Mega Millions jackpot climbs to $1.25 billion after no one hits the top prize

Published Wed, 21 Feb 2024 15:26:39 GMT

Mega Millions jackpot climbs to $1.25 billion after no one hits the top prize The Mega Millions jackpot increased to an estimated $1.25 billion after no one beat the odds Tuesday night and won the massive lottery prize.The winning numbers drawn were: 8, 24, 30, 45 ,61, and the yellow ball: 12. No one has won the Mega Millions jackpot since April 18, allowing it to grow larger and larger. The $1.25 billion prize is now one of the largest in U.S. history. Tuesday night’s drawing for $1.1 billion was the 30th straight without a winner.The lottery drought is due to a combination of poor luck and terrible odds, as the chance of winning the Mega Millions jackpot is 1 in 302.6 million. The odds of winning smaller prizes, ranging from $2 to $1 million, are significantly better.The new $1.25 billion jackpot is for a sole winner who chooses to collect through an annuity, with annual payments over 30 years. A sole winner who opts for a lump sum payment would receive an estimated $625.3 million.Winners also would be subject to federal taxes, and many states also tax lott...

Progress made against massive California-Nevada wildfire but flames may burn iconic Joshua trees

Published Wed, 21 Feb 2024 15:26:39 GMT

Progress made against massive California-Nevada wildfire but flames may burn iconic Joshua trees MOJAVE NATIONAL PRESERVE, Calif. (AP) — Firefighters aided by afternoon rain fought to contain a massive blaze that swept through the California desert into Nevada and could threaten the region’s famous spiky Joshua trees.The York Fire that erupted last Friday was California’s largest wildfire this year. As of Tuesday night it had burned through more than 125 square miles (323.7 square kilometers) of land but showed little growth during the day and was 23% contained, fire officials said.Humid monsoonal weather conditions brought brief but heavy rain, especially on the south end of the fire, and kept its spread to a minimum, fire officials said.However, the 400 or so firefighters battling the blaze had to balance their efforts with concerns about disrupting the fragile ecosystem in California’s Mojave National Preserve, Crews used a “light hand on the land,” clearing and carving fire lines without the use of bulldozers in order to reduce the impact in the ecological...

North Korea calls US human rights envoy a ‘political housemaid’ in protest of criticisms

Published Wed, 21 Feb 2024 15:26:39 GMT

North Korea calls US human rights envoy a ‘political housemaid’ in protest of criticisms SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — North Korea hurled misogynistic insults Wednesday at a newly confirmed United States special envoy to monitor the country’s human rights issues and warned of unspecified security consequences if Washington continues to criticize its human rights conditions.The statement published by North Korea’s official Korean Central News Agency described Julie Turner as a “wicked woman” who was picked by the Biden administration as a “political housemaid” to launch groundless attacks on the country’s human rights record.The U.S. Senate confirmed Turner’s appointment July 27. She previously served as the director of East Asia and the Pacific at the State Department.The statement said the Biden administration’s public criticism of North Korea’s human rights situation highlighted its hostility toward Pyongyang in the face of an intensifying nuclear standoff between the countries. KCNA described Turner’s past criticisms of North Korea’s human rights record as absurd, and sa...

Some of Niger’s neighbors defend the coup there, even hinting at war. It’s a warning for Africa

Published Wed, 21 Feb 2024 15:26:39 GMT

Some of Niger’s neighbors defend the coup there, even hinting at war. It’s a warning for Africa NAIROBI, Kenya (AP) — Not everyone is hostile to the coups in Niger and other African nations in the past few years that have worried the West. In the “family photo” for last week’s Russia-Africa Summit, Russian President Vladimir Putin stood next to Ibrahim Traore, the young military officer who seized power in Burkina Faso in September.It was an uncomfortable moment for many leaders elsewhere in Africa. “The normalization and dignifying of military takeovers must trouble our great continent,” Kenya’s cabinet secretary for foreign affairs wrote while sharing the photo this week.Now Burkina Faso and another military junta-led country friendly with Russia, Mali, have taken the unusual step of declaring that foreign military intervention in neighboring Niger after last week’s coup would be considered a declaration of war against them, too.They are defying the West African regional body known as ECOWAS, which said on Sunday it could use force if Niger’s coup leaders don’t reinsta...

Striking writers, studios to meet this week to discuss restarting negotiations

Published Wed, 21 Feb 2024 15:26:39 GMT

Striking writers, studios to meet this week to discuss restarting negotiations LOS ANGELES (AP) — Union leaders told striking Hollywood writers Tuesday night that they plan to meet with representatives for studios to discuss restarting negotiations after the first official communication between the two sides since the strike began three months ago. The Writers Guild of America sent an email to members saying that the head of the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers, which represents major studios, streaming services and production companies in negotiations, requested a meeting on Friday to discuss the resumption of contract talks. “We’ll be back in communication with you sometime after the meeting with further information,” the email read. “As we’ve said before, be wary of rumors. Whenever there is important news to share, you will hear it directly from us.”It was not immediately known whether a similar overture was made to union leaders for Hollywood actors, who have been on strike since July 14.Asked about the prospect of talks with either gui...

29 inches of rain from Saturday to Wednesday was Beijing’s heaviest rainfall in 140 years

Published Wed, 21 Feb 2024 15:26:39 GMT

29 inches of rain from Saturday to Wednesday was Beijing’s heaviest rainfall in 140 years TAIPEI, Taiwan (AP) — China’s capital has recorded its heaviest rainfall in 140 years over the past few days.The city recorded 744.8 millimeters (29.3 inches) of rain between Saturday and Wednesday morning, the Beijing Meteorological Bureau said on Wednesday. Chinese authorities on Tuesday said the torrential rains around Beijing had destroyed roads, knocked out power and caused at least 20 deaths with 27 people missing. Thousands of people were evacuated to shelters in schools and other public buildings in suburban Beijing and in nearby cities.The severity of the flooding took the Chinese capital by surprise. Beijing usually has dry summers but had a stretch of record-breaking heat this year.The Associated Press

As the summer breezes fade, sweltering Europeans give air conditioning a skeptical embrace

Published Wed, 21 Feb 2024 15:26:39 GMT

As the summer breezes fade, sweltering Europeans give air conditioning a skeptical embrace MILAN (AP) — During Europe’s heat wave last month, Floriana Peroni’s vintage clothing store had to close for a week. A truck of rented generators blocked her door as they fed power to the central Roman neighborhood hit by a blackout as temperatures surged. The main culprit: air conditioning.The period — in which temperatures hit 40 degrees Celsius (104 degrees Fahrenheit) — coincided with peak electricity use that came close to Italy’s all-time high, hitting a peak load of more than 59 gigawatts on July 19. That neared a July 2015 record.Intensive electricity use knocked out the network not only near the central Campo de Fiori neighborhood, where Peroni operates her shop, but elsewhere in the Italian capital. Demand in that second July week surged 30%, correlating to a heat wave that had persisted already for weeks, according to the capital’s electricity company ARETI. Like many Romans, Peroni herself does not have AC either in her home or her shop. Rome once could count on a ...

Australian Senate committee recommends government ban on TikTok be extended to WeChat

Published Wed, 21 Feb 2024 15:26:39 GMT

Australian Senate committee recommends government ban on TikTok be extended to WeChat CANBERRA, Australia (AP) — An Australian Senate committee has recommended a ban on the Chinese-owned video-sharing app TikTok from federal government devices be extended to China’s most popular social media platform, WeChat. The Committee on Foreign Interference through Social Media also recommended in a report late Tuesday that social media giants such as Facebook and Twitter should become more transparent or be fined.Committee chair James Paterson said on Wednesday the report’s recommendations would make Australia a more difficult target for the serious foreign interference risks that the nation faced.“It tackles both the problems posed by authoritarian-headquartered social media platforms like TikTok and WeChat and Western-headquartered social media platforms being weaponized by the actions of authoritarian governments including Facebook, YouTube and Twitter,” Paterson told reporters.The committee was established last year to examine uses of social media that undermine Australia’...

Weather in Philippine mountains hampers search for missing plane carrying pilot and Indian student

Published Wed, 21 Feb 2024 15:26:39 GMT

Weather in Philippine mountains hampers search for missing plane carrying pilot and Indian student MANILA, Philippines (AP) — A small plane carrying a Filipino trainer pilot and an Indian student is missing in the northeastern Philippines and the search is being hampered by bad weather, civil aviation officials said Wednesday.The Cessna 152 left from Laoag city in northern Ilocos Norte province around noon Tuesday but failed to land three hours later as expected in Tuguegarao city in Cagayan province, said the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines, which did not immediately identify the two people on the plane.The search efforts by the Philippine air force, army troops and other government personnel Tuesday were hampered by bad weather.A coast guard helicopter and a private helicopter cut short their search flights Wednesday due to bad weather, the civil aviation agency said.Agency spokesman Eric Apolonio told The Associated Press the plane received clearance to take off from Laoag, where the weather cleared after a typhoon passed through mountainous northern region last we...

More teachers are quitting their jobs. Educators of color often are more likely to leave

Published Wed, 21 Feb 2024 15:26:39 GMT

More teachers are quitting their jobs. Educators of color often are more likely to leave HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) — Rhonda Hicks could have kept working into her 60s. She loved teaching and loved her students in Philadelphia’s public schools. As a Black woman, she took pride in being a role model for many children of color.But other aspects of the job deteriorated, such as growing demands from administrators over what and how to teach. And when she retires in a few weeks, she will join a disproportionately high number of Black and Hispanic teachers in her state who are leaving the profession.“I enjoy actually teaching, that part I’ve always enjoyed,” said Hicks, 59. “Sometimes it’s a little stressful. Sometimes the kids can be difficult. But it’s the higher-ups: ‘Do it this way or don’t do it at all.’”Teachers are leaving jobs in growing numbers, state reports show. The turnover in some cases is highest among teachers of color. A major culprit: stress — from pandemic-era burnout, low pay and the intrusion of politics into classrooms. But the burdens can be heavier in school...

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