Friday, September 14, 2018 1:00 am
Congress takes step to avoid shutdown
WASHINGTON – Moving to head off a government shutdown, Congress has overwhelmingly approved a compromise spending bill and pledged agreement on a short-term bill to fund the government through early December.
The House on Thursday approved a $147 billion package to fund the Energy Department, veterans' programs and the legislative branch. The 377-20 vote came a day after the Senate passed the measure, 92-5. The bill now goes to White House, where President Donald Trump is expected to sign it.
The quick action in the House and Senate came as legislative leaders announced agreement on a bill to fund the rest of the government through Dec. 7.
Bezos fund to help children, homeless
Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos said Thursday he is giving $2 billion to start a fund that will open preschools in low-income neighborhoods and give money to nonprofits that help homeless families.
Bezos, whose stake in Amazon is worth about $160 billion, says he'll call it the Bezos Day One Fund.
In a post to his Twitter account, Bezos said one part of the fund will give money to organizations and groups that provide shelter and food to young homeless families. The other part will launch and operate free preschools in low-income communities, where “the child will be the customer.”
Suu Kyi: Rohingya crisis regrettable
In the face of global condemnation, Myanmar's leader and Nobel Peace Prize laureate Aung San Suu Kyi on Thursday said the Rohingya Muslim crisis, in which 700,000 have fled to Bangladesh amid a brutal military campaign, could have been handled better, but she still defended security forces against charges of civilian atrocities.
Myanmar's army is accused of mass rape, killings and setting fire to thousands of homes in the aftermath of an August 2017 attack by Rohingya militants on security outposts. A report issued two weeks ago by a specially appointed U.N. human rights team recommended prosecuting senior Myanmar commanders for genocide and other crimes.
“There are of course ways in which with hindsight I think the situation could have been handled better,” Suu Kyi said.
Judge further delays grizzly hunts
A U.S. judge on Thursday delayed for two more weeks the first grizzly bear hunts in the Lower 48 states in almost three decades, saying he needed more time to consider whether federal protections for the animals should be restored.
The ruling by U.S. District Judge Dana Christensen left the fate of the bruins in and around Yellowstone National Park in limbo, more than a year after federal officials declared that the population had recovered from near extermination. Up to 23 bears could be killed in the hunts planned in Wyoming and Idaho. Christensen already delayed them once, two days before grizzly season was set to open Sept. 1.
Loss reduces orca population to 74
Efforts to find a sick young orca from a critically endangered population of killer whales in the Pacific Northwest came up empty Thursday, and a scientist declared her dead.
The grim news left just 74 whales remaining in a group that has failed to reproduce successfully in the past three years. The orcas have struggled with pollution, boat noise and, most severely, a dearth of their preferred prey, chinook salmon, because of dams, habitat loss and overfishing.