TUESDAY, JANUARY 27, 2015

Storm Predictions Scaled Back
NEW YORK (AP) - Forecasters now say the winter storm that was to leave up to 3 feet of snow in some parts of the Northeast, is not as bad as they had expected. The National Weather Service is revising its predictions, saying New York could get up to 20 inches; Hartford, Connecticut up to 2 feet and Philadelphia and central New Jersey about 6 inches. Fear that a blizzard could shut down much of the Northeast prompted airlines to cancel some 7,700 flights and officials in many cities told people to stay off the streets.

Travel Restrictions
PHILADELPHIA (AP) - Transportation officials in Pennsylvania are warning drivers that restrictions may be imposed during the winter storm.
Pennsylvania Turnpike officials said speeds may be reduced to 45 mph at some point between the Harrisburg East exchange and the Delaware River bridge and on the Northeast Extension, and commercial vehicles may be restricted. The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation said it may impose similar restrictions on interstates in the Philadelphia area and the Pocono Mountains.

Many Flights Canceled In Philadelphia
PHILADELPHIA (AP) - Officials say airlines operating at Philadelphia International Airport have canceled most flights today, but there are no plans to close the airport during the storm. Spokeswoman Diana Gerace says crews will be working for the duration of the storm to be ready when airlines resume operations. She says officials will be distributing pillows, blankets, bottled water, snacks and kits containing personal care items to stranded passengers. And there will be some cots available in designated sleeping zones.

Wolf Faces Lawsuit Over Firing
HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) - A leading advocate of open government is calling on Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf to reconsider his firing of his predecessor's appointee as director of Pennsylvania's Office of Open Records. The Pennsylvania Freedom of Information Coalition said Monday that Wolf's decision last week to oust Erik Arneson and appoint an acting director will have a long-term, negative impact on its integrity. Arneson was appointed by Republican Gov. Tom Corbett a week before he left office. The coalition says Wolf's action could lead to firings by future governors who dislike the agency's rulings and erode the agency's authority. The coalition, part of a national network of more than 50 similar groups, is a non-profit volunteer group working to increase government transparency and help citizens understand the state's open-records and open-meetings laws.

Email Access Blocked
STATE COLLEGE, Pa. (AP) - A state court has blocked a bid by a Penn State alumnus to gain access to email exchanges between the state attorney general's office and an independent group that was investigating the Jerry Sandusky child sex abuse scandal at the university. The ruling came Monday on the correspondence between state prosecutors and investigators hired by trustees and led by former FBI Director Louis Freeh. The three-judge Commonwealth Court panel said the material falls under "investigative exceptions" in Pennsylvania laws governing transparency. Ryan Bagwell, a 2002 Penn State graduate, said he disagrees with the decision but an appeal is unlikely. Bagwell earlier won an appeals court decision that he's entitled to see communications between Penn State's board of trustees and a member who was state secretary of education at the time.

Guns In School
BRADDOCK HILLS, Pa. (AP) - Authorities in western Pennsylvania say two suspects were arrested and at least two guns confiscated at a school in western Pennsylvania. Officials locked down the Propel elementary and high school in Braddock Hills near Pittsburgh after an armed person was reported at about 2:30 p.m. Monday. Officers from about 20 departments responded and made the arrests, and a search began for a possible third suspect. Chief Dean Helinski said the third person wasn't found and the lockdown was canceled at about 5 p.m. Monday. Helinski said the suspects were a juvenile and an adult but declined to say whether they were students. He said at least one of the weapons was unloaded. Propel operates 10 charter schools in Allegheny County, including the two schools in the Braddock Hills Shopping Center.

JetBlue Investigates Threat
BOSTON (AP) - A threat and the Northeast storm will mean the crew and 135 passengers from a JetBlue flight will be spending at least one night in Boston instead of heading to Palm Beach, Florida. The plane returned to the gate Monday night before takeoff because of an unspecified threat, which authorities now believe wasn't credible. Troopers with search dogs swept the aircraft and about 100 pieces of luggage. The passengers will have to be rebooked because the airport had to close.

Obama Wraps Up Trip To India
NEW DELHI (AP) - President Barack Obama is drawing on his own experience as a minority as he gently nudges India to fulfill its constitution's pledge to uphold the "dignity of the individual." Obama is closing out a three-day visit to New Delhi Tuesday with a speech touting the importance of religious tolerance. Obama says that while he has had extraordinary opportunities, there were moments in his life when he was treated differently because of the color of his skin. He also noted persistent false rumors that he is a Muslim, not a Christian. Current Prime Minister Narendra Modi was denied a visa to the U.S. in 2005, three years after religious riots killed more than 1,000 Muslims in the Indian state where he was the top elected official.

Castro Calls For Cooperation
HAVANA, Cuba (AP) - Former Cuban leader Fidel Castro has finally commented on his country's recent decision to restore diplomatic ties with the United States. The 88-year-old revolutionary leader said in a written comment that he still distrusts Washington but backs the negotiations. He said he favors "cooperation and friendship with all the people of the world, including political adversaries."

 

 

 

Facebook Outage
SEOUL, South Korea (AP) - Facebook suffered a widespread outage lasting roughly 40 minutes today affecting users in the United States, Asia, the U.K. and Australia. The social media giant's Instagram service was also briefly inaccessible. Instagram said on its Twitter account that it was aware of an outage and was working on a fix. There was no immediate statement from Facebook. Facebook has about 1.25 billion users and Instagram has some 300 million. News of the Facebook outage set rival social network Twitter alight. As access to Facebook returned in Asia, some users reported that the site was loading or responding slowly.

Professor Dies At California University
A California University of Pennsylvania Professor was found dead on campus Sunday night. University officials say Dr. Burrell Brown, the Chair of the Business and Economics Department, was found dead in his office by campus police. Dr. Brown served as Vice President of APSCUF (the 5,000-member union for faculty and coaches in the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education) and practiced primarily in the area of Employment Law. Brown was also past president and founding member of the Homer S. Brown Law Association, and served as past president and founding member of the Pittsburgh Chapter of Black MBA.  He served for 20 years on the Legal Counsel to the Pennsylvania State NAACP and was also past president of that organization. There is no word, yet, on the cause of his death, but officials believe he died of natural causes. In response to his untimely death, the University issued this statement: “The California University of Pennsylvania community sends its deepest condolences to the family and friends of Dr. Burrell Brown, a longtime faculty member and chair of the Department of Business and Economics. Dr. Brown was a distinguished faculty member and campus leader for many years, and he will be greatly missed by the entire campus community.”

Gas Line Explodes Near Follansbee, W.Va.
FOLLANSBEE, W.Va. (AP) - Police have shut down an area in northern Brooke County following a gas line explosion. Brooke County Sheriff Chuck Jackson tells media outlets that no injuries or structural damage has been reported. He says the explosion occurred Monday morning near old riding stables and the gas is still burning.

Companies Bid For Rights To Drill In West Virginia
CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) - Companies have bid millions of dollars to drill for oil and natural gas beneath several state-owned lands in West Virginia.
On Friday, the state Department of Commerce opened bids for Marcellus shale fracking under several tracts of land. Antero Resources bid about $8,100 per acre, or $2.3 million total, for mineral rights under Jug Wildlife Management Area in Tyler County. Jay-Bee Production Company bid between $5,000 and about $16,300 per acre for different parts of the same land. Noble Energy bid about $5,100 per acre, or $685,000 total, to drill under Fish Creek and adjacent land in Marshall County. StatOil USA Onshore Properties Inc. bid $9,000 per acre to drill under part of the Ohio River in Wetzel County. The state requires an additional 20 percent royalty on what's extracted.

Drone Debate Resumes After White House Landing
WASHINGTON (AP) - The debate over the use of commercial drones in U.S. skies has taken on a new dimension after a two-foot-long quadcopter crashed on the White House grounds early this morning. The Secret Service says a man later came forward to say he was responsible and hadn't meant to fly the drone over the complex. At the urging of the drone industry, the Obama administration is working on rules for drone operations that would replace an existing ban on most commercial flights.

False Convictions
HOUSTON (AP) - A new report says 125 people falsely convicted of crimes were exonerated last year in the U.S. The record number of exonerations was due in part to 33 cases in Texas in which people had their drug convictions dismissed after lab tests determined they never had illegal substances. The National Registry of Exonerations report says there were 34 more exonerations in 2014 than there were in 2013. And previously, 2013 had the highest total.

Putin Snubbed
OSWIECIM, Poland (AP) - Holocaust survivors and world leaders are getting ready today to mark the 70th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz by the Soviet Red Army, but Russian President Vladimir Putin will not be among those present. Poland apparently snubbed Putin, and didn't send him an invitation. Poland's government is extremely critical of Russian actions in Ukraine. The Russian delegation will be led by Putin's chief of staff.

 


 



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