Recently in National News Category

Financial Overhaul Bill Near Passage

Democrats and Republicans appear to be working together and closing in on finishing a bill that would overhaul America's financial regulatory system. The ranking senator on the banking committee said they were "very close" to agreeing on important pieces of the legislation, the New York Times said.
Senate Banking Committee Chairman Chris Dodd told NBC's "Meet the Press" that they were continuing talks through the weekend on the legislation. The bill would essentially prevent future taxpayer bailouts of financial firms, Reuters said.
Republicans are expected to block the bill unless they can reach an agreement by then. Democrats say that if Republicans block the bill on Monday, it will just delay the legislation rather than kill it. Democrats need at least one Republican to vote for the bill so they can get the required 60 votes needed to start debate.

Toyota to pay $16 Million Dollar Fine

Toyota is expected to pay over $16 million dollars in government penalty fees, the Star Tribune said. The fine, which is the largest government penalty ever issued to a car manufacturer, was issued after Toyota waited four months before informing the government of sticking gas pedals. The US Department of Transportation said it was going for the maximum civil penalty of $16.375 million dollars earlier this month, My Sinchew said. The Japanese auto giant declined to report what the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration called, " dangerous stick pedal defect...despite knowing the potential risk to consumers."
Toyota has recalled over 8 million cars worldwide, for several different defects.

Duke Wins NCAA Championship in Thriller

The Duke Blue Devils surprised no one with their win over the Butler Bulldogs in the NCAA Tournament's National Championship Game Monday night, ESPN said. What did surprise people, however, was the unexpected run made by the Bulldogs, and the fight they put up in the championship game.
Duke took the title with a score of 61-59 in what Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski called "a historic game, a benchmark game," Yahoo! News said, but Butler never made it easy, shaving a five-point deficit to just one, and almost won it.
Butler forward Gordon Hayward threw a wild, half-court shot at the buzzer for the win, that hit the backboard, then the rim, and just barely missed the net, securing Duke's victory.
The win marks the end to one of the most surprising and memorable NCAA Tournaments ever. There were huge upsets, close games, and underdogs gaining bids to the tournament that many believed would never get there (like the Gophers).
Butler, with 4,200 students enrolled at the private school, is the smallest school to ever play in the NCAA Tournament Championship Game. This win is Duke's fourth national title.

Kids Find Body During Easter Egg Hunt

Two teens who were participating in an Easter egg hunt in Des Moines, Iowa found a dead body about 300 yards from where the hunt was taking place, the Associated Press said.
Police Srgt. Chris Scott said the teens accompanied their younger siblings to the park, but wandered away when they found the man's body at Beaverdale Park on Saturday morning.
Police have identified the man as Goddi Ishima, KCRG News said. Ishima's family reported the man to be missing before his body was found. Police say they do not suspect foul play, but will conduct an autopsy.

Senator Blocks Jobs Bill and Benefits Are To Expire

Congress has adjoined for a two- week break without finding a way to extend jobless benefit programs, set to expire soon, with 14.9 million Americans face hard times as they look for work, Reuters said.
Senate Republican Tom Coburn, R-Okla., is blocking the passage of a stopgap bill that would extend jobless benefits, on the grounds that it's price tag of $9 billion dollars should not be added to the national debt, the Associated Press said.
There was another stopgap law enacted earlier in March that extends unemployment insurance for people who have been unemployed for more than six months, however, the Associated Press says that another short-term extension of these benefits are needed to hold people over while house and senate members negotiate a long-term measure that would extend benefits through the end of the year.
These types of benefits usually expire after six months, but Congress has had to extend these limits several times during the recession, due to high levels of joblessness extending longer than six months. Currently, the unemployment rate stands at 9.7 percent. Congress is to return to work on April 12.

Chief Justice Roberts Finds Obama's Remarks "Troubling"

Chief Justice John Roberts has fired back at the administration,calling President Obama's criticism the Court's recent decision in Citizens United v. Federal Elections Commission during the State of the Union address troubling and out of place, the Washington Post said.
"The image of having the members of [congress] surrounding the Supreme Court, cheering and hollering while the court has to sit there expressionless, I think is very troubling," Chief Justice Roberts said, according to the Huffington Post.
The Supreme Court decided that corporations and unions have a First Amendment right to use their profits to spend freely on political ads for and against specific candidates. The ruling was decided in a 5 to 4 vote in January.
It did not take long for the administration to fire back.
White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs, in a statement sent to reporters, said the only troubling thing was the 5 to 4 ruling by the court, saying the decision would, "open the floodgates for corporations and special interests to pour money into elections- drowning out the voices of Average Americans," The Huffington Post reported.

Remains of Missing Teen Found

The skeletal remains of teenager Amber Dubois, who went missing over a year ago, have been found in Northern San Diego County, CNN said. Dubois, 14, was last seen walking to school on Feburary 13, 2009 in Escondido, a suburb of San Diego.
Police say that the investigation is ongoing, but would give no further details, saying that it would be inappropriate.
The Los Angeles Times said that Dubois' remains were discovered Saturday afternoon after a registered sex-offender was arrested for the murder of Chelsea King, a high school senior from a nearby town. Investigators will not confirm that the deaths were linked.
Dubois was described by family and friends as a sheltered girl who loved animals.

Missing Girl Found Alive With Dog

A 3-year-old Arizona girl that went missing Thursday was found alive early Friday morning, after spending the night with just her dog in the wilderness.
The LA Times said that Victoria Bensch is being treated for frostbite as the temperatures were in the low 30's Thursday night.
Police said that Bensch spent the night huddled against her dog, Blue, for warmth, which probably saved her life, AOL News reported.
A massive search was launched when the girl went missing, covering rough terrain surrounding Victoria's Cordes Lakes, Ariz., and ended when a helicopter pilot spotted movement below.
The girl's father, Ernest Bensch, told CBS 5 news that he would like to hold a barbecue to thank all the rescue personnel, in a video showed by AOL News.

Swine Flu Killed up to 17,000 Americans

While 2,498 confirmed deaths have been linked to swine flu, Health News reports that 17,000 people in America have actually been killed by the disease.
The majority of people who died were between the ages of 18 and 64, and an estimated 1,810 were age 17 or younger.
The Centers for Disease Control estimated that 36,000 Americans die from the flu during a normal season, with 90 percent of those people being over the age 65, Reuters said. Furthermore, the CDC estimates that 200,000 Americans are admitted to a hospital during a normal flu season for flu-like symptoms, with the highest percentage of them being elderly people, and people with underlying health problems.

Fatalities Reported in Massive Power Plant Explosion

Five people are dead and 12 more have been injured after a massive explosion at a Connecticut power plant on Sunday morning.
Fox News reported the explosion happens at 11:17 am, blowing away three portions of the Kleen Energy Systems plant.
The deputy fire marshal on the scene reported that 50 workers were inside the building at the time it exploded.
The Wall Street Journal reported that the explosion, which occurred alongside a river, sent earthquake-like shock waves miles away. Authorities think that a gas leak might have led of the explosion, however the cause is still under investigation.

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