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Nation's drought deepens after easing for weeks

St. Louis

Drought gets worse after weeks of easing

The worst U.S. drought in decades has deepened again after more than a month of slowly improving conditions, a drought-tracking consortium said Wednesday. Rainstorms had been easing the drought weekly since late September. But Wednesday's weekly U.S. Drought Monitor report showed 60.1 percent of the lower 48 states were in drought as of Tuesday, up from 58.8 percent a week earlier. The amount of land in extreme or exceptional drought, the worst classifications, grew from 18.3 to 19.04 percent.

cairo

Benghazi official assassinated

A senior Libyan security official was assassinated outside his home in Benghazi, officials said Wednesday, the same city where the U.S. ambassador and three other Americans were killed at their diplomatic compound in September. His death was the latest in a series of mysterious killings that have raised fears about the country's precarious postwar security. Faraj Mohammed al-Drissi, who was Benghazi's security director for only a few weeks, was fatally shot late Tuesday, officials said. The motive for the killing was unknown.

United nations

Report: Rwanda runs Congo rebels

The Rwandan military is commanding and supporting the rebel force that overtook a major city in eastern Congo, a United Nations report released Wednesday said. Uganda also is providing more subtle but decisive backing to the M23 rebels, the report said. The report's release, a day after the violent takeover of Goma, is sure to increase pressure on the international community to confront the two eastern African countries over their role in Congo's conflict. Rwanda and Uganda have repeatedly denied supporting the M23 movement.

New York

Judge rejects 9/11 suit against United

United Air Lines isn't liable for the plane hijacking in the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attack that destroyed 7 World Trade Center, a judge ruled Wednesday. U.S. District Judge Alvin Hellerstein granted a motion by the carrier for a judgment without a trial saying it wasn't responsible for the tower's destruction. He dismissed the airline from the case. World Trade Center Properties sued United Continental Holdings, American Airlines and others in 2008, saying their negligence caused the tower's collapse.

Santiago, chile

Strong earthquake rattles Chile

A strong 5.9-magnitude earthquake shook central Chile on Wednesday, causing office buildings in the capital to sway for almost a minute. Authorities said no damage was reported. The U.S. Geological Survey said the quake's epicenter was 37 miles southwest of the port city of San Antonio. Two other temblors with magnitudes of 5.1 and 5.2 were reported near San Antonio.

Times wires

Nation's drought deepens after easing for weeks 11/21/12 [Last modified: Wednesday, November 21, 2012 10:03pm]
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  1. 'There's nothing left': $253,000 worth of missing pianos stirs outrage

    Crime

    Lisa Williams was going through a messy divorce. Money was tight. She had to move to a smaller house, but there was no room for the beloved Schimmel baby grand piano she bought for her daughter two decades ago.

    Lisa Williams of Pinellas Park is one of several people who had their pianos stolen, and then lost the money they were supposed to get for them. Largo police are saying they were ripped off through a scheme run by the owner of a defunct piano shop in Clearwater.
[EVE EDELHEIT   |   Times]
  2. MacDill tanker crews keep fighter planes in the air during the battle against ISIS

    Macdill

    AL UDEID AIR BASE, QATAR — Settled into the cockpit, headed for the combat zone of Iraq, the three-man crew from MacDill Air Force Base can't wait to get in the air.

    But wait they must.

     Air Force Capt. Doug Karl (L) and Maj. Ryan Jahnke check landing coordinates on their tablets as they fly toward Royal Air Force Mildenhall from MacDill Air Force Base. [HOWARD ALTMAN  |  Times
  3. Lifestyle changes to stave off Alzheimer's? Hints, no proof

    Health

    WASHINGTON — There are no proven ways to stave off Alzheimer's, but a new report raises the prospect that avoiding nine key risks starting in childhood just might delay or even prevent about a third of dementia cases around the world.

    In this Oct. 7, 2003, file photo, a section of a human brain with Alzheimer's disease is on display at the Museum of Neuroanatomy at the University at Buffalo, in Buffalo, N.Y. There are no proven ways to stave off Alzheimer's, but a new report raises the prospect that avoiding nine risks starting in childhood just might delay or even prevent about a third of dementia cases. [AP Photo/David Duprey, File]
  4. City Attorney: State won't pursue criminal charges in St. Pete's sewage crisis

    Blogs

    The St. Petersburg City Council is expected to approve a consent order later today that requires the city to spend $326 million on improving its sewer system.

    St. Petersburg's sewage crisis appears to be winding down
  5. Review: 'A Really Big Lunch' a fitting last supper from Jim Harrison

    Books

    As much as I loved Jim Harrison's fiction and poetry, I've always had a special affection for his food writing. Boisterous and erudite and opinionated and wildly sensual, it always seemed his most personal writing, slipping the veil of fiction and the rigor of poems, and rippling with humor.