The U.S. weather forecaster on Thursday extended its forecast for a 50-60 percent chance of El Nino conditions through Northern Hemisphere summer 2015. The Climate Prediction Center, an agency of the national Weather Service, in its monthly report maintained its outlook that the El Nino conditions would be weak, should they appear. El Nino, the warming of Pacific sea-surface temperatures, can trigger drought in some parts of the world and cause flooding in others.
By Eric M. Johnson PARKLAND, Wash. (Reuters) - Sealed bags of marijuana dangle behind a counter, curved glass pipes glimmer on shelves, and a steady trickle of middle-aged customers gleefully buys cannabis strains nicknamed Charlie Sheen and Godzilla. "The Gallery" is similar to more than 100 other lawful state-licensed marijuana retail shops and hundreds of medical dispensaries in Washington state, with one exception: It is operating in defiance of local law. Its opening on Sunday set up a potential showdown with authorities in Pierce County, about an hour outside Seattle, which has effectively banned recreational pot shops in unincorporated areas so long as the drug remains illegal under federal law, even as medical pot businesses flourish virtually unregulated. "We didn't do this to pick a fight with the county," said co-owner Tedd Wetherbee, 47, in between chatting up customers in his shop in Parkland, in unincorporated Pierce County.
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Facebook executive Sheryl Sandberg has enlisted NBA stars LeBron James, Stephen Curry and some of the basketball league's other top players to convince more men to join the fight for women's rights at home and at work.
(Reuters) - New Jersey's long legal battle to recover $8.9 billion from Exxon Mobil Corp for environmental damage ended when Governor Chris Christie's chief counsel, Christopher Porrino, cut a deal to settle for $250 million, the New York Times reported, citing two people familiar with the negotiation. The Times reported last week that the settlement, which has not been made public, had been reached after 11 years of legal battle over New Jersey's claim for damages from Exxon Mobil for the contamination of more than 1,500 acres of wetlands and waters. On Thursday, the newspaper quoted Bradley Campbell, commissioner of New Jersey's Department of Environmental Protection when the case was filed in 2004, as saying the favorable deal was reached when Porrino became involved. Porrino "inserted himself into the case, elbowed aside the attorney general and career employees who had developed and prosecuted the litigation, and cut the deal favorable to Exxon," the Times quoted Bradley as saying.