Powerball jackpot builds to $325M
DES MOINES, Iowa — The jackpot for today's Powerball drawing has climbed to $325 million, the fourth-largest in the game's history. A single winner choosing a cash payout would get nearly $213 million before paying state and federal taxes. Powerball jackpots have been growing faster since the game's organizers doubled the ticket price to $2 in January.
Woman dies after 42 years in coma
MIAMI — A Miami woman who spent 42 years in a coma has died. The Miami Herald reports Ewarda O'Bara was a high school student in 1970 when she fell ill, threw up her medicine and slipped into a diabetic coma. She died Wednesday at age 59.
The Herald reports that before the teen lost consciousness, she asked her mother, Kay O'Bara, to never leave her side. She kept her promise, taking care of her daughter until she died five years ago. That's when Colleen O'Bara stepped in and continued taking care of her sister in the Miami Gardens home.
Worker burned in Gulf oil platform fire dies
NEW ORLEANS — The Philippine ambassador says one of the men critically burned in an offshore oil platform fire has died in Louisiana.
The ambassador, Jose L. Cuisia Jr., says in a news release that 49-year-old Avelino Tajonera died Friday, shortly after his wife and three children arrived from Manila. Three other men remain hospitalized. The ambassador says their families are in Baton Rouge.
The explosion and fire Nov. 16 also killed 42-year-old Ellroy Corporal. The search for another man, 28-year-old Jerome Malagapo, was called off.
The embassy quotes Consul General Herrera-Lim as saying three Filipino workers who survived the fire are back in Manila after giving statements to federal authorities investigating the fire.
Women won this time, but men are voting's X-factor
WASHINGTON – Sorry, fellas, but President Obama's re-election makes it official: Women can overrule men at the ballot box.
For the first time in research dating to 1952, a presidential candidate whom men chose decisively — Republican Mitt Romney — lost. More women voted for the other guy.
When it comes to elections, males as a group are more influential because they show less party loyalty than women, who skew Democratic.
House to consider immigration bill
WASHINGTON – House Republicans still smarting from their poor showing among Hispanics in the presidential election are planning a vote next week on immigration legislation that would both expand visas for foreign science and technology students and make it easier for those with green cards to bring their immediate families to the U.S.
Republican leaders made it clear after the election that the party was ready to get serious about overhauling the nation's dysfunctional immigration system, a top priority for Hispanic communities. Taking up what is called the STEM Jobs Act during the session could be seen as a first step in that direction.
The House voted on a STEM bill — standing for science, technology, engineering and mathematics — in September, but under a procedure requiring a two-thirds majority. It was defeated, with more than 80 percent of Democrats voting against it, because it offset the increase in visas for high-tech graduates by eliminating another visa program that is available for less-educated foreigners, many from Africa.
Republicans are changing the formula this time by adding a provision that allows the spouses and minor children of people with permanent residence, or green card, to wait in the United States for their own green cards to be granted.
Thieves steal 18 tons of chocolate
VIENNA, Austria — Thieves with a huge sweet-tooth have driven off with 18 tons of chocolate in Austria.
State broadcaster ORF says on its website that the driver of a Slovak tractor trailer loaded the 33 pallets of milk chocolate onto his vehicle from the producer in the western town of Bludenz earlier this week – supposedly to deliver an order from a company in the Czech Republic. But, police in the westernmost province of Vorarlberg say that the license plates and papers of the Slovak truck and driver were apparently counterfeit.
The trip should have taken less than a day, but as of Friday – four days after the truck was loaded – the delivery was still outstanding.
Police are investigating.
Man in naked standoff on statue in London
LONDON — A naked man clambered atop a large equestrian statue in the heart of London's Whitehall government district Friday, striking a variety of precarious poses before being coaxed down by police nearly three hours later.
London police said the man, believed to be in his 30s or 40s, first climbed atop the massive bronze statue of the 19th-century duke of Cambridge around noon.
The man eventually came down after police and emergency services cordoned off the area, which is home to several government buildings including the prime minister's official residence.
Scotland Yard said the man was detained under Britain's Mental Health Act.