Chicago mayor proposes tax hike
Chicagoans are bracing for the biggest property tax increase in the city’s history as Mayor Rahm Emanuel contends with a budget shortfall and soaring retirement bills that have sent its credit rating tumbling. Emanuel, a Democrat, proposed raising property taxes by $588 million over the next four years. That would inject cash into the city as it faces a $426 million deficit and a pension-plan debt that’s grown to $20 billion.
No federal protection for grouse
The greater sage grouse, whose range spans 11 Western states, doesn’t need federal protections, the Interior Department said. The Obama administration, states and outside groups pledged more than $750 million to saving the grouse without Endangered Species Act protections that many said would threaten the oil and gas industry and agriculture. The administration believes it has struck a balance to save the birds without crippling the West’s economy.
Clerk faces new legal trouble
She’s already spent five days in jail, and now Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis could be back in court soon for altering marriage license forms issued to same-sex couples. Lawyers for two gay couples and two straight couples questioned the validity of the new marriage licenses and asked a federal judge to order Davis to reissue them. Davis is willing to return to jail over her beliefs, she told ABC. “I have never once spouted a word of hate,” she said. She also said the licenses going out of her office now, issued by a deputy clerk, don’t have her authorization and are “not valid in God’s eyes.”
Forest fires create unhealthy air
The haze from forest fires intensified, driving the pollution gauge to hazardous levels and blanketing Singapore with a layer of smog. The pollution index at Palangkaraya reached a day’s high of 1,986.73, more than five times above the “hazardous” air quality base level.
Political, military crisis deepens
West African leaders arrived to try to resolve the country’s political crisis following a coup last week. There was a tense standoff after the coup leader refused to heed a deadline for his men to return to barracks even after troops opposing the takeover poured into the capital.
Conviction in Prince Charles plot
A court in London convicted a man of plotting a chemical attack and planning to kill Prince Charles. Mark Colborne, 37, is a self-confessed admirer of Norwegian mass murderer Anders Breivik. Prosecutors cited evidence from Colborne’s diary in which he said he planned to use a sniper rifle to kill Prince Charles.
Two die in West Bank violence
Israeli soldiers shot and killed a Palestinian woman at a checkpoint in Hebron. The Israeli military said the woman was shot as she attempted to stab a soldier. Separately, a Palestinian man was killed by an explosion near Hebron in an accident. Authorities said it appeared that a device the man was trying to throw detonated prematurely.