- The Washington Times - Thursday, April 8, 2010

SENATE

FBI arrests man for Pelosi threats

The FBI arrested a Northern California man Wednesday for allegedly making threatening phone calls to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi over health care reform, law-enforcement officials told the Associated Press.

Charges against the man have yet to be disclosed, but they are expected to be filed in federal court in California.

Several federal officials said the man made dozens of calls to Mrs. Pelosi’s homes in California and Washington, as well as to her husband’s business office. They said he recited her home address and said if she wanted to see it again, she would not support the health care overhaul bill that since has been enacted.

One official said the man is believed to have spoken directly with Mrs. Pelosi at least once.

The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the case publicly.

A call to the FBI office in San Francisco was not immediately returned, nor was a call to a spokesman for Mrs. Pelosi.

TRADE

China pressed on ‘innovation’ policy

A top U.S. trade official said Wednesday he will press Chinese officials next week in Beijing to roll back an “indigenous innovation” policy that threatens U.S. intellectual property rights.

“What we’re trying to do with the Chinese is address the very serious concerns that have been raised,” Deputy U.S. Trade Representative Demetrios Marantis said in remarks to the Washington International Trade Association.

U.S. manufacturers, computer technology and other business groups are alarmed about a Chinese policy that requires companies to develop their intellectual property in China if they want to qualify for preferences under that country’s government procurement program.

“That’s a problem, and we are going to be working very closely with our Chinese counterparts to address that problem” this year, Mr. Marantis said.

He stopped short of threatening to bring a World Trade Organization case against China, but said the issue would be high on the U.S. agenda at the bilateral Strategic and Economic Dialogue meeting in late May in Beijing.

SENATE

Leahy won’t delay hearing for court pick

Senate Democrats have rejected a Republican effort to delay a hearing for a liberal appeals court nominee, making clear they are ready for a partisan fight.

A hearing for University of California-Berkeley law professor Goodwin Liu will go on as scheduled April 16, Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick J. Leahy said Wednesday. He said Republicans were unwilling to “put political rancor aside” to debate the nomination, which will test President Obama’s ability to fill court seats with liberals as well as moderates.

All seven committee Republicans had asked for a delay. In a letter sent Tuesday, they wrote Mr. Leahy arguing Mr. Liu’s belated responses to a committee questionnaire justified a delay in the hearing for the nominee to a San Francisco-based appeals court.

But the Vermont Democrat wrote the panel’s senior Republican, Sen. Jeff Sessions of Alabama, that he already postponed the hearing twice - once due to a Republican request and then because of Republican stalling tactics.

If confirmed, Mr. Liu would serve on the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals serving California, Arizona, Nevada, Oregon, Washington, Alaska, Idaho, Hawaii and Montana.

CHINA

Geithner to visit Beijing amid dispute

MUMBAI| There are signs that the U.S. and China are moving toward settling a dispute over China’s currency controls.

Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner will visit Beijing for talks with a Chinese vice premier for economic affairs Thursday as he concludes a trip to India.

Mr. Geithner’s spokesman said the two have been trying to find “an opportunity to meet for some time.”

The decision to hold such a high-level encounter suggests Washington and Beijing are moving toward settlement.

Washington and other Chinese trading partners are pressing Beijing to ease exchange-rate controls that they say keep its currency undervalued, giving China’s exporters an unfair price advantage.

The disagreement has threatened to overshadow cooperation on the global economy, Iran’s nuclear program and other issues.

FDA

Fat-melting procedures gaining new scrutiny

The Food and Drug Administration is cracking down on what are billed as fat-melting injections used in spas across the U.S., saying the drugs have not been proven safe or effective.

Lipodissolve injections, a popular nonsurgical alternative to liposuction, are used to dissolve small fat deposits around the legs, arms and belly. The FDA said Wednesday the drugs have not been cleared by federal scientists, as required by law.

The agency issued warning letters to a half-dozen spas that offer the injections, citing them for making unsubstantiated claims about lipodissolve therapy.

“The claims made for your lipodissolve products are false and misleading in that they are not supported by substantial evidence or substantial clinical experience,” states a letter to All About You Medspa in Madison, Ind.

Other spas cited by the FDA included: Pure Med Spa of Boca Raton, Fla., Monarch Med Spa of King of Prussia, Pa., and three others.

The Web site for Monarch Med Spa claims that, “Rather than go through the pain and discomfort associated with liposuction, patients now have the option of a series of injections with very minimal discomfort.”

Calls to Monarch Med Spa were not immediately returned Wednesday.

LABOR

Jobless rates drop or hold steady

Unemployment rates fell or remained unchanged in two-thirds of the 372 largest U.S. metro areas in February. The news adds to evidence that the job market is improving.

The Labor Department’s report offers a brighter picture compared with the previous two months, when the jobless rate rose in most areas.

Unemployment fell in 189 metro areas in February. That compares with only three in January, though the report that month was distorted by an annual data revision. The rate fell in only 41 metro areas in December.

Still, joblessness remains widespread. Twenty-nine areas posted jobless rates of 15 percent or higher, though that’s down from 35 in January.

The metro employment numbers aren’t seasonally adjusted and can be volatile.

The report comes after the Labor Department said Friday that the nation added a net total of 162,000 jobs in March, the most in three years. The unemployment rate held at 9.7 percent for the third straight month.

More hiring may be on the way. A separate survey of large company CEOs, released Wednesday, showed that for the first time in two years, more chief executives expect to be adding jobs rather than cutting them.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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