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SAN FRANCISCO Alphabet Inc’s Waymo autonomous vehicle group will begin testing a self-driving car program for hundreds of families in Phoenix, Arizona and is buying 500 Chrysler minivans to do so, the companies said on Tuesday. Waymo, which along with Google is owned by Alphabet Inc(GOOGL.O), recently has been quietly testing the service for a handful of families, learning what potential customers would want from a ride service, the company said in a blog post. It urged people to apply to take part in an expanded test, which is the first public trial of Waymo’s self-driving cars. The vehicles include human operators from Waymo behind the wheel, in case intervention is required and to take feedback. Silicon Valley is racing to master self-driving technology, betting that it will transform the auto industry and be a gold mine for leading companies. Waymo has one of the best technology track records, and it has an alliance with …

WALLINGFORD, Conn. –  Police say the crash of a small plane in Connecticut has killed a man and injured his son. The crash happened Monday evening on a road next to Meriden-Markham Airport, in Wallingford near the Meriden border. Police say 56-year-old Cheshire resident Joseph Tomanelli was killed and 21-year-old David Tomanelli has been hospitalized for treatment of non-life-threatening injuries. The son was found conscious and alert near the plane’s wreckage. Meriden’s Record-Journal newspaper (http://bit.ly/2pZKCsp ) says emergency dispatchers received several reports of thick black smoke spewing from where the plane crashed. Area resident Joy Heavens says she was surprised by a loud noise. She says she heard something that “sounded like a big boom.” The National Transportation Safety Board and Federal Aviation Administration are investigating. ___ Information from: Record-Journal, http://www.record-journal.com

A United Airlines fight on Monday made an emergency landing in Costa Rica after one of its engines reportedly overheated over the ocean. Time magazine, citing a reporter who was aboard the plane, reported that Flight 1516 was headed for Houston from Libreria, Costa Rica. The magazine citied local reports that said the plane took off from Daniel Oduber International Airport and landed back about two hours later after circling. The airline did not immediately respond to the magazine. A fire supervisor from Costa Rica confirmed the overheating incident. The plane was identified as a Boeing 737-800. One of the passengers aboard the flight reportedly said that the plane “about crashed in an emergency landing before the pilot quickly pulled up. So scary.” Another passenger said it was the “most frightening thing I’ve ever experienced.”

NEW YORK –  Volunteers are stepping up to accompany people living in the United States illegally to court hearings and meetings with immigration officials. The goal is to guide them through what’s often an intimidating process. Some of the volunteers say the accompaniment is more important now than ever since Republican President Donald Trump has expanded the definition of deportable offenses. And reports have surfaced of immigrants being apprehended during routine check-ins with Immigration and Customs Enforcement. Trump says the deportations are necessary to keep the United States safe. In New York, the nonprofit New Sanctuary Coalition had one of its volunteers with a Colombian immigrant last month when he was arrested during his check-in. The group helped publicize the arrest. The man was released two weeks later after his lawyer requested a stay of the order of deportation.

April 24 (UPI) — Several Democratic lawmakers questioned whether the federal government improperly promoted an enterprise of President Donald Trump with a blog post on a State Department website. The post touting Mar-a-Lago, President Trump’s privately owned club dubbed the winter White House, has been removed. The State Department apologized for “any misperception” about the post. “The intention of the article was to inform the public about where the President has been hosting world leaders,” read a message on the Share America website. “We regret any misperception and have removed the post.” Democratic lawmakers raised ethical questions about the post. Yes, I am curious @StateDept. Why are taxpayer $$ promoting the President’s private country club? pic.twitter.com/IlPhUlvMwa — Ron Wyden (@RonWyden) April 24, 2017 The post was available on Share America, a State Department program that works with U.S. embassies and consulates in more than 140 countries. Trump has visited Mar-a-Lago seven times for a total …

Arkansas executed one condemned murderer Monday night and was poised to put a second to death before a federal judge issued an emergency stay.  Jones was pronounced dead at 7:20 Central Time Monday night, 14 minutes after the procedure began at the state’s Cummins Unit in southeast Arkansas. There were no apparent complications, and Jones’ chest stopped moving two minutes after officials checked for consciousness. However, in a last-minute filing, attorneys for inmate Marcel Williams said that it took 45 minutes for prison staff to place an IV into Jones and argued that Williams, who is obese, could face a “torturous death.” The attorneys claimed Jones showed “continued consciousness” after the midazolam was administered. Williams was scheduled to be executed at 8:15 p.m. before U.S. District Judge Kristine Baker halted Williams’ execution until 8:30 p.m.  or until she issues another order, whichever is later. Jones was sent to death row for the 1995 rape and killing …

April 24 (UPI) — Former Georgia Gov. George E. “Sonny” Perdue breezed to confirmation Monday as President Donald Trump‘s agriculture secretary. Perdue faced few obstacles in the Senate, winning approval by a vote of 87-11 Monday. “I’m pleased to vote for Agriculture Secretary nominee Sonny Perdue,” Sen. Tammy Baldwin, D-Wis., who’s running for re-election in a state Trump surprisingly carried in November, said. “I look forward to working together to strengthen Wisconsin’s agricultural economy and our rural communities.” Perdue is taking over a department that faces a 21 percent funding cut proposed by Trump in his budget blueprint last month — the third-largest proposed cut to any federal agency. Trump also proposed cuts to the State Department and Environmental Protection Agency. “As a member of the administration, I view this budget similar to what [I did] as governor,” Perdue said at his confirmation hearing last month. “I didn’t like it … but we managed to …

HONOLULU –  Vice President Mike Pence ended his trip to Asia on Monday with a thanks to U.S. service members based in Hawaii and promises of robust military spending under President Donald Trump. Pence sat with troops for lunch at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam in Hawaii and noted the president’s push for increased military spending at a time when the U.S. faces threats in the Asia-Pacific posed by North Korea. The vice president said he wanted to assure military members that “in these uncertain times, people who serve here at U.S. Pacific Command will know that in your commander-in-chief, you have a president who is going to fight to rebuild our military.” Pence wrapped up a 10-day trip to Asia that included a visit to the Demilitarized Zone separating North and South Korea, consultations with leaders in South Korea, Japan, Indonesia and Australia, and a quick stop to see troops in American Samoa. The United …

RAPID CITY, S.D. –  Federal officials in South Dakota said Monday that 15 people have been indicted for illegally trafficking eagles and other migratory birds after a two-year undercover operation potentially involving hundreds of birds. U.S. Attorney Randy Seiler said that officials expect “significant” additional federal charges in the case, which focused on trafficking of eagles and eagle parts such as feathers for profit. Authorities said the case involves more than 100 eagles, a number that could climb as high as 250. Seiler described one operation as basically a “chop-shop for eagles” in which eagle feathers were stuffed into garbage bags. He said it was clear that it was a moneymaking operation and that the feathers and other eagle parts such as talons and beaks were treated as merchandise. “There was no cultural sensitivity. There was no spirituality,” Seiler said. “There was no tradition in the manner in which these defendants handled these birds.” Three …

NEW YORK An investment banking vice president and risk management specialist was criminally charged on Monday with insider trading in Neustar Inc before the advertising technology company agreed to be acquired by a private equity firm. Avaneesh Krishnamoorthy, an Indian citizen living in West New York, New Jersey, made about $48,000 trading Neustar stock and options in a brokerage account held by him and his wife, after learning that Golden Gate Capital was in talks to buy the company, court papers show. Shares of Neustar rose 21 percent last Dec. 14 after Golden Gate’s takeover of the Sterling, Virginia-based company for about $2.9 billion including debt. Krishnamoorthy’s employer was not identified in court papers, but according to LinkedIn a person sharing his name works as a market risk manager for Nomura Holdings Inc. In a related civil complaint, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission said the employer had been registered with the commission as a …

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