing to tame inflation that could argue against an anticipated June interest rate hike from the Federal Reserve. The Labor Department said its producer price index for final demand declined 0.5 percent as profit margins in the services sector, especially gasoline stations, were squeezed, and transportation and warehousing costs fell. The PPI had dropped 0.8 percent in January. In the 12 months through February, producer prices fell 0.6 percent, the first decline since the series was revamped in 2009.
President Barack Obama's administration on Friday will announce the creation of a new advisory group made up of public officials and leaders from the private sector to advise on improvements to the government agency tasked with helping U.S. veterans. U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Secretary Robert McDonald will announce the formation of the new committee during an event with President Barack Obama at the Phoenix VA facility, where long waits for medical care sparked a political crisis for the administration. "The members of this new advisory committee have experience in customer service, large-scale organizational change and advocacy for veterans and include business leaders, Veteran Service Organizations members, and health sciences and academic professionals," the official said.