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National News Nov 25: Natural Gas Explosion; State Dept Fire

By: AP
By: AP
Springfield, Mass. natural gas explosion Friday night

Springfield, Mass. natural gas explosion Friday night

UNITED NATIONS (AP) -- Iran is accusing the U.S. Navy of carrying out "illegal and provocative acts" in the Persian Gulf and Sea of Oman.
In identical letters to U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and the Security Council, Iran's U.N. Ambassador Mohammad Khazaee said the Navy repeatedly violated the country's airspace.
He cited flights over the coastal areas of Bushehr on seven occasions in October and most recently a U.S. drone flight on Nov. 1 which disregarded all radio warnings and penetrated Iranian airspace.
The letters, circulated Friday, urged Ban to warn the U.S. "against the continuation of acts in violation of international law and of the adverse consequences of any provocative and dangerous acts for which the United States government would be held responsible."
The White House had no comment Friday night.

TORONTO (AP) -- Toronto police say they have recovered a massive cache of toys and donated goods worth about $2 million that were stolen from a Salvation Army warehouse and being sold for profit.
Police said Saturday that they had to use three tractor-trailers to haul the items, which were found a day earlier when officers searched a commercial warehouse in Brampton northwest of Toronto.
Police say they discovered 146 wooden platforms stacked with items including toys, baby cribs, strollers and food.
It's alleged that up to 100,000 items worth some $2 million were stolen from a Salvation Army warehouse in north-end Toronto over nearly two years.
The Toronto facility's executive director, David Rennie, has been fired. No criminal charges have been filed.
The Salvation Army says that it reaches 1.8 million Canadians in need every holiday season.

SPRINGFIELD, Mass (AP) -- Building inspectors say preliminary investigations show more than 40 buildings were damaged in a natural gas explosion in western Massachusetts that injured 18 people.
A strip club was flattened and a day care center was heavily damaged in the massive blast Friday night in Springfield.
Investigators are trying to figure out what caused the blast that could be heard for miles, left a large hole in the ground where the multistory brick building that housed the strip club once stood and scattered debris over several blocks.
Officials already had evacuated part of the entertainment district after responding to a gas leak and odor reported about an hour before the explosion.
Most of the injured were gas workers, firefighters and police officers.
Authorities have cordoned off the center of the explosion as building inspectors worked to identify unsafe structures. Preliminary reports show the blast damaged 42 buildings housing 115 residential units.
Three buildings were immediately condemned. Officials say 24 others require additional inspections by structural engineers to determine whether they're safe.

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Authorities say three maintenance workers were seriously injured after a fire broke out at the State Department headquarters in Washington.
D.C. Fire and EMS spokesman Lon Walls said the fire broke out at around 11 a.m. Saturday in the ductwork on the 7th floor. Workers were able to put out the fire before firefighters arrived, but three people suffered burns.
Walls said one person suffered life-threatening injuries and two others had serious but non-life-threatening injuries. All three were taken to Washington Hospital Center.
State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said the fire broke out during routine maintenance to a mechanical area of the building. She said the building was briefly evacuated and then reopened.

ROMULUS, N.Y. (AP) -- Authorities say the seemingly accidental death of a New York man crushed by a pickup truck was no mishap: Four years later, his father has been charged with murdering him for insurance money.
Karl Karlsen was being held without bail Saturday in the Seneca County jail. He was arrested Friday.
His 23-year-old son, Levi, died in November 2008 while repairing a pickup truck on the family's property in Romulus, about 55 miles southwest of Syracuse.
The death was ruled accidental. But then the Seneca County sheriff's office learned this March about a life insurance policy on Levi Karlsen. It was taken out days before his death, with his father as sole beneficiary.

Immigrants struggle to cope in Sandy's aftermath
NEW YORK (AP) -- Superstorm Sandy has plunged many immigrants living illegally in the United States into darkness, and even deeper into the shadows.
Some who need help getting temporary housing and food are afraid to come forward because they risk deportation. Many have returned to damaged, powerless, moldy homes because they have no other place to stay.
Mexican immigrant Miguel Alarcon Morales says the smell of humidity and seawater has worsened his toddler's son asthma and he is becoming ill, too.
Because his children were born in the U.S., he can apply for help from the Federal Emergency Management Agency. Others who can't are turning to nonprofits and the Mexican consulate.
Advocates are stepping up their efforts to get help to immigrants in hard-hit areas, in some cases going to door to door.

NYC storm victims' homes looted over Thanksgiving
NEW YORK (AP) -- Some residents of a New York City neighborhood that suffered fire and flooding during Superstorm Sandy say thieves looted their damaged houses over Thanksgiving.
The New York Post reports that thieves struck at least three homes in the Breezy Point section of Queens.
One couple lost a $25,000 coin collection along with jewelry and watches.
The break-ins occurred Wednesday or Thursday when many residents were away for the holiday.
Robert Bainbridge says looters took $400 in two change jars. He says he's trying to repair his flooded home and the theft "adds insult to injury."
The Post reports that there were 14 home break-ins in Breezy Point from Nov. 12 to Nov. 18. There were none during the same period last year.

GLENDALE, Calif. (AP) -- It wasn't a typical jam up that slowed traffic Southern California's Glendale -- it was a runaway circus camel.
KCAL-TV reports that a camel escaped from Ramos Brothers Circus Friday and began galloping down Glendale Boulevard with handlers in hot pursuit.
The circus says that "Atula" was about to be taken into the circus ring for an exercise but for some reason decided to break free.
Handlers eventually caught up with the rambunctious animal and led her back to the big top, but not before the sight of the exotic beast brought traffic to a stop.
The station reports that the camel's trainers say she has never run away before.


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