Cattle quarantined at mad cow’s ranch
Cattle will not be allowed to leave the Texas ranch that produced the nation’s first homegrown case of mad cow disease, and government officials will work to find animals related to the sick cow, authorities said Thursday.
None of those “animals of interest” have yet been identified. If found, the cattle will be killed and tested, Texas animal health officials said.
The 12-year-old beef cow was born, raised and used for breeding at the same ranch and had never left the property, authorities said. They would not identify the ranch or the size of the herd.
Agriculture officials announced Wednesday that the latest confirmed case of mad cow disease in the United States had been traced to the animal, which was a “downer” that could not walk. The cow was slaughtered last November at a pet-food plant in Waco, Texas, and never entered the nation’s human food supply.
It was the first time the disease has been confirmed in a U.S.-born cow. The other U.S. case was in a dairy cow imported from Canada.
Designs for Flight 93 memorials revealed
About a dozen people Thursday got a sneak peek of the five finalists in the design competition for the memorial to the victims of Flight 93, which was hijacked on Sept. 11, 2001, and crashed in a Pennsylvania field.
Organizers of the Flight 93 National Memorial will put the designs on official display today to get comment from the public, which will be shared with the jury that will select the winner.
“We’re looking for ‘How do these make you feel?”’ said Gary Singel, a member of the memorial advisory committee and task force.
The finalists, winnowed from more than 1,000 entries submitted by professional and amateur designers from 27 foreign countries and nearly every state, make broad use of about half the 2,200-acre site in the mountains east of Pittsburgh.
White House against extending insurance act
The Bush administration told Congress on Thursday that it opposes extending a law that provides government support in insuring against losses from terrorist attacks.
The Terrorism Risk Insurance Act was passed following the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks as a way to make sure that large construction projects could get the insurance they needed to proceed. The law is due to expire at year’s end.
Treasury Secretary John Snow said in a letter accompanying a Treasury report on the issue that extending the law in its current form might impede the development of the private insurance market “by crowding out innovation.”
“Consistent with its original purpose as a temporary program scheduled to end on Dec. 31, 2005, and the need to encourage further development of the private market, the administration opposes extension of TRIA in its current form,” Snow said.
Budget crisis could shutdown Minnesota
St. Paul, Minn.
Minnesota headed toward its first-ever government shutdown late Thursday as lawmakers gave up on passage of a temporary spending plan designed to avert as many as 9,000 layoffs and the closing of highway rest stops over the July Fourth weekend.
The Senate adjourned abruptly only 20 minutes after Republican Gov. Tim Pawlenty had said he hoped the two sides could agree on a stopgap measure to keep state government running 10 more days.
Earlier Thursday, the Senate passed a temporary measure with no time limit, which the governor and Republican leaders in the House said they would not accept.
“The Senate passed a resolution to continue government,” said Dean Johnson, leader of the Democratic majority in the Senate. “Now it will be up to the governor and the House to respond to that.”
Most Republicans opposed the bill, saying it would create incentive to drag the budget debate deeper into the summer.
Johnson said the sides had whittled the gap to less than $200 million in a two-year, $30 billion budget. But with the new fiscal year beginning today, lawmakers remained deadlocked over issues including taxes, casino gambling and health care for the poor.