News for Wednesday, January 18, 2012

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Obama rejects Canada-Texas oil pipeline — for now

In a politically explosive decision, President Barack Obama on Wednesday rejected plans for a massive oil pipeline through the heart of the United States, ruling there was not enough time for a fair review before a looming deadline forced on him by Republicans.

Lawmakers may buck higher ed cuts

Missouri university officials warned Wednesday of potential tuition increases, course reductions and employee furloughs if Gov. Jay Nixon’s newly proposed 12.5 percent funding cut for higher education comes to fruition.

$1 per gambler could net $50M

Missouri casinos would pay an extra dollar per gambler to boost funding for state-run veterans’ homes under a plan detailed Wednesday by Gov. Jay Nixon’s administration.

Helias downs Hannibal

The Helias Crusaders posted a 48-35 wrestling dual win Wednesday night over the Hannibal Pirates.

Jays defeat Holt, Zumwalt West in tri-dual

The Jefferson City Jays rolled to a pair of dual wins Wednesday night.

Blues’ Elliott gets 2-year contract extention

Brian Elliott, the St. Louis Blues’ lone All-Star, signed a two-year contract extension rather than capitalize on his breakout season and test the free agent market.

Lincoln men No. 1, women No. 2 in track polls

The Lincoln men’s and women’s indoor track teams are picking up some national attention.

Ichabods pound Blue Tigers 84-59

Nothing could go right for Lincoln. Until it was too late, at least.

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Washburn sends Lincoln to fifth straight MIAA loss

Playing the preseason Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletics Assocation favorite isn’t exactly the best remedy for a four-game conference losing streak.

Italian cruise ship tally: 11 dead, 21 missing

ROME (AP) — The first victim from the Costa Concordia disaster was identified Wednesday — a 38-year-old violinist from Hungary who had been working as an entertainer on the stricken cruise ship.

Russian TV attacks new US ambassador

MOSCOW (AP) — State television has lashed out at the new U.S. ambassador to Russia, questioning his credentials and suggesting his agenda is to support opposition leaders and promote revolution.

Russia vows to block Western intervention in Syria

BEIRUT (AP) — Syria’s powerful allies in Russia vowed Wednesday to block any Western attempts to intervene militarily in Syria as Damascus fights off an increasingly chaotic 10-month-old revolt against President Bashar Assad.

NATO: Taliban chief has lost control of insurgents

KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) — Dozens of civilians, NATO coalition troops and Afghan security forces were killed and wounded Wednesday when a suicide attacker blew himself up in a bazaar, according to the top commander of international troops in Afghanistan, who alleged that the Taliban’s leader had “lost all control” of his footsoldiers.

Chicago thief, 74, pleads guilty to racketeering

CHICAGO (AP) — A 74-year-old reputed mobster notorious for stealing the 45-carat Marlborough Diamond from a London jewelry store in 1980 pleaded guilty Wednesday in a separate case in Chicago just as his trial was set to begin.

Hand found in LA park where human head discovered

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Los Angeles investigators found a human hand Wednesday in the Hollywood wilderness park where a severed head in a plastic bag was discovered by dog walkers, and the search continued for other body parts.

Suspected NM drunken driver hogtied by witness

FARMINGTON, N.M. (AP) — A New Mexico man hogtied a suspected drunken driver accused of barely avoiding several head-on collisions on a stretch of highway that has recently become known for rampant drunken driving and traffic fatalities, authorities said.

Woman arrested with gun on American Airlines plane

FORT WORTH, Texas (AP) — Authorities say that a 65-year-old woman was taken into custody Wednesday after carrying a gun on to an American Airlines plane at Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport.

Rising factory output gives economy a lift

WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. factories are roaring back from the depths of the recession, cranking out more machinery, vehicles and energy.

Dow, S&P 500 close at their highest since July

NEW YORK (AP) — A surprisingly strong report on the housing market and the prospect of more cash for the International Monetary Fund to fight off a financial crisis powered stocks Wednesday to their highest close since last summer.

Merle Haggard has pneumonia, cancels Jan. dates

Country music legend Merle Haggard is being treated for pneumonia in a Georgia hospital and has had to cancel the rest of his January concert dates.

Google's KC plan for warp-speed Internet hits snag

Google's plans to launch a super-speed Internet project in Kansas City, Kan., have hit a snag because of questions about where and how to hang its wires and what fees or installation costs may be required.

Obama to visit 5 states following State of Union

President Barack Obama plans to travel to five states following next week's State of the Union address, courting voters who will be critical to his re-election campaign.

White House says Obama's health overhaul on track

President Barack Obama's health care overhaul is on track in many states, the White House asserted Wednesday. But officials said the administration is preparing a federal backstop anyway for states in which opposition to the new law has blocked planning.

Galveston students make message of hope for Joplin

Ball High Prep students, Ball High School students and other community volunteers in Texas wanted to send hope to tornado-stricken Joplin, Mo. The students, who know the extent of disaster following Hurricane Ike in 2008, decided to draw from a Japanese tradition to send their message.

Donations, volunteers saved Joplin $17.7 million

The city of Joplin received $17.7 million in donated resources and volunteer hours after a May tornado devastated parts of the city.

Gingrich, Romney mix it up in South Carolina

Republican presidential candidates Newt Gingrich and Mitt Romney engaged in a harsh volley of attacks Wednesday, with Gingrich predicting an "unendingly dirty and dishonest" end to his rival's campaign and Romney mocking Gingrich's claim of helping to create millions of jobs.

Ratings king 'American Idol' ready for 11th season

It's been a decade since Texas native Kelly Clarkson was plucked from obscurity and turned into the nation's first American Idol. Now the TV show that has spawned dozens of other pop stars and talent competitions is opening its 11th season Wednesday under a cloud of uncertainty.

Nixon backs casino fees to benefit veterans

Gov. Jay Nixon has embraced a plan to raise casino fees to generate more money for nursing homes for military veterans.

Student loses driving rights for Confederate flag

A southwest Missouri student lost his driving privileges at school for flying a Confederate flag on his truck.

Hospital says Brooks' gift came without obligation

Lawyers for Garth Brooks and an Oklahoma hospital clashed Wednesday over whether the facility promised to name a women's center in honor of the country star's late mother after he made a $500,000 donation.

Waller moved to prison in Louisiana

The estranged husband of a Missouri woman missing since June has been moved to an out-of-state prison following his conviction for threatening his sister-in-law.

Mo. Supreme Court chief calls for sentencing fixes

Missouri's chief justice urged lawmakers Wednesday to make changes to the state's probation and parole systems to potentially save the state millions of dollars.

Dave Checketts hired as CEO of Legends Hospitality

St. Louis Blues and Real Salt Lake owner Dave Checketts has been hired as chief executive officer of Legends Hospitality Management, the company owned by the New York Yankees, Dallas Cowboys and Goldman Sachs.

Family of dead al-Qaida operative promoted peace

Moeed Abdul Salam didn’t descend into radical Islam for lack of other options. He grew up in a well-off Texas household, attended a pricey boarding school and graduated from one of the state’s most respected universities.

401(k) plan trends to watch in 2012

This year will bring about a number of changes in 401(k) plans. Some are driven by consumers demanding better investment choices, lower fees, and help to improve the performance of their portfolios. Others are mandated by the government in an effort to protect workers as they strive to save enough for retirement.

The strange history of the Volkswagen Beetle

“Thinking Small: The Long, Strange Trip of the Volkswagen Beetle” (Ballantine Books), by Andrea Hiott

The Volkswagen Beetle has a unique and colorful history, with principal characters that include the Nazi dictator who personified evil, the legendary designer of Germany’s most celebrated race cars and the Jewish advertising executive who pioneered a creative revolution on Madison Avenue.

Your Opinion: Does reference suggest belief?

In regards to Mr. Boldt’s letter of Jan. 5 in which he espouses atheistic beliefs:

Your Opinion: Insatiable hunger for additional taxes

Yet again the people of Jefferson City (and Cole County) are faced with another tax.

Your Opinion: Excited about Transformation

First let me say that we are Jefferson City transplants — we’ve lived all over the country in our lives but when we had the opportunity to move back home to Missouri nearly 20 years ago, we chose to move to the Jefferson City area.

Your Opinion: Givens' allegation spreads falsehood Letter 1

Dennis Givens expressed shock over remarks supposedly made on “Meet the Press” in 2008 by then-Sen. Barack Obama.

Your Opinion: Givens' allegation spreads falsehood Letter 2

The letter from Givens is and was pure trash.

Our Opinion: Tax Internet sales; correct fundamental inequity

Issues of taxation being debated at the national, state and local levels invariably focus on the fundamental question: What is fair?

State of the Judiciary

In his first address to Missouri lawmakers as the state Supreme Court's chief justice, Judge Richard Teitelman emphasized public service and cooperation among the three branches of government.

Police seeking missing Gladstone senior citizen

Gladstone police are searching for a 71-year-old man who went missing after leaving his suburban Kansas City home to get a haircut.

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City to hold open houses on redistricting plan

The city will hold several open houses for the public to view the latest draft of Jefferson City's ward redistricting plan.

Conference center timeline set for site selection, design

The city has set a time table for selection of a conference center site.

Fitzwater, Todd will run in 49th District

The decision of Rep. Jeanie Riddle, R-Mokane, to run for the newly created 7th District Missouri Senate seat rather than seeking re-election already has created a primary election contest for the Callaway County area she now represents in the General Assembly.

Man gets life sentence in Ga. girl’s killing

An apartment maintenance man in north Georgia has been sentenced to life in prison after pleading guilty to molesting and killing a 7-year-old girl, bringing an unusually swift conclusion to a case that frightened the community just over a month ago.

Farewells trump JC school board agenda

The recently-remodeled board of education chambers for the Jefferson City Public Schools district overflowed Tuesday evening.

Lawmakers hear options for rebuilding I-70

Creating a public/private partnership with a company — or a group of companies — that would design and rebuild Interstate 70 may be the best hope for its future, state Transportation Director Kevin Keith told members of the Legislature’s Joint Committee on Transportation on Tuesday afternoon.

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Russia asks if US radar ruined space probe

Russia will look into the possibility a U.S. radar station could have inadvertently interfered with the failed Mars moon probe that plummeted to Earth, Russian media reported Tuesday, but experts argued that any such claims were far-fetched.

Toddler’s cuss word on ’Modern Family’ draws ire

An anti-profanity crusader on Tuesday asked ABC to pull this week’s “Modern Family” episode in which a toddler appears to use a bleeped curse word.

Countries consider time out on the ‘leap second’

It’s high noon for the humble leap second.

Wikipedia editors question site’s planned blackout

Can the world live without Wikipedia for a day? The shutdown of one of the Internet’s most-visited sites is not sitting well with some of its volunteer editors, who say the protest of anti-piracy legislation could threaten the credibility of their work.

World Bank warns of global growth slowdown

The World Bank warned Wednesday of a possible slump in global economic growth and urged developing countries to prepare for shocks that could be more severe than the 2008 crisis.

After long hiatus, Valiant Comics returning in May

Valiant Comics is bringing its premiere hero back to the pages of comics after a nearly decade-long absence, debuting X-O Manowar in May and promising a hero that longtime fans will know but with new adventures that will carry him to new heights.

NJ parents: Disabled girl was denied transplant

The parents of a 3-year-old New Jersey girl say she’s being denied a kidney transplant because of her mental disabilities, but experts caution the situation may be much more complex.

Missouri jobless rate drops, state sheds 11,800 jobs

Missouri's unemployment rate fell to 8 percent, but the state's overall payroll still declined by several thousand jobs.

AFL-CIO launches new ad campaign

The AFL-CIO on Tuesday launched a new advertising campaign to promote unions as a voice for all working people, a move that comes amid declining membership and growing hostility to organized labor in a number of states.

Family of slain San Diego-area boy defends suspect

The mother of a 12-year-old boy says the 10-year-old neighbor suspected of fatally stabbing her son is not a monster.

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Senate redistricting goes back to the drawing board

The Missouri Supreme Court struck down new state Senate districts on Tuesday and ordered further legal review of new congressional boundaries, throwing uncertainty into Missouri’s 2012 election season just weeks before candidates are to begin filing for office.

Movie Review: ‘Bala’ gives tense look at border violence

Gerardo Naranjo may have made the least-glamorous movie ever about a pageant queen with “Miss Bala.” And that’s what makes it so beautiful.

Wells Fargo net rises on deposits, lending growth

A steadier mortgage business, higher commercial lending and an increase in deposits lifted Wells Fargo & Co.’s fourth-quarter profit by 20 percent.

Original Yellow Wiggle rejoins Australian band

The Yellow Wiggle is back. The original lead singer of the world-famous preschool entertainment band The Wiggles has made a surprise return, five years after he left the group because of illness.

Alba keeps it ’Honest’ with eco-friendly baby products

Jessica Alba has another new baby. She’s launched an e-commerce company at Honest.com (named after her 3-year-old daughter Honor) to sell eco-friendly and toxic-free baby products and household items for a monthly subscription.

House GOP chair got discounted loan

The House Republican campaign chairman, Rep. Pete Sessions of Texas, has been notified that he received a discounted mortgage from the former Countrywide Financial Corp.

Top sites start using new ’phone numbers’ in June

Internet giants including Yahoo, Facebook and AT&T will start using a new system of numerical addresses to connect users to websites from June 6.

’Voice’ star Blake Shelton’s father dies

Blake Shelton’s father has died, forcing “The Voice” star to reschedule several tour dates.

Being international isn’t sexy anymore for Citi

Citigroup has a world of problems. The bank is proud of its global reach — 1,400 branches in 46 countries. But in Asia, the economies of China and India are slowing. And Europe, the source of one in three dollars that Citi brings in, may be on the brink of financial disaster.

Analysts mull impact of accident on cruise sector

Shares of cruise operators declined on Tuesday, with analysts questioning whether the capsizing of a Carnival Corp. vessel would hurt travel demand just at the start of the important bookings season.

SEC inspector general leaving post after 4 years

The inspector general for the Securities and Exchange Commission is leaving his position after four years, during which he put the agency under harsh scrutiny and exposed serious lapses in detecting or pursuing major fraud schemes.

Edgar Allan Poe fans: Last vigil for mystery man

Is the “Poe Toaster” nevermore?

Yahoo co-founder Jerry Yang leaving company

Yahoo co-founder Jerry Yang is leaving the struggling Internet company, as it tries to revive its revenue growth and win over disgruntled shareholders under a new leader.

UK scientists find ‘lost’ Darwin fossils

British scientists have found scores of fossils the great evolutionary theorist Charles Darwin and his peers collected but that had been lost for more than 150 years.

Rainier snowshoer burned money for warmth

A snowshoer who was lost in a blizzard for two days on Washington state’s Mount Rainier said he stayed alive by digging out a snow tunnel and burning his paper money for warmth.

Tuesday's NBA Capsules

NBA ROUNDUP: LeBron James scored 33 points, Chris Bosh added 30 and the Miami Heat used a historic third-quarter turnaround to erase a big deficit and beat the San Antonio Spurs 120-98 on Tuesday night, snapping a three-game slide.

Tuesday's NHL Capsules

NHL ROUNDUP: Jiri Hudler scored in the second round of the shootout, Detroit’s Ty Conklin was perfect in all three rounds, and the Red Wings beat Dallas.

Reward offered in fatal beating near Liberty Bell

Investigators pleaded Tuesday for witnesses to come forward and searched for surveillance footage of the men who beat to death a young man they apparently thought was yelling at them — not at the taxi that wouldn’t give him and his friends a lift in the city’s historic district.

Tuesday's Top 25 College Women's Basketball Capsules

COLLEGE WOMEN'S BASKETBALL ROUNDUP: Eugeneia McPherson scored 17 points and Nadirah McKenith added 15 to help St. John’s shock No. 7 Rutgers 62-57 on Tuesday night, the Red Storm’s fifth win in six games.

Tuesday's Top 25 College Men's Basketball Capsules

COLLEGE MEN'S BASKETBALL ROUNDUP: Freshman Anthony Davis scored a career-high 27 points and blocked seven shots to set a season school record in No. 2 Kentucky’s 86-63 victory over Arkansas on Tuesday night.

’Artist,’ ’Tinker Tailor’ up for UK film awards

It’s spry versus spy as frothy silent movie “The Artist” and moody thriller “Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy” lead the race for the British Academy Film Awards, Britain’s equivalent of the Oscars.

LA council votes to require condoms in porn films

Actors in adult movies filmed in the nation’s Porn Capital would be required to use condoms under an ordinance granted final approval Tuesday by the Los Angeles City Council.

Hundreds of miles of pipelines in CA misclassified

Officials for a California utility have acknowledged the company wrongly classified hundreds of miles of natural gas transmission lines of the same type that ruptured in a deadly explosion in a San Francisco suburb.

Several hundred Occupy protesters rally at Capitol

Several hundred protesters affiliated with the Occupy Wall Street movement converged on the West Lawn of the Capitol Tuesday to decry the influence of corporate money in politics and voice myriad other grievances.

Italian captain being placed under house arrest

An Italian coast guard official vehemently demanded the captain go back to his crippled cruise ship to oversee its evacuation, but the captain repeatedly resisted, according to a shocking audiotape made public Tuesday.