Senators seeks ways to fund health careWASHINGTON — Confronting cost estimates as high as $1.6 trillion, Senate Democrats agreed Tuesday to scale back planned subsidies for the uninsured and sought concessions totaling hundreds of billions of dollars from private industry to defray the cost of sweeping health care legislation. At the same time, key Democrats disagreed openly among themselves over a proposed tax on health insurance benefits to pay for expanding coverage to the uninsured. And attempts to reach a compromise with Republicans over a role for government in the insurance marketplace proved elusive. Despite numerous uncertainties, Sen. Christopher Dodd, D-Conn., announced that the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee would begin formal work today on legislation to provide "successful, affordable, quality health care.”
Company, pair admit guilt in tainted ingredient caseKANSAS CITY, Mo. — A Las Vegas-based company and its owners have pleaded guilty to distributing a tainted ingredient used to make pet food that killed potentially thousands of animals. Sally Qing Miller, 43, and her husband, Stephen S. Miller, 56, along with their company, ChemNutra Inc., pleaded guilty Tuesday to some of the charges contained in a Feb. 6, 2008, federal indictment. The indictment alleged the Millers and ChemNutra, along with two Chinese companies, brought wheat gluten tainted with the chemical melamine into the U.S. It was then sold to pet-food makers, and thousands of cats and dogs reportedly became sickened or died.
MySpace decides to pare work force by nearly 30%LOS ANGELES — MySpace said Tuesday it is cutting nearly 30 percent of its work force in a bid to become more efficient, bringing its staffing level more in line with its more popular rival, Facebook. The move, the latest cost-cutting effort at the site, comes a day after data from a tracking firm show Facebook has caught up with MySpace in monthly U.S. visitors for the first time. The cuts amount to about 420 people, bringing the total number of My-Space’s U.S. staff to 1,000. As of May, Facebook had about 850 employees worldwide, most in the U.S.
Judge’s removal sought by lawyer in Dole caseLOS ANGELES — A Los Angeles lawyer is seeking removal of a judge who denounced him as an engineer of fraudulent legal claims against the Dole food company. Attorney Juan Dominguez, who is under orders to appear for a contempt hearing today, says in a motion filed by his lawyer that he was excluded from some hearings and not permitted to defend himself. Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Victoria Chaney has reported Dominguez to the State Bar of California and to federal prosecutors for investigation of multiple crimes. Chaney dismissed two lawsuits citing what she said was a scheme to extort Dole with claims by men who said they were banana workers harmed by pesticides on Dole plantations in Nicaragua in the 1970s. Evidence showed the men were not plantation workers and were recruited to lie.
Madoff, regulators agree on job restrictionsWASHINGTON — Federal regulators Tuesday reached a settlement with disgraced money manager Bernard Madoff that prohibits him from working in the securities industry. The deal doesn’t include monetary penalties. Madoff, who pleaded guilty to fraud, faces up to 150 years in prison, and is scheduled to be sentenced on June 29 in U.