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Obama seeks funds to fight Zika; sees no cause for panic

Luana Vieira, 4 months old, and born with microcephaly, sleeps in a beach chair as her mother Rosana stands in the sea with her other daughter Laiane Sophia in OlindaWASHINGTON/LONDON (Reuters) - Barack Obama will ask the U.S. Congress for more than $1.8 billion in emergency funds to fight Zika at home and abroad and pursue a vaccine, the White House said on Monday, but the president also said there is no reason to panic over the mosquito-borne virus. Zika, spreading rapidly in South and Central America and the Caribbean, has been linked to severe birth defects in Brazil and public health officials' concern is focused on pregnant women and woman who may become pregnant. Obama's request to Congress includes $200 million for research, development and commercialization of new vaccines and diagnostic tests for the virus.



Groups urge Kerry to work for release of U.S. businessman held in Iran

United States Secretary of State Kerry delivers remarks with Colombian President Santos at joint news conference in WashingtonBy Yeganeh Torbati WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Five Iranian-American groups wrote to U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry last week, urging him to work for the release of an Iranian-American businessman who has been detained in Iran since October. The letter, delivered on Friday, said there was no evidence to justify the detention of Siamak Namazi, who was "left behind" in the wake of a U.S.-Iran prisoner deal that saw other Americans released from Iranian jails last month. "An American who has worked tirelessly as a bridge-builder of cultures, countries, and faiths is sitting in a prison in Tehran," said the letter, which was signed by the National Iranian American Council, the Public Affairs Alliance of Iranian Americans and other groups.



Obama to meet with Jordan's King Abdullah: White House

Jordan's King Abdullah reviews an honour guard during a celebration to mark the centennial of the Arab Revolt against the region's then ruling Ottoman Turks, in Jordan's Red Sea port of AqabaWASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. President Barack Obama will meet with Jordan's King Abdullah at the White House on Feb. 24, the White House said on Monday. The two leaders plan to discuss the fight against Islamic State, support for Syrian and Iraqi refugees in Jordan and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the White House said. (Reporting by Ayesha Rascoe; Editing by Susan Heavey)



The Latest: Bus crash closes I-95 in Connecticut

A pedestrian walks between rows of snow-covered trees on Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. in Worcester, Mass. during a snowstorm on Friday, Feb. 5, 2016. (Paul Kapteyn/Worcester Telegram & Gazette via AP)BOSTON (AP) ? The Latest on the snowstorm that's moving into the Northeast (all times local):



Feds find Fiat Chrysler gear shifters can confuse drivers

This photo provided by Fiat Chrysler Automobiles shows the interior of a 2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee Overland. U.S. auto safety investigators have determined that electronic gear shifters, like the one at upper left, in some newer Fiat Chrysler SUVs and cars are so confusing that drivers have exited the vehicles while they are in gear, causing 121 crashes and 30 injuries. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has doubled the number of vehicles in the investigation to more than 856,000. But it stopped short of calling for a recall. The probe now covers 2014 and 2015 Jeep Grand Cherokees and 2012 through 2014 Dodge Charger and Chrysler 300 sedans with 3.6-liter V6 engines. (Fiat Chrysler Automobiles via AP)DETROIT (AP) ? Electronic gear shifters on some newer Fiat Chrysler SUVs and cars are so confusing that drivers have exited the vehicles with the engines running and while they are still in gear, causing crashes and serious injuries, U.S. safety investigators have determined.



The Latest: Lawyer: 'Serial' witness should have been found

BALTIMORE (AP) ? Here's the latest on the hearing for Adnan Syed, the convicted killer at the center of the "Serial" podcast who is asking a judge for a new trial. The hearing began last Wednesday and is now in its fourth day.


AccuWeather: On-and-off snow through Tuesday

AccuWeather: On-and-off snow through TuesdayMeteorologist David Murphy says the first snow showers could arrive this evening. Periods of snow will be with us on Tuesday and Tuesday night.



Damaged cruise ship to turn around, sail back to New Jersey

MIAMI (AP) ? A Royal Caribbean cruise ship ran into high winds and rough seas in the Atlantic Ocean on Sunday, forcing frightened passengers into their cabins overnight as their belongings flew about, waves rose as high as 30 feet, and winds howled outside. The cruise line says that although no one was injured and the ship suffered only minor damage, it's turning around and sailing back to its home port in New Jersey.


Judge adopts deal involving racial claim at Arizona prisons

TUCSON, Ariz. (AP) ? A federal judge has signed off on an agreement between Arizona and an inmate to end a claim of racial segregation in the state's 10 prisons.


AccuWeather: Snow is heading our way

AccuWeather: On-and-off snow through TuesdayMeteorologist David Murphy says the first snow showers could arrive this evening. Periods of snow will be with us on Tuesday and Tuesday night.



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