$1B in federal funds for rail project canceled
SACRAMENTO — The Trump administration canceled nearly $1 billion in federal money for California’s high-speed rail project Thursday, further throwing into question the future of the ambitious plan to connect Los Angeles and San Francisco.
The Federal Railroad Administration’s announcement it would not give California the money came several months after sniping between President Trump and Gov. Gavin Newsom over the project. The administration will still try to force California to return another $2.5 billion that has already been spent.
Trump had seized on Newsom’s remarks in February that the project as planned would cost too much and take too long. Newsom has shifted the project’s immediate focus to a 171-mile line in the state’s Central Valley, but he said he’s still committed to building the full line.
Surgery won’t stop Carter from teaching
ATLANTA — Former President Jimmy Carter plans to teach Sunday school this weekend just days after undergoing surgery for a broken hip, a spokeswoman said Thursday.
Carter, 94, was released Thursday morning from a Georgia hospital after getting a hip replacement. He plans to continue recuperating at his home in rural Plains, said a statement from Carter spokeswoman Deanna Congileo.
Jimmy Carter suffered a broken hip Monday as he was leaving to go turkey hunting. Congileo said he will undergo physical therapy as part of his recovery.
She said Carter also plans to teach his regular Sunday school class this weekend at Marantha Baptist Church in Plains.
Nearly four years have passed since Carter revealed he had been diagnosed with cancer. Carter said in August 2015 he had melanoma that had spread to his liver and brain. He received treatment for seven months until scans showed no sign of the disease.
Barbie to be honored by fashion designers
NEW YORK — Gloria Steinem, Cecile Richards, Michelle Obama. Barbie?
The Council of Fashion Designers of America will follow up those prestigious honorees of its Board of Directors’ Tribute Award with the ever-evolving doll. The council said in a statement Thursday the idea is to celebrate Barbie as a fashion icon, coinciding with her 60th anniversary.
The council’s president, Steve Kolb, says Barbie has had a “wide influence on American fashion and culture.” A human, presumably, will pick up the award at a June 3 ceremony.
In addition to Steinem, Richards and Obama, other past honorees include Tom Ford, Janelle Monae and former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg.
De Blasio announces run for president
NEW YORK — New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio announced Thursday that he will seek the Democratic nomination for president, adding his name to an already long list of candidates itching for a chance to take on Donald Trump.
The mayor announced his run with a video released by his campaign, then headed to the Statue of Liberty, where he said the country is in an “identity crisis” around immigration, which he called “the founding and unifying element of the American experience.”
In announcing his candidacy, de Blasio, 58, seeks to claim a role on the national stage that has eluded him as mayor of the biggest U.S. city.
Columbia to produce Obama’s oral history
CHICAGO — Columbia University Libraries in New York will produce the official oral history of Barack Obama’s presidency.
Obama Foundation officials announced Thursday that the project at The Columbia Center for Oral History Research will provide a record of the decisions, actions and effects of Obama’s presidency. The former president is a graduate of Columbia University, which also is home to the oral history of Dwight Eisenhower’s presidency. The Obama project also will include former first lady Michelle Obama’s legacy.
The University of Hawaii and the University of Chicago will partner on the effort, focusing respectively on Obama’s early years in Hawaii and the Obamas’ lives in Chicago.
Columbia University officials say the Obamas’ histories are expected to be publicly available online no later than 2026.