National Briefs: Change urged for families

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WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama pressed for workplace changes to benefit families with children, saying the U.S. is trailing other advanced countries and must compete with more job flexibility and a higher minimum wage.

“Many women can’t even get a paid day off to give birth,” he said Monday at a White House-sponsored conference in Washington. “That’s a pretty low bar. You would think that we would be able to take care of” that.

Mr. Obama was joined by Vice President Joe Biden and first lady Michelle Obama at the White House Summit on Working Families.

“You’re not alone,” Mr. Obama said in remarks aimed a Americans who feel constrained by minimum wage rates, a lack of affordable child care or inflexible hours. These problems “cannot just be fixed by working harder or being an even better parent,” he said. “All too often they are the result of outdated policies and old ways of thinking.”

He also called for paid maternity leave. “If France can figure this out, we can figure it out,” he said.

FBI saves 168 kids

WASHINGTON — The FBI recovered 168 children and arrested 281 people on pimping charges last week in a nationwide sting to combat child sex trafficking, the bureau announced Monday.

The sting, the eighth in a series of efforts called Operation Cross Country, recorded the most recoveries and pimping arrests since the first operation in 2008.

The youngest child recovered was 11 years old, and almost all of the children and adults were Americans, officials said.

The cities with the most recovered children were Denver, Cleveland, Chicago, Atlanta and Los Angeles.

Mormons oust woman

SALT LAKE CITY — The Mormon church excommunicated the founder of a prominent women’s group Monday, a rare move that brings down the harshest punishment available on an adherent who created an organization and staged demonstrations in a push for women to join the faith’s priesthood.

The ousting of Kate Kelly marks one of the most significant excommunications in recent church history and sends a stern warning to others publicly challenging church practice and forming groups around their cause, scholars who study Mormonism say.

Violence hikes gas cost

Gasoline at U.S. pumps rose to the highest level for late June since 2008 as violence in Iraq has driven oil prices higher during the season when Americans drive the most.

Retail gasoline averaged $3.704 a gallon Monday, up 1.8 cents from last week, the U.S. Energy Information Administration reported. West Texas Intermediate crude futures are up $3.46 a barrel this month as companies such as Exxon Mobil Corp. and BP Plc have evacuated workers from Iraq in the face of increased fighting.

Tsunami downgraded

ANCHORAGE, Alaska — Authorities have downgraded the tsunami warning that was issued for parts of Alaska’s Aleutian Islands after a magnitude-8.0 earthquake struck at 12:53 p.m. Monday.

The quake generated small tsunamis, with waves of less than 7 inches, prompting the National Tsunami Warning Center to downgrade the warning to an advisory. Small waves are still expected along parts of the Aleutian Islands, and officials advised people to stay off the beaches.

— Compiled from news services



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