Judge orders extension of aid for Puerto Rico storm evacuees

Judge orders extension of aid for Puerto Rico storm evacueesA U.S. judge on Thursday ordered another extension of a temporary assistance program for hundreds of Puerto Rico families who fled the hurricane-ravaged island in 2017 and are living in hotels across the United States. The Federal Emergency Management Agency announced in May that the program to assist families displaced by last year's Hurricane Maria would end on June 30. Eight Puerto Ricans, most of whom are in Massachusetts, filed a proposed class action lawsuit that contends FEMA's actions would violate their due process rights under the U.S. Constitution.

Asbestos from Manhattan steam pipe blast forces evacuations

Asbestos from Manhattan steam pipe blast forces evacuationsResidents and workers from 49 buildings near the site of an early-morning steam pipe explosion in Manhattan were evacuated, many for at least two days, on Thursday after lung-damaging asbestos was found on debris from the blast, officials said. The asbestos discovery raised concerns that the substance, which had encased the 86-year-old ruptured pipe, may have spread to the street, buildings and ventilation systems, all of which would need to be decontaminated, Mayor Bill de Blasio said. "Now that we know there's asbestos present, we're not going to cut any corners," de Blasio told reporters at the scene.

More firefighters join battle against Yosemite blaze

More firefighters join battle against Yosemite blazeBy Dan Whitcomb LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Reinforcements arrived on Thursday to engage a dangerous wildfire burning in steep, difficult terrain at the edge of Yosemite National Park in California that has already killed one firefighter and injured two others, fire officials said. More than 2,000 firefighters were working to gain a measure of control over the Ferguson Fire ahead of thunderstorms forecast for central California this week. "It's a big safety concern if you have a big thunder cell building over a wildfire like this," said Mike Whitaker of the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection.

Four men indicted in murder of Florida rapper XXXTentacion

Four men indicted in murder of Florida rapper XXXTentacionDedrick Williams, 22, Michael Boatwright, 22, Trayvon Newsome, 20, and Robert Allen, 22, were indicted on Wednesday on charges of first-degree murder with a firearm and armed robbery with a firearm, the Broward County Sheriff's Office said. Jahseh Onfroy, who was known as XXXTentacion, was fatally shot on June 18 in broad daylight as he left a business in Deerfield Beach, about 40 miles (64 km) north of Miami, according to a Thursday statement from the sheriff's office.

U.S. judge sets plea change for Algerian who recruited 'Jihad Jane'

U.S. judge sets plea change for Algerian who recruited 'Jihad Jane'By John Shiffman WASHINGTON (Reuters) - An Algerian man accused of recruiting an American woman known as "Jihad Jane" in 2009 and who originally pleaded not guilty to a U.S. charge of supporting terrorism, is expected to change his plea to guilty, a court filing showed on Thursday. Ali Charaf Damache, 53, a dual Irish and Algerian citizen, was extradited to the United States last year and while none of the plans U.S. prosecutors accused him of resulted in attacks, authorities said he was in direct contact with Islamist militants in Pakistan and recruited two American women to help him. U.S. District Court Judge Petrese Tucker in Philadelphia on Thursday scheduled a change of plea hearing for Monday in the case, which is often a precursor to a guilty plea.

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