By Jarrett Renshaw NEW YORK (Reuters) - Exxon Mobil Corp's fluid catalytic cracker at its refinery in Torrance, California, was shut down following an explosion Wednesday, and will remain down while investigators determine the cause, regulators said. The California Department of Industrial Relations opened a probe into the cause of the blast, agency spokeswoman Julia Bernstein said Wednesday. The agency issued an order prohibiting Exxon Mobil from operating the 100,000-barrel-per-day fluid catalytic cracker - a central gasoline-producing unit - until the investigation is complete, Bernstein said. The company has not detailed the extent of the damage, if any, to the fluid catalytic cracker or to any other unit at the facility.
By Nichola Groom TORRANCE, Calif. (Reuters) - An explosion and fire ripped through a gasoline processing unit at an Exxon Mobil refinery in Torrance, California, near Los Angeles on Wednesday, slightly injuring four workers and shattering windows of surrounding buildings, authorities said. Investigators were trying to determine the cause of the blast, which occurred shortly before 9 a.m. PST (12 p.m. ET), but there was no evidence of foul play, according to Torrance Fire Captain Steve Deuel. "All personnel have been accounted for," Exxon Mobil said in a statement. "Four contractors have been taken to Long Beach Medical Center for evaluation for minor injuries." Torrance Mayor Patrick Furey told local television station KNBC in an interview that people who live near the refinery should take precautions.
BILOXI, Miss. (AP) — Rapper Afroman punched a female fan on stage during a concert and was charged with simple assault, police said.
By David Ingram NEW YORK (Reuters) - A U.S. prosecutor asked a jury on Wednesday to find a Saudi man guilty of conspiring with al Qaeda in the 1990s when he allegedly managed a training camp in Afghanistan and then served as Osama bin Laden's agent in London. Near the end of a month-long trial of Khalid al-Fawwaz, Assistant U.S. Attorney Sean Buckley told jurors in a closing argument that they had seen enough evidence to convict al-Fawwaz of four terrorism counts. "Khalid al-Fawwaz did everything that al Qaeda asked of him," Buckley said in Manhattan federal court.
It's been below freezing cold and many of the people living in the apartments at the Creeks at Marshallton in New Castle have been either forced out or forced to freeze in their homes.
Senator Robert Casey is urging Amtrak to upgrade to 30th Street Station before visitors arrive for the World Meeting of Families and the 2016 Democratic National Convention.
STEPHENVILLE, Texas (AP) — The sister of the former Marine accused of fatally shooting "American Sniper" author Chris Kyle and another man testified Wednesday that when her brother came to her home after the killings, he seemed "almost in a daze."
UPPER ARLINGTON, Ohio (AP) — Too busy to stop in for an Ash Wednesday service? Some churches are offering drive-by ashes.
By Keith Coffman DENVER (Reuters) - A Denver police officer critically injured when he was struck by a motorist last year during a demonstration over the shooting of an unarmed black teenager in Missouri was released from a hospital on Wednesday. John Adsit, 43, suffered a severed artery, numerous broken bones, and had his spleen removed after the December incident. Adsit and three other bicycle officers were hit by a sport utility vehicle as they conducted traffic and crowd control at the march by hundreds of Denver high school students. Adsit was the only officer seriously injured. The students were protesting the decision by a grand jury not to indict white police officer Darren Wilson in the fatal shooting of Michael Brown in the St. Louis suburb of Ferguson.
The man accused of murdering former U.S. Navy SEAL sniper Chris Kyle went through debilitating bouts of paranoia and had a hair-trigger temper, his relatives and girlfriend told a court on Wednesday, according to media reports. Eddie Ray Routh, 27, has been charged with killing Kyle, whose autobiography was turned into the acclaimed movie "American Sniper," and Kyle's friend Chad Littlefield at a gun range about 70 miles (110 km) southwest of Fort Worth in February 2013 and then stealing Kyle's pickup truck. Lawyers for Routh said he was battling psychosis and are seeking to have him declared innocent by reason of insanity. Routh's sister Laura Blevins, called by the defense, told the court in Stephenville that Routh went to her after the killings and confessed, saying he traded his soul for the stolen pickup truck, Dallas TV broadcaster WFAA reported from the court.
AMHERST, Mass. (AP) — The University of Massachusetts at Amherst said Wednesday that it has reversed its decision to ban Iranian nationals from admission to certain graduate programs in engineering and science.
ST. LOUIS (AP) — A Bosnian immigrant accused of funneling money and military supplies to terror groups in Iraq and Syria will remain in federal custody, after her lawyer told a judge Wednesday that he wants clarity on her immigration status before seeking bond.
One man is using the brutal cold to create a masterpiece.
By Daniel Wallis DENVER (Reuters) - U.S. President Barack Obama is expected to name three sites around the country this week as national monuments, including a canyon in Colorado where critics of the move denounced the plan on Wednesday as a big government land grab. Obama is expected to announce the designation of Browns Canyon, a picturesque gorge in the Rocky Mountains some 90 miles (145 km) west of Colorado Springs, during remarks in Chicago on Thursday. He will also name Chicago's Pullman district, famed in the history of the U.S. civil rights movement, as well as a site in Hawaii where Japanese-Americans were held in internment camps during World War Two. Listing something as a national monument places it among a wide range of protected areas managed by federal agencies that include battlefields, recreation areas and cultural sites.
UNITED NATIONS (AP) — The goal set by the presidents of Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea of reducing the number of new cases of the deadly disease to zero by April 15 can be reached — but only if local communities stop unsafe burials and healing practices that involve human contact, the U.N. Ebola chief said Wednesday.
STEPHENVILLE, Texas (AP) — The ex-girlfriend of a former Marine charged in the fatal shootings of "American Sniper" author Chris Kyle and another man has testified that he would become enraged over minor incidents.
(Reuters) - A Florida man was sentenced on Wednesday to just over nine years in prison after having pleaded guilty to producing and selling deadly toxins to people outside the United States, and conspiring with a British woman to kill her mother. Jesse Korff, 20, of Labelle, Florida, was sentenced to a 110-month term by U.S. District Judge Anne Thompson in Trenton, New Jersey. Korff was also ordered to serve five years of supervised release and pay a $1,000 fine.
NEW YORK (AP) — A Saudi Arabian on trial for allegedly conspiring to kill Americans made sure Osama bin Laden's messages were spread throughout the world before he was arrested in the wake of two deadly bombings of U.S. embassies in Africa in 1998, a prosecutor told jurors Wednesday at the start of closing arguments.
BOSTON (AP) — Thrill-seekers jumping out windows into snowbanks and posting videos of their feats online. Snowmobilers racing through normally busy Boston streets with snowboarders in tow. And college students skiing and sledding down a colossal snow pile dubbed "Mount MIT."
By By Heide Brandes OKLAHOMA CITY (Reuters) - An Oklahoma bill to punish any local or state employee who issues marriage licenses to same-sex couples will be heading to a vote in the state House of Representatives after a committee approved the legislation this week. It also says that those who issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples can be subject to removal from office. The bill's author, Representative Sally Kern, a Republican, said the measure is a response to U.S. courts overstepping their authority by forcing Oklahoma to recognize gay marriage. Representative Emily Virgin, a Democrat who voted against the measure in committee on Tuesday, said: "No other state in the union has seen more anti-LGBT legislation introduced during this legislative session.