Wednesday, March 28, 2007

National and State News-Wednesday, March 28th

WASHINGTON (AP) - Congressional Democrats say President Bush will eventually have to accept some sort of deal on Iraq troop withdrawals in return for the (b) billions of dollars he wants to fund the war. Bush is threatening to veto any spending bill containing a timetable.

BAGHDAD (AP) - The other shoe has dropped following deadly bombings northwest of Baghdad. Off-duty Shiite policemen in Tal Afar killed at least 45 Sunni residents today in apparent revenge for two truck bombings that killed at least 63 people yesterday.

ATLANTA (AP) - A new study and new guidelines are recommending changes in the way some women get checked for breast cancer. The study says women diagnosed with the disease should get both an M-R-I and mammograms. New American Cancer Society guidelines say the same holds true for women at high risk for the disease.

MANILA, Philippines (AP) - A Philippine day care center founder with a penchant for grabbing attention says he'll release a busload of hostages later this morning. The man says he took his students hostage to protest corruption and demand better lives for the children. The incident comes with mid-term elections scheduled in May.

LONDON (AP) - The author of "The Da Vinci Code" has beaten back efforts from two authors who claimed he stole their book ideas for his best-seller. Dan Brown testified for several days during the British hearing last year. Both books are based on a theory that Jesus and Mary Magdalene married and had a child.

PHILADELPHIA (AP) - The financial picture is looking brighter for most of the state's general hospitals. But a state report released today says many facilities in smaller communities and
rural areas continue to struggle. Net patient revenue, which is the amount hospitals receive for
care, grew to 29-point-seven (b) billion dollars in the that ended June 30th. That's up seven-point-two percent from the year before. However, not all of the news was good at the 170 hospitals included in the Pennsylvania Health Care Cost Containment Council's tally. Fifty-five hospitals -- nearly a third of the state's total -- reported negative operating margins for the year. Those tend to be in small towns.

GREENSBURG, Pa. (AP) - State Senator Robert Regola is expected to be arraigned today in Greensburg. Regola is accused of improperly storing a handgun that his 14-year-old neighbor used to kill himself. He's also accused of lying about it to authorities investigating the death of Louis Farrell. The perjury and weapons charges against him are felonies. Regola's lawyer says his client is entitled to the presumption of innocence. He wouldn't address the specific allegations against Regola. If Regola is convicted of perjury, he will automatically lose
his Senate seat. It's unclear if he could keep his seat if convicted of other charges, but not perjury.

EBENSBURG, Pa. (AP) - A hearing is scheduled today about whether the Humane Society of Cambria County must reveal who adopted a puppy. A couple who gave the four-month-old golden retriever to the society wants the dog back, but the Humane Society won't say who
adopted it. Now Trevor and Judy Yardley want a judge to order the Humane Society to say who adopted the dog. The society's director says Judy Yardley was adamant about giving up the dog when she brought it in on March 20th. It was adopted about an hour later. The Yardleys say their puppy was put up for adoption by mistake.

JOHNSTOWN, Pa. (AP) - About 300 union employees at FreightCar America's plant near Johnstown are out of work this week. The railroad freight car maker announced last month it would be laying off 237 workers at the plant this month. More employees have been added to that number. The company says a slowdown in orders prompted the layoffs. Officials say they are hopeful the company will be able to provide some level of work for the foreseeable future.
They say about 75 of the 300 workers laid off could return to work. The company employs another 190 union workers.

LINTHICUM, Md. (AP) - The United Mine Workers of America has authorized a strike at two Foundation Coal operations in Waynesburg and one in Illinois. The union says Foundation has
failed to respond to requests for information needed for contract negotiations. Union president Cecil Roberts says the union doesn't want to strike on April Fourth, but the company isn't giving the union much choice. A call seeking comment from Linthicum, Maryland-based Foundation
was not immediately returned.

SLIPPERY ROCK, Pa. (AP) - The Slippery Rock School Board has discontinued a program that handed out fluoride tablets to students. The district will notify parents of the decision, and nurses will tell parents who want to continue the fluoride how to get the tablets. Board members took the vote Tuesday after teachers said they were worried about the legality of handling the prescription medicine. For the past 15 years, teachers in the district have given one fluoride tablet daily to students who wanted to participate in the program. But the school board solicitor has said teachers should not dispense the supplements.

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) - A state Senate Committee hearing that was called to answer questions on Governor Ed Rendell's proposed new tax on oil companies only seemed to create more. For instance, the gross profits tax apparently would apply to 274 businesses that have a stake in vehicle and heating fuel sold in Pennsylvania -- not just oil giants. That could include smaller distributors and producers in Pennsylvania. The latter did not go over well with some Republicans on the Transportation Committee, who said they felt the Democratic governor has advertised the tax as a way to tap into Big Oil's gushing profits. In addition, the tax could apply to the profits that companies reap from other lines of business, not just oil. A Revenue Department spokesman says that scenario will depend on how a company is structured.

PHILADELPHIA (AP) - A judge says Congressman Bob Brady can remain on the ballot for Philadelphia mayor despite an omission on his financial statement. Brady didn't list his city pension in papers he filed with his nominating petition for the Democratic primary. In the past,
candidates have been removed from the ballot for similar omissions. But a judge ruled that he believes the pension is a "governmentally mandated payment," which need not be listed.
The judge says other complaints about Brady's financial statement were minor and that an amended filing is enough to fix them. The legal challenge is backed by rival candidates Tom Knox and Dwight Evans. The plaintiffs are expected to appeal the ruling.

PITTSBURGH (AP) - A Pittsburgh police commander who was demoted last year after she criticized a mayoral nominee says she'd do it all over again. Catherine McNeilly says she "had to" criticize the mayor's nominee to head the city's public safety bureau or bad things would
happen. The mayor has agreed to pay McNeilly 85-thousand dollars and legal fees to settle her lawsuit, but isn't acknowledging any wrongdoing. Police Chief Nate Harper maintains the demotion to lieutenant was because McNeilly released some confidential records -- a disciplinary action report about a police officer. A judge ruled in January that McNeilly was likely to win her lawsuit and ordered her back to work. Her rank of commander was
restored at that time.

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) - The Justice Department aide in the middle of the political storm over the firing of eight federal prosecutors isn't even discussing the case with her mother in Pennsylvania. Monica Goodling's lawyer says she's planning to invoke her Fifth Amendment right not to answer questions from the Senate about the firings. Last night, as Goodling was on her way to becoming a household name, Goodling spoke with her mother, Cindy Fitt of Osceola Mills. Her mother gave her a vote of confidence, saying Goodling has very high personal standards. Goodling graduated from Northeastern High School in Manchester and from Messiah College in Grantham. She's on voluntary leave as the Justice Department's White House


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