The House rejected in a 211 to 191 vote a proposal to require inspections of all cargo shipped on passenger airline flights, heeding arguments that technology is not available and that losing the freight would drive carriers into bankruptcy. Only a small percentage of cargo aboard passenger flights is inspected, and uninspected cargo is supposed to come only from shippers known to the government.
House Upholds Accenture Contract
The House voted to uphold a $10 billion Homeland Security Department contract with Accenture despite some members' criticism of the consulting company for incorporating in Bermuda. The House voted 221 to 182 to keep funding for the contract to build a data collection program on foreigners entering the United States in the department's annual spending bill. It also retained a provision in the measure that bars future contracts with companies that incorporate outside the country for tax purposes. "I don't think we should reduce the safety and security of the U.S. to settle a political score," said Rep. Thomas M. Davis III (R-Va.). Revoking the contract would have delayed the program by two years, he said.
The United States and China agreed to increase the amount of air traffic allowed between the two countries over the next six years, the U.S. Transportation Department said. The number of airlines permitted to fly in the U.S.-China market will increase to nine from four. The number of flights allowed from each country will grow to 195 from 54. Airlines also will be able to fly wherever they want. U.S. passenger airlines currently are restricted to five Chinese cities, and Chinese carriers are limited to 12 U.S. cities.
The Federal Communications Commission raised maximum fines it can levy on broadcasters and cable operators by $5,000, to $32,500 per violation. For continuing violations by television and radio broadcasters, fines may total $325,000, up from $300,000, according to an order released by the FCC. For telephone companies, the top fine increased to $130,000 from $120,000 per violation for a maximum of $1.325 million.
Cotton subsidies for U.S. farmers are unfair to producers in Brazil, the World Trade Organization said, as expected, in a final report that could prompt developing countries to file trade cases against subsidies for other crops. The decision will have no immediate impact on U.S. farm programs because appeals could last years.
Viacom will receive $738 million in cash in a special dividend to split off its Blockbuster unit, which it bought 10 years ago for $6.7 billion. Viacom owns 82 percent of Blockbuster and will offer shareholders a swap for stock in the video-store chain.
The FCC scheduled a Jan. 12 auction of 234 radio-airwave licenses that can be used for cell phone services. The licenses were returned from NextWave Telecom and other companies.
Oracle will control a broad swath of two narrowly defined markets if the company takes over rival business software maker PeopleSoft, driving up prices for large U.S. businesses, a Justice Department witness said. The testimony was presented during the Justice Department's antitrust case seeking to block Oracle's $7.7 billion bid for PeopleSoft.
Adelphia Communications, the fifth-largest U.S. cable television operator, opposes a request by founder John J. Rigas and his family to access insurance policies to cover civil litigation defense costs.
Google is testing a new "flavored" search box to help avoid confusion over terms -- like "mouse" -- with multiple meanings. Google is also expanding access to its revenue-sharing ad program.
ImClone Systems said the Food and Drug Administration approved its Branchburg, N.J., plant for manufacturing the cancer drug Erbitux. An earlier rejection was linked to the insider-trading conviction of former chief executive Samuel D. Waksal.
Lunch with billionaire investor Warren Buffett will be auctioned beginning June 28 on eBay for a fifth consecutive year. The lunch for eight will benefit a social services agency in San Francisco.
General Motors announced major changes in its unprofitable European operations, saying it would bring its units Adam Opel, Vauxhall Motors and Saab Automobile under closer central control by its European headquarters. Functions such as finance, engineering, manufacturing, sales and marketing will move to Zurich. The company will also create a single design unit, which will oversee work for Opel, Vauxhall and Saab.
Goodyear reduced its fiscal first-quarter losses by 61 percent to $76.9 million as the tire manufacturer increased sales and benefited from currency-exchange rates. Revenue for the three months ended March 31 rose 21 percent to $4.29 billion.
Compiled from reports by the Associated Press, Bloomberg News, Dow Jones News Service and Washington Post staff writers.