Pa. drilling: Few health complaints

Pa. drilling: Few health complaints


The Pennsylvania Department of Health says it’s received fewer than 30 complaints over the past year from people who feel natural-gas drilling has impacted their health.

The state’s public-health agency also says it has no manuals or guidelines for how its staff should respond to health complaints about gas drilling.

The information came in response to a Right to Know request from The Associated Press, but the agency refused to provide details of the complaints, such as where and when they occurred.

The AP reported earlier this month that politicians stripped up to $2 million in new Health Department funding from recent legislation. Officials had planned to use the money to research and register the health impacts of gas drilling.

FTC hires lawyer for Google probe


The Federal Trade Commission has hired a prominent trial lawyer to oversee its broad investigation into Google’s business practices, signaling the agency is troubled by what it has discovered so far in its year-old probe.

Former Justice Department prosecutor Beth Wilkinson will take the reins as the FTC digs deeper into allegations that Google Inc. has been abusing its dominance of Internet search to stifle competition and drive up online advertising prices. The FTC announced the move Thursday.

Wilkinson is best known for helping to convict Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh in 1997. Now a partner at Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison, in Washington, D.C., Wilkinson also has experience in antitrust law and white- collar criminal cases.

The FTC stressed that Wilkinson’s hiring shouldn’t be interpreted as a sign it intends to sue Google Inc.

Murdoch apologizes for hacking scandal


Rupert Murdoch used his testimony before a U.K. inquiry Thursday to portray himself as the victim, not perpetrator, of a cover-up over phone hacking — a bold claim unlikely to be accepted by those suing his company for invading their privacy.

The 81-year-old media magnate apologized. He said he had failed. He noted that the corporate cleanup of the British phone-hacking scandal had cost his New York-based News Corp. hundreds of millions of dollars and transformed its culture.

“I failed, and I’m sorry about it,” Murdoch said, adding later: “We are now a new company altogether.”

Murdoch’s two days of testimony, which began Wednesday, marked his attempt to corral the scandal that has rocked Britain, tainted senior politicians, prompted top police commanders and media executives to resign and affected large swaths of his media empire.

It boiled over in July after it became clear that journalists at Murdoch’s now-shuttered News of the World tabloid routinely broke the law in pursuit of scoops, with Murdoch-friendly police and politicians turning a blind eye to a litany of abuses including illegal espionage and bribery.

Associated Press

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