Nation roundup for December 18


Kiss, Nirvana are Rock Hall picks

NEW YORK (AP) — Nirvana, Kiss and Peter Gabriel will be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame next year.

The Rock Hall announced Tuesday that Hall and Oates, Linda Ronstadt and Cat Stevens also will be inducted April 10 at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn.

Artists are eligible for induction 25 years after their first release. Nirvana received a nomination in its first year of eligibility, and next year the band will celebrate the 25th anniversary of its debut, “Bleach.” The induction comes 20 years after frontman Kurt Cobain committed suicide at age 27.

“For once … I’m speechless. From the basements, to the dingy clubs, to the broken down vans, to … the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame,” former Nirvana drummer Dave Grohl, now the frontman for Foo Fighters, said in a statement Tuesday. “I’d like to thank the committee not only for this induction, but also for recognizing Nirvana for what we were: pure rock and roll.”

“Thank you most of all to Kurt Cobain,” bassist Krist Novoselic said in the statement issued on behalf of Nirvana. “And to everyone who’s kept rock music going strong for 60 years and counting.”

This year also marked first-time nominations for Hall and Oates, Gabriel and Ronstadt. Kiss and Stevens, who have been nominated in the past, made the cut after being absent from the list for several years.

Peter Criss, Kiss’ original drummer and vocalist, said the band changed rock forever by raising the bar for live performances.

“We were four guys from New York City who brought Barnum &Bailey into rock and roll,” he told The Associated Press.

Wall Street slips as Fed talks start

NEW YORK (AP) — Nobody wanted to stick their neck out on Tuesday.

The stock market edged slightly lower as the Federal Reserve started a two-day policy meeting that may herald the beginning of the end for its economic stimulus.

Few expect that the Fed will announce that it plans to pare back, or ‘taper,’ its huge bond-buying program after its meeting wraps up today. However, good news on the U.S. economy this month, including a blockbuster jobs report, and a budget deal in Washington appeared to have increased the likelihood of a change.

“It’s just the taper drama, that’s really all the market seems focused on,” said Dean Junkans, CIO for Wells Fargo Private Bank. “The chances of them doing something tomorrow are higher than they were a month ago.”

Major stock indices fell, but just slightly. The Standard &Poor’s 500 index eased five points, or 0.3 percent, to 1,781. The Dow Jones industrial average crept down nine points, or 0.1 percent, to 15,875.26. The Nasdaq composite edged lower by five points, or 0.1 percent, to 4,023.68.

Eight of the ten industrial groups in the S&P 500 declined, led by phone companies. Materials stocks and technology companies edged higher.

A couple of big companies bucked the downward trend after pledging to hand more cash to stock holders.

Homes destroyed in Big Sur blaze

BIG SUR, Calif. (AP) — A wildfire burning Monday in the Big Sur area of California destroyed at least 15 homes and forced about 100 people to evacuate as it chewed through dry vegetation on its way toward the ocean. No injuries were reported.

The fire burned about 500 acres in the Pfeiffer Ridge area of Los Padres National Forest near state Highway 1, with 0 percent containment, Los Padres National Forest spokesman Andrew Madsen said.

Madsen said the fire destroyed the home of Big Sur Fire Chief Martha Karstens.

“She left thinking that she was going to go protect other people’s homes,” Madsen said, “and it turns out that her own home has been consumed.”

Officials were hopeful that they could contain the blaze this week.

“This is a completely wind-driven fire,” Madsen said. “We’re cautiously optimistic that we’re going to pin this thing down within the next couple of days.”

The Red Cross has set up an overnight shelter for people who have been displaced by the fire, Madsen said. Big Sur is a popular tourist destination along the Central California coast with high-end resorts and beautiful views of the Pacific Ocean.

Residences were scattered in the path of the fire that was being battled by 625 firefighters. Officials also brought in air tankers and helicopters.

Highway 1 is open but traffic is heavier due to the presence of emergency vehicles, Madsen said. Evacuations of the area remained in effect as of 10:30 p.m. Monday.

The cause of the fire was under investigation.

A wildfire so late in the year is unusual but not surprising given that California is in the midst of the driest calendar year on record.

A lightning-sparked wildfire in 2008 forced the evacuation of Big Sur and blackened 250 square miles before it was contained. That blaze burned more than a dozen homes.

 

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