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Audit finds no State Department conflict in Keystone pipeline review

washington

audit finds no conflict in pipeline review

The State Department's inspector general has found no conflict of interest or improper political influence in the agency's review of the disputed Keystone XL pipeline project. But in a report released Thursday, the official said the department had not adequately weighed concerns about the route of the 1,700-mile pipeline and should strengthen its oversight of contractors performing environmental impact statements for major projects. The proposed Keystone pipeline is to carry heavy oil from Alberta, Canada, to refineries on the Gulf Coast.

madrid

Prominent rights judge convicted

Spain's Supreme Court convicted a crusading judge Thursday of overstepping his authority in a wiretapping case and ordered him suspended from the courts for 11 years. There is no appeal. The judge, Baltasar Garzon, is renowned for pressing cases against former dictators, including Gen. Augusto Pinochet of Chile, and ordering an inquiry into atrocities committed by fascist forces during the Spanish Civil War. The case is one of three against him.

new delhi

India explores Iran opportunities

India emerged as a major new irritant Thursday in Western efforts to isolate Iran, announcing it is sending a large trade delegation there within weeks to exploit opportunities created by U.S. and European anti-nuclear sanctions that are disrupting Iran's economy. The announcement coincided with reports that India eclipsed China for the first time last month as Iran's No. 1 petroleum customer, subverting U.S. efforts to persuade countries to find non-Iranian sources for their energy needs or risk penalties under a new American sanctions law.

washington

Tassimo single-cup brewers recalled

More than a million popular coffeemakers are being recalled after dozens of reports of the brewers spraying hot liquid, coffee grounds or tea leaves onto people. The Consumer Product Safety Commission says there have been 140 reports of problems with the Tassimo single-cup brewers dousing people, including 37 cases involving second-degree burns. CPSC says the coffee maker's "T-disc," the plastic disc that holds the coffee or tea, can burst while brewing. The agency also announced the recall of 4 million packages of Tassimo espresso T-discs after 21 reports of problems.

Elsewhere

Washington: Scientists say NASA will propose major cuts in exploration of other planets, especially Mars.

Panama: Medical authorities say former dictator Manuel Noriega has left a hospital four days after fainting and returned to prison.

Phoenix: Ron Barber, a top aide to former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords who was also shot when she was critically injured, says he is running in a special election to fill her seat for the six months remaining in her term.

Washington: The U.S. Postal Service's fourth-quarter loss ballooned to $3.3 billion amid declining mail volume and soaring costs of health benefits for future retirees. It says at this rate, it will run out of money by October.

Los Angeles: Miramonte Elementary School students returned to class Thursday after the entire staff was replaced when two longtime teachers were accused of lewd acts on children.

Times wires

Audit finds no State Department conflict in Keystone pipeline review 02/09/12 [Last modified: Thursday, February 9, 2012 10:55pm]
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  1. Forecast: First day of fall brings more showers, humidity to Tampa Bay

    Weather

    More moisture will filter into the Tampa Bay area on Friday, the official start of fall, allowing for higher rain chances through the day and beginning half of the weekend.

    Tampa Bay's 7 day forecast. [WTSP]
  2. Polk childcare workers who berated autistic child turn themselves in (w/video)

    Crime

    WINTER HAVEN — Two childcare workers are facing child abuse charges after a Snapchat video surfaced of them berating, taunting and throwing a backpack at an 8-year-old autistic child.

    Police are searching for two childcare workers - Kaderrica Smith, 26, and Alexis Henderson, 20 - after a Snapchat video surfaced of them berating, taunting and throwing a backpack at an 8-year-old Autistic child in Winter Haven. [Winter Haven Police Department]
  3. Trigaux: Tampa Bay household income tops $50,000 but still makes us look poor

    Personal Finance

    The good news is Tampa Bay's median household income finally crawled above $50,000 last year. The bad news is that figure — officially $51,115 by new U.S. Census Bureau data — still puts the Tampa Bay region as the poorest of the nation's 25 largest metro areas.

    Tampa Bay still has the lowest median household income among the 25 most populous metro areas, according to U.S. Census Bureau data.
[Times]
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    Columns

    I don't want to make light of the misery and death that Hurricane Irma inflicted on Florida this month. A lot of it was ugly, and some of it was downright criminal. We saw greed and pettiness on …

    A Fort Myers woman who'd recently undergone a double-organ transplant painted a sign that said, "HOT SINGLE FEMALE SEEKS SEXY LINEMAN TO ELECTRIFY HER LIFE" and sure enough, she got her power turned back on. [Photo from video]
  5. Florida education news: Makeup days, accountability, charter schools and more

    Blogs

    MAKEUP DAYS: The Pasco County school district alters the daily schedule of 11 schools to make up teaching time missed because of Hurricane Irma, avoiding the …

    With students back in school after Hurricane Irma, schools across Florida begin scheduling makeup days for missed classroom time.