- The Washington Times - Wednesday, July 14, 2010


Cheney recovering from heart surgery

Former Vice President Dick Cheney says he underwent heart surgery last week and is recuperating.

In a statement, Mr. Cheney said he had been experiencing increasing congestive heart failure and after consultations with his doctors, he had received an implantable pump to improve heart function. He said the operation went well and he is recuperating.

Mr. Cheney, 69, has a long history of heart disease. Mr. Cheney’s heart attack earlier this year was his fifth since age 37.


Clinton, Obama talk about job creation

The White House is seeking help from former President Bill Clinton in its efforts to create jobs.

Mr. Clinton joined President Obama and Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. at the White House on Wednesday for a meeting with business leaders. The White House said the meeting would focus on new ways to create jobs in the private sector and increase investments in the clean-energy industry.

Mr. Clinton discussed a project run by the Clinton Global Initiative that retrofits and weatherizes large buildings, including New York’s Empire State Building, to make them more energy efficient. The program also trains workers to gain the skills needed for the projects.

Chief executives from Bank of America and Honeywell were scheduled to attend the meeting with Mr. Obama and Mr. Clinton.

Mr. Obama also met separately with billionaire investor Warren Buffett in the Oval Office to discuss the administration’s job creation efforts. Mr. Buffett endorsed Mr. Obama in the 2008 presidential election, but sometimes has been critical of his handling of the economic crisis.

White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said Mr. Obama and Mr. Buffett talk regularly.


Charges dropped against gay veteran

Prosecutors have dropped all charges against an openly gay Iraq War veteran who twice chained himself to a White House fence to protest the military’s “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy.

Dan Choi and James Pietrangelo, a gay army captain honorably discharged for disclosing his sexual orientation, were in court Wednesday on charges of failure to obey police orders during the March and April protests. All charges were dropped against them.

Mr. Choi and his attorney had subpoenaed President Obama to appear, but an attorney for the prosecution said the subpoena wasn’t served.

Prosecutor Christine Chang declined to comment on why the government dropped the case.

Mr. Choi said he thought Obama administration officials didn’t want to draw attention to the policy.


GAO urges more flier fee disclosure

A government watchdog says airline fees for checked bags and other services are complicating consumer efforts to find the best deals on airfare.

The Government Accountability Office recommended in a report released Tuesday that the government improve the disclosure of airlines, not only by airlines, but also by travel booking services.

Besides checked bags, airlines have been charging for services that were traditionally included in the price of a ticket, such as seat selection, extra leg room, blankets, pillows, beverages and meals.

GAO said that if the 7.5 percent tax on airline tickets were applied to fees as well, the government could have raised $186 million last year just from checked bags.


Charges axed for preventive care

A range of preventive care services will soon be available at no extra cost to consumers under new health insurance plans, federal health officials said Wednesday.

Under the new rules, insurance companies will be required to cover mammograms, immunizations, colonoscopies and other preventive services without charging customers through a deductible or a co-payment.

The new requirements, included in the landmark health care overhaul that Congress passed in March, are among a number of measures in the law intended to reduce health care costs.

“Unfortunately, too many Americans don’t get the preventive care they need to stay healthy and keep health care costs down for all of us,” said Kathleen Sebelius, the secretary of health and human services.

The rules will go into effect in September, six months after Congress passed the health care overhaul.


Congress pushes for fed teleworking

Congress is taking steps to promote teleworking by federal employees, saying it will improve morale, reduce traffic congestion and help ensure the government can function in emergencies.

The House has approved legislation that would instruct the government to come up with uniform telecommuting regulations for federal workers. Each federal agency is to establish its own policies for teleworking and appoint a telework managing officer. The measure would also provide teleworking training to employees and supervisors. The Senate has already passed similar legislation.

About 100,000 federal employees currently work from home at least once a month. They represent about 5 percent of all employees and less than 9 percent of those eligible for teleworking.


Nestle reaches deal over health claims

A subsidiary of Nestle S.A. has reached a settlement with the Federal Trade Commission over claims of false advertising in its promotion of a children’s drink.

The FTC said Wednesday that Nestle HealthCare Nutrition Inc. claimed its Boost Kid Essentials drink with probiotics boosted children’s immune systems, prevented certain illnesses, sped up recovery and reduced their school absences.

“Nestle’s claims that its probiotic product would prevent kids from getting sick or missing school just didn’t stand up to scrutiny,” said David Vladeck, director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection. “Parents want to do right by their kids, and the FTC is helping them by monitoring ads and stopping those that are deceptive.”

Nestle will drop claims about the health benefits of the drink and will stop claiming that it will reduce sick days and other conditions unless the claims become backed by clinical studies.

This is the FTC’s first case challenging advertising for probiotics. Probiotics are live bacteria found naturally in many foods and are touted as aiding digestion and fighting harmful bacteria.

A representative of Nestle, the world’s largest food and nutrition company, was not immediately available to comment.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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