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Gas blast at Mexico City children's hospital
Thu, 29 Jan 2015 12:01:18 -0500

147176659JM00031_MEXICANS_AAt least three people are dead and dozens are injured.




Lindsey Graham to test 2016 Republican presidential waters
Thu, 29 Jan 2015 12:27:40 -0500

U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham arrives for a news conference about proposed gun violence legislation in WashingtonBy Steve Holland WASHINGTON (Reuters) - South Carolina Republican Senator Lindsey Graham on Thursday formed a political organization to explore a potential run for his party's presidential nomination, the latest high-profile politician to test the 2016 waters. Graham would figure to use his South Carolina home base to his advantage for any potential run, since the Southern state is typically the third to hold a nominating contest in presidential election years, after Iowa and New Hampshire. Graham is a hawk on defense and foreign policy, generally aligned with Senator John McCain, one of his best friends. He joins a list of more than a 15 Republicans who are thinking about running for president, a group that includes 2012 nominee Mitt Romney and former Florida Governor Jeb Bush.




Islamic State purportedly sets new deadline for hostage swap
Thu, 29 Jan 2015 12:17:51 -0500

This still image taken from a video posted on YouTube by jihadists on Tuesday, Jan. 27, 2015, purports to show a still photo of Japanese journalist Kenji Goto holding what appears to be a photo of Jordanian pilot 1st Lt. Mu'ath al-Kaseasbeh. Both are being held hostage by the Islamic State militant group. The still image was overdubbed with audio which condemns Jordan for not releasing Sajida al-Rishawi, saying that unless she is freed within 24 hours both will be killed. The Arabic subtitle reads "I only have 24 hours left to live." The Associated Press could not independently verify the video. (AP Photo)A voice claiming to be a Japanese hostage relays the group's latest threat.




U.S. jobless claims plunge 14%
Thu, 29 Jan 2015 09:03:41 -0500

New claims for US unemployment insurance benefits plunged to the lowest level in nearly 15 years last week, the Labor Department reportsNew claims for US unemployment insurance benefits plunged to the lowest level in nearly 15 years last week, the Labor Department reported Thursday. Initial jobless claims, a sign of the pace of layoffs, dropped to a seasonally adjusted 265,000 in the week ending January 24, a hefty decline of 43,000 from the prior week's slightly upwardly revised level of 308,000. It was the lowest level for initial claims since mid-April 2000. The Labor Department said there was no particular factor influencing the week's claims data, which is often volatile.




Weekly Ebola cases below 100
Thu, 29 Jan 2015 09:04:13 -0500

Medical workers treating their protective gear in an Ebola treatment centre in Monrovia, December 19, 2014By Tom Miles and Stephanie Nebehay GENEVA (Reuters) - The number of new confirmed Ebola cases totaled 99 in the week to Jan. 25, the lowest tally since June 2014, the World Health Organization said on Thursday, signaling the tide might have turned against the epidemic. "The response to the EVD (Ebola virus disease) epidemic has now moved to a second phase, as the focus shifts from slowing transmission to ending the epidemic," the WHO said. "To achieve this goal as quickly as possible, efforts have moved from rapidly building infrastructure to ensuring that capacity for case finding, case management, safe burials, and community engagement is used as effectively as possible." The outbreak has killed 8,810 people out of 22,092 known cases, almost all of them in Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea. Cases and deaths have fallen rapidly in Liberia and Sierra Leone in the past few weeks, with just 20 deaths recorded in Liberia in the 21 days to Jan. 25.




Matt Bai: Jeb and the myth of the Sister Souljah moment
Thu, 29 Jan 2015 04:12:53 -0500

Jeb Bush and Sister SouljahContrary to what people say, there’s really no such thing as a “Sister Souljah moment” unless a political candidate has spent a good bit of time making the argument that underlies it first.




Malaysia declares MH370 an 'accident', airline to proceed with compensation
Thu, 29 Jan 2015 07:30:00 -0500

The wife of a passenger aboard the missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370, holds a picture of her husband walking with Malaysia's Prime Minister Razak, at a news conference in PutrajayaMalaysia declared on Thursday the disappearance of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 an accident, clearing the way for the airline to pay compensation to victims' relatives while the search for the plane goes on. "We officially declare Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 an accident ... and that all 239 of the passengers and crew onboard MH370 are presumed to have lost their lives," Department of Civil Aviation (DCA) director-general Azharuddin Abdul Rahman said in a statement. The announcement is in accordance with standards of annexes 12 and 13 in the International Civil Aviation, said Azharuddin. It will allow families of the passengers to obtain assistance through compensation, he said.




Exclusive: CDC installing cameras in labs in agency-wide safety push
Thu, 29 Jan 2015 08:26:09 -0500

A general view of Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) headquarters in AtlantaBy Julie Steenhuysen ATLANTA (Reuters) - The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has introduced camera monitoring of workers in its highest-level biosafety laboratories as it seeks to restore public faith in its procedures after a series of mishaps, agency officials tell Reuters. The mishaps have raised major questions over safety practices at more than 1,000 laboratory and support facilities that make up the CDC, whose role is to monitor and prevent outbreaks of disease. The move to monitor workers will allow lab directors and senior scientists to ensure they have followed safety protocols exactly, Leslie Dauphin, interim director of laboratory safety, told Reuters in an interview. "That is what the camera system helps with." The agency is expected to release details within a week of its own investigation into the Ebola mishap.




Brawl erupts at Missouri meeting over black teen killing case
Thu, 29 Jan 2015 12:47:49 -0500

A meeting aimed at easing tensions between blacks and police in St. Louis erupted into a brawl on Wednesday night, underscoring the ongoing anger that persists in the area after the August police killing of an unarmed black teen. The meeting, held at St. Louis City Hall by the Public Safety Committee of the St. Louis Board of Aldermen, was focused on seeking public comment for how and why a proposed civilian review board should provide oversight for police. A police union official who was wearing a wristband supporting Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson further antagonized some in the crowd, according to the reports. Wilson shot and killed 18-year-old Michael Brown in the St. Louis suburb of Ferguson on Aug. 9.

Dartmouth College to ban hard alcohol on campus
Thu, 29 Jan 2015 10:39:17 -0500

(Reuters) - Dartmouth College will ban hard alcohol on campus as it seeks to cut down on binge drinking among students, the Ivy League school's president said on Thursday. The ban, which applies to students and all college-sponsored events, comes at a time when universities across the United States are trying to fight what the White House has described as an "epidemic" of sexual assault. The Hanover, New Hampshire, college is among the more than 50 elite U.S. learning institutions that the Department of Education is investigating to see if their policies on sex assault violate U.S. laws requiring equal treatment for men and women in higher education. Researchers say the culture of binge drinking on college campuses has fueled sex assaults.

AirAsia co-pilot at controls when plane crashed
Wed, 28 Jan 2015 19:57:24 -0500

The tail of AirAsia QZ8501 passenger plane is seen on the deck of the rescue ship Crest Onyx after it was lifted from the sea bed, south of Pangkalan Bun, Central KalimantanThe French co-pilot was at the controls of an AirAsia plane before it crashed into the sea last month after flying through an area of towering clouds, killing all 162 people on board, investigators said Thursday. The announcement came as fishermen found two more bodies from the crash in waters off Sulawesi island in central Indonesia, around 1,000 kilometres (600 miles) from where the plane crashed, a search and rescue official said. On Thursday, Indonesia's National Transportation Safety Committee, which has been analysing the plane's black boxes, said that prior to the crash, the aircraft had climbed fast in an area packed with huge storm clouds, and the stall alarms started going off. They also revealed that the Airbus A320-200's less experienced French co-pilot, Remi Plesel, was flying the plane before it went down, rather than Captain Iriyanto, a former fighter pilot who had around 20,000 hours of flying time.




Unlikely bedfellows unite on criminal justice reform
Wed, 28 Jan 2015 18:07:25 -0500

Koch and FrankenFrom the Koch brothers to Al Franken, momentum builds to reduce prison population.




State Dept. officials meet with House Benghazi panel
Wed, 28 Jan 2015 18:45:01 -0500

Benghazi consulate attacks - NHOfficials are prepared to meet immediately with a special House committee investigating the deadly 2012 attacks.




Arkansas panel rejects removing Lee from King holiday
Wed, 28 Jan 2015 22:30:01 -0500

In this Jan. 16, 2008, file photo, a note is posted on a door at the Arkansas state Capitol in Little Rock, Ark., indicating state offices will close in observance of civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. and Confederate General Robert E. Lee's birthdays. Lee’s birthday would no longer be celebrated on the same day as King under a bill introduced Wednesday, Jan. 21, 2015, by Arkansas Republican Rep. Nate Bell. Arkansas is one of three states, along with Alabama and Mississippi, that jointly celebrate King and Lee. (AP Photo/Danny Johnston, File)LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — A bid to end Arkansas' practice of commemorating Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee and civil rights icon Martin Luther King Jr. on the same day was rejected by lawmakers Wednesday after opponents said the move would belittle Southern heritage.




After sparring with 2 Chainz, Nancy Grace debates pot with Dr. Drew
Wed, 28 Jan 2015 12:24:27 -0500

Nancy Grace And Dr. Drew Square Off Over PotOn the heels of her endlessly entertaining debate with rapper 2 Chainz over the legalization of marijuana, Nancy Grace picked up the anti-pot argument on Tuesday with fellow HLN host Dr. Drew.




Russia says Kiev's actions will escalate Ukraine fighting
Wed, 28 Jan 2015 13:39:45 -0500

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, center, speaks to participants of consultations between representatives of the Syrian government and the Syrian opposition in Moscow, Russia, Wednesday, Jan. 28, 2015. Lavrov said the meeting should pave the way for further talks on conditions for a political settlement. (AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko)By Thomas Grove MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russia said on Wednesday military action by the Ukrainian government would prompt an "inevitable further escalation of the conflict" with pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine and undermine any peacemaking. Russia has stepped up criticism of Kiev since violence has intensified in the conflict, where a ceasefire collapsed after rebels drove Ukrainian government forces out of Donetsk airport. The separatists say they want to drive back government forces and their artillery out of range of the cities they hold and improve their grip on strongholds. "The latest military actions provoked by Kiev will lead to the inevitable further escalation of the conflict (and) undermine efforts taken by the international community to end the bloodshed," Russia's Foreign Ministry said in a statement.




Hillary Clinton agrees to testify on Benghazi
Wed, 28 Jan 2015 09:37:30 -0500

REUTERS NEWS PICTURES SERVICE - PICTURES OF THE YEAR 2013The former secretary of state will appear before a House select committee.




Islamic State releases new audio message by Japanese hostage
Wed, 28 Jan 2015 23:29:44 -0500

Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe speaks to reporters after a meeting on the hostage crisis, at his official residence in Tokyo Wednesday, Jan. 28, 2015. Japanese officials were tightlipped Wednesday as secret talks in Jordan sought to secure the freedom of a Japanese journalist and a Jordanian pilot captured by Islamic State extremists and purportedly threatened with death within 24 hours. (AP Photo/Kyodo News) JAPAN OUT, MANDATORY CREDITJordan says it is ready to trade an Iraqi woman militant for a pilot held by IS extremists.




Dozen killed in suicide attack against Mali rebels
Wed, 28 Jan 2015 13:33:49 -0500

French helicopters are stationed at a base in Goa, Mali on January 2, 2015An attack overnight in northern Mali by a pro-government armed group including suicide bombers killed a dozen people, security sources said Wednesday. "GATIA fighters, accompanied by suicide bombers, attacked a rebel Tuareg and anti-government Arab position in the night from Tuesday to Wednesday near the town of Tabankort. A security source in MINUSMA -- the United Nations peacekeeping mission in Mali -- confirmed the deaths, adding that two fighters blew themselves up while a third was killed before he was able to detonate his explosives. GATIA is the commonly-used name for the pro-government Imghad and Allies Tuareg Self-Defence Group.




Bucking Obama, senior Democrat seeks limits on war against IS
Wed, 28 Jan 2015 06:03:31 -0500

Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif.Rep. Adam Schiff's resolution forbids using ground forces in combat against IS militants.




Hezbollah carried out deadly attack on Israeli convoy
Wed, 28 Jan 2015 08:14:03 -0500

Israeli soldiers secure the Israel-Lebanon border, Wednesday, Jan. 28, 2015. The Lebanese Hezbollah group is claiming responsibility for today’s attack on an Israeli military convoy. Hezbollah claims the attack destroyed a number of Israeli vehicles and caused casualties among "enemy ranks." Israel later fired at least 35 artillery shells into Lebanon. (AP Photo/Ariel Schalit)Lebanese Hezbollah militants killed and wounded a number of Israeli soldiers in a "big operation" on Wednesday targeting an Israeli military convoy in a frontier area, a Lebanese political source said. The attack in the Israeli-occupied Shebaa Farms area was in response to an Israeli rocket attack in Syria, the source, who is familiar with details of the operation, said.




Obama's attorney general pick aims to smooth DOJ ties with Congress
Wed, 28 Jan 2015 18:32:17 -0500

Loretta Lynch testifies on Capitol Hill in WashingtonBy Aruna Viswanatha and Julia Edwards WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Loretta Lynch, President Barack Obama's pick for attorney general, on Wednesday sought to make a clean break from the testy relationship her predecessor had with Congress, while supporting the legality of the administration's controversial actions on immigration. Lynch, a career prosecutor known for her diplomatic skills, struck a delicate balance during her confirmation hearing, telling the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee, "I look forward to fostering a new and improved relationship." Her willingness to listen to Republican concerns was generally well received by the senators.