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New regs sought for child car seats
Written by JOAN LOWY, Associated Press   
Wednesday, 22 January 2014 09:13

WASHINGTON (AP) — Child car seats would for the first time have to protect children from death and injury in side-impact crashes under regulations the government is proposing, The Associated Press has learned.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration seeks to upgrade standards for child seats for children weighing up to 40 pounds to include a new test that simulates a side crash. The agency estimates the standards will prevent the deaths of about five children and injuries to 64 others each year.

NHTSA Acting Administrator David Friedman is scheduled to announce the proposal Wednesday.

Under the proposal, the new tests will simulate a "T-bone" crash, where the front of a vehicle traveling 30 mph strikes the side of a small passenger vehicle traveling at 15 mph. The tests will position the car seat on a sled, with another sled ramming the side of the sled with the seat, rather than using actual vehicles since the aim isn't to test the crash worthiness of specific vehicles, NHTSA officials said.

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Police search for motive in deadly Purdue shooting
Written by KEN KUSMER, Associated Press   
Wednesday, 22 January 2014 07:37

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. (AP) — A routine day of classes was pierced by the sounds of gunfire, fire alarms and screams when a Purdue University student entered a basement classroom and shot and killed a fellow senior engineering student from Wisconsin, whom a former teacher described as having a "brilliant mind."

Police haven't determined why Cody Cousins, 23, shot Andrew Boldt, a 21-year-old teaching assistant from West Bend, Wis., inside the school's Electrical Engineering Building about noon Tuesday.

Purdue Police Chief John Cox said witnesses believed the shooting was "an intentional act" but said there was no immediate indication Cousins and Boldt had past troubles.

No one else was injured, and Cousins is being held at the Tippecanoe County Jail on a preliminary charge of murder.

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Syrian peace talks stuck over Assad's future
Written by MATTHEW LEE, Associated Press ZEINA KARAM, Associated Press   
Wednesday, 22 January 2014 07:18

MONTREUX, Switzerland (AP) — Syrian peace talks began Wednesday in Switzerland with a bitter clash over President Bashar Assad's future.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said Assad's decision to meet peaceful dissent with brutal force had robbed him of all legitimacy while Assad's foreign minister declared that no one outside Syria had the right to remove the government. The Syrian opposition said the whole point of the peace conference was to create a transitional government without Assad.

Less than three hours into peace talks that have been on the verge of collapse since they were first floated, the two sides seemed impossibly far apart.

"We really need to deal with reality," Kerry said. "There is no way — no way possible in the imagination — that the man who has led the brutal response to his own people could regain the legitimacy to govern. One man and those who have supported him can no longer hold an entire nation and a region hostage."

"The right to lead a country does not come from torture, nor barrel bombs, nor Scud missiles. It comes from the consent of the people," he added.

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Snow swirls up East Coast, leaving a bitter trail
Written by BOB SALSBERG, Associated Press   
Wednesday, 22 January 2014 07:19

BOSTON (AP) — Snow blowers whirred and shovels scraped across sidewalks as the Northeast tried to keep up with a winter storm that swirled up the coast, creating blizzard conditions on Cape Cod, disrupting government work in Washington and leaving behind it bitter Canadian cold that sapped fuel supplies.

The huge storm stretched from Kentucky to New England but hit hardest along the heavily populated Interstate 95 corridor between Philadelphia and Boston. Snow began falling midmorning Tuesday in Philadelphia and had dumped as much as 13.5 inches by midnight, with New York seeing almost as much. Manalapan, N.J., had the highest snowfall reading with 16 inches.

The storm, which dropped nearly a foot of snow in parts of Massachusetts, promised to create headaches for motorists in Boston on Wednesday morning. Commuters in Philadelphia and New York had packed early trains or spent hours inching along roads in swirling darkness to get home the night before.

The New Yorkers and Bostonians who normally swarm Cape Cod in fishing hats or bikinis in July and August wouldn't recognize it this week. A blizzard warning through Wednesday afternoon kept business brisk at Aubuchon Hardware in Sandwich, where salt and snow shovels were popular.

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Former Virginia governor wife indicted for corruption
Written by LARRY O'DELL, Associated Press   
Wednesday, 22 January 2014 07:16

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — Bob McDonnell had just been elected governor of Virginia when a wealthy businessman who had donated the use of his private jet during the Republican's campaign requested a meeting at the Four Seasons Hotel in New York.

The governor-elect obliged and brought along his wife, Maureen, who during the meeting told Jonnie Williams she needed a dress for the inauguration the following month, according to a federal indictment of the McDonnells.

Williams agreed to buy her an Oscar de la Renta gown, but a Bob McDonnell aide said it would be inappropriate and nixed the idea, according to the indictment returned by a grand jury Tuesday.

Peeved, the former Washington Redskins cheerleader and future first lady fired off an email to the staffer.

"I need to talk to you about Inaugural clothing budget," the email said. "I need answers and Bob is screaming about the thousands I'm charging up in credit card debt. We are broke and have an unconscionable amount in credit card debt already and this Inaugural is killing us!! I need answers and I need help, and I need to get this done."

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