Gov. Andrew Cuomo made the rounds with major players in Washington Monday, lobbying hard to get $42 billion in federal aid to New York and New Jersey for Hurricane Sandy relief efforts. Cuomo expects the White House to submit a request to the Office of Management and Budget within the next few days, and, after speaking to congressional leaders from both parties, said he's optimistic that legislation can be passed by the end of the year.
Two Mexican nationals have been charged in the death of a Coast Guard member who was killed Sunday in an encounter with smugglers off the California coast, the U.S. attorney's office announced. Chief Petty Officer Terrell Horne, 34, a 14-year veteran of the Coast Guard, suffered head trauma after his boat was struck by a panga, a style of boat popular among smugglers.
A military appeals court on Monday ordered the removal of the judge presiding over the prosecution of Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan, the Army psychiatrist charged in a deadly shooting rampage at Fort Hood in Texas, citing the judge's appearance of bias after he ordered Hasan forcibly shaved before the start of his trial. The ruling by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces, the highest military appeals court, was a significant victory for Hasan, whose trial has been delayed while his lawyers appealed the judge's handling of the case and the order to have him shaved.
The cleanup of 3,000 tons of explosives haphazardly stored at a munitions plant has frayed the nerves of Doyline residents who left their homes on Saturday. About half the town's 800 residents had heeded requests that they leave during the cleanup that started, but some appeared to be returning to their homes. Some displaced residents were exasperated by the sheer volume of explosive material, which is more than authorities initially estimated.
Japan ordered a nationwide inspection of 49 tunnels after Sunday's collapse of the Sasago highway tunnel near Mt. Fuji. The collapse killed nine people and crushed cars with nearly 400 tons of concrete in the nation's worst tunnel disaster in 16 years. The inspections must be finished by Dec. 12. Japan's highway network includes more than 1,500 tunnels, with a quarter of them more than 30 years old, according to the Transport Ministry.
Direct talks between Iran and the United States are possible, but any such breakthrough would have to be approved by the country's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Iran's foreign minister said. The comments by Ali Akbar Salehi were a first sign that Tehran may seek diplomatic overtures with what it long considers a nemesis in Washington, as sanctions over Iran's contentious nuclear program stunt the country's economy.
Islands most vulnerable to rising sea levels are pushing for a climate-damage insurance program, adding to pressure on industrial nations to boost aid committed to fight global warming past $100 billion a year. The islands proposed a "loss and damage" mechanism that would compensate countries that suffer from extreme weather, erosion and drought. The request is adding to tensions at the U.N. climate talks in Doha this week.