Log In

Reset Password

Inflation gauge picked up last month in sign of still-elevated prices

Consumer prices rose slightly in US in January, one report says

WASHINGTON - An inflation gauge favored by the Federal Reserve increased in January, the latest sign that the slowdown in U.S. consumer price increases is occurring unevenly from month to month.

The government reported last week that prices rose 0.3% from December to January, up from 0.1% in the previous month. But in a more encouraging sign, prices were up just 2.4% from a year earlier, down from a 2.6% annual pace in December and the smallest such increase in nearly three years.

The year-over-year cool-down in inflation is sure to be welcomed by the White House as President Joe Biden seeks re-election. Still, even though average paychecks have outpaced inflation over the past year, many Americans remain frustrated that overall prices are still well above where they were before inflation erupted three years ago. That sentiment, evident in many public opinion polls, could pose a threat to Biden’s re-election bid.

Texas struggles to contain wildfires

McALLEN, Texas - Strong winds spread flames and led to a town’s evacuation while airplanes dropped fire retardant over the northern Texas Panhandle in an attempt to stop the largest wildfire in state history.

As of Sunday afternoon, the Smokehouse Creek fire was 15% contained and two other fires were at least 60% contained. Authorities have not said what ignited the fires, but strong winds, dry grass and unseasonably warm temperatures fed the blazes.

A cluster of fires have burned across more than 1,900 square miles in rural areas surrounding Amarillo. The largest blaze, Smokehouse Creek, accounting for nearly 1,700 square miles, spilled into neighboring Oklahoma.

U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas on Sunday said the federal government has devoted funds, equipment and personnel to assist with battling the fires, but warned more extreme weather could be coming.

Nikki Haley wins the District of Columbia’s Republican primary

WASHINGTON - Nikki Haley has won the Republican primary in the District of Columbia, notching her first victory of the 2024 campaign.

Her victory Sunday at least temporarily halts Donald Trump’s sweep of the GOP voting contests, although the former president is likely to pick up several hundred more delegates in this week’s Super Tuesday races.

Despite her early losses, Haley has said she would remain in the race at least through those contests, although she has declined to name any primary she felt confident she would win. Following her loss in her home state of South Carolina, Haley remained adamant that voters in the places that followed deserved an alternative to Trump despite his dominance thus far in the campaign.

Pentagon leak suspect Jack Teixeira is expected to plead guilty

BOSTON - Jack Teixeira, the Massachusetts Air National Guard member accused of leaking highly classified military documents about Russia’s war in Ukraine and other national security secrets, is expected to plead guilty on Monday in federal court.

The 22-year-old is due to appear in Boston’s federal courthouse for a change of plea hearing nearly a year after he was arrested in the case stemming from the most consequential national security leak in years.

Teixeira, of North Dighton, Massachusetts, has been behind bars since his April arrest in the case that raised alarm over America’s ability to protect its most closely guarded secrets and forced the Biden administration to scramble to try to contain diplomatic and military fallout.

Teixeira had previously pleaded not guilty to six counts of willful retention and transmission of national defense information under the Espionage Act. Each count is punishable by up to 10 years in prison.

French lawmakers gather for a historic vote on abortion

PARIS - A bill to enshrine a woman’s right to an abortion in the French constitution goes to a historic vote on Monday, as lawmakers gather for a joint session of parliament at the Palace of Versailles.

The measure was promised by President Emmanuel Macron following a rollback of abortion rights in court rulings in the United States.

Macron’s government wants Article 34 of the French constitution amended to specify that “the law determines the conditions by which is exercised the freedom of women to have recourse to an abortion, which is guaranteed.”

The lower house of parliament, the National Assembly, overwhelmingly approved the proposal in January. The Senate adopted the bill on Wednesday, clearing a key hurdle for legislation promised by Macron’s government, intended to make “a woman’s right to have an abortion irreversible.”

The measure must be approved by a three-fifths majority in the joint session.

None of France’s major political parties represented in parliament has questioned the right to abortion, which was decriminalized in 1975. With both houses of parliament having adopted the bill, Monday’s joint session at the Palace of Versailles is expected to be largely a formality.

4 new astronauts head to the International Space Station

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. - Four astronauts headed to the International Space Station on Sunday where they will oversee the arrivals of two new rocketships during their half-year stint.

SpaceX’s Falcon rocket blasted off from Kennedy Space Center, carrying NASA’s Matthew Dominick, Michael Barratt and Jeanette Epps and Russia’s Alexander Grebenkin.

The astronauts should reach the orbiting lab on Tuesday. They will replace a crew from the U.S., Denmark, Japan and Russia, who have been there since August.

“When are you getting here already?” space station commander Andreas Mogensen asked via X, formerly Twitter, after three days of delay due to high wind. SpaceX Launch Control termed it “fashionably late.”

Pa. woman faces life after conviction in NJ murders of father, his girlfriend

TOMS RIVER, N.J. - A Pennsylvania woman faces a life term after being convicted of murder and weapons offenses last week in the shooting and stabbing deaths of her father and his longtime girlfriend 2½ years ago in New Jersey.

The Asbury Park Press reported that 57-year-old Sherry Lee Heffernan of Landenberg showed no emotion when the jury foreperson in Ocean County announced Friday that she had been found guilty of the murders of her father, John Enders, 87, and Francoise Pitoy, 75, Enders’ longtime live-in girlfriend. She faces life in prison when she is sentenced May 10.

One of Pitoy’s daughters, Valerie Lewis Evans, put her head down and clasped her husband’s hand, then turned and smiled at Enders’ grandson, Andrew Vero, the Asbury Park Press reported.

The bodies of the victims were discovered in the fall of 2021 at his waterfront home in Surf City on Long Beach Island. Police said both had been shot in the jaw and stabbed dozens of times.

New Jersey authorities alleged that Heffernan was upset with her father because she had been cut out of his will, and she traveled to the home in her recreational vehicle on the night of Sept. 29, 2021.

- The Associated Press

A woman pauses while shopping at a Kohl's store in Clifton, N.J., Jan. 26, 2024. On Thursday, Feb. 29, 2024, the Commerce Department issues its January report on consumer spending. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)
“For Rent” signs are displayed outside a development in Glenview, Ill., Monday, Jan. 29, 2024. On Thursday, Feb. 20, 2024, the Commerce Department issues its January report on consumer spending. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)
FILE - Fuel is pumped into a vehicle at a Costco gasoline station on Nov. 30, 2023, in Thornton, Colo. On Thursday, Feb. 20, 2024, the Commerce Department issues its January report on consumer spending. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski, File)