VIDEO: Today's Headline News from Associated Press
LEMONT, Ill. (AP) -- Envisioning cars that can go "coast to coast without using a drop of oil," President Barack Obama on Friday urged Congress to authorize spending $2 billion over the next decade to expand research into electric cars and biofuels to wean automobiles off gasoline.
Obama, expanding on an initiative he addressed in his State of the Union speech last month, said the United States must shift its cars and trucks entirely off oil to avoid perpetual fluctuations in gas prices. Citing policies that already require automakers to increase gas mileage, he said he expects that by the middle of the next decade, Americans will only have to fill up their cars half as often.
"We've set some achievable but ambitious goals," Obama said, speaking at Argonne National Laboratory outside Chicago
"The only way to break this cycle of spiking gas prices - the only way to break that cycle for good - is to shift our cars entirely, our cars and trucks, off oil," the president said.
Friday's speech, with its focus on energy, was designed to draw attention to what the White House says is one of Obama's top agenda items for his second term. That focus, however, has been overshadowed as the administration and Congress work on an immigration overhaul, gun legislation and deficit-reduction measures.
Obama cast his proposal as not only a clean energy plan, but as one meant to create opportunities for economic growth.
US CLERGY VICTIMS MAKE DEMANDS OF NEW POPE
LOS ANGELES (AP) -- Most Roman Catholics are rejoicing at the election of Pope Francis, but alleged victims of clergy abuse in the U.S. are demanding swift and bold actions from the new Jesuit pontiff: Defrock all molester priests and the cardinals who covered up for them, formally apologize, and release all confidential church files.
Adding to their distrust are several multimillion dollar settlements the Jesuits paid out in recent years, including $166 million to more than 450 Native Alaskan and Native American abuse victims in 2011 for molestation at Jesuit-run schools across the Pacific Northwest. The settlement bankrupted the Oregon Province of the Society of Jesus. The order also paid $14 million to settle nine California cases.
"I would like to see this pope stand up and say to those cardinals, `You need to square this away and change everything that was covered up,' " said Ken Smolka, a 70-year-old retired actor who claimed in a lawsuit he was abused as a teen by a Jesuit priest. "You need to get them on their knees, and let them spend the rest of their lives on their knees praying for the victims."
UK STUDY: VIOLENCE MORE LIKELY AMONG VETS, TROOPS
LONDON (AP) -- Young men who have served in the British military are about three times more likely than civilians to have committed a violent offense, researchers reported Friday in a study that explores the roots of such behavior.
The research found that merely being sent to Iraq or Afghanistan made no difference in rates of violent crime later on. Instead, a key predictor was violent behavior before enlisting. Combat duty also raised the risk, as did witnessing traumatic events during deployment or misusing alcohol afterward.
Still, the vast majority - 94 percent - of British military staff who return home after serving in a combat zone don't commit any crimes, researchers told reporters at a briefing.
REPORT MAKES CHILLING FORECAST ON NORTHWEST QUAKE
SALEM, Ore. (AP) -- More than 10,000 people could die when - not if - a monster earthquake and tsunami occur just off the Pacific Northwest coast, researchers told Oregon legislators Thursday.
Coastal towns would be inundated. Schools, buildings and bridges would collapse, and economic damage could hit $32 billion.
These findings were published in a chilling new report by the Oregon Seismic Safety Policy Advisory Commission, a group of more than 150 volunteer experts.
In 2011, the Legislature authorized the study of what would happen if a quake and tsunami such as the one that devastated Japan hit the Pacific Northwest.
The Cascadia Subduction Zone, just off the regional coastline, produced a mega-quake in the year 1700. Seismic experts say another monster quake and tsunami are overdue.
When it hits, the report says, there will be devastation and death from Northern California to British Columbia.
Oregon legislators requested the study so they could better inform themselves about what needs to be done to prepare and recover from such a giant natural disaster.
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