- Associated Press - Sunday, December 21, 2014
Muhammad Ali hospitalized with pneumonia

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) - Boxing great Muhammad Ali was hospitalized with a mild case of pneumonia that was caught early and should result in a short hospital stay, an Ali spokesman said Saturday night.

The three-time world heavyweight champion, who is battling Parkinson’s disease, is being treated by his team of doctors and is in stable condition, said his spokesman, Bob Gunnell.

“He went into the hospital this morning,” Gunnell said in a phone interview. “He has a mild case of pneumonia and the prognosis is good.”

Gunnell declined to say where the 72-year-old Ali is hospitalized. He indicated that Ali’s bout of pneumonia was caught quickly.

“This all came about this morning,” Gunnell said.

No other details are being released due to the Ali family’s request for privacy, he said.


EPA coal ash standards a setback for environmental groups

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) - Six years ago, there was a massive spill of coal ash sludge in Tennessee. Three years later, tons of coal ash swept into Lake Michigan. Last February, there was another spill and gray sludge spewed into the Dan River in North Carolina.

With each disaster, environmentalists sounded alarms and called for the byproduct of burning coal to be treated as hazardous waste. On Friday, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency released the first standards for the coal-burning waste, but they were hardly what environmental groups were hoping for.

The EPA ruled that the ash can be treated like regular garbage, meaning regulating the stuff will be left up to states and watchful citizens.

“We had to go to court to force EPA to issue this first-ever coal ash rule, and unfortunately, we will be back in court to force coal plants to clean up their ash dumps and start disposing of their toxic waste safely,” said EarthJustice attorney Lisa Evans.

Added Scott Slesinger of the Natural Resources Defense Council: “Unlike the majority of environmental standards - which are backstopped by federal enforcement - this rule all but leaves people who live near coal ash dumps to fend for themselves.”

The coal industry supported the less strict classification, arguing that the ash wasn’t dangerous, and that a hazardous label would hinder the ash recycling market. About 40 percent of coal ash is reused, in products such as cement.


2 dozen injured in southern Indiana bus crash

SEYMOUR, Ind. (AP) - A double-decker bus headed from Chicago to Atlanta slid off a highway in southern Indiana and rolled onto its side early Saturday, injuring 24 people, authorities said.

The bus, operated by Megabus and carrying 68 passengers, veered off the road at around 5:30 a.m. on Interstate 65 in Seymour, State Police Trooper Clifton Elston said.

The most serious injury was a broken collarbone, and most of the others were treated for minor cuts, Trooper Tommy Walker said. Two of the 26 passengers brought to Schneck Medical Center in Seymour refused treatment.

The bus driver, Christopher Kelley of Olympia Fields, Illinois, told police he was in the left lane and moving to the right lane when he lost control and slid onto the grassy median, Trooper Matt Holley said.

Walker said speed and the weather may have contributed to the accident.

“Conditions changed from being dry and cloudy and cold to we got some winds and then some snow flurries,” he said.


Name stories: Tum Tum, God’s Wonder, Shady Eden

NEW ORLEANS (AP) - Tum Tum, Brother Joseph, God’s Wonder, and Shady Eden are among the newest members of a national registry of grand, gnarly live oaks.

Tum Tum, in Lafayette and named for a cat, is 16 feet around: a centenarian by Live Oak Society rules. The other three are in the society’s junior league at, respectively, 13, 10 and the minimum 8 feet in circumference.

Many trees have been named for pets, said Coleen Perilloux Landry, the chairman and sole human member of the society created by the Louisiana Garden Club Federation Inc. to draw attention to and help preserve the old trees. “One tree was named for a squirrel who used to live in the tree,” she said, though she couldn’t remember the name.

Landry said about 300 live oaks, which got that monicker because they’re green year-round, were registered this year and another 13 were saved from being cut to make way for a highway in Jeanerette.

She estimates she’s registered more than 4,000 of the society’s 7,500 trees since taking office in 2001. Many are in Louisiana but there are substantial numbers in Florida, the Carolinas and Mississippi, with smaller numbers in Alabama, Arkansas, California, Tennessee, Florida, Georgia, Texas and Ohio. Kentucky has one. Registration is free.

Most names are given by the tree’s owner. Sometimes they’re just the name of the property and a number. That’s the case now, but not always, for nearly 70 on Daniel Island, South Carolina.

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