WASHINGTON: Senate OKs spending cuts
The Senate approved legislation Wednesday to lock in $85 billion in widely decried spending cuts aimed at restraining soaring federal deficits -- and to avoid a government shutdown just a week away. Democrats rejected a call to reopen White House tours scrapped because of tightened spending. Federal meat inspectors were spared furloughs, but more than 100 air traffic facilities were left exposed to possible closing as the parties alternately clashed and cooperated over proposals to take the edge off across-the-board cuts that took effect March 1. Final House approval is likely as early as Thursday. President Barack Obama's signature will mean the cuts will remain in place at least through the end of the budget year, Sept. 30, though he and lawmakers in both parties criticize them as random rather than targeted.
CONNECTICUT: 2 school athletes accused
Two Torrington High School football players have been charged in sexual assault cases that, like a recent Ohio case, have led to online taunts directed at an accuser. Edgar Gonzalez and Joan Toribio, both 18, were charged with felony second-degree sexual assault in cases involving 13-year-old girls. Toribio also was charged in another second-degree sexual assault. Both have pleaded not guilty to all charges. On Wednesday evening, police said a 17-year-old was charged with second-degree sexual assault on one of the two 13-year-olds linked to the football players. One more arrest involving the same accusers was expected.
PENNSYLVANIA: Hold the body spray, school asks
Freedom High School in Bethlehem wants its students to cut back on body spray, saying a student was taken to a hospital after exposure to Axe Body Spray. Unilever, which makes Axe, was looking into the report. School officials said the affected student is severely allergic to the spray.