down to $680B
For the first time in five years, the U.S. government has run a budget deficit below $1 trillion.
The government says the deficit for the 2013 budget year totaled $680.3 billion, down from $1.09 trillion in 2012. That’s the smallest imbalance since 2008, when the government ran a $458.6 billion deficit.
The deficit is the gap between the government’s tax revenue and its spending. It narrowed for the budget year that ended on Sept. 30 because revenue rose while spending fell.
Revenue jumped 13.3 percent to $2.77 trillion, reflecting a slightly better economy and higher tax rates.
And government spending declined 2.4 percent to $3.45 trillion, in part because of across-the-board spending cuts that took effect in March.
indicted in shooting
A Tennessee National Guard recruiter has been indicted on charges that he tried to kill four of his superiors last week at an armory north of Memphis.
Sgt. 1st Class Amos Patton was indicted Wednesday on nine counts related to a shooting at the Millington armory last Thursday.
Prosecutors say the 42-year-old opened fire with a 9mm pistol after he was told he would be relieved of duty and dismissed from active service.
Authorities had said Patton shot and wounded three superiors before he ran out of the armory and was subdued by a fellow guardsman. The indictment says Patton assaulted the fourth Guard member with a deadly weapon but doesn’t say whether that person was hurt.
Schools get food
The federal government is issuing its first guidelines to schools on how to protect children with food allergies.
The voluntary guidelines call on schools to take such steps as restricting nuts, shellfish or other foods that can cause allergic reactions, and make sure emergency allergy medicine — like EpiPens — are available.
About 15 states — and numerous individual schools or school districts — already have policies of their own. “The need is here” for a more comprehensive, standardized way for schools to deal with this issue, said Dr. Wayne Giles, who oversaw development of the advice for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
A recent CDC survey estimated that about 1 in 20 U.S. children have food allergies — a 50 percent increase from the late 1990s.
support must end
Syrian President Bashar Assad told the Arab League-U.N. envoy Wednesday that foreign support for the armed opposition must end if any political solution to the country’s conflict is to succeed, state-run media said.
Assad’s comments to Lakhdar Brahimi during their meeting in Damascus cast further doubt on already sputtering efforts to convene an international peace conference to try to end the country’s civil war.
The United States, Russia and the United Nations have been trying for months to bring the Syrian government and the opposition together in Geneva to attempt to negotiate a political resolution to the conflict.