Correspondent, Milan
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Oct 15, 2013

U.S. Army captain awarded Medal of Honor for valor in Afghan ambush

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Retired U.S. Army Captain William Swenson, who rescued wounded soldiers under fire during a deadly Afghan ambush, was awarded the Medal of Honor, the highest U.S. recognition for valor, on Tuesday by President Barack Obama.

Swenson, 34, of Seattle, saved the lives of more than a dozen U.S. and Afghan troops under heavy fire from Taliban fighters who ambushed his patrol in eastern Afghanistan in 2009, Obama said at a White House ceremony.

Oct 12, 2013

Anti-government anger fuels long-shot Maryland breakaway bid

WESTMINSTER, Maryland (Reuters) – Scott Strzelczyk is fed up with what he calls political slavery in Maryland and sees one way out – creating a breakaway state, a feat that has not been accomplished since the American Civil War.

Riding a wave of anti-government sentiment across the United States, the small-town information technology consultant has launched a long-shot bid to get Maryland’s five conservative western counties to secede from the state, one of the most liberal and Democratic in the country.

Oct 8, 2013

U.S. Fed ships new $100 bills with anti-counterfeit features

WASHINGTON, Oct 8 (Reuters) – The Federal Reserve began
supplying banks on Tuesday with billions of redesigned $100
bills that incorporate advanced anti-counterfeiting features,
the U.S. central bank said.

The notes, which retain the image of American statesman and
scientist Benjamin Franklin, include two new security features -
a blue three-dimensional security ribbon with images of bells
and 100s, and a color-changing bell in an inkwell, the Fed said
in a statement.

Oct 1, 2013

Vets, Republican lawmakers open barriers to get into WWII site

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – About 350 elderly veterans aided by Republican lawmakers ignored a government shutdown and pushed past barricades at the National World War II Memorial on Tuesday to get into the shuttered site.

Witnesses said U.S. Representative Louie Gohmert of Texas led a dozen Republicans in snipping yellow police tape that had barred the veterans, some in wheelchairs, from the closed site.

Sep 30, 2013

Defiant District of Columbia to stay open despite federal shutdown

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. government offices from the Internal Revenue Service to the national parks may be headed for a midnight shutdown amid a congressional budget battle, but the District of Columbia will remain open.

The semi-autonomous capital city’s mayor, Vincent Gray, has declared all 32,000 public workers essential, a break from prior practice that means they cannot be ordered home if the federal government shuts down.

Sep 30, 2013

A million U.S. government workers, unions brace for shutdown

Sept 30 (Reuters) – As many as a million U.S. government
employees were making urgent plans on Monday for a possible
midnight shutdown, with their unions urging Congress to strike a
last-minute deal.

To avoid sending hundreds of thousands of workers across the
country home without pay, lawmakers must act within hours, but
it was unclear if an agreement could be reached in time.

Sep 27, 2013

Ex-EPA adviser admits to fraud, CIA stint claim, 13 years of lies

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – A former U.S. Environmental Protection Agency adviser pleaded guilty on Friday to cheating the government out of $886,186 over 13 years of telling lies, including claims he had malaria and that he was working on a CIA project, officials said.

John Beale, 64, of New York, had skipped work for a total of 2-1/2 years while claiming to be working on a project for the Central Intelligence Agency’s operations directorate and other jobs, the District of Columbia’s U.S. Attorney’s Office and the EPA’s inspector general said in a statement.

Sep 27, 2013

Gun rights advocates sue to block tough Maryland gun law

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Gun rights supporters filed a motion on Friday to block Maryland’s new gun law, one of the toughest in the United States, from taking effect next week.

The motion, filed in U.S. District Court in Maryland, seeks a court order to block the law, which includes a ban the sale of 45 types of assault weapons.

Sep 26, 2013

U.S. Justice Dept spent $4.9 million on drones, new rules urged: watchdog

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. Department of Justice has spent $4.9 million for drone aircraft and unmanned aircraft and should develop guidelines on their use amid privacy concerns, the department’s watchdog said on Thursday.

The interim report from the department’s inspector general comes after U.S. debate about President Barack Obama’s use of domestic surveillance, from unmanned aircraft to monitoring of Americans’ phone records.

Sep 26, 2013

Record number of minorities take SAT but lag in college readiness

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Minority students made up a record portion of SAT test takers in 2013, and blacks and Hispanics improved on the U.S. college entrance exam but still lagged in demonstrating they are ready for college, the College Board said on Thursday.

The average score this year for the millions of students taking the exam on mathematics, writing and critical reading was 1,498 points, unchanged from 2012.

    • About Ian

      "Ian Simpson covers Italian equities from Milan with a focus on banks. In a 30-year career, he has been based in Dallas, Kansas City, New York, Washington, Puerto Rico, Brazil, Portugal and Italy. He has reported from more than 20 countries."
      Joined Reuters:
      1990
      Languages:
      Spanish, Portuguese, Italian, some Dari
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