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Today's News

  • 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.

  • Obama touts Central America ties, cuts short trip

    SAN SALVADOR, El Salvador (AP) — Under the shadow of the Libyan war to the end, President Barack Obama sped to the finish of his Latin American journey on Tuesday, promising a better U.S. fight against the violent drug trade that plagues Central America and undermines the security of an entire region.

    In tiny El Salvador, Obama again found his time diverted and his agenda eclipsed by the U.S.-led military campaign against Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi. He was scuttling a trip to Mayan ruins here Wednesday morning in favor of a national security meeting on Libya.

    The president is returning to Washington on Wednesday a couple of hours earlier than scheduled.

  • FBI eyes cross-burning in prosperous Calif town

    LOS ANGELES (AP) — An 11-foot cross was stolen from a church and set on fire next to the home of a black family, igniting anger and disbelief in a prosperous, mostly white Central California community that hasn't seen a hate crime in nearly a decade.

    Police assigned extra patrols to the neighborhood in Arroyo Grande and rewards were offered for information leading to an arrest. Church leaders were urged to mention the family in their prayers.

    "I was horrified," said the Rev. Stephanie Raphael, president of the San Luis Obispo Ministerial Association. "We live in a paradise, and I think the first thought was, this can't really be real."

  • Power lines up in progress at Japan nuclear plant--see video

    FUKUSHIMA, Japan (AP) — Workers at a leaking nuclear complex hooked up power lines to all six of its reactor units, but other repercussions from a massive earthquake and tsunami still rippled across Japan as economic losses mounted at three flagship companies.

    The progress on the electrical lines at the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant was a welcome and significant advance Tuesday after days of setbacks. With the power lines connected, officials hope to start up the overheated plant's crucial cooling system that was knocked out during the March 11 earthquake and tsunami that devastated Japan's northeast coast.