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US home construction surges to fastest pace since 2007

POSTED BY: Associated Press
Tuesday, May 19, 2015 - 08:30 AM

WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. homebuilders ramped up construction in April to the fastest pace in nearly seven-and-a-half years, providing newfound momentum for an economy that has struggled in recent months.

The Commerce Department says housing starts last month increased 20.2 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.14 million homes. That pace ranks as the fastest clip since November 2007.

Builders appear to have finally shaken off a turbulent winter that shut down construction sites and hampered growth across the economy.

AP Interview: Georgia's leader warns of Russian expansion

POSTED BY: Associated Press
Tuesday, May 19, 2015 - 08:25 AM

TBILISI, Georgia (AP) — Georgia's president says Russia is poised to use its armed forces to expand further into former Soviet states and is calling on the West to stand firm against any Russian aggression.

In an interview Tuesday with the Associated Press, President Giorgi Margvelashvili said Russia's 2008 war with Georgia and its seizure of Crimea from Ukraine in 2014 show that Moscow is ready to exploit any instability in countries it still considers to be under its sphere of influence.

Sam Smith undergoes successful vocal cord surgery in Boston

POSTED BY: Associated Press
Tuesday, May 19, 2015 - 08:09 AM

BOSTON (AP) — Grammy Award winner Sam Smith has undergone successful vocal cord surgery at a Boston hospital.

Massachusetts General Hospital said in a statement Tuesday — the singer's 23rd birthday — that he is expected to make a full recovery.

The surgery to stop recurrent vocal cord bleeding was performed by Dr. Steven Zeitels, who has performed the same procedure on Steven Tyler, Lionel Richie and Adele.

Father charged after autopsy finds alcohol in baby's body

POSTED BY: Associated Press
Tuesday, May 19, 2015 - 07:54 AM

BRIDGEPORT, Conn. (AP) — A 22-year-old father has been charged with manslaughter in Connecticut after an autopsy showed there was a high level of alcohol in the system of his 5-month-old son.

Jorge Chiclana of Bridgeport was arrested Monday after a yearlong investigation into the death of the boy, who was not breathing when emergency workers responded to a 911 call from his Norwalk home on May 16, 2014.

Police say post-mortem toxicology tests eventually revealed the high blood-alcohol level.

Squatters evicted: 40,000 bees removed from NYC home

POSTED BY: Associated Press
Tuesday, May 19, 2015 - 07:36 AM

NEW YORK (AP) — It wasn't a monster making a ruckus under the floor of a New York City bedroom. But it was still a bit scary.

An expert called to find the source of a loud, buzzing noise found about 40,000 bees in a Queens home.

Retired NYPD Detective Anthony Planakis, known as Tony Bees, was the man for the mission.

It took him more than two hours to extract the unwanted residents on Monday night.

Disney World tells riders to stop using selfie sticks

POSTED BY: Associated Press
Tuesday, May 19, 2015 - 07:33 AM

ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) — Disney World is looking to crack down on guests who use selfie sticks on rides at the park.

The Orlando Sentinel (http://bit.ly/1B9pYRZ ) reports a spokesman said Monday guests can bring selfie sticks on the rides but must securely store them.

Disney policy forbids visitors from using the sticks, which can be used to extend cameras out up to 3 feet. One ride, Thunder Mountain, has had a number of incidents in which the ride had to be stopped because of selfie-stick use.

GOP committee declines to ask Guinta to resign

POSTED BY: Associated Press
Tuesday, May 19, 2015 - 07:27 AM

CONCORD, N.H. (AP) — The New Hampshire Republican Party's Executive Committee has declined to ask U.S. Rep Frank Guinta to resign, despite calls from fellow Republicans that he step down after the Federal Election Commission found he broke the law by accepting campaign donations from his parents.

Guinta said he'll remain in office. The committee, meeting Monday night, stated Guinta answered its questions, is accountable to his constituents, and would be available to answer their questions.

Harlem Globetrotters legend sued over child support payments

POSTED BY: Associated Press
Tuesday, May 19, 2015 - 06:55 AM

BRIDGEPORT, Conn. (AP) — The ex-wife of Harlem Globetrotters legend Meadowlark Lemon is suing the basketball star for allegedly skimping on child support payments.

The Connecticut Post reports (http://bit.ly/1A7CZAF ) Willie Lemon Campbell and her son, Jonathan, have filed suit in Bridgeport, Connecticut. They're seeking $250,000 they say Lemon never paid them in child support.

No charges for St. Louis officer who killed 18-year-old

POSTED BY: Associated Press
Tuesday, May 19, 2015 - 06:53 AM

ST. LOUIS (AP) — An attorney says a wrongful-death lawsuit is planned against an off-duty white St. Louis police officer whom a prosecutor has cleared in the shooting death of a black 18-year-old last October.

St. Louis Circuit Attorney Jennifer Joyce's report, released Monday, says a criminal violation could not be proven beyond a reasonable doubt in VonDerrit Myers Jr.'s death.

The unnamed officer was patrolling a neighborhood as a security officer when he approached Myers.

Police: Burglar breaks into house, falls asleep on couch

POSTED BY: Associated Press
Tuesday, May 19, 2015 - 06:45 AM

SARASOTA, Fla. (AP) — Police in Sarasota, Florida, have arrested a man they say broke into a home, then fell asleep on the couch.

The Bradenton Herald (http://bit.ly/1HrmCS1 ) reports 29-year-old Timothy Bontrager was arrested Saturday morning.

Police say the resident woke up and found Bontrager sleeping on her living room couch. When she asked Bontrager what he was doing in her house, he apologized and left after she told him she was calling police.

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