WASHINGTON — The Energy Department reports U.S. greenhouse gas emissions increased last year by 1.4 percent after a decline in 2006. The report Wednesday said carbon dioxide pollution from burning of fossil fuels rose by 1.3 percent in 2007. The report attributed the increase to colder winter weather and a warmer summer that required more fuel burning for heating and electricity to run air conditioners. Greenhouse gas emissions have increased an average of just under 1 percent a year since 1990.
Florida: Bush mulls Senate race
Still popular in Florida, former Gov. Jeb Bush said Wednesday that he’s interested in the seat Sen. Mel Martinez is giving up, and the field of possible candidates could quickly narrow to make way for the president’s younger brother. Bush, 55, won praise from Democrats and Republicans alike for leading the state through eight hurricanes over a two-year period. He used standardized testing to overhaul the education system, was credited with making government more efficient and lowered taxes to make Florida more business-friendly.
California: Train engineer autopsy
An autopsy shows the Metrolink engineer involved in a train collision that killed 25 people in September was not on drugs or medication before he ran a red light that could have prevented the crash in Los Angeles. The Los Angeles County coroner released the results Wednesday, noting that toxicology reports on Robert Sanchez came back clean and that injuries he sustained from the crash were “rapidly fatal.” Federal investigators have said Sanchez was text messaging 22 seconds before his train collided with a Union Pacific freight train on Sept. 12 in Chatsworth.
Hawaii: Lava heading for park
A slow-moving tongue of lava is within a quarter-mile of the boundary of Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. Park officials say a mile-wide swath of lava from an October breach of a lava tube broke away from the main flow and is crawling toward the park. It could enter the park this week. Volcanologists walked along the perimeter of the flow Monday to measure its location using handheld global positioning system devices. No lava has reached national park land since last year.
New York: Ivory smuggling arrests
Federal authorities said six people have been arrested on charges of conspiring to smuggle the ivory of African elephants into the United States. The arrests took place in New York, New Jersey, Virginia and Texas. The suspects made court appearances on Wednesday. Authorities said the defendants disguised the ivory to avoid detection as it was smuggled through New York’s Kennedy International Airport from Ivory Coast, Cameroon and Uganda. Importation of ivory into the United States has been a crime since 1976.
Prison for Empire State stunt
A former television host who tried to parachute off the Empire State Building has been convicted of reckless endangerment. Jeb Corliss, 32, was convicted Wednesday in Manhattan state Supreme Court. He faces up to a year in prison for trying to jump off the 102-story building in 2006. Corliss was the host of a Discovery Channel show called “Stunt Junkies” that features extreme athletes performing stunts. He had testified that he had jumped from more than 1,000 buildings and cliffs around the world.
Taiwan: Dalai Lama not welcome
Taiwan’s president on Wednesday ruled out a visit to his island by the Dalai Lama, a gesture likely to please China and give new impetus to rapidly improving relations across the volatile Taiwan Strait. The comments by Ma Ying-jeou followed reports earlier this week that the Tibetan spiritual leader wants to come to Taiwan in 2009, in what would be his third trip to the island in the past 11 years. A Dalai Lama visit would have incensed China, which accuses him of working to undermine Chinese authority in Tibet, a Chinese autonomous region.
Japan: Quake deep underground
A 6.1-magnitude earthquake struck off the coast of northern Japan today, the Meteorological Agency said. There were no immediate reports of damage or casualties. The quake hit this morning off the coast of Miyagi, about 180 miles north of Tokyo, the agency said. It struck at a depth of about 6 miles. The agency said there was no danger of a tsunami from the earthquake. An official in charge of disaster management in Miyagi said the quake caused no damage to utilities such as water, electricity, gas and telephone lines.
Brazil: New missiles for Pakistan
The defense minister said his nation is selling 100 aircraft-borne missiles to Pakistan. Brazilian officials approved the $107 million sale of the missiles, which can be installed on jets and used to take out radar installations. Brazilian news media said Brazil’s air force negotiated the sale with Pakistan’s government. The deal needed the approval of Brazil’s trade ministry, which signed off on the deal on Tuesday. The Brazilian arms maker Mectron will make the missiles.
From Herald news services