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In brief: Insider trading ban sent to Obama

FRIDAY, MARCH 23, 2012

WASHINGTON – The Senate on Thursday sent the White House a bill to explicitly ban members of Congress, the president and thousands of other federal workers from profiting from nonpublic information learned on the job.

While the bill lets the public see more of government officials’ financial dealings, and view them online more frequently, it abandons an earlier proposal to require public reports from people who gather information from Congress and sell it, mainly to investors.

President Barack Obama repeated his commitment to sign the STOCK Act, which stands for Stop Trading on Congressional Knowledge. “It’s a good first step,” he said after passage.

Mystery booms may be linked to quake

MILWAUKEE – A minor earthquake occurred this week near the eastern Wisconsin city where researchers have been investigating a series of unexplained booming sounds, federal geologists said Thursday.

The U.S. Geological Survey said the 1.5-magnitude earthquake struck Tuesday just after midnight in Clintonville, a town of about 4,600 people about 40 miles west of Green Bay.

Geophysicist Paul Caruso told the Associated Press that loud booming noises have been known to accompany earthquakes. It’s possible the mysterious sounds that town officials have been investigating are linked to the quake, he said.

“To be honest, I’m skeptical that there’d be a sound report associated with such a small earthquake, but it’s possible,” he said.

Those reservations didn’t stop Clintonville City Administrator Lisa Kuss from declaring “the mystery is solved” at a news conference Thursday evening.

She said USGS representatives described the event as a swarm of several small earthquakes in a very short time.

Plant protest brings 130 arrests

BRATTLEBORO, Vt. – A 93-year-old anti-nuclear activist was among more than 130 protesters arrested at the corporate headquarters of the Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant Thursday, the first day of the plant’s operation after the expiration of its 40-year license.

Frances Crowe, of Northampton, Mass., said she wants Vermont Yankee to cease operations because she feels it’s a threat to the people who live nearby.

The arrests were made calmly and without any confrontation, with obvious signs that protesters and police had worked out the logistics beforehand.

Brattleboro police Chief Gene Wrinn said in a statement that more than 130 people had been arrested for unlawful trespass. He said after being processed they were later released.

A crowd estimated at more than 1,000 gathered in a downtown Brattleboro park before they marched the 3  1/2 miles to the headquarters.

More supermarkets drop ‘pink slime’

NEW YORK – Supermarket chains Kroger Co. and Stop & Shop said Thursday they will join the growing list of store chains that will no longer sell beef that includes an additive with the unappetizing moniker “pink slime.”

Federal regulators say the ammonia-treated filler, known in the industry as “lean, finely textured beef,” meets food safety standards. But critics say the product could be unsafe.

Kroger Co., the nation’s largest traditional grocer with 2,435 supermarkets in 31 states, reversed itself after saying Wednesday that it would sell beef both with and without the additive.

Komen execs leave after funding flap

DALLAS – At least five high-ranking executives with the Susan G. Komen for the Cure breast cancer charity have resigned in the aftermath of the organization’s decision to eliminate its funding for Planned Parenthood.

The departures include three officials from Komen’s Dallas headquarters, as well as CEOs of affiliate groups in Oregon and New York City. The chairman of the foundation also stepped down from his post, though he will remain on the board. Although some cited personal reasons, the resignations suggest that Komen is still in turmoil, even after reversing course and restoring the money to Planned Parenthood.


 

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