California

State falls far short saving water

Californians conserved little water in March and local officials were not aggressive in cracking down on waste, state regulators reported. The State Water Resources Control Board received the update as it considers sweeping mandatory emergency regulations to protect water supplies in the parched state. Gov. Jerry Brown has argued that the voluntary targets are insufficient and that Californians need a jolt to take conservation seriously.

Washington, D.C.

Feds expects busy fire season

The head of the U.S. Forest Service warned Tuesday of an "above average" fire season that could cost the agency more than $1 billion and require shifting funds from programs designed to prevent wildfires. Tom Tidwell testified before the Senate Energy and Natural Resource Committee that the fire season is 60 to 80 days longer than it was just 15 years ago, and he didn't expect any falloff.

IRS cited for bogus ed credits

The IRS issued $5.6 billion in potentially bogus education tax credits in a single year — more than a quarter of all education credits claimed by taxpayers, a government watchdog said. A new report by the agency's inspector general says questionable credits were issued to more than 3.6 million taxpayers in 2012. Most of them went to students even though the IRS never received a tuition statement from the school. Some students attended schools that weren't eligible for federal funding while others didn't take enough classes to qualify for the tax break.

New York

Senate leader clings to power

The leader of the New York state Senate is holding onto power following corruption charges. Senate Leader Dean Skelos of Long Island told reporters Tuesday that he is innocent and that the 43-page criminal complaint against him is "nothing more than a news release." Skelos was arrested Monday on charges that he traded his influence for payments from a real estate firm and environmental technology company that went to his son, Adam Skelos, who is also charged in the case.

Israel

Netanyahu races to form coalition

With the clock ticking, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu scrambled to put together a governing coalition or face the prospect of being forced out of office by a former ally. Netanyahu's Likud Party won March 17 elections, emerging as the largest single party in parliament. But he has had a tough time striking deals with other parties to secure a 61-seat majority in the 120-seat parliament. If he fails by the end of the day Wednesday, President Reuven Rivlin must give someone else the job.

Thailand

King, 87, makes rare appearance

Thailand's revered King Bhumibol Adulyadej made a rare public appearance to mark the 65th anniversary of his coronation. The 87-year-old monarch emerged in a wheelchair from a Bangkok hospital, where he has taken up residence, and was driven through the capital's historic district to the Grand Palace. Thais lined the roads chanting "Long Live the King!"

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