From NPR News in Washington, I'm Jim Howard.
President Obama is touring drought-stricken parts of California this evening. He's also announcing a 160-million-dollar aid package for farmers. The financial assistance includes 100 million dollars in livestock disaster aid and another 60 million dollars to bolster food banks. Farmers are welcoming the aid, but say much more needs to be done to address the state's ongoing water problems. The president is also saying he'll ask Congress to fund a one-billion-dollar program aimed at addressing issues of climate change. The plan to be included in the budget he'll send to Congress next month would pay for the new technologies to help communities deal with the wider effects of the climate change.
Federal regulators issued guidance today to banks for working with legal marijuana businesses. As member station KPLU Gabriel Spirizer reports, the change could give those businesses access to banking services for the first time.
Up to now, banks would be breaking the law by doing businesses with marijuana growers, processors and sellers. And technically they still are, but the new US treasury's guidelines tell banks how to work with these businesses without getting in trouble. Congressman Denny hack, represents the district in Western Washington State, one of the two states to legalize recreational marijuana. He's been a local advocate for reforming the bank regulations.
"This is a giant step forward in the effort by Washington state to stand up a well regulated marijuana market".
Without access to banks, marijuana businesses generally have to deal entirely in cash. Hack says that scenario invites problems like tax evasion and organized crime. Some 20 states have legalized marijuana in some form. For NPR news, I'm Gabriel Spirizer in Seattle.
A federal judge has dismissed a lawsuit for how an alleged patient dumping case. NPR's Ina Jaffe reports the case involves the patient at a Las Vegas psychiatric Hospital who has given a one-way ticket to Sacramento, California.
James Flavey Coy Brown was a patient to Rawson Neal Psychiatric Hospital. Officials there discharged him with enough psychiatric medication and snacks to left through the multi-day bus ride. They told him to call 911 when he'll reach Sacramento. US district judge James Mahan called Brown's claim for civil rights violation nonsensical. He said Brown had not been compelled to board the bus, or not threatened with punishment if he refused. Nevada officials say they pleased with ruling; Brown's attorneys say they will file a new complaint. An investigation by the Sacramento be found around 1,500 discharged Rawson Neal patients had stories similar to Browns. The hospital has lost its accreditation. Ina Jaffe, NPR News.
Production at factories across the US dropped in January down 0.8%, the slowdown reverse 5-month production increases. The Federal Reserve says snowstorms reduced the number of new cars manufactured by more than 5%.
On Wall Street, the Dow Jones Industrial Average closed up 126 today, ending at 16,154; The NASDAQ gained 3 points to close at 4244 and The S&P rose 8 points to close at 1838.
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The NFL says 3 members of Miami Dolphins bullied the defensive tackle Jonathan Martin. The findings are part of a report ordered after Martin left the team last October, alleging that he had been objective of vicious tongues and insults. His agent says Martin felt vindicated by today's report. The report says Richie Incognito and 2 other players engaged in the bullying. The reports go on to say another player and an assistant trainer were also targets of abuse.
A former Libyan military commander who participated in Libya's 2011 civil war appears to have tried and failed to prompt a coup. NPR's Leila Fadel reports the video he put online is being met with derision and laughter.
Khalifa Haftar said in a video that Libya's parliament and government were no longer in power as reports leaked that Tripoli's government buildings have been taken by his men. But on the ground there was no troop movement and the nation's prime minister Ali Zeidan called the video laughable as he dismissed the Haftar's claims. The defense minister says the government had issued arrest warrants for Harftar and others for plans to overthrow the state. Haftar's announcement highlights the deep divisions and chaos in Libya where the state is weak, has no centralized armed forces and security provided by a patchwork of militias. Some allied with Zeidan's government and others allied with his opponents in Libya's parliament. Meanwhile, the economy is suffering and the security vacuum is widening. Leila Fadel, NPR News.
In Oregon, two math majors in Reed college apparently never calculated just how much damage a massive runaway snowball could do. It pushed in part of bedroom wall at a dorm. The two reported incident that have not disciplined while a college official estimates the snowball weighted about 800 pounds.
I'm Jim Howard, NPR News in Washington.