Update on the latest news, sports, business and entertainment

March 12, 2017 - 11:55 pm

HOVERBOARD FIRE

Flags ordered at half-staff for firefighter

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) — Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf has ordered flags in the commonwealth to be flown at half-staff to honor a central Pennsylvania fire official who died after he was injured in a crash while responding to a fatal fire.

Lt. Dennis DeVoe, a 21-year veteran of the Harrisburg fire department, died Saturday. Officials said he was on his way to the station to pick up his gear before heading to the scene of Friday night's fire when his vehicle was hit at an intersection. Authorities said the female driver fled but was later arrested.

The governor said flags would remain at half-staff at the Capitol Complex and at state facilities in York and Dauphin counties until his interment.

The fire was blamed on a recharging hoverboard. The blaze killed one girl and injured four other people, two critically

SEVERE WEATHER

Northeast braces for winter storm

NEW YORK (AP) — The Northeast is bracing for winter's last hurrah — a blizzard expected to sweep the New York region starting Monday with possibly the season's biggest snowstorm dumping up to 18 inches on Central Park.

The National Weather Service issued a blizzard watch Sunday for coastal regions including New York City and surrounding areas of Long Island, Westchester County and Connecticut. On Long Island, a snowfall of 12 to 18 inches is forecast along with equally strong winds and visibility of a quarter mile or less.

A winter storm watch is being posted for a larger area of the Northeast: New Jersey, Pennsylvania and New England.

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced Sunday that the New York State Emergency Operations Center will be activated Monday evening, with stockpiles of sandbags, generators and pumps at the ready.

TRUMP-CABINET

Confirmation hearing for Trump's labor pick now March 22

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Senate confirmation hearing for President Donald Trump's pick to lead the Labor Department has been delayed until later this month.

Alexander Acosta had been slated to appear before the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee on Wednesday.

But a spokesman for the panel's chairman, Republican Sen. Lamar Alexander, says the hearing will now be held on March 22.

The spokesman, Taylor Haulsee, cites a scheduling conflict in which Alexander is to appear with Trump at an event in Nashville, Tennessee, on Wednesday to help promote Republicans' plan to repeal and replace Barack Obama's health care law.

Acosta is dean of Florida International University's law school. He was nominated after Trump's original choice for labor secretary, Andrew Puzder, withdrew his nomination.

Acosta is expected to win confirmation.

FEDERAL PROSECUTORS-RESIGNATIONS

Abrupt dismissals spark turmoil among federal prosecutors

WASHINGTON (AP) — Two days before Attorney General Jeff Sessions ordered dozens of the country's top federal prosecutors to clean out their desks, he gave those political appointees a pep talk during a conference call.

The seemingly abrupt about-face Friday left the affected U.S. attorneys scrambling to brief the people left behind and say goodbye to colleagues. It also could have an impact on morale for the career prosecutors who now must pick up the slack. The quick exits aren't expected to have a major impact on ongoing prosecutions, but they gave U.S. attorneys little time to prepare deputies who will take over until successors are named.

The request for resignations from the 46 prosecutors who were holdovers from the Obama administration wasn't shocking. It's fairly customary for the 93 U.S. attorneys to leave their posts once a new president is in office, and many had already left or were making plans for their departures.

But the abrupt nature of the dismissals — done with little explanation and not always with the customary thanks for years of service — stunned and angered some of those left behind in offices around the country.

SKOREA-POLITICS

NEW: Report: Park's advisers offer to resign after her ouster

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — A news report says the senior advisers to ousted South Korean President Park Geun-hye have offered to resign days after the country's Constitutional Court formally ended her rule over a corruption scandal.

Park, whose power had been suspended in a parliamentary impeachment vote in December, was formally removed from office Friday after the court dismissed her from the top post. Park vacated the presidential office on Sunday.

Yonhap news agency says nine senior presidential advisers tendered their resignations to acting leader Hwang Kyo-ahn on Monday.

Hwang's office could not immediately confirm the report.

Park will now likely face a direct investigation over the scandal that has resulted in dozens of high-profile figures facing criminal charges.

SYRIA-UN REPORT

UNICEF says 2016 was worst year yet for Syria's children

BEIRUT (AP) — The U.N. child relief agency says at least 652 children were killed in Syria last year, making 2016 the worst year yet for the country's rising generation.

UNICEF says schools, hospitals, playgrounds, parks and homes across Syria are unsafe for children because they frequently come under attack. At least 255 children were killed in or near schools last year.

The agency's Monday report comes two days before the sixth anniversary of the Syrian civil war.

It warns that coping mechanisms and medical care are quickly eroding, driving children into child labor, early marriage and combat. Dozens are dying from preventable diseases.

One in three of Syria's schools are unusable, and 1.7 million children still in Syria are out of school. An additional 2.3 million are refugees in the Middle East.

ETHIOPIA-DEADLY LANDSLIDE

UPDATE: 46 killed, dozens missing in Ethiopia garbage dump landslide

ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia (AP) — At least 46 people are dead and several dozen are missing in Ethiopia, after a mountain of trash gave way in a massive garbage dump on the outskirts of the capital.

Officials in Addis Ababa (AD'-ihs AB'-uh-buh) say most of the dead are women and children.

It's not clear what caused last night's collapse, which buried several makeshift homes and concrete buildings.

Many people at the landfill had been scavenging items to make a living, but others live there because renting homes, largely built of mud and sticks, is relatively inexpensive.

One resident told The Associated Press that about 150 people were there when the landslide occurred.

The landfill has been a dumping ground for the capital's garbage for more than 50 years.

Officials are vowing to relocate those who called the landfill home.

GUATEMALA-FIRE

UPDATE: Death toll in Guatemala children's shelter fire rises to 40

GUATEMALA CITY (AP) — The death toll in a fire at a Guatemalan children's shelter rose to 40 on Sunday with the announcement that another girl had died of burns.

The death was announced by Roosevelt Hospital in Guatemala's capital. Nineteen of the adolescents perished at the scene of Wednesday's inferno and 21 others have died in local hospitals.

The fire began when mattresses were set ablaze during a protest by residents at the overcrowded youth shelter.

Another victim, 14-year-old Ana Roselia Perez Junay, was buried Sunday as authorities were still searching for answers in the disaster that has put a spotlight on failings in Guatemala's child protective services. Prosecutors' spokeswoman Julia Barrera has said that the head of the country's protective services agency was ordered not to leave Guatemala while investigations continue.

Four of the burn victims were flown to the Shriners Hospital for Children in Galveston, Texas, on Saturday. The office of President Jimmy Morales said the Shriners Hospitals had arranged for their transfer.

HAITI-BUS CRASH

Bus runs into crowd in Haiti, killing at least 34 people

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti (AP) — A bus plowed into people taking part in an early morning street festival in Haiti on Sunday, killing at least 34 people and injuring 17, rescue officials said.

The accident occurred around 3 a.m. in the city of Gonaives when a passenger bus first hit two people at a bus stop and then continued into a crowd of people participating in a Rara festival, an Easter season Haitian musical celebration, said Josepth Faustin, civil defense coordinator for the Artibonito region.

Faustin said angry festival-goers then attacked the bus and tried to burn it before police rescued the passengers aboard. The bus driver fled and was being sought. Faustin said the cause of the accident was unclear.

The injured were being treated at a hospital in Gonaives, about 60 miles (100 kilometers) northwest of the capital.

TRIBAL POLICE OFFICER SHOT

Navajo Nation police officer involved in shooting has died

PREWITT, N.M. (AP) — A police officer from the largest U.S. Indian reservation is dead after being shot early Sunday while responding to a domestic violence call in western New Mexico.

An FBI spokesman in Albuquerque says Navajo Nation Officer Houston James Largo died after being critically wounded near the small town of Prewitt, The agency, which is investigating along with the tribe, says a suspect is in custody, but no other details have been released.

The 27-year-old officer, who has five years of service, had been airlifted to the University of New Mexico Hospital where he later died.

Navajo Nation President Russell Begaye says New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez has called to offer assistance in the case.

The New Mexico State Police and McKinley County Sheriff's Office are assisting with the investigation.

The Navajo Nation covers 27,425 square miles in portions of Arizona, Utah and New Mexico.

UMASS LAWSUIT

Woman says UMass basketball staff members intimidated her

AMHERST, Mass. (AP) — A woman is alleging in a lawsuit that University of Massachusetts basketball staff members intimidated her in an effort to keep her quiet about potentially damaging information about the team and staff.

Ayanna Hickman says Assistant Coach Lou Roe and two other staffers imprisoned her by preventing her from leaving a room where they spoke to her in 2013. She previously dated Roe.

The suit says Roe had told Hickman about the use of banned substances by team members, domestic violence by staff members and quashing of potential criminal complaints against unidentified team members.

The university confirmed to The Republican in Springfield it's aware of the allegations but declined to comment further.

Hickman's attorney, Harry Miles, declined to comment Sunday.

Recently fired Coach Derek Kellogg also is named as a defendant.

GAS PRICES

US gas prices rise 2 cents over 2 weeks, to $2.35 a gallon

CAMARILLO, Calif. (AP) — The average price of a gallon of regular-grade gasoline rose 2 cents nationally during the past two weeks, to $2.35.

Industry analyst Trilby Lundberg said Sunday that despite the rise, gas prices are poised to dip slightly because crude oil costs are falling and refinery production is strong.

The national average is up 51 cents per gallon over the price a year ago.

Gas in San Francisco was the highest in the contiguous United States at an average of $3.03 a gallon Friday. The lowest was in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, at $2.03 per gallon.

The U.S. average diesel price is $2.58, up half a cent from two weeks ago.

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