High blood pressure might be associated with exposure to Agent Orange and other herbicides in Vietnam veterans, according to a government report released Friday. The findings are part of a congressionally mandated series of reports put out every two years by the Institute of Medicine. The Department of Veterans Affairs now has 60 days to determine whether it will consider the condition for benefits coverage.
Chemical plants get warning on caller
Chemical plants are being warned not to divulge security and safety procedures to a caller who claims to be conducting a survey for a trade group. At least three calls were made this month to plants in the Midwest, said the Center for Chemical Process Safety, which sent the alert.
ACCORD IS REACHED ON LOBBYING BILL
House and Senate negotiators agreed Friday on a bill to tighten lobbying restrictions, including a requirement that lawmakers disclose those lobbyists who collect large sums of campaign money for them, participants said.
Democratic leaders hope to pass the measure in the House and Senate next week, allowing them to fulfill a 2006 campaign promise before Congress recesses for most of August.
The bill would require lawmakers to disclose lobbyists who raise $15,000 or more for them, within a six-month period, through bundling.
Other provisions would require former senators to wait two years before taking a lobbying job in which they would deal with their ex-colleagues. Former House members would have to wait a year.
Measure would fund Everglades, other projects
Senate and House negotiators reached agreement Friday on a bill authorizing Congress to spend about $20-billion for restoring Florida's Everglades and the Louisiana coast, upgrading navigation on the upper Mississippi River and improving flood control efforts nationally.
The bill includes $2-billion for Florida, with most of that for Everglades restoration.
The Water Resources Development Act won strong backing in the Senate and House earlier this year. The money for what's authorized in the bill would have to be appropriated later.
BOSTON: A concrete supplier for the Big Dig, Aggregate Industries NE Inc., has agreed to pay $50-million to end civil and criminal investigations into whether it supplied inferior concrete used in the massive highway project, authorities said Friday.
MONTGOMERY, ALA.: An SUV traveling the wrong way on an interstate collided head-on with a Greyhound bus Friday, killing the SUV's driver and injuring 46 people, police said.
PEORIA, ILL.: Republican Rep. Ray LaHood, who earned a reputation for civility in more than a decade in Congress, said Friday he plans to retire after his seventh term ends in January 2009.
MOJAVE, CALIF.: Authorities raised the toll from two to three in an explosion on the edge of Kern County's Mojave airport during the test of a pioneering private spaceship on Thursday. All three men were employees of Scaled Composites.