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March 3, 2014 | By Neela Banerjee
WASHINGTON - The Environmental Protection Agency issued final rules Monday to slash the amount of sulfur in gasoline, which would help cut smog-causing pollution from autos and bring the rest of the country's fuel supply in line with California's standards. The new rule for "Tier 3" gasoline calls for reducing the amount of sulfur in fuel by two-thirds, to 10 parts per million from 30 parts per million. Similar low-sulfur gasoline is already in use in California, Europe, Japan and South Korea.
February 28, 2014 | By David Zucchino
DURHAM, N.C. -- Nearly a month after a massive coal ash spill at a Duke Energy plant contaminated the Dan River, state regulators in North Carolina announced late Friday that they have cited Duke for violations of environmental laws. The North Carolina Department of Environment and Natural Resources has been accused by environmental groups for failing to take action against Duke Energy and cooperating too closely with the giant utility in dealing with the Feb. 2 spill. In a news release issued at 6 p.m. Friday, the agency said it had issued notices of violation against Duke Energy earlier in the day for its handling of a 27-acre coal ash basin at a retired Duke coal-fired plant on the Dan River near North Carolina's border with Virginia.
February 28, 2014 | By Julie Makinen
BEIJING - Fresh out of college and facing a mountain of debt, the 21-year-old woman was searching online for jobs when she hit upon a listing that sounded perfect: administrative assistant at a tutoring school in Beijing. She sent in her resume, then reread the ad and noticed that only men were asked to apply for the position. "I got no response, so I called and asked: If I'm qualified but I'm not male, will I still be considered? The woman who answered said if the ad says men only, it's men only," she recalled.
February 26, 2014 | By Ricardo Lopez
[ Updated 1:45 p.m. PST Feb. 26: This post has been updated to include a response from ITT Educational Services and to reflect the closing stock price.] In its first action against a company in the for-profit college industry, the federal Consumer Financial Protection Bureau on Wednesday sued ITT Educational Services Inc., which operates 149 schools in 40 states, including 14 in California. The consumer protection agency alleges that ITT used high-pressure tactics over a five-month period beginning in July 2011 to coerce students into high-interest private loans that were likely to end in default.
February 26, 2014 | By Dawn C. Chmielewski
The advocacy group Consumers Union is urging federal regulators to scrutinize the deal struck between cable giant Comcast Corp. and the Internet streaming service Netflix. Netflix agreed to pay to directly connect to Comcast's network to improve the video quality of movies and TV shows streamed to subscribers, after many complained about deteriorating quality. Consumers Union, which publishes Consumer Reports magazine, called on Federal Communications Commission Chairman Tom Wheeler and U.S. Atty.
February 25, 2014 | Jonah Goldberg
Down with stakeholders. The American Academy of Pediatrics has come out against affordable healthcare for kids. Retail medical clinics - at drugstores, Wal-Marts, etc. - are cropping up across the nation, thanks in part to the expected longer waiting times and out-of-pocket expenses stemming from Obamacare. And the pediatricians don't like it. "While retail clinics may be more convenient and less costly, the AAP said they are detrimental to the concept of a 'medical home,' where patients have a personal physician who knows them well and coordinates all their care," reported the Wall Street Journal.
February 24, 2014 | By David G. Savage
WASHINGTON - The Supreme Court, in a hearing Monday, sounded ready to reject a set of disputed permitting rules designed by the Obama administration to restrict carbon emissions from plants and factories. But a majority of justices also agreed that the Environmental Protection Agency has broad authority to reduce greenhouse gases coming from cars, trucks and power plants. The probable split outcome was reflected in the justices' questions and comments during oral arguments, suggesting their final decision later this year could yield a setback for the EPA rules, but not a far-reaching defeat for the agency's climate-change policy.
February 22, 2014 | By Evan Halper
HUSTONTOWN, Pa. - Jim Crawford was rushing to load crates of freshly picked organic tomatoes onto trucks heading for an urban farmers market when he noticed the federal agent. A tense conversation followed as the visitor to his farm - an inspector from the Food and Drug Administration - warned him that some organic-growing techniques he had honed over four decades could soon be outlawed. "This is my badge. These are the fines. This is what is hanging over your head, and we want you to know that," Crawford says the official told him. Crawford's popular farm may seem a curious place for the FDA to move ahead with a long-planned federal assault on deadly food poisoning.
February 21, 2014 | By David G. Savage
WASHINGTON - The Obama administration's drive to regulate greenhouse gases could hit a snag at the Supreme Court next week as industry groups and Republican-led states ask justices to block what they call a "brazen power grab" by the president's environmental regulators. Amid legislative inaction in a deadlocked Congress, the Environmental Protection Agency adopted regulations in 2011 that require new power plants, factories and other such stationary facilities to limit carbon emissions.
February 19, 2014 | By Martha Groves
The Beverly Hills City Council has joined its Los Angeles counterpart in voting to treat electronic cigarettes as tobacco products and to regulate their sale and use. "Smoking of any kind should be discouraged, especially for teenagers," Beverly Hills Mayor John Mirisch said in a statement. "By taking these steps, the city is sending a strong message to the community that we take the health of our citizens very seriously. " Calling them a potential health risk and a gateway to tobacco, the Los Angeles City Council voted in December to regulate the sales of e-cigarettes and other "vaping" devices.
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