By Sharon Bernstein LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - California Democrats wrapped up their annual convention on Sunday with an appeal to their progressive base even as leaders vowed to stay on a centrist path that has won wide popularity for Governor Jerry Brown and firm control over the state legislature. Facing the 2014 election season flush with a formidable political advantage in the most populous U.S. state, Democrats used the two-day gathering in Los Angeles to showcase their successes in California and to draw a contrast with partisan gridlock in Washington. They cited California's improving economy and a newly exerted fiscal discipline that has allowed Brown to pay down the state's debt as proof of Democrats' ability to govern effectively. "We took a state that seemed to be a punch line for a national joke, and we made it a how-to guide for national governments," incoming state Assembly Speaker Toni Atkins told the crowd.
By Toru Hanai and Elaine Lies KORIYAMA, Japan (Reuters) - Some of the smallest children in Koriyama, a short drive from the crippled Fukushima nuclear plant, barely know what it's like to play outside -- fear of radiation has kept them in doors for much of their short lives. Though the strict safety limits for outdoor activity set after multiple meltdowns at the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear plant in 2011 have now been eased, parental worries and ingrained habit mean many children still stay inside. And the impact is now starting to show, with children experiencing falling strength, lack of coordination, some cannot even ride a bicycle, and emotional issues like shorter tempers, officials and educators say. "There are children who are very fearful.
Newborns freezing to death in hospital incubators, doctors cutting off limbs to stop patients from bleeding to death, surging cases of polio: a new report published on Monday paints a dire picture of Syria's collapsing healthcare system. The report, issued by charity Save the Children, said some 60 percent of Syria's hospitals have been damaged or destroyed since the start of the three-year-old conflict and nearly half of its doctors have fled the country. Over 140,000 people have died in the war, which started as a peaceful protest movement against President Bashar al-Assad and degenerated into civil conflict fuelled by regional and international rivalries. In its report, Save the Children described the fallout from the collapse of the medical system as "horrific," as remaining hospitals and medical staff struggle to treat hundreds of thousands of people wounded by the fighting.
A Delaware judge said Royal Bank of Canada should be held liable to former shareholders of Rural/Metro Corp because it failed to disclose conflicts of interest that tainted the $438 million buyout of the ambulance operator. Bankers at RBC Capital Markets were so eager to collect higher fees that they convinced Rural/Metro directors to sell the company in June 2011 to private equity firm Warburg Pincus LLC at an unreasonably low $17.25 per share, wrote Vice Chancellor J. Travis Laster of the Delaware Chancery Court. Former Rural/Metro Corp shareholders are seeking about $172 million from Toronto-based RBC, representing the difference between the buyout price and what they believe the company was worth, according to published reports.
Police in Massachusetts arrested a total of 52 people after nearly a dozen more were taken into custody early on Sunday as a pre-St. Patrick's Day party turned violent, with officers in riot gear sparring with revelers in skirmishes that lasted nearly 24 hours. The Amherst Police Department said officers brought the situation under control and made final arrests around 4 a.m. EDT Sunday. "The party had become dangerous and out of control," a police spokesman said. "As officers began to disperse the crowd, they were again met with glass bottles, full beer cans, rocks and snowballs being thrown at them." The gathering, traditionally held the last Saturday before Spring Break, brought thousands of students from campus onto surrounding streets, Amherst police said.
(The story corrects organization name to American Action Network in paragraph 15, from American Action Forum. The Network is an affiliate of the Forum that is allowed to engage in political activities under U.S. tax law.) By David Morgan WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Republicans, looking for ways to turn November's congressional elections into a referendum on President Barack Obama's signature healthcare law, are trying to portray Obamacare as a danger to Medicare. The aim is to court one of the biggest and most reliable voting blocs in midterm elections, senior citizens and people near retirement, by depicting Republicans as defenders of the federal healthcare program for 42 million seniors. It's an attempt to turn the tables on Democrats, who in the 2012 presidential election attacked Republican Mitt Romney over Republican proposals to overhaul Medicare.
(Reuters) - Two dozen students in Southern California were injured when a packed stage collapsed during a performance at a high school, police said on Sunday. More than 200 students were on stage when the front portion of the platform gave way during a Saturday night production at Servite High School, a private Catholic school in Anaheim, about 25 miles south of Los Angeles, police said. Twenty-four students were transferred to local hospitals with non-life threatening injuries including scrapes, bruises and broken noses, according to Anaheim Police Department spokesman Lt. Steve Schmidt. The school's auditorium was filled with several hundred students, parents and spectators attending the concert and dramatic performances hosted by students from Servite's sister school, Rosary Catholic School, authorities said.
TAHIRPUR, India (AP) â At first, Ashok Yadav ignored the patches of pink skin on his arm. But when pale sores erupted on his body and he lost sensation in his fingertips, a doctor issued the devastating diagnosis: Yadav had leprosy.
By Drazen Jorgic and Philippa Croome KAMPALA (Reuters) - With a World Bank scholarship and top grades in the first year of her masters degree in agriculture, 27-year-old Cleo Kambugu should be well on the road to her goal of an academic career in Uganda. Instead, she's working out how to leave after the passing of a law that toughens prison sentences for homosexuality and a tabloid campaign to "out" gays. "There is totally no hope right now," said Kambugu, still legally a man despite a sex change in the last year that is not recognized by Uganda, a nation that now has some of the toughest anti-gay laws on a continent where 37 states ban homosexuality. The bill, signed into law by President Yoweri Museveni on February 24, has forced embattled gays deeper into the shadows, by threatening life in jail for "aggravated homosexuality" and a seven-year term for "aiding and abetting homosexuality".
A blue balloon announcing "Baby Boy" fluttered on Saturday outside the home where the family has since returned after Jessica Rosado, who was nine months pregnant when she arrived at the hospital near her home in Tampa, gave birth after having labor induced. Rosado, her partner Ronnie Morales and her two young daughters fell ill on Monday evening after eating some bottom round steak bought from a local Wal-Mart, according to the Tampa Police Department.