National briefs: 3/6/10
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WASHINGTON -- New York Democratic Rep. Eric Massa, facing a harassment complaint by a male staffer, said Friday that he is stepping down from his seat with "a profound sense of failure."
"I am guilty," Mr. Massa said in an interview with a Corning, N.Y., newspaper columnist.
Later in the day, Mr. Massa released a statement saying that after discovering he had a recurrence of cancer, he learned he was the subject of an ethics complaint by a male staffer who felt "uncomfortable" during an exchange with Mr. Massa. The exchange reportedly had sexual overtones.
"I will resign my position," Mr. Massa said in the statement.
"There is no doubt in my mind that I did in fact, use language in the privacy of my own home and in my inner office that, after 24 years in the Navy, might make a chief petty officer feel uncomfortable," Mr. Massa added. "In fact, there is no doubt that this ethics issue is my fault and mine alone."
Earlier Friday, a visibly upset Mr. Massa said he didn't want to put his family through an ethics committee investigation. The resignation takes effect Monday.
CLEVELAND -- An Ohio doctor accused of lacing his wife's calcium supplement with cyanide so he could be with his mistress was convicted Friday of aggravated murder.
Rosemarie Essa collapsed while driving Feb. 24, 2005, and crashed her car into another vehicle about five miles from the couple's home.
Dr. Yazeed Essa, 41, was an emergency room doctor in Akron but fled to Lebanon after his wife's death. Last year, he gave up an extradition fight and was returned from Cyprus to Ohio. With Friday's verdict, he now faces a maximum sentence of life in prison, with the possibility of parole after 20 years.
PHOENIX -- Facing the toughest re-election battle of his career, John McCain enlisted a rising star of the Republican Party in a bid Friday to lock down support among conservative primary voters.
Massachusetts Sen. Scott Brown made his first campaign trip as a senator when he visited Arizona.
The appearance also marked a key test of Mr. Brown's popularity among Republican activists and his ability to raise contributions for candidates after he recently broke with GOP leadership to side with Democrats in supporting a jobs bill.
Mr. Brown joined Mr. McCain at Grand Canyon University, a small Christian school in Phoenix.
"We need good people, honest people, people who are greatly respected, people who are not out for themselves," Brown told a crowd of about 1,000 people.
"And he's right here," he said of McCain.
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- A frigid Florida winter is taking its toll on your sandwich. The Sunshine State is the main U.S. source for fresh winter tomatoes, and its growers lost some 70 percent of their crop during January's prolonged cold snap.
Wholesale prices are up nearly five times over last year. That means you can say goodbye to the beefsteaks on that burger and prepare to pay more than usual for the succulent wedges in your salad.
An unusually cold January in Florida destroyed entire fields of tomatoes -- along with some green beans, sweet corn and squash. The cold scarred the tomatoes, damaged their vines, and forced many farmers to delay their harvest.
The average wholesale price for a 25-pound box of tomatoes is now $30, up from $6.50 a year ago. Florida's growers would normally ship about 25 million pounds of tomatoes a week; right now, they're shipping less than a quarter of that, according to Reggie Brown of the Florida Tomato Grower's Exchange.
WASHINGTON -- President Barack Obama's budget proposal would generate bigger deficits than advertised each year for the next decade, with the 10-year shortfall totaling $1.2 trillion more than the administration estimated, according to the Congressional Budget Office.
The nonpartisan CBO, in an annual analysis of the White House budget proposal, said today that under Mr. Obama's plan deficits would never shrink below 4 percent of the economy between now and 2020. The cumulative deficits would total $9.76 trillion, and debt held by the public would amount to 90 percent of the nation's gross domestic product by 2020, the CBO said.
By 2020, the federal debt would grow to $20.3 trillion under Mr. Obama's budget, according to CBO.
NEW YORK -- The much-anticipated iPad tablet computer from Apple Inc. will start hitting U.S. store shelves on April 3, slightly later than originally planned.
When Apple unveiled the touch-screen device Jan. 27, the company said the first iPads would reach the market in "late March" worldwide, not just in the U.S. Now international releases are planned for later in April.
Investors shrugged off the delay and instead seemed reassured that the tablet wouldn't slip even later. On a day with a broader stock market rally, Apple shares jumped $7.44, or 3.5 percent, to $218.15 in midday trading, a record high.
The company did not specify Friday why the tablet is not coming out until April, and Apple spokeswoman Natalie Harrison would not elaborate.
--Compiled from news services
First Published March 6, 2010 12:00 am