BY Wire reports
Wednesday, February 06, 2013
2/06/13 at 2:58 AM
2 Great Lakes hit lowest water level on record
TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. - Two of the Great Lakes have hit their lowest water levels ever recorded, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers said Tuesday, capping more than a decade of below-normal rain and snowfall and higher temperatures that boost evaporation.
Measurements taken last month show Lake Huron and Lake Michigan have reached their lowest ebb since record keeping began in 1918, and the lakes could set additional records over the next few months, the corps said. The lakes were 29 inches below their long-term average and had declined 17 inches since January 2012.
The other Great Lakes - Superior, Erie and Ontario - were also well below average.
"We're in an extreme situation," said Keith Kompoltowicz, watershed hydrology chief for the corps district office in Detroit.
The low water has caused heavy economic losses by forcing cargo ships to carry lighter loads, leaving boat docks high and dry, and damaging fish-spawning areas.
Obama to visit Israel for first time as president
WASHINGTON - President Barack Obama will go to Israel in the spring, the White House said Tuesday, marking his first visit to the staunch U.S. ally since becoming president. While in the region, Obama will make stops by the West Bank and Jordan.
Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu discussed the visit to Israel in late January, when Obama congratulated Netanyahu on his success in Israel's recent election. The White House has not released the date of Obama's trip or details about Obama's itinerary, but Israel's Channel 10 reported that the trip had been scheduled for March 20.
White House spokesman Jay Carney said Obama would work closely with Palestinian Authority and Jordanian officials on regional issues during his visit to Jordan and the West Bank.
Inmates attack three Illinois prison staffers
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - Two guards and a chaplain were injured Tuesday in an Illinois prison attack that union officials said involved up to 15 inmates, the latest in a series of violent incidents at the lockup and others in the state.
The violence over the past month led to one death last week at Menard Correctional Center, where the most recent assaults also happened. Union officials say the disturbances stem from Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn's decision to close several prisons around the state to save money, a move they claim has put staffers at overcrowded prisons at greater risk.
The assaults Tuesday occurred as about 200 union members marched outside the prison over what they say are growing threats to their safety. Menard is in the southern Illinois town of Chester, on the Mississippi River and about 70 miles south of St. Louis.
One inmate appeared to lure a guard into the attack inside the prison chapel, said Kevin Hirsch, a sergeant at the prison and president of Local 1175 of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees. He said a chaplain and another guard who tried to help were hurt, too, and that 10 to 15 inmates were put in segregation after the incident.
N.M., Nevada governors recruit minorities for GOP
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. - Republican leaders are launching an effort led by Hispanic governors in New Mexico and Nevada in an attempt to make up ground with Latino voters who have largely turned away from the GOP.
The nation's only Hispanic governors plan to recruit minority candidates and groom them for state-level offices with an eye toward creating a pool of candidates for higher positions in the future, the Republican State Leadership Committee said in a statement.
New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez and Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval, both moderate Republicans seen as rising stars in the party, will focus on attracting candidates and raising money for upcoming elections, the group said.
Sandra Tenorio, chairwoman of the Tejano Democrats, a Hispanic political group in Texas, said "it's at best naive and at worst insulting to think that Hispanics will vote for someone because of their last names."