Recently in National News Category

St. Louis Tornado had Millions in Damages

The tornado in St. Louis has millions of dollars worth of damages, The Boston Globe said. There were no deaths reported. It was the most powerful tornado in 44 years. 100 homes were destroyed. More severe weather has been predicted for the later this week. The tornado went through the St. Louis International Airport, International Business Times said. The tornado touched down on Friday, April 22. The National Weather Service rated the tornado a EF-4. The airport will re-open on Sunday.

House Republicans 2012 Budget

House Republicans will release their 2012 budget on Tuesday, USA Today said. This budget will affect heath programs for seniors, the poor ad people with disabilities. The plan was criticized by Democrats for cutting Social Security, defense, and domestic spending. The plan is to reduce deficits by $4.4 trillion over 10 years. Spending cuts of $6.2 trillion over the next decade were proposed, The Los Angeles Times said. It also plans to reduce top individual and corporate tax rates by 10%. The plan was produced by House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan, a Republican from Wisconsin. Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security are being especially affected by the plan. Medicare would be a private health plan starting in 2022, Medicaid would turn into a block grant to states, and defense and domestic programs would reduce over the next five years.

US Calls Recent Violence in Yemen "Appalling"

Police and armed men shot at protesters on Monday in the cities of Taiz and Hudaida Reuters said. U.S. State Department spokesman Mark Toner said at his daily briefing this latest act of violence was "appalling." The Obama administration condemned the shooting, VOA News said. The shooting killed at least 15 and wounded 30. The protesters were shot as they attempted to storm the provincial government building. Foreign media showed protesters drenched in blood and those from makeshift hospitals attended the wounded. There were police and armed men dressed in civilian clothes in the Red Sea port of Hudaida. They fired live rounds and tear gas at hundreds of demonstrators marching on a presidential palace. The tear gas woulded around 270 people who inhaled it, three people were hit by bullets, and around 30 were stabbed with knives.

Day care owner surrenders after fleeing from police

Day care owner, Jessica Tata, finally surrendered herself to Nigeria's security operatives three weeks after four children died in a fire incident in Houston, allAfrica said. Tata, 22, was accused of leaving her day care center unattended, during which a fire broke out. Tata has been charged with 14 charges, The New York Times said. She was charged with federal unlawful flight to avoid prosecution. The day care facility, Jackie's Child Care, had seven children inside when the fire started. Four children died all together, which included 20 month old Elizabeth Kojah and Kendyll Stradford, and three-year-old Shomari Dickerson who died that day. The fourth child, Elias Castillo, died two days later. The fire started on the kitchen stove and the oil that was left on the burner intensified it. She told the police that when she returned that she couldn't see through the smoke. Upon her flee, she was placed on the list of the 15 most wanted fugitives. She was charged when four counts of manslaughter.

Loughner Trial Requesting to Be Postponed

Jared L. Loughner, who is the suspect in the Tucson shooting, may not be competent to stand trial unless he undergoes psychiatric testing, The New York Times said. A federal judge was asked by prosecutors on Monday to order the testing upon Loughner. Prosecutors said he many have mental issues. Loughner was indicted last week for murder and attempted murder, a total of 49 felony counts. His attorney asked to delay the start of the trial until January 2013 because of the many issues. The judge has set the trial for September. Loughner's lawyer said there was no way any lawyer could be ready to defend Loughner by September 2011. The Wednesday hearing will address these issues, KVOA said. Notes were found in Loughner's home that read "I planned ahead," "Mu assassination," and "Giffords," all of which will be examined in court. Loughner's lawyer also wants prosecutors to say whether or not they are fighting for the death penalty before the trail date is set. Loughner has already seen two different psychologists in prison. Loughner posted a photo on his MySpace that featured a pistol that was a duplicate of the one used in the shooting.

Leaker Could Face Death Penalty

23-year-old Brandon Manning could face the death penalty for leaking information to Wikileaks, MSNBC News said. Manning's investigation is coming up on seven months now and he will remain in confinement at the U.S. Marine Brig at Quantico south of Washington, D.C. until a final decision is made. Manning has 22 charges, which include the "aiding the enemy." He leaked tens of thousands of classified U.S. military and State Department documents, which were then publicly released by Wikileaks. Manning's prison conditions are being deemed by his lawyer as cruel and humiliating, NECN News said. His attorney said Manning is being forced to sleep naked because he is thought to be suicidal. The facility at which he is being held says their main goal is to keep Manning safe during his time in confinement.

Four Americans Killed by Somali Pirates

Somali pirates shot four Americans who were aboard a yacht near the coast of Somalia, The Washington Post said. The yacht was hijacked by the pirates and the victims were fatally shot on Tuesday. They were shot as U.S. forces were negotiating their release. U.S. officials heard gunfire aboard the yacht immediately after a grenade was fired by the pirates. The pirate fired a rocket-propelled grenade at a U.S. Navy destroyer when the special forces found the wounded Americans, ABC News said. The four victims had already been shot when U.S. forces arrived on the ship. The troops tried to save their lives but all four died from the wounds. The victims were from California and Washington. They were the first to be attacked since the start of the attacks off East Africa several years ago. The troops also killed two pirates as they were clearing out the ship's lower decks. The pirates apparently went father out to sea in search of targets. 15 of the pirates were taken into custody and four were killed. One pirate admitted that killing hostages "has now become part of our rules."

A Study in Boston Says Meditation Can Improve Brain Structure

New research from Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston indicates that meditation can improve our overall brain structure in just a few months, The Washington Post said. Just by clearing your mind for a few minutes before bed, while being completely focused on the present moment, will contribute to this brain boost. A small study was conducted on this last month in Psychiatry Research: Neuroimaging. 16 people participated in a course on mindfulness-based stress reduction, which is a type of meditation that guided relaxation and stretching exercises. These sessions are to be done for 30 minutes each day. After eight weeks, MRI scans displayed brain growth in memory, empathy and compassion, and a sense of self and emotional regulation. An earlier study also showed a decrease in fear and stress in those parts of the brain. This study distributed biological evidence that meditation can distress those who utilize its practice. It is also said that this study has sparked new research on coping with stress-induced psychological problems like PTSD, Digital Journal said. The study now has brought upon the further research on the mechanisms that are involved in bringing about the change in brain structures by meditation.

White House Creates a New Way to Connect to the American People

The Obama Administration has created a program called "Advise the Advisor," which connects the public with people working inside the executive branch, techPresident said. The program can be though of as a "direct line to the White House." It was launched in order to inform the American people of important issues being tackled by the government. The Obama administration is using the online world to connect to the people. Each week, presidential advisers will post a video that talks about an important issue, and anybody can post feedback and comment on the video. They will then post another response video later in the week that addresses the major concerns. The videos will focus on the major issues Administration officials are working on, the blog fedscoop said.

More Jobs Lost, Less Opening Up

The unemployment rate has dropped 9% in January and new job openings have failed to open up, The Washington Post said. Only 36,000 new jobs have been created, which is significantly lower than the 145,000 economists have predicted. Trying to view the unemployment rate in a positive light, it has in fact decreased from the 9.4% rate in December and the 9.8% in November, the blog TIME said. The jobs recently added also does not match up to the 121,000 added in December.

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