The White House on Monday acknowledged that Vice President Joe Biden is still weighing a possible run for the top job, amid controversy surrounding Democratic frontrunner Hillary Clinton. Biden, President Obama's deputy for nearly seven years, has previously said he would make a decision on entering the 2016 race by the end of the summer. "I would assume that that means he's got a another month or so to think about this and announce a decision," said White House spokesman Josh Earnest.
Colorado movie massacre gunman James Holmes will be sentenced to life with no chance of parole at a three-day hearing that begins on Monday following his conviction last month for murdering 12 people and wounding 70 in his rampage. While the murder convictions carry mandatory life sentences with no parole, Colorado law requires that Arapahoe County District Court Judge Carlos Samour formally impose the penalties. Samour must also decide the punishment for the other charges Holmes was convicted of. A jury found Holmes guilty of 165 counts of first-degree murder, attempted murder and explosive charges stemming from the July 20, 2012, mass shooting inside a Denver-area multiplex during a midnight screening of a Batman movie.
Pension, retiree healthcare and debt service costs combined increased nearly 54 percent from 2009 to 2014, from $129 million to $198 million in 2014, Moody's noted, while fixed costs exceeded 30 percent of the city's operating revenues, even as its contribution to its public pensions fell $17.7 million short in fiscal 2014. New Orleans is also dependent on the oil and gas sector, which is volatile, and its population remains about roughly 18 percent below pre-hurricane levels. In addition, after using its reserves to fill budget gaps during the recession, its liquidity is weak, Moody's said.
Researchers returned on Sunday from mapping and sampling a massive swirling cluster of trash floating in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, as the Dutch-borne crew works to refine a clean-up strategy it will roll out globally. The crew of the Ocean Cleanup, backed by volunteers in sailboats, ventured to areas of the "Great Pacific Garbage Patch", a swirling mass of human-linked debris spanning hundreds of miles of open sea where plastic outnumbers organisms by factors in the hundreds. The debris, concentrated by circular, clockwise ocean currents within an oblong-shaped "convergence zone", lies near the Hawaiian Islands, about midway between Japan and the U.S. West Coast.
By Eric M. Johnson SEATTLE (Reuters) - Beleaguered ground crews battling newly swelled wildfires across Washington state were aided by softer winds on Sunday as they welcomed the expected arrival of new fire engines and water-carrying tankers to a military base in the drought-stricken U.S. region. The full fleet of 20 large fire engines, to be deployed to hot spots threatening homes, and 10 water tankers will arrive at Fairchild Air Force Base outside Spokane before Tuesday, officials said. Overall, there were 24 large wildfires or clusters of fires burning across Washington state and Oregon on Sunday, among the nearly 70 blazes raging in Idaho, California and Montana, the National Interagency Fire Center in Boise reported.