State of emergency declared in Puerto Rico
San Juan, Puerto Rico (AP):Puerto Rico's governor has declared a state of emergency and ordered the release of $2 million to help agriculture officials fight a disease that has attacked citrus trees in the United States territory. Alejandro Garcia Padilla said yesterday that citrus greening has affected a large swath of the island's citrus crop, located primarily in the central region.
Over 3,000 post-office workers to be laid off
BUCHAREST, Romania (AP):The Romanian post office says that it will lay off more than 3,650 people as it cuts costs to make itself more competitive.The International Monetary Fund, which has a precautionary loan agreement with the country, wants the postal service to be sold off. The post office said in a statement Tuesday that the layoffs, which had been agreed with the postal workers' trade union, began in August with 2,400 employees initially opting to be laid off. The post office has about 32,000 employees and 5,600 post offices. At the end of 2012, it had debts of 568 million lei ($168 million) and a turnover of 1.2 billion lei.
Homeland Security secretary resigns
WASHINGTON, US (AP):Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano said yesterday that she is resigning with confidence from the Obama administration and that her tenure helped the agency prevent terrorist attacks and respond to disasters. In her farewell speech at the National Press Club, Napolitano said the department has responded to attempted terrorist attacks and the April 15 bombing at the Boston Marathon. She said it's also been tested with disasters, including the Gulf oil spill and Hurricane Sandy, and learned from each event.
Sandy Hook begins new academic year
MONROE, Conn. (AP):
Therapy dogs and heightened security greeted Sandy Hook Elementary School students yesterday as they began their first full year of school without the 20 children and six educators slain in the December massacre.
The students from Newtown are being bused to the neighbouring town of Monroe, where a former middle school was renovated for them after the December 14 shootings.
"Things went well," said Brenda Lebinski, whose nine-year-old daughter is starting fourth grade at the school. "There was a lot of police presence when we pulled in. There were lots of teachers and therapy dogs greeting the kids when they walked in."
Lebinski said her daughter's transition was eased because she was able to have the same teacher as last year.
"She was very happy to be back at school," Lebinski said. "Most of the kids were fine."
More than 400 students attend the elementary school for children from the village of Sandy Hook in Newtown, where officials had security posted at schools across the district.
Kansas aims to sharpen students
KANSAS, TOPEKA (AP):
Kansas has recently joined 30 other states in enrolling students in a federally funded programme aimed at raising high school graduation rates and helping students prepare for college and careers.
Education Commissioner Diane DeBacker said the Kansas State Department of Education had been hoping for several years to introduce the programme, Jobs for America's Graduates, but did not have the funds until this year, The Topeka Capital-Journal reported (http://bit.ly/17jvRxK).
The programme targets students who might be at risk of dropping out of school, offering them extra mentoring and support. Figures from Jobs for America's Graduates show 90 percent of students in the programme finish high school.
"Over 3,000 students drop out of school each year in Kansas," DeBacker said.
The Kansas Department for Children and Families secured the $3.6-million federal grant this year to launch the programme. Twenty-five schools around the state are participating.