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News in Brief: Millionaires Have a Senate Majority, and More …

Millionaires Have a Senate Majority

Millionaires Have a Senate Majority

Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) saw his net worth increase 550 percent last year, according to a Roll Call analysis of senators’ financial data, making him one of the poorest senators in the legislature. The survey found that the upper chamber holds at least 54 millionaires, along with another four who barely missed the mark. The most affluent senator is John Kerry (D – Massachusetts), who is worth an estimated $188.37 million, while the senator reported as closest to the poorhouse, Sen. Herb Kohl (D-Wisconsin) is actually one of its richest. Under the arcane accounting rules of the Senate, Kohl cannot count the full worth of the NBA team he owns, the Milwaukee Bucks.

North Korean Troops Fire Into South Korean Territory

Reports from Korea note what may be the first cross-border shooting on land between the two countries since 2006; North and South Korean troops exchanged fire across the border, according to South Korean officials. The BBC reported that North Korea fired two rounds toward a frontline unit in Hwacheon, about 56 miles northeast of Seoul, and South Korean soldiers responded with fire three times. South Korea’s military is currently on its highest state of alert as the capital prepares to host a G20 meeting near one of the most heavily fortified borders in the world.

US Can’t Account for $17.7 Billion in Afghan Spending

The special inspector general for Afghanistan reconstruction says the government cannot account for nearly $1.8 billion earmarked for the Afghan war effort, and beholden to over 7,000 contractors, reported Democracy Now!.

EU Approves Plan to Tighten Euro Rules

The European Union approved plans to seek new sanctions against Eurozone states that fail to keep deficits and debt in check and earlier warnings about asset bubbles and declining competitiveness, reported The New York Times. The union will also consider ways to amend its governing treaty to set up a permanent fund to help Eurozone nations in times of crisis.

US Life Expectancy Falls to 49th

Life expectancy in the United States has dropped significantly in the past decade – according to Health Affairs, the US now ranks 49th, down from 24th place in 1999. The study cited the US’ “uniquely inefficient” health care system as the main factor in the drop in life expectancy.

Judge: Four-year-olds Can Be Sued for Negligence

A State Supreme Court judge has rules that a young girl and boy accused of running down an elderly woman while they were on bicycles with training wheels two years ago are liable to be sued for negligence. The ruling by the judge in Manhattan permitted a lawsuit against the children and their parents to move forward. According to the suit, reported The New York Times, the boy and girl, both four at the time, were racing their bicycles down a Manhattan street when they crashed into an 87-year-old women, who suffered a hip fracture that required surgery, and then died three weeks later.

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