GAO: Climate change already costing US billions in losses WASHINGTON (AP) - A non-partisan federal watchdog says climate change is already costing U.S. taxpayers billions of dollars each year, with those costs expected to rise as devastating storms, floods, wildfires and droughts become more frequent in the coming decades. A Government Accountability Office report released Monday said the federal government has spent more than $350 billion over the last decade on disaster assistance programs and losses from flood and crop insurance. That tally does not include the massive toll from this year's three major hurricanes and wildfires, expected to be among the most costly in the nation's history. The report predicts these costs will only grow in the future, potentially reaching a budget busting $35 billion a year by 2050.
Study: NYC could see bad flooding every 5 years NEW YORK (AP) - Within the next three decades, floods that used to strike the New York City area only once every 500 years could occur every five years, according to a new scientific study released just days before the fifth anniversary of Superstorm Sandy. The study, performed by researchers at several universities and published Monday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, primarily blames the predicted change on sea-level rise caused by global warming. "This is kind of a warning," said Andra Garner, a Rutgers University scientist and study co-author. "How are we going to protect our coastal infrastructure?" The researchers based their analysis on multiple models that factored in predictions for sea level rise and possible changes in the path of future hurricanes.
10 Things to Know for Tuesday Your daily look at late-breaking news, upcoming events and the stories that will be talked about Tuesday: 1. TRUMP VOWS 'NO CHANGE' TO 401(K) TAX INCENTIVES The president shoots down a GOP plan to raise federal revenue by taxing retirement fund earnings. 2. JOINT CHIEFS CHAIRMAN DISCUSSES DEADLY NIGER AMBUSH Marine Corps Gen. Joseph Dunford says four U.S. soldiers died in a "difficult firefight" in the Western African nation, but he offers few details. 3. 'THEY CAME INTO TOWN WITH A HIT LIST' In retreat, Islamic State militants slaughter at least 70 civilians in the Syrian town of Qaryatayn, villagers say.
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Venezuela opposition governors take oath before assembly CARACAS, Venezuela (AP) - Four of the five opposition governors recently elected in Venezuela took an oath Monday before leaders of the all-powerful, pro-government constitutional assembly, reversing an earlier refusal and underlining fractures in the opposition. The small ceremony in Caracas came less than a week after the opposition governors boycotted a swearing-in event at the constitutional assembly's chamber. Throughout the campaign, opposition candidates said they would never yield to socialist President Nicolas Maduro's demand that any newly elected governor take an oath and "submit" before the constitutional assembly. Opposition leaders and dozens of foreign governments consider the assembly unconstitutional. After initially refusing the oath, the opposition governors pressed their local legislative councils to swear them into office, as the Venezuelan constitution dictates.
Wrongful conviction no surprise to Kansas black community WICHITA, Kan. (AP) - Rose McIntyre says she wonders whether her refusal to grant regular sexual favors to a white detective prompted him to retaliate against her black son, who spent 23 years in a Kansas prison for a double murder he didn't commit. "I do believe that if I had complied with his request for me to become his 'woman,' that my son would likely not be in prison," she said in a 2014 affidavit. Her son, Lamonte McIntyre, 41, walked out of a court hearing on Oct. 13 a free man after Wyandotte County District Attorney Mark Dupree asked that charges from the 1994 murders be dismissed because of "manifest injustice." The case has outraged, but not surprised, the poor black community of Kansas City, Kansas, and highlights why many African-Americans do not trust police and the U.S.
US general lays out Niger attack details; questions remain WASHINGTON (AP) - The U.S. special forces unit ambushed by Islamic militants in Niger didn't call for help until an hour into their first contact with the enemy, the top U.S. general said Monday, as he tried to clear up some of the murky details of the assault that killed four American troops and has triggered a nasty political brawl. Marine Gen. Joseph Dunford, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told reporters that the American people and the fallen soldiers' families deserve answers about the deadly ambush in the west African nation. But he said he still lacks many of the details about how the attack unfolded, and he asked for patience as the military investigation continues.
Angry soldier's widow says Trump didn't know husband's name WASHINGTON (AP) - A fallen soldier's angry widow joined the stormy dispute with President Donald Trump on Monday over his response to her husband's death, declaring that his failure to remember the soldier's name in last week's condolence call "made me cry." He retorted that the call was "very respectful" and her accusation about her husband's name simply wasn't true. Though Trump refused to let the new round of complaints go unanswered, he steered clear of the insults he exchanged last week with a congresswoman who had overhead the sympathy call. The president spoke in public at two events during the day - including his awarding of the military Medal of Honor to a Vietnam-era Army medic - and made no mention of the case of Sgt.
Senate advances $36.5 billion disaster relief package WASHINGTON (AP) - The Senate on Monday gave a preliminary OK to a $36.5 billion hurricane relief package that would provide Puerto Rico with a much-needed infusion of cash and keep the federal flood insurance program from running out of money to pay claims. The 79-16 procedural vote set the stage for a final vote, most likely Tuesday. The measure also provides $18.7 billion to replenish the Federal Emergency Management Agency's rapidly dwindling emergency disaster accounts. On Monday, FEMA announced more than $500 million in aid to Puerto Rico, including $285 million to help restore power and water services to the devastated island.
What to know about 401(k) plans amid talk of tax change NEW YORK (AP) - The 401(k) may be in Washington's crosshairs. Congress is looking for ways to raise revenue as part of a tax overhaul plan, and one of the methods reportedly under consideration is to curtail how much pretax money workers can contribute to their 401(k) and similar accounts. Such a move would strike at a way that tens of millions of Americans use to save for retirement. The suggestion has already run into some resistance, even if it isn't an official policy proposal. President Donald Trump said Monday in a tweet that "There will be NO change to your 401(k).
New York attorney general launches probe of Weinstein Co. ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) - State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman announced a civil rights investigation on Monday into The Weinstein Co. following sexual harassment and assault allegations against its co-founder, Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein. As part of the investigation, the prosecutor's office issued a subpoena seeking company records on harassment complaints and legal settlements to determine whether any civil rights and anti-discrimination laws were broken. "No New Yorker should be forced to walk into a workplace ruled by sexual intimidation, harassment or fear," said Schneiderman, a Democrat. "If sexual harassment or discrimination is pervasive at a company, we want to know." The New York City-based company fired Weinstein on Oct.