- The Washington Times - Wednesday, April 21, 2010


FDA to review high salt levels

The Food and Drug Administration said it will consider a new call Tuesday to force food makers to cut the salt hidden inside their products - but don’t expect less salty soups, pizzas or pastas anytime soon.

Americans eat about 1 1/2 teaspoons of salt daily, more than double what they need for good health and high enough to increase the risk of high blood pressure, strokes and other problems. Most of that sodium doesn’t come from the salt shaker - it’s hidden inside common processed foods and restaurant meals.

On Tuesday, the prestigious Institute of Medicine said the food industry has not done enough on its own to cut back. The institute urged the government to set maximum sodium levels for different foods to cut average consumption gradually by about half a teaspoon.


Emanuel foresees future mayoral bid

CHICAGO | White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel said “it’s no secret” he would like to run for mayor of his hometown of Chicago someday.

Mr. Emanuel made the remark during an interview on Charlie Rose’s PBS talk show, which aired Monday.

The Chicago native said he hopes Mayor Richard Daley, a fellow Democrat, will seek re-election and that he would work for Mr. Daley if the mayor runs again. If the mayor steps down, however, Mr. Emanuel said he would like to fulfill a longtime aspiration and run himself.

The 50-year-old former congressman added he will serve as chief of staff for as long as President Obama wants him.


Aide sees climate bill ‘doable’ in 2010

Top White House energy adviser Carol M. Browner said she thinks Congress still has time to approve a major climate and energy bill this year.

Ms. Browner called action on the long-delayed legislation “doable” because lawmakers increasingly understand the need to develop clean energy that does not emit carbon dioxide and other pollutants blamed for global warming.

Sen. John Kerry, Massachusetts Democrat, and other lawmakers are expected to introduce a bill next week that would apply different carbon controls to different sectors of the economy but without a broad “cap-and-trade” approach included in a House version that passed last year.

Ms. Browner said Tuesday that the Obama administration supports the bill and is flexible on how it achieves emissions reductions.


Lawmakers slam ‘virtual fence’

Two senators said Tuesday it is time to consider ending a contract for a “virtual fence” along the U.S.-Mexico border, contending it has failed to stop illegal immigration.

Sen. Joe Lieberman, Connecticut independent, even suggested to Customs and Border Protection Commissioner Alan Bersin at a hearing that an old-fashioned real fence might work better than the much-criticized electronic one designed by Boeing Co.

Sen. Roland W. Burris, Illinois Democrat, asked Mr. Bersin whether the contract could be canceled. Mr. Bersin said he was not able to render a judgment on a legal issue.

Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano said in March that she was halting funding to expand the virtual fence, which originally was supposed to monitor most of the 2,000-mile southern U.S. border by 2011. It now covers only a portion of Arizona’s boundary with Mexico.


Democratic rivals take to the air

HARRISBURG, Pa. | The candidates in Pennsylvania’s Democratic primary for Senate have taken their duel to television.

Rep. Joe Sestak began airing his first ad Tuesday, touting his accomplishments as a Navy vice admiral and emphasizing that he’s not a “career politician.”

Five-term incumbent Arlen Specter, who left the Republican Party last year, on Tuesday began airing a new ad attacking Mr. Sestak as “No-show Joe” for missing more votes than any other Pennsylvania congressman last year.

The two-term suburban Philadelphia congressman said he missed some votes while traveling the state to decide whether to challenge Mr. Specter and also missed some votes while his father was dying.


FAA proposes fine against flight school

Federal aviation officials are proposing a $330,000 fine against an Arizona flight school for graduating would-be pilots who hadn’t completed the school’s training program or had failed final tests.

The Federal Aviation Administration also said Tuesday that North-Aire Aviation of Prescott Valley, Ariz., didn’t correct the discrepancies after they were pointed out. FAA said the school’s training program didn’t meet federal regulations and failed to retain student records as required.

FAA Administrator Randy Babbitt said in a statement that it’s important that pilots receive full training and that shortcuts aren’t taken. The agency said the fines relate to 18 students who graduated between April and August of 2008.


Court ends ban on animal-cruelty films

The Supreme Court in an 8-1 decision Tuesday struck down a federal ban on videos that show graphic violence against animals. The ruling cheered free-speech advocates, but it raised concerns that more animals will be harmed.

With only Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr. dissenting, the justices threw out the criminal conviction of Robert Stevens of Pittsville, Va., who was sentenced to three years in prison for videos he made about pit-bull fights.

The law was enacted in 1999 to limit Internet sales of so-called “crush videos,” which appeal to a certain fetish by showing women crushing to death small animals with their bare feet or high-heeled shoes.

All 50 states have laws against animal cruelty, but the federal statute targeted the videos because it has been difficult to prosecute people who take part in violence against animals with a camera rolling but not showing their faces.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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