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Congressional coalition calls for investigation after Shell barge grounding

Anchorage, Alaska

Congress calls for shell barge investigation

Calls for federal scrutiny of Royal Dutch Shell PLC drilling operations in Arctic waters swelled Thursday with a request by members of Congress for a formal investigation. The House Sustainable Energy and Environment Coalition called on the Interior Department and the Coast Guard to jointly investigate the New Year's Eve grounding of the Shell drill vessel Kulluk on a remote Gulf of Alaska island, and a previous incident connected to Arctic offshore drilling operations. The Kulluk remains upright, and the Coast Guard said there was no indication of a fuel leak.


Red states get health care nod

In a rare injection of bipartisanship in the contentious health care overhaul, the Obama administration cleared four Republican-led states Thursday to build their own consumer-friendly insurance markets. With open enrollment for millions of uninsured Americans coming Oct. 1, the four join a group totaling 17 states plus Washington, D.C., that have gotten an initial go-ahead to build and run insurance exchanges. GOP-led Idaho, Nevada, New Mexico and Utah were among seven states approved Thursday. Significantly, the list also included California, which has the most uninsured residents at nearly 7.5 million.


Britain extradites al-Qaida suspect

Police in Britain have extradited a terror suspect to the United States to face charges that he took part in an alleged al-Qaida plot to detonate explosives aboard the New York City subway system. British officials handed over Abid Naseer, 26, to U.S. authorities Thursday. Prosecutors want Naseer to stand trial in New York for his alleged role in a terror campaign that also would have struck targets in Britain and Norway. Naseer was due in federal court Monday.


Sept. 11 trial gets further restrictions

The military judge overseeing the trial at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, for alleged Sept. 11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and four others has ruled that lawyers cannot make public even unclassified materials. Army Col. James L. Pohl's ruling follows an order Dec. 6 in which he ruled evidence or discussion about harsh interrogation techniques used against the men also be kept secret. Human rights groups say the government is trying to hide that the men were tortured.

Caracas, Venezuela

Chávez fighting lung infection

The Venezuelan government Thursday night described President Hugo Chávez's lung infection as "severe" and said he is now being treated for "respiratory deficiency." Chávez hasn't been seen or heard from since his Dec. 11 cancer surgery, and speculation has grown that his illness could be reaching its final stages.

Times wires

Congressional coalition calls for investigation after Shell barge grounding 01/03/13 [Last modified: Thursday, January 3, 2013 11:12pm]
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  1. Rays beat Orioles, but tough stretch looms that could change their plans (w/video)

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — Even with their losing streak extending to five the night before, Rays officials were continuing Tuesday on their same track in trade talks leading up to Monday's deadline seeking a proven reliever and a right-handed bat.

    Looking to buy.

    The Rays’ Tim Beckham celebrates with Mallex Smith after hitting a three-run homer in the second inning for a 5-0 lead.
  2. Diaz, Taddeo win easily in special Miami Senate primaries


    Two Miami state Senate candidates who raised and spent the most in their respective primaries — Republican Rep. Jose Felix Diaz and Democratic businesswoman Annette Taddeo — notched easy victories in a special election Tuesday night.

    Republican candidate Jose Felix Diaz is surrounded by supporters after he won the primary for Florida’s Senate District 40 race. Democrat Annette Taddeo, right, celebrates her victory with supporter Venus Lovely at BJ’s Restaurant in The Falls.
  3. In live debate, Kriseman and Baker ask St. Pete: Is the city better off?



    Mayoral candidates Rick Kriseman and Rick Baker made their best pitch to voters in front of a live television audience on Tuesday night. The candidates essentially asked this: Is the city better off now than it was four years ago?

    Incumbent Mayor Rick Kriseman, left, and former Mayor Rick Baker debate in front of a live television audience Tuesday at the Palladium Theater in St. Petersburg. The event was sponsored by the Tampa Bay Times and Bay News 9.
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    Local Government

    Well, poop.

    Nothing else really matters, does it?

    Schools, economic development, public safety? Pfft. The Rays stadium, affordable housing, the pier? Ack. When it comes to the St. Petersburg mayoral election, sewage is the yin, the yang and the yuck.

    At Tuesday’s debate, incumbent Mayor Rick Kriseman said responsibility lies on him regarding the sewage crisis.
  5. Shooting sends man to hospital in St. Pete


    ST. PETERSBURG — Police were investigating a shooting that occurred around 4:40 p.m. on Tuesday and sent a man to the hospital.