The trucking industry scored a victory this week when Republican lawmakers effectively blocked Obama administration safety rules aimed at keeping tired truckers off the highway. But there's more coming down the road.
The American Trucking Associations is pledging to come back next month, when Republicans will control the White House and Congress, and try to block state laws that require additional rest breaks for truckers beyond what federal rules require. The group says there should be one uniform national rule on work hours for interstate truckers.
The trucking industry's latest triumph has caused concern among safety advocates that it may signal the start of a broad rollback of transportation safety regulations once there's no longer a Democratic president to check the tendency of Republican lawmakers to side with industry.
"Unfortunately, it's going to be an open season on safety in this coming Congress," said Jim Hall, chairman of the National Transportation Safety Board during the Clinton administration.
Getty Images, File
A Christmas tree farmer has found and returned a wedding ring a New Jersey man lost roughly 15 years ago. David Penner says his wedding band slipped off his finger during a visit to Wyckoff's Tree Farm in White Township with his wife years ago. Penner thought he had lost the ring forever. But in April, John Wyckoff, a third-generation tree farmer, found it by chance in the soil.
Hyundai is recalling more than 41,000 older minivans because the hoods can fly open while they're being driven.
The recall covers the Entourage minivan from the 2007 and 2008 model years. Hyundai says a secondary hood latch can rust and remain in the unlatched position. So if the primary latch is released, the secondary latch may not keep the hood in place.
The company says it has no reports of crashes or injuries caused by the problem.
The U.S. surgeon general is calling e-cigarettes an emerging public health threat to the nation's youth.
In a report being released Thursday, Surgeon General Vivek Murthy acknowledged a need for more research into the health effects of "vaping," but said e-cigarettes aren't harmless and too many teens are using them.
"My concern is e-cigarettes have the potential to create a whole new generation of kids who are addicted to nicotine," Murthy told The Associated Press. "If that leads to the use of other tobacco-related products, then we are going to be moving backward instead of forward."
Battery-powered e-cigarettes turn liquid nicotine into an inhalable vapor without the harmful tar generated by regular cigarettes. Vaping was first pushed as safer for current smokers. There's no scientific consensus on the risks or advantages of vaping, including how it affects the likelihood of someone either picking up regular tobacco products or kicking the habit.
Amid social, political and environmental tumult around the world, the Pantone Color Institute on Thursday plucked fresh and zesty "greenery" as the color of the year for 2017.
The vibrant green with yellow undertones is an answer, of sorts, to bruising 2016, signaling a yearning to rejuvenate, and to reconnect to both nature and something larger than oneself, said Laurie Pressman, the institute's vice president.
"It's a realization for many people," she said in an interview Wednesday. "This country is politically divided, and we see that around the world. It's not just us. There's a real division in terms of globalization and this desire to pull back from globalization. It's Brexit. It's what we just saw in Italy."
Facebook has faced backlash after fake news sites used the platform to spread misinformation about the nominees during the 2016 presidential election. But the social media giant's chief operating officer said Thursday the impact fake news had on the election has been exaggerated.
“There have been claims that it swayed the election, and we don't think it swayed the election,'' Sheryl Sandberg said in an interview on NBC's "Today" show.
Sandberg added that Facebook takes its responsibilities seriously and is looking into ways to keep fake news from spreading online without compromising freedom of expression.
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety has awarded 82 new vehicles as the safest picks for 2017. Of the 82 vehicles awarded, 38 earned the highest ranking of TOP SAFETY PICK+. Those vehicles not only earned good ratings in five crash test evaluations but have effective features that can prevent crashes, the IIHS said. Meanwhile, 44 vehicles were in the TOP SAFETY PICK category, one ranking lower.
Many public schools are still hostile environments for LGBT students, an international human rights organization concluded in a report released Wednesday.
The lengthy report from Human Rights Watch was based on interviews primarily with current and former high school students, parents, administrators and teachers in Alabama, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, Texas and Utah. It documented several challenges lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender students face, including in-person and online bullying, limits on LGBT student groups, exclusion of some topics from curricula and discrimination by classmates and school personnel.
"In every state we visited, we heard stories of students who were insulted, cyber-bullied or attacked, and teachers who allowed discrimination and harassment because they see it as normal behavior," said Ryan Thoreson, a fellow in the nonprofit's LGBT Rights Program.
Thoreson said the five states provided a regionally representative and legally diverse sample.
Demand for travel to Cuba may be flattening, with soaring hotel prices on the island, American Airlines cutting some flights, and uncertainty over whether new travel restrictions could be imposed when Donald Trump takes office.
Gregory Geronemus, co-CEO of smarTours, a tour company that's taken 3,000 Americans to Cuba, confirms there has been a softening in demand.
In part he blamed hotel prices on the island, which have nearly doubled since 2015 and which are set by the government. "There's still demand but there's only so much people can afford," he said. Cheaper lodging is available through Airbnb and other services, but not all travelers want the hassles and uncertainty of traveling on their own in Cuba.
The man accused of firing an assault rifle inside a Washington restaurant said he regrets how he handled the situation but refused to completely dismiss the false online claims involving a child sex ring that brought him there. "I just wanted to do some good and went about it the wrong way,'' Edgar Maddison Welch, who's been jailed since his Sunday arrest, told The New York Times in a Wednesday videoconference. Welch, 28, told the newspaper he started driving to Washington from his Salisbury, North Carolina, home intending only to give the Comet Ping Pong pizza restaurant a "closer look.'' But while on the way, he said he felt his "heart breaking over the thought of innocent people suffering.''
Two classic American novels, "The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn'' and "To Kill a Mockingbird,'' will immediately return to public school library shelves in a Virginia county.
News outlets report the Accomack County school board voted Tuesday to return the books to classrooms and libraries. The books were suspended Nov. 29 according to school policy following a formal complaint by a parent against the use of racial slurs in the books.
School board chairman Ronnie Holdman says the board agrees that some of the language used in the books is "offensive and hurtful.'' However, he says teachers and staff "have a wonderful talent for conveying the bigger meanings and messages in literature.''
A suburban Cincinnati man says someone vandalized the "Zombie Nativity" scene he puts up annually, beheading the ghoulish-looking Mary figure and flipping the greenish baby Jesus into the yard.
Jasen Dixon says someone damaged the handmade scene early Tuesday at his home in Sycamore Township, northeast of Cincinnati. He has since repaired the scene and says he'll keep rebuilding it if necessary.
Dixon tells WCPO-TV it's the first time someone has intentionally damaged the structure since he started the holiday display in 2014.
The giraffe, the tallest land animal, is now at risk of extinction, biologists say.
Because the giraffe population has shrunk nearly 40 percent in just 30 years, scientists put it on the official watch list of threatened and endangered species worldwide, calling it "vulnerable." That's two steps up the danger ladder from its previous designation of being a species of least concern. In 1985, there were between 151,000 and 163,000 giraffes but in 2015 the number was down to 97,562, according to the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN).
At a biodiversity meeting Wednesday in Mexico, the IUCN increased the threat level for 35 species and lowered the threat level for seven species on its "Red List" of threatened species, considered by scientists the official list of what animals and plants are in danger of disappearing.
A campus police officer shot a knife-wielding 14-year-old student Wednesday during a confrontation witnessed by dozens of other students at a Nevada high school, according to authorities.
Reno Police Chief Jason Soto told reporters that the male student was taken to a hospital in critical condition after the shooting at Hug High School. He said the boy got into an altercation with a classmate and began threatening other students with a knife, NBC News reported.
A lockdown was lifted by mid-afternoon and students were released to their parents.