National News for February 15 - 28

March 1, 2010, 5:32 p.m. | By Lauren Kestner | 13 years, 9 months ago

This is not original reporting. All information has been compiled from The New York Times and The Washington Post. Silver Chips Online posts these news summaries to provide readers with a forum for discussion.

Austin, Texas

Texas pilot Joseph Stack crashed his single-engine plane into an Austin IRS building. Photo courtesy of The Washington Post.

Feb. 18 - Software engineer Joseph Stack crashed his single-engine plane into an Internal Revenue Service (IRS) office building, killing one person and setting off a fire that prompted the evacuation of over 200 employees. Stack left the Georgetown Municipal Airport, 30 miles from Austin, without filing a flight plan. Before launching the deadly airborne assault, Stack set fire to his house and left a suicide note disparaging the IRS and government tax policy. The incident has raised concerns over the threat small aircrafts pose to U.S. national security. Currently, people enrolling in flight schools must show proof of U.S. citizenship or submit to a background check. Those seeking certification as a registered pilot are also checked against the terror watchlist. New restrictions under consideration include requiring operators to demonstrate that flight crews have undergone a criminal background check and verifying that passengers do not appear on no-fly lists.

Washington, D.C.
Feb. 24 - The Senate approved a $15-billion plan to stimulate job creation last Wednesday in a 70 - 28 vote that reflected significant bipartisan support. The bill would fund a federal highway program to prevent states from abandoning expensive construction projects and create an estimated one million jobs. Senator Charles Schumer (D - N.Y.) also co-sponsored a provision that exempts employers from payroll taxes if they hire people who have not held a job for 60 days. Although the plan passed by a large margin in the Senate, many lawmakers in the House of Representatives have raised concerns over how the costs of the bill will be calculated and the distribution of highway construction money.

Orlando, Fla.

Tilikum, a whale at the Orlando Seaworld, killed trainer Dawn Brancheau last Wednesday. Photo courtesy of The Associated Press.

Feb. 24 - A Seaworld whale dragged trainer Dawn Brancheau into the water during a noontime show last Wednesday, killing the 40-year-old woman in front of a full audience. Medical personnel arriving on the scene could not immediately determine whether Brancheau died of trauma or lack of oxygen. Tilikum, the 12,000-pound killer whale performing in the show, had been involved in two other human deaths prior to this incident. In 1999, Seaworld officials discovered the body of a man who had snuck past security and fallen into the tank. Although the man died of hypothermia, he was also bruised and scratched from Tilikum.

Washington, D.C.
Feb. 26 - The House Ethics Committee ruled that seven members of Congress charged with misconduct in a lobbying scandal did not violate any federal laws. The Office of Congressional Ethics, an independent organization created in 2008, released a report alleging that private contractors gave significant campaign contributions to the seven lawmakers in exchange for millions of dollars in defense industry earmarks. The House Ethics Committee acknowledged that the PMA lobbying group encouraged defense contractor clients to make donations to the seven politicians, but it concluded that these lawmakers were not aware of the contributions.

Tags: Roundup

Lauren Kestner. Lauren Kestner loves Trader Joe's chocolates, cheesy television soap operas, summer trips to Lake Anna, coffee ice cream from Coldstone Creamery, hikes at Northwest Branch and shopping at Heritage. Playing soccer for Blair or her MSC club team and running at the gym consumes much … More »

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