4.26.17:  Air Force launches unarmed missile in California




VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. (AP) — An unarmed Minuteman 3 intercontinental ballistic missile has been launched from a U.S. Air Force Base in California on a flight to a target in the Pacific Ocean.

The missile lifted off at 12:03 a.m. Wednesday from Vandenberg Air Force Base, 130 miles northwest of Los Angeles.

An Air Force statement said the mission was part of a program to test the effectiveness, readiness, and accuracy of the weapon system.

The 30th Space Wing commander, Col. John Moss, said Minuteman launches are essential to verify the status of the U.S. nuclear force and to demonstrate the national nuclear capabilities.

In a Minuteman test, a so-called re-entry vehicle travels more than 4,000 miles downrange to a target at Kwajalein Atoll near the Kwajalein Atoll in the Marshall Islands.


4.26.17:  I-85 repairs in Atlanta to cost up to $16.6M




ATLANTA (AP) — State officials have announced that rebuilding the collapsed section of Interstate 85 in Atlanta will cost up to $16.6 million.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports ( that the Georgia Department of Transportation has set a June 15 deadline for the completion of the new I-85 bridge, although no official timetable was announced.

GDOT construction director Marc Mastronardi said at a news conference Tuesday that the federal government is expected to pay 90 percent of the costs.

Mastronardi says the demolition of the collapsed bridge, which was set ablaze March 30, costs $1.6 million and construction of the new bridge costs $11.9 million. The estimate includes $3.1 million in incentives for contractor C.W. Matthews to complete the work before June 15, although it must complete the project by mid-May to get the full amount.


4.25.17:  Pres. Trump backs off with funding tied to the budget




(AP) – Bipartisan bargainers are making progress toward a budget deal to prevent a federal shutdown this weekend.

Federal agencies would have to close unless lawmakers approve spending legislation.

Their efforts received a boost when President Trump backed off his demands that money be included to build a wall with Mexico.


House Republicans are vetting proposed changes to their health care bill that they hope will attract enough votes to finally push it through the House.


4.25.17:  FCA, Google begin offering rides in their self-driving cars




DETROIT (AP) — Fiat Chrysler and Google for the first time will offer rides to the public in the self-driving automobiles they are building under an expanding partnership.

The companies announced in the spring of last year that they would build 100 self-driving Chrysler Pacifica hybrids minivans. They have since been tested in Arizona, California and Michigan.

Waymo, Google’s self-driving care project, said Tuesday that it will allow hundreds of people in Phoenix to take rides so that it can get feedback on the experience. People can apply for the opportunity on Waymo’s website.

Waymo also said that it’s expanding its fleet to 500 Pacifica hybrids.

Rides in the vehicles, which have a backup driver who can take over in an emergency, will be free.


4.24.17:  100-day mark – government funding




(AP) – President Donald Trump is approaching the symbolic 100-day mark for his administration.  He says “It’s a different kind of presidency.”  He is planning activities seeking to highlight has administration’s accomplishments.


This will be a challenging week as Pres. Trump juggles the looming budget deadline, a renewed health care push and a likely showdown over funding a border wall.

4.21.17:  Tesla recalling 53,000 vehicles worldwide for brake problem




DETROIT (AP) — Tesla Inc. is recalling 53,000 Model S sedans and Model X SUVs worldwide because their parking brakes may get stuck and prevent the vehicles from moving.

The recall affects vehicles built between February and October 2016. Tesla says less than 5 percent of the vehicles it’s recalling may be affected, but it wants to inspect them all to make sure.

The vehicles may contain a small gear that was manufactured improperly by a supplier. If the gear breaks, the parking brake could get stuck in place.

Regular brakes aren’t affected by the problem.

Tesla says there have been no accidents or injuries related to the problem.

Tesla will contact owners by mail and start repairs immediately. It expects to have sufficient parts for all of the affected vehicles by October.


4.20.17:  How dangerous air bags can find their way into used cars




LAS VEGAS (AP) — The near-death of a woman in a Nevada crash has exposed a hole in the government’s efforts to get potentially dangerous Takata air bag inflators off the road: There’s nothing that prevents the devices from being taken from wrecked cars and used to repair other vehicles.

Karina Dorado’s trachea was punctured by shrapnel from an inflator after a relatively minor crash in Las Vegas on March 3. She was rushed to a trauma center, where surgeons removed shrapnel from her neck that damaged her vocal cords.

Dorado is one of more than 180 people injured or killed by the inflators, which can explode when a chemical propellant inside degrades. Hers is another case that illustrates how used car buyers can unknowingly be placed in danger from Takata air bags.


4.20.17:  GM halts operations in Venezuela after factory is seized




DETROIT (AP) — General Motors says it has halted operations in Venezuela after authorities seized a factory.

The plant was confiscated on Wednesday in what GM called an illegal judicial seizure of its assets.

The Detroit automaker says in a statement Thursday that other assets such as vehicles were taken from the plant, causing irreparable damage.

GM says the plant was taken in disregard of its right to due process. The company says it will defend itself legally and it’s confident that justice eventually will prevail.

GM has about 2,700 workers in the troubled country, where it’s been the market leader for over 35 years.

Venezuela has been rocked in recent days by violent protests of government policies as well as food shortages and triple-digit inflation.


4.19.17:  East Chicago, Indiana housing complex evacuated



EAST CHICAGO, Ind. (AP) — The leader of the Environmental Protection Agency is scheduled to tour an Indiana public-housing complex where roughly 1,000 people were ordered evacuated because of lead contamination.

Administrator Scott Pruitt will join Indiana leaders including Gov. Eric Holcomb in East Chicago.

Some environmental advocates are calling Wednesday’s visit a first major test of Pruitt’s leadership.

Pruitt has criticized the EPA for overreach and President Donald Trump’s administration has taken steps to roll back environmental regulations. Also, Trump has proposed eliminating EPA’s budget by nearly one-third.

Residents and the Natural Resources Defense Council are calling for more support and testing. The EPA workers union wants a separate meeting with Pruitt.

Officials say two dozen families remain at the 45-year-old complex, which was built on a site once occupied by a lead-products factory.


4.19.17:  Mike Pence issues another warning concerning North Korea




YOKOSUKA, Japan (AP) — Vice President Mike Pence is again warning North Korea, telling sailors aboard the USS Ronald Reagan in Japan that the U.S. would bring “an overwhelming and effective” response to any use of conventional or nuclear weapons. Dressed in a green military jacket, Pence says that under President Trump, “the shield stands guard and the sword stands ready.”