Created: Thu, 13 Mar 2014 04:14:24 EST
Updated: Thu, 13 Mar 2014 04:14:24 EST
UPDATE: 5 people confirmed dead in blast
NEW YORK (AP) —A fifth person has been confirmed killed by an explosion that flattened two New York City apartment buildings.
Police say the body of an adult female was found among the debris shortly before 3 a.m., and the number of people unaccounted for is about five.
A gas leak triggered the explosion yesterday morning on Park Avenue and 116th Street in East Harlem. The blast also injured more than 60 people. At least three of the injured were children.
The explosion shattered windows a div away, cast a plume of smoke over the skyline and sent people running into the streets.
Authorities say the fiery blast erupted about 15 minutes after a neighboring resident reported smelling gas.
SOUTH BY SOUTHWEST-FATAL CRASH
NEW: Police: 2 dead after car crashes into Texas crowd
AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — Police in Austin, Texas say two people were killed when a car drove through barricades set up for the South By Southwest festival and struck a crowd of pedestrians just after midnight.
Police say 21 other people were taken to various hospitals, most with minor injuries, but five to seven had more serious injuries.
UPDATE: Report: Missing airplane flew on for hours
KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia (AP) — Malaysian officials say planes have checked the site where Chinese satellite images show possible debris from the missing Malaysia Airlines jetliner, but nothing was found.
Meanwhile, The Wall Street Journal is reporting that U.S. investigators believe the plane may have flown for four hours once it lost contact with air traffic controllers.
The plane disappeared Saturday, while flying from Malaysia to Beijing.
Malaysia retires missing plane's flight code
KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia (AP) — Malaysia Airlines says it has retired the missing jetliner's flight code as a sign of respect to the 239 passengers and crew on board.
The airline says it will no longer be using MH370 and MH371, the same codes used by the Boeing 777 that vanished from radar screens on its way from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing on Saturday.
MH370 was used for Kuala Lumpur-Beijing route and MH371 for a return flight.
Starting Friday, Malaysia Airlines says it will use flight codes MH318 and MH319 for the same route.
UPDATE: UN is discussing Ukraine resolution
UNITED NATIONS (AP) — The U.N. Security Council is discussing a possible resolution that would reaffirm Ukraine's sovereignty and territorial integrity and address Sunday's referendum on whether its Crimean Peninsula should become part of Russia.
Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk (ahr-SEHN'-ee yaht-sehn-YOOK') will brief the Security Council today at an open meeting.
Holder endorses proposed drug sentencing changes
WASHINGTON (AP) — Attorney General Eric Holder is endorsing a proposal that would result in shorter prison sentences for certain nonviolent drug traffickers.
Holder is expected to make the suggestion today before the U.S. Sentencing Commission.
He says the sentence reductions would lower federal prison costs and create a fairer criminal justice system.
Obama wants overtime pay for more salaried workers
WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama is expected to announce changes in overtime rules so many employers would be required to pay millions more workers for the extra time they put in on the job.
The rules are aimed at workers currently designated as supervisory employees but who are exempt from overtime because they get paid a salary of more than $455 a week.
The changes, to be announced today, would take effect in 2015.
SAN FRANCISCO FIRE
Investigators seek cause of San Francisco fire
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Fire investigators are looking into whether welding work is to blame for a massive blaze that barreled through an apartment building construction site in a San Francisco's Mission Bay that had firefighters working to keep it from spreading through the neighborhood.
The five-alarm fire cracked windows at an apartment building across the street and sent an ember onto the roof of a University of California, San Francisco building.
CENTRAL CALIFORNIA EARTHQUAKE
Magnitude-4.4 quake hits rural central California
COSO JUNCTION, Calif. (AP) — A magnitude-4.4 earthquake has struck a rural area in central California.
The U.S. Geological Survey says the quake struck at 7:11 p.m. local time, about 34 miles south of the community of Lone Pine, near the south end of Sequoia National Forest.
The USGS says it doesn't expect damage in the area that's not very populated.
Authorities in Inyo County say there've been no reports of injuries.
FAMILY BEER BATTLE
Phyllis Schlafly family in beer trademark dispute
ST. LOUIS (AP) —To many older Americans, the Schlafly name is most closely associated with Phyllis Schlafly, the conservative commentator known for her campaign to defeat the Equal Rights Amendment in the 1970s.
A younger generation knows Schlafly as the brand of an up-and-coming St. Louis brewery co-founded by Schlafly's nephew.
Now the federal agency that oversees trademarks is being asked to wade into a dispute within the prominent family and decide whether Schlafly is primarily a last name or a commercial brand that deserves legal protection.
The brewery started by Tom Schlafly wants the exclusive right to use the Schlafly name to sell craft beer. But Phyllis Schlafly has asked the Patent and Trademark Office to deny the request, lest any implied association with beer sully her 60-year political career.
Cuddlers soothe babies too sick, tiny to go home
CHICAGO (AP) — At the University of Chicago's Comer Children's Hospital and other hospitals around the country, strangers offer a simple yet powerful service for newborns too tiny or sick to go home.
When nurses are swamped with other patients and parents cannot make it to the hospital, grandmas, empty-nesters, college students and other volunteers step in. They hold the babies, swaddle them, sing and coo to them, rock them, and treat them as if they were their own.
Scientific evidence on benefits of cuddling programs is scarce, but the benefits of human touch are well-known. In one study, gentle caressing or placing a hand on preterm infants reduced levels of stress hormones. Other recent studies have suggested touch may benefit preemies' heart rates and sleep and perhaps even shorten their hospital stays.