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US News: More Meat for School Lunches; Planes Land on Highway, in Ocean; US Icebreaker on Rescue in Antarctica

By: ap
By: ap
USDA is proposing more meat (mainly lean) and multi grains for school lunches.

USDA is proposing more meat (mainly lean) and multi grains for school lunches.

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The Agriculture Department says it's making permanent rules that allow schools to serve larger portions of lean meat and whole grains in school lunches and other meals.
Guidelines restricting portion size were originally intended to combat childhood obesity, but many parents complained their kids weren't getting enough to eat. School administrators say that rules establishing maximums on grains and meats are too limiting and make it difficult to plan daily meals.
The department eliminated limits and on meats and grains on a temporary basis more than a year ago. On Thursday officials made the rule change permanent.
The change was announced by Kevin Concannon, an undersecretary for food, nutrition and consumer services.
He says the department has delivered on its promise to give school nutritionists more flexibility in meal planning.

APARTMENT FIRE-MINNEAPOLIS
ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) -- A third person injured in Minneapolis apartment building explosion has died, according to the Hennepin County Medical Examiner's office.
Twenty-nine-year-old Abdiqani Adan died Friday at the Hennepin County Medical Center, the office reports Saturday. Adan did not live in the building.
Abdi Qobey tells the St. Paul Pioneer Press he was sitting in bed watching television early on New Year's Day when he heard the "boom."
The walls crumbled around the 59-year-old, and the only illumination in the hallway outside his apartment came from flames.
He says a police officer outside his second-story window beckoned for him to jump.
Qobey suffered fractures in both legs and a back injury, but he says he's glad to be alive.

PLANE HIGHWAY LANDING
NEW YORK (AP) -- A small plane that made an emergency landing on a New York City highway has been removed and the highway has been reopened.
Emergency workers took the Piper PA-28 off the northbound lanes of the Major Deegan Expressway in the Bronx on a flatbed truck at about 6 p.m. Saturday.
The city's Office of Emergency Management says drivers should expect residual delays.
New York Mayor Bill de Blasio (dih BLAH'-zee-oh) says the plane was headed back to a Connecticut airport after touring the Statue of Liberty when it experienced engine trouble and set down on the highway at about 3:20 p.m.
De Blasio says the pilot and two passengers aboard were being treated for non-life-threatening injuries at a Bronx hospital.

PLANE IN OCEAN
AVALON, Calif. (AP) -- The pilot of a small airplane that experienced engine failure and went down off the Southern California coast near Catalina Island says it never occurred to him that he wouldn't survive the crash.
David Prizio says he and his lone passenger remained calm when the plane's engine suddenly died while they were cruising at 6,500 feet Saturday afternoon.
The 62-year-old retired contractor tells The Associated Press he tried to put the single-engine Texas Sport Cub down near a cluster of pleasure boats.
Prizio says the impact shattered the windshield and the rush of water knocked off his glasses. He broke a finger but was otherwise unhurt. His passenger escaped injury.
The two men spent only minutes in the water and were rescued by a family of boaters.
The plane sank.

ANTARCTICA-ICEBOUND SHIP
CANBERRA, Australia (AP) -- A U.S. Coast Guard heavy icebreaker will leave Australia for Antarctica on Sunday to rescue more than 120 crew members aboard two icebreakers trapped in pack ice near the frozen continent's eastern edge, officials said.
The Coast Guard says the Polar Star is responding to a Jan. 3 request from Australia, Russia and China to assist the Russian and Chinese ships because "there is sufficient concern that the vessels may not be able to free themselves from the ice."
The Russian research ship has been trapped in ice-clogged Commonwealth Bay since Christmas Eve, while the Chinese ship which came to its rescue reported on Friday it too had become stuck nearby.
A day earlier, the Chinese ship's helicopter had retrieved from the Russian ship 52 scientists, journalists and tourists who are now on their way home aboard an Australian icebreaker.
Authorities say the 101 crew aboard the Chinese ship and 22 aboard the Russian ship are well provisioned and in no immediate danger.
The Polar Star is cutting short its planned stop in Sydney, Australia, to assist.

HOUSTON (AP) -- Former first lady Barbara Bush has been discharged from a Texas hospital where she spent nearly a week being treated for pneumonia.
Bush spokesman Jim McGrath says the wife of former President George H.W. Bush was released from Houston Methodist Hospital late Saturday morning. The 88-year-old Bush family matriarch had been hospitalized since Monday.
She and her husband, the 41st president, live in Houston. The nation's longest-married presidential first couple will celebrate their 69th wedding anniversary Monday.

LUBBOCK, Texas (AP) -- Texas, the nation's top cattle-producing state, lost 15 percent of its animals during a two-year drought as ranchers sold them to out-of-state buyers or sent them to slaughter. That dropped the size of the United States' overall herd to its lowest since the 1950s.
Moisture is returning to Texas and feed prices are dropping, and ranchers' interest in rebuilding their herds is rising. But it won't be a cheap or quick process.
Many ranchers sold their heifers -- females that haven't had their first calf -- and mother cows during the drought to save on feed cost. The price of pregnant heifers has risen by as much as $1,000 since the drought.
The forecast in much of the state shows equal chances for above, below or near normal precipitation.

MEDICAL MARIJUANA-NY
ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) -- New York would become the 21st state to allow medical use of marijuana under an initiative Gov. Andrew Cuomo will unveil this week.
Cuomo plans to use administrative powers rather than legislative action to allow a limited number of hospitals to dispense marijuana for certain ailments. He will formally announce his plans in his state of the state speech Wednesday.
The New York Times first reported Cuomo's plan Saturday. Administration officials tell the newspaper the medical marijuana policy will be more restrictive than in states like Colorado and California and subject to New York Health Department standards.
Although marijuana remains illegal in New York, possession of small amounts has been reduced to a low-level violation subject to a fine.
The Drug Policy Alliance says Cuomo's plan would be a huge change, but New York should still enact legislation authorizing a state medical marijuana program that has been blocked so far by the state Senate's Republicans.


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