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Sunday, Mar 01st

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U.S. workers strike for second day at nine refineries; one to shut

refinery strikersUnion workers were on strike for a second day on Monday at nine U.S. refineries and chemical plants as they sought a new national contract with oil companies covering laborers at 63 plants.

The walkouts were the first in support of a nationwide pact since 1980 and targeted plants with a combined 10 percent of U.S. refining capacity. One of the plants, Tesoro Corp's (TSO.N) 166,000-barrel-per-day Martinez, California, refinery, was being shut because it was in the midst of planned maintenance work.

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Death toll from GM ignition switches rises to at least 51

gm deathsMore than 1,100 claims were filed in the week before Saturday's deadline to seek payments from the General Motors ignition switch compensation fund. So far, 51 death and 77 injury claims have been granted.

But the fund's deputy administrator says the grants are very likely to rise as she and her boss, compensation expert Kenneth Feinberg, sort through at least 4,180 claims that came before the deadline passed.

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John B. Geer had hands up when shot by police, four officers say in documents

John Geer had hands upJohn B. Geer stood with his hands on top of the storm door of his Springfield, Va., townhouse and calmly said to four Fairfax County police officers with guns pointed at him: “I don’t want anybody to get shot . . . . And I don’t wanna get shot, ’cause I don’t want to die today.”

But as one officer tried to ease Geer through the standoff, another officer, Adam D. Torres, shot and killed Geer from 17 feet away, telling investigators that he saw Geer move his hands to his waist and thought he might be reaching for a weapon, according to newly released documents from the county.

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Storm blankets Midwest in snow, creeps toward Northeast

storm hits midwestA slow-moving winter storm blanketed a large swath of the Plains and Midwest in snow Sunday, forcing the cancellation of more than 1,500 flights, making roads treacherous and forcing some people to rethink their plans to attend Super Bowl parties.

Blizzard conditions developed in Chicago — where more than a foot was expected by evening — and other Midwest locales as the system slowly crept eastward into Pennsylvania and western New York state. Parts of New England still digging out from a storm early last week were bracing for yet another round of snow to arrive Sunday and last through Monday.

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New Mexico toddler shoots both parents with one bullet after finding gun

toddler shoots parentsA 3-year-old boy found a handgun in his mother’s purse and fired just one shot that wounded both his parents at an Albuquerque motel on Saturday, police said.

According to investigators, the toddler apparently reached for an iPod but found the loaded weapon. Police believe the shooting to be accidental.

The bullet first struck his father in the buttock and then hit the right shoulder of his mother, who is eight months pregnant, police said. His 2-year-old sister was present but unhurt. Both injuries are non-life threatening, authorities said.

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Ohio postpones 2015 executions in search for lethal injection drugs

Ohio delays executionsOhio has postponed the executions of seven death row inmates so it can procure an adequate supply of its new two-drug lethal injection protocol.

U.S. District Court Judge Gregory L. Frost ordered the stay of all executions scheduled to take place in 2015 after the state changed the drugs it uses in executions.

The change came after it took an extended amount of time for Dennis McGuire to die by lethal injection in 2014. The state used a new combination of drugs for his execution, midazolam and hydromorphone.

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Florida woman in 'warning shot' case released from jail

Melissa Alexander freedA Florida woman who says she fired a warning shot at her abusive husband was released from a Jacksonville jail on Tuesday under a plea deal that capped her sentence to the three years she had already served.

Marissa Alexander, 34, was initially sentenced to 20 years in prison in 2012 but her conviction was later overturned. She faced another trial on charges that could have put her behind bars for 60 years before she agreed to a plea deal in November.

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