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Oil prices hit 2½-year high on Keystone pipeline shutdown

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(CNN Money) — The shutdown of the Keystone pipeline following an oil spill has lifted crude oil prices to levels not seen in two and a half years.

Crude has been on the rise for much of the fall, but last week’s leak and shutdown of the pipeline have raised concerns about this vital source of supply.

Oil prices jumped 2% on Wednesday, touching $58.09 a barrel, the highest since July 2015.

About 5,000 barrels of oil, or roughly 210,000 gallons, spilled in South Dakota after the leak last Thursday. The pipeline is a key artery that carries crude into the United States from the oil sands of Alberta.

“There are few other ways to move barrels from Canada into the U.S.,” said Michael Tran, director of global energy strategy at RBC Capital Markets.

Keystone, which is run by TransCanada, can carry 590,000 barrels of oil each day. The pipeline provides about one-fifth of Canadian pipeline imports into the United States, according to the energy research firm Genscape.

“It’s critical,” said Dylan White, an oil markets analyst at Genscape.

Crude is only up 8% so far this year, but it’s accelerated recently, advancing six of the past seven weeks.

The Keystone spill occurred just days before Nebraska approved the path for the controversial Keystone XL pipeline, a sister project that environmentalists fiercely oppose.

Related: America’s oil and gas output could soar 25% by 2025

The key question for the oil market is how long the pipeline will be offline. TransCanada has told some customers it will cut deliveries by 85% or more through the end of November, according to Reuters.

TransCanada declined to comment on the report, but said in a statement that it’s working with regulators to determine a date to restart the pipeline.

It’s not the first leak for the Keystone oil pipeline in South Dakota. In April 2016, part of the pipeline was shut for three days after the release of about 400 barrels. The cleanup took about two months.

Despite this week’s rally, crude oil prices remain modest compared with the $100 prices of three years ago. For American drivers heading into this holiday travel weekend, this means gas prices remain affordable — though they are higher than last Thanksgiving.

The average gallon of gas fetched $2.53 on Wednesday, compared with about $2.13 a year ago, according to AAA.

Crude crashed to as low as $26 a barrel early last year because of a glut in supply, caused mostly by U.S. fracking during the shale revolution.

OPEC, the Saudi-led oil cartel, has been forced to slash production in an attempt to rebalance supply and demand. OPEC is expected to announce an extension of these production cuts next week.

Related: Saudi Arabia’s $100 billion corruption scandal

Wiping out the oil glut has taken longer than many expected, especially in the United States, where higher prices have only encouraged shale companies to start drilling away.

Tran, the RBC analyst, said the shutdown of the Keystone pipeline may accelerate the drawdown of excess oil stockpiles in the United States.

“We’re in the very late stages of this global rebalancing act. The U.S. is the last place to rebalance,” said Tran.

7-year-old girl travels the country to hug a cop in every state

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PONCHATOULA, La. - A little Louisiana girl is in a big hurry to hug a cop - in every state.

Rosalyn Baldwin is just seven.

Everybody who gets a hug from her also gets a heart sticker because the hugs come from Rosalyn's heart.

"I'm hugging them because they risk their lives for other people," Rosalyn tells WGNO. "Because they risk their lives and they're kind and they're everything and besides, there are more good police officers than bad police officers."

Read More: Girl Scouts: Don’t make your daughter hug people this holiday

Ponchatoula Police Chief Bry Layrisson says it's his "first time for a hug of that magnitude."

After a year, Rosalyn has hugged half the country - 25 states down and 25 to go.

As she travels cross country, her mom is her driver, but not her driving force.

Angie Baldwin says, "No, I would not have thought about going to 50 states, trust me, this was inspired completely by her. She loves police officers."

From coast to coast, hugs are inspiring her mission, but so far, not her career.

Rosalyn says she doesn't want to be a police officer when she grows up.

"No, it's too dangerous."

She says she wants to be a veterinarian, so she'll grow up and go from hugging cops to canines.

In the meantime, she's got half the country to hug.

Navy aircraft crash leaves 3 missing in Philippine Sea

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(CNN) — A US Navy plane crashed into the ocean southeast of Okinawa Wednesday afternoon, leaving three people missing in the latest of a string of troubling incidents facing the Navy in waters off East Asia this year.

The C2-A Greyhound transport plane was carrying 11 crew and passengers to an aircraft carrier when it crashed into the Philippine Sea around 2:45 p.m. Japan Standard Time, the Navy said.

Eight people have been rescued and are in good condition aboard the carrier, the USS Ronald Reagan, the Navy said in a statement. US and Japanese ships and planes are searching the area for the three people who remain missing.

The names of those who were onboard are being withheld, pending the notification of their next of kin, the Navy said.

“Our entire focus is on finding all of our sailors,” Navy Rear Adm. Marc H. Dalton said. “US and Japanese ships and aircraft are searching the area of the crash, and we will be relentless in our efforts.”

The plane was carrying passengers and cargo from Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni in Japan to the carrier when the plane crashed about 500 nautical miles southeast of Okinawa, Japan.

A Navy public affairs officer told CNN the plane was on approach to the carrier, but didn’t know how far away it was from the ship.

The cause of the crash wasn’t immediately known, according to an initial statement from the US Navy 7th Fleet. “I have been informed from the US military that engine trouble may have caused (the crash),” Japan’s Defense Minister Itsunori Onodera told reporters Wednesday.

Troubled year for Navy in Pacific

It’s been a difficult year for the Navy in the western North Pacific following a spate of incidents — most involving ships assigned to the East Asia-based US 7th fleet — that included the deaths of 17 sailors.

In August, Vice Adm. Joseph Aucoin was relieved of his duty as the commander of 7th Fleet following a deadly collision between the destroyer USS John S. McCain and a merchant ship off Singapore that left 10 US sailors dead.

In June, the guided-missile destroyer USS Fitzgerald, also of the 7th Fleet, collided with a cargo ship off Japan, killing seven US sailors.

Those two fatal collisions were “avoidable” and “numerous failures occurred on the part of leadership,” a Navy report concluded earlier this month.

At least two other incidents involving US 7th Fleet ships happened in waters off East Asia this year.

On Saturday, a Japanese tugboat lost propulsion and drifted into the USS Benfold in a bay off central Japan, causing minor damage to the guided-missile destroyer, the Navy said.

In late January, the guided-missile cruiser USS Antietam ran aground in Tokyo Bay, damaging its propellers.

Another incident in East Asian waters involved a US 3rd Fleet ship: In May, the guided-missile cruiser USS Lake Champlain was struck by a South Korean fishing boat off the Korean Peninsula.

The Navy has launched multiple investigations and reviews in the wake of this year’s accidents.

The C2-A that crashed Wednesday belongs to a Japan-based squadron that generally flies cargo and passengers between shore bases and the USS Ronald Reagan.

Delivery driver caught urinating on homeowner’s doorstep

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AURORA, Colo. -- A Colorado homeowner is furious after his doorbell camera captured a delivery driver urinating on his doorstep, according to KDVR.

A package was dropped off, but it's what the driver did afterward that has William Washington furious.

His doorbell security system recorded the delivery driver urinating on the doorstep.

On Wednesday, an Amazon spokesman said the driver no longer works for the company.

“This does not reflect the high standards we have for delivery partners," Ernesto Apreza said in a statement. "This individual is no longer delivering to Amazon customers.”

Father, son plead guilty to robbing Davenport credit unions

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DAVENPORT, Iowa (AP) — A father and son and an accomplice have pleaded guilty to charges stemming from credit union robberies in Davenport.

The Quad-City Times reports that 33-year-old David Denney pleaded guilty Friday in Davenport to three counts of bank robbery and one of conspiracy. His sentencing is scheduled for March 20.

His 59-year-old father, Kevin Denney, pleaded guilty to one count of bank robbery and one of conspiracy. His sentencing is set for March 19.

Their co-defendant, 32-year-old Cynthia Niebuhr-Hartley, of Muscatine, earlier pleaded guilty to robbery and conspiracy counts. Her sentencing also is set for March 19.

U.S. district court documents say the three were involved in robbing an Ascentra Credit Union office in August 2016 and a Vibrant Credit Union office in November 2016 and again on March 30.

Uber paid hackers $100,000 after they stole data on 57 million users

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(CNN Money) — Uber says it paid hackers $100,000 after they stole data last year on 57 million of its users.

The startup did not disclose the attack until Tuesday, Nov. 21,  adding a potential cover up to a list of recent corporate controversies.

Uber said that two people outside the company accessed the personal information of 57 million Uber users in late 2016, including names, email addresses and phone numbers. The license numbers of around 600,000 drivers in the United States were included in the breach.

The company did not alert victims or regulators of the breach when it was first discovered.

Britain’s data protection watchdog said the news raised “huge concerns” about Uber’s data policies and ethics.

“If U.K. citizens were affected then we should have been notified so that we could assess and verify the impact on people whose data was exposed,” said James Dipple-Johnstone of the U.K. Information Commissioner’s Office.

Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi said in a statement he recently learned of the breach.

Khosrowshahi, who became CEO in August, said he launched an investigation into why the company did not alert authorities or affected individuals. He said, “two of the individuals who led the response to this incident are no longer with the company.” Khosrowshahi said the company is now notifying regulatory authorities.

Bloomberg reported that Joe Sullivan, Uber’s chief security officer, is no longer with the company. Uber would not confirm to CNNMoney which individuals had left the company.

Related: Uber’s PR crises show no sign of letting up

“At the time of the incident, we took immediate steps to secure the data and shut down further unauthorized access by the individuals,” Khosrowshahi said in the statement.

“We subsequently identified the individuals and obtained assurances that the downloaded data had been destroyed. We also implemented security measures to restrict access to and strengthen controls on our cloud-based storage accounts,” he said.

Uber did not say how hackers assured the company the stolen data was destroyed, but it did confirm that $100,000 was paid to the hackers.

According to the company, no location history, credit card numbers, Social Security numbers, or dates of birth were downloaded in the hack. Uber said it is providing free credit monitoring to drivers who had their license numbers exposed.

It’s the latest blow to Uber, which is trying to improve its public image. The company has been embroiled in a number of controversies, including using software called Greyball to evade regulators, a court battle over allegedly stolen secrets from Google’s self-driving car division, and a slew of complaints regarding sexual harassment and toxic company culture.

This week, the company was fined almost $9 million for background check issues in Colorado.

In his statement, Khosrowshahi said things will be different moving forward. “While I can’t erase the past, I can commit on behalf of every Uber employee that we will learn from our mistakes,” he wrote.

Crime Stoppers doubling arrest rewards for holidays

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Crime Stoppers of the Quad Cities is sweetening the pot for anyone with information leading to the arrest of criminals this holiday season.

The organization is offering double reward money for any information that leads to felony arrests between Friday, Nov. 24 and Friday Dec. 8. Rewards of up to $1,000 will be paid out.

Citizens can report  information on unsolved felony crimes and the location of people wanted on felony warrants, and receive a cash reward if their information leads to an arrest. Crime Stoppers of the Quad Cities has paid out more than $330,000 in rewards.

See the Quad Cities current “most wanted” list here.

Anyone with information about unsolved felony crimes or the location of people on the most wanted list can call the tip line at (309) 762-9500. Tips can also be submitted online or on Crime Stoppers mobile app.

 

 

Man accused of U of Iowa campus sex assaults takes plea deal

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IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) — An Iowa City man charged with sexually assaulting numerous students and employees on the University of Iowa campus has taken a plea deal.

Court records say 34-year-old Adam Weinstein entered an Alford plea Tuesday to assault with intent to commit injury and assault with intent to commit sexual abuse. In an Alford plea, a person doesn’t admit guilt but acknowledges there is enough evidence for a likely conviction.

Prosecutors dropped several other charges in exchange for Weinstein’s pleas. His sentencing is scheduled for Feb. 12.

Police say Weinstein sexually assaulted, groped and harassed at least eight women on the campus during a 15-hour period on Nov. 10, 2015. Police say the incidents took place at the university hospital, near residence halls and the law school.

Couple charged after Indiana boy allegedly shot with airsoft gun

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LOGANSPORT, Ind. – An Indiana couple faces numerous battery and neglect charges for incidents involving a 13-year-old boy, the Pharos-Tribune reports.

Carl Alvin Knipe Sr., 32, is accused of injuring the boy when he shot him with an airsoft gun on November 20. He also put feces on the teen and forced him to eat it, according to court documents.

Knipe’s wife Casey, 33, is accused of knowingly putting the boy in a dangerous situation and not intervening or notifying police.

Knipe’s charges include battery resulting in bodily injury to a person less than 14 years of age; battery by means of a deadly weapon; neglect of a dependent resulting in bodily injury; and battery by bodily waste.

Casey is charged with neglect of a dependent resulting in bodily injury.

According to the Pharos-Tribune, the couple is currently in the Cass County Jail on a $2,000 bond. Their initial hearings are scheduled for today in Cass Superior Court 2.

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