What: Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., is charging House Republicans with pushing through 113 earmarks worth $841 million in a defense spending bill that has yet to come to a vote.How: McCaskill alleged that GOP leaders established slush funds to offset spending for pet projects and actively assisted lawmakers in setting amendments that got little or no debate. Read More
What: The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission approved the reopening of a nuclear power plant near Toledo, Ohio, even before completion of an investigation of mysterious cracks in the concrete protecting its reactor.Why: The commission said the plant’s owner gave them “reasonable assurance” that the cracks don’t pose a danger. Meanwhile, the owners have until the end of February to find out what caused the sudden cracks. Read More
WHAT: A Department of Justice task force celebrated the blockbuster Cyber Monday online shopping day by announcing the seizure of 150 websites accused of selling counterfeit goods.HOW: Most of the seized websites were based in China, and some of the counterfeit goods they allegedly sold included Puma sports sneakers, NFL pro football team jerseys and Ugg boots. Read More
WHAT: Colombia’s main rebel group executed four of its longest-held captives during combat Saturday between guerrillas and soldiers searching for the men, the government said. A fifth captive fled into the jungle and survived. Read More
WHAT: The Australian government says it is investigating how a classified booklet detailing Barack Obama’s itinerary came to be lost in a gutter during the president’s visit last week. The booklet contained details on Obama’s itinerary and his security convoy, and the cellphone numbers of senior U.S. and Australian officials. Read More
WHAT: The posts on LinkedIn offered “pre-IPO shares of Facebook, Groupon, Twitter, Zynga and other hot companies about to go public.” However, money sent to Praetorian Global Fund went to support a lavish lifestyle for the phony hedge-fund operator.
HOW: Praetorian allegedly cheated online investors out of more than $12 million during a 15-month period, claiming to be holding the cash in a safe escrow account, according to the Securities and Exchange Commission. Read More
WHAT: The government is subsidizing lifestyles of the rich and famous with tax write-offs for vacation homes, luxury yachts and gambling losses, plus subsidies for their ranches and estates, U.S. Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla., charged.WHO: Samples of the $30 billion loopholes in Coburn’s 37-page report include farm subsidies to rocker Jon Bon Jovi for a plot of land where he raises bees and to Bruce Springsteen for property he leases to an organic farmer. Read More
WHAT: Sixty percent of college students are required to take an internship in order to graduate, which is supposed to help them get jobs in a tough economy. Half those internships are unpaid, but the college also charges the students for semester credits. Read More
WHAT: Unknown vandals torched three cars and scrawled Nazi swastikas in a predominantly Jewish neighborhood in Brooklyn before dawn on Friday.
HOW: On Ocean Parkway, three parked cars — a BMW, a Lexus and a Jaguar — were set ablaze. “KKK” was spray-painted on a van and anti-Semitic messages were scrawled on a sidewalk. Brooklyn District Attorney Charles Hynes said dozens of empty beer bottles were found at the scene. He said they would be tested for clues. Read More
WHAT: Notorious former lobbyist Jack Abramoff, who served three years in federal prison and now labels himself a whistle-blowing reformer, alleged “it is pretty widely known” that Congress members a routinely gain thousands of dollars from insider stock trading. Read More