The Afternoon Federal Newscast is a daily compilation of the stories you hear Daily Debrief hosts Chris Dorobek and Amy Morris discuss throughout their show each day. The Newscast is designed to give FederalNewsRadio.com users more information about the stories you hear on the air.
The head of homeland security said Monday that investigators haven’t ruled out any suspects, including foreign terrorist organizations, in the case of the unexploded car bomb that was parked in New York City’s Times Square on Saturday night. “Right now, every lead has to be pursued,” Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano told NBC’s “Today.” “I caution against premature decisions one way or another.” The Pakistani Taliban appeared to claim responsibility for the car bomb in three videos that surfaced over the weekend, but New York Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly said police have no evidence to support those claims. New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg said Monday that “there is no evidence tied to international terrorism.”
The Pentagon says Alabama, Florida and Mississippi have requested the federal mobilization of National Guard troops to aid clean-up efforts along the Gulf Coast. Col. Dave Lapan, a Defense Department spokesman, said Monday that those requests are similar to one made last week by Louisiana. That request allowed up to 6,000 National Guard troops, paid for by the federal government under Title 32 law, to be made available to Louisiana. So far, on-site coordinators have called in only 600 of those Guard troops, although defense officials say that number could go higher.
The Justice Department is examining the competitive effects of a proposed merger between Continental and United Airlines. The department routinely examines airline deals, which may affect services and prices for consumers. Justice Department spokeswoman Gina Talamona said Monday that the department’s antitrust division “is looking at the proposed transaction between these two airlines.” United Airlines has agreed to buy Continental in a $3 billion-plus deal that would create the world’s largest carrier with a commanding position in several top U.S. Cities.
The federal government is conducting an investigation into whether the handful of large meatpackers that slaughter most of the nation’s cattle are illegally or unfairly driving down cattle prices, according to an official representing independent beef producers nationwide. The investigation is under way as the Justice and Agriculture Departments hold a series of antitrust hearings on competition in agriculture, and the USDA is expected to release sweeping antitrust rules covering the meat industry this spring.