Many people on the Big Island of Hawaii are bracing for major upheaval if lava from Mauna Loa volcano blocks the quickest route connecting two sides of the island. The molten rock could make the road impassable and force drivers to find alternate coastal routes in the north and south. That could add hours to commute times, doctor’s visits and freight truck deliveries. The lava is oozing slowly at a rate that could reach the road next week. But its path is unpredictable and could change course, or the flow could stop completely and spare the highway.
Most railroad workers weren't surprised that Congress intervened this week to block a railroad strike, but they were disappointed because they say the deals lawmakers imposed didn't do enough to address their quality of life concerns about demanding schedules and the lack of paid sick time. Railroad workers face difficult tradeoffs that sometimes force them to skip doctor's appointments or miss family events. The railroads acknowledge that more needs to be done to address workers' “work-life balance concerns," but managers believe these new contracts should help create more predictable schedules. And the five-year deals include 24% raises and $5,000 in bonuses.
The United States' newest nuclear stealth bomber has made its public debut after years of secret development. The new bomber is part of the Pentagon’s answer to rising concerns over a future conflict with China. The B-21 Raider is the first new American bomber aircraft built in more than 30 years. The Pentagon provided the public its first glimpse of the Raider at an invitation-only event in Palmdale, California, on Friday. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin calls it “the embodiment of America’s determination to defend the republic that we all love.” Falls Church, Virginia-based Northrop Grumman is building the Raider, which will take its first flight next year.
Victims of a Texas elementary school shooting are seeking a $27 billion class action lawsuit against city and state police, the city of Uvalde and other school and law enforcement officials for failing to follow active shooter protocol, according to the lawsuit filed this week. The lawsuit filed this week seeks damages for survivors of the May 24 shooting who were present and have sustained “emotional or psychological damages as a result of the defendants’ conduct and omissions on that date.” Among those suing are school staff and representatives of minors who were present when a gunman stormed Robb Elementary, killing 19 children and two teachers.
Republican John Duarte defeated Democrat Adam Gray in a new California U.S. House district in the Central Valley farm belt that produced the closest congressional contest in the state this year. With virtually all of the ballots counted, Duarte had just over 50% of the vote. Gray conceded in a statement, saying, “I accept the results and have called to congratulate my opponent.” Earlier, Republicans regained control of the House. With Duarte’s victory, Republicans will hold 221 seats next year, Democrats 213, with one Colorado race undecided and going to a recount. Duarte said he would be a “bipartisan champion” in Washington.
The family of an Austin, Texas, man is seeking answers after he was fatally shot by police last month on his front porch following a late-night emergency call by a neighbor. Video and audio released Thursday show officers arriving Nov. 15 and telling Rajan Moonesinghe to drop the AR-15-style weapon he was holding before firing at him. Officers were responding to a 911 call requesting police and mental health support because a man had a long gun outside in the residential neighborhood. Moonesinghe's brother said police “shot first and asked questions later” and asked city officials to hold police accountable.
A tiny Nevada toad at the center of a legal battle over a geothermal project has officially been declared an endangered species. U.S. wildlife officials had temporarily listed it on a rarely used emergency basis last spring. The Fish and Wildlife Service said in a formal rule published Friday that the Dixie Valley toad is at risk of extinction "primarily due to the approval and commencement of geothermal development” about 100 miles east of Reno. Other threats to the quarter-sized amphibian include groundwater pumping, agriculture, climate change, disease and predation from bullfrogs. The temporary listing in April marked only the second time in 20 years the agency had taken such emergency action.
A prosecutor says the former medical director of a Virginia hospital that serves vulnerable children has been charged with four felony sex crimes in connection with abuse at the facility years ago. Court records indicate a grand jury indicted Dr. Daniel Davidow last month. Davidow was the longtime medical director of the Cumberland Hospital for Children and Adolescents. In a separate civil lawsuit, more than three dozen former female patients allege Davidow sexually abused them during physical exams. Davidow has previously denied the allegations. An attorney for Davidow declined comment to The Associated Press Friday.
French President Emmanuel Macron has paid a visit to Louisiana, the U.S. state most closely aligned with his country historically and culturally. Macron met with political leaders Friday and strolled through New Orleans’ historic French Quarter. He paused next to a street brass band and nodded and clapped as they played “When the Saints Go Marching In.” Macron also says he met with billionaire Elon Musk for a “clear and honest discussion” about Twitter, days after a top EU official warned that the company must do more to protect users. It is the first visit to Louisiana by a French president since Valery Giscard d’Estaing traveled to Lafayette and New Orleans in 1976.
Lawyers for a man who was freed in 2015 after spending a quarter-century in prison for an infamous tourist killing says he will receive nearly $18 million in legal settlements from the city and state of New York. Lawyers for Johnny Hincapie’s said Friday it marks one of the largest settlements for a wrongful conviction in New York City history. The Colombian-born Hincapie was among a group of young men accused of fatally stabbing Utah tourist Brian Watkins on a subway station platform in 1990. Eighteen years old at the time, with no criminal history, Hincapie said he was coerced to falsely confess to the notorious Labor Day crime.
Britain's Prince William appears to have taken the baton from his father and become a more vocal advocate about pollution and climate change. Those efforts are on full display this week in Boston. That's where the winners of the royal couple's Earthshot Prize for environmental innovators were being announced Friday evening. The announcement at Boston’s MGM Music Hall was part of a glitzy show headlined by Billie Eilish, Annie Lennox, Ellie Goulding, and Chloe x Halle. But William also made time Friday to meet with President Joe Biden and Caroline Kennedy, ambassador to Australia and daughter of the late President John F. Kennedy.
Indiana's Republican attorney general can continue his investigation of an Indianapolis doctor who spoke publicly about providing an abortion to a 10-year-old rape victim. The girl had traveled from Ohio after its more-restrictive abortion law took effect this summer. A judge on Friday rejected an attempt to block Attorney General Todd Rokita's investigation of Dr. Caitlin Bernard. Rokita alleges Bernard violated child abuse reporting and patient privacy laws. Bernard denies wrongdoing. The same judge also ruled Friday in a separate lawsuit that Indiana’s abortion ban adopted in August violates the state’s religious freedom law. The Indiana abortion ban was already on hold because of another legal challenge.
Civil rights activist Mamie King-Chalmers has died in Detroit at the age of 81. As a young Black woman, she appeared in an iconic photograph about civil rights struggles in Alabama in 1963. King-Chalmers was one of three Black people forced to brace themselves against a building while being blasted with water from a firehose in Birmingham. The famous photo by Charles Moore appeared in Life magazine. Years later, King-Chalmers recalled how she was attending a protest in a Birmingham park that day when her group was confronted by police and dogs. She said in 2013 that her hearing was damaged by the force of the water.
The Los Angeles City Council voted unanimously on Friday to ban the drilling of new oil and gas wells and to phase out existing ones over the next 20 years. The vote comes after more than a decade of complaints from city residents that pollution drifting from wells was affecting their health. Los Angeles was once a booming oil town, but many of its oilfields are now played out.