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In brief: Obama, White House tout jobs plan

Sat., Sept. 10, 2011

Richmond, Va. – The White House launched a full-court press Friday to rally public support behind President Barack Obama’s new jobs plan, dispatching the president to the backyard of one of his most obstructive Republican nemeses and flooding reporters with emails praising the plan from mayors, governors, lawmakers and union and business leaders.

On Capitol Hill, civility mostly reigned. Members of Congress suggested that there’s room for common ground, even as some Republicans cautioned that they hadn’t yet seen the details of the bill.

Obama pressed the crowd for help at a spirited college rally, saying he wanted them to call, email, tweet, fax, Facebook or “send a carrier pigeon” to members of Congress, urging them to back his $447 billion package.

“I want you to tell your congressperson: The time for gridlock and games is over,” he told an enthusiastic crowd of 8,900 at the University of Richmond.

The University of Richmond sits squarely in the congressional district of one of his chief GOP sparring partners: House Majority Leader Eric Cantor. The Virginia Republican – who held his own jobs event later Friday in his district – struck a conciliatory tone Friday.

A few hours after Obama spoke, Cantor appeared at Titan America, a heavy building materials company in Richmond, and vowed cooperation – but also urged the president not to ask Congress to simply pass one big bill.

Earthquake strikes off B.C. coast

Vancouver, B.C. – A magnitude-6.4 earthquake struck Friday off the coast of British Columbia, the U.S. Geological Survey said.

The quake struck at 12:41 p.m. PDT at a depth of 14.3 miles about 173 miles west of Vancouver, the USGS said.

The quake’s epicenter was just off the west coast of Vancouver Island, south of Port Hardy.

Stephen Halchuck, a seismologist with Natural Resources Canada, said the quake lasted for 20 to 30 seconds and rattled buildings across Vancouver Island and the southwest portion of British Columbia. He said there were no immediate reports of damage in the region.

Osteoporosis drug labeling targeted

Washington – Food and Drug Administration advisers voted Friday to require makers of widely used osteoporosis drugs to clarify how long patients should take them for the greatest benefit and least risk.

The FDA itself will later decide what the new label wording should say for each of the drugs: Fosamax, Boniva, Actonel, Atelvia and Reclast. The agency could require wording that recommends limiting how long each drug is taken, but it’s unclear how long that would be for each drug.

A few patients have suffered serious complications, including jawbone destruction, unusual thighbone fractures and cancer of the esophagus, generally after several years taking the medicines.

The drugs stop and reverse dangerous thinning of bones in many people, preventing much more common hip and spine fractures that cause pain and can result in hospitalizations, nursing home stays and early death.


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