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  • Chicago ‘petcoke’ handler says it’ll enclose piles Dec 17, 2014 1:16 PM
    A company storing petroleum coke on Chicago’s southeast side says it plans to build a huge structure to contain the grainy black piles and keep them from blowing around. KCBX Terminals said Tuesday that it’ll build a $120 million structure about 1,000 feet long, 200 feet wide and 100 feet tall to comply with a city requirement to enclose “petcoke.” Construction would begin next fall and take two years — even though the city requires that petcoke piles be enclosed by 2016. The company is asking the city to waive that timeline. Petcoke is a byproduct of oil refining often used as industrial fuel. Many residents want the piles removed, saying they worry about their health. A proposed city ordinance would limit the amount of petcoke stored in Chicago.

  • American released from Cuba was ‘trusting fool’ Dec 17, 2014 11:35 AM
    Alan Gross has called himself a “trusting fool” for going to Cuba in the first place. Family and friends described him with other words: gregarious and outgoing, with a talent for picking up and playing any musical instrument. Gross, 65, was freed from prison Wednesday as part of an agreement that included the release of three Cubans jailed in the United States, officials said.

  • Ohio man acquitted after unusual insanity defense dies Dec 17, 2014 6:54 PM
    Ohio man acquitted after using multiple personality disorder in 1970s insanity defense dies

  • NYC premiere of Rogen film canceled as threats fly Dec 17, 2014 12:45 PM
    Threats of violence against movie theaters. The New York premiere of “The Interview” canceled. Leaks of thousands more private emails. Lawsuits by former employees that could cost tens of millions in damages. The fallout from the Sony Pictures Entertainment hack exploded Tuesday after the shadowy group calling themselves Guardians of Peace threatened moviegoers with violence, prompting Sony to allow theater chains to cancel showings of the Seth Rogen and James Franco comedy “The Interview.”

  • US Fed slashes inflation forecast for 2015 Dec 17, 2014 1:42 PM
    The Federal Reserve has sharply cut its forecast for inflation next year, saying it will remain far below its 2 percent target through 2015. The Fed said Wednesday that it now expects inflation to fall to between 1 percent and 1.6 percent in 2015, down from a previous forecast in September of 1.6 percent to 1.9 percent.

  • Obama: time to boost travel, commerce with Cuba Dec 17, 2014 11:38 AM
    President Barack Obama says his changes to U.S. policy with Cuba will make it easier for Americans to travel to Cuba, and to use their credit and debit cards in the country.

  • 10 charged in credit card fraud and ticket scheme Dec 17, 2014 1:25 PM
    Federal authorities have charged 10 people in a scheme that allegedly used stolen credit card numbers to purchase $1.7 million worth of sports and concert tickets and then resold them at venues across Wisconsin and the U.S.

  • Russians flock to stores to pre-empt price rises Dec 17, 2014 10:20 AM
    Russian consumers flocked to the stores Wednesday, frantically buying a range of big-ticket items to pre-empt the price rises kicked off by the staggering fall in the value of the ruble in recent days. As the government considered ways to ease the selling pressure on the ruble, which has slid 15 percent in just two days and raised fears of a bank run, many Russians were buying cars and home appliances — in some cases in record numbers — before prices for these imported goods shoot higher.

  • NIU graduate shot outside Texas TV station Dec 17, 2014 3:47 PM
    A weather forecaster who attended Northern Illinois University was shot multiple times outside a central Texas television station Wednesday morning, according to reports.

  • Topinka remembered as honest, tough at memorial Dec 17, 2014 4:31 PM
    Late Comptroller Judy Baar Topinka has been remembered as a tough, honest leader with a signature sense of humor. Crowds filled a union hall in Countryside on Wednesday to pay respects. Individuals included the state’s top leaders, lawmakers, local leaders and Illinoisans who knew her for more than 70 years.

  • 14 arrested, charged in 2012 meningitis outbreak Dec 17, 2014 10:19 AM
    Fourteen owners or employees of a Massachusetts compounding pharmacy were arrested Wednesday in connection with a 2012 meningitis outbreak that killed 64 people nationwide and was traced to tainted drug injections.

  • Cosby won’t be charged over molestation claim Dec 17, 2014 6:51 AM
    Los Angeles prosecutors on Tuesday declined to file any charges against Bill Cosby after a woman recently claimed the comedian molested her around 1974. The rejection of a child sexual abuse charge by prosecutors came roughly 10 days after the woman, Judy Huth, met with Los Angeles police detectives for 90 minutes. The Los Angeles County district attorney’s office rejected filing a misdemeanor charge of annoying or molesting a child under the age of 18 because the statute of limitations had passed.

  • Sydney hostage planned daring escape Dec 17, 2014 12:54 PM
    The siege at the Sydney cafe had been going on for more than five hours and 82-year-old John O’Brien had become convinced the gunman was insane and they would likely all end up dead. And so he made a decision, one he knew came with a cost: he was going to try to escape.

  • Pakistan buries victims of school massacre Dec 17, 2014 6:48 PM
    As they buried their children Wednesday, the families spoke of their dreams. One boy had just gotten high marks on his midterm and hoped to become a pilot. A 13-year-old wanted to become a doctor. Another kid just loved playing video games with his cousins.

  • Trestman doing his best to tune out the noise Dec 17, 2014 9:37 PM
    Beleaguered Bears coach Marc Trestman said he understands the rampant speculation about his job security, and he expressed disappointment with where his 5-9 team stands with two games remaining.

  • Cubs trade Ruggiano to Seattle for pitching prospect Dec 17, 2014 11:59 AM
    With several young outfielders in the farm system looking to take the next step in Chicago, the Cubs traded 32-year-old Justin Ruggiano to Seattle for a pitching prospect Wednesday. In the deal, the Cubs get right-hander Matt Brazis, 25, from the Mariners and open a spot on their 40-man roster.

  • Report: Bears bench Cutler for Sunday’s game Dec 17, 2014 6:12 PM
    The Bears apparently have seen enough of quarterback Jay Cutler this season. ESPN NFL reporter Adam Schefter, via a Twitter posting, said the Bears have decided to start Jimmy Clausen at quarterback on Sunday over Cutler, who has led the team to a 5-9 record.

  • Bears bench Cutler vs. Lions Dec 17, 2014 10:01 PM
    By his own admission, Bears coach Marc Trestman joins a long list of coaches who have failed to get optimum production out of quarterback Jay Cutler, who was benched on Wednesday in favor of Jimmy Clausen, who hasn't started a game in nearly four years.

  • Aussie leader: Siege gunman dropped off watch list Dec 17, 2014 6:51 PM
    The gunman responsible for a deadly siege in a Sydney cafe was once on the national security agency’s watch list, but was dropped off it years ago for reasons that remain unclear, Australia’s prime minister said Wednesday.

  • U.S., Cuba patch torn relations in historic accord Dec 17, 2014 7:27 PM
    President Barack Obama announced the re-establishment of diplomatic relations with Cuba on Wednesday and declared an end to America’s “outdated approach” to the communist island in a historic shift aimed at ending a half-century of Cold War enmity. “These 50 years have shown that isolation has not worked,” Obama said in remarks from the White House. “It’s time for a new approach.”

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