National

7.24.14:  Awarded a Pell Grant? Better double-check

 

WASHINGTON (AP) — Potentially tens of thousands of students awarded a Pell Grant or other need-based federal aid for the coming school year could find it taken away because of a mistake in filling out the form.

 

The mistake primarily stems from an online form change to the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, or FAFSA, made Jan. 1 that expanded the field to enter income.

 

Many applicants unnecessarily entered a decimal point and cents that the system ignored. The error led to students being declared eligible for aid when they are not — and ineligible when they are.

 

The Education Department says fewer than 200,000 applicants have been declared eligible when they are not. Officials say data checks to try to identify those students are underway, and the form has been changed.


7.23.14:  Chrysler recalls Jeep SUVs for ignition switches

 

DETROIT (AP) — Chrysler is recalling up to 792,300 older Jeep SUVs worldwide because the ignition switches could cause engine stalling.

 

Tuesday’s recall covers 2005-2007 Grand Cherokees and 2006-2007 Commanders.

 

Chrysler says it’s not sure exactly how many will be recalled. The company says an outside force such as a driver’s knee can knock switches out of the “run” position, shutting off the engine. This disables power-assisted steering and braking and the front air bags might not inflate.

 

Engineers are working on a fix. Chrysler says it knows of no injuries and only one accident. The company says only a few complaints have been filed. Owners should keep clearance between their knees and keys until repairs are made.

 

The recall comes as U.S. safety regulators investigate ignition switch problems across the auto industry.


7.23.14:  Thieves got into 1K StubHub accounts

 

NEW YORK (AP) — A law enforcement official and online marketplace StubHub say cyber thieves got into more than 1,000 customers’ accounts and fraudulently bought tickets for events.

 

The official tells The Associated Press that arrests are expected in a case that sprawls across international borders.

 

Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. is expected to hold a news conference Wednesday with English and Canadian officials.

 

San Francisco-based StubHub says the thieves got account-holders’ login and password information from data breaches at other websites or from malware on the customers’ computers. The company says it detected the unauthorized transactions last year and gave refunds.


7.22.14:  Courts disagree on health law

 

WASHINGTON (AP) — There are two conflicting court rulings today on the new health care law. A ruling from an appeals court in Washington could mean the loss of subsidies that help millions of low and middle-income people afford their premiums. That court said the financial aid can only be provided in states with their own insurance markets. But a court in Virginia came to the opposite conclusion. The White House says consumers will keep getting financial aid for their premiums as the administration appeals the decision that went against it.


 

7.22.14:  Perry sending National Guard to Texas border

 

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — Gov. Rick Perry says he’s deploying as many as 1,000 National Guard troops to the Texas-Mexico border after growing tired of “lip service” from the federal government.

 

Perry said Monday that the National Guard will provide additional support to a state-funded border surge that is costing an additional $1.3 million a week.

 

Much of the area has been overwhelmed in recent months by tens of thousands of unaccompanied children illegally entering the U.S.

 

Perry says criminals are exploiting the situation for human and drug trafficking.

 

More than 3,000 Border Patrol agents currently work in the region.

 

The deployment of the National Guard is expected to unfold over the next 30 days.

 

Democrats and some Texas border sheriffs are criticizing the plan as an ill-conceived militarization.


7.22.14:  Better weather to aid in Washington wildfire fight

 

SPOKANE, Wash. (AP) — A huge wildfire covering 379 square miles in Washington state is only 2 percent contained, but fire officials say things are improving.

 

Cooler temperatures and reduced winds are helping firefighters battle the blaze in Okanogan County, which fire officials estimate has burned about 150 homes.


7.21.14:  Train derailment in Wisconsin

 

SLINGER, Wis. (AP) — A fire official says two people are injured and several thousand gallons of diesel fuel have spilled after a train derailment in a small Wisconsin village.

 

Slinger Fire Department Chief Rick Hanke says three engines and 10 railcars derailed Sunday, forcing the evacuation of more than 100 nearby homes.

 

He says two people are being treated for injuries that are not life-threatening.

 

Hanke says about 5,000 gallons of diesel fuel spilled from an engine. He says hazmat crews have dikes and booms in place.

 

A spokesman for Canadian National Railway Co. says preliminary reports indicate one of the company’s trains was headed south and struck cars on another train.

 

Slinger is about 35 miles northwest of Milwaukee.


7.17.14:  GM’s legal staff targeted at recall hearing

 

WASHINGTON (AP) — A Senate subcommittee chairwoman says General Motors should have fired its chief lawyer in the wake of a long-delayed recall of millions of small cars.

 

An internal report found GM attorneys signed settlements with the families of crash victims but didn’t tell engineers or top executives about mounting problems with ignition switches. It also found that GM’s legal staff acted without urgency.

 

GM says faulty ignition switches were responsible for at least 13 deaths. It took the company 11 years to recall the cars.

 

Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill of Missouri says GM’s chief counsel, Michael Milliken, should be fired.

 

In prepared testimony, Milliken said he didn’t learn about the switch issue until February and took immediate action.

 

Milliken, GM CEO Mary Barra and others are appearing Thursday before the subcommittee.


7.17.14:  WA residents urged to evacuate

 

SPOKANE, Wash. (AP) — Authorities in Central Washington are urging residents in nearly 900 homes to evacuate as a wildfire tears through timber.

 

There’s zero containment of the fire in Chiwaukum Creek, which yesterday was fed by temperatures in the triple digits and strong winds.

 

The wildfire covers nearly 2 square miles and more heat and wind gusts are expected today.


7.17.14:  US unemployment aid applications drop to 302,000

 

WASHINGTON (AP) — The number of people seeking U.S. unemployment benefits fell last week, a steady decline that suggests a strengthening job market.

The Labor Department says weekly applications for unemployment aid dipped 3,000 to a seasonally adjusted 302,000.

The four-week average, a less volatile measure, dropped 3,000 to 309,000, the level since June 2007, about five months before the start of the Great Recession.

Applications are a proxy for layoffs, a sign that they expect economic growth to continue. When businesses are confident enough to keep staff, they are also likely to hire more people.

Hiring is at its healthiest clip since the late 1990s and the 6.1 percent unemployment rate is at a 5 1/2-year low. Employers added 288,000 jobs in June, the fifth straight month of job gains above 200,000.