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 war in Afghanistan will get worse before it gets better, President Barack Obama said Wednesday, but he declared his plan to begin withdrawing U.S. forces next year remains on track. “What I’ve tried to emphasize is the fact that there is going to be some hard fighting over the next several months,” Obama said at a White House news conference with Afghan President Hamid Karzai. He spoke as the U.S.-led foreign army in Afghanistan gets ready for a push into the Taliban’s birthplace in Kandahar Province. The campaign for Kandahar, which is to begin in earnest in June, is expected to be among the bloodiest of the nearly nine-year-old war.
Space shuttle Atlantis has been cleared for liftoff. Mission managers on Wednesday gave the go-ahead for the countdown to proceed toward Friday afternoon’s planned launch. It will be 32nd and final flight for Atlantis. Everything is looking good for an on-time launch at 2:20 p.m. Managers are tracking no technical troubles, and forecasters say there’s a 70 percent chance the weather will cooperate. Atlantis will carry up spare parts for the International Space Station.
One in 4 households has a cell phone but no traditional landlines, a trend led by the young and the poor that is showing no sign of abating. The 25 percent who had only a mobile phone in the last half of 2009 was up 2 percentage points from the first half of the year, according to data reported Wednesday by the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Spotlighting how steadily people’s telephone habits are evolving, in the beginning of 2006 just 11 percent of homes had only a cell.