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  • Deadly bat disease found in Wisconsin, Michigan: wildlife officials

  • By Brendan O'Brien (Reuters) - Bats in Wisconsin and Michigan have been infected with a disease that has killed millions of the mosquito-eating mammals elsewhere in the U.S. and could have a detrimental impact on farming and forestry, wildlife officials said on Thursday. White-nose syndrome appeared in five small brown bats collected in February and March in northern Michigan during routine surveillance, the state's Department of Natural Resources said in a statement. "Even though we've known this disease was coming, it is a disappointing day," said Dan O'Brien, a department wildlife veterinarian. Two bats in Wisconsin tested positive for the fungal disease after they were collected in a mine during winter surveillance in Grant County, near the Illinois border, where the disease was confirmed in 2012.
  • U.S. senators press for hard line over reported Iran-Russia deal

  • Two U.S. senators who led a push for more sanctions on Iran during negotiations over its nuclear program called on President Barack Obama on Monday to impose more restrictions if Tehran pursues an energy barter agreement with Russia. Reuters reported last week that Tehran and Moscow had made progress toward an oil-for-goods deal that sources said could be worth $20 billion and enable Iran to boost vital energy exports in defiance of Western sanctions. Senators Robert Menendez and Mark Kirk wrote to Obama and said that if Iran moved forward with the plan, Washington should respond by reinstating sanctions eased under a preliminary nuclear agreement, rigorously enforce reductions in global purchases of Iranian crude and punish any violations to the fullest extent of the law. "We urge you to put Iran on notice that United States is prepared to re-instate these sanctions should Iran attempt to evade our sanctions and violate the terms of the JPA (preliminary agreement)," wrote Menendez, a New Jersey Democrat, and Kirk, an Illinois Republican.
  • Possible tornadoes in the forecast for Midwest

  • By Brendan O'Brien MILWAUKEE (Reuters) - A large swath of the U.S. Midwest is bracing for potentially dangerous weather including possible tornadoes as an intense storm system moves through the region on Wednesday and Thursday, according to the National Weather Service. The area of greatest risk includes Oklahoma, Arkansas, southern Missouri and Illinois and western Kentucky and Tennessee, where significant tornadoes, large hail and damaging winds could strike Thursday afternoon and evening, said John Hart, a meteorologist in the service's storm prediction center.
  • U.S. judge tosses law firm's motion seeking Malaysia plane evidence

  • An Illinois judge on Monday dismissed a U.S. law firm's motion to obtain evidence of possible design and manufacturing defects from Boeing Co and Malaysian Airline System in connection with the disappearance of flight MH370 three weeks earlier. Cook County Judge Kathy Flanagan also threatened to impose sanctions against Ribbeck Law Chartered, citing previous instances where the Chicago-based law firm had "improperly brought" petitions, such as last year's Asiana Airlines plane crash in San Francisco. "Despite these orders, the same law firm has proceeded, yet again, with the filing of the instant petition, knowing full well that there is no basis to do so," said Flanagan. "Should this law firm choose to do so, the court will impose sanctions on its own motion." Ribbeck Law last week submitted, in Illinois Circuit Court, the first-filed legal action arising from the Malaysian plane tragedy saying it sought documents from the two companies concerning employees as well as sales and lease agreements, among other things.
  • Exclusive: NSA infiltrated RSA security more deeply than thought - study

  • A sign marks the entrance to RAS's facility in BedfordBy Joseph Menn SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Security industry pioneer RSA adopted not just one but two encryption tools developed by the U.S. National Security Agency, greatly increasing the spy agency's ability to eavesdrop on some Internet communications, according to a team of academic researchers. Reuters reported in December that the NSA had paid RSA $10 million to make a now-discredited cryptography system the default in software used by a wide range of Internet and computer security programs. The system, called Dual Elliptic Curve, was a random number generator, but it had a deliberate flaw - or "back door" - that allowed the NSA to crack the encryption. A group of professors from Johns Hopkins, the University of Wisconsin, the University of Illinois and elsewhere now say they have discovered that a second NSA tool exacerbated the RSA software's vulnerability.



  • U.S. Senators request meeting with BP after Lake Michigan oil spill

  • Oil spill response contractors clean up crude oil on a beach after a BP oil spill on Lake Michigan in WhitingThe two U.S. Senators on Thursday requested a meeting with BP after this week's oil spill into Lake Michigan from the company's Whiting, Indiana, refinery. Senators Mark Kirk, a Republican and Dick Durbin, a Democrat, both from Illinois, asked for details on the cause of Monday's spill, an analysis of the impact of the refinery's production increase, and information on what is being done to prevent future spills. "Given the Whiting refinery's recent expansion of its operations to double the amount of heavy oil sands being processed, this spill raises questions about the long-term safety and reliability of BP's new, expanded production," the senators wrote to John Minge, CEO, BP America Inc. Between 9 and 18 barrels (378-756 gallons) of oil spilled into Lake Michigan after a malfunction, the U.S. Coast Guard said on Wednesday.



  • U.S. law firm plans to bring suit against Boeing, Malaysia Airlines

  • By Rujun Shen NEW YORK/KUALA LUMPUR (Reuters) - A U.S.-based law firm said it expects to represent families of more than half of the passengers on board the missing Malaysian Airlines flight in a lawsuit against the carriers and Boeing Co, alleging the plane had crashed due to mechanical failure. Chicago-based Ribbeck Law has filed a petition for discovery against Boeing Co, manufacturer of the aircraft, and Malaysian Airlines, operator of the plane in a Cook County, Illinois Circuit Court. The petition is meant to secure evidence of possible design and manufacturing defects that may have contributed to the disaster, the law firm said. Though both Boeing and Malaysian Airlines were named in the filing, the focus of the case will be on Boeing, Ribbeck's lawyers told reporters, as they believe that the incident was caused by mechanical failure.
  • U.S. law firm seeks records from Malaysian Airlines, Boeing

  • Malaysian Airlines and Boeing Co are facing a potential lawsuit over the Beijing-bound flight that disappeared more than two weeks ago with 239 people on board, according to a law firm representing passengers' families. A petition for discovery has been filed against Boeing Co, manufacturer of the aircraft, and Malaysian Airlines, operator of the plane, Chicago-based Ribbeck Law said in a statement on Tuesday. The Boeing 777 vanished while flying to Beijing from Kuala Lumpur. The petition for discovery, filed in a Cook County, Illinois Circuit Court, is meant to secure evidence of possible design and manufacturing defects that may have contributed to the disaster, the law firm said.
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