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Friday, Aug 01st

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Obama signs bill to overhaul job training programs

Job training bill overhaulFederal job training programs will see their biggest overhaul in 16 years after President Obama put his signature Tuesday on a law intended to streamline a tangled web of programs.

It's the first major rewrite of federal job training programs since Congress passed the Workforce Development Act in 1998 — when Netscape was the Web browser of choice, résumés were on paper and largely sent in the mail and newspaper want ads were the primary way of learning of job openings.

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US to conduct major study into female genital mutilation

FGM study The Obama administration is to carry out a major study into female genital mutilation, in an effort to establish how many women are living with the consequences of FGM in the United States and how many girls are at risk.

The previous study was carried out in 199 , and new research is a central demand of a Guardian-backed campaign, led by Jaha Dukureh, which aims to put an end to the practice. Experts say that FGM, which involves the removal of a girl's outer sexual organs and is often carried out without anaesthetic, often takes place during the summer holidays when American girls are taken out of the country for the purpose. A prevalence study is seen by campaigners as a vital first step in tackling FGM in the US.

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China food scandal spreads, drags in Starbucks, Burger King and McNuggets in Japan

China fast food scandalThe latest food scandal in China is spreading fast, dragging in U.S. coffee chain Starbucks, Burger King Worldwide Inc and others, as well as McDonald's products as far away as Japan.

McDonald's Corp and KFC's parent Yum Brands Inc apologized to Chinese customers on Monday after it emerged that Shanghai Husi Food Co Ltd, a unit of U.S.-based OSI Group LLC, had supplied expired meat to the two chains.

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Supreme Court lifts stay of Arizona execution

Joseph WoodThe U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday knocked down a stay of execution for Arizona Death Row prisoner Joseph Wood, who is scheduled to be put to death Wednesday morning at the Arizona State Prison Complex - Florence.

Wood 55, was sentenced to death for killing his girlfriend and her father in Tucson in 1989.

The Arizona Department of Corrections intends to execute him with a controversial drug called midazolam, which was used in three flawed executions earlier this year in which the dying inmates appeared to suffer respiratory distress. Arizona also frequently uses a controversial method of administering drugs that was at the center of a botched execution in April in Oklahoma, in which the condemned man writhed in pain for more than 40 minutes before dying of an apparent heart attack.

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ObamaCare subsidies are legal after all, second appeals court rules

ObamacareA federal appeals court on Tuesday upheld ObamaCare's subsidies — the same day another appeals court ruled against them.

In a unanimous ruling, the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the health care law permits the federal government to provide subsidies to people who purchase health insurance in every state. Plaintiffs had argued that a poorly-worded section of the law implied the government could only provide subsidies in states that opted to set up their own health care exchange programs, and not in states where the feds run those exchanges. The law specifically states that subsidies can go to people who buy coverage "through an Exchange established by the State," though the 4th Circuit said lawmakers clearly intended the law to be broader than that.

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Detroit retirees vote for major pension cuts – by a landslide

Detroit pensions cutA year after filing for bankruptcy, Detroit is building momentum to get out, especially after workers and retirees voted in favor of major pension changes just a few weeks before a judge holds a crucial trial that could end the largest public filing in U.S. history.

Pension cuts were approved in a landslide, according to results filed shortly before midnight Monday. The tally from 60 days of voting gives the city a boost as Judge Steven Rhodes determines whether Detroit's overall strategy to eliminate or reduce $18 billion in long-term debt is fair and feasible to all creditors.

The rial starts August 14.

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Bond trader could face nine years in prison in rare criminal prosecution

Blond trader to faced jail timeJesse Litvak was ecstatic.  It was March 31, 2010, and the mortgage bond trader at Jefferies & Co. had just persuaded Michael Canter, head of securitized assets at from giant asset manager Alliance Bernstein, to bite on the purchase of millions of dollars in mortgage bonds.

Litvak messaged the good news to his boss, William Jennings and wrote that he misrepresented the prices Jefferies had paid for the bonds and could get Canter to pay even more.

“Boom!” replied Jennings.   With another phone call and a couple of clicks on his computer, Litvak completed the $27 million sale, which earned him and Jefferies a $50,000 commission.

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Major US airlines suspend flights to Israel

FAAThe Federal Aviation Administration is telling U.S. airlines they are prohibited from flying to the Tel Aviv airport in Israel after a Hamas rocket exploded nearby.

The FAA said in a statement that the ban on flights is for 24 hours beginning at 12:15 p.m. EST on Tuesday.  The statement said the rocket strike landed about one mile from Ben Gurion International Airport Tuesday morning.

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Israel confirms soldier missing as fighting continues

Israeli soldier missingAn Israeli soldier is missing following a deadly battle in the Gaza Strip, a defense official confirmed Tuesday, as Israeli forces continued their air, land and sea offensive against Hamas militants.

On Sunday evening, Hamas spokesman Mushir al-Masri in Gaza claimed his group had captured an Israeli soldier, a claim Israel initially denied. An announcement on Gaza TV of the soldier's capture set off celebration in the streets of the West Bank.

Several media sites reported that the IDF identified the missing soldier as Sgt. Oron Shaul, 21, from Poria. According to media reports, the IDF said Shaul is likely dead, but his family is holding out hope until definitive evidence is found.

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