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 the food and beverage industries along with some school officials who fear a loss of revenue for sports, music and arts programs. The rules follow the recent revamping of the federally subsidized school meals program, which requires participating schools to serve more fruits, vegetables and whole grains. The New York Times

As deaths from hepatitis C mount, health officials consider recommending screening for anyone born from 1945 to 1965. New federal figures show that in 2007 there were 15,000 deaths related to the liver-destroying disease, surpassing the nearly 13,000 fatalities caused by the AIDS virus. But authorities say at least half of the 3.2 million Americans with chronic hepatitis C may not be aware they have the slow-developing disease, and the baby boomer generation is most at risk. As a result, officials are considering urging one-time blood screening tests for boomers. The Associated Press

Apple reportedly is promising to allow independent environmental reviews of at least two of its suppliers’ factories in China. Environmental activists said the company agreed to the reviews in response to two reports by advocacy groups documenting hazardous-waste leaks and the use of toxic chemicals at suspected Apple suppliers. The environmental assessments will come in addition to an independent probe launched last week into working conditions at the Chinese factories of Apple suppliers, including Foxconn Technology. USA Today

Hertz agrees to ask Congress for action to improve rental car safety. The nation’s second-biggest rental car company struck a deal with safety advocates to request government oversight to ensure that autos under recall are fixed before they are rented. Federal regulators have investigated the auto-rental industry for more than a year about complaints that the industry rents cars that are subject to recalls but haven’t been repaired. Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., and Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., are working on legislation to address the issue. USA Today

Global warming analyst admits to deception in getting internal documents from group critical of climate science. Recently leaked documents appeared to outline a campaign by the Heartland Institute to generate skepticism about global warming. The records also showed that Heartland was being funded by the arch-conservative Koch Foundation and corporations such as Microsoft. In a new development, Peter Gleick, a critic of climate change skeptics, published an apology indicating that he was the source of the leak and that he used someone else’s name to obtain some of the records. Heartland says that the memo supposedly detailing its anti-climate science campaign was false, but it signaled that some of the disclosed donor information was accurate. Time, The New York Times, The Huffington Post

Heirs of 400 dockyard workers in Malta file U.S. lawsuits over asbestos exposure. Most of the 400 workers died of mesothelioma blamed on exposure to asbestos from working on U.S. warships anchored at what is now known as the Malta Drydocks. The suits seek compensation from, among other parties, a Johns-Manville Corp. trust established for victims of asbestos exposure. The plaintiffs claim that, because they aren’t U.S. citizens, they have faced unfair discrimination in trying to obtain compensation. MaltaToday

Recalls: 2012 Nissan Altimas and Versas, Dodge Charger police cruisers

Compiled by Stuart Silverstein

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