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Digest

House would help workers start unions

By Times Wires
Published March 2, 2007


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WASHINGTON - Democrats rewarded organized labor Thursday for helping them retake control of Congress, passing a House bill that would make it easier for workers to start unions against companies' wishes. The legislation, passed 241-185 on a nearly party-line vote, would take away the right of employers to demand secret-ballot elections by workers before unions could be recognized. Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., has pledged to block the bill and the White House says President Bush will veto the measure if it reaches his desk.

 

GAO: U.S. missed energy deadlines

WASHINGTON - The government has missed all 34 deadlines set by Congress for requiring energy efficiency standards on everything from home appliances to power transformers, government auditors said Thursday. Two-thirds of the deadlines have yet to be met; many are more than a decade old. Consumers and corporations stand to pay tens of billions of dollars more for energy than they would have, the Government Accountability Office said.

 

Report: Cut insurer care payments

WASHINGTON - Democrats looking for money to pay for health care priorities focused on insurers Thursday. A commission that advises Congress told lawmakers that Medicare spends about 12 percent more for care administered through private insurers than when the same care is provided through traditional Medicare. The commission recommended eliminating that gap, which would save about $65-billion over five years, according to the Congressional Budget Office.

 

States get more time on ID rules

WASHINGTON - Bowing to protests from governors and Congress, the Bush administration is giving states another year and a half to comply with new driver's license rules aimed at foiling terrorists. The agreement Thursday cleared one obstacle to passage of a major security bill.

 

Teacher won't talk about sex charges

COLUMBIA, S.C - A middle-school teacher accused of having sex with at least five boys was fired and remained in jail Thursday after she refused to speak with police, authorities said. Allenna Williams Ward, 23, who is married, had encounters over three months with the 14- and 15-year-old boys at the school, at a motel, in a park and behind a restaurant, according to warrants.

Elsewhere

St. Louis: A man accused of kidnapping and molesting two boys was indicted Thursday on federal charges he took pornographic images of one of them. The indictment marked the first federal charges against Michael Devlin, 41, in the abductions of Shawn Hornbeck, now 15, and 13-year-old Ben Ownby.

Atlanta: The two "Barbie Bandits," who robbed a Cobb County bank hiding behind smiles and sunglasses have been arrested, police said Thursday. Police announced the arrests of Ashley Miller and Heather Johnson, with a twist: The women, thought to be as young as 16, are 19 and may have been in cahoots with a 22-year-old bank teller.

Nassau, Bahamas: Anna Nicole Smith will be buried beside her son today in a custom gown after an extravagant, private and "very pink" service, organizer Patrik Simpson said.

[Last modified March 2, 2007, 01:00:35]


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