National Briefs

Missing Marine Corps helicopter carrying 5 troops has been located

SAN DIEGO (AP) — The military says a missing Marine Corps helicopter has been found in a mountainous area outside San Diego. The aircraft was located just after 9 a.m. Wednesday by civil authorities near the mountain community of Pine Valley, about a 45-mile drive from San Diego but rescue crews said snowy conditions were making access challenging on the ground. Defense officials say the Marines were flying a CH-53E Super Stallion helicopter from Creech Air Force Base, northwest of Las Vegas, where they had been doing unit-level training and were returning home to Marine Corps Air Station Miramar in San Diego.

Cargo train locomotive derails in Colorado, spilling 100s of gallons of diesel

LOVELAND, Colo. (AP) — Authorities say the locomotive of a cargo train has derailed in northern Colorado, spilling hundreds of gallons of diesel. The Loveland Fire Rescue Authority says the Great Western Railway locomotive didn’t tip over when it went off the rails early Wednesday at a switch in the tracks, but a fuel tank was punctured. Officials say no one was injured and the other locomotive and three cars carrying sugar did not derail. Great Western says a natural berm helped to contain the spilled fuel, which has been pumped up by a hazardous material contractor. The railway will inspect the tracks before resuming operations.

Biden administration names a director of the new AI Safety Institute

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Biden administration is naming a top White House aide as the director of the newly established safety institute for artificial intelligence. Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo says in a statement that Elizabeth Kelly will lead the AI Safety Institute at the National Institute for Standards and Technology, which is part of the Commerce Department. Kelly is currently an economic policy adviser for President Joe Biden. Kelly played an integral role in drafting the executive order signed in October that established the institute.

CBO projects a $188 billion decrease in this year’s federal budget deficit

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Congressional Budget Office says it expects the federal budget deficit to drop by $188 billion this fiscal year to $1.5 trillion. But it’s likely to be a short-lived dip as the annual shortfall will likely rise over the next nine years. The nonpartisan budget office also projects that the nation’s publicly held debt is set to increase from 99% of gross domestic product at the end of 2024 to 116% of GDP by the end of 2034. That’s the highest level ever recorded. Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell says that overall, “the debt is growing faster than the economy, so it is unsustainable.”

Mexico overtakes China as the leading source of goods imported to US

WASHINGTON (AP) — For the first time in more than two decades, Mexico last year surpassed China as the leading source of goods imported to the United States. The shift reflects the growing tensions between Washington and Beijing as well as U.S. efforts to import from countries that are friendlier and closer to home. Figures released by the U.S. Commerce Department show that the value of goods imported to the United States from Mexico rose nearly 5% from 2022 to 2023, to more than $475 billion. At the same time, the value of Chinese imports tumbled 20%.


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