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New Jersey mother charged with driving teens into Delaware River

By Dave Warner (Reuters) - A New Jersey mother of three teenagers was charged on Wednesday with attempted murder and endangering the welfare of children after allegedly driving her minivan into the Delaware River with them inside, authorities said. Joann Smith, 49, is accused of driving the minivan off a boat ramp in Florence, about 18 miles south of Trenton, New Jersey, according to authorities.

Virginia governor signs East Sea bill despite Japan's objections

The governor of the U.S. state of Virginia has signed into law a bill requiring school textbooks to note that the waters between Japan and the Korean Peninsula, commonly known as the Sea of Japan, are also referred to as the East Sea. Virginia is believed to be the first state to mandate the change, lobbied for by Korean-Americans who argue that the term Sea of Japan is an artifact of Japan's past colonialism.

Economic survey index drops slightly but still suggests growth ahead for Midwest, Plains

OMAHA, Neb. - A monthly economic survey index dropped slightly last month but still suggests growth over the next three to six months for nine Midwestern and Plains states, according to a survey report released Monday. The overall Mid-America Business Conditions Index fell to 57.4 in February from 57.7 in January. The business confidence portion of the overall index also dropped last month. It hit a still strong 59.7 from January's 62.2.

After weeks of snow, winter-weary Americans plead with travel agents: Get me out of here

CHICAGO - Shannon Frauenholtz has had it with winter. Barely able to stomach the television news with its images of snowbound cars, she heads to the tanning salon, closes her eyes and imagines she's back in Mexico, where she's already vacationed once this winter. She's toyed with the idea of joining her mother in Hawaii or just driving to an indoor water park, figuring that while the palm trees might be plastic and the "beach" smells of chlorine, at least it's warm.

North Dakota home prices soar with oil boom; average value of home sold in 2013 topped $200K

BISMARCK, N.D. - North Dakota's oil boom isn't just driving up housing prices at the epicenter. Getting a roof overhead is getting more expensive throughout the state, with the average value of a home sold last year topping $200,000 — up more than 20 per cent from 2011, a real estate trade group says. "Houses have appreciated statewide and inventory is low in the whole state," said Jill Beck, CEO of the North Dakota Association of Realtors. "That comes as a shock to a lot of people."

Religious leaders, farmers ask for divine intervention in delivering West from drought

RENO, Nev. - Religious leaders of multiple faiths and farmers in Nevada and Utah turned to prayer this weekend for help easing severe drought conditions gripping the West. The plea to above comes weeks after the federal government declared parts of 11 parched Western and Central states natural disaster areas.

Politicians under fire as icebound U.S. South gets relief

By David Beasley ATLANTA (Reuters) - Politicians faced a barrage of criticism for mishandling a rare ice storm that swept across the U.S. South, killing at least nine people and paralyzing roads in Atlanta, where warmer weather was expected to bring some relief on Thursday. Atlanta commuters stranded on slick highways for up to 24 hours and parents of children trapped in schools overnight criticized elected leaders for allowing 2 inches of snow to bring city roads to a standstill.

'Megaload' arrives at John Day in Eastern Oregon, expected near Idaho on Wednesday

ONTARIO, Ore. - A 450-ton shipment of oil refinery equipment making its way slowly across Eastern Oregon has arrived at John Day and is expected to be near the Idaho border Wednesday. The so-called megaload travels at about 35 mph and blocks highways. It's allowed to move only at night and has to stop at intervals to allow traffic to pass. Protests and bad weather also have delayed it. The equipment is headed for the Canadian tar sands oil development via Idaho and Montana.

Where kids live affects how much healthcare they get: report

By Sharon Begley NEW YORK (Reuters) - Children in Lebanon, New Hampshire, are more than twice as likely to have their tonsils removed as those in Bangor, Maine. Kids in Lewiston, Maine, are 50 percent more likely to have a CT scan of their head than are kids in Portland, Maine, or Lebanon and Burlington, Vermont.

New York City receives record number of visitors

New York City receives record number of visitors NEW YORK, Dec. 10 (Xinhua) -- New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg said Tuesday that his city will draw 54.3 million visitors this year, an all-time high. Visitors to New York City will have generated 58.7 billion U.S. dollars in overall economic impact and 39.4 billion dollars in direct spending by the end of this year, while jobs in the leisure and hospitality sector are anticipated to reach a monthly average of more than 370,000, said Mayor Bloomberg, whose tenure will finish on Dec.31.
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