NEW ORLEANS – Nearly two dozen companies that manufactured government-issued trailers for storm victims after Hurricane Katrina have agreed to pay $14.8 million in a proposed class-action settlement of claims that the temporary shelters exposed occupants to hazardous fumes.
Plaintiffs attorney Gerald Meunier said Tuesday that the agreement could benefit tens of thousands of Gulf Coast residents who lived in travel trailers provided by the Federal Emergency Management Agency after hurricanes Katrina and Rita in 2005.
House GOP wants to cut food stamps
Republicans controlling the House are eying big cuts to food stamps as they piece together legislation to trim $261 billion from the federal budget over the next decade, hoping to forestall major Pentagon cutbacks.
The cuts to food stamps would reduce the monthly benefit for a family of four by almost $60, repealing increases that were enacted three years ago as part of President Obamas economic stimulus.
The changes would also force up to 3 million people out of the program by tightening eligibility rules, the administration estimates.
California prisons to block cell calls
A private company that owns the pay phones in Californias prisons will pay millions of dollars to install technology that prevents inmates from using smuggled cellphones to make their calls instead.
The deal with Global Tel Link addresses the growing problem of cellphones within the nations largest prison system, where the technology has been used by inmates to run criminal enterprises, intimidate witnesses and organize attacks on guards.
Passion perversion allegedly hushed up
A Philadelphia jury heard Tuesday about Catholic schoolboys who said they had to strip before a priest and endure whippings as they played Christ in a Passion play.
Prosecutors pursuing a child-endangerment case against Monsignor William Lynn for allegedly helping the Roman Catholic church cover up the sexual abuse of children by priests said the Rev. Thomas J. Smith remained in ministry despite those 2002 accusations.
Church officials and an in-house review board didnt think Smith was after sexual gratification when he allegedly had boys undress or get naked with him in a hot tub.
Lottery win, food stamps donít mix
A Michigan lottery winner was charged with fraud Tuesday for collecting food stamps and public health insurance despite pocketing a $735,000 jackpot.
Amanda Clayton, 25, is the second lottery winner in Michigan caught with food stamps. Gov. Rick Snyder last week signed a law requiring the lottery to notify the Human Services Department when someone wins at least $1,000.
Teen sentenced for school bomb plot
A 16-year-old Utah boy charged in a plot to blow up his high school has pleaded guilty and is being sentenced to six months in a secure youth center.
The Roy High School student appeared in juvenile court Tuesday and entered the plea to a charge of possession of a weapon of mass destruction.
Police recovered no bomb, but conspiracy is an element of the charge.
Karzai wants U.S. to spell out aid plan
Afghanistans president raised another condition Tuesday for a long-awaited strategic partnership with the United States: The accord must spell out the yearly U.S. commitment to pay billions of dollars for the cash-strapped Afghan security forces.
The demand threatens to further delay the key bilateral pact and suggests that Afghan President Hamid Karzai is worried that the U.S. commitment to his country is wavering as the drawdown of foreign forces nears.
Syrian cease-fire not declared dead
Artillery shatters homes in opposition areas. Regime tanks roll though city centers. Civilians dig graves for dozens of corpses, scrawling their names on headstones with black markers.
Six days on, this is the cease-fire in Syria. But even with dozens reported dead over the past two days, the world powers struggling to stop Syrias bloodshed are reluctant to declare the cease-fire dead.
That process needs to play itself out before we judge it a success or a failure, White House spokesman Jay Carney said.