U.S. House Republicans seek CDC documents on anthrax scare
Congressional Republicans asked the Obama administration on Wednesday to provide documents related to last month's anthrax scare at a U.S. lab, where more than 80 people were initially feared to be exposed to the deadly pathogen. In a series of letters, top Republicans on the House Energy and Commerce Committee asked for the results of several Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) lab inspections and audits of potential weaknesses in biosecurity protocols dating back to October 2007. "How many suspected exposures to select agents and/or toxins have been reported at CDC since October 2007? How many actual exposures have been reported," said the July 9 letter to CDC Director Dr. Thomas Frieden signed by three Republican panel members including Chairman Fred Upton of Michigan.
Six killed, including four children, in Houston-area shooting
A gunman shot six people to death, four of them children, in a Houston suburb on Wednesday, then surrendered to police after a lengthy standoff in a mass slaying that authorities say was sparked by a domestic dispute, a constable said. The victims ranged from 4 to 40 years of age, and preliminary information indicated two of the dead were children adopted by the gunman and his estranged wife, Harris County Constable Ron Hickman told reporters after the suspect's arrest.
Parched California proposes steep fines for over-watering lawns
Regulators in drought-stricken California are proposing stringent new conservation measures to limit outdoor water use, including fines of up to $500 a day for using a hose without a shut-off nozzle. The most populous U.S. state is suffering its third year of drought and in January Governor Jerry Brown declared a drought emergency, allowing the state to request federal aid. In some cities and towns about half the water residents use is for lawns and cleaning cars, according to the State Water Resources Control Board, which made the proposal public on Tuesday. Urban water agencies would be subject to daily fines of up to $10,000 for not implementing water-shortage contingency plans, which restrict how many days a week residents can engage in outdoor watering, among other limits on their customers.
Kerry cites frank cyberhacking talks with China
BEIJING (AP) — U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said Thursday that the United States and China had a frank exchange on the issue of cyberhacking during this week's "Strategic and Economic Dialogue" in Beijing.