The worst storm cluster to hit the south in nearly four decades had finally left the area Thursday, and many are beginning to rebuild their lives. Massive tornadoes swung across six southern states last week, killing nearly 300 people and causing millions of dollars worth of damage. The city of Tuscaloosa, Alabama, was hit hardest by the storms, with a massive one-mile-wide tornado carving a seven-mile-long swath through the city.
China’s declining population growth is causing many to challenge the government’s strict enforcement of the one-child policy, The policy, instituted in 1980, has been controversial in recent years, and is now being reconsidered as the population continues to age.
Drug smuggling has recently become more sophisticated at the Detroit airport. Twelve baggage handlers for Delta Airlines were indicted for working with smugglers to redirect baggage from international lines to domestic lines, where the baggage would not be searched for drugs. The drugs appeared to have been flown from Jamaica.
According to US Secretary of the Treasury Timothy Geithner, the current US budget deficit is too large and must be reduced. At $1.65 trillion dollars, the 2011 deficit is the largest in US history. Geithner noted that spending cuts and cost reductions are in order if the economy is to be brought back to a healthy state.
The EPA is seeking regulation that would make the use of diesel fuel as a fracturing fluid in oil and gas drilling illegal. Diesel has been used because it disperses various chemicals in water, making the extraction process easier. Many companies have already moved away from diesel as a fracking fluid.
Japanese authorities are still concerned about further leaks due to cooling efforts on the Fukushima Daiichi reactor. The massive influx of water into the reactor could cause differential cooling of the reactor chamber, causing more cracks to develop.
The final launch of the space shuttle Endeavor is planned for Friday. It marks a fundamental change in the space program as it will be the final manned space exploration mission for NASA, at least for the foreseeable future.