ON AIR NOW

LISTEN NOW

Weather

cloudy-day Created with Sketch.
78°
Broken Clouds
H 85° L 68°
  • cloudy-day Created with Sketch.
    78°
    Current Conditions
    Sunny. H 85° L 68°
  • clear-day Created with Sketch.
    69°
    Morning
    Sunny. H 85° L 68°
  • clear-day Created with Sketch.
    88°
    Afternoon
    Sunny. H 93° L 71°
LISTEN
PAUSE
ERROR

The latest top stories

00:00 | 00:00

LISTEN
PAUSE
ERROR

The latest traffic report

00:00 | 00:00

LISTEN
PAUSE
ERROR

The latest forecast

00:00 | 00:00

World
$40B Nicaragua Canal would be 3X bigger than Panama Canal
Close

$40B Nicaragua Canal would be 3X bigger than Panama Canal

$40B Nicaragua Canal would be 3X bigger than Panama Canal
Gatun lock.

$40B Nicaragua Canal would be 3X bigger than Panama Canal

Looks like the Panama Canal, long the only shipping canal connecting the Pacific and the Atlantic Oceans, might be losing that distinction in the near future. (Via Flickr / el.chamilo)

The proposed Nicaragua Canal's potential final route was announced Tuesday by Hong Kong-based developer HKND Group. (Via RT)

​The canal, which HKND CEO Wang Jing calls, "the biggest project built in the history of humanity," would stretch some 173 miles across the Central American country, connecting Punta Gorda on the Caribbean to the mouth of the river Brito on the Pacific. (Via Google Earth)

>> Read more trending stories  

If you want to understand just how massive this is, people consider the Panama Canal one of the engineering wonders of world. This thing would be three times as big.

The new canal, which would cost an estimated $40 billion, could accommodate Maersk Triple E class ships, which can carry 18,000 containers: more than triple the current capacity of the Panama Canal. (ViaGetty Images,  Maersk)

The Panama Canal authority is currently working to expand it, but even after construction is finished, it would fall short of the Nicaragua Canal by about 6,000 containers. (Via Panama Canal Authority)

But according to Nicaraguan officials, the Nicaragua Canal isn't looking to compete with its Panamanian neighbor. 

Instead, as the BBC reports, officials hope to complement the existing canal.

In fact, according to La Prensa, the University of Nicaragua is collaborating with its counterpart in Panama to prepare students for work on the project.    

And they're not the only ones collaborating. As Russia Beyond the Headlines reports, the Russian government will also be joining in, providing security for the project. 

So Russia and China are working together some 2,000 miles south of the American border. Where does that leave the U.S.?  

Well, while there still hasn't been any word from the White House on the issue, some pundits argue the U.S.'s biggest problem lies in our ports. (Via The White House)

"​Only 10 of America's approximately 55 major ports will be ready for the bigger ships [by 2015]" (Via CNN)

And the entire project is still pending environmental impact studies, as the canal passes through Lake Nicaragua, and critics are concerned it could have disastrous effects on the lake. (Via Flickr / orangebrompton)

Officials say they plan on starting work on the canal by the end of this year. 

See more at newsy.com.

Read More
VIEW COMMENTS

There are no comments yet. Be the first to post your thoughts. or Register.

The Latest News Headlines

  • A rare coin, the 1943 copper wheat penny, also known as the Wheat Cent, is worth a pretty penny these days, selling for up to $85,000 at auction. >> Read more trending news That’s according to the online coin value service CoinTrackers, which said the pennies are so valuable because so few were made and they were released by mistake. The Wheat Cent is made mostly from copper, but steel versions were issued during World War II, CoinTrackers said on its website. Because the 1943 coin was mistakenly minted of copper instead of steel and released, its value skyrocketed. >> Got a question about the news? See our explainers here Coin experts have suggested the mistake occurred when copper plates were either tested or left among the steel plates from 1942, KTRK-TV reported. A penny worth $85,000 may sound astronomical, but consider that in 2012 a 1943 Lincoln penny sold for $1 million at auction.  
  • Was it corruption or betrayal. There is a fundamental question that’s been brought to light through opening statements at the federal fraud trial of now-former Congresswoman Corrine Brown- exactly how much did she know about her personal finances and affairs. The question becomes central, as her defense paints the picture of a Chief of Staff in over his head and acting behind Brown’s back, while prosecutors say it would be impossible for her not to know about the source of the tens of thousands of dollars she was allegedly benefiting from.  Assistant US Attorney A. Tysen Duva started his argument talking about Brown being hailed as a trailblazer for her historic election in the 90s. He spoke about the committees she served in her more than two decades with the House of Representatives, and the reputation she built to deliver for her constituents.  “We wish that was the end of the story,” Duva said. “There’s another side- corruption, greed, and a significant entitlement attitude. That’s what this case is about. It’s about lying, cheating, and stealing.”  Duva says Brown leveraged her positions and relationships she built as a Congresswoman to solicit money for a “bogus” charity “One Door for Education”, without ever telling donors the money wasn’t being used on scholarships and other things to help disadvantaged children. Instead, prosecutors say the money was being used for parties, travel, shopping trips, and more.  Duva says Brown’s Chief of Staff Ronnie Simmons would frequently drive to an ATM in his Virginia hometown and withdraw the maximum allowed- $800- from the One Door account, then depositing a like sum in to one of Brown’s bank accounts or giving the money to Brown to deposit.  “When we dug even further, we saw this was a way of life,” he says.  Duva says Brown was driven by finances- with three properties and a shopping habit.  “She simply spent way more than she took in, she became accustomed to this money coming in,” He says.  Brown would also throw “lavish” events using One Door funds, according to Duva, about $330,000 overall. The US Attorney’s Office says donations to the group funded a golf tournament at TPC Sawgrass, a luxury box at a Jaguars game in DC, a luxury box in a Beyonce concert, and more. The money would also allegedly be used for an event at an annual conference, which Duva called a party for Brown to “be celebrated”. No fundraising was done at these events, according to Duva.  In his opening statement, though, Brown’s attorney James Smith III said Brown was not responsible for event planning, travel, or even much of the day-to-day operations in her office- Simmons was, and the jury needs to decide if they can trust him3bvqdvi .  “She trusted that he would always look out for her and care for her,” Smith says.  Smith says Brown first offered to be Simmons’ mentor after he and her daughter broke up, but remained friends. Simmons first worked in Brown’s travel agency, then eventually her campaign for the Florida House, then Congress. Smith says Brown looked at Simmons as a son, and was unaware that many thought he was in over his head. Rather, she trusted him to run her staff, keep her schedule, plan her travel and more. Simmons also had access to Brown’s bank accounts, according to Smith.  “As far as she knew, everything was running smoothly,” Smith says.  Smith says Simmons was always developing “schemes”, though, to fund the lifestyle he had become accustomed to. One such scheme involved getting a House of Representatives job for his sister by telling Brown she was sick and needed money. In reality, he says Simmons took much of the money over many years, and the relative didn’t do much work. So when Simmons met and ultimately started having a relationship with Carla Wiley, the President of One Door, the opportunity “fell in to his lap”.  “The two of them did that, on their own, without any encouragement or direction from Congresswoman Brown,” Smith says.  He says Brown solicited donations for a group she had every reason to believe was credible, because Simmons had vouched for it, and she trusted him. Even when Wiley ultimately took a plea deal, Simmons maintained his innocence, so Brown still had trust that he had done the right thing. Then, Simmons took a plea deal as well.  “She finally, finally had a chance to see clearly the betrayal that some in her inner circle feared,” Smith says.  Simmons and Wiley are both going to testify. Smith reminded the jurors that they will have to consider that testimony carefully, because of the plea deals they were given in exchange for their cooperation with the prosecution. He added that Brown herself will testify, because she can tell her story best.  And on the question of how Brown could have not known about the source of frequent large deposits in her accounts- the alleged One Door money Simmons would deposit- Smith says Brown traveled frequently for her work in Congress, and she would front the money and get reimbursed.  Prosecutors say that’s just not the case.  “The facts are going to show that Corrine Brown knew exactly what she was doing,” Duva said.  He adds that there are clearly established lies which will speak to that, including that Brown is also accused of underreporting her income and overreporting her charitable giving on House financial disclosures and tax returns.  If the One Door donors had known their money was not going to charitable education purposes, Duva says they wouldn’t have donated in the first place.  Smith says Brown can only be convicted of fraud if she knowingly lied to the donors when she solicited the donations, and that’s just not the case. Instead, he says she was fooled by Simmons, who he says has fooled investigators and prosecutors too.  “Don’t let him fool you,” Smith said to the jury.  WOKV is inside of the federal courtroom and updating you frequently through the proceedings. This is a developing story that will be updated in to the evening.
  • Almost ten months after she was first indicted on twenty-two federal charges, now-former Congresswoman Corrine Brown is officially going on trial. Opening statements are Wednesday afternoon, following more than two days of vetting 95 prospective jurors to seat a twelve person jury with two alternates. With the estimated three week proceeding getting underway, WOKV is recapping how things got to this point.  Questions started circulating in January 2016, when Brown was served a federal subpoena, but the situation started coming to head in March 2016, when Carla Wiley pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit wire fraud and agreed to cooperate with the prosecution as part of her plea agreement. Wiley was the head of “One Door For Education”, and the information filed against her in federal court says she and two others- one of who was a public official- represented that group as a charity to solicit and collect more than $800,000 in donations.  In reality, the US Attorney’s Office says One Door was never registered as a non-profit, and the donations were used instead for the personal expenses of the three co-conspirators and a few others.  In July 2016, Brown and her Chief of Staff Ronnie Simmons were jointly indicted- confirming them as Wiley’s alleged co-conspirators. In February 2017, Simmons pleaded guilty to two of the 19 charges he faced and also agreed to cooperate with the prosecution.  Federal court records say the trio used Brown’s position as a Congresswoman to aid their efforts to raise money for One Door. Simmons’ plea deal says Brown would often solicit the donations and then have Simmons recap and follow up with the donor. The deal also says Brown would frequently ask Simmons to have Wiley check the balance of the One Door account.  The US Attorney’s Office says there are tens of thousands of dollars that were withdrawn from the One Door account in ATMs where the city where Simmons lived, and then deposited in Brown’s account. About $140,000 was also allegedly transferred to Wiley’s account from One Door, and Simmons allegedly benefited from tens of thousands of dollars in checks as well.  Prosecutors say the money would go toward car repairs, travel and lodging, events hosted by Brown or held in Brown’s honor, among other things. Some of those events allegedly funded by One Door money included a golf tournament at TPC Sawgrass, a fundraiser in a luxury box at a Beyonce concert, a fundraiser in a luxury box at a Jaguars-Redskins NFL game in DC, and parties at an annual conference in DC. Court filings from prosecutors say the fundraisers and events did not actually raise any money or otherwise benefit any charity.  Throughout the time in question, prosecutors say there was only ever two scholarships paid by One Door- one for $1,000 to a person in Virginia in February 2013, and one for $200 to a person in Florida in June 2015.  Brown has pleaded not guilty. She has previously said the case is political in nature.  Brown served in the House of Representatives for more than two decades, before losing a primary election in August 2016. She said then that the time and resources she had to dedicate to the federal case against her were a factor in her ability to focus on the election. She had also faced a newly re-drawn district that stretched from Jacksonville to the west, after her prior district which stretched from Jacksonville to Orlando was thrown out because of gerrymandering.  Before she was voted out of office, Brown also faced an investigation by the House Committee on Ethics, which formed an Investigative Subcommittee to look in to these allegations. That investigation had been put on hold, however, pending the federal law enforcement probe. If convicted on all charges, Brown could get more than 350 years in prison. A jury must be unanimous to convict. She’s specifically charged with one count of conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud, seven counts of aiding and abetting mail fraud, nine counts of aiding and abetting wire fraud, one count of scheme to conceal material facts, one count of corrupt endeavor to obstruct or impede the due administration of internal revenue law, and three counts of filing a false tax return.  The later charges against Brown deal with claims by the US Attorney’s Office that Brown underreported income she received from One Door and overreported the charitable contributions she was making.  Wiley- the first to plead- admitted to one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud. She could be sentenced to 20 years in prison. Simmons pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud and one count of theft of government funds. He could get 20 years in prison for the conspiracy count, and 10 years for the theft.  Simmons faced the theft of government funds charge separate from Brown. He’s accused of helping a relative- who is a teacher living in Jacksonville- get a job with the House of Representatives an earning some $735,000 over about 15 years while doing little to no work. Simmons allegedly benefited about $80,000 from the revenue he helped his relative secure.  The jury is being specifically instructed to carefully consider the testimony of those who have taken plea deals- Simmon and Wiley- to consider that there testimony could be incentivized by the potential to receive a lighter penalty. They are also, however, being told not to negatively view a person solely for having taken a plea deal.  WOKV is in the courtroom as these proceedings continue. Our reporter Stephanie Brown will have updates on Twitter during court recesses and new stories posted frequently to WOKV.com.
  • The jury that will sit over the federal fraud trial of now-former Congresswoman Corrine Brown has been chosen. Seven men and five women are on the panel. Four alternates have also been chosen- not two as the initial court order stated. The alternates will not be told they are alternates ahead of the trial, instead, they’ve been mixed in among the others and the group is sitting as a body of 16. US Magistrate Judge James Klindt, who presided over the two-and-a-half day selection process, says they sat four alternates because of the anticipated length of the trial- at three weeks. By the observation of our reporter in the courtroom, the 12 person panel appears to be three white females, five white males, two black females, one black male, and one Hispanic male. Nine of the jurors live in Jacksonville, one in Bunnell, one in Middleburg, and one couldn’t be determined by our reporter in the courtroom because it was not clearly stated by the juror. US District Judge Timothy Corrigan- who is presiding over the trial- took the bench for the first time just ahead of 11:15AM, had the jury sworn in, and then issued instructions to the panel. The instructions included reinforcing that the jurors cannot speak to anyone about the case, and that none of the parties involved in the case should be approaching them through the trial itself.  “Our whole system depends upon the fact that this case is decided in this courtroom on the evidence in this courtroom, and nothing else,” Corrigan told the jury. Opening statements begin at 1 PM. JUROR DETAILS:  Juror 1- black male from Jacksonville, high school education, single and never married. He works in merchandising for a soda company. He served on a criminal jury in state court about ten years ago, and they were able to reach a verdict. Juror 2- white male from Jacksonville, high school education with some college, married with one 23-year-old child. He works in sales and his wife is a homemaker. He has been a juror on a criminal case in state court, and they did reach a verdict. Juror 9- black female from Jacksonville, associates degree, divorced with two children- a 4-year-old and a 9-year-old. She is recently unemployed, but previously worked as a registration analyst for a mortgage company and leasing agent at an apartment complex.  Juror 12- white male from Bunnell, high school education, divorced with a 30-year-old son. He was a factory worker and previously served four years in the Army. Juror 13- white male from Jacksonville, Bachelor’s degree in Communications, married. He is currently a hair stylist and his spouse is with an insurance group. Juror 17- white female from Jacksonville, high school education with some college, widow. She is a real estate property manager. She was a juror in a criminal case in state court in 2014, and they were able to reach a verdict. Juror 19- black female from Jacksonville, Bachelor’s degree in Respiratory Science, married with one son. She served in the Navy for 21 years and her husband is retired Navy as well. She now works in the respiratory science field. Juror 23- white female from Jacksonville, Bachelor’s degree in Business, married with three children. Her children as a 26-year-old waiter, a 23-year-old who works in a grocery store, and an 18-year-old graduating high school. She works in sales support for an insurance company and her husband grades essays for standardized tests. She served on a jury in a state criminal case in Indiana, and they were able to reach a verdict. Juror 26- white male from Middleburg, high school education with some college, married with three daughters- a paralegal, a waitress, and one who does financial work in the medical field. He is unemployed, but previously worked for a mortgage investor company. He has prior military experience of 13.5 years at Cecil Field. Juror 35- white female from Jacksonville, high school education with some college, married with two kids- a 13-year-old and a 19-year-old college student. She is a service consultant for an insurance company and her spouse is self-employed in landscaping. Juror 39- white male, Associates degree, single. Works for the Department of Transportation. Juror 40- Hispanic male from Jacksonville, Bachelor’s degree in Network Technology, married with three children- a 33-year-old case manager with DCF, a 31-year-old in the armed forces, and a 25-year-old in college. He works as a shift supervisor at a youth camp in Starke and his wife is a school teacher. He served 44 years in the military. ALTERNATE DETAILS: Juror 44- Hispanic male from Jacksonville, Bachelor’s in Communications, married with an 11-month-old daughter. He works as a Continuity Director with a media group and his wife owns a bed-and-breakfast. Juror 50- female of apparent East Asian descent from St. Johns County, high school education and some college, married with three children- one is a former Marine and current firefighter, one is a Marine, and one is a student. She has previously worked in account receivables, merchandising, and as a youth service worker. Juror 51- white male from Palm Coast, Masters in Business Administration, married with three children- ages 13, 11, and 6. He is a medical surgical rep and his wife is a homemaker. He served on a criminal jury in a case in Flagler County four years ago, and they reached a verdict. Juror 52- black female from East Palatka, high school education with some college, divorced with one 41-year-old son who’s a bus driver in New York. She is a lab analyst. She has previously served on a jury on a state criminal, but the case settled. This is a developing story that will be updated in to the afternoon.
  • President Donald Trump on Wednesday announced a proposal to drastically cut taxes for corporations and simplify the tax filing system for individuals. Companies would see a business tax rate of 15 percent, down from 35 percent, and individuals would benefit from a doubling of the standard deduction and a simplified form to fill out on tax day each year. Here is what was proposed on Wednesday: Reduce the seven tax brackets to three brackets of 10 percent, 25 percent and 35 percent. Double the standard deduction. Increase tax relief for families with child and dependent care expenses. Eliminate targeted tax breaks for the wealthiest taxpayers. Keep mortgage interest and charitable gift tax deductions, but eliminate other itemized deductions. Repeal the alternative minimum tax. Repeal the “death tax.” Drop the business tax rate from 35 percent to 15 percent. Implement a one-time tax (a repatriation tax) on trillions of dollars held overseas. What does it mean? Tax bracketTax brackets indicate the rate at which you pay on portions of your income.  Taxpayers will pay the lowest rate up to a certain amount, the next highest rate on the next portion, then the highest rate on the rest of their income. As an example using the tax rates suggested by Trump – 10, 25 and 35 percent -- income from $1 to $10,000 would be taxed at 10 percent; $10,001 to $20,000 at 25 percent; and income over $20,001 at 35 percent. Standard deductionThe standard deduction is a set amount of income that is not subject to being taxed. A taxpayer can choose to use the standard deduction or can itemize allowed deductions to lower a tax bill. Single taxpayers can claim a $6,300 standard deduction; married couples can take a $12,600 deduction and a person filing taxes as “head of household” can deduct $9,300. Alternative minimum tax According to the Tax Policy Center, the alternative minimum tax “operates alongside regular income tax. It requires many taxpayers to calculate their liability twice – once under the rules for the regular income tax and once under the AMT rules – and then pay the higher amount.  Originally intended to prevent perceived abuses by a handful of the very rich, it now affects almost 5 million filers.”  The AMT was designed to stop wealthy taxpayers from using too many loopholes to avoid paying taxes. Death taxThe estate tax, or “death tax,” is a tax “on your right to transfer property at your death,” according to the Internal Revenue Service. The value of the property and cash you own when you die is calculated and the amount arrived at is taxed. It's good news if you have a small estate: The IRS offers an exemption on the first $5.49 million. Six states – Iowa, Kentucky, Maryland, Nebraska, New Jersey and Pennsylvania – impose an inheritance tax. That means that if you live in one of those states when you die, your beneficiaries will likely owe a tax on what you leave them. Tax repatriation A repatriated tax break is an arrangement directed at multinational corporations that offers a one-time tax break on money earned in foreign countries. U.S. companies hold cash – an estimated $2.5 trillion -- overseas to avoid paying a 35 percent tax on foreign earnings. The last repatriated break taxed foreign earnings at a rate of 5.25 percent.  Trump has proposed that overseas earnings would be deemed repatriated and taxed one time, at 10 percent.

The Latest News Videos