NTSB team probes self-drive crash
A four-member team of National Transportation Safety Board investigators were dispatched to Las Vegas to examine a minor road crash involving a self-driving shuttle bus and a truck. The NTSB said there have been other crashes involving self-driving vehicles, but this will be the first involving a vehicle operating in public service. According to news reports, a reporter who was riding in the bus when the accident occurred, Jeff Zurschmeide of Digital Trends, said it was “the most boring traffic incident in the history of mankind.”
House GOP tax writers put politics in pulpits
On a straight party-line vote, Republican members of the House Ways and Means Committee voted to end a 60-year-old law that has kept churches out of politics as a condition of their tax-exempt status. The vote drew angry criticism from American Atheists and Americans United for Separation of Church and State. AA president David Silverman said the provision’s repeal “would allow millionaires and billionaires to get a tax deduction while using churches and nonprofits as political weapons.” AU legislative director Maggie Garrett said the Ways and Means Republicans “want to turn tax-exempt organizations into political campaign tools, which will threaten the integrity of our nonprofits and houses of worship, as well as our elections.”
White Americans say they suffer discrimination
A 55% majority of white Americans told survey-takers they are victims of discrimination while 43% said they did not believe white discrimination exists. The survey—a project of National Public Radio, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health—said while most Americans say white discrimination exists, only a small number say they’ve experienced it themselves.
Donated corneas can be preserved longer than thought
A clinical trial funded by the National Eye Institute revealed that donated eye corneas, the clear outer covering of the eye, can be safely preserved for 11 days without negatively impacting the success of transplantation surgery. It extends the life of a donated cornea by four days, and expands the number of people with corneal diseases who can benefit from a transplant.
Backpay ordered for cooks, dishwashers
A federal judge ordered Café Misono, a Boston area restaurant, to pay $282,264 in back wages and damages to 15 employees in a settlement with the U.S. Department of Labor. The payment works out to an average of $18,800 per employee. DOL said the restaurant failed to pay the minimum $7.25 per hour wage and overtime pay to cooks, dishwashers, and servers who worked up to 60 hours per week.
Jury convicts identity thief who stole $9 million
William Gosha III, of Phenix City, Ala., awaits sentencing following his conviction on charges of stealing identities of U.S. servicemen and state prison inmates, and filing false tax returns in their names that resulted in the receipt of tax refunds in excess of $9 million, the Department of Justice said. Gosha and his co-conspirators filed over 8,800 fraudulent tax returns with the Internal Revenue Service.
Supermarket cited for safety and health violations
The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration cited three Trade Fair Supermarkets in Queens, N.Y., for workplace safety and health violations, and proposed a $505,929 penalty that takes into account similar violations that were noted at the stores in 2013. OSHA inspectors found blocked exit routes, saw blades without safety guards, and a lack of eyewash stations employees could use in the event of exposure to corrosive substances.
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 Friday, November 10