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Three killed, 185,000 left without power after Washington state storms

Wed, 11/18/2015 - 22:01

About 185,000 homes and businesses remained without power in Washington state late on Wednesday, after a storm blew down trees and triggered mudslides, killing at least three people, authorities said. Governor Jay Inslee declared a statewide emergency because of the storm, which left a wide swath of the Puget Sound region under flood watches and warnings. In the Spokane area of eastern Washington, utility Avista warned it could take three to five days to restore services to nearly 115,000 customers without power.

Slow U.S. tuition growth is 'new normal' for higher education: Moody's

Wed, 11/18/2015 - 20:35

Higher education institutions suffered the weakest tuition growth in the history of Moody's survey last year. Such sluggishness "appears to be the 'new normal,'" reported Moody's, which is predicting another year of tuition revenue growth near levels of inflation, approximately 2 percent. Almost two-thirds of public universities will see tuition growth under 3 percent, in part because of state-imposed limits to keep tuition low and student enrollments that are either flat or declining.

FBI, New York police aware of Islamic State video, say no specific threat

Wed, 11/18/2015 - 16:36
The FBI and New York police are aware of a newly released Islamic State video suggesting America's most populous city is a potential target of attacks such as those in Paris last week, but both agencies said on Wednesday there were no specific threats. "While some of the video footage is not new, the video reaffirms the message that New York City remains a top terrorist target," Stephen Davis, a deputy NYPD commissioner, said in a statement.

Minneapolis shooting officers identified as protests rage

Wed, 11/18/2015 - 15:57

By Todd Melby MINNEAPOLIS (Reuters) - Minnesota officials on Wednesday identified the two Minneapolis police officers involved in the fatal shooting of an unarmed black man as chanting demonstrators surrounded a key police station. The Minnesota Department of Public Safety said Minneapolis Police Department Officers Mark Ringgenberg and Dustin Schwarze were involved in the shooting of Jamar Clark, 24, Sunday.

Texas judge halts execution of man convicted of killing three children

Wed, 11/18/2015 - 15:14

A Texas judge on Wednesday halted the execution of a 36-year-old man, hours before he was due to be put to death by lethal injection for killing his daughter and two stepdaughters in a mobile home blaze in 2000. The Texas Attorney General's office appealed, trying to win a ruling that would allow the execution of Raphael Holiday to proceed. If the execution goes ahead, Holiday would be the 531st inmate executed by Texas since the U.S. Supreme Court reinstated the death penalty in 1976, the most of any state.

On the campaign trail with Ben Carson

Wed, 11/18/2015 - 13:54

No new date set for Utah oil lease sale delayed by activists

Wed, 11/18/2015 - 13:43
The U.S. government has not set a new date for an oil and natural gas lease auction of federal lands in Utah postponed this week following overwhelming interest from the public, including climate activists, who wanted to attend the event. Officials want to hold the auction as soon as possible but rescheduling the sale is tricky going into the holidays, Megan Crandall, a spokeswoman for the Bureau of Land Management office in Utah, said on Wednesday. The BLM on Tuesday postponed the auction of leases on 39 parcels of public land representing nearly 37,600 acres, mostly in the northeastern part of Utah.

Honduras arrests 5 Syrians headed to U.S. with stolen passports

Wed, 11/18/2015 - 13:16

Honduran authorities have arrested five Syrians intending to make it to the United States with stolen Greek passports, triggering alarm Wednesday in the wake of the Paris attacks launched by Syria-linked jihadists. The Syrians were arrested on Tuesday as they flew into Toncontin airport serving the Honduran capital and failed to make it past airport security checks, a police spokesman, Anibal Baca, told reporters. "Five Syrian citizens have been detained and will be taken to our offices to be investigated because it is suspected they are carrying false documents, passports stolen in Greece," Baca said.

Terrorists Once Used Refugee Program to Settle in US

Wed, 11/18/2015 - 13:13

Of the 31 states that have declared their opposition to taking in Syrian refugees, one state, Kentucky, has a specific reason to be wary of the background check process: previously two Iraqi refugees who settled in Bowling Green turned out to be al Qaeda-linked terrorists with the blood of American soldiers on their hands, an ABC News investigation found. Both pleaded guilty to terror-connected charges after trying to acquire heavy weapons while in America’s heartland. The 2013 ABC News investigation also revealed that several dozen other suspected terrorist bombmakers, including some who were believed to have targeted U.S. troops, may have mistakenly been allowed to move to the U.S. as Iraq and Afghanistan War refugees, among the tens of thousands of innocent immigrants.

Calls for U.S. troops to fight Islamic State misguided, say experts

Wed, 11/18/2015 - 12:23

Americans want the Obama administration to get tougher with the Islamic State following the carnage in Paris, but many of the measures now being proposed could actually make the threat worse, counter-terrorism experts said. Republican presidential candidates, lawmakers and others are calling for deploying U.S. ground forces to the Middle East, using air power to create a Syria safe zone to train anti-Islamic State fighters and barring Syrian refugees. "There is no compelling reason to believe that anything we are doing will be sufficient," Republican Senator John McCain, chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, declared on Tuesday in a speech in which he proposed intervention by a European and Arab ground force backed by 10,000 U.S. military advisers and trainers.

U.S. defense chief announces reforms aimed at strengthening military

Wed, 11/18/2015 - 12:20

U.S. Defense Secretary Ash Carter announced reforms to the Defense Department's personnel policies on Wednesday aimed at attracting tech talent and improving the recruitment and retention of troops and civilians. Carter said he wanted to create more "on-ramps" for those outside the Defense Department to join even for short periods of time. A new chief recruiting officer will headhunt for executives to fill top civilian roles in the department, Carter said.

New Jersey university probes threats against African Americans

Wed, 11/18/2015 - 08:40
(Reuters) - New Jersey's Kean University is investigating threats of violence against African Americans on its campus that appeared on social media while students were staging protests over racial inequality, the school said on Wednesday.

Police officers identified in Minneapolis shooting of black man

Wed, 11/18/2015 - 08:37

By Todd Melby MINNEAPOLIS (Reuters) - State officials on Wednesday identified the two Minneapolis police officers involved in the fatal shooting of an unarmed black man that has sparked protests and dozens of arrests. The Minnesota Department of Public Safety said Minneapolis Police Department Officers Mark Ringgenberg and Dustin Schwarze were involved in the shooting of Jamar Clark, 24, early Sunday. Both men, on administrative leave during an investigation of the incident, have been police officers for seven years, including 13 months with the city.

Americans deeply split on abortion as Supreme Court takes case: Reuters/Ipsos poll

Wed, 11/18/2015 - 08:34

By Lawrence Hurley WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Americans are split over abortion restrictions like those in a Texas law challenged before the U.S. Supreme Court, reflecting deep and longstanding divisions over the contentious issue, according to a Reuters/Ipsos poll released on Wednesday. In the online poll of 3,387 U.S. adults, 41 percent of respondents said laws like the one in Texas are intended to make abortion clinics safer, 35 percent said such laws are designed to make it difficult or impossible for women to obtain abortions, and 24 percent said they did not know. The 2013 Texas law mandated costly hospital-grade standards for abortion clinics and required doctors who perform abortions to have admitting privileges at nearby hospitals.

Islamic State says 'Schweppes bomb' used to bring down Russian plane

Wed, 11/18/2015 - 08:28

By Ahmed Aboulenein and Lin Noueihed CAIRO (Reuters) - Islamic State's official magazine carried a photo on Wednesday of a Schweppes drink it said was used to make an improvised bomb that brought down a Russian airliner over Egypt's Sinai Peninsula last month, killing all 224 people on board. The photo showed a can of Schweppes Gold soft drink and what appeared to be a detonator and switch on a blue background, three simple components that if genuine are likely to cause concern for airline safety officials worldwide. ...

Ohio jury convicts man for 1985 murder of pregnant wife

Wed, 11/18/2015 - 07:33
An Ohio jury this week convicted a man of strangling his pregnant wife to death with a belt in 1985, in a case that was re-opened as a result of a 2009 arson investigation, a prosecutor's spokesman said on Wednesday. A Summit County jury convicted Scott Purk, 53, of murder and tampering with evidence on Tuesday after a six-day trial in Akron, said James Pollack of the Summit County prosecutor’s office. Margaret Purk, 24, was nine months pregnant when she was found dead in the apartment she shared with her husband 30 years ago.

Ferguson, Missouri names new city manager

Wed, 11/18/2015 - 06:22
De'Carlon Seewood, an East St. Louis, Illinois, native who served as Ferguson's assistant city manager from 2001 to 2007, was chosen as city manager from a field of more than 40 applicants nationwide, Ferguson Mayor James Knowles III said on Wednesday. The city council approved Seewood's contract with Ferguson on Tuesday evening, Knowles said. Ferguson, a mostly black community of 21,000 residents, endured civil unrest last year after St. Louis County prosecutors announced that a grand jury had decided not to indict Ferguson Police Officer Darren Wilson in the August 2014 shooting of 18-year-old Michael Brown.

Here's the manual the Islamic State uses to teach its soldiers about encryption

Wed, 11/18/2015 - 06:14
IS has been largely known for its gruesome videos and pervasive social media presence. But now that its Web-savvy media operatives have caught the world’s attention, they've becoming increasingly careful to secure their communications.