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Post office wants to cut mail delivery by a day

WASHINGTON: Huge deficits could force the post office to cut out one day of mail delivery, the postmaster general told Congress yesterday, in asking lawmakers to lift the requirement that the agency deliver mail six days a week. If the change happens, that doesn't necessarily mean an end to Saturday mail delivery. Previous post office studies have looked at the possibility of skipping some other day when mail flow is light, such as Tuesday. Faced with dwindling mail volume and rising costs, the post office was $2.8 billion in the red last year. "If current trends continue, we could experience a net loss of $6 billion or more this fiscal year," Postmaster General John Potter said in testimony to a Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs subcommittee.

Kidney donors not hurt in long term, study finds

NEW YORK: Donating a kidney doesn't appear to have any long-term health consequences for the donor, a reassuring study shows. Researchers at the University of Minnesota found that those who gave up one of their two kidneys lived a normal life span and were as healthy as people in the general population. The donation also didn't raise the risk of having kidney failure later. The new research of nearly 3,700 donors dating back more than four decades is the largest and longest study to look at long-term outcomes, said the researchers. They reported their findings in today's New England Journal of Medicine.

Senate panel gives nod to Holder for Cabinet

WASHINGTON: Senate Republicans, who acted like lions in challenging Eric Holder, turned into lambs yesterday as they joined Democrats in recommending President Barack Obama's choice for attorney general. The Judiciary Committee voted 17-2 to endorse Holder, with two Republicans opposing the nomination - John Cornyn of Texas and Tom Coburn of Oklahoma. The Senate could vote as early as today to confirm Holder as the first African-American to lead the Justice Department.

Effort to delay digital TV move stalls in House

WASHINGTON: The move to delay next month's nationwide transition to all-digital broadcast television stalled yesterday in the House, but congressional aides expected the Obama-supported measure to pass as soon as next week. A fast-tracked bill to delay the switch until June 12 failed to get the required two-thirds majority in the House after passing the Senate on a unanimous voice vote Monday. But the House still voted 258-168 in favor of a delay - plenty of support to pass under normal rules that require only a simple majority.

Israel rabbinate severs ties with Vatican

JERUSALEM: Israel's chief rabbinate severed ties with the Vatican yesterday to protest a papal decision to reinstate a bishop who publicly denied that 6 million Jews were killed during the Holocaust. The Jewish state's highest religious authority sent a letter to the Holy See expressing "sorrow and pain" at the papal decision. Chief rabbis of both the Ashkenazi and Sephardic Jews were parties to the letter. The rabbinate also canceled a meeting with the Vatican set for March. Pope Benedict XVI said yesterday that he feels "full and indisputable solidarity" with Jews and warned against any denial of the full horror of the Nazi genocide.

Corporate credit unions due $1 billion injection

The U.S. agreed to inject $1 billion of new capital and provide backing for corporate credit unions as the lenders face unprecedented strains from mounting losses on their investments in mortgages, a federal agency said. The National Credit Union Administration will guarantee uninsured lender assets through next month and set up a voluntary program through 2010, the agency said yesterday in a statement. The U.S. Central Corporate Federal Credit Union will get a $1 billion federal injection that will boost the public's confidence in credit unions, the lender said. It's an alternative means of providing assistance to the credit-union industry rather than through the Treasury and the bank-rescue Troubled Asset Relief Program, Gilbert Schwartz, a former Federal Reserve counsel, said in an interview.

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