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Nation & World Briefs


Wednesday, December 27, 2017
Thousands of Puerto Rico police owed overtime call in sick

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico — Thousands of police officers are calling in sick every day in Puerto Rico, partly to press demands for unpaid overtime pay for hurricane recovery efforts as concerns grow over people’s safety in a U.S. territory struggling to restore power.

The increase in absences recently prompted Puerto Rico Police Chief Michelle Hernandez to recommend that U.S. National Guard soldiers help fill the temporary vacancies.

However, the administration of Gov. Ricardo Rossello on Wednesday rejected the idea of using the National Guard.

Normally, an average of 550 police officers are absent every day across Puerto Rico, which has one of the largest police departments under U.S. jurisdiction with more than 13,000 officers overall. But recently, more than 2,700 officers on average have been absent daily.

Russia: Explosion injures 10 at St. Petersburg supermarket

ST. PETERSBURG, Russia — At least 10 people were injured Wednesday by an explosion at a supermarket in St. Petersburg, Russia’s second-largest city and the site of a deadly subway bombing this year.

The Investigative Committee, the nation’s top investigative agency, said a device containing 200 grams of explosives went off at a storage area for customers’ bags. It said the device was rigged with shrapnel to cause more damage.

No one has claimed responsibility for the explosion at a branch of the Perekrestok supermarket chain in the city’s northwest Kalininsky district.

Plane returns to LA because passenger was on wrong flight

LOS ANGELES — A Tokyo-bound flight returned to Los Angeles hours into the journey after the crew discovered that one of the passengers had boarded the wrong plane, All Nippon Airways said Wednesday.

The pilot of Flight 175 decided to return to the originating airport as part of the airline’s security procedures, ANA said in statements that apologized to passengers but supported the decision. The flight left Los Angeles International Airport at 11:36 a.m. Tuesday and returned at 7:33 p.m.

Model Chrissy Teigen and her singer husband, John Legend, were aboard and she live-tweeted the developments. She wondered on Twitter why the plane was turning around four hours into the 11-hour flight.

“Why did we all get punished for this one person’s mistake? Why not just land in Tokyo and send the other person back? How is this the better idea, you ask?” she wrote.

911 calls show chaos of Wash. state train derailment

SEATTLE — Whimpering in pain, bleeding from head injuries and dazed by the enormity of the crash, victims in the Amtrak train derailment south of Seattle begged 911 dispatchers for help and said “tons of people” had been hurt.

Dozens of emergency recordings released Wednesday by South Sound 911 Dispatch provided a vivid account of what happened during the deadly Dec. 18 crash.

“My abdomen hurts really bad. I don’t feel good,” said a crying woman identified as Angela who was bleeding from her head and wailed in panic each time she couldn’t find an answer to a dispatcher’s questions. “I don’t know how old I am off the top of my head. I’m sorry!”

Angela was in Car 5 with her 14-year-old son as the passenger train barreled through a curve at 78 mph in a 30 mph zone, derailing along both sides of the tracks and toppling some cars onto Interstate 5 below.

Angela begged for help and ordered her bleeding son to lie still because he had neck and back pain. He took a hit to his face. They got slammed into a table. She couldn’t find her shoes.

As California legalizes pot, laws collide at US checkpoints

PINE VALLEY, Calif. — California legalizes marijuana for recreational use Monday, but that won’t stop federal agents from seizing the drug — even in tiny amounts — on busy freeways and backcountry highways.

Marijuana possession still will be prohibited at eight Border Patrol checkpoints in California, a reminder that state and federal laws collide when it comes to pot. The U.S. government classifies marijuana as a controlled substance, like heroin and LSD.

“Prior to Jan. 1, it’s going to be the same after Jan. 1, because nothing changed on our end,” said Ryan Yamasaki, an assistant chief of the Border Patrol’s San Diego sector. “If you’re a federal law enforcement agency, you uphold federal laws.”

The checkpoints, located up to 100 miles from Mexico, are considered a final line of defense against immigrants who elude agents at the border. They also have been a trap for U.S. citizens carrying drugs, even tiny bags of marijuana.

From Associated Press