U.S. airlines fill skies with passengers
U.S. airlines carried 823.0 million passengers in 2016, an all-time high that included 719.0 million domestic passengers and 103.9 million international passengers, the Bureau of Transportation Statistics said. BTS cited a statistical anomaly: while the airlines carried a record high number of passengers, they also had more empty seats available resulting in a 0.4% reduction in a load factor measurement.
35% corporate tax rate called a “myth”
A study of tax expenditures by Fortune 500 companies over an eight-year period found that most of the companies’ complaints about having to pay the world’s highest corporate tax rate—35%–is a myth. The Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy said 258 of the companies paid a 21.2% tax rate after applying tax loopholes, credits and deductions to reduce their taxable income. The study found that 18 companies (including General Electric, International Paper, Priceline.com and Pacific Gas & Electric) paid no federal income tax in any of the eight years covered by the study.
Suit seeks information on high-risk chemical plants
Public Citizen filed a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit that asks a federal judge to order the release of Department of Homeland Security documents relating to the reclassification of high-risk chemical facilities. PC is providing legal assistance to Greenpeace which initiated the FOIA request, but was rebuffed by DHS’s claim that the records were exempt from disclosure because the information could endanger the physical safety of one or more people. PC noted that an appeal was referred to an administrative law judge who ordered DHS to produce the records.
Border agents find four riding in car trunk
U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers at the San Ysidro port of entry opened the trunk of a vehicle and found four Chinese nationals—three females and one male—stuffed inside. A canine trained to detect narcotics and humans alerted officers to the vehicle that was driven by a 24-year-old U.S. citizen. The driver was arrested and will face federal human smuggling charges, CBP said.
Al Qaeda operative faces life in prison
A federal jury in Manhattan convicted Ibrahim Harun, 46, of committing numerous terrorism offenses in his role as an al Qaeda operative. Harun faces a possible life sentence for participating in a 2003 attack that left two American soldiers dead in Afghanistan. A pocket-size Koran found at the scene contained Harun’s fingerprints, the Department of Justice said. Harun was also accused of traveling to Nigeria for the purpose of bombing the U.S. Embassy.
Bank employee turns into bank robber
Jennifer Miera, 23, of Questa, N.M., pleaded guilty to charges that she and a co-conspirator robbed the People’s Bank in Red River, N.M., last October, the Department of Justice said. Miera was employed at the bank and was working as a teller when her cousin, Troy Montoya, handed her a note and she handed over a bag that contained $12,200. Investigators became suspicious when they watched a surveillance video and noticed Miera didn’t appear to read the note before handing over the cash.
Obama’s pledge could cost $3 trillion and 6.5 million jobs
A study funded by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the American Council for Capital Formation estimated that the cost of meeting commitments President Obama made at the Paris climate meeting could cost the U.S. economy $3 trillion and 6.5 million industrial jobs by 2040. President Obama set a goal of a 26% to 28% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2025, and an 80% reduction by 2040.
Agents sweep 49 drug gangsters off streets
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, together with New York Police Department and Drug Enforcement Administration agents, swept 49 members of two rival Bronx drug trafficking gangs into custody. They were charged with various narcotics, robbery and firearms offenses, including the murder last December of Jose Morales. Among those charged with Morales’ murder was Ezekiel Burley, 23, who was subsequently shot seven times while getting a haircut at a Bronx barbershop in apparent retaliation for Morales’ murder.
Rip ‘n Read is a daily compilation of press releases found on hundreds of websites that are maintained by the federal government, think tanks, watchdog groups and national advocacy organizations. Press releases selected for this feature are, in the opinion of the editor, exceptionally newsworthy, interesting or just plain curious.
The press releases and documents linked to this report were posted on their websites on Thursday, March 16