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Cleanup of oily goo could allow California beaches to reopen

(AP) — A 7-mile stretch of Southern California coastline that was closed to swimmers and surfers after globs of oily goo washed ashore could reopen Friday after a two-day cleanup effort.

U.S. Coast Guard and state officials said samples of tar and water would be analyzed to identify where the material originated, but it could take days to get the results.

There is a refinery and offshore oil tanker terminal nearby but the Coast Guard did not find a sheen from a possible spill after the tar started to accumulate.

Public health officials told people to avoid contact with the water, wet sand or any material that washed up in the area.

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New lab can create hurricane conditions on demand

MIAMI (AP) — Researchers trying to figure out what makes some hurricanes strengthen into catastrophic monsters have a new lab that allows them to generate tropical storm conditions with the flip of a switch.

Satellite sensors have been mounted on the lab’s high ceilings to look down at hurricane conditions churning in the tank.

By studying the way hurricane-force winds interact with spray coming off the surface of seawater, researchers aim to improve real-time tropical storm observations made by satellites, ocean buoys and drones and other sensors launched from “hurricane hunter” aircraft.

Researchers think that understanding the role those tiny elements play in the transfer of energy from the ocean to a storm may crack the mystery of what causes some storms to fizzle while others strengthen.


The top 10 highest-paid female CEOs

NEW YORK (AP) — Female CEOs are outpacing their male colleagues in pay, although they remain vastly outnumbered in the top echelons of American companies.

Last year, the median pay for women CEOs rose to $15.9 million, a 21 percent gain from a year earlier, according to a study by executive compensation data firm Equilar and The Associated Press.

For 2014, the board decided it was time to raise the salary portion of her pay package to make it consistent with her peers at similar technology companies.

PepsiCo., which makes Frito-Lay snacks, Gatorade sports drinks and Quaker oatmeal, has improved its performance by raising prices and slashing costs.

The company’s earnings were hit this year by currency volatility in countries like Russia and Bolivia, but this was offset by growth at Frito-Lay North America, which makes snacks such as Doritos, Cheetos and Tostitos.

Novakovic was a senior executive at General Dynamics for more than a decade before she was promoted to the top job in January 2013.

Since she took the position, the defense contractor’s stock has doubled as it has increased dividend payouts and boosted stock buybacks.

Woertz’s near nine-year tenure as CEO of Archer Daniels Midland ended in December, though she still holds the position of chairman at the company, which makes vegetable oil, ethanol and ingredients used in packaged foods and drinks.

The maker of Oreo cookies, Cadbury chocolate and Trident gum raised Rosenfeld’s overall pay by 14 percent last year.

[…] the fight showed that DuPont needed to do a better job of explaining its transformation from a traditional chemical maker to a faster-growing company focused on agricultural products and advanced materials, she said.

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Psychiatrist: Colorado shooter knew what he was doing

(AP) — James Holmes was mentally ill but legally sane when he opened fire in a suburban Denver movie theater, killing 12 people and wounding scores of others, a court-appointed psychiatrist has testified.

Reid, called as a prosecution witness, said Thursday that despite his mental illness, Holmes didn’t meet the requirements to be found insane under Colorado law.

After a break to discuss defense objections and how best to explain Colorado law on insanity, jurors were brought back in and the judge repeated instructions he has given them previously.

Over the next several days, prosecutors plan to show more videos — a total of 22 hours — from the interviews.

Because Holmes pleaded insanity, prosecutors have to prove he was sane, and therefore guilty, at the time of the attack.


Anthrax shipments came from military site in Utah desert

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — The U.S. Army’s mistaken shipment of live anthrax samples to government and commercial laboratories occurred at a military post in a desolate stretch of the Utah desert that has been testing chemical weapons since it opened in 1942.

Though military officials say they were not aware of previous problems with anthrax, the Dugway Proving Ground, 85 miles west of Salt Lake City, has previously had at least two other problems with chemical weapons.

An Army spokesman said in the late 1990s that the Army does not accept responsibility for the sheep deaths, saying state agriculture scientists never identified the cause of death.

Samples from the anthrax lot ended up at 18 labs in nine states and an Army lab in South Korea, leading to more than two dozen people to get treatment for possible exposure, said CDC spokesman Jason McDonald.

In one of the chemical testing buildings at Dugway, test chambers are used to test chemical warfare agents, the Army says in online materials.

Test facilities like Dugway are intended to develop ways to defend against biochemical warfare, which some fear could be used by terrorists, said Barry M. Blechman, co-founder of the Stimson Center, a nonpartisan global security group in Washington.

Republican Wyoming on board with federal sage grouse policy

(AP) — Many Republicans are wary of a large federal effort to protect the greater sage grouse — but not the Republican governor of Wyoming, the state with the biggest share of the birds and more energy development in their habitat than any other.

Interior Secretary Sally Jewell praised Gov. Matt Mead’s efforts to protect the ground-dwelling bird as she revealed plans Thursday to preserve sage grouse habitat on federal land in 10 Western states.

The Interior Department proposes new rules to protect habitat for the greater sage grouse from oil and gas drilling, wind farms, power lines and other development in 10 states:

Drilling near breeding areas would be prohibited during mating season, and power lines would be moved away from prime habitat to avoid serving as perches for raptors that eat sage grouse.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, an agency within Interior, faces a Sept. 30 court-ordered deadline to decide whether the greater sage grouse warrants protection as a threatened or endangered species.


Timeline of the career of ex-US House Speaker Dennis Hastert

CHICAGO (AP) — A federal grand jury has accused former U.S. House Speaker Dennis Hastert of agreeing to pay $3.5 million in hush money to keep an unidentified person silent about “prior misconduct” by the Illinois Republican.

Before the indictment was handed down Thursday, Hastert was remarkable for being a little-known state lawmaker from suburban Chicago who rose to the third-highest office in the land.

GOP leaders name Hastert to replace freshman Republican U.S. Rep. John Grotberg, who was battling cancer.

Hastert tells incumbent Speaker Newt Gingrich dissatisfaction in GOP ranks makes it unlikely the Georgia lawmaker will hold onto post.

2007: J. Dennis Hastert Center for Economics, Government and Public Policy founded at Wheaton College