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US News: Keystone Pipeline-Big 2014 Campaign Issue?; Great Lakes Ice Kills Ducks; Blue Angels Back; New Blimp; Car Recalls

By: ap
By: ap

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Democrats are grappling with an election-year dilemma posed by the Keystone XL oil pipeline.
Wealthy party donors are funding candidates who oppose the project -- a high-profile symbol of the debate over climate change. But some of the party's most vulnerable incumbents are pipeline boosters Whether Democrats retain control of the Senate after the 2014 midterm elections may hinge on them.
The dilemma was highlighted Thursday as President Barack Obama's former national security adviser said Obama should approve the pipeline to send Russian President Vladimir Putin a message that "international bullies" can't use energy security as a weapon.
The comments by retired Gen. James Jones came as a top Democratic donor again urged rejection of the pipeline. Billionaire Tom Steyer vows to spend $100 million to help Democrats this year.

DELMAR, N.Y. (AP) -- The Niagara River corridor from Lake Erie to Lake Ontario is renowned as a winter haven for water birds. But this year's bitterly cold season has made it notable for something else: dead ducks.
Biologists say carcasses began piling up by the hundreds in early January after consistently low temperatures started icing over nearly the entire Great Lakes, preventing the ducks from getting to the minnows that are their main source of food. Necropsies have confirmed the cause: starvation.
It's a phenomenon that has been seen elsewhere along the Great Lakes, with news reports of diving ducks and other waterfowl turning up dead by the hundreds along the southern part of Lake Michigan. They've also been found in Lake St. Clair between Lakes Erie and Huron

NYC EXPLOSION
NEW YORK (AP) -- New York City's fire commissioner says rescue workers have searched the rear basement of the site of a deadly gas explosion, but haven't yet reached the area where the piping and meters will help explain what caused the blast that killed eight people.
Fire Commissioner Salvatore Cassano said Saturday that the investigation of the piping and the meters will likely start on Sunday when workers can reach deeper into the basement.
Cassano says he believes the National Transportation Safety Board can start pressure-testing the pipes on Sunday.
Cassano says no more bodies have been found in the rubble. He says about 15 percent of the debris is left on the site.

CINCINNATI (AP) -- An Ohio woman doesn't expect to ever know whether any of the cremated remains buried in her father's grave in a veterans cemetery are his.
Fairborn resident Dellaina Grundy thought Leroy Metcalfe's ashes were buried in 2002 at Dayton National Cemetery. But 10 years later, a contractor removing items from the foreclosed home of a former funeral home director discovered 55 boxes of cremated remains, including one labeled as Metcalfe's.
Cremated remains contain no genetic material for testing, so officials couldn't determine if they are his.
The family had the original urn's contents unearthed, combined with the boxed ashes in a new urn and reburied.
Grundy says it felt like her father had died all over again.
The former funeral director is now in prison on theft and other charges.

GOODYEAR BLIMP UNVEILED
AKRON, Ohio (AP) -- The next generation of the Goodyear blimp is getting ready to take flight as the company retires its current fleet of airships.
Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. says the helium-filled airship unveiled Friday at a hangar in the Akron, Ohio, area is bigger, quicker and more maneuverable than earlier blimps. The company says it will provide a longer flight range and better aerial broadcast capabilities for event coverage.
The new blimp is 246 feet long and has a silver balloon-like body emblazoned with Goodyear's yellow logo on a blue background. It is scheduled to start test flights in northeast Ohio this month and go into service this summer.
Before then, it needs one more component: a name. Goodyear is collecting suggestions through a contest on its website until April 4.

EL CENTRO, Calif. (AP) -- The Blue Angels are headed back into the wild blue yonder a year after budget cuts grounded the Navy's famous daredevil fliers.
The aerobatics team is scheduled to perform its first 2014 show on Saturday at the Naval Air Facility in El Centro, about 100 miles east of San Diego.
The Blue Angels normally do about three dozen shows annually but got into the air only twice last year.
That was a disappointment not only to aviation fans, but to small communities in outlying areas that count on the tourist dollars they attract.
The Angels' commanding officer, Thomas Frosch, tells the Imperial Valley Press (http://bit.ly/1m7WX5r ) his team spent much of its downtime practicing for this year's full slate of shows.
They'll be at the Los Angeles County Air Show next week.

DETROIT (AP) -- Chrysler Group is recalling 18,092 Fiat 500L cars in the U.S. because the transmission shifter can be delayed or stop working.
Fiat 500Ls from the 2014 model year are affected. The cars were made between April 5, 2013, and Jan. 22, 2014, at the company's plant in Serbia.
According to documents posted Saturday by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, cold temperatures can affect signals sent between the car's main computer and the gear shifter. If that happens, the shifter may not shift out of park or the response may be delayed, increasing the risk of a crash.
Chrysler says no accidents or injuries related to the defect have been reported.
Fiat dealers will replace the shifter module and update the software starting next month. The company will notify owners.

DETROIT (AP) -- Honda Motor Co. is recalling 886,815 Odyssey minivans in the U.S. because a fuel pump cover can deteriorate and cause a fuel leak.
Odysseys from 2005 through 2010 model years are involved. The recalled minivans were made between June 23, 2004, and September 4, 2010.
According to documents posted Saturday by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the cover on the fuel pump strainer can wear down from exposure to high temperatures and acidic chemicals, like those found in fertilizers. Fuel leaks can cause a vehicle fire.
Honda says no fires or injuries have been reported.
Honda dealers will repair the vehicles for free, but the company says replacement parts may not be available until this summer. It will notify owners of the recall next month.


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