'I had to do it,' accused gunman says of South Carolina church attack

Police lead suspected shooter Dylann Roof into the courthouse in ShelbyRoof told investigators after his arrest for the June 17, 2015, massacre at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston that he estimated he had killed five people as retribution for perceived racial grievances. "I had to do it because somebody had to do it," Roof said in the taped confession.



Polar vortex redux? U.S. forecasters say it could hit next week

Chicago skyline is framed by icicles in ChicagoBy Timothy Mclaughlin CHICAGO (Reuters) - Forecasters are sending chills down some spines with a prediction that much of the northern half of the United States could see frigid weather next week similar to life-threatening lows the polar vortex brought to parts of the country in 2014. Anticipation of a freezing blast began to build this week when weather maps and forecast models showed similarities between next week's system and one that developed in January 2014. The southward shift in the polar vortex in 2014 brought the Midwest some of its coldest weather in two decades.



U.S. slated to sell $375 million of emergency reserve oil this winter

A maze of crude oil pipe and equipment is seen with the American and Texas flags flying during a tour by the Department of Energy at the Strategic Petroleum Reserve in FreeportBy Timothy Gardner WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. government is slated to sell $375 million worth of crude oil from the country's emergency reserve this winter after Congress passed a temporary spending bill on Friday that contained a measure authorizing the sale. President Barack Obama's administration has pushed Congress to approve an up to $2 billion plan for a revamp of the Strategic Petroleum Reserve, a string of heavily guarded underground salt caverns along the Gulf of Mexico filled with crude. The stash currently holds about 695 million barrels of oil.



Warehouse fire survivor: People 'dying right in front of me'

Christopher Farstad, right, a musician from Minneapolis, speaks with his father, James, at a coffee shop Friday, Dec. 9, 2016, in Gilbert, Ariz. Farstad was among a group of people attending a music event inside a warehouse in Oakland, Calif., on Friday night, Dec 2, 2016, when a fire tore through the building, killing dozens of people. He described the scene as a "hellish situation." (AP Photo/Brian Skoloff)OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — To set foot in the Ghost Ship on a party night was to pass through the doors of an old warehouse and enter an exotic world glowing with rainbow lanterns, guarded by figures of Asian deities and pulsing with a welcoming vibe.



Snow, freezing rain hits Northwest

In this photo taken on Thursday, Dec. 8, 2016, the Washington Capitol is seen at sunset as snow falls in Olympia, Wash. Snow fell across the Pacific Northwest as the first winter storm of the season hit the region. (AP Photo/Rachel La Corte)PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — A wintry mix of snow, ice and rain continued Friday in much of the Northwest as ice was slow to thaw and new winter weather warnings were issued around the region.





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