Pentagon cuts civilian furloughs to 14 days Detainees claim water refused Calif. city gets free wi-fi meters Derailed cars leaking oil Man arrested with stolen cheese
WASHINGTON -- Pentagon officials plan to cut the number of days civilian workers will be furloughed to 14 instead of 22, easing the pain for as many as 750,000 employees, according to a U.S. official who asked not to be named discussing a decision that hasn't been announced.
Additional money provided by Congress in a new defense spending bill for the fiscal year that ends Sept. 30 has allowed the Pentagon to scale back the amount of unpaid leave. The Defense Department's initial plan to cope with automatic across- the-board budget cuts called for putting civilian workers on furlough for one day a week over 22 weeks.
MIAMI -- Prisoners taking part in expanding hunger strike at Guantanamo Bay leveled new complaints about their military jailers Wednesday as a team from the Red Cross made a fact-finding trip to the U.S. base in Cuba.
In an emergency motion filed with a federal court in Washington, lawyers said guards have refused to provide drinking water to hunger strikers and kept camp temperature "extremely frigid." A spokesman for the detention center denied the allegations.
Human rights groups filed the petition after interviewing Yemeni prisoner Musaab al-Madhwani by phone Monday. He told them that guards were refusing to provide bottled water and telling prisoners to drink from tap water that inmates believe is nonpotable.
SANTA CLARA, Calif. -- The city of Santa Clara flipped on a big Internet switch this week, becoming what it says is the first in the country to use wireless digital "smart meters" on homes as channels for free citywide outdoor wi-fi.
"This is just one of the major benefits our community will enjoy as a result of our advanced metering technology," said John Roukema, director of Silicon Valley Power, the community's utility provider. "Now our residents, visitors and local workforce can get Internet access while waiting for a train, shopping downtown, getting their car washed or relaxing in their yard."
The new meters send electricity and water usage reports via wireless network, but in Santa Clara, a city of 118,000 in the heart of the Silicon Valley, they also have an unusual separate channel that provides free outdoor Internet.
PARKERS PRAIRIE, Minn. -- Thousands of gallons of oil leaked onto frozen ground after a train carrying crude from Canada derailed Wednesday in western Minnesota.
The 94-car Canadian Pacific train was headed south near Parkers Prairie when it lost air pressure and went into an emergency braking mode, the Otter Tail County sheriff's office said. Fourteen tankers derailed. Three either leaked or spilled oil. An estimated 20,000 to 30,000 gallons leaked onto the ground, Minnesota Pollution Control Agency spokesman Dan Olson said. The spill was contained in a field and ditch in a rural area, and the cold weather helped keep the spill contained.
CASHTON, Wis. -- An Illinois man accused of stealing 21 tons of Wisconsin cheese has been arrested in New Jersey.
New Jersey authorities say the 34-year-old man from Plainfield, Ill., was arrested Tuesday. New Jersey State Police Lt. Stephen Jones said Wednesday the man was driving a refrigerated truck carrying 42,000 pounds of Muenster cheese. Jones says the cheese company, K&K Cheese in Cashton, Wis., valued the cargo at $200,000.
New Jersey Detective Oliver Sissman told WISC-TV in Wisconsin that the suspect used false paperwork to obtain the cheese.