By Eric Walsh and Julia Edwards WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. President Barack Obama will sign an executive order on Thursday that sets a goal for the U.S. government to cut its greenhouse gas emissions by 40 percent by 2025, the White House said. Although the federal government accounts for only 0.7 percent of net U.S. emissions, it is the single largest energy consumer in the United States, according to the White House. Meeting the goal would cut 21 million metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions from 2008 levels, it said.
By Lisa Lambert WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. Secret Service Director Joseph Clancy pledged on Thursday to get tough on his agency for keeping quiet about officers allegedly driving drunk on White House grounds, but he also knocked down reports that the incident involved a collision or that agents purposely deleted surveillance video of it. President Barack Obama chose Clancy, who took office last month, to clean up the security service's problems. On March 4, two Secret Service officers drove past barricades at the White House and into an area locked down because of a suspicious package. On Tuesday, a House of Representatives subcommittee grilled him for not firing agents suspected of being involved and blasted him for not conducting his own investigation.
NEW YORK (AP) — A judge on Thursday refused to release testimony heard by a grand jury that declined to indict a police officer in the chokehold death of Eric Garner, arguing there wasn't a good enough reason to make the secret information public.
By Heide Brandes OKLAHOMA CITY (Reuters) - Oklahoma's conservative lawmakers, angered at being ordered by U.S. courts to allow gay marriage in the state, have come up with a new, religious tactic to block same-sex weddings by mandating that clergy conduct almost all ceremonies. Yet as the measure was making its way to the floor, a rush of same-sex marriage supporters applied to become ministers with the intention of registering as clergy authorized to perform weddings in the state. The Oklahoma County Courthouse site is very vague about the paperwork necessary to register," said Rose Marie of Oklahoma City, who applied for her minister license online in February after the measure was first introduced. As the tide has turned in favor of gay marriage in the United States, several socially conservative states have proposed legislation aimed at making it difficult for same-sex couples to marry.
Thursday is something of a national holiday for American sports fans, when office productivity plummets. The NCAA Men's Division I Basketball Championship, also known as March Madness or the Big Dance, begins in earnest. Thursday and Friday feature a hoops extravaganza: 16 games each day, from noon to midnight. The single-elimination tournament means every game is a must-win for all 68 schools, producing tense, dramatic finishes. Upsets are eagerly anticipated as elites like Kentucky fend off underdogs trying to spark an improbable run and become the next tournament darling. Fanatics, novices and even President Barack Obama are trying to predict the winners of every game by completing an estimated 70 million tournament brackets, according to the American Gaming Association — that's more brackets completed than votes Obama received in the last presidential election. Here's a brief explanation of how a basketball tournament transcended sports to become a national craze:
LOS ALAMITOS, Calif. (AP) — A California veteran has been awarded a Purple Heart exactly 70 years after his airplane was shot down in Germany during World War II and more than a decade after his death.
By Scott Malone BOSTON (Reuters) - The Boston Marathon bombing trial jury on Thursday saw the remains of a pressure-cooker bomb that prosecutors say Dzhokhar Tsarnaev hurled at police during a gunfight four days after the bombing as well as jihadist files recovered from his laptop. The bomb, described as similar to the twin bombs set off at the race, was extracted from a Honda Civic in which it embedded itself on a Watertown, Massachusetts street after Dzhokhar Tsarnaev and his older brother, Tamerlan, detonated it during the gunfight. The pressure cooker was the same type as was used in the bombs that killed three people and injured 264 on April 15, 2013, said Federal Bureau of Investigation Special Agent Brian Corcoran, though the pieces found in Watertown were more intact than those discovered at the race's finish line. "Those pieces were typically more fragmented, more cut up," Corcoran testified in U.S. District Court in Boston, looking at both the main pot and its lid, which was found halfway down the block from the blast site, in a child-sized soccer goal in a home's side yard.