U.S. NEWS DIGEST | Flags at half-staff for last WWI vet

Flags at half-staff for last WWI vet


U.S. flags at all state and federal facilities are being flown at half-staff from sunrise to sunset today in honor of the life and service of Army Cpl. Frank W. Buckles, the last surviving American veteran of World War I, and the others who served during WWI.

Gov. John R. Kasich, in accordance with a proclamation from President Barack Obama, ordered that U.S. flags at all state facilities be flown at half-staff.

On Feb. 28, President Obama, “as a mark of respect for the memory of Army Cpl. Frank W. Buckles ... and in remembrance of the generation of American veterans of World War I,” ordered that on the day of Buckles’ interment, U.S. flags be lowered at the White House, on all public buildings and grounds and at all military facilities and Navy vessels throughout the U.S. and its territories and possessions.

Conservatives balk to spending bill


Conservative Republicans on Capitol Hill began Monday to come out against a measure to keep the government running for three more weeks while the White House and Republican lawmakers seek a longer-term agreement on spending cuts. Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, who chairs the Republican Study Committee, which makes up a sizable majority of House Republicans, said the measure should include a ban on federal funding for Planned Parenthood and that Congress needs to do better than cutting spending a few billion dollars at a time.

Schools rush to reach agreements


School boards and local governments across Wisconsin are rushing to reach agreements with unions before a new law takes effect and erases their ability to collectively bargain over nearly all issues other than minimal salary increases. The law doesn’t go into effect until the day after Secretary of State Doug La Follette publishes it and it doesn’t supersede contracts already in place, fueling unions’ desire to reach new deals quickly. La Follette said Monday that he will delay publication until the latest day possible, March 25, to give local governments time to try to reach agreements.

35 die in Afghan suicide bombing


A suicide bomber posing as an army volunteer blew himself up outside a military recruiting center in northern Afghanistan on Monday, killing at least 35 people and escalating the insurgent campaign to scare young Afghans away from military service.

It was the second deadly attack on the center in three months, but the crowd of young men lined up for service were among many Afghans eager for a rare steady paycheck despite the danger from militants targeting security forces, recruiting centers and government officials.

Obama: Education bill by September


Urging Congress to send him a new education law by fall, President Barack Obama focused Monday on the big concerns of parents and lawmakers alike: how student progress is measured and how schools that fall short are labeled.

Citing new estimates, Obama said four out of five schools may be tagged as failures this year under provisions of the Bush-era No Child Left Behind law.

Obama’s call for a rewrite of the education law appears unlikely, at least by his September deadline. The House education committee’s Republican chairman acknowledged the need for improvement but called the president’s time line “arbitrary.”

Associated Press

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