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Updated: 15 min 28 sec ago

Blighted houses still mar New Orleans a decade after Katrina

Sun, 08/23/2015 - 04:11

By Kathy Finn NEW ORLEANS (Reuters) - From the hardscrabble Lower Ninth Ward to middle-class Gentilly, thousands of abandoned homes still litter neighborhoods in New Orleans, a glaring reminder of the mass exodus of residents that followed Hurricane Katrina in 2005.A decade after the storm triggered flooding that damaged 70 percent of the city's housing stock, the most-blighted streets in town are still lined with boarded-up houses that pose safety hazards to residents who have repaired and rebuilt homes nearby. In the Lower Ninth Ward in particular, a 10-minute drive from the jazz clubs and bar of New Orleans' historic downtown, large swaths of vacant houses and overgrown lots shelter rodents and snakes amid pockets of recovery where entire blocks of dwellings have been renovated.

Man tackled on train on authorities' radar in 3 countries

Sun, 08/23/2015 - 03:52

He had ties to radical Islam and may have traveled to Syria, authorities said.

Koreas resume crisis talks, South says North deploying subs

Sun, 08/23/2015 - 03:47

North and South Korea Sunday resumed top-level talks Sunday on avoiding a threatened military clash, even as Seoul accused Pyongyang of undermining the process with provocative naval and land deployments. The South Korean defence ministry said the North had doubled its artillery units at the border and deployed two-thirds of its total submarine fleet -- or around 50 vessels -- outside their bases. "The North is adopting a two-faced stance with the talks going on," said a ministry spokesman who described the scale of the sub movement as "unprecedented".

New Hampshire beach set for topless beach demonstration Sunday

Sun, 08/23/2015 - 03:00
Hundreds of bare-breasted women are expected to converge on a popular New Hampshire beach on Sunday to push for greater acceptance of topless sunbathing, much to the consternation of some local residents and officials. The event at Hampton Beach was inspired by "Free the Nipple," a 2014 documentary and a movement that seeks to "stand against female oppression and censorship, both in the United States and around the globe," according to an online statement by its proponents. The gathering also coincides with "Go Topless Day," which is loosely observed in the United States and other countries.

North, South Korea on alert as talks resume in bid to end standoff

Sat, 08/22/2015 - 23:03

By Ju-min Park and Tony Munroe SEOUL (Reuters) - Top aides to the leaders of North and South Korea resumed talks on Sunday after negotiating through the night in a bid to ease tensions involving an exchange of artillery fire that brought the peninsula to the brink of armed conflict. The meeting at the Panmunjom truce village inside the Demilitarised Zone (DMZ) began on Saturday evening, with both sides on military alert, shortly after North Korea's deadline for Seoul to halt anti-Pyongyang propaganda broadcasts or face military action. The envoys, shown on TV exchanging handshakes and tight smiles at the start of their meeting, discussed ways to resolve tensions and improve ties, South Korea's presidential Blue House said in a brief statement.

Double happiness as panda gives birth to twins in U.S. hours apart

Sat, 08/22/2015 - 22:12

A artificially inseminated giant panda took U.S. zoo officials by surprise on Saturday when she gave birth to twins - more than four hours apart. Mei Xiang, a star tourist draw in Washington's National Zoo, gave birth to her first cub at 5.34 p.m. after her water broke about an hour beforehand, zoo officials said. “All of us are thrilled that Mei Xiang has given birth," said zoo director Dennis Kelly in a statement before the second cub had arrived.

Democrat Sanders courts black voters in South Carolina

Sat, 08/22/2015 - 19:06

By Harriet McLeod NORTH CHARLESTON, S.C. (Reuters) - Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders brought his progressive populism to deeply Republican South Carolina, and made a pitch to connect with the black voters that provide most of the Democratic support in the early primary state. It was the Vermont senator's first visit to the state since announcing his candidacy in late April, in a challenge to Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton. Sanders had canceled a planned appearance in Charleston in June in the wake of the massacre at the city's Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church that left nine dead.

Bernie Sanders takes aim at 'greedy' Koch brothers

Sat, 08/22/2015 - 18:33

NORTH CHARLESTON, S.C. (AP) — Democratic presidential hopeful Bernie Sanders is making the billionaire brothers Charles and David Koch the face of a "corrupted" political and economic system that the Vermont senator wants to upend.

At Koch group summit, a restrained enthusiasm for Trump

Sat, 08/22/2015 - 10:56

While thousands streamed into a football stadium Friday evening in Mobile, Alabama to see Donald Trump, a much smaller crowd of committed conservatives unwound at a bar and mused over the good, the bad and the unknown of the unlikely Republican presidential front-runner. According to AFP, 3,600 people came to this year's annual Defending the American Dream Summit from around the country Friday and Saturday, taking in appearances by a handful of the 17 Republican presidential candidates. Trump was not invited.

French train attacker 'went to Syria'

Sat, 08/22/2015 - 10:52

A suspected jihadist gunman overpowered by passengers on a packed Amsterdam-Paris train had visited Syria and was known to both French and Spanish intelligence services, officials said Saturday. The suspect, who has been named as 25-year-old Moroccan national Ayoub El Khazzani, was wrestled to the floor by three American passengers after opening fire with an assault rifle on Friday evening, and is now being interrogated by counter-terrorist officials near Paris. A Spanish counter-terrorism source said he had lived in Spain for seven years until last year before travelling to Syria from France.

Congressman says NYC federal building gunman got 'raw deal'

Sat, 08/22/2015 - 10:02

NEW YORK (AP) — A man who gunned down a security guard at a federal building in Manhattan before killing himself was a whistleblower who had been given "a raw deal" by the agency that fired him, a New Jersey congressman who took up the man's case said Saturday.

Jimmy Carter focuses on faith as cancer treatment begins

Sat, 08/22/2015 - 09:38

ATLANTA (AP) — Jimmy Carter always goes home to Plains, Georgia. The tiny town he calls a "haven" was there when he got out of the Navy, when he left the governor's office and when he lost the 1980 presidential election.

Jury awards former basketball star Michael Jordan $8.9 million in brand case: reports

Sat, 08/22/2015 - 07:59

A jury awarded retired basketball player Michael Jordan $8.9 million in his lawsuit against a grocery store chain that used his name in a one-page magazine advertisement without his permission, the Chicago Tribune and other local media reported. Jordan, 52, led the Chicago Bulls to six National Basketball Association championships in the 1990s. The jury deliberated six hours after a two-week trial in federal court in Chicago, and decided on the award amount on Friday evening.

State media report blast at chemical plant in eastern China; no casualties reported yet

Sat, 08/22/2015 - 07:06
BEIJING (AP) — State media report blast at chemical plant in eastern China; no casualties reported yet.

France train gunman identified as known Islamist militant

Sat, 08/22/2015 - 06:15

A gunman overpowered by passengers on a train in France on Friday was known to European authorities as a suspected Islamist militant, provided the identity he has given interrogators is correct, France's interior minister said. "It is important to be careful about his identity which is not yet established with certainty," Cazeneuve said. "If the identity he has declared is confirmed, he is a 26-year-old man of Moroccan nationality identified by the Spanish authorities to French intelligence services in February 2014 because of his connections to the radical Islamist movement." He said inquiries in collaboration with other European authorities "should establish precisely the activities and travels of this terrorist".

'Give me back my gun,' train attacker pleaded with Americans

Sat, 08/22/2015 - 01:15

A gunman tackled by young Americans on a train between Amsterdam and Paris pleaded with them to hand back his Kalashnikov after they overpowered him, one of the group said. "Everything happened very fast," Anthony Sadler, a student travelling with friends Alek Skarlatos and Spencer Stone, both members of the US military, told France's BFMTV. My friends and I got down and then I said 'Let's get him'," said Skarlatos, a 22-year-old member of the National Guard in Oregon, who has recently returned from service in Afghanistan.

Rival Koreas to hold high-level talks to defuse war fears

Sat, 08/22/2015 - 00:54

Their first high-level talks in nearly a year will be held at the border village of Panmunjom.

North, South Korea officials to meet at DMZ in bid to ease tension

Sat, 08/22/2015 - 00:50

The meeting raises hopes for an end to a standoff that put the two sides on the brink of armed conflict.

Judge rules U.S. government must swiftly release immigrant children in detention

Fri, 08/21/2015 - 23:47
By Victoria Cavaliere LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - A U.S. federal judge on Friday ordered the government to swiftly release immigrant children held at detention centers, affirming a July ruling that said some minors who crossed the border illegally were being detained in violation of a long-standing settlement. The ruling by U.S. District Judge Dolly Gee in Los Angeles gave the administration of President Barack Obama until Oct. 23 to comply with her order to release hundreds of unauthorized immigrant children, and in some cases their mothers, "without unnecessary delay." Gee's ruling comes amid debate by U.S. presidential candidates over illegal immigration and follows an influx of immigrants from Central America across the U.S.-Mexico border.

Two Koreas agree to talks as military deadline looms

Fri, 08/21/2015 - 23:25

Top officials will meeting as tensions increase over a dispute about loudspeaker propaganda broadcasts.