German firm blocked shipments to U.S. distributor after drug sent for executions

(Reuters) – A German manufacturer confirmed on Thursday that it took the extraordinary step of suspending shipments of a widely used drug to a U.S. distributor this year after 20 vials were mistakenly sent to the state of Missouri to be used in executions.

Rising number of U.S. homes at risk from wildfires -report

(Reuters) – The number of homes at risk from wildfires in western U.S. states jumped 62 percent in the past year as more properties were developed in fire-prone areas, according to a report released on Thursday.

Obama, Republicans aim to end crisis after meeting

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – President Barack Obama and Republican leaders appeared ready to end a political crisis that has shuttered much of the U.S. government and pushed the country dangerously close to default after meeting at the White House on Thursday.

Astronaut Scott Carpenter, fourth American in space, dies at 88

DENVER (Reuters) – Astronaut Scott Carpenter, who in 1962 became the fourth American in space and the second to orbit the Earth, died on Thursday in Colorado at age 88 of complications from a stroke, his wife Patty Carpenter said.

Detroit CFO apologizes for controversial remarks, is suspended pending probe

DETROIT (Reuters) – Jim Bonsall, Detroit’s chief financial officer, apologized Thursday after the city launched an investigation into allegations that he made racially inappropriate comments and demeaned his co-workers.

Real Captain Phillips warns cuts could hit Pentagon shipping program

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – An American merchant marine captain made famous by a Tom Hanks movie after being kidnapped by Somali pirates warned on Thursday that looming U.S. budget cuts could sink part of a program that keeps U.S.-flagged ships ready to ferry military supplies and aid around the world.

Deadline draws near for crippling San Francisco-area transit strike

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) – A 60-day cooling off period to block a potential strike by San Francisco transit workers that could cripple the Bay Area’s commuter rail system expires at midnight on Thursday and negotiators remain far apart, both sides said.

Obama signs bill to provide death benefits to families of U.S. soldiers

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – President Barack Obama signed into law on Thursday legislation that was rushed through Congress to provide aid for the families of soldiers killed in the line of duty, assistance that was frozen due to the U.S. government shutdown.