Following is a summary of current US domestic news briefs.
In California, food spoils, businesses close as power outages imposed
A California dentist canceled dozens of appointments and supermarkets tried to save rotting food on Thursday as electricity was cut to over 600,000 homes and workplaces in a second day of planned power outages to cut wildfire risks. Pacific Gas and Electric Co (PG&E) imposed the unprecedented shutoffs as gale-force winds and dry weather continued to pose a critical fire threat in northern California.
Sun, sand and vape waste: A new type of litter piles up on American beaches
When Mike Castellano patrols the beaches of the New Jersey Shore, he is no longer surprised to find discarded vape pens and spent "e-juice" cartridges scattered in the white sand. A volunteer with Surfrider Foundation, a non-profit group that picks up trash as part of its mission to protect marine environments, Castellano says vaping waste is a problem that has become progressively worse over the last six months.
Giuliani associates charged with illegally funneling cash to pro-Trump group
Two foreign-born Florida businessmen who have helped President Donald Trump's personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani investigate political rival Joe Biden were arrested in a scheme to illegally funnel money to a pro-Trump election committee and other U.S. political candidates, prosecutors said on Thursday. The arrest of Ukraine-born Lev Parnas and Belarus-born Igor Fruman at an airport outside Washington carrying one-way tickets to Vienna was the latest dramatic development in a political saga that threatens Trump's presidency.
El Paso mass murder suspect pleads not guilty, accused of targeting Mexicans
The Texas man accused of deliberately targeting Mexicans in a shooting spree that killed 22 people at an El Paso Walmart store pleaded not guilty on Thursday in his first court appearance. Patrick Crusius, 21, was indicted last month for capital murder and will face the death penalty if he is convicted, the El Paso County District Attorney Jaime Esparza said.
California proposes new rules to enforce state privacy law
California proposed regulations Thursday that would give consumers more control over how businesses collect and manage their personal information, including requiring a "Do Not Sell My Info" link on companies' websites or apps. California Attorney General Xavier Becerra detailed the draft regulations for the state's new privacy law, due to take effect Jan. 1, which he said will allow people to "pull the curtains back" on information companies have collected on them.
Trump EPA proposes overhaul of lead in drinking water rule, critics call plan weak
The Trump administration on Thursday proposed retooling a 1991 rule on lead and cooper contamination in drinking water, but critics said the change slows by 20 years the timeline for removing aging lead service lines that could expose children to a toxin known to harm developing brains. Andrew Wheeler, the Environmental Protection Agency chief, said at an event in Wisconsin that the plan would "ensure all Americans have access to clean drinking water."
Powerful storm sweeps across northern U.S. plains bringing snow, high winds
A powerful snowstorm swept across parts of the central and northern U.S. plains in unseasonably cold temperatures and high winds on Thursday, forcing school closures and dozens of vehicle crashes on slick roads across the region. The system was expected to produce up to 2 feet (61 cm) of snow in parts of central and eastern North Dakota and up to 10 inches of snow in portions of Nebraska, South Dakota and Montana through Saturday evening, the National Weather Service (NWS) said.
Nine U.S. Democratic presidential hopefuls to tackle LGBTQ issues at televised forum
Nine U.S. Democratic presidential candidates will appear at a televised town hall on Thursday focused on lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender rights, though top contender Bernie Sanders will miss the event as he recovers from a heart attack. The Los Angeles event is the second major presidential forum dedicated to LGBTQ issues during the Democratic nominating campaign, following an event in Iowa last month that drew 10 of the 19 candidates vying to take on U.S. President Donald Trump.
Actor Cuba Gooding Jr. to face new U.S. charges in groping case
Actor Cuba Gooding Jr.'s trial on charges of groping a woman at a Manhattan bar was postponed Thursday as prosecutors revealed they had brought new charges against him in connection with another incident. Gooding is expected to appear in Manhattan Supreme Court on Tuesday to enter a plea to the new charges, which are not yet public, according to the office of Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance.
Amid vaping crisis, U.S. to issue new advice for doctors focused on lung infections
U.S. health officials are preparing to release new guidance for doctors stressing the need to ask every patient with an apparent respiratory infection about their vaping history. The updated guidance will also advise physicians on how to diagnose and manage patients who may have both a lung infection and a vaping injury.