Talks to end Chicago teachers strike progress
CHICAGO – Public schools will stay closed for at least one more day, but leaders of the Chicago Teachers Union and the school district kept talking Thursday, with both sides saying they were drawing closer to a deal to end the nearly weeklong strike.
Word of the progress in negotiations came less than a day after the school board offered to modify a system that would use student test scores to help evaluate teacher performance.
Under an old proposal, the union estimated that 6,000 teachers could lose their jobs within two years. An offer made late Wednesday included provisions that would have protected tenured teachers from dismissal in the first year of the evaluations. It also altered categories that teachers can be rated on and added an appeals process.
Guatemala volcano erupts outside tourist center
ESCUINTLA, Guatemala – A long-simmering volcano exploded with a series of powerful eruptions outside one of Guatemala’s most famous tourist attractions Thursday, hurling thick clouds of ash nearly two miles high, spewing rivers of lava down its flanks and prompting evacuation orders for more than 33,000 people from surrounding communities.
Hundreds of cars, trucks and buses, blanketed with charcoal grey cash, sped away from the volcano along the a two-lane paved highway toward Guatemala City. Dozens of people crammed into the backs of trucks. Thick clouds of ash reduced visibility to less than 10 feet in the area of sugar-cane fields surrounding the volcano.
Tax on Amazon purchases in Calif. to begin Saturday
SACRAMENTO, Calif. – Online retailer Amazon.com has tried to become all things to all consumers, but in California, it is about to take on a role it has fought against for years: tax collector.
The change, which will take effect Saturday, comes after years of bitter back and forth between the world’s largest online mall and the California Legislature about whether Internet retailers should have to charge sales tax. The two sides reached a deal in 2011 that included a one-year grace period set to end Saturday.