UNEMPLOYMENT INSURANCE-NEW ENGLAND
Mass., Conn., RI senators want more jobless help
PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) - U.S. senators from Massachusetts, Connecticut and Rhode Island are among 32 lawmakers who sent a joint letter to Senate leaders, urging Congress to extend benefits for the long-term unemployed before they expire at the end of the year.
About 1.3 million Americans will lose benefits if lawmakers don't act. Millions more will not secure benefits if they exhaust their initial 26 weeks of unemployment insurance.
The senators say in their letter that unemployment insurance has provided more than $255 billion in direct support to those who lost their jobs since July 2008, at the height of the current economic recession.
The senators say an Economic Policy Institute analysis shows expiration of the joblessness benefit will cost the economy 310 jobs and slow growth by 0.2 over next year.
Conn. US senators push for Metro-North safety
HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) - Connecticut U.S. senators are stepping up pressure on Metro-North Railroad to revamp safety systems after federal transportation regulators ordered the commuter train operator to take emergency measures in the wake of a derailment that killed four people in the Bronx last week.
Sens. Richard Blumenthal and Chris Murphy say they will work with federal agencies in holding Metro-North accountable for improving safety and reliability immediately. The lawmakers are not satisfied by an emergency federal transportation order requiring the commuter rail to bolster staffing on complicated routes and overhaul its signal system.
The two Democrats say they look forward to continuing conversations with U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx and Federal Railroad Administration chief Joseph Szabo to discuss additional legislative and regulatory actions that may improve safety.
Metro-North operates between New York and Connecticut.
Terror suspects plan to change pleas in Conn.
NEW HAVEN, Conn. (AP) - Two men extradited from Britain last year are expected to change their pleas in Connecticut on charges they supported terrorists in Afghanistan and Chechnya by operating websites to raise cash, recruit fighters and solicit items such as gas masks.
Court records show Babar Ahmad and Syed Talha Ahsan are scheduled to change their pleas Tuesday in federal court in New Haven to charges of providing support to terrorists. They had previously pleaded not guilty.
Their attorneys did not return telephone and email messages seeking comment.
If convicted, Ahsan faces up to 15 years in prison and Ahmad faces up to 30 years.
The two men faced trial in Connecticut, where an Internet service provider was allegedly used to run one of the websites.
SCHOOL SHOOTING-ACTS OF KINDNESS
Newtown groups open week of 'acts of kindness'
NEW BRITAIN, Conn. (AP) - Newtown groups and members of Connecticut's Congressional delegation are kicking off a week of "acts of kindness" to honor the victims of the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School.
U.S. Rep. Elizabeth Esty and U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal are joining Newtown groups to launch the remembrance Monday at the YWCA in New Britain, where participants will begin the week by reading to children and participating in classroom activities.
The anniversary of the shooting that killed 26 people inside the elementary school is on Saturday, Dec. 14.
The town of Newtown is not hosting any formal events to mark the anniversary. Town officials have been urging residents to honor the victims by committing acts of service and kindness.
NYC TRAIN DERAILMENT
NY railway has until Tuesday to analyze lines
NEW YORK (AP) - The Metro-North Railroad has until Tuesday to identify where its lines have major speed changes under an emergency order set down by federal authorities in the wake of a deadly train derailment.
Friday's order from the Federal Railroad Administration requires the railroad to put extra operators on lines like the one in the Bronx where a train flew off the tracks last Sunday after hitting a curve at 82 mph, nearly three times the 30 mph speed limit.
The railroad has until Tuesday to identify all the spots in the system where there is a 20 mph speed variation.
The Metropolitan Transportation Authority, which oversees Metro-North, says it will comply with the order.
It said it also is examining other steps to improve safety following the crash that killed four people.
Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.