WVAS Local News

Alabama Unemployment Rate Drops in July

Aug 18, 2017

 Alabama's unemployment rate has fallen to 4.5 percent. A news release from the state says the jobless rate dipped one-tenth of a percent in July from June. That puts the current rate well below the unemployment rate of one year ago, when it was 5.8 percent. Alabama's jobless rate remains worse than the national rate, which has fallen to a 16-year low of 4.3 percent. But a statement from Gov. Kay Ivey says there are fewer unemployed people in Alabama than there have been in a decade. The July rate represents about 96,251 unemployed persons in Alabama, down from 100,187 in June.

The city of Birmingham and its mayor are being sued by Alabama's attorney general for obscuring a Confederate monument in a downtown park. Steve Marshall, in a statement, said "The city of Birmingham does not have the right to violate a new law protecting such markers and leaves my office with no choice but to file suit." Legislators passed a law earlier this year prohibiting the removal of historical structures including rebel memorials. Birmingham Mayor William Bell had ordered the city's 52-foot-tall Confederate obelisk in Linn Park Memorial covered with wooden panels.

Hyles Files: Not Listening

Aug 16, 2017

Strange and Moore Headed to September Runoff

Aug 16, 2017

Sen. Luther Strange and former Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore are headed to a Republican primary runoff to fill the U.S. Senate seat previously held by Attorney General Jeff Sessions. The two men, who represent different factions within the Alabama Republican Party, will face off in a Sept. 26 runoff. Strange was appointed to the Senate seat in February by then governor Robert Bentley. He was unable to escape a runoff despite being buoyed by an endorsement by President Donald Trump. Moore harnessed his support among evangelical voters to secure a spot in the runoff.

Polls have opened across Alabama as voters cast ballots in party primary elections for the U.S. Senate seat previously held by Attorney General Jeff Sessions. Republican Sen. Luther Strange, who was appointed to fill the post temporarily, is seeking to fight off challengers that include former Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore and U.S. Rep. Mo Brooks. President Donald Trump has endorsed Strange and recorded automatic phone calls on his behalf. Brooks has criticized Strange's backing by a super political action committee tied to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.

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The commander of the U.S. Pacific Fleet says Navy divers have found remains of some of the 10 missing sailors aboard the USS John S. McCain after the guided-missile destroyer collided with a merchant vessel in waters off Singapore earlier this week.

Adm. Scott H. Swift, speaking at a news conference in Singapore, said the Malaysian navy, which is conducting a search at sea in the area where the collision took place on Monday, has also reported finding remains, but it was not yet clear if they were from the McCain.

Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

On paper, few things may seem more navel-gazing than a memoir about being in a book club. But Anne Gisleson takes that ostensibly narrow premise and goes universal in her debut book, The Futilitarians. She writes about her time spent in a circle of friends who call themselves the Existential Crisis Reading Group — nicknamedThe Futilitarians. Their portmanteau of "futility" and "utilitarian," while playful on the surface, isn't chosen lightly: They gather regularly to read and discuss books, as well as their lives, in post-Katrina New Orleans.

Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Five years ago, before he was a candidate for president, Donald Trump was pretty sure he knew what to do about Afghanistan. It was a losing proposition, "a complete waste" in terms of "blood and treasure."

"Why are we continuing to train these Afghanis who then shoot our soldiers in the back?" he asked on Twitter in 2012. "Afghanistan is a complete waste. Time to come home!"

More recently, candidate Trump was less certain about exactly when the U.S. should exit the struggle he railed against continuing.

Before a solar project, Mark Holohan usually gives his customers plenty of time to mull over the cost. But lately, installers are scooping up panels so quickly that Holohan has trouble guaranteeing a price for too long.

"We have a sort of panic buying mode in the marketplace right now. Inventories have fallen. Availability has decreased. Prices have risen," Holohan, the solar division manager at Wilson Electric, said over the clatter of machines and workers in the company's warehouse outside Phoenix, Ariz.

Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

President Trump's visit to Arizona is already fraught with controversy. The mayor of Phoenix asked the president to hold off staging a campaign rally in his city following the recent violence in Charlottesville, Va. Then, there are the hints Trump has dropped that he might issue a controversial pardon for the former local Sheriff Joe Arpaio, who was recently convicted of criminal contempt of court for disobeying a federal judge.

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