In Friday’s news, the EPA imposes new carbon restrictions on trucks and other heavy vehicles. Also, Greece attempts to come to loan agreement as deadline looms, and the Congressional Budget Office estimates that repealing the Affordable Care Act will leave more than 24 million people without health insurance.
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In the day’s other news, prosecutors in the 2012 Colorado mass shooting case wrapped up eight weeks of testimony against James Holmes. He’s charged with killing 12 people and wounding 70 at a midnight movie showing. He’s pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity. The defense case begins next Thursday.
Medium- and heavy-duty trucks will have to get more fuel-efficient and cut carbon dioxide emissions further, under new rules proposed by the Obama administration. The Environmental Protection Agency made the new regulations public today. They call for a 24 percent cut in emissions for trucks, buses, tractor-trailers, and vans by 2027. Those vehicles account for one-fifth of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions.
Acts of terror spiked last year, as Islamist militants stepped up their deadly campaigns. The State Department says attacks shot up 35 percent, led by a spurt of violence in Iraq, Afghanistan and Nigeria. Deaths from such attacks rose roughly 80 percent, to almost 33,000.
But the department’s coordinator for counterterrorism said today that doesn’t mean U.S. policies have failed.
TINA KAIDANOW, State Department Coordinator for Counterterrorism:
It’s one way, but not the sole way, of addressing the effectiveness of our efforts. I think by any standard that you set, you can look at that and you can say that we have made progress. Have we done everything that can be done in order to push back on these groups? Clearly not.
The report cites the Islamic State group in Iraq and Syria and Boko Haram in Nigeria as the main forces driving terror attacks.
Greece edged ever closer to default today, with still no sign of any deal for a new bailout. Eurozone leaders now plan an emergency summit on Monday, in a bid to break the deadlock. Meanwhile, Greek banks are hemorrhaging cash.
Paul Mason of Independent Television News filed this report.
The Greek banking system made it through to closing time on Friday, just. The bank got a reported three billion euros of emergency funds from the European Central Bank this afternoon, on top of 1.1 billion on Wednesday.
But, in the last five days, around the same amount has been withdrawn. People here realize finally that next Monday is the crunch. If there’s no deal between Greece and its lenders, the country will most likely default on its debts. And after that, warns the Central Bank, comes a slump and possible exit from the Eurozone.
Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras was in Russia today. Though Greece has remained in NATO under the left, it feels abandoned by its allies. And with a Russian pipeline deal just signed, he is keeping diplomatic options open.
ALEXIS TSIPRAS, Greek Prime Minister (through translator):
Let’s be serious. The so-called Greek problem is not a Greek problem, but European. The name of the problem is not Greece. It’s Eurozone and it concerns its structure.
For Vladimir Putin, whose diplomatic aim is a divided and weakened Europe, the look of satisfaction didn’t need to be forced.
Greece faces a huge debt repayment at month’s end, but doesn’t have the funds.
Back in this country, the Congressional Budget Office now says repealing the Affordable Care Act will increase the number of Americans without health insurance by 24 million. The analysis also says the repeal would boost the economy, at least for a time. But it projected it would ultimately add nearly $140 billion to the deficit.
Wall Street had a deficit of confidence today. The Dow Jones industrial average lost 100 points to close at 18014. The Nasdaq fell 16 points, and the S&P 500 slipped 11. For the week, the Dow and the S&P rose more than half-a-percent. The Nasdaq rose a full percent.
And cable TV pioneer Ralph Roberts has died. Starting in the 1960s, he built Comcast into the nation’s largest provider of cable TV and home Internet service. Today, it also owns the NBC Network, Universal Pictures and theme parks. Ralph Roberts was 95 years old.