News headlines for February 17, 2012
By Rachel Rogers
The House of Representatives approved the extension of the Payroll Tax Cut and Jobless Benefits earlier this afternoon. In an unusual act of cooperation the majority of both Democrats and Republicans voted in favor of the bill. Republican Representative Nan Hayworth from New York pointed out that the deficit amounts to 50 thousand dollars per person in the United States.
Replacement funding will come from the sale of underused public airwaves. The Federal Communications Commission would buy the spectrums from broadcasters and auction them to wireless companies. The auctions will not take place for at least a year but should allow for faster service on mobile devices. Congress expects to raise over 25 billion dollars. 2.75 billion would go towards funding a first responder network.
This morning federal agents arrested a man suspected of planning an attack on the Capitol. The 29-year-old Moroccan man had been under FBI surveillance for about a year. They provided him with non-functioning weapons so the public was never in danger.
A weight loss drug that was originally rejected by the FDA will be reviewed next week based on new data. Side effects like heart problems and birth defects prevented the drug’s approval in 2010. If permitted Qnexia would be the first weight loss dug approved in 13 years.
New York City Schools Chancellor Dennis Walcott sent a letter to parents regarding the three sexual abuse charges in the past two weeks. Two of the three employees charged had previous records, but only one person had a letter about it in their file. The DOE will now notify the principals when potential teachers or aides have a history of substantiated charges against them.
The Iranian banking system may soon be in trouble. An international banking group based in Brussels controls transactions for 40 Iranian banks, but is preparing to stop its services. Iran continues to claim that they are not trying to produce nuclear weapons. Nevertheless Obama administration is now encouraging the banking system, known as SWIFT, to block Iranian transactions.