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In brief: Hearings set on Sotomayor

Wed., June 10, 2009

Washington – Senate Democrats, determined to seat Sonia Sotomayor on the Supreme Court quickly, announced mid-July hearings on her nomination Tuesday in a move that surprised Republicans.

GOP leaders lashed out after Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., the Senate Judiciary Committee chairman, announced that he would convene the hearings on July 13 – considerably earlier than Republicans wanted – saying the date presents a “fair and adequate” schedule in line with the timeline for past Supreme Court nominees.

Sen. Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the Republican leader, called the Democrats’ tactics “heavy-handed” and urged them to reconsider the schedule.

FAA to examine smaller airlines

Washington – Four months after a fatal commuter plane crash that pointed to holes in pilot competency, the federal government on Tuesday launched an investigation of the nation’s smaller airlines.

The Federal Aviation Administration’s vow to step up inspections of how regional airlines train and work their pilots was issued under the pressure of congressional hearings that begin today. The hearings will look at how closely the FAA polices airline adherence to safety standards, as well as explore pilot work force issues at regional carriers.

Actors union ratifies contract

Los Angeles – Members of the Screen Actors Guild voted overwhelmingly to ratify a two-year contract covering movies and prime time TV shows made by the major Hollywood studios, the union announced Tuesday.

Some 78 percent of those who voted were in favor of the deal.

The new contract immediately raises actors’ minimum pay by 3 percent and grants another 3.5 percent raise in the second year of the deal.

But it does not improve upon the Internet terms that other unions have already accepted.

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