National briefs: 8/9/12
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WASHINGTON -- Federal scientists say July was the hottest month ever recorded in the Lower 48 states, breaking a record set during the Dust Bowl of the 1930s.
The U.S. this year keeps setting records for weather extremes, based on the precise calculations that include drought, heavy rainfall, unusual temperatures, and storms.
The average temperature last month was 77.6 degrees. That breaks the old record from July 1936 by 0.2 degree, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Records go back to 1895.
Last month also was 3.3 degrees warmer than the 20th century average for July.
WASHINGTON -- Fannie Mae earned $2.2 billion from April through June, its second quarterly gain in net income since being taken over by the government during the 2008 financial crisis.
The mortgage giant attributed the increase to improving home prices and fewer foreclosures.
Fannie said Wednesday that it paid a dividend of $2.9 billion to the Treasury Department and sought no additional aid.
WASHINGTON -- As they look to their national convention starting in Tampa on Aug. 27, Republicans are considering including a plank in their party platform calling for a full audit of the Federal Reserve, the nation's central bank.
Prodded by the failed primary bid of longtime Fed critic Ron Paul -- and the grassroots enthusiasm the Texas congressman's cause inspired among bail-out weary Tea Party activists and small government advocates -- Republicans are entertaining a prospect that has long made them and some of their financial supporters cringe.
Cholesterol levels in U.S. children improved in the past two decades as makers of cookies, crackers and French fries responded to public concern that trans fats used in their products may be harmful to health.
The prevalence of elevated total cholesterol dropped to 8.1 percent for those ages 6 to 19 from 2007 to 2010 compared with 11 percent from 1988 to 1994, according to a study Tuesday in the Journal of the American Medical Association.
While no cause analysis was conducted, lower fat intake and more exercise may have contributed to the improvement, said Brian Kit, a researcher at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the study's lead author.
DALLAS -- Pilots for American Airlines have strongly rejected a contract offer that would have helped the company cut labor costs, dashing American's hopes of winning voluntary concessions from all its labor unions.
American said that it was disappointed by the vote. The company will ask a federal bankruptcy judge to let it impose terms on pilots that would be harsher than the rejected deal.
NEW YORK -- The reigning 16-year-old champion of cellphone texting has reclaimed the title of fastest texter in America.
Austin Weirschke of Rhinelander, Wis., won after eight rounds at the texting competition Wednesday in New York's Times Square. He gets $50,000 in prize money.
Eleven contestants from around the U.S. competed, all using the same type of phone. The competition tested three skills: speed, accuracy and dexterity.
-- Compiled from news services
First Published August 9, 2012 12:24 am