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Low-income residents struggle with high heating bills, frozen pipes as frigid temperatures linger

MILTON, Vt. — It’s only the beginning of January, and Todd Alexander has already blown through much of the kerosene used to heat his blue trailer here, where one wall is made only of old insulation and frigid wind gusts through the pink fiberglass. This stretch of extreme cold has taken a toll on much of the Eastern United States, bursting water mains, fracturing pipes, rendering car batteries useless. The frigid weather has turned tragic with news reports of weather-related deaths from South Carolina to North Dakota, in a storm that led to rare snow in Florida and record coastal flooding in New England. Temperatures in Vermont fell below zero during the day Friday, said National Weather Service meteorologist Maureen Hastings, and were expected to bottom out at 25 to 30 below zero in parts...

Protests threaten Iran’s ascendant role in the Middle East

BEIRUT — The eruption of political unrest in Iran has presented an unforeseen challenge to Tehran’s rising influence in the Middle East, potentially threatening the country’s claims to dominance just when it seemed to have secured an unassailable role. The demonstrations, triggered mostly by popular disaffection with the stagnant economy, come at a time when Iran has been boasting about its newfound clout, won mainly by intervening in the region’s many wars. Iran’s role as the Middle East’s most consequential power has been cemented by its support for President Bashar al-Assad in Syria, for the Shiite militias in Iraq fighting the Islamic State, for the Houthi rebels in Yemen and for the Hezbollah movement in Lebanon. But the interventions have been costly and, as the demonstrations have r...

Did the latest jobs report just give Republicans an opening to win over black voters?

Derek Hobbs prepares to salt a path in Philadelphia last month. Hobbs could not find work before partnering with a program that matches people facing employment challenges to available jobs. (Dominick Reuter/AFP/GettyImages) The U.S. unemployment rate remained at 4.1 percent for a third straight month — the lowest level since 2000, according to the Labor Department — but black Americans didn’t fare as well as others. The unemployment rate for African Americans was 6.8 percent in December. Still, the number was a record low — and if this decrease continues, it’s likely one that Republicans will use as the party attempts to win over black voters — one of the groups that approves the least of President Trump. Gallup’s latest data has just 6 percent of black Americans approvi...

Ryan Lochte’s Dive into Marriage Imminent

Ryan Lochte Take Your Mark … Wedding Imminent!! 1/6/2018 12:20 AM PST EXCLUSIVE Ryan Lochte just went into his last flip turn before marriage, and he’s racing toward the finish line … TMZ has learned. Sources close to the 6-time Gold Medal-winning swimmer tell us … Ryan and his fiancee, Kayla Rae Reid, picked up their marriage license paperwork together last week in Gainesville, FL. We’re told “marriage is imminent” … but it’s unclear exactly how soon the couple will be walking down the aisle. Although the license is good for 60 days, from what we’re told, they’ll get it done long before that deadline.  As we reported … Ryan proposed to Kayla on top of a mountain in October 2016, and they announced she was pregnant a c...

Terry Glenn Was High and Drunk During Fatal Crash, Autopsy Shows

Terry Glenn High & Drunk During Fatal Crash … Autopsy Shows 1/6/2018 12:35 AM PST EXCLUSIVE Ex-NFL star Terry Glenn had marijuana in his system during his fatal car crash — and his blood alcohol level was more than twice the legal limit … this according to the autopsy report obtained by TMZ Sports.  Glenn’s fiancee told police they were returning home from a Dallas Cowboys game on Nov. 20 when Glenn smashed his truck into a concrete divider, ejecting the WR from the vehicle. He suffered major injuries and was pronounced dead a short time later.  At the time, Glenn’s fiancee told police she wasn’t sure if Glenn had consumed alcohol before getting behind the wheel … but now, toxicology tests reveal he was impaired with a .165 BAC.  Tests also re...

Celebrity Burglaries Heavy in San Fernando Valley, Cops Say Multiple Bling Rings Involved

Celebrity Burglaries Thieves Target The Valley Multiple Bling Rings in Play 1/6/2018 1:00 AM PST EXCLUSIVE Kyle Richards, Yasiel Puig, Mariah Carey, Jason Derulo and Scott Disick … ya know what they have in common? They’ve all been hit by burglars, and now we know cops have a take on who’s doing it. Law enforcement sources tell us … most of the celebs have been hit by professional burglars, who know the weak points of a home and how to penetrate them. For example, a number of the break-ins have been through second floor balcony windows, accessed by a ladder. The reason … many homeowners don’t put alarms on second floor doors and windows. Cops also say there seems to have been a migration … burglars are now hitting the San Fernando Valley more than ...

Machete-wielding man who threatened Trump cuffed in Times Square

© KENA BETANCUR/AFP/Getty Images Police arrested William Sears, 26, who had three other machetes on him, took him to Bellevue Hospital for a psychiatric observation. An emotionally disturbed man who once threatened President Trump and Hillary Clinton was nabbed in Times Square after cops spotted him with a machete, police sources said Friday. William Sears, 26, was taken into custody Thursday following a brief chase, sources said. Sears, who is schizophrenic and was reported missing in September from a group home in Ohio, was previously on the radar of federal authorities for allegedly making threats during the United Nations General Assembly against Trump and Clinton, sources said. Cops found Sears tapping a machete against a metal pole and on the sidewalk at W. 43rd St. and Broadway just...

Florida officials: Hack exposed 30K Medicaid patients’ files

© Provided by The Hill Hackers might have accessed the medical records and other personal information of tens of thousands of Medicaid recipients in November, Florida official announced late Friday. Florida’s Agency for Health Care Administration (AHCA) said in a press release reported by The Associated Press that one of its employees was the “victim of a malicious phishing email” on Nov. 15, exposing the records of up to 30,000 Medicaid enrollees. Preliminary findings from an inspector general’s investigation found that hackers may have accessed the recipients’ names, Medicaid ID numbers and other personal identifiers such as birthdays, addresses and Social Security numbers, along with medical conditions and diagnoses, the AHCA said. The state agency said it ...

Trump, GOP lawmakers to take up 2018 agenda at Camp David

Click to expand Replay Video SETTINGS OFF HD HQ SD LO UP NEXT WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump will huddle with congressional Republicans, Cabinet secretaries and aides at Camp David this weekend to discuss their 2018 legislative priorities. A long list of high-stakes topics are on the agenda, including the budget, infrastructure, immigration, welfare reform and the 2018 midterm elections. “We’re going to Camp David with a lot of the great Republican senators, and we’re making America great again,” Trump said Friday afternoon as he left the White House for the presidential retreat in Maryland’s Catoctin Mountains. He was joined Friday evening by Vice President Mike Pence, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and House Speaker Paul Ryan, among others. Repu...

United Airlines plane forced to land due to passenger’s faeces

Image copyright Reuters Image caption United Airlines said its flight was diverted because of “a disruptive passenger” (file photo) A plane carrying more than 200 passengers from Chicago to Hong Kong was diverted to Alaska after two of the aircraft’s toilets were vandalised with excrement, officials said. The United Airlines flight was forced to make an unscheduled landing in Anchorage on Thursday evening due to a “passenger smearing faeces everywhere”. Police said the man, a US resident of Vietnamese origin, made no threats. It is not clear what led to the episode taking place. “We received a report of a passenger who had messed up the bathrooms with his own faeces,” Anchorage Airport police spokesman Lt Joe Gamache said. The passenger, a 22-year-...

Here are 16 of the week’s best photos

Liwa Moreeb Dune festival, New Year’s Eve celebrations, Niagara Falls water freezes, ‘bomb cyclone’ winter storm and more images from around the world. Jan. 5, 2018 An Emirati man walks with a camel in the Liwa desert, west of Abu Dhabi, during the Liwa 2018 Moreeb Dune festival. The event, which attracts participants from around the Gulf region, hosts a variety of races including cars, bikes, falcons, camels and horses, alongside other activities aimed at promoting the country’s folklore. Karim Sahib/AFP/Getty Images Buy Photo