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Hurricane season forecast lowered

MIAMI – El Niño should knock some of the wind out of the sails of the 2009 hurricane season, federal forecasters predicted Thursday.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration reduced its prediction for named storms by nearly a quarter but cautioned that the so-far snoozing tropics would still likely waken and churn up a near-normal number of storms.

“By no means do we expect the season to be dead,” said Gerry Bell, who is the lead seasonal forecaster for NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center.

The new “likely” range – calculated at a 70 percent chance – is seven to 11 named storms, with three to six becoming hurricanes. Of those, one to two are expected to turn into major storms with Category 3 winds of 111 miles per hour or higher.

NOAA’s initial annual forecast, issued in May, called for nine to 14 named storms, four to seven hurricanes and one to three major hurricanes. An average hurricane season in the Atlantic basin, which runs from June 1 to Nov. 30, produces 11 storms.

Jefferson must forfeit $470,000

ALEXANDRIA, Va. – A federal jury has ruled that a former Louisiana congressman must forfeit roughly $470,000 in bribery receipts.

Thursday’s ruling comes a day after Democrat William Jefferson was convicted on 11 counts, including bribery, for using his influence to broker business deals in Africa.

The jury returned to consider the technical question of whether he would be required to forfeit any funds he received.

Jefferson will be sentenced Oct. 30. Prosecutors say federal sentencing guidelines could call for more than 20 years in prison. It will also be up to a judge to impose any financial penalties.

Burger King sorry for booting baby

SUNSET HILLS, Mo. – Like most restaurants, the Burger King in this St. Louis suburb has a no shoes, no shirt, no service policy. And baby, do they enforce it.

Too much so, the company admitted, after apologizing for restaurant workers who asked a mother to leave because her 6-month-old wasn’t wearing shoes.

Jennifer Frederich, her mother and Frederich’s infant daughter, Kaylin, stopped at the Burger King in Sunset Hills on Sunday. The baby was shoeless – Frederich figured tiny baby feet were immune from the rule.

But workers told the family to leave because the shoeless baby was violating a health code. In fact, shoelessness is not a health code violation in St. Louis County.

Burger King released a statement Thursday indicating workers had taken the no shoes, no service policy too far.


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Trump backtracks on Syria after talks with French leader

One month ago President Donald Trump surprised many, including some in his own administration, by announcing, “We’ll be coming out of Syria, like, very soon. Let the other people take care of it now.” He insisted that the time had come for the U.S. military to shift its focus away from Syria.