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Today's News

  • The nature of political ambition

    Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell and his gang of senate GOPers are at it again.
    This time they’ve told President Obama that his choice for a new Secretary of Commerce won’t be confirmed until the president submits proposed free trade agreements with South Korea, Colombia and Panama for Senate confirmation.
    The Obama administration is holding back those agreements pending negotiations with Colombia and Panama on related issues.
    But McConnell, et. al, have their own agenda and are now embarked upon another of their tantrums by threatening to leave the Department of Commerce leaderless unless they get their way.
    It’s as mindless as it is irresponsible.

  • Taking the 30,000-foot point of view at projects

    Let’s eavesdrop on a legislative Transportation and Public Works Committee meeting earlier this month.
    Rep. Rick Little asked how much it would cost to mothball the New Mexico Rail Runner. “I’m from a county that’s way down south and it doesn’t benefit them one bit. Other counties feel the same way.”
    Chris Blewett, of the Rio Metro Regional Transportation District, tried to put the commuter train in perspective. Central New Mexico has one road, I-25, connecting Albuquerque, Santa Fe, Belen and four pueblos.

  • Rockets, bomb kill 5 in Pakistan

    QUETTA, Pakistan (AP) — Three rocket attacks and a bomb struck parts of western Pakistan on Wednesday, killing five people, including a child, police said.

    The rockets hit several busy roads in Quetta, the capital of Baluchistan province, police chief Daood Junejo said.

    The province has been a scene of low-level insurgency for years by nationalist groups who want a greater share of revenue from resources in the oil- and gas-rich region. A police officer and a child were among those killed by rockets and 15 people were injured.

  • Germany set to abandon nuclear power for good

    BERLIN (AP) — Germany is determined to show the world how abandoning nuclear energy can be done.

    The world's fourth-largest economy stands alone among leading industrialized nations in its decision to stop using nuclear energy because of its inherent risks. It is betting billions on expanding the use of renewable energy to meet power demands instead.

  • Spring? Yeah, right: Snow for Midwest, Northeast

    ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — Spring can't seem to upstage winter in the Northeast and parts of the nation's midsection, as a far-reaching storm on Wednesday brought up to a foot of snow to areas from the Dakotas to upstate New York.

    Scores of schools closed or delayed opening in Wisconsin, northeastern Pennsylvania, upstate New York and northwest New Jersey because of the weather.

    Communities in Pennsylvania's Pocono Mountains were expecting more than 11 inches by the time the storm moved out late Wednesday, The National Weather Service reported.

    Up to 6 inches of snow had already fallen in parts of western New York and up to a foot more could fall upstate by Thursday.

  • Film legend Elizabeth Taylor dies at 79 in LA--video included

    LOS ANGELES (AP) — Elizabeth Taylor, the violet-eyed film goddess whose sultry screen persona, stormy personal life and enduring fame and glamour made her one of the last of the old-fashioned movie stars and a template for the modern celebrity, died Wednesday at age 79.

    She died of congestive heart failure at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, where she had been hospitalized for about six weeks, said publicist Sally Morrison.

  • Germany set to abandon nuclear power for good

    BERLIN (AP) — Germany is determined to show the world how abandoning nuclear energy can be done.

    The world's fourth-largest economy stands alone among leading industrialized nations in its decision to stop using nuclear energy because of its inherent risks. It is betting billions on expanding the use of renewable energy to meet power demands instead.

    The transition was supposed to happen slowly over the next 25 years, but is now being accelerated in the wake of Japan's Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear plant disaster, which Chancellor Angela Merkel has called a "catastrophe of apocalyptic dimensions."

  • Anxiety in Japan over radiation in tap water

    TOKYO (AP) — Shops across Tokyo began rationing goods — milk, toilet paper, rice and water — as a run on bottled water coupled with delivery disruptions left shelves bare Thursday nearly two weeks after a devastating earthquake and tsunami.

    Anxiety over food and water remained high a day after Tokyo officials reported that radioactive iodine in the city's tap water measured more than twice the level considered safe for babies.

    Radiation has been leaking from a nuclear plant 140 miles (220 kilometers) northeast of Tokyo since it was struck by the March 11 quake and engulfed by the ensuing tsunami. Feverish efforts to get the plant's crucial cooling system back in operation have been beset by explosions, fire and radiation scares.

  • Japan disaster set to be world's costliest

    TOKYO (AP) — Japan's government said the cost of the earthquake and tsunami that devastated the northeast could reach $309 billion, making it the world's costliest natural disaster on record.

    The extensive damage to housing, roads, utilities and businesses across seven prefectures (states) has resulted in losses of between 16 trillion yen ($198 billion) and 25 trillion yen ($309 billion), according to a Cabinet Office estimate Wednesday. That could drag the economic growth rate down by 0.5 percent this year.

    The losses figure is considerably higher than other estimates. The World Bank on Monday said damage might reach $235 billion. Investment bank Goldman Sachs had estimated quake damage of as much as $200 billion.

  • Libya mission gaining, as US to cede control--see video

    WASHINGTON (AP) — As the air war in Libya achieves some of its early objectives, such as grounding Moammar Gadhafi's air force, the Obama administration is looking for a quick exit — at least from a front-line role in an international operation that has yet to gain the robust participation of Arab nations that Washington wanted.

    Civilians in major cities like Misrata are still bearing the burden of clashes with pro-Gadhafi forces that are showing little sign of heeding international demands that they retreat for peace. That is raising the prospect of stalemate and doubt about whether the Libyan leader can be defeated outright.