Recently in National News Category

FDA Urges Regulations on Sodium

The Food and Drug Administration could soon limit the amount of salt that is added to American's foods, CNN said.

The Institute of Medicine has called on the FDA to place regulations on the amount of sodium added to processed and prepared foods, in an effort to decrease the health risks associated with salt consumption, CNN said.

The regulation would call for small incremental reductions-- with the idea of keeping flavors consistent, The Los Angles Times said.

Public Health Advocacy groups and nutrition scientists support the decision, while some industry groups denounced the idea, The Los Angles Times said.

NY Subway Bomb Suspect Captured

The fourth suspect in last years foiled Al Qaeda plot to bomb the New York City subway system was arrested in Pakistan, the New York Daily News said.

The man is currently unidentified and is expected to be extradited to the U.S. He will be tried in the U.S. with two other men who were involved in the plot, Adis Medunjanin and Zarein Ahmedzay, the Daily News said.

The lead bomber, Najibullah Zazi, is in custody and has been cooperating with law enforcement, CNN said.

Zazi has given information about the plan which aided in the capture of the fourth suspect, CNN said.

Mine Rescue Efforts Delayed

Rescuers were forced to suspend the search for four missing workers believed to be trapped in a West Virginia mine after a massive undergroud explosion that killed 25, The Washington Post said.

Because of the deadly gases released in the explosion, it could be Wednesdsay before rescuers are able to resume searching, the governor of West Virginia said.

Rescuers will drill boreholes to ventilate the mine and search for the four mising workers as soon as possible, ABC News said.

Tuesday, President Obama offered his condolances to the families and friends of the miners, CBS News said.

Obama Opens Up Offshore Drilling

President Obama discussed plans on Wednesday to open up large areas of the Atlantic Ocean and the Gulf of Mexico for oil drilling, ABC News said.

The plan entails lifting a 20-year ban on drilling off the Virginia coastline, while protecting areas in Alaska like Bristol Bay, CNN said.

Obama said this is a move made to stimulate economic growth, provide jobs and keep fuel costs low.

Relying on domestic fuel will be important as the country continues to develop renewable energy, he said according to CNN.

It is estimated that there is a 15-year supply of oil and a 23-year supply of natural gas beneath the ocean, ABC News said.

Obama Signs Health Care Reform

President Obama signed the health care reform bill on Tuesday, marking the completion of one of his top presidential priorities, CNN said.

The bill is the largest piece of social legislation passed in the last 40 years, yet Republicans and social conservatives are already planning attempts to repeal the bill, CNN said.

The signing took place in the East Room of the White House. Members of Congress, supporters, and ordinary citizens who have experienced hard times under the health care laws crowded the room, Associated Press said.

Obama will make a trip to Iowa on Thursday to talk about the reform, Associated Press said.

Same Sex Marriage Legalized in Washington, D.C.

As of last Wednesday, the nation's capital became the sixth place in the country to legalize same-sex marriage, The Washington Post said.

The first gay and lesbian couples were married on Tuesday in Washington, D.C., after a three day waiting period required by District law.

The same-sex marriage law was approved by the city council in December. A appeal for the lawsuit filed by opponents was rejected by Chief Justice John Roberts last week, Voice of America News said.

The law follows a 30 yearlong struggle by gays, lesbians, and their allies for equal marriage rights, The Washington Post said.

High Dropout Rate Poses a Threat to US, Obama Says

President Obama outlined a plan to to help lower the country's dropout rate, an increasingly high figure that the he said poses a threat to the economic future of the U.S., CNN said.

The program will provide "School Turnaround Grants" to 5,000 schools with performance and graduation rates that are below 60 percent, Obama said in an appearance at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce on Monday, The New York Times said.

The president proposed $900 million in grants for the program, The New York Times said.

To qualify for a grant, Obama proposed the firing of the principal and at least half the staff, citing that there has to be accountability taken for the students who continue to fail out in certain districts, CNN said.

Obama called the 1.2 million high school drop out rate per year a crisis in our developing "knowledge economy."

Possible "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" Policy Repeal Causes Concern

The Army Chief of Staff Gen. George Casey has "serous concerns" about the repeal of the "don't ask, don't tell" policy, supported by President Obama and Adm. Mike Mullen, CNN said.

Casey, along with Marine Corps Gen. James Conway, state that their concerns are due to the strain already placed on the military in both Iraq and Afghanistan. "Our Marines are currently engaged in two fights, and our focus should not be drawn away from those priorities," Conway said in November through a spokesman.

A repeal bill has been introduced into the House of Representatives, and Sen. Joe Lieberman, I- Connecticut, said he plans to introduce legislation to the Senate next week that would allow gays and lesbians to serve openly, CNN said.

Challenging the policy will be difficult though. Defense Secretary Robert Gates is heading a year long review of the implication a repeal would have. Most Army leaders reject the idea of relaxing the law until the Defense Department review is completed, Congressional Quarterly Politics said.

Toyota, Transportation Department Under Scrutiny

In reaction to growing criticism from customer groups, the U.S. Transportation Department demanded recall information documents from Toyota on Tuesday, the Associated Press said.

The subpoena-like demand was delivered to the Japanese automaker on Tuesday and requires that the company explain how and when they found out of the safety defects, the Associated Press said.

Over eight million vehicles have been recalled, making this the most extensive vehicle recall in history, The New York TImes said.

The department is also under scrutiny for not acting quickly enough to Toyota's problems, and some congressional officials contest that the department has become to close to the industry. Issues that will be discussed in the investigation include the agency's limited use of fines and continuing changes in leadership, The New York Times said.

Endeavor First of Final Five

After a nearly 24 hour weather delay, NASA's Endeavor space shuttle was launched from Kennedy Space Center early Monday morning.

From CNN, at 3:14 a.m. CST, Endeavor was launched, and the shuttle reached a stable orbit reported NASA.

The six-member crew will be adding the final compartment, Tranquility, to the space station on their 13-day mission. The module being added will give the astronauts more space to work in the station, reported the Associated Press.

The Endeavor's mission is the first of the final five for the program, a conclusion that NASA was brought to when President Obama released his 2011 budget plan, cancelling all further orbiter flights.

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