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Submitted by Newsroom on January 6, 2011 – 8:44 amNo Comment

Latest World News: 8:44 a.m. mst
 
 
 HOUSE-SECOND DAY
     House Republicans reading the Constitution
 
     WASHINGTON (AP)
– And on the second day of Republican rule, the
House reads the Constitution.
     Volunteers have started giving voice to the seven articles and
27 amendments that make up the nation’s governing document.
     Republicans have made strict adherence to the Constitution a key
tenet of their effort to reduce the size of the federal government.
     Also today, the House is to take up its first spending cut
measure, a proposed 5 percent trim in the budgets of leadership,
rank-and-file member and committee offices. Republicans have
estimated that this will save $35 million over the next nine
months.
 
 NEW CONGRESS-CANTOR
     Cantor: Most Americans still dislike health bill
 
     WASHINGTON (AP)
– House Majority Leader Eric Cantor says the new
health care law is getting in the way of job-creation and vows
Republicans are committed to repealing it.
     Cantor tells CBS’s “The Early Show” the GOP isn’t retreating
from its commitment to get rid of the law overhauling the health
care system, even though Senate Democrats have made clear they
would block a repeal there.
     Cantor isn’t accepting a Congressional Budget Office analysis
saying the new health care is likely to reduce the federal deficit
by $143 billion this year. The Virginia Republican does say,
instead, that the bill cost over a trillion dollars “and we do
know it was full of budget gimmickry.” He argues that “most
Americans don’t like the health care bill and know there’s a better
way.”
 
 DEBT LIMIT
     Geithner urges Congress to raise debt limit
 
     WASHINGTON (AP)
– Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner is urging
Congress to raise the nation’s debt limit, arguing that failure to
do so could affect millions of American jobs.
     Geithner says in a letter to congressional leaders that the
government will reach the limit on how much it can borrow between
March 31 and May 16. He says that not increasing the debt limit
could lead to job losses, noting inaction could drive up interest
rates and make it more costly for U.S. companies to borrow money.
     Geithner’s warning is directed chiefly at Republicans, who are
vowing to block an increase in the debt limit and use the fight to
restrain government spending.
 
 JOBLESS CLAIMS
     More people applied for unemployment aid last week
 
     WASHINGTON (AP)
– More people applied for unemployment benefits
last week, one week after applications fell to their lowest level
in more than two years.
     The Labor Department says applications rose by 18,000 to a
seasonally adjusted 409,000 in the week ending Jan. 1. Applications
fell to 391,000 in the previous week, the lowest point since July
2008.
     Fewer than 425,000 people seeking unemployment benefits signals
modest job growth. But economists say applications need to fall
consistently to 375,000 or below to substantially bring down the
unemployment rate. Applications for unemployment benefits peaked
during the recession at 651,000 in March 2009.
     Last week’s increase isn’t enough to reverse the downward trend.
The four-week average, a less-volatile measure, fell to 410,750,
its lowest level since late July 2008.
 
 RETAIL SALES
     Retailers repor surprisingly weak December
 
     NEW YORK (AP)
– Although the December sales numbers didn’t quite
meet expectations, a busy November for retailers more than made up
for that.
     Combining the two months, holiday revenue at stores that were
open for at least a year rose by 3.8 percent over last year,
according to the International Council of Shopping Centers. It’s
the biggest increase since 2006.
     As merchants report their figures, many retailers including
Target Corp., Costco Wholesale Corp. and Macy’s Inc. reported gains
that were below Wall Street expectations. Bon-Ton Stores Inc.’s
sales were virtually flat and company officials blamed the severe
snowstorms.
 
 BODIES IN TREE
     Ohioan pleads guilty in deaths of 3 found in tree
 
     MOUNT VERNON, Ohio (AP
) – An Ohio man has pleaded guilty to
aggravated murder and other charges in the deaths of three people
whose dismembered bodies were found in a hollow tree.
     Thirty-year-old Matthew Hoffman was in court to enter the plea
Thursday to aggravated murder, burglary, kidnapping and rape.
     An indictment alleged Hoffman killed a woman, her son and a
neighbor while burglarizing the woman’s home on Nov. 10. The
woman’s teenage daughter was later found alive but bound and gagged
in Hoffman’s basement.
     Hoffman, an unemployed tree-cutter, could face up to life in
prison without the possibility of parole. Prosecutors in the small
central Ohio city of Mount Vernon were not pursuing a death
sentence at the wishes of the victims’ families.
 
 WINTER WEATHER
     FDNY boots EMS chief after storm response delays
 
     NEW YORK (AP)
– The head of New York City’s Fire Department has
replaced the agency’s Emergency Medical Service Command chief after
more than 1,000 emergency calls became backlogged in the snowstorm
that slammed the city after Christmas.
     Fire Commissioner Salvatore Cassano announced Wednesday that
Abdo Nahmod would take over the job from John Peruggia, who has
held the post for six years. Nahmod has been overseeing the
department’s Emergency Medical Dispatch.
     Mayor Michael Bloomberg already has directed Skip Funk, the
citywide director of emergency communications, to look at why the
communications and dispatching system failed.
 
 ELIZABETH EDWARDS-WILL
     Elizabeth Edwards leaves husband John out of will
 
     HILLSBOROUGH, N.C. (AP)
– The will Elizabeth Edwards signed days
before her death last month makes no mention of her estranged
husband and two-time presidential candidate John Edwards.
     The document Elizabeth Edwards signed Dec. 1, six days before
her death, also names her eldest child, lawyer Cate Edwards, as the
executor of her estate.
     In the will, filed in Orange County Superior Court in North
Carolina, Edwards leaves all of her personal effects, automobiles
and other property to her children – Cate, 12-year-old Emma Claire
and 10-year-old Jack.
     John and Elizabeth Edwards separated early last year after 32
years of marriage. John Edwards admitted he fathered a child during
an affair with a former campaign worker.
 
 IRS AGENT-TAX CHEAT
     IRS agent faces 9 years for cheating on his taxes
 
     LOS ANGELES (AP)
– A California-based Internal Revenue Service
agent could spend up to nine years in prison after acknowledging
that he cheated on his own taxes.
     Federal prosecutors say 51-year-old Albert Bront pleaded guilty
Wednesday in Los Angeles to filing false tax returns for himself
and two innocent relatives. The false tax form claims included
bogus alimony and mortgage deductions.
     The former Santa Clarita resident told a federal judge that he
filed fraudulent tax returns for himself from 2003 to 2007 by
claiming excessive deductions and failing to report income. He also
acknowledged filing fraudulent returns on behalf of two unknowing
relatives.
     Bront has been on unpaid leave from the IRS since he was charged
in 2009. His sentencing is set for April 13.
 
 NEW VERMONT GOVERNOR
     Vt. lawmakers elect new governor before inaugural
 
     MONTPELIER, Vt. (AP)
– Vermont lawmakers have done what voters
couldn’t – elect Democrat Peter Shumlin as governor, just hours
before he is to take office.
     Shumlin got the most votes for governor in the November
election, but he didn’t get more than 50 percent, as required by
the Vermont constitution.
     Under state law, candidates for governor, lieutenant governor
and treasurer must get at least 50 percent of the votes cast, plus
one vote, or else the election goes to the Legislature. It last
happened in 2002.
     So the first order of business for the new Legislature on
Thursday was to elect Shumlin as a formality. He will take the oath
of office in the afternoon.
    
    
     (Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)

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