JEFFERSON CITY, Mo.
Missouri to cut program for the unemployed
Thousands of people in Missouri who have been unemployed for more than a year soon will lose their jobless benefits. When they do, it will mark a significant new victory for fiscal hawks, who have seized upon government spending for the unemployed to make a symbolic stand against the federal deficit. Eligibility will end Saturday for Missourians covered under a federal stimulus program that provides up to 20 weeks of additional benefits. Missouri will become the first state to sign up for the federal program, then voluntarily quit. Officials in Michigan, Arkansas and Florida also recently took steps to cut back on money going to the unemployed, although they targeted state jobless benefits.
Traffic deaths are lowest since 1949
Surrounded by air bags, buckled in place and fearful of drunken driving, Americans are less likely to die on the highway today than at any time since the Truman administration. The number of people killed in accidents dropped to 32,788 in 2010, the lowest total since 1949, according to the annual tally released today by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. The 3 percent decrease from 2009 was recorded even as the nation's drivers put nearly 21 billion more miles on their odometers in 2010 than they had the previous year. The death rate has declined by 25 percent since a peak of 43,510 in 2005, NHTSA said. Among the factors cited by officials were technological advances in vehicles, road engineering improvements such as rumble strips and improved pavement markings, and the use of speed cameras and red light cameras.
April Fools' snow aims at Northeast
A no-joke April Fools' snowstorm swirled toward the Northeast on Thursday, a cruel prank on a region that was finally enjoying a reprieve from its long, white winter. The spring snowstorm was expected to last into this morning, dropping up to a foot of snow in some areas including northwest New Jersey, eastern New York and around New England. Parts of New Jersey and New York's Hudson Valley and Catskills could see 5 to 12 inches. Up to 8 inches was possible in Pennsylvania's Pocono Mountains. High-altitude areas of central Vermont could get up to a foot of snow. Coastal parts of Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Connecticut were expected to get mostly rain, or wet snow that won't accumulate.
India: India's population is now more than 1.2 billion, an increase of 181 million in a decade, putting it on course to surpass China as the world's most populous nation sometime after 2030, according to preliminary census results released Thursday.
Ivory Coast: Alassane Ouattara, the internationally recognized winner of Ivory Coast's disputed presidential election, said Thursday his forces were outside the nation's commercial capital, Abidjan, and called on the army of his rival, Laurent Gbagbo, to join him.
Portugal: Debt-stressed Portugal's President Anibal Cavaco Silva announced the election of a new government will take place on June 5.
Russia: Police arrested about 150 people who were trying to take part in unauthorized antigovernment protests in Moscow and St. Petersburg on Thursday.