The News Around – Feb. 25

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AROUND THE STATE

Jacksonville port hit by cuts, decreases cargo shipments

Current national economic conditions are affecting Jacksonville’s port, decreasing the number of cargo shipments and causing a sharp drop in automobile transit.

The port reported steady growth throughout 2008, but beginning in January, the number of automobiles shipped through the port dropped by 39 percent.

Cargo transported by container freights also dropped 8 percent.

JaxPort isn’t the only port suffering from economic conditions.

The port in Savannah, Ga., had year-over-year decreases in cargo for the fourth quarter of 2008, reversing what had been a steady growth trend primarily fueled by imported goods from Asian markets.

AROUND THE NATION

House leaders push for national budget freeze

House Republican leaders are advocating a complete budget freeze when it comes to federal spending, arguing a tried-and-true GOP position concerning governmental spending priorities.

“President Obama has called for both parties to get serious about fiscal responsibility,” Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) said Feb 23. “Without budget deficit potentially reaching $3 trillion this year, Republicans stand ready to work with him, and we believe we should start right now.”

A $410 billion spending package is scheduled to be debated in the House this week. In response, Boehner and other high-level GOP leaders authored a letter to leaders in the House Feb. 23 requesting them to put the breaks on such legislation.

But early proponents of the legislation claim the bill might be out of Congress by the week.

AROUND THE WORLD

North Korea denies missile; launches satellite off coast

North Korea announced Feb. 24 it will be launching a satellite from the Northeastern coast,
denying recent intelligence suggesting the country was ready to test a long-range missile.

“Full-scale preparations are underway at a satellite launch site,” a North Korean space committee spokesman said through the official Korean Central News Agency.

U.S. officials stated for the past several months that a U.S. spy satellite had taken photographs of a North Korean site prevously used to launch Taepodong-2 missiles. The photograph shows workers constructing telemetry equipment.

The sophisticated electronic equipment is primarily used to monitor missile launches.

But U.S. officials said there is no direct evidence that an operational missile was being moved.

Compiled by James Cannon II.