Ohio, feds to target food-stamp abuse
The state is partnering with the U.S. Department of Agriculture to crack down on fraud in the federal food- stamp program.
The state and the federal agency will share information about their transactions, and the USDA will provide training and data-mining assistance to identify suspicious patterns of benefit redemption that could indicate illegal activities, according to the Dayton Daily News. The partnership was announced Tuesday.
The USDA estimates that 1 percent of food-stamp benefits are misappropriated because of fraud. The program distributed $74.6 billion in fiscal year 2012 — that means about $746 million was lost to fraud. Federal estimates show that Ohio might be home to $30 million in fraudulent food-stamp use.
Obama to return 5 percent of salary
Sharing a bit of budget pain, President Barack Obama will return 5 percent of his salary to the Treasury in a show of solidarity with federal workers smarting from governmentwide spending cuts.
Obama’s decision grew out of a desire to share in the sacrifice that government employees are making, a White House official said Wednesday. Hundreds of thousands of workers could be forced to take unpaid leave — known as furloughs — if Congress does not reach an agreement soon to undo the cuts.
A 5 percent cut from the president’s salary of $400,000 per year amounts to $20,000.
Taliban attack courthouse; 53 die
Insurgents wearing Afghan army uniforms launched a suicide attack and stormed a courthouse Wednesday in a failed bid to free Taliban inmates, killing at least 44 people, half of them shot in the basement. Nine attackers were killed.
The attack — one of the deadliest in the more than 11-year-old war — began about 8:30 a.m. when nine men wearing suicide vests drove into the capital of Farah province in western Afghanistan, evading checkpoints by using army vehicles, according to the provincial police chief. The standoff ended some eight hours later when the last gunman was killed.
2 supremacists sought in Colo. death
Authorities investigating the death of Colorado’s prisons chief have issued an alert seeking two members of a white supremacist prison gang.
El Paso County sheriff’s Lt. Jeff Kramer said Wednesday that deputies are seeking 47-year-old James Lohr and 31-year-old Thomas Guolee in connection with the death of Tom Clements. He says their names surfaced during the investigation and the men could be headed to Nevada or Texas.
Crews corral cruise ship that tore loose
The crippled cruise ship whose sewage-filled breakdown in the Gulf of Mexico subjected thousands to horrendous conditions tore loose Wednesday from the dock where it’s being repaired, lumbered downriver and crunched into a cargo ship.
Wind gusts near hurricane strength shoved the 900-foot Carnival Triumph free from its mooring in downtown Mobile, Ala., where the ship was brought in a five-day ordeal that began when an engine fire stranded it off of Mexico in February. Hours later, four tug boats used several mooring lines to secure the ship to the cruise terminal.