Thursday, April 2, 2015

Transportation strike shuts down Argentina

BUENOS AIRES, Argentina — Transportation unions brought Argentina to a standstill on Tuesday with a one-day national strike to protest income tax rates and high inflation they say is eroding their earnings. Flights were cancelled, schools shut down, banks closed and thousands of businesses were shuttered along largely empty streets. While transportation workers represent only […]

Nigerian troops prevent Boko Haram attacks

NIAMEY, Niger — Soldiers fended off an attack on a border town in Niger by Boko Haram and destroyed a base used by the Islamic militants inside neighboring Nigeria in recent days, Niger said Tuesday. The two confrontations came as Nigeria elected a former military dictator as its new president amid anger over the Islamic […]

Iran nuke talks extend past deadline

LAUSANNE, Switzerland  — With stubborn disputes unresolved, negotiators extended nuclear talks between Iran and six world powers past a self-imposed Tuesday midnight deadline in an effort to hammer out the outline of an agreement. Enough progress had been made to warrant the extension until Wednesday, State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf said, although there still were […]

DreamWorks’ ‘Home’ bests ‘Get Hard’ at box office with $54M

NEW YORK — Business was brisk at the weekend box-office, where the DreamWorks animated alien adventure “Home” beat out the Will Ferrell-Kevin Hart comedy “Get Hard” with a resounding debut of $54 million, according to studio estimates Sunday. While the two films had been expected to vie for the top spot at North American theaters, “Home” […]

Michelle Obama declares ‘Black Girls Rock!’

NEWARK, N.J. — First Lady Michelle Obama celebrated the beauty, power and tenacity of black women while spreading her own message of education for girls at Black Girls Rock!, an annual event honoring trailblazing women of color from all walks of life. “No matter who you are, no matter where you come from, you are beautiful,” […]

Eiffel Tower goes dark in symbolic move for Earth Hour

PARIS — The Eiffel Tower has gone dark briefly, with lights going out to mark Earth Hour, the campaign to raise awareness about climate change. The five-minute dark-out on Saturday night was a symbolic gesture in the City of Light. France has been preparing for months to host an international climate conference in Paris at […]

Bird flu found in a top Minnesota turkey producing county

MINNEAPOLIS — An outbreak of a deadly bird flu strain spread to one of the top poultry producing counties of the nation’s top turkey producing state of Minnesota, government officials confirmed on Saturday, raising fears that the that the highly contagious disease could seriously damage the industry. The highly pathogenic H5N2 strain of avian influenza has […]

Some British Airways frequent flier accounts miles breached

NEW YORK — Some British Airways frequent flier accounts have been hacked, but the airline says that most personal information is safe. The London-based airline did not say how many accounts were compromised, but said they have been locked down and can no longer be accessed. British Airways is not aware of any access to […]

7 shot and injured at Florida spring break house party

PANAMA CITY BEACH, Fla. — Seven people were injured, some critically, during an early-morning spray of gunfire Saturday at a spring break party on the Florida Panhandle, police said. An Alabama man was quickly apprehended and charged with attempted murder. Multiple 911 calls flooded in just before 1 a.m., reporting the shootings at the house party […]

Boko Haram kills 39, legislator, disrupting Nigeria election

MAIDUGURI, Nigeria — Witnesses and officials say Boko Haram extremists killed 39 people, including a legislator, in northeastern Nigeria, disrupting the country’s presidential election. All the attacks took place in the northeast where the military Friday announced it had cleared the Islamic extremists from all major centers. Residents of the town of Miringa say Boko […]

Official: Al-Shabab siege at Somali hotel ends, 24 dead

MOGADISHU, Somalia — Blood spattered utensils, bullet-pocked walls and overturned chairs mark the reception area of a prominent hotel in the Somali capital following an attack by Islamic extremists that killed at least 24, including six attackers. Somali special forces stood over three bloodied bodies of the alleged attackers after officials declared they have full […]

Hundreds rally against Indiana law, say it’s discriminatory

INDIANAPOLIS — Hundreds of people, some carrying signs reading “no hate in our state,” gathered Saturday outside the Indiana Statehouse for a boisterous rally against a new state law that opponents say could sanction discrimination against gay people. Since Republican Gov. Mike Pence signed the bill into law Thursday, Indiana has been widely criticized by businesses […]

Warships move in key strait as airstrikes widen in Yemen

SANAA, Yemen — As airstrikes in Yemen intensified on their second day Friday, Egypt and Saudi Arabia were considering an intervention on the ground, aimed at giving the president a secure foothold to return to the country, while backing Sunni tribesmen to fight against Shiite rebels and their allies, military officials said. A likely entry point for troops […]

Iran says nuke talks focused despite Yemen crisis

LAUSANNE, Switzerland — Iran’s foreign minister sought Friday to dismiss concerns that his country’s preoccupation with the crisis in Yemen could serve as a distraction at nuclear talks with six world powers, saying the negotiations remained focused on sealing a deal. Yemen is “the hot issue of the day” and has come up at the […]

The Clintons return, shady and self-pitying as ever

A few weeks after being impeached, President Bill Clinton was asked why people had treated him the way they had. He answered with a joke about a man who fell from the Grand Canyon, broke his fall by catching a twig, and then found the twig coming loose. “And he looks up in the sky, […]

Return to ‘normal’ monetary policy won’t be easy

The Federal Reserve wants to get monetary policy back to normal without scaring or surprising the financial markets. Now, try defining “normal,” and you can see it’s going to be difficult. A vital instrument of abnormal monetary policy has been the promise to keep interest rates at (roughly) zero for an extended period. Once rates […]

Blast in New York raises question of safety

There’s a lot to talk about today, but if you don’t mind, I’ll relate a personal story. As I was watching the news Thursday, there was suddenly an interruption to report an enormous explosion in New York’s Greenwich Village. It was an apartment building with retail shops on the ground floor. At least a dozen people were […]

Can Cruz get elected as 1st tea party hawk?

Freshman Texas Sen. Ted Cruz is running for president, hoping to gain the Republican nomination by bringing together conservatives, libertarians and evangelicals. On foreign policy, that’s a tough balance to strike. Yet Cruz has crafted his own brand of hawkishness tailored to please even his tea party supporters. In a long interview at the Halifax […]

Fed, Europe kick can down the road

Last week served as an important reminder that the more things seem to change, the more they stay the same. The first reminder came from the U.S. Federal Reserve when it removed the word “patient” from its forward guidance and opened the door for an interest-rate hike this summer. But it also accompanied this significant […]

State needs courageous leadership to combat drought

California’s prolonged drought drew a bit of official attention last week. The state Water Resources Control Board tightened, ever so slightly, water conservation rules on local water agencies and users. Two days later, Gov. Jerry Brown and legislative leaders announced a $1.1 billion drought response plan, mostly old wine in new bottles with little immediate […]

Kerry Washington, Roland Emmerich among GLAAD honorees

BEVERLY HILLS — Actress Kerry Washington, director Roland Emmerich, the film “The Imitation Game” and television shows “Transparent” and “How to Get Away With Murder” have received stamps of approval from GLAAD. GLAAD is a U.S.-based group that promotes lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender presence in the media, and celebrated its honorees at a ceremony here […]

David Copperfield’s rooftop pool ruptures, floods penthouse

NEW YORK — Now you see it, now you don’t. The water in magician David Copperfield’s rooftop pool vanished – and flooded his penthouse apartment as well as multiple floors of his New York City apartment building on East 57th Street. Copperfield’s attorney Ted Blumberg told the New York Post that a malfunctioning pump was to blame […]

‘Insurgent’ seizes top spot; ‘The Gunman’ misfires

LOS ANGELES — Sean Penn’s “The Gunman” was no match for the rebel kids of “Insurgent.” The second installment in the “Divergent” series easily topped the box office with $54 million from 3,875 theaters, according Rentrak estimates Sunday. Penn’s geopolitical thriller stumbled with only $5 million. While the second films in both the “Hunger Games” and […]

Shiite rebels call for Yemen offensive; US troops evacuate

ADEN, Yemen — Yemen’s Shiite rebels issued a call to arms Saturday to battle forces loyal to the country’s embattled president, as U.S. troops were evacuating a southern air base crucial to America’s drone strike program after al-Qaida militants seized a nearby city. The turmoil comes as Yemen battles al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula, the target […]

Sex offender’s recommended placement decision flawed

Where’s Willotta Oaks? Most folks have no idea. If that includes you, it’s a small residential development on Rockville Road between downtown Fairfield and Solano Community College. It’s in the news today because the state wants to release and place a convicted rapist in Willotta Oaks. The impetus, no doubt, is the state’s need to […]