Postal Service has quarterly loss of $1.9B
The U.S. Postal Service reported a $1.9 billion loss for the first three months of this year and pleaded again Friday for reforms to its troubled financial system. It said the loss for the quarter ended March 31 matched the $1.9 billion in red ink in the same period last year, and was the 20th time in the last 22 quarters that it had a loss. It came despite continued cost-cutting efforts, a 2.3 percent rise in operating revenue, increased employee productivity and other improvements. Postal officials say they need comprehensive legislation that includes more control over personnel and benefit costs and more flexibility in pricing and products. The Postal Service is an independent agency that receives no tax dollars for its day-to-day operations but is subject to congressional control.
Little Rock, Ark.
Judge strikes down gay marriage ban
A judge struck down Arkansas' ban on same-sex marriage Friday, saying the state has "no rational reason" for preventing gay couples from marrying. Pulaski County Circuit Judge Chris Piazza ruled that the 2004 voter-approved amendment to the state constitution violates the rights of same-sex couples. The ruling opens the door for same-sex couples in Arkansas to begin seeking marriage licenses.
Vets voice anger over VA system
Several veterans voiced their anger and frustration to Republican Sen. John McCain on Friday over what they call a broken Veterans Affairs system. McCain said reported lapses in care in Phoenix are part of a nationwide problem that needs to be fixed. The VA has been under fire in recent weeks, since critics contended that administrators in Phoenix kept an off-the-books list to conceal long wait times as 40 veterans died waiting to get an appointment. Similar problems have since been reported in other states.
Six cars of crude oil train derail
Union Pacific Railroad crews were working to clear a six-car train derailment that leaked crude oil into a ditch Friday, after they notified Colorado emergency management officials of the accident under a new federal requirement. One car was found to be leaking and crews contained it to a ditch away from any waterways. A vacuum truck was brought in to suck up the undetermined amount of oil.