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Wednesday Briefing

Chinese chemical plant explosion leaves at least 16 people dead and dozens missing. The official Xinhua News Agency said that about 100 people were working at the Hebei Zhaoxian Keeper Chemical plant in northern China’s Hebei province when the blast struck Tuesday. A government agency said the plant at the time was producing guanidine nitrate, a…

Tuesday Briefing

Fukushima nuclear accident exposes vulnerability of Japanese nuclear reactors to potential terrorist attacks. A report released today by an independent panel on last year’s nuclear accident, which was triggered by an earthquake and tsunami, highlighted lax security. At one point, security personnel responsible for checking people entering the plant had themselves evacuated, leaving their posts…

Monday Briefing

Negotiations in BP oil spill case reportedly nearing a $14 billion settlement. The progress in the settlement talks with non-governmental plaintiffs allowed BP to persuade a federal judge in New Orleans to delay by a week a multibillion-dollar liability trial that was set to begin today over the the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill. Any…

Friday Briefing

Polls finds Americans’ views mixed about business regulation. A national survey by the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press found that 52 percent of those polled believe that government regulation of business usually does more harm than good. The outlook was different, however, when questions were asked about specific industries. Large majorities…

Thursday Briefing

Mutated trout trigger controversy over the dangers of selenium. J. R. Simplot Co., whose mining operations have polluted nearby creeks in southern Idaho, sought approval by the Environmental Protection Agency to allow selenium, a mining byproduct that is toxic to fish and birds, to remain in the water at higher levels than currently permitted. The…

Wednesday Briefing

Federal panel urges whooping cough vaccine for all adults 65 and older. A key goal of the recommendation, made today by the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices, is to prevent older adults from spreading the disease to infants, who are most vulnerable. Whooping cough is a highly contagious bacterial disease that in rare cases can…

Tuesday Briefing

Federal campaign against childhood obesity expanding from school cafeterias to vending machines. Proposed rules setting nutritional standards for foods that students can buy outside the cafeteria are due out within a few weeks. They will take aim at vending machines stocked with potato chips, cookies and sugary soft drinks. The proposals face resistance, however, from…

Friday Briefing

Bid rejected to allow more fungicide in imported orange juice. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration turned down a request by Brazil to give its orange juice industry, the world’s biggest, until June 2013 to eradicate carbendazim from its product. Federal regulators began checking imports for the fungicide, which is illegal on citrus in the…

FairWarining Reports

U.S. Seeks to Limit Risks From Auto Infotainment

Automakers are engaged in an electronics arms race, packing their new models with cutting-edge technology that makes it easier for drivers to make phone calls, get directions and even check social media sites. Hoping to limit the risks of electronic multi-tasking, federal transportation officials Thursday unveiled a first-ever set of proposed safety guidelines for infotainment…

Thursday Briefing

Hand amputation accident leads to proposed fines of $182,000 against supermarket chain. The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration is citing Publix Supermarkets for 16 alleged safety violations uncovered after the September accident, which occurred while the worker was cleaning conveyor equipment at a store in Jacksonville, Fla. OSHA, calling Publix a repeat offender, placed…