Calif. approves fines for wasting water
California water regulators have voted to approve fines up to $500 a day for residents who waste water on lawns, landscaping and car washing.
The action on Tuesday by the State Water Quality Control Board came after its own survey showed that conservation measures to date have failed to achieve the 20 percent reduction in water use sought by Gov. Jerry Brown.
Survey results released before the 4-0 vote showed that water consumption throughout California had actually risen by 1 percent this past May compared with the same month in previous years.
The fines will apply only to wasteful outdoor watering, including hosing down hard surfaces such as sidewalks and driveways.
House passes highway bill
With an August deadline looming, the House voted Tuesday to temporarily patch over a multibillion-dollar pothole in federal highway and transit programs while ducking the issue of how to put them on a sound financial footing for the long term.
The action cobbles together $10.8 billion by using pension tax changes, customs fees and money from a fund to repair leaking underground fuel storage tanks to keep the federal Highway Trust Fund, which pays for transportation programs nationwide, solvent through May 2015. The vote was 367 to 55. A similar bill is pending in the Senate.
Without congressional action, the Transportation Department says that by the first week in August the fund will no longer have enough money to cover promised aid to states, and the government will begin to stretch out payments.
Pistorius gets into nightclub argument
Oscar Pistorius was in an altercation at an upmarket nightclub over the weekend, his family said Tuesday.
Pistorius went with a cousin to a trendy Johannesburg nightclub Saturday, where he was accosted by a man who aggressively questioned him about his murder trial, a family spokeswoman said.
The man gave a different version, saying the double- amputee runner was drunk, insulted his friends and the family of President Jacob Zuma and poked him in the chest, according to Johannesburg’s Star newspaper.
Regardless of who started the argument, the weekend episode focuses fresh attention on the disputed character of Pistorius, a globally recognized athlete who is on trial for murder after he fatally shot girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp through a closed toilet door Feb. 14, 2013.
Airstrike kills 11 in Ukraine
An airstrike in eastern Ukraine sent an apartment building crumpling to the ground Tuesday, killing at least 11 people and adding to the steadily mounting civilian death toll from the fighting between government forces and pro-Russia insurgents.
Rebels pinned the attack on the Ukrainian air force. The government swiftly denied blame but was not immediately able to offer an alternative explanation.
The bombing in the rebel-held town of Snizhne demonstrated how airstrikes and heavy rocket fire are becoming increasingly common as the conflict drags into its fourth month.