WASHINGTON – Automatic federal spending cuts will reduce the number of low-income children in Head Start’s preschool programs by more than 57,000 during the next school year, the Office of Head Start said Monday.
More than a million children are served each year by the programs, which are a legacy of President Lyndon B. Johnson 1960s war on poverty. The programs help prepare children for elementary school and also provide them with meals and health care.
The total reduction of 57,265 in the number of children who will be served by Head Start next year results from the automatic spending cuts that were put in place after Congress and the White House failed to reach agreement two years ago on a plan to cut the federal deficit.
The Head Start Office said it surveyed each of its programs to determine the total number of reductions.
Crew rescued after bomber crashes
A B-1B bomber crashed in a remote area of southeast Montana on Monday, but its four crew members survived after ejecting from the South Dakota-based aircraft, Air Force officials said.
Two pilots and two weapons system officers ejected before the bomber crashed about 9:30 a.m. near Broadus, Mont., said Col. Kevin Kennedy, commander of the 28th Bomb Wing.
He said they were taken by ambulance and air to two South Dakota hospitals, but none of them suffered life-threatening injuries.
Aerial photos of the crash show a massive charred area of prairie land void of recognizable aircraft parts.
The cost of a B-1B bomber is about $283 million, said Air Force spokesman Lt. Col. Allen Herritage.
Kennedy said the Air Force will conduct a thorough investigation to determine the cause of the crash, which occurred about 170 miles southeast of Billings, Mont.
Canada-born Cruz issues birth record
U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz said Monday he will renounce his Canadian citizenship in the wake of a report by The Dallas Morning News that he holds dual U.S. and Canadian citizenship because he was born in Canada.
Cruz released his birth certificate amid concerns that the issue could derail a possible presidential run by the tea party firebrand. It shows Cruz’s birth in Calgary, Alberta, on Dec. 22, 1970, while listing his mother, Eleanor Elizabeth Wilson, as having been born in Delaware and his father, Rafael Bienvenido Cruz, as a native of Cuba.
Article 2, Section 1, Clause 5 of the U.S. Constitution states that No person except a natural born Citizen is eligible to be president. Cruz’s office has long maintained that because his mother was an American, Cruz became a U.S. citizen at birth.
Christie signs ban on gay conversion
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie has signed a bill barring licensed therapists from trying to turn gay teenagers straight.
With Christie’s signature Monday, New Jersey became the second state to ban so-called conversion therapy. The first was California.
In a note accompanying the bill, Christie says he believes people are born gay and homosexuality is not a sin. That view is inconsistent with his Catholic faith, which teaches that homosexual acts are sins.
The Republican governor also says the health risks of trying to change a child’s sexual orientation outweigh concerns over the government setting limits on parental choice.
Force feeding OK’d at California prisons
A federal judge approved a request from California and federal officials Monday to force-feed inmates if necessary as a statewide prison hunger strike entered its seventh week.
Officials say they fear for the welfare of nearly 70 inmates who have refused all prison-issued meals since the strike began July 8 over the holding of gang leaders and other violent inmates in solitary confinement that can last for decades.
They are among nearly 130 inmates in six prisons who were refusing meals. When the strike began, it included nearly 30,000 of the 133,000 inmates in California prisons.
Federal aid helps more with college
With college costs continuing to rise, more students are receiving federal financial aid, though state and institutional aid remains largely flat.
Data released today by the National Center for Education Statistics, a branch of the U.S. Department of Education, shows 71 percent of all undergraduate students received some type of financial aid in the 2011-12 school year, up from 66 percent four years earlier.
Forty-two percent of students received federal grants, up from 28 percent, and 40 percent received federal loans, an increase of 5 percentage points.
Pistorius indictment says killing intended
A woman screamed and then there was silence, according to South African prosecutors pressing a premeditated murder case against Oscar Pistorius.
Next, the indictment says, witnesses heard gunshots and more screaming at the home of the Paralympic champion, who says he shot his girlfriend by mistake on Valentine’s Day.
The sequence of events outlined Monday could bolster an argument that the double-amputee Olympian was intent on killing Reeva Steenkamp after an altercation and was not reacting fearfully to what he thought was an intruder, as he has said.
The athlete’s trial starts March 3 in a court in the capital of Pretoria.
Mexican vigilantes want friends freed
Members of a masked vigilante group in southern Mexico demanded Monday that the government free 44 of their colleagues arrested last week on weapons and organized crime charges, after the government accused them of using their weapons to settle internal disputes with other townspeople.
The self-defense group from the town of Aquila, in western Michoacan state, claim they had to take up arms to defend against the Knights Templar drug cartel.
The vigilantes said at a news conference in Mexico City that the cartel demanded to be given $54,000 that townspeople had earned from mining royalties.