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Federal regulators have indefinitely delayed a decision on the proposed restart of the shuttered San Onofre nuclear power plant in California, raising new questions Monday about whether the twin reactors will produce electricity again.
The seaside plant between San Diego and Los Angeles has been dark since January 2012, after a small radiation leak led to the discovery of unusual damage to hundreds of tubes that carry radioactive water.
Operator Southern California Edison wants permission to restart the Unit 2 reactor and run it at reduced power in hopes of stopping vibration and friction that was blamed for damaging tubing.
The Nuclear Regulatory Commission delayed several earlier target dates for a ruling. Its website on Monday listed no date for a restart decision _ only “to be determined.”
Agency spokesman Victor Dricks had no comment.
Last week, the NRC’s Atomic Safety and Licensing Board sided with environmentalists who have called for lengthy hearings on the restart plan after concluding that firing up the plant would allow Edison “to operate beyond the scope of its existing license.”
A statement from SCE spokeswoman Jennifer Manfre noted that NRC Chair Allison Macfarlane indicated earlier that no decision would be made until at least mid-June on the company’s request to change its operating license to run at lower power.
“SCE continues to adhere to the established regulatory process,” the statement said payday loans with no fax. The company “cannot restart Unit 2 until the NRC says that it is safe to do so.”
Last month, SCE’s parent, Edison International, raised the possibility of retiring the plant if it can’t get one reactor running later this year. The company also disclosed that costs tied to the long-running shutdown had hit $553 million.
Edison is facing a tangle of regulatory obstacles that include a separate state investigation into who should pay for the trouble _ customers or shareholders.
Meanwhile, anti-nuclear activists and some lawmakers have said restarting the plant would lead to a disaster.
Friends of the Earth, an advocacy group challenging the restart, believes no decision can be made “until all the safety issues raised by the board are addressed,” spokesman Shaun Burnie said in an email.
Even with San Onofre sidelined, state power officials predict that there should be adequate power supplies in California this summer, but heat waves or wildfires that damage transmission lines could lead to potential shortages.
San Onofre is owned by SCE, San Diego Gas & Electric and the city of Riverside.
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FAIRFIELD, CONN.—Public safety officials in Connecticut say about 50 people have been hurt after two commuter trains collided outside New York City. Four of those injuries were deemed serious.
No fatalities were reported following Friday evening’s collision near Fairfield on the Metro-North Railroad.
The rail line referred to it in a news release as a “major derailment.”
A spokesman for public safety officials in nearby Bridgeport says about 250 people were on the two trains that collided after one derailed.
The railroad says a train that departed New York City’s Grand Central station en route to New Haven derailed. A westbound train on an adjacent track then struck the derailed train.
Some cars on the second train also derailed as a result of the collision.
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Cisco Systems led the Dow Jones industrial average slightly higher Thursday after the technology company reported higher sales. Mixed corporate earnings and economic reports kept the major stock indexes flipping between slight gains and losses.
Shortly after noon, the Dow was up 12 points at 15,288. The Standard & Poor’s 500 index was up less than a point at 1,659.
The news on the economy Thursday wasn’t encouraging. Applications for unemployment benefits rose last week, and manufacturing slowed in the mid-Atlantic region. The manufacturing report from the Philadelphia branch of the Federal Reserve sent bond prices up in morning trading and turned stocks lower, but not for long.
“We’ve been seeing a lot of that this year,” said Scott King, an investment adviser at Unified Trust Co. in Lexington, Ky. “The news isn’t great, yet the market holds tight.”
Cisco jumped 13 percent, or $2.68, to $23.87. Cisco turned in quarterly results late Wednesday that beat analysts’ expectations, with the help of better revenue from the U.S. and emerging markets.
The networking equipment company sells its routers, switches, software and services to corporate customers and government agencies around the world. As a result, Cisco’s performance is often considered a gauge of how the technology industry is doing.
The Nasdaq rose 8 points to 3,479, a gain of 0.2 percent.
Wal-Mart fell 2 percent, the biggest drop among the 30 Dow stocks. The world’s largest retailer turned in weaker sales and a dim forecast for profits. The company blamed bad weather and delayed tax refunds for earnings and sales that fell short of what analysts had expected. Wal-Mart’s stock lost $1.68 to $78 business card.11.
Companies have reported record quarterly profits this earnings season. Seven of every 10 in the S&P 500 have trumped analysts’ earnings estimates, according to S&P Capital IQ. Earnings have climbed 5 percent over the year before.
But revenue has looked weak: six out of every 10 companies in the S&P 500 have missed forecasts, and revenue has edged up just 1 percent. Without higher sales, companies are getting more of their profits from laying off staff and other cost-cutting moves.
If the market is going to keep climbing this year, King said, sales will have to start rising. Analysts are looking for that to happen as economic growth gains strength later this year.
“It’s hard to see how companies can squeeze more earnings growth out of cost savings,” King said. “At some point, the economic numbers and revenue have to pick up.”
The Philadelphia branch of the Federal Reserve reported that manufacturers in the region said business conditions have slumped this month. Orders for manufactured goods and shipments have been weak.
In Washington, the Labor Department reported that the number of Americans seeking unemployment benefits rose last week to 360,000. That suggests companies are laying more people off, just one week after applications for benefits hit a five-year low.
The yield on the 10-year Treasury note sank to 1.88 percent from 1.94 percent late Wednesday. It’s a sign that traders are shifting money into low-risk investments like U.S. government debt.
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Smartphones are increasingly popular not only with consumers, but also with thieves who see the devices as another way to tap into bank accounts and other sensitive information, experts say.
Many consumers simply don’t realize how vulnerable their Androids, iPhones and other devices can be. An April study by the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta said threats are proliferating, ranging from “phishing” — where consumers click a phony email or text message and are tricked into handing over personal information — to consumers’ reluctance to use security protections they normally have on home computers, like a password.
The study said there are several things that can make smartphones an easy target. Vast amounts of personal data are stored in emails, texts and other applications, and personal information is increasingly easily found on social media. Organized crime operations also see smartphones as the most vulnerable entry point into the electronic financial system, according to the Federal Reserve.
“We have some very bad characters who would like to take our money, take our identification, and run away with it,” said Marie Gooding, first vice president of the Atlanta Fed.
Research the Fed cited, done by Boston-based Trusteer Inc., involved 20 computer servers that were used to send out more than 100,000 “phishing” emails. By studying the server records, Trusteer found that about 2,200 of the 3,000 responses the scam artists received came from smartphones.
Doug Johnson, vice president of risk management for the American Bankers Association, said he expects those numbers to get worse.
“This is one more platform criminals will continue to exploit as the channel grows,” he said.
The Fed helps operate the industry’s Automated Clearing House, a system that processed 21 billion transactions last year. While banks are required to adhere to authentication standards for ACH transactions, those protections are often unknowingly compromised by consumers.
“A lot of it has to do with all of the players making sure they have the strongest security controls they have, and then consumers being aware of what those controls are, and making use of them,” Gooding said.
Miami attorney Andrew Carter learned the hard way, after misplacing his phone amid the hubbub of a Christmas vacation. He had a mobile banking app installed on his phone, but had turned off his passcode lock because he found it annoying to enter whenever he wanted to use the phone.
“That was a big mistake,” he said. “I knew it intellectually, but I hadn’t really intuitively grasped that I had to be able to be a lot more secure with it.”
Weeks later, Carter found $2,000 had been withdrawn from his account by someone in Texas, possibly through emails retrieved from his phone. He also found someone trying to hack his Facebook account.
Today, he keeps his phone locked and changed to a brand that allows him to remotely erase phone data — something he couldn’t do with his old phone.
Several manufacturers are planning new “biometric” technology, such as fingerprint scanners, that can make phones more secure. But even with those safeguards, consumer behavior can still lead to danger.
Vikram Thakur, principal security response manager for security software giant Symantec, said attackers can get complete control of a phone simply by getting people to click on a link. Without actually having the phone in their hands, the hackers can access messages, phone calls and personal information.
“The amount of information we’re storing on mobile phones these days kind of incentivizes the attackers to go after the platform,” he said.
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European stocks fell for the first time in five days and U.S. equity-index futures dropped before a report that may show American retail sales slipped. Oil declined while the yen swung between gains and losses after sliding beyond 102 per dollar for the first time since October 2008.
The Stoxx Europe 600 Index slipped 0.5 percent at 6:05 a.m. in New York. Standard & Poor
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The man arrested in connection with the disappearance of Hamilton’s Timothy Bosma is the heir to an Ontario aviation dynasty and once held the world record for the youngest solo helicopter flight.
Dellen Millard, 27, of Toronto, was arrested and charged in Mississauga in connection with Bosma’s disappearance Saturday morning. His family founded and ran Millard Air, a charter airline that once flew out of Toronto and has operations in Waterloo Region, where Hamilton police were seen investigating Saturday at Millard Air’s hangar at the airport.
Bosma disappeared in Hamilton Monday when he took two men for a test drive of a pickup truck he was trying to sell online. Police have since been searching for two suspects, one of whom was described as having a tattoo on his wrist that reads “ambition.”
Millard, who police believe was driving the pickup truck during the incident, has such a tattoo, police said. Millard was arrested on Cawthra Rd. in Mississauga Saturday morning without incident. He was charged with forcible confinement and theft over $5,000.
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“Tim Bosma has not been located and our greatest priority is the welfare and locating of (him),” Hamilton Police Supt. Dan Kinsella said during a media briefing Saturday afternoon.
The remaining suspect is still at large. Police in three cities — Toronto, Waterloo and Hamilton — are participating in the investigation.
Toronto police blocked off Maple Gate Crt. in Etobicoke Saturday afternoon to investigate a house connected to the arrest of Millard. Hamilton police were seen at Millard Air Hangar 53 at the Waterloo Regional Airport the same day.
The Millard family has a storied history in Ontario’s aviation industry. Dellen’s grandfather, Carl, founded the private commercial airline, the Star reported in 1999.
Wayne Millard, Dellen’s father, took the reins on a 50,000-square-foot aircraft maintenance facility in Waterloo, according to Canadian Skies, an aviation trade publication.
Wayne died in late 2012. His obituary, published in the Star, was written by Dellen and praises Wayne’s love for animals and commitment to flying.
In 1999, Dellen became the youngest person to fly a helicopter solo at 14 years old, setting a world record and earning a free breakfast from the Brampton Flying Club. He set another record by taking his first solo flight in a Cessna 172, making him the youngest to fly both a helicopter and fixed-wing plane solo in one day.
“It was a great flight,” he told the Star then, moments after landing the Cessna and receiving applause from family members. “It went by a lot faster than I thought it would.”
The Brampton Flying Club refused to comment Saturday, telling the Star a manager would be available Monday.
“I really thought he turned out fine and I’d see him someday at an airline,” said Marilyn Daigle, Dellen’s flight instructor in 1999, who’s now a commercial pilot in Toronto. “He was sweet, smart, really lovely to teach . . . I just hope it doesn’t end up being true.”
Dellen Millard’s passion for planes seems to have been grounded later in life, as he turned his attention towards automobiles. He and a friend are listed as drivers in the 2009 Baja 1000, an off-road race in Mexico, according to the race roster.
Facebook photos of Dellen posted on the friend’s account show him working on vehicles in what appears to be an airport hangar. Calls to the friend’s home were not returned.
The other suspect, still at large, is described as white, between 5-foot-9 and 5-foot-10, with a small to medium build, dark hair. He was last seen wearing a red-hooded sweatshirt with the hood pulled up over his head.
“It is critical that we inform you of (Dellen Millard’s) arrest, however it is much more important that we continue to pursue every evidentiary lead,” Kinsella said Saturday.
On Friday, police announced they recovered Bosma’s cellphone in an industrial complex in Brantford, which is the direction he was last believed to be heading with the men.
Police believe his vehicle was in the area of downtown Brantford around 10:10 p.m. Monday, May 6. They are asking business owners with surveillance cameras to review their footage between 9:30 p.m. and 10:30 p.m. that day.
Bosma’s Dodge Ram, which has not been recovered, is described as black with an Ontario licence plate number 726 7ZW.
Anyone with information on the case is asked to call Hamilton police’s dedicated tip line at 905-546-2100.
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The no-parking sign didn’t really make sense. Nader Khan parked there anyway.
All along Finfar Court in Mississauga, signs stated parking was prohibited from 12 to 3 on Fridays. It seemed odd to Khan, since a large mosque — the Islamic Society of North America — was a few metres away and offered its main prayer service at the same time.
“When I first parked there, I genuinely thought the sign said no parking every day but Fridays,” said Khan, an Islamic singer and songwriter who had driven there to pray. “I thought, wow, how accommodating.”
But when he returned an hour later, he found that his car and all the others parked on both sides of the street in the light industrial area had been ticketed. “I was furious.”
A year later, Khan returned and saw the signs were still there. Instead of parking, he started taking photos and turned to Facebook to express his frustration. “Finfar Court: A most racist, discriminatory, Islamophobic street in the GTA, located in Mississauga Ontario,” he wrote to introduce the pictures.
The Facebook post sparked intense debate between those agreeing with Khan and those who thought the issue was merely a response to years of bad parking, including blocking driveways and parking too close to hydrants.
Across the GTA, places of worship have claimed intolerance and unfairness when their facilities face resistance from residents or their expansion plans and building permits are rejected by the city.
But a look at parking bylaws across the city and the outcomes of dozens of Ontario Municipal Board decisions suggests the real culprit is much more benign and mundane. It almost always comes down to indiscretions of the vehicular kind — traffic and parking.
“The truth is, places of worship have a need for a lot of parking,” said Joe D’Abramo, director of zoning and environmental planning for the City of Toronto. “Nobody wants to provide parking, because it takes up land and costs money to put it underground. But if we don’t require it, then they park on the streets and the community around it gets very upset.”
Toronto recently completed a review of its outdated zoning bylaws, including those for parking near a place of worship, and enacted them into law last week.
There was ample resistance. The Toronto Faith Coalition protested some of the zoning changes, concerned the parking requirements would make it impossible for existing places of worship to expand and new ones to set up.
“Parking is a big issue because it determines whether or not a church, synagogue and mosque can be built,” said Charles McVety, an evangelical Christian leader, who headed the Toronto Faith Coalition. “It’s fundamental, because if you do not have enough land to meet this high level of parking required, then you can’t build your building or expand it. They won’t approve it.”
D’Abramo said the changes were necessary. Not only were the bylaws old, but they were from pre-amalgamation and rules differed across the city. They also didn’t reflect the diversity of the city. “Some faiths have seating, and some faiths have no seating, so the standards are different depending on how you worship,” he said.
Generally, municipalities require a place of worship to provide parking based on complex formulas that account for the number of pews or square footage. The parking requirement is reduced if the religious centre is near transit or major city centres.
In recent years,the neighbourhood church has been replaced by mega-churches. According to a study commissioned by the City of Toronto on parking standards for a place of worship, the average size of a new place of worship built between 2000 and 2005 was more than double the average size of one built between 1975 and 1990. This means more people now drive to church. And, since many religious centres are set up in industrial areas — where land may be cheaper — public transit is rarely a realistic alternative.
A number of municipalities, including Brampton, Mississauga and Markham, have also conducted reviews of their parking bylaws around places of worship.
And it turns out nothing riles up the neighbours like bad parking and increased traffic. Infractions or even the perception that rules could be broken have been enough to ignite tensions and divide communities.
In Markham, a Taoist temple trying to build in a residential area faced heavy resistance from neighbours primarily due to fear of increased traffic and parking concerns — even though the temple said it expected attendance of 15 to 20 people at a time. The city voted against the temple’s plans for rezoning, and the matter eventually landed at the Ontario Municipal Board, which approved the building last summer payday loans online.
Ten years ago, city officials thwarted the plans of a Hindu temple in Scarborough to redesignate a property it purchased in an industrial zone into a religious facility. There were a number of concerns, including parking and lack of transit. The temple took its case to the OMB, but the city’s concerns were upheld.
And a new mosque project in Markham has divided an otherwise peaceful community with concerns that the construction of the facility would create a traffic nightmare and lead to parking chaos in a neighbouring residential area. The matter was further complicated by what the mosque called a “typo” on its website suggesting it could hold 1,600people when it only had approval for 500 — and parking accommodations for such. The mosque has since decreased the planned size of its worship space and will provide 188 parking spaces.
On the surface,the primary concern appears to be good planning. But there are some who question whether the zoning issues are simply a mask for underlying tensions.
“It becomes an oddly intense battle when it comes to parking and mundane zoning issues around a mosque or temple,” said Jason Hackworth, a geography professor at the University of Toronto who wrote a paper on the collision of faith and economic development in the city’s industrial zones. “You have to ask yourself why this is the case, as zoning issues normally don’t invoke such a reaction.”
But he, too, is careful. “Of course, something like that is hard to prove.”
Especially when mosque officials agree that their congregants are also at fault. “The officials are very frustrated with the small minority of people who park badly,” said Khan, the Mississauga man offended by the signs. But Khan still thinks the city went too far: “Have tow trucks on call, tow the cars that are being inconsiderate and fine them again and tow them again. Punishing an entire community or the actions of a few is very problematic.”
Mosque officials say they constantly make announcements about parking etiquette to their congregants, and have even organized a shuttle from free parking lots nearby to accommodate overflow. But they were surprised when the city put up the signs without any consultation.
The bylaw was enacted in December 2011 after the city received numerous other parking complaints from businesses, said Mississauga transportation commissioner Martin Powell. The staff report on the matter only refers to the concerns of one citizen. And the city did not send out a petition to local residents and businesses, as is the normal process, the report states.
“I know it seems a bit strange because of the hours, but that’s when we have a problem,” said Powell. “If there are safety issues involved, then staff will make recommendations to council, and that is what we did here.”
But Powell is quick to point out that the mosque isn’t the only place of worship that faces odd parking restrictions. Last spring, a number of churches in Mississauga were shocked to find their congregants could no longer park on the streets nearby from 10-1 on Sundays.
“We have been at our location for 19 years, and there has never been any problem,” said Desmond Singh, a pastor with Mississauga Gospel Assembly. “But it seems like the city has been targeting our church hours.”
Some of his congregants and those from the nearby St. Joseph Syriac Catholic Church took a petition to city hall, but their protest fell on deaf ears. A member of St. Joseph’s church wrote about the restrictions on a website on the Charter of Rights and Freedoms claiming that it infringed upon the rights of parishioners to freely practise their religion.
The Toronto Faith Coalition’s McVety believes further restrictions on where a place of worship can be set up will make the problem even worse. Toronto and Ajax have recently banned places of worship from setting up in industrial zones — forcing new places of worship into expensive residential areas.
McVety says the coalition is considering taking Toronto’s new zoning bylaws to the OMB.
“We bring in hundreds of thousands of new Canadians in the GTA every year, and then we pass laws to restrict their ability to worship.”
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The European Central Bank said low inflation in the 17-nation euro area allowed policy makers to cut interest rates last week, as economists lowered forecasts for consumer prices and economic growth.
The decision was
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Consumer borrowing in the U.S. climbed less than projected in March as Americans reduced credit-card purchases for the first time this year.
The $7.97 billion increase followed an $18.6 billion advance the previous month that was the biggest since May 2012, Federal Reserve figures showed today in Washington. The median forecast in a Bloomberg survey called for a $15.6 billion rise. Revolving credit, which includes credit-card spending, fell, while non-revolving borrowing rose.
The tempering of credit-card use coincides with a slowdown in March consumer spending amid higher payroll taxes and limited income growth. At the same time, rising stock prices and home values are enabling households to repair finances, putting them in a position to take advantage of low borrowing costs for purchases such as new cars.
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