National

4.20.15:  Talks to begin on Capitol Hill budget measure

 

WASHINGTON (AP) — Congressional negotiators meet today to begin ironing out a Republican budget blueprint for next year and beyond.

Both House and Senate Republicans have endorsed major cuts to programs such as Medicare, Medicaid, highway projects and domestic agency budgets as a way to bring the federal ledger into balance within a decade — without raising taxes.

 


4.20.15:  119th Boston Marathon

 

Boston Marathon runners are arriving at the athletes village in Hopkinton, Massachusetts, and security is tight for the 119th running of the venerable race.

Police are patrolling the area with bomb-sniffing dogs. Authorities say more than 3,000 officers — uniformed and undercover — have been deployed for Monday’s marathon.

It’s the second edition since terrorist bombs killed three people and wounded more than 260 others at the finish line in 2013.

Among those waiting for the start of the 26.2-mile race was Jessica Colindres, a Guatemala native who lives in Massachusetts and was stopped less than a mile from the finish in 2013 when police closed the course.

She says her goal is a “happy, healthy and safe” race.


4.17.15:  Appeals court to take up Obama’s immigration action

 

 

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Large numbers of advocacy groups and immigrants are planning to rally outside the New Orleans courthouse today as a three-judge panel hears arguments concerning President Barack Obama’s executive action to shield from deportation millions of people in the U.S. illegally.

In February, a federal judge in Texas granted a preliminary injunction at the request of 26 states that oppose the president’s action.

The appellate judges will consider whether to lift that injunction.

 


4.16.15:   More Americans sought unemployment benefits last week

 

WASHINGTON (AP) — The number of Americans seeking unemployment aid rose for the second straight week yet remained at a low level that is consistent with more hiring.

The Labor Department says applications increased 12,000 last week to a seasonally adjusted 294,000. Despite the increase, other data suggests that the number of laid-off workers applying for benefits is still quite low.

The four-week average, a less volatile measure, ticked up 250 to 282,750, just barely above the previous week’s level, which was the lowest in nearly 15 years.

With fewer Americans seeking aid, the number of people collecting benefits fell to 2.27 million, the lowest in more than 14 years. The benefit rolls have dropped because some unemployed have found jobs, while many others have used up all the benefits available.


4.15.15:  Busy day for procrastinators

 

(AP) – Today is a busy day for procrastinators who haven’t filed their income tax returns yet.  The deadline is midnight.

So far, more than 90% of tax returns have been filed online.

 

Tax season generates $300 billion in tax refunds each year which gives a slight boost to the U.S. economy.

 

Locally, a number of IRS certified tax preparers and accounting students from Aquinas College, Cornerstone University and Davenport University will be joined by other volunteers to provide free tax preparation services for people with incomes under $57,000 until 8 p.m. tonight.

They will be at the Community Action Tax Center at 121 Franklin St. SE.  Those that need assistance need to make sure they bring the necessary paperwork,  which would include:  ID, social security cards, wage and earning statements, interest and dividend statements from banks and “important tax document” papers.

 

A number of area businesses and restaurants are offering deals and freebies including: Burger King, McDonald’s, Outback, Boston Market, Pizza Hut, and Olive Garden.  Check their websites for additional information.


4.15.15:  Snyder orders flags flown at half-staff in Lincoln’s honor

 

LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder is calling for U.S. flags displayed on state property to be flown at half-staff Wednesday in remembrance of former President Abraham Lincoln.

Snyder’s order comes at the request of President Barack Obama. The president has declared Wednesday as a national Day of Remembrance in Lincoln’s honor to mark the 150th anniversary of his assassination.

Lincoln was shot the night of April, 14, 1865, in Washington, D.C.

 


4.15.15:  Fight for $15 protests planned over McJobs, low-wage work

 

NEW YORK (AP) — Labor organizers are carrying out their biggest day of protests yet for pay of $15 an hour and a union for fast-food and other low-wage workers.

Today’s push comes from the Service Employees International Union and it’s just two weeks after McDonald’s announced a pay bump for workers at its company-owned stores.

Organizers say demonstrations will be in more than 230 U.S. cities and college campuses.

Protesters in Detroit are calling for pay of $15 an hour and a union for fast-food and other low-wage workers.

They gathered Tuesday night inside a McDonald’s in Detroit. Organizers say three employees walked off the job as part of the effort.

The protest came on the eve of planned actions nationwide. The push comes two weeks after McDonald’s announced a pay bump for workers at its company-owned stores. A rally is planned Wednesday evening on the campus of Wayne State University in Detroit.


4.15.15:  Pausing for a moment of silence in Boston

 

 

BOSTON (AP) — Two years after the Boston Marathon bombings, the city is remembering the attack that killed three people and wounded more than 260 others.  There will be a moment of silence, the tolling of church bells and a call for kindness.

Mayor Martin Walsh has declared today “One Boston Day,” and there’ll be a moment of silence at 2:49 p.m. Eastern Time, when the first of two bombs went off near the finish line.

Walsh, Gov. Charlie Baker and other officials unveiled commemorative orange banners bearing a white heart and the word “Boston” on them on this morning at the site of the blasts on Boylston Street.

 

 

 

Bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was convicted just last week. His older brother was killed during the manhunt.

 


4.15.15:  Kerry: still confident US can conclude Iran nuclear deal

 

LUEBECK, Germany (AP) — Secretary of State John Kerry says he’s still confident that the U.S. administration can reach a nuclear deal with Iran after President Barack Obama agreed to sign legislation giving Congress the right to reject an agreement.

Kerry is in Germany, attending the Group of Seven industrial powers meeting.

Legislation empowering Congress to say no to a deal is expected to sail through both houses of Congress.


4.14.15:  Instructor’s death at thrill ride car track 3rd in past year

 

ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) — What started as a thrill ride to celebrate a 24-year-old man’s birthday ended with a fatal crash that has temporarily shut down a track where customers pay to drive fast cars.

Gary Terry was an instructor at Walt Disney World’s Exotic Driving Experience. He died Sunday when TaVon Watson crashed the Lamborghini he had paid to drive while Terry coached him as his passenger.

Terry’s death is the third in the past year at speedways in the U.S. that allow customers to get behind the wheel of a fast car. Last September, an Indiana man was killed in a crash at the Rusty Wallace Driving Experience at Kentucky Speedway, and a New Jersey woman died at the Wall Stadium Speedway in New Jersey.