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Greece to raise cruise ship that sank off Santorini in 2007

Fri, 20 Oct 2017 18:13:04 UT

ATHENS, Greece (AP) — The Greek government has ordered the raising of a sunken cruise ship that foundered just off the holiday island of Santorini ten years ago, leaving two passengers missing and presumed dead. The Merchant Marine Ministry said Friday the wreck of the Sea Diamond poses a potential environmental risk and is a hazard to shipping. On April 5, 2007, the 470-foot (143-meter) cruise ship struck a volcanic reef in the sea-filled crater formed by a massive volcanic eruption 3,500 years ago. It lies more than 300 feet (91 meters) deep. Nearly all the 1,600 passengers and crew were safely evacuated, but a 45-year-old French passenger and his teenage daughter are presumed to have drowned. Divers were unable to locate any bodies.



Event previews Detroit greenway shipping container project

Fri, 20 Oct 2017 15:21:56 UT

DETROIT (AP) — A preview is taking place for a new retail and entertainment gathering space made of repurposed shipping containers along Detroit's Dequindre Cut Greenway. The Dequindre Cut Freight Yard is scheduled to open this spring, but visitors to the Detroit RiverFront Conservancy 's HarvestFest Detroit celebration on Saturday will get a preview. The event starts at midday and includes music, food and drinks. The Dequindre Cut is a former rail line that's now a recreational trail. The Freight Yard project, located between Wilkins and Division streets, features nine shipping containers. Five of them are being combined to house a DJ booth and retail space.



Blue Ridge Parkway expects this weekend to be busiest

Fri, 20 Oct 2017 10:25:29 UT

ASHEVILLE, N.C. (AP) — Drivers seeking fall-colored leaves should expect this weekend to be the busiest on a scenic road that runs through the Appalachian Mountains from North Carolina to Virginia. The Asheville Citizen-Times quotes Blue Ridge Parkway spokeswoman Caitlin Worth in a Thursday report as saying "traditionally the third week in October is the busiest." Staff members also remind drivers to keep watching the road. Worth says distracted driving is the main cause of crashes, especially during fall's pretty views and weather. There have been 24 accidents on the parkway this month while October 2016 had 51. The parkway's highest posted speed limit is 45 mph (70 kph).



California fires cause $1B in damage, burn 7,000 buildings

Fri, 20 Oct 2017 00:44:23 UT

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — The wildfires that have devastated Northern California this month caused at least $1 billion in damage to insured property, officials said Thursday, as authorities increased the count of homes and other buildings destroyed to nearly 7,000. Both numbers were expected to rise as crews continued assessing areas scorched by the blazes that killed 42 people, a total that makes it the deadliest series of fires in state history. State Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones said the preliminary dollar valuation of losses came from claims filed with the eight largest insurance companies in the affected areas and did not include uninsured property.



US tourist fears he was hit in Cuba, years before diplomats

Thu, 19 Oct 2017 20:48:46 UT

CHARLESTON, S.C. (AP) — Chris Allen's phone started buzzing as word broke that invisible attacks in Cuba had hit a U.S. government worker at Havana's Hotel Capri. Allen's friends and family had heard an eerily similar story from him before. The tourist from South Carolina had cut short his trip to Cuba two years earlier after numbness spread through all four of his limbs within minutes of climbing into bed at the same hotel where American government workers were later targeted. Those weren't the only parallels. Convinced the incidents must be related, Allen joined a growing list of private U.S.



Tourist killed by falling masonry in famous Florence church

Thu, 19 Oct 2017 18:34:25 UT

MILAN (AP) — A 52-year-old tourist from Spain was killed Thursday by falling masonry in one of Florence's most famous churches, the Basilica of Santa Croce. The church, a top tourist attraction, is where Italian luminaries Michelangelo, Galileo Galilei and Niccolo Machiavelli are buried. The fatal accident raised questions about the state of Italy's considerable cultural heritage, which includes numerous aging and fragile monuments. Culture Minister Dario Franceschini, speaking from New York, said prosecutors would conduct an investigation to determine the cause and if faulty maintenance was to blame.



2-story 'Star Wars' replica in yard for Halloween is big hit

Thu, 19 Oct 2017 18:31:06 UT

PARMA, Ohio (AP) — A two-story, "Star Wars"-inspired Halloween yard display in Ohio is enticing kids to get toy lightsabers and attracting hundreds of visitors from across the state. Elevator mechanic Nick Meyer, 39, spent about $1,500 and 10 hours a weekend for half a year to build a replica of the four-legged All Terrain Armored Transport, or AT-AT walker. He built it with his carpenter friend Anthony Paroda, and it's been such a success that spectators are donating money for them to build another display next year. At 19 feet, the replica is nearly as tall as Meyer's home in Parma, a Cleveland suburb.



New Yves Saint Laurent museum opens in Marrakech

Thu, 19 Oct 2017 14:10:57 UT

MARRAKECH, Morocco (AP) — The Yves Saint Laurent museum opened its doors to the public Thursday in Marrakech, the sunny, bustling, gritty Moroccan city beloved by the late French designer. The highly-anticipated opening comes less than three weeks since the inauguration of a museum dedicated to the fashion pioneer in his home city of Paris. The Marrakech museum, designed by the French architectural firm Studio KO, sprawls across 4,000 square meters (43,000 sq. feet) near the Majorelle Garden, which Yves Saint Laurent and his late partner Pierre Berge bought in 1980.



The Latest: Officials report progress in stopping blazes

Thu, 19 Oct 2017 01:30:47 UT

PETALUMA, Calif. (AP) — The Latest on California wildfires (all times local): 1:50 p.m. California fire officials have reported significant progress on containing wildfires that have ravaged parts of Northern California. CalFire Deputy Chief Bret Gouvea told a news conference that firefighters were getting "good containment" around the blazes and have "stopped the forward progress and movement of all these fires." The fires that swept through parts of seven counties starting Oct. 8 were the deadliest and most destructive series of blazes in California history. At least 42 people died, 6,000 homes were lost, and at the height of the blazes about 100,000 people were evacuated. About 22,000 people remain under evacuation orders.



Monument of love, the Taj Mahal, at heart of political storm

Thu, 19 Oct 2017 00:56:09 UT

LUCKNOW, India (AP) — India's famed monument of love, the white marble Taj Mahal, is finding itself at the heart of a political storm, with some members of the country's ruling Hindu right-wing party claiming that the mausoleum built by a Muslim emperor does not reflect Indian culture. The most recent attack came this week when Sangeet Som, a lawmaker from the Bharatiya Janata Party, called the 17th century monument "a blot on Indian culture" that was built by "traitors." But Som wasn't the first to attack the mausoleum that Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan built in the northern city of Agra in memory of his favorite wife.



Wildfires worsen housing crunch in famously costly Bay Area

Wed, 18 Oct 2017 23:42:20 UT

SANTA ROSA, Calif. (AP) — Even before fire wiped out the home she rented for 17 years, Suzanne Finzell had thought about leaving this city on the edge of the San Francisco Bay Area because of rising prices. A spike in housing and other living costs had driven her friends to Nevada and Oregon. Now, Finzell wonders if that will be her fate too, as the wildfires that charred California wine country send thousands of people who lost their homes scrambling for new places to live in one of the nation's tightest and most expensive housing markets. Before the fires, the rental vacancy rate was a mere 1 percent in Santa Rosa and 3 percent in surrounding Sonoma County. Then the city lost an estimated 5 percent of its housing stock to the flames.



Q-and-A: A look at most recent travel ban rulings

Wed, 18 Oct 2017 22:51:44 UT

SEATTLE (AP) — So far, the third time isn't the charm for President Donald Trump's travel ban. As with his previous two attempts to bar travelers from certain predominantly Muslim nations from entering the United States, his Travel Ban 3.0 has run into an immediate buzz saw in the courts. Federal judges in Hawaii and Maryland blocked it in rulings Tuesday and Wednesday, just before it was due to take effect. The judges found that Trump's third travel ban appears impermissibly discriminatory, does not appear to have a legitimate national security purpose and violates U.S. immigration law. And once again, the judges also found that Trump's own public statements, on Twitter and elsewhere, have only hurt his case.