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Iran says it will ban US experts from UN nuclear inspections

TEHRAN, Iran -- Iran says will ban US experts from UN nuclear inspections TEHRAN, Iran (AP) — Iran says it will not allow American or Canadian inspectors working for the U.N. nuclear watchdog to visit its nuclear facilities.

Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araghchi said Iran will only allow inspectors from countries that have diplomatic relations with it, in remarks broadcast by state TV on Thursday.

The previously undisclosed remarks were made during a Sunday meeting with parliamentarians. Iran and world powers reached a historical deal earlier this month aimed at curbing Tehran's disputed nuclear program in exchange for the lifting of international sanctions.

The U.S. and Iran severed diplomatic relations after the 1979 Islamic revolution and the hostage crisis at the U.S. Embassy in Tehran.

Beaumont home sales are breaking records for first half of year

BEAUMONT -- Home sales figures for the first six months of 2015 show the Golden Triangle is setting new records with 1,470 homes sold from January to June.


Beaumont home sales soared 34 percent in June 2015 while home prices also posted strong double-digit gains, according to the June 2015 Beaumont housing market report released today by the Beaumont Board of REALTORS®.


The Beaumont Board said the number of listing is down. President of the Beaumont Board of REALTORS®, Vivian Todd with RE/MAX One, said that shows how healthy the market is. One strong indicator is that average selling price in June was $155,000, up 24 percent (459 listings) from last year, which itself was a strong year 


The record-pace of the first six months, follows healthy increases in the past three years going from 966 homes sold in the first half of 2012 to 1,224 for the first half 2014.


Todd said the activity is good for a the whole community. "Statistics show that 38 people are involved in a typical home sale," she said.


"That's title companies, appraisers, lenders, insurance agents, lenders, people who clean houses, painters, flooring contractors, repairmen, electricians, interior designers and more."


"With housing inventory declining at an accelerated rate, Beaumont residents looking to buy a home this year are encouraged to begin working with a Beaumont REALTOR® now," she said.  She said many who are looking to move up to a new home or downsize are finding that the timing now is right.


The Beaumont housing market dipped into seller’s market territory in the last year, Todd said.


Beaumont’s monthly housing inventory was 5.5 months in June 2015, 2.6 months less than the year prior. The Real Estate Center at Texas A&M University cites that 6.5 months of inventory represents a market in which supply and demand for homes is balanced.


Todd said she had never seen the Beaumont market as busy as it is. 'I am personally seeing multiple contract offers on a house and houses selling in one or two days.


She said people coming into the region are still finding that the homes here a real value. "They are seeing a good bang for their buck -- the economy is good and interest rates are low.


With a growing economy, booming population and high quality of life, Texas is a great place to live, work and do business, she said.


June 2015 Statistics At-A-Glance

  • 125 – Homes sold in June 2015, 34 percent more than June 2014.
  • $155,000 – Median price in June 2015, 24 percent more than June 2014.
  • 5 – Monthly housing inventory in June 2015, 2.6 months less than June 2014.
  • 130 – Average number of days homes spent on the market in June 2015, 24 days more than June 2014.
  • 459 – Active home listings on the market in June 2015, 25 percent less than June 2014.


About the Beaumont Board of REALTORS®

The Beaumont Board of REALTORS® is committed to serving Southeast Texas by promoting REALTOR® integrity while advocating for private property rights and ownership.

Shell to cut 6,500 jobs

LONDON - Royal Dutch Shell announced Thursday its plan to cut 6,500 jobs because of a sharp drop in oil prices.

Shell also announced a cut in profits and said "today's oil price downturn could last for several years."

Oil prices have slid to about $50 a barrel since last June.

About 94,000 people work for Shell across the world.

Shell on Thursday said "the company has to be resilient in today's oil price environment, even though we see the potential for a return to a $70-$90 oil price band in the medium term."

"As our results today show, we're successfully reducing our capital spending and operating costs, and delivering a competitive performance in today's oil market downturn," said Shell chief executive Ben van Beurden.  

Man wearing ninja mask robs pharmacy with sword
PLACENTIA, Calif. (AP) -- Police are looking for a robbery suspect who was wearing a ninja mask and armed with a sword when he demanded cash from a clerk at a Walgreens pharmacy in Placentia, California.
The Orange County Register reports that police had responded to a report of a robbery at the pharmacy Wednesday night.

According to police, the masked suspect had a martial arts-type sword and took off with about $200. The suspect was seen wearing a leather jacket, shirt, jeans and gloves, all of which were black.

No injuries were reported.

Cincinnati cop pleads not guilty to murder in traffic stop

CINCINNATI (AP) -- A University of Cincinnati police officer who shot a motorist after stopping him over a missing front license plate pleaded not guilty Thursday to charges of murder and involuntary manslaughter.

Twenty-five-year-old Ray Tensing appeared at his arraignment wearing a striped jail suit, with his hands cuffed behind him. He was indicted Wednesday in the July 19 shooting of 43-year-old Samuel DuBose, of Cincinnati, during a traffic stop.

People in the courtroom audience erupted into cheers and clapping when bond was set at $1 million, drawing the ire of Common Pleas Judge Megan Shanahan.

"Ladies and gentlemen! This is a courtroom," the judge said sharply. "You will conduct yourselves at all times!"

Prosecutors had asked for the $1 million bond. Shanahan rejected the defense's contention that Tensing wasn't a flight risk.

Tensing is due back in court Aug. 19.

DuBose's family has urged the community to remain calm, as it has in a series of demonstrations since the shooting. Tensing had stopped DuBose for a missing front license plate, which is required in Ohio but not in neighboring states.

DuBose's death comes amid months of national scrutiny of police dealings with African-Americans, especially those killed by officers. DuBose was black; Tensing is white. Authorities so far have not focused on race in the death of DuBose. City officials who viewed video footage from Tensing's body camera said the traffic stop shouldn't have led to a shooting.

"This officer was wrong," Police Chief Jeffrey Blackwell said Wednesday, adding that officers "have to be held accountable" when they're in the wrong.

Hamilton County Prosecutor Joe Deters scoffed at Tensing's claim that he was dragged by DuBose's car, saying the officer "purposely killed him." Using words such as "asinine" and "senseless," the veteran prosecutor known for tough stands on urban crime called it "a chicken crap" traffic stop.

"It was so unnecessary," Deters said. He added that Tensing "should never have been a police officer."

Tensing, who was jailed overnight Wednesday, was fired soon after the indictment was announced. He had been with the University of Cincinnati for more than a year after starting police work in 2011 in a Cincinnati suburb. He also had earned a UC degree in criminal justice.

Tensing's attorney, Stewart Mathews, said that he was shocked that his client was indicted on a murder charge and that Tensing did not intend to kill DuBose.

Tensing, who could face up to life in prison if convicted, has said he thought he was going to be dragged under the car and "feared for his life," Mathews said.

Mathews said a video from the body camera of a police officer who arrived right after the shooting shows Tensing lying in the street after he had gotten free of the car, but that video hasn't been released by authorities.

"With the political climate in this country with white police officers shooting black individuals, I think they need somebody to make an example of," Mathews said.

Authorities have said Tensing stopped the car and a struggle ensued after DuBose failed to provide a driver's license and refused to get out of the car.

"I didn't even do nothing," DuBose can be heard telling Tensing. DuBose held up what appears to be a bottle of gin.

Tensing fired once, striking DuBose in the head.

Aubrey DuBose, the victim's brother, called the shooting "senseless" and "unprovoked." He said the family is upset but wants any reaction to the case to be nonviolent and done in a way that honors his brother's style.

"Sam was peaceful," he said. "He lived peaceful. And in his death, we want to remain peaceful. Like my mom said, let God fight the battle."


Associated Press writers Kantele Franko, Ann Sanner, Mitch Stacy, Julie Carr Smyth and Andrew Welsh-Huggins in Columbus and Dylan Lovan in Cincinnati contributed to this report.

Two houses from hit series 'Breaking Bad' for sale in Albuquerque

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) -- Two houses featured on the hit AMC-TV series "Breaking Bad" are up for sale in Albuquerque.


A mother-daughter realty team said this week they are helping sell the home where the fictitious Jesse Pinkman made methamphetamine.


The two-story, 3,500-square foot, four-bedroom home in Albuquerque's Country Club area is listed for $1.6 million.

The sales team created a website to promote the houses, which includes the caveat "Meth lab not included."

Susan C. Feil and Alicia Feil Peterson of Coldwell Banker Legacy list another house that appeared in the series finale in Albuquerque's North Valley for $2.65 million. That home is where the show's main character, Walter White, played by Bryan Cranston, threatened his former business partner with two fake assassins.

"Breaking Bad" follows former high school teacher Walter White as he manufactures meth with a former student, Jesse Pinkman, played by Aaron Paul.

The show ended in 2013, but tourism companies in Albuquerque still embrace the drug-addled series and give "Breaking Bad" tours showcasing spots made popular in the show.

The city's visitors bureau even includes a map of the show's famous locations on its website.

A prequel to the show, "Better Call Saul," is filming its second season and recently shot scenes near the Albuquerque bureau of The Associated Press.

"Better Call Saul" follows a struggling lawyer, played by Bob Odenkirk, as he defends drug lords, petty criminals and people who claim they were injured in traffic accidents.

34 Texas deer killed to test for chronic wasting disease

HONDO, Texas (AP) -- State officials have euthanized 34 deer at a Medina County breeding ranch, where a buck tested positive for chronic wasting disease last month.

The deer were euthanized Tuesday at the Texas Mountain Ranch north of Hondo, and owner Bob Patterson valued them collectively at $280,000, the San Antonio Express-News ( ) reported.

"It's heart-wrenching. It's devastating," he said. "It's tough all the way around."

A 2-year-old buck tested positive for the disease in June after dying in an accident, marking the first CWD case in a captive-raised deer in Texas. The disease affects the brains and nervous systems of deer and elk, and isn't considered a threat to human health.

The only other CWD ever found in Texas was in seven, free-ranging mule deer in the Waco Mountains in 2012, according to state officials, who have allowed continued hunting of that herd since the area is remote.

The state is tracking deer bought and sold by Patterson, and State Veterinarian Dee Ellis predicted the probe would yield other positive results of CWD.

Authorities say they decided to start testing Patterson's herd with 35 deer considered at the highest risk of contracting CWD; one of them was killed last week due to an antler infection. Officials say their brain stems are undergoing testing and the results are due next week, which will help determine if any more deer from the ranch will be euthanized for testing.

Texas allows captive-bred deer to be released into the wild, raising the prospect of possible infection of native deer, said Clayton Wolf, director of wildlife for the Texas Parks and Recreation Department. Last month's positive test has prompted state officials to restrict the sale and movement of deer held by most breeders as they investigate its origin and reach.

Ellis said he's trying to craft CWD guidelines that protect native deer but also permit the sale, movement and release of captive-raised deer deemed to be low-risk.

"We're trying to balance the risk to wildlife with the need for business continuity for captive breeders," he said.

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