National Briefs: Kansas abortion bill, ‘pink slime’ defamation, stock market, Three Mile Island

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Exelon Corp., the owner of Three Mile Island — pictured on May 22 in Middleton, Pennsylvania — site of the United States' worst commercial nuclear power accident, said Monday, May 29, it will shut down the plant in 2019 without a financial rescue from Pennsylvania. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke, File)

Kyle Brown

ASSOCIATED PRESS

Kansas lawmakers OK new abortion rule with font requirement

TOPEKA, Kansas — Kansas legislators approved a new requirement for abortion providers Tuesday that calls for them to disclose doctors’ histories to their patients — and specifies that it be done on white paper in black, 12-point Times New Roman type.

Both supporters and critics of the bill believe it is the first of its kind in the U.S. The measure tightens the state’s longstanding “Right to Know” law already requiring that 24 hours ahead of terminating a pregnancy, abortion providers give women the name of the doctor and information about the risks of the procedure and fetal development. Kansas has fewer than 10 physicians performing abortions for three providers.

Kansas doctors generally are expected to inform their patients of the details and risks associated with medical procedures before patients agree to treatment. But the new requirement for abortion providers is unusual for being so specific in state law — and supporters said it is justified because abortion is fundamentally different from other medical procedures.

The Senate voted 25-15 in favor of the measure, sending it to Republican Gov. Sam Brownback, a strong abortion opponent who has signed every anti-abortion measure lawmakers have sent him since he took office in 2011. The House had approved the bill last week.

‘Pink slime’ defamation trial set to start in South Dakota

SIOUX FALLS, South Dakota — Jury selection is set to start in a defamation case over ABC news reports on a South Dakota meat producer’s lean, finely textured beef product, which critics have dubbed “pink slime.”

Dakota Dunes-based Beef Products Inc. sued the television network in 2012. It said ABC’s coverage that year led to plant closures and hundreds of layoffs by misleading consumers into believing the product is unsafe. ABC and correspondent Jim Avila are defendants.

ABC argues the network accurately presented views and information from knowledgeable sources on a matter of public interest.

The actual damages BPI is seeking could be as high as $1.9 billion, though ABC has disputed that figure.

Jury selection starts Wednesday. The trial in state court is scheduled to last until late July.

US stock markets slide after 7-day climb

A seven-day winning streak for stocks came to a quiet end Tuesday as banks, especially smaller ones, dropped along with bond yields and interest rates. Energy companies also sank.

On Tuesday:

The Standard & Poor’s 500 index sank 2.91 points, or 0.1 percent, to 2,412.91.

The Dow Jones industrial average gave up 50.81 points, or 0.2 percent, to 21,029.47.

The Nasdaq composite slid 7 points, or 0.1 percent, to 6,203.19.

The Russell 2000 index of small-company stocks skidded 11.05 points, or 0.8 percent, to 1,371.19.

For the year:

The S&P 500 is up 174.08 points, or 7.8 percent.

The Dow is up 1,266.87 points, or 6.4 percent.

The Nasdaq is up 820.07 points, or 15.2 percent.

The Russell 2000 is up 14.06 points, or 1 percent.

Three Mile Island owner threatens to close ill-fated plant

HARRISBURG, Pennsylvania — Cheap natural gas could do what the worst commercial nuclear power accident in U.S. history could not: put Three Mile Island out of business.

Three Mile Island’s owner, Exelon Corp., announced Tuesday that the plant that was the site of a terrifying partial meltdown in 1979 will close in 2019 unless the state of Pennsylvania comes to its financial rescue.

Nuclear power plants around the U.S. have been struggling in recent years to compete with generating stations that burn plentiful and inexpensive natural gas to produce electricity.

The Chicago-based energy company’s announcement came after what it called more than five years of losses at the single-reactor plant and Three Mile Island’s recent failure to be selected as a guaranteed supplier of power to the regional electric grid.

Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf has made no commitment to a bailout. In a statement Tuesday, Wolf said he is concerned about layoffs at Three Mile Island and open to discussions about the future of nuclear power. Exelon employs 675 people at the plant, whose license does not expire until 2034.

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