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Futures News - Yahoo News - Latest News & Headlines
From today, December 18, 2017
- Lighter winds early this week may help battle against California wildfire
Lighter winds expected in California early this week should help firefighters in their battle against one of the largest and most destructive wildfires in the state's history, the National Weather Service has said. By late on Sunday, more than 8,500 firefighters had contained about 45 percent of the fire in Southern California. Dubbed the Thomas fire, it began Dec. 4 and has scorched 270,000 acres (109,000 hectares) along the scenic Pacific Coast north of Los Angeles.
- U.S. taxpayers rush to claim deductions under threat from tax bill
Financial advisers and accountants are working overtime as many U.S. taxpayers scramble to pay the rest of their 2017 taxes before Jan. 1 when the proposed Republican tax overhaul would sharply cut the amount they can deduct on federal tax bills. The tax legislation, which top U.S. Republicans said on Sunday they expected Congress to pass this week, caps the amount of state, local and property taxes individuals can deduct from their federal tax bills at $10,000. The average American who itemized his or her tax bill in 2015 claimed more than $27,000 in deductions.
- Power restored to Atlanta airport after daylong outage paralyzes travel
The early afternoon outage paralyzed operations at the Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport before power was finally restored at 11:45 p.m. Sunday EST for flight operations, wreaking havoc on holiday travel plans for thousands of people hit by airline cancellations extending into Monday. Delta said it was cancelling about 300 flights on Monday, on top of the 900 Sunday cancellations as a result of the Atlanta outage.
- James takes another shot at Trump during Washington visit
(Reuters) - LeBron James used a visit to Washington on Sunday to express his continued displeasure at Donald Trump, without once mentioning the United States president by name. James took the court wearing one white and one black shoe for the Cleveland Cavaliers against the Washington Wizards in an NBA game in the national capital. "Equality is all about understanding our rights, understanding what we stand for and how powerful we are as men, and as women, black or white or Hispanic." James, a frequent and outspoken critic of Trump, backed losing Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton in the 2016 presidential election.
- Track Palin, son of politician Sarah Palin, arrested in Alaska
The elder son of former Republican vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin was in jail on Sunday, facing assault and burglary charges in her home state of Alaska. Track Palin, 28, appeared in state court in Palmer, Alaska, earlier in the day, on a felony burglary charge and misdemeanor assault and criminal mischief charges, court records showed.
- Break in winds helps California battle historic wildfire
By Phoenix Tso VENTURA, Calif. (Reuters) - Calming winds on Sunday helped firefighters slow the spread of a California wildfire that already ranks as the third largest in state history, having scorched 270,000 acres (109,000 hectares) along the scenic Pacific Coast north of Los Angeles. Officials said more than 8,500 firefighters were battling the so-called Thomas Fire in Southern California, which began on Dec. 4. It has destroyed more than 1,000 structures and threatened 18,000 others, including homes in the wealthy town of Montecito just outside the coastal city of Santa Barbara.
- Republican Senator John McCain leaves Washington before expected tax vote
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Republican U.S. Senator John McCain is expected to miss an upcoming vote on a tax code overhaul, after his office said he had returned to his home in Arizona following medical treatment.
- Atlanta's Hartsfield airport hobbled by power outage
The partial shutdown at the start of one of the busiest travel weeks of the year forced the Federal Aviation Administration to hold back flights bound for Atlanta. The cause of the outage, which occurred just after 1 p.m. EST, was not immediately known, the airport said in a statement. It was working with crews from Georgia Power to identify the problem and fix it.
- Trump says not considering firing U.S. special counsel Mueller
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Donald Trump, when asked on Sunday if he was considering firing U.S. special counsel Robert Mueller, told reporters, "No. I'm not." Democratic lawmakers in recent days have expressed concern that Trump might fire Mueller, who is investigating allegations of Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential election and whether Trump or anyone on his team colluded with Moscow. Russia denies meddling in the election and Trump has denied any collusion. (Reporting by Jan Pytalski; Editing by Paul Simao)
- Diminished winds help California battle historic wildfire
By Phoenix Tso VENTURA, Calif. (Reuters) - Calming winds on Sunday helped slow the spread of a California wildfire that already ranks as the third largest in state history, having scorched 269,000 acres (109,000 hectares) along the scenic Pacific Coast north of Los Angeles. Officials said more than 8,500 firefighters were battling the so-called Thomas Fire in Southern California, which began on Dec. 4. It has destroyed more than 1,000 structures and threatened 18,000 others, including homes in the wealthy town of Montecito just outside the coastal city of Santa Barbara.
- Thousands flee as wildfire 'beast' grows to California's third-largest
By Caroline Anderson VENTURA, Calif. (Reuters) - A raging California wildfire powered by fierce winds grew into the third-largest in state history on Saturday as forced evacuations turned neighborhoods into ghost towns and ash fell in some areas like heavy snow. High winds and dry conditions were expected to remain through the weekend to power the so-called Thomas Fire in Southern California. It has destroyed more than 1,000 structures and threatened 18,000 more since erupting on Dec. 4, including homes in the wealthy enclave of Montecito just outside the coastal city of Santa Barbara.
- Congressman will not seek relection amid misconduct probe
U.S. Representative Ruben Kihuen announced on Saturday that he will not seek re-election, becoming the latest member of Congress to end his legislative career in the face of sexual harassment allegations. The first-term Nevada Democrat, who is the subject of an ethics investigation in the House of Representatives, denied the allegations against him but concluded that the charges would distract from "a fair and thorough discussion of the issues" on the campaign trail. "It is in the best interests of my family and my constituents to complete my term in Congress and not seek reelection," Kihuen, 37, said in a statement issued by his campaign committee.
- Winds fuel California wildfire, state's third-largest on record
By Alex Dobuzinskis LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - A raging California wildfire on Saturday became the state's third-largest on record, with more devastation possible from a resurgence of the harsh winds that have fueled the deadly blaze since the beginning of the month. The so-called Thomas Fire has destroyed more than 1,000 structures, including about 750 homes, in Southern California coastal communities since erupting on Dec. 4, the state Department of Forestry and Fire Protection said in a statement. Authorities described the current conditions, including returning winds and extremely low humidity, as "critical fire weather." Coastal Santa Barbara and more sparsely populated inland areas were of special concern, they said.
- N.J. nuclear power subsidy bill could cost $320 million per year
Last week, Ralph Izzo, chief executive of Public Service Enterprise Group Inc, which operates three reactors in the state at the Salem and Hope Creek plants, said he may be forced to shut the units unless the state provides subsidies. Izzo, who made his comments at a joint committee session in the New Jersey legislature, said the reactors were profitable now but could start losing money over the next couple of years because cheap natural gas has depressed power prices. If it ultimately passes and becomes law, it would require utilities to recover 0.4 cent per kilowatt hour from customers to cover the cost of the subsidy.
- Turkish banker on trial denies helping Iran evade U.S. sanctions
An executive at Turkey's majority state-owned Halkbank took the witness stand in a New York courtroom on Friday and denied charges that he participated in a scheme to help Iran evade U.S. sanctions. Mehmet Hakan Atilla, who has been on trial in federal court for three weeks, told jurors that he "never" conspired with fellow defendant, Turkish-Iranian gold trader Reza Zarrab, as U.S. prosecutors have charged. U.S. prosecutors have charged nine people with conspiring to help Iran evade sanctions through fraudulent gold and food transactions.
- Judge blocks Trump administration rules on contraceptive coverage
A U.S. judge on Friday blocked President Donald Trump's administration from moving forward with new rules that undermined an Obamacare requirement for employers to provide health insurance that covers women's birth control. U.S. District Judge Wendy Beetlestone in Philadelphia issued a preliminary injunction preventing enforcement of rules the administration announced in October that allowed businesses or non-profits to obtain exemptions on moral or religious grounds. Beetlestone wrote that Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro, a Democrat who sued to block the rules, was likely to succeed in establishing that the administration did not follow proper notice procedures when issuing the new rules.
- Former cell phone company executive convicted of text message scam
A U.S. jury on Friday found the former chief executive of mobile aggregation company Mobile Messenger guilty of defrauding mobile phone customers by charging them millions of dollars for unwanted text messages. Darcy Wedd, 40, was convicted in Manhattan federal court of wire fraud and conspiracy charges after a two-week trial, the office of Acting U.S. Attorney Joon Kim in Manhattan said. Robert Caliendo, a lawyer for Wedd, declined to comment on the verdict, which came after Wedd's third trial.
- Crews wary as gusty winds stoke huge California wildfire
By Dan Whitcomb LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Crews battled shifting winds and difficult terrain on Friday to stop a mammoth wildfire that has burned for nearly two weeks along the scenic California coastline, killing a firefighter and destroying more than 720 homes. The so-called Thomas Fire, which broke out on Dec. 4 near a private college in the community of Ojai, has since raged across 252,000 acres, or nearly 400 square miles, making it the fourth-largest wildfire since record-keeping began in California in 1932. Fire officials said a return of gusty Santa Ana winds made further progress difficult.
- Turkish banker on trial denies helping Iran evade U.S. sanctions
An executive at Turkey's majority state-owned Halkbank took the witness stand in a New York courtroom on Friday and denied charges that he participated in a scheme to help Iran evade U.S. sanctions. Mehmet Hakan Atilla, who has been on trial in federal court for three weeks, told jurors that he "never" conspired with fellow defendant, Turkish-Iranian gold trader Reza Zarrab, as U.S. prosecutors have charged. U.S. prosecutors have charged nine people with conspiring to help Iran evade sanctions through fraudulent gold and food transactions, although only Zarrab, 34, and Atilla, 47, have been arrested by U.S. authorities.
- Florida man sentenced to 15 years in prison for vandalizing mosque
A man who vandalized a Florida mosque in January 2016 and left a raw slab of bacon on its doorstep was sentenced to 15 years in prison on a hate crime conviction, a state attorney's spokesman said on Wednesday. Michael Wolfe, 37, pleaded guilty on Tuesday to criminal mischief to a place of worship in a case considered a felony hate crime, said Todd Brown, spokesman for Florida's 18th Judicial District, which includes Brevard and Seminole counties.
- Florida man sentenced to 15 years in prison for vandalizing mosque
A man who vandalized a Florida mosque in January 2016 and left a raw slab of bacon on its doorstep was sentenced to 15 years in prison on a hate crime conviction, a state attorney's spokesman said on Wednesday. Michael Wolfe, 37, pleaded guilty on Tuesday to criminal mischief to a place of worship in a case considered a felony hate crime, said Todd Brown, spokesman for Florida's 18th Judicial District, which includes Brevard and Seminole counties. Surveillance video after the 2016 incident showed a man with a shaved head and camouflage clothing breaking windows, cameras and lights with a machete at the mosque in Titusville, Florida, near Cape Canaveral, police said.
- Penn State's 'shocking apathy' to drinking blamed in hazing death
Pennsylvania State University's "shocking apathy" to alcohol abuse contributed to the death of a student after he consumed 18 drinks in less than an hour and a half during a fraternity initiation, according a report issued on Friday. Grand jury members wrote the report after hearing testimony on hazing and alcohol use within the sprawling university's fraternity system. Prosecutors issued it at Centre County Court in Bellefonte, Pennsylvania 10 months the death of Timothy Piazza, 19.
- Pennsylvania man admits to trading on tips about drug company
Daniel Perez, who authorities said lived next door to a former Celator accountant in Yardley, Pennsylvania, entered his plea to one count of securities fraud in federal court in Trenton, New Jersey, prosecutors said. Prosecutors at that time announced that three other people, including Evan Kita, the former employee at the New Jersey drug company, had pleaded guilty to participating in the insider trading scheme. Prosecutors said Kita told Perez and another friend, Richard Yu, in 2016 that clinical trials for his company's leukemia drug had produced positive results, allowing both men to place trades before Celator announced the news.
- Utah lawmaker invites retailer Patagonia to testify in Congress
The U.S. House natural resources committee chairman on Friday invited outdoor retailer Patagonia's CEO to testify before the panel after the company criticized the Trump administration's decision to drastically reduce two national monuments in Utah. Patagonia has been feuding with Bishop and Trump administration officials after President Donald Trump said he would reduce the Bears Ears monument, a sacred cultural site for five Native American tribes, by 85 percent and cut the Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument in half.
- U.S. court dismisses $3 billion suit against Deutsche Bank by Jewish family heirs
A U.S. district court in Florida has dismissed a lawsuit by the heirs of a prominent Jewish family seeking $3 billion from Deutsche Bank. The Wertheim Jewish Education Trust, in a suit filed in January, said heirs of the German entrepreneur Joseph Wertheim deposited the family's fortune at Credit Suisse in Switzerland as the Nazis rose to power and they emigrated to Spain. The funds were later transferred to Deutsche Bank but never made it back to the heirs, the plaintiffs said.
- Trump administration issues new rules on U.S. visa waivers
The Trump administration put new requirements in place on Friday for the 38 countries participating in the U.S. Visa Waiver Program, including that they use U.S. counterterrorism data to screen travelers, officials said. The program allows citizens of mainly European countries to travel to the United States for up to 90 days without a visa. Citizens from the 38 countries are required to obtain a so-called travel authorization to enter the United States.
- No place like 'Om': Ojai retreats keep their zen in California fire
The Thomas Fire that has raged through Ventura and Santa Barbara counties for more than a week destroyed more than half of Meditation Mount's gardens and a two-story residence and knocked out the electricity, he said. "It's kind of a miracle that it didn't all go up in smoke," Hall said of the center atop a hill in the picturesque Southern California city. "We also feel tremendous gratitude for what we have left because a lot of people have nothing left," added Hall, who said the center may not reopen for another three weeks.
- Firefighter killed battling massive California blaze
By Dan Whitcomb LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - A firefighter was killed on Thursday while battling a mammoth California wildfire as crews sought to protect coastal cities and towns in the path of flames that have destroyed more than 700 homes. The flag-draped remains of firefighter Cory Iverson, 32, were driven out of the fire zone in Ventura County, northwest of Los Angeles, in a hearse as his comrades saluted from roadsides and overpasses. "Anne and I are saddened by Engineer Cory Iverson?s tragic death.
- U.S. regulators ditch net neutrality rules as legal battles loom
By David Shepardson WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. Federal Communications Commission voted along party lines on Thursday to repeal landmark 2015 rules aimed at ensuring a free and open internet, setting up a court fight over a move that could recast the digital landscape. The approval of FCC Chairman Ajit Pai's proposal in a 3-2 vote marked a victory for internet service providers such as AT&T Inc, Comcast Corp and Verizon Communications Inc and hands them power over what content consumers can access. Democrats, Hollywood and companies such as Google parent Alphabet Inc and Facebook Inc had urged Pai, a Republican appointed by U.S. President Donald Trump, to keep the Obama-era rules barring service providers from blocking, slowing access to or charging more for certain content.
- Inquiry launched into harassment allegations against U.S. appeals judge
The chief judge of a federal appeals court on Thursday initiated an inquiry into harassment accusations involving another judge that were reported by The Washington Post, a court filing showed. Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals Chief Judge Sidney Thomas asked that allegations against 9th Circuit Judge Alex Kozinski be reviewed by judges in another circuit. Kozinski declined to comment when reached by Reuters on Thursday.
- Missouri issues first fines over misuse of farm chemical in 2016
By Tom Polansek CHICAGO (Reuters) - Missouri has issued its first fines over the misuse of a farm chemical in 2016 that went on to be linked in different formulations to widespread U.S. crop damage this year, the state said on Thursday. Authorities fined eight people a total of $145,125 for improperly spraying the chemical known as dicamba, used to kill weeds, in what Missouri called "the first wave of civil penalties issued to applicators," according to a statement. The delay between sprayings last year and the state's action shows how a long process of investigating many complaints about dicamba use is straining resources in farm states.
- White nationalist charged with first-degree murder in Virginia car killing: media
James Fields Jr., 20, appeared at Charlottesville District Court for a preliminary hearing, during which a previous charge of second degree murder was changed to first degree murder, local TV station WSET and others reported from the court. Fields would face up to life in prison if convicted of first degree murder, while second degree murder carries a penalty of five to 40 years in prison, according to the Virginia penal code.
- Nigerian man pleads guilty to taking part in global email scams
A Nigerian man was sentenced to three years and five months in prison by a U.S. judge on Thursday after he pleaded guilty to taking part in email scams to defraud thousands of victims around the world of millions of dollars, U.S. prosecutors said. David Chukwuneke Adindu, 30, was sentenced U.S. District Judge Paul Crotty in Manhattan, according to an announcement from Acting U.S. Attorney Joon Kim in Manhattan. Prosecutors said in a court filing Tuesday that Adindu tricked victims into wiring more than $25 million into bank accounts he opened in China, where they said the funds would be difficult for victims in the United States to recover.
- New York woman charged with laundering money to help Islamic State
Zoobia Shahnaz, 27, was arrested Wednesday on charges of bank fraud, conspiracy and money laundering, the office of Acting U.S. Attorney Bridget Rohde in Brooklyn announced. Shahnaz pleaded not guilty on Thursday before U.S. Magistrate Judge Kathleen Tomlinson in Central Islip, New York, according to John Marzulli, a spokesman for Rohde's office.
- New York, New Jersey commit $3.65 billion to fund tunnel project
New York and New Jersey on Thursday committed $1.75 billion and $1.9 billion, respectively, to fund a new rail tunnel underneath New York's Hudson River, part of an urgent program to expand and renovate Amtrak's aging and heavily traveled Northeast Corridor line. The announcement by New York Governor Andrew Cuomo and outgoing New Jersey Governor Chris Christie resolves questions about how the states would fulfill a promise to provide half of the funds toward the $12.7 billion Gateway Hudson Tunnel Project, among the country's largest infrastructure programs. New York said it would raise its portion through bond offerings while New Jersey would hike charges on NJ Transit rail passenger trips across the Hudson.
- U.S. regulators ditch net neutrality rules as legal battles loom
By David Shepardson WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. Federal Communications Commission voted along party lines on Thursday to repeal landmark 2015 rules aimed at ensuring a free and open internet, setting up a court fight over a move that could recast the digital landscape. The approval of FCC Chairman Ajit Pai's proposal in a 3-2 vote marked a victory for internet service providers such as AT&T Inc, Comcast Corp and Verizon Communications Inc and hands them power over what content consumers can access.
- Nephews of Venezuela's first lady sentenced to 18 years in U.S. drug case
Two nephews of Venezuela's first lady were sentenced to 18 years in prison on Thursday following their convictions in New York on U.S. drug trafficking charges. U.S. District Judge Paul Crotty sentenced the two men, Franqui Francisco Flores de Freitas, 32, and Efrain Antonio Campo Flores, 31, at a hearing in federal court in Manhattan. The two are cousins, both nephews of Cilia Flores, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro's wife.
- California firefighter killed battling massive blaze: fire officials
LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - A firefighter was killed while battling a massive blaze burning in Ventura and Santa Barbara counties, the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection said on Thursday.
- Homegrown attacks rising worry in U.S. as Islamic State weakens abroad
By Joseph Ax NEW YORK (Reuters) - The online video's message was clear: Supporters of Islamic State who could not travel overseas to join the militant group should carry out attacks wherever they were in the United States or Europe. Bangladeshi immigrant Akayed Ullah, 27, followed those instructions on Monday when he tried to set off a homemade bomb in one of New York's busiest commuter hubs, in an attack that illustrates the difficulty of stopping "do-it-yourself" attacks by radicals who act alone. "They tend to be less organized and less deadly," said Seamus Hughes, a former adviser at the U.S. government's National Counterterrorism Center.
- U.S. states sue Trump administration for not granting student-loan relief
President Donald Trump's administration is breaking the law in not granting loan relief to students defrauded by Corinthian Colleges and other defunct for-profit schools, according to four U.S. state attorneys general who sued the Education Department and Secretary Betsy DeVos on Thursday. In a complaint filed in the U.S. District Court of the District of Columbia, the top law-enforcement officers of New York, Illinois and Massachusetts also said the administration has unlawfully declared that some of the loans are still valid, which has led to involuntary collections from students' paychecks.
- Leadership of New York Times passes to next-generation Sulzberger
The New York Times on Thursday named a new publisher in 37-year-old A.G. Sulzberger, a fifth-generation descendant of Times leaders whose internal report on innovation has guided a newspaper known as "The Gray Lady" into the digital era. The younger Sulzberger will also join the board at a time of disruption in the media business, when the newspaper faces frequent criticism from U.S. President Donald Trump against the "failing @nytimes" on Twitter. Into that crucible steps Sulzberger, who has long been groomed for a major role at a business his family has owned since 1896.
- New York state AG to sue over net neutrality reversal
New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman and at least two other state law enforcement chiefs said on Thursday he would lead a multi-state legal challenge to the U.S. Federal Communications Commission vote to reverse landmark 2015 net neutrality rules. Schneiderman, a Democrat, said in a statement that states "will sue to stop the FCC?s illegal rollback of net neutrality." The attorney generals of Washington state and Pennsylvania also said they planned to file suit. The Internet Association, a trade group representing companies such as Facebook Inc and Alphabet Inc and the American Civil Liberties Union both said they opposed the reversal and were weighing legal options after the 3-2 vote by the FCC.
- White House supports FCC net neutrality vote, 'free and fair internet'
The White House said on Thursday that it supported the Federal Communications Commission's vote to repeal 2015 rules that aimed to ensure free and open internet, but added that it would continue to support wide access to the internet. "The administration supports the FCC's efforts and at the same time the White House certainly has and always will support a free and fair internet," White House press secretary Sarah Sanders told reporters.
- Turkish banker expected to testify in Iran sanctions trial in New York
A lawyer for Atilla told U.S. District Judge Richard Berman in Manhattan federal court on Thursday that Atilla, an executive at Turkey's majority state-owned Halkbank, would testify. Prosecutors have accused Atilla, 47, of working with Turkish-Iranian gold trader Reza Zarrab and others to help Iran evade U.S. sanctions through fraudulent gold and food transactions.
- FCC meeting briefly evacuated ahead of net neutrality vote
- EPA seeks input to rework rule on lead in drinking water
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency said on Thursday it will seek input from state and local officials as it considers how to rework a 1991 rule meant to protect people from lead and copper contamination in drinking water. The agency invited state officials to give input on revising the Lead and Copper rule at a two-hour meeting on Jan. 8 at the EPA's headquarters in Washington. EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt said the agency is seeking the input to "properly address lead and ensure communities have access to safe drinking water." The move is part of the Trump administration's policy of consulting with state and local officials, or national organizations that represent them, when developing regulations.
- Crime data in Native American tribal lands 'virtually useless': watchdog
The U.S. Justice Department does not adequately collect or use crime statistics from Native American tribes, a problem that has left the department with stale and "virtually useless" crime data, according to a new internal watchdog report released on Thursday.
- Drone operator caused U.S. Army helicopter collision: safety board
A September collision between a small civilian drone and a U.S. Army helicopter was caused by the drone operator's failure to see the helicopter because he was intentionally flying the drone out of visual range, the U.S. National Transportation Safety Board said on Thursday. The incident between a U.S. Army UH-60M Black Hawk helicopter and a DJI Phantom 4 drone near Staten Island, New York occurred as concerns mount over the rising number of unmanned aircraft in U.S. airspace. The helicopter landed safely but a 1 1/2?inch (3.8-cm) dent was found on the leading edge of one of its four main rotor blades and parts of the drone were found lodged in its engine oil cooler fan.
- Fierce winds to intensify as California wildfire grows
By Dan Whitcomb LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - California firefighting crews may face strong winds on Thursday that could feed a volatile wildfire which has grown into one of the biggest in state history. The so-called Thomas Fire overnight grew to the fourth-largest blaze of its kind on record, at 242,500 acres (98,140 hectares) burned, the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (Cal Fire) said in a statement on Thursday morning. The fire grew larger than the Zaca Fire of 2007, which, like the Thomas Fire, struck Santa Barbara County.
- U.S. weather forecaster sees La Niņa chances exceeding 80 percent
(Reuters) - A U.S. government weather forecaster on Thursday said La Niņa conditions are predicted to continue through the Northern Hemisphere winter 2017-18. The Climate Prediction Center (CPC), an agency of the National Weather Service, in a monthly forecast pegged the chance of La Nina developing at about 80 percent, with a transition to ENSO-neutral most likely during the mid-to-late spring. The agency in its November advisory had projected a 65 percent to 75 percent chance of the phenomenon developing during the Northern Hemisphere's winter.