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Jim Wright early casualty of rising US House partisanship

Yahoo! National News - Thu, 05/07/2015 - 07:20

FILE - In this Aug. 5, 1987 file photo, then-House Speaker Jim Wright of Texas, left, and then-House Minority Leader Robert Michel of Ill. speak to reporters outside the White House in Washington. Wright, a veteran Texas congressman who was the first House speaker in history to driven out of office in midterm, has died. He was 92. (AP Photo/Barry Thumma, File)DALLAS (AP) — As a member of what he called "the people's house" for more than a generation, Texas Democrat Jim Wright was known for his rich oratorical skills in the U.S. House. He never relied on them more than the day in 1989, when he told those who had elected him speaker about two years earlier that he was prepared to resign after being accused of violating ethics rules dozens of times.

Official: 'Significant' brine spill enters North Dakota lake

Yahoo! National News - Thu, 05/07/2015 - 07:17
A 63,000-gallon saltwater spill that leaked from an underground pipeline entered a lake via a tributary in northwest North Dakota, a state Department of Health official said Wednesday. He said the spill will not affect any drinking water in the area.

Texas gay discrimination bill opens complex father-son split

Yahoo! National News - Thu, 05/07/2015 - 07:12

In this April 16, 2015 photo, attorney Beau Miller poses in a conference room before an interview in Houston. Miller's father, Republican state lawmaker Rep. Rick Miller, has introduced a bill that would roll back local nondiscrimination ordinances passed by Texas’ largest cities, that has drawn the ire of his son, an outspoken gay rights activist. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)HOUSTON (AP) — Beau Miller and Patrick Summers have been partners for four years, but last December was the first time they spent Christmas at Miller's parents' home.

California Governor Brown tells critics of water project: 'Shut up'

Yahoo! National News - Thu, 05/07/2015 - 07:11
By Sharon Bernstein SACRAMENTO, Calif. (Reuters) - California Governor Jerry Brown on Wednesday delivered a spirited defense of his controversial proposals to shore up California's water system, which is straining under years of drought and population growth. Brown's impassioned argument in favor of mandatory conservation, desalination and water recycling plants, and a massive project to funnel water from the Sacramento River came a day after regulators imposed steep cutbacks in water use as part of the state's first-ever mandatory conservation plan. "I have to deal with these problems I've been given," Brown told a meeting of the Association of California Water Agencies. I wish we didn't have any problems." California is entering the fourth year of a devastating drought that has killed 12.5 million trees, caused farmers to fallow a half-million acres of land and left mountains bereft of snow that melts to replenish streams and reservoirs.

Baltimore mayor seeks federal civil-rights probe of police

Yahoo! National News - Thu, 05/07/2015 - 07:09
BALTIMORE (AP) — Baltimore's mayor is asking federal investigators to look into whether the city's police department uses a pattern of excessive force or discriminatory policing.

Grandmother donates kidney to 21-month-old granddaughter

Yahoo! National News - Thu, 05/07/2015 - 07:07

Grandmother donates kidney to 21-month-old granddaughterA 54-year-old grandmother donated her kidney to save the life of her 21-month-old granddaughter.

Reaction to death of former US House Speaker Jim Wright

Yahoo! National News - Thu, 05/07/2015 - 07:07
DALLAS (AP) — Reaction to the death of Jim Wright, former U.S. House speaker and longtime Texas Democratic congressman:

Schools around Alaska received threatening calls

Yahoo! National News - Thu, 05/07/2015 - 07:01
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — Authorities on Wednesday were investigating threatening phone calls to at least eight schools in Alaska in the past 10 days that prompted brief campus lockdowns and students being kept in classes.

Grand jury probe sought for Tulsa County Sheriff's Office

Yahoo! National News - Thu, 05/07/2015 - 06:55
TULSA, Okla. (AP) — A civil rights group asked Wednesday for a grand jury investigation of the Tulsa County Sheriff's Office after a volunteer deputy fatally shot an unarmed man during a sting operation last month.

Recent examples of arrests in 'homegrown terrorism' cases

Yahoo! National News - Thu, 05/07/2015 - 06:51
This week's attempted attack on a cartoon contest in Garland, Texas, raised concerns about the threat of terrorist activity by individuals in the U.S. inspired by the propaganda of the Islamic State group and other extremist organizations. Some other recent cases:

California approves new uniform rules for seawater desalination

Yahoo! National News - Thu, 05/07/2015 - 06:45

An irrigation channel runs through a corn field in Los BanosBy Sharon Bernstein SACRAMENTO, Calif. (Reuters) - California water regulators on Wednesday adopted a new uniform permitting process for seawater desalination projects expected to expand in number as the drought-stricken state increasingly turns to the ocean to supplement its drinking supplies. Action on the desalination rule, which puts key decisions for such plants in the hands of statewide regulators rather than regional boards, came a day after the same state body enacted sweeping cutbacks in water use by California's cities and towns. The latest measure amends California's Ocean Plan to make clear that regulators must evaluate the best available sites, designs, technologies and mitigation measures for minimizing harm to the environment from desalination plants. It also sets a standard limit for the discharge of desalination's waste byproducts back into the ocean, and imposes monitoring and reporting requirements for the discharges.

Chicago OKs $5.5M in reparations for police torture victims

Yahoo! National News - Thu, 05/07/2015 - 06:45

Men identified as victims of police torture under the command of retired Chicago Police Commander Jon Burge, stand to be recognized by the Chicago City Council city council, Wednesday, May 6, 2015, in Chicago. The council approved Wednesday, a $5.5 million fund to compensate victims of police torture. The "reparations" package will pay up to $100,000 each to dozens of men who claimed they were tortured by Burge's detective crew. Some victims spent decades in prison after confessing to crimes they did not commit. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast) Wednesday, May 6, 2015, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)CHICAGO (AP) — Chicago's leaders took a step Wednesday typically reserved for nations trying to make amends for slavery or genocide, agreeing to pay $5.5 million in reparations to the mostly African-American victims of the city's notorious police torture scandal and to teach schoolchildren about one of the most shameful chapters of Chicago's history.

16-year-old student shot near 2 schools in Chester

Yahoo! National News - Thu, 05/07/2015 - 06:40

16-year-old student shot near 2 schools in ChesterTwo schools were briefly locked down Wednesday afternoon following a shooting in the neighborhood nearby.

US officials, Metro-North agree on safety equipment loan

Yahoo! National News - Thu, 05/07/2015 - 06:40
HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) — Federal transportation officials and the Metropolitan Transportation Agency have agreed on a nearly $1 billion federal loan to install technology that could slow trains when necessary on the Metro-North Railroad and Long Island Railroad.

Texas grand jury convenes on officer's fatal shooting of Mexican man

Yahoo! National News - Thu, 05/07/2015 - 06:36
By Marice Richter DALLAS (Reuters) - A Texas grand jury began proceedings on Wednesday over the fatal police shooting of an unarmed Mexican national in February, another in a series of cases that raised questions about racial bias in U.S. policing. The Tarrant County grand jury in Fort Worth will decide whether to indict Grapevine police officer Robert Clark in the Feb. 20 shooting of Ruben Garcia Villalpando. The married father of four was shot twice in the chest on the side of a highway after a brief chase that ended outside the limits of Grapevine, a suburb near Fort Worth and Dallas. Villalpando was intoxicated at the time with a blood alcohol level of 0.14, nearly twice the legal limit, the Fort-Worth Star Telegram reported.

Things to know about former House Speaker Jim Wright

Yahoo! National News - Thu, 05/07/2015 - 06:32
Things to know about former House Speaker Jim Wright, who died Wednesday at age 92:

Jeni's traces listeria to ice cream pint-filling machine

Yahoo! National News - Thu, 05/07/2015 - 06:31
COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams says it has traced the source of listeria in its Ohio production facility to a pint-filling machine.

Last known member of US' German moon rocket design team dies

Yahoo! National News - Thu, 05/07/2015 - 06:25

In this photo taken Sept. 2, 2008, engineer Oscar Carl Holderer, one of Wernher von Braun's original "Operation Paperclip" team members, holds some technical drawings in his home shop behind his house in Huntsville, Ala. Holderer, the last known surviving member of the German engineering team that came to the United States after World War II and designed the rocket that took astronauts to the moon, died Tuesday, May 5, 2015 in Huntsville, Ala. He was 95. (Eric Schultz/ via AP)MANDATORY CREDITBIRMINGHAM, Ala. (AP) — The last known surviving member of the German engineering team that came to the United States after World War II and designed the rocket that took astronauts to the moon has died.

Cleveland police announce arrest in quintuple homicide

Yahoo! National News - Thu, 05/07/2015 - 06:24
CLEVELAND (AP) — Cleveland police say they've arrested a suspect in a shooting last year that left five dead, including an unborn child.

Life Alert accused of sexual harassment in ex-worker's lawsuit

Yahoo! National News - Thu, 05/07/2015 - 06:22
By Jonathan Stempel NEW YORK (Reuters) - The maker of Life Alert, known for its television ad slogan "Help, I've fallen and I can't get up," has been sued by a former sales manager who claims he was fired because of his age and cancer diagnosis, and his complaints about "rampant" sexual harassment in the company's Manhattan office. In a $7 million lawsuit filed on Wednesday in the New York state court in Manhattan, Leon Hayblum claimed that Life Alert Emergency Response Inc illegally terminated him without warning last Nov. 10, when he was 71, after a dozen years on the job. Hayblum said this was done in retaliation for his "years" of complaints about the alleged harassment and Life Alert's alleged misclassification of sales staff as independent contractors, and because he had been diagnosed with prostate cancer. Life Alert is based in Encino, California, and sells wearable devices intended to help elderly or disabled people call for assistance when they face medical or other emergencies.