Today's Top News Stories

Another Case of TSA Overkill

Written By Daniel Rubin
February 13th, 2010

Just when I thought I was out of the Transportation Security Administration business for a few columns, they pull me back in.
Did you hear about the Camden cop whose disabled son wasn't allowed to pass through airport security unless he took off his leg braces?


Beware - Aspartame Has Been Renamed 'AminoSweet'

Written By Ethan Huff
February 13th, 2010

In response to growing awareness about the dangers of artificial sweeteners, what does the manufacturer of one of the world's most notable artificial sweeteners do? Why, rename it and begin marketing it as natural, of course. This is precisely the strategy of Ajinomoto, maker of aspartame, which hopes to pull the wool over the eyes of the public with its rebranded version of aspartame, called "AminoSweet".


USDA Drops Plans to Trace Livestock

Written By Jane Akre
February 13th, 2010

In a major compromise to the livestock industry, the Obama administration plans to start over in developing a way to trace communicable disease in livestock after resistance from ranchers and farmers. In doing so, it is abandoning the National Animal Identification System, developed by the Bush administration in 2004 after identification of mad cow disease in 2003.


Top Drug Lobbyist Resigns, Clouds Health Reform

February 13th, 2010

The resignation of big pharma's top lobbyist could deal a setback to President Barack Obama's ability to overhaul the nation's $2.5 trillion healthcare system as Democrats struggle to pass their health reform plan.


2 Ex-Workers Accuse Blackwater Security Company of Defrauding the U.S. for Years

Written By Mark Mazzetti
February 13th, 2010

Two former employees of Blackwater Worldwide have accused the private security company of defrauding the government for years by filing bogus receipts, double billing for the same services and charging government agencies for strippers and prostitutes, according to court documents unsealed this week.


Counties Seek Long-Term Solution to Declining Tax Revenue

Written By Judy D.J. Ellich
February 13th, 2010

Gov. Ed Rendell, state legislators and county officials are all wrestling with the same question: How do they balance the budget with declining revenue from tax collections.

In 2009 all 50 states revealed the sharpest revenue drop in 46 years, according to a state finances report by the Nelson A. Rockefeller Institute of Government in New York.


Credit Suisse: THIS Is the Real List Of Countries Verging On A Sovereign Crisis (And, Yes, The US Is On It)

Written By Gregory White
February 13th, 2010

Credit Suisse has come up with its own list of the riskiest countries using such measures as credit rating, CDS spreads, potential for GDP growth, government debt, private sector credit, and the budget balance.


Cold Weather Splits 1,200-Year-Old Oak Near Wrexham

February 13th, 2010

Cold weather is believed to have caused one of Britain's oldest trees - known as the Great Oak at the Gates of the Dead - to split down the middle. The 1,200-year-old oak, near Chirk, Wrexham, has a 34ft (10m) circumference trunk and is thought to date back to the reign of King Egbert in 802.


Future Police: Meet the UK's Armed Robot Drones

Written By David Hambling
February 12th, 2010

Police forces all over the UK will soon be able to draw on unmanned aircraft from a national fleet, according to Home Office plans. Last month it was revealed that modified military aircraft drones will carry out surveillance on everyone from protesters and antisocial motorists to fly-tippers, and will be in place in time for the 2012 Olympics. Surveillance is only the start, however. Military drones quickly moved from reconnaissance to strike, and if the British police follow suit, their drones could be armed -- but with non-lethal weapons rather than Hellfire missiles.


Frankincense: Could It Be a Cure For Cancer?

February 12th, 2010

The gift given by the wise men to the baby Jesus probably came across the deserts from Oman. The BBC's Jeremy Howell visits the country to ask whether a commodity that was once worth its weight in gold could be reborn as a treatment for cancer.

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