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California gas pipeline explosion, fire injure up to 15 people

A firefighter watches the blaze after a gas line exploded near FresnoBy Sharon Bernstein SACRAMENTO, Calif. (Reuters) - A construction crew on Friday accidentally ruptured a natural gas transmission line in Fresno, California, sparking an explosion and fire that injured up to 15 people, four of them critically, officials said. The 12-inch (30-cm) pipeline, belonging to Pacific Gas & Electric Corp , was struck by a backhoe near state Highway 99, unleashing a fireball that injured members of the construction team and a jail inmate crew nearby, Fresno Fire Department spokesman Peter Martinez said. One worker in critical condition was flown to hospital by helicopter, and 13 or 14 others were taken to hospitals for evaluation and treatment of injuries after the pipeline was ruptured at about 2:30 p.m., Martinez added. Four of the injured were taken to Community Regional Medical Center in Fresno, and two more were taken to the burn unit there, said hospital spokeswoman Mary Lisa Russell, adding that four were in critical condition and two serious.


"3 Still Standing" documentary features Robin Williams

FILE - This Aug. 14, 2009 file photo shows actor Robin Williams in Los Angeles. Williams and Durst are highlighted in "3 Still Standing," a new documentary featured later in April 2015 at Toronto’s Hot Docs, North America’s largest documentary festival. The film marks one of Williams’ final appearances on screen. (AP Photo/Matt Sayles, File)TORONTO (AP) — Before the late Robin Williams enthralled television audiences on "Mork and Mindy," he was a star on the stand-up comedy circuit in the 1980s.


Campaign begins in Arizona to make recreational marijuana legal

A fully budded marijuana plant ready for trimming is seen at the Botanacare marijuana store ahead of their grand opening on New Year's day in Northglenn, ColoradoBy David Schwartz PHOENIX (Reuters) - Advocates for legalizing marijuana launched a petition campaign in Phoenix on Friday seeking a ballot measure that could make Arizona the fifth U.S. state to allow possession, cultivation and consumption of small amounts of pot for recreational use. Supporters have until July of next year to obtain the signatures of 150,642 registered voters in the politically conservative state in order to get their initiative placed on the November 2016 ballot, election officials said. Following the leads of five other western states and the District of Columbia, the Arizona measure would legalize possession, cultivation and private personal consumption of marijuana by adults for the sake of just getting high. Arizona is already one of 23 U.S. states, plus the District of Columbia, that allow marijuana for medicinal purposes.


Texas House approves bill that limits city bans on fracking
By Marice Richter DALLAS (Reuters) - A bill that would stop Texas cities from enacting their own bans on hydraulic fracturing in the nation's top crude oil and natural gas producing state was approved on Friday in the state House of Representatives. The bill bars cities from overly regulating the industry, targeting a ban on fracking, a method of extracting oil and gas that uses high pressure, adopted by voters in Denton, Texas, a college town about 30 miles (50 km) north of Dallas. Representatives voted 122-18 to advance the bill. The Texas Senate has yet to vote on a similar bill.
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