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Sixteen coal ash pits contaminating Texas groundwater: report
Thu, 17 Jan 2019 15:32:00 -0500

Sixteen coal ash pits contaminating Texas groundwater: reportSixteen coal ash pits in Texas are leaking contaminants into groundwater, including arsenic, boron, cobalt and lithium, according to a report released on Thursday by the Environmental Integrity Project (EIP). Coal ash is the residue left after coal has been burned to generate power, and can include sludge from plant exhaust stacks. Coal ash is placed in pits or ponds next to coal power plants.


Judge finds Chicago policemen not guilty in conspiracy trial
Thu, 17 Jan 2019 15:23:44 -0500

Judge finds Chicago policemen not guilty in conspiracy trialA judge on Thursday found three Chicago policemen not guilty of conspiring to protect white fellow police officer Jason Van Dyke after he fatally shot a black teenager in 2014. A jury convicted Van Dyke in October of second-degree murder and 16 counts of aggravated battery in the shooting of Laquan McDonald, 17. Judge Domenica Stephenson of the Illinois Circuit Court of Cook County also found David March, Joseph Walsh and Thomas Gaffney not guilty of official misconduct and obstruction of justice.


U.S. separated 'thousands' more immigrant children than known: watchdog
Thu, 17 Jan 2019 14:39:42 -0500

U.S. separated 'thousands' more immigrant children than known: watchdogThe Office of Inspector General at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) said the agency had identified many more children in addition to the 2,737 included as part of a class action lawsuit challenging family separations brought by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) last year. The administration of President Donald Trump implemented a 'zero tolerance' policy to criminally prosecute and jail all illegal border crossers even those traveling with their children, leading to a wave of separations last year.


Teachers' strike tests Los Angeles mayor's White House hopes
Thu, 17 Jan 2019 14:33:43 -0500

Teachers' strike tests Los Angeles mayor's White House hopesThe move may help Garcetti, who is considering a presidential run but has not officially declared his intentions, raise his national profile. Strategists said it also could tie his reputation to the outcome, with a quick deal giving him a boost while drawn-out scenes of the union's 30,000 teachers, about a third of whom are Latino, on picket lines could harm his standing with key Democratic constituencies. "Before the strike, I had this in the column of things that would be really hard on his presidential campaign," said Raphael Sonenshein, the executive director of the Pat Brown Institute for Public Affairs at California State University in Los Angeles.


UCLA's perfect 10 gymnast targets domestic violence, body shaming
Thu, 17 Jan 2019 12:51:36 -0500

UCLA's perfect 10 gymnast targets domestic violence, body shamingSoon after she graduates from the University of California, Los Angeles, in June, her ambition is to appear on "Dancing With the Stars" and then, within five years, to work with victims of domestic violence, she told Reuters. "I hope to be starting or working on domestic violence and creating a safehouse and starting a program that can help people recover and find the best mental help and stability," said Ohashi, a Gender Studies major.


Talks to resume as Los Angeles teachers' strike enters fourth day
Thu, 17 Jan 2019 12:22:53 -0500

Talks to resume as Los Angeles teachers' strike enters fourth dayStriking Los Angeles teachers and America's second-largest school district headed on Thursday for their first bargaining session since talks collapsed last week, as a walkout by some 30,000 educators entered a fourth day. "They are resolute on reaching an agreement," the president of United Teachers Los Angeles (UTLA) union, Alex Caputo-Pearl, said at a news conference, referring to the union's bargaining team ahead of Thursday's talks.


U.S. Army vows to fix 'broken' housing at Fort Meade in wake of Reuters report
Thu, 17 Jan 2019 06:28:45 -0500

U.S. Army vows to fix 'broken' housing at Fort Meade in wake of Reuters reportThe garrison commander at Maryland’s Fort Meade made the remarks in meetings with residents this month in response to a Reuters report https://www.reuters.com/investigates/special-report/usa-military-developer in December that detailed the problems, which ranged from mold and rodent infestations to flooding, crumbling roofs and ceiling collapses. Many tenants accused the closely held civilian company that runs most housing at Fort Meade, Rhode Island's Corvias Group, of routinely failing to make repairs. “Based on the Reuters articles, we failed you.


Five deaths blamed on storms that dump snow, rain on California
Thu, 17 Jan 2019 02:01:43 -0500

Five deaths blamed on storms that dump snow, rain on CaliforniaForecasters expect the bitter weather to push eastwards into the Rockies and U.S. Midwest through the weekend, while the California Highway Patrol said rain-slicked highways led to two fatal accidents that killed four people. A family of three, including a one-year-old baby, died in El Dorado County on Tuesday, after their car spun across a rain-soaked freeway to hit another car, the San Francisco Chronicle said. Another man died in a storm-related car wreck on Wednesday in Napa County, highway patrol dispatchers said, but no further details were immediately available.


Los Angeles mayor to mediate in talks to settle first teachers' strike in 30 years
Thu, 17 Jan 2019 01:29:20 -0500

Los Angeles mayor to mediate in talks to settle first teachers' strike in 30 yearsWednesday's announcement of the breakthrough capped the third day of a strike that has disrupted classes for nearly 500,000 students as teachers pressed their demands for higher pay, smaller classes and more support staff. Representatives of the two sides - the Los Angeles Unified School District and the United Teachers Los Angeles - have not met since union leaders rejected the LAUSD's latest contract offer last Friday night, setting the stage for district teachers' first strike in 30 years. Union officials said the mayor, who has voiced support for the teachers' cause, had met with the two parties on Wednesday.


Los Angeles mayor offers to mediate talks to end teachers strike: union leaders
Wed, 16 Jan 2019 23:48:13 -0500

Los Angeles mayor offers to mediate talks to end teachers strike: union leadersLos Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti has offered to mediate in renewed contract talks proposed for Thursday between negotiators for 30,000 striking teachers and the nation's second-largest school district, union leaders said late on Wednesday. There was no immediate word from the Los Angeles Unified School District to the overture from the United Teachers Los Angeles, but union President Alex Caputo-Pearl said he expected the two sides to return to talks through the weekend. Union officials said the mayor and the California state superintendent of public instruction, Tony Thurmond, had met both parties on Wednesday, as the first Los Angeles teachers strike in three decades stretched through its third day.


Ex-Michigan governor says he will resign university post in Nassar fallout
Wed, 16 Jan 2019 23:07:43 -0500

Ex-Michigan governor says he will resign university post in Nassar falloutNassar, who was a team doctor for USA Gymnastics, was sentenced to up to 300 years in prison in two different trials last winter after more than 350 women testified that he abused them. Engler said in a letter published by the university the chair of MSU's board of trustees advised him that a majority of the panel had asked that he step down, and that he would abide by their request and resign as of Jan. 23. Board chair Dianne Byrum had called a meeting on Thursday to discuss firing Engler, a three-time former governor of Michigan, after he told the Detroit News that some of Nassar's victims were "enjoying" being in the spotlight.


Los Angeles teachers strike 'bigger than a paycheck'
Wed, 16 Jan 2019 22:14:54 -0500

Los Angeles teachers strike 'bigger than a paycheck'Instead Castillo, when asked what drove her to walk out of her classroom at Harbor City Elementary School to join the city's first teacher strike in 30 years, talked about the colleague whose job was eliminated while she was on maternity leave, and the classes that keep growing in size. "My husband and I are both Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) teachers and we're both dedicated to this," said Castillo, who wore a plastic poncho and red cap in a rare California rainstorm, a laminated sign around her neck listing the recent cutbacks at Harbor City Elementary. As some 30,000 teachers spent a third day on picket lines at schools across the nation's second-largest school district on Wednesday, a union leader expressed optimism that stalled negotiations could be restarted with help from Mayor Eric Garcetti.


Man charged in plot to attack White House with anti-tank rocket
Wed, 16 Jan 2019 21:00:30 -0500

Man charged in plot to attack White House with anti-tank rocketHasher Jallal Taheb, of the Atlanta suburb of Cumming, was arrested in Gwinnett County on Wednesday and appeared briefly in federal court in Atlanta in a case brought by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Byung Pak, the U.S. attorney for the Northern District of Georgia, told reporters. "His alleged intent was to attack the White House and other targets of opportunity in the Washington, D.C., area by using explosive devices, including an improvised explosive device, an anti-tank rocket," Pak said. A criminal complaint said around March 2018 a community member contacted law enforcement to say Taheb had become "radicalized." On Aug. 25, 2018, Taheb put his vehicle up for sale and an FBI informant showed interest in buying it, the complaint said.


U.S. watchdog faults handling of government lease for Trump D.C. hotel
Wed, 16 Jan 2019 20:58:54 -0500

U.S. watchdog faults handling of government lease for Trump D.C. hotelAmid intensifying scrutiny of possible conflicts of interest involving Trump's businesses, the inspector general of the U.S. General Services Administration (GSA) found fault with the agency's review of the lease of the Old Post Office Pavilion. The Romanesque Revival landmark on Pennsylvania Avenue, not far from the White House, was leased by the Trump Organization in 2013 for 60 years and now houses a luxury Trump hotel often frequented by government officials.


'Grifters, weaklings, felons': Christie on the Trump White House
Wed, 16 Jan 2019 20:02:14 -0500

'Grifters, weaklings, felons': Christie on the Trump White HouseFormer New Jersey Governor Chris Christie sees the Trump White House as a rogues' gallery of flawed people sidetracking the work of the U.S. president, according to excerpts of his forthcoming memoir posted on the news site Axios on Wednesday. President Donald Trump employs a "revolving door of deeply flawed individuals — amateurs, grifters, weaklings, convicted and unconvicted felons — who were hustled into jobs they were never suited for, sometimes seemingly without so much as a background check via Google or Wikipedia," Christie, who was a senior adviser to Trump's 2016 campaign, says in his memoir, "Let Me Finish," which is due to be released on Jan. 29. Christie had sought the Republican presidential nomination himself in 2016 before becoming a diligent supporter and surrogate for Trump, but his work with the administration has been limited and he recently withdrew his name from consideration for Trump's chief of staff.


Cheers! Furloughed workers offered a free beer (or two)
Wed, 16 Jan 2019 19:52:59 -0500

Cheers! Furloughed workers offered a free beer (or two)An ad hoc group, called Pay It Furloughed, has set up a website that allows furloughed federal workers or those working without pay to grab a cold one - or two - at several craft breweries in Washington, including Atlas Brew Works, DC Brau and Shop Made in DC. "We are frustrated by the lack of leadership in Washington, D.C. and the negative impact the government shutdown is having on hundreds of thousands of our friends, neighbors and members of our community," reads a statement by Pay It Furloughed, which was set up by Washington community kitchen Mess Hall, food writer Nevin Martell, app developer 3Advance and public relations firm Quixotic.


U.S. shutdown taking toll on FDA, USDA inspection roles: experts
Wed, 16 Jan 2019 19:39:25 -0500

U.S. shutdown taking toll on FDA, USDA inspection roles: expertsWorkers in public health laboratories are reporting disruptions in the analysis of DNA from food samples involved in foodborne outbreaks, and have raised concerns about a USDA program that tests agricultural commodities for unsafe levels of pesticides, they said. The shutdown is "putting our nation's food supply at risk," Connecticut Representative Rosa DeLauro, a Democrat, said at a briefing of the House Congressional Food Safety Caucus on Wednesday. Only about a third of the FDA's regular inspections are being carried out, she said.


Tennessee ex-teacher who took off with student sentenced to 20 years
Wed, 16 Jan 2019 18:36:51 -0500

Tennessee ex-teacher who took off with student sentenced to 20 yearsTad Cummins, 52, was sentenced in federal court in Nashville by U.S. District Judge Aleta Trauger, according to emails from a spokesman for the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Middle District of Tennessee. Cummins had faced a sentence of up to life in prison for transporting a minor with intent to engage in criminal sexual activities and up to 20 years in prison for obstructing investigations, court documents said. Federal prosecutors had requested a sentence of 30 years, according to a court document.


Georgia man charged with plotting attack on White House: media
Wed, 16 Jan 2019 18:33:08 -0500

Georgia man charged with plotting attack on White House: media(Reuters) - A Georgia man has been arrested and charged for allegedly plotting to destroy the White House and other government buildings in Washington, the Atlanta Journal Constitution reported on Wednesday.


USDA recalls workers to help with farm loans, taxes; data uncertain
Wed, 16 Jan 2019 18:31:37 -0500

USDA recalls workers to help with farm loans, taxes; data uncertainThe U.S. Department of Agriculture will reopen about 980 Farm Service Agency (FSA) offices for three days starting on Thursday to help process farm loans and tax documents during the partial federal government shutdown. About 2,500 FSA employees who have been furloughed by the partial shutdown that began on Dec. 22 have been called back to work without pay, the department said in a statement on Wednesday. "Until Congress sends President Trump an appropriations bill in the form that he will sign, we are doing our best to minimize the impact of the partial federal funding lapse on America’s agricultural producers," U.S. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue said in a statement.



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