National news briefs: 11/9/13

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Climate change adviser named

WASHINGTON -- Dan Utech, a longtime Washington insider, has been named as President Barack Obama's new adviser on energy and climate change, a White House official said.

Mr. Utech came to the Obama administration in 2010 and currently serves as the White House deputy director for climate. He will replace the departing energy and climate adviser, Heather Zichal, whose last day was Friday.

In his new position, which he will begin Monday, Mr. Utech will also have to explain to the public the administration's stand on often-contentious energy and environmental issues, such as the Keystone XL oil pipeline and new rules to cut greenhouse gas emissions from power plants.

Obama pushes plan for ports

NEW ORLEANS -- President Barack Obama traveled to this waterfront city Friday to push a plan to spend more money on ports from Miami to Tacoma as a way to put Americans back to work.

Mr. Obama has proposed spending $50 billion on improvements on roads and bridges, airports and ports as he looks to boost the country's infrastructure investment, which has dropped 50 percent since 1960 and lags behind many other nations, including China.

Porch killing sparks protests

DEARBORN HEIGHTS, Mich. -- Protesters and civil rights groups are calling for justice after a suburban Detroit homeowner fatally shot a 19-year-old woman on his porch.

No charges have been filed after authorities said Renisha McBride, of Detroit, was killed by a shotgun blast to the face early last Saturday in Dearborn Heights.

A man told investigators that he thought someone was trying to break into his home and accidentally discharged the gun, according to police.

Train explodes, spills oil

ALICEVILLE, Ala. -- A 90-car train derailed and exploded in rural Alabama early Friday morning, spilling its crude oil cargo into the surrounding wetlands and igniting a fire so intense that officials said it will take 24 hours to burn out. No one was injured.

The train was crossing a timber trestle above a wetland near Aliceville late Thursday night when 20 railcars and two of three locomotives derailed. Earlier reports said fewer cars had derailed. Aliceville, which once housed a prisoner-of-war camp for German soldiers, is about 46 miles from Tuscaloosa.

Same-sex marriage ban

BOISE, Idaho -- Two Boise couples married in other states and two couples who tried to obtain a marriage license in Idaho sued in federal district court Friday to overturn Idaho's ban on same-sex marriage.

The case, supported by the National Center for Lesbian Rights in San Francisco, was filed in U.S. District Court against Gov. Butch Otter and Ada County Clerk/Auditor/Recorder Chris Rich.


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