19 Stories

2-Month-Old Christmas Tree Blamed for Mansion Fire

Home engulfed in minutes when fire hit dried-out tree

(Newser) - The investigation into the huge blaze that killed a Maryland couple and their four grandchildren earlier this month has pinned the blame on a major fire hazard right in the middle of the mansion's "Great Room": A 2-month-old, 15-foot Christmas tree. Fire officials say an electrical failure ignited... More »

2 Bodies Found in Mansion's Charred Ruins

4 still missing in burned-down Maryland castle

(Newser) - Investigators found the bodies of two unidentified people yesterday in the charred remains of an Annapolis-area mansion that burned to the ground earlier this week, a fire official says. Cadaver dogs and searchers found the bodies, and four people remain unaccounted for, the county fire department spokesman says. "I... More »

How Did a $6M 'Castle' Just Burn to the Ground?

Annapolis investigators still have more questions than answers

(Newser) - What started the Monday blaze that consumed a 16,000-square-foot Annapolis mansion that locals called "The Castle"? Why were there apparently no smoke alarms or sprinklers in such a well-appointed home? And, perhaps most distressingly, where are owners Donald and Sandra Pyle and their four grandkids, feared dead... More »

Washington, DC Will See Daily Floods by 2045

Other east coast cities could flood hundreds of times per year: study

(Newser) - Flooding due to high tides will become very routine on the East Coast by 2045, a study finds: In fact, Washington, DC and Annapolis, MD, will likely face "nuisance" floods more than once per day, researchers suggest. Cities like Miami and Atlantic City will see such floods about 240... More »

To Avoid Gay Weddings, Firm Drops All Weddings

Washington-area Trolley company gives up revenue to avoid lawsuits

(Newser) - Matt Grubbs refuses to have any part in a same-sex wedding—even if it costs him $50,000 a year. Grubbs owns Discover Annapolis Tours, an old-fashioned trolley company often seen carrying wedding parties to their big day. But those trips will soon be a thing of the past: The... More »

Hot at the Naval Academy: Synthetic Pot

Drug tests don't detect it, say current, ex-midshipmen

(Newser) - So-called synthetic marijuana is widely smoked at the US Naval Academy, say some midshipmen who were kicked out of the Academy for using it. The drug appeared on the campus last year and quickly grew in popularity due to the fact that it cannot be detected in routine urine tests,... More »

Smoking Packages in Maryland Work of 'Lone Wolf'

Terrorist groups weren't involved: congressman

(Newser) - The sender of two packages that released smoke when they were opened in Maryland yesterday was a “lone wolf,” not affiliated with any group, said a congressman briefed on the matter. Maryland’s governor, to whom one package was addressed , said it contained a note deriding highway signs... More »

Two Mailed Packages Set Off Smoke in Maryland Offices

No serious injuries reported

(Newser) - Two packages sent to state government buildings 20 miles apart released smoke and odors when they were opened today, but no one was seriously injured, officials said. State officials initially said the packages exploded, but later said there were no blasts. One package was opened this afternoon at the Jeffrey... More »

McCain Has 20-Name Veep List

Candidate talks up undisciplined youth at Naval Academy

(Newser) - John McCain revealed today that he has a list of 20 people he’s considering for runningmate, and that he’d like to settle on a ticket “as early as possible.” The future Republican nominee joked he was “aware of the enhanced importance of this issue given... More »

Saudi Court to Review Rape Victim Sentence

Prince about-faces, claims case is being used against country

(Newser) - Courts will take another look at the sentence of a gang-rape victim, Saudi Arabia's foreign minister said yesterday, following an international outcry when the 19-year-old was handed a six-month prison term and 200 lashes. “What is outraging about this case is that it is being used against the Saudi... More »

Bush Begins Mideast Peace Bid

First international peace gathering since 1991

(Newser) - President Bush plunged headlong into the Middle East peace process yesterday, meeting with Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas and Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert as representatives of 49 countries gathered at Annapolis for talks, the New York Times reports. “The United States cannot impose our vision but we can help... More »

Bush Meets With Olmert, Abbas

Bush jump-starts peace talks a day ahead of Annapolis summit

(Newser) - On the eve of the Mideast peace summit, which begins tomorrow in Annapolis, President Bush held separate talks with Ehud Olmert and Mahmoud Abbas today in the Oval Office, reports the Washington Post. Between meetings, Bush thanked both leaders for participating in the talks and said he was “optimistic”... More »

Computer Game Lets Players Try Virtual Peace

Peace center will distribute games to Israelis, Palestinians during US talks

(Newser) - A computer game that promotes peace in the Middle East will be distributed to Palestinians and Israelis this week while their leaders meet in the US to negotiate, the Associated Press reports. “PeaceMaker” players choose roles as Israeli or Palestinian leaders and respond to attacks from the opposing side.... More »

Syria Headed for Annapolis Talks

US gets full wish-list of Arab states to attend Israel-Palestine talks

(Newser) - Syria said today it will attend this week’s Israel-Palestine peace conference in Annapolis, a US victory in convincing every major Arab state—16 in all—to show, the AP reports. The US hopes such broad participation will help these talks succeed where previous efforts failed. Syria wants to discuss... More »

Bush's Palestine Play Doomed

Prez's late peace push faces bigger problems than Clinton's failed effort

(Newser) - George Bush, like Bill Clinton before him, is making a last-minute push to broker Arab-Israeli peace, but with much steeper odds, says Reuters' Arshad Mohammed. Bush, Mahmoud Abbas, and Ehud Olmert are all unpopular, especially compared to their 2000 counterparts—Clinton, Yasser Arafat, and Ehud Barak. “When Clinton tried... More »

Dozens Invited to Mideast Peace Talks

White House presses Saudi Arabia and Syria, Olmert bolsters Abbas

(Newser) - The negotiating table may be packed Nov. 27 in Annapolis, when the Mideast peace conference brings together not only Israelis and Palestinians, but upwards of 40 other countries and institutions invited yesterday. The White House's priority is to persuade Saudi Arabia and Syria to attend the talks, to bolster the... More »

Olmert Releases 441 Palestinian Prisoners

Israeli PM courts Arab support ahead of next week's peace talks

(Newser) - Ehud Olmert today requested the release of 441 Palestinian prisoners and promised to stop building new settlements on the West Bank, in the hope of bolstering Arab enthusiasm for upcoming talks on Palestinian statehood. But the gesture was received coolly: Mahmoud Abbas had asked for 2,000 prisoners, and the... More »

Abbas: Palestinian State Possible by 2009

Palestinian president speculates on statehood before Bush leaves office

(Newser) - The Palestinians and the Israelis can broker peace before George Bush leaves office in January 2009, Mahmoud Abbas said today in a press conference with Condoleezza Rice. The Palestinian president parroted a statement last night by Israeli PM Ehud Olmert. Putting the leaders on the same page is an achievement... More »

Israel Signals Willingness to Split Jerusalem

Jordan would assume control in exchange for truce with Palestinians

(Newser) - Israel appears willing to consider splitting Jerusalem to achieve peace with the Palestinians, ahead of a critical November summit in Annapolis, Md. A deputy PM said almost “all Palestinian neighborhoods would be transferred.” The Jewish state reportedly has also considered transferring the city’s holiest site—already partly... More »

19 Stories