Senate passes air traffic overhaul
The Senate passed a bill Monday that would speed modernization of the nation's antiquated air traffic control system. The $34.5 billion bill to fund the Federal Aviation Administration through Sept. 30, 2011, also contains several measures to boost safety in response to last year's crash of a regional airliner near Buffalo, N.Y., which took 50 lives. The bill requires key elements of FAA's NextGen program — it replaces World War II-era radar technology with GPS technology — to be in place at the nation's busiest airports by 2014. The new system is projected to cost the FAA as much as $22 billion through 2025. Airlines would have to spend as much as $20 billion to install equipment in their planes. Differences between the Senate legislation and a House-approved bill must still be worked out.
Military contractors drop rape appeal
Halliburton and KBR have withdrawn an appeal asking the U.S. Supreme Court to block a lawsuit by a former military contractor, Jamie Leigh Jones of Texas, who says she was raped by KBR co-workers in Baghdad in 2005. KBR and Halliburton split in 2007. A trial date has been set for May 2011.
Two ex-presidents make a joint visit
Former Presidents George W. Bush and Bill Clinton, who were tapped by President Barack Obama to spearhead U.S. fundraising for Haiti, made their first joint visit as part of the mission to raise aid and investment for the Caribbean nation reeling from the Jan. 12 earthquake.
Guantanamo detainee ordered released
A federal judge ordered the Pentagon to release a long-held Mauritanian captive held at Guantanamo Bay who was once considered such a high-value detainee that former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld designated him for "special interrogation techniques." There was no immediate explanation for why the habeas corpus petition of Mohamedou Slahi, 39, was granted.
Duncan's clout list under investigation
For several years when U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan was Chicago public schools chief, his office kept a list of politicians and others seeking help for applicants to selective schools, former top aide David Pickens told the Chicago Tribune. The list is being investigated as part of a wider inquiry into allegations of back-door admissions practices at the elite schools, now being conducted by the school district inspector general and part of a federal inquiry
Washington: The Environmental Protection Agency is tightening drinking water standards to impose stricter limits on four contaminants that can cause cancer: tetrachloroethylene, trichloroethylene, acrylamide and epichlorohydrin.