Nation roundup for October 28
Brown charged with D.C. assault
WASHINGTON (AP) — Chris Brown was arrested early Sunday in Washington after a fight broke out near the W Hotel, police said, complicating an already snarled legal history for the Grammy Award-winning R&B singer.
Brown, 24, was charged with felony assault in an incident that started just before 4:30 a.m., D.C. police spokesman Paul Metcalf said Sunday morning. Chris Hollosy, 35, also was arrested on felony assault charges, Metcalf said. Police believe the two men were together during the incident but said they couldn’t confirm any relationship between the suspects.
“There was a physical altercation, which resulted in the victim sustaining injuries,” Metcalf said.
Brown and Hollosy were being held in police custody until Monday, Metcalf said.
A man was injured in the fight and reportedly taken to a hospital, police said, but they did not identify him or give details on his injuries. It was not clear whether the victim was taken by ambulance or another vehicle. He had been released from the hospital as of early Sunday afternoon, Metcalf said.
The felony charges in the case were based, in part, on the extent of the victim’s injuries, police said.
Brown’s publicists and attorney, Mark Geragos, did not immediately respond to messages left early Sunday.
Brown was in Washington to perform Saturday night at an event billed as a “Homecoming Weekend” party at a downtown club. He tweeted about the party Saturday. Howard University spokeswoman Kerry-Ann Hamilton said Sunday that the party was not sponsored by or affiliated with the school, which is celebrating its homecoming.
Brown remains on probation for the 2009 beating of his on-again, off-again girlfriend Rihanna just before the Grammy Awards.
National park is urged for Chavez
The National Park Service is recommending that Congress create a new historic park to honor farm labor leader Cesar Chavez, one that would be made up of four sites in California and a former Phoenix church hall where the now-famous rallying cry “Si se puede” was popularized.
The recommendation Thursday comes after years of study on sites that are significant to the life of Chavez and the U.S. farm labor movement. Congress authorized the study in 2008, and the Park Service narrowed a list of about 100 sites to five to become a multi-state national historic park.
Marc Grossman, Chavez’s longtime spokesman, speech writer and personal aide, said including sites in Arizona and California is fitting because it recognizes the length and breadth of Chavez’s labors.
As head of the United Farm Workers, the Arizona-born Chavez staged a massive grape boycott and countless field strikes, and forced growers to sign contracts providing better pay and working conditions to the predominantly Latino farmworkers. He was credited with inspiring millions of other Latinos in their fight for more educational opportunities, better housing and more political power.
United Farm Workers co-founder Dolores Huerta was at Chavez’s side in downtown Phoenix during a 1972 fast that helped reshape Arizona’s political landscape.
House approves $8.2B water bill
WASHINGTON (AP) — Bucking some of the same conservative groups that encouraged the government shutdown, Republicans and Democrats united Wednesday to overwhelmingly pass an $8.2 billion House bill mapping out plans for dams, harbor, river navigation and other water projects for the coming decade.
Members of both parties praised the measure just a week after Congress voted to end a bitterly partisan standoff that shuttered much of the federal government for 16 days and threatened a first-ever default on its debt. It passed the House 417-3.
“It’s another example of the people’s house focusing on ways to strengthen our economy,” House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, said after the vote. “I’m proud that it passed with a strong bipartisan vote.”
Conservative Republicans defied conservative groups like FreedomWorks and Heritage Action for America that opposed the water projects bill after whipping up sentiment for the government shutdown as a tactic for rolling back President Barack Obama’s health care law.
That strategy ultimately failed despite the Obama administration’s troubled rollout this month of computerized exchanges for people to buy medical insurance.
The water bill’s sponsors attracted support from members of both parties by including projects from coast to coast and labeling the measure an engine for job creation.
To attract conservatives, sponsors emphasized changes including an accelerating of required environmental reviews that have stalled many projects.
Long-lasting U.S. goods orders rise
WASHINGTON (AP) — A jump in demand for commercial airplanes boosted orders for long-lasting U.S. factory goods last month. But orders for most other goods fell as businesses cut spending, a possible sign of concern about the partial government shutdown that began Oct. 1.
The Commerce Department said Friday orders for durable goods rose 3.7 percent in September, above the 0.2 percent gain in August. But a 57.5 percent jump in aircraft orders accounted for nearly all the gain. Durable goods are meant to last at least three years.
Orders for core capital goods, which include industrial machinery and electrical equipment, fell 1.1 percent. August’s 1.5 percent gain was revised sharply lower to 0.4 percent. Economists pay particular attention to core capital goods, which exclude aircraft and defense-related goods, because they are a sign of business confidence.
The figures echo other economic data that suggest companies were reluctant to expand or invest in new equipment in September. Hiring also slowed last month.
Employers added just 148,000 jobs, down from 193,000 in August.
Paul Ashworth, an economist at Capital Economics, said the drop in core capital goods orders points to weaker growth in the October-December quarter. Shipments of core capital goods, which are used to calculate economic growth, also dipped last month, a sign that growth in the July-September quarter will also be weak. Ashworth cut his growth estimate for the third quarter to an annual rate of 1.8 percent from 2 percent.
Commercial aircraft is a volatile category that can swing widely from month to month. Boeing says it received orders for 127 planes in September, up from just 16 in August.
In September, demand fell for machinery, fabricated metals, electrical equipment and autos. Orders rose for computers and communications equipment and defense-related goods.
Excluding aircraft, autos and other transportation goods, orders fell for the third straight month.
The report contrasts with other recent data that pointed to a healthier factory sector.
The Institute for Supply Management, a trade group, said factory activity expanded in September at the fastest pace in 2 ½ years. Production rose and manufacturers stepped up hiring, while new orders jumped, though not as quickly as the previous month.
And the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia said last week that an index of regional manufacturing activity declined only slightly this month. Factories in the Philadelphia region received more orders, the Philly Fed said.
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