Global Glance: Federal judge swats Aetna-Humana insurer combo; Push to save Pacific Rim trade deal

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Here are today’s top headlines from across the nation and world:

Federal judge swats Aetna-Humana insurer combo

A federal judge has rejected health insurer Aetna’s bid to buy rival Humana on grounds that the deal would hurt competition in hundreds of Medicare Advantage markets, ultimately affecting the price consumers pay for coverage. U.S. District Judge John Bates said in an opinion filed Monday that federal regulation would probably be “insufficient to prevent the merged firm from raising prices or reducing benefits,” and neither new competitors nor an Aetna plan to sell some of the combined company’s business to another insurer, Molina Healthcare Inc., would be enough to ease competitive concerns. Read more

Push to save Pacific Rim trade deal after US exits TPP pact

SYDNEY (AP) — President Donald Trump’s decision to pull out of the Trans-Pacific Partnership, as promised, is prompting other member countries to seek ways to salvage the trade pact. Leaders of some of the 11 other nations involved in the initiative said they hope to push ahead with the agreement in some form, with or without the U.S. Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said Tuesday he had discussed the pact’s future recently with the prime ministers of Japan, Singapore and New Zealand, all TPP members, and believed the pact could survive without the U.S. Read more

‘Net neutrality’ foe Ajit Pai is new FCC head

NEW YORK (AP) — President Donald Trump has picked a fierce critic of the Obama-era “net neutrality” rules to be chief regulator of the nation’s airwaves and internet connections. In a statement Monday, Ajit Pai said he was grateful to the president for choosing him as the next chairman of the Federal Communications Commission. Several reports last week had said he was the pick. Pai had been one of the two Republican commissioners on a five-member panel that regulates the country’s communications infrastructure, including TV, phone and internet service. Read more

Senate Democrats to propose $1 trillion infrastructure plan

WASHINGTON (AP) — Senate Democrats on Tuesday will propose spending $1 trillion on transportation and other infrastructure projects over 10 years in an attempt to engage President Donald Trump on an issue where they hope to find common ground. Details of the plan provided to The Associated Press include $200 billion for a “vital infrastructure fund.” An example of the types of projects that could be eligible for financing from the fund is the Gateway Program to repair and replace rail lines and tunnels between New York and New Jersey, some of which are over 100 years old and were damaged in Superstorm Sandy in 2012. The project, which would double the number of trains per hour using the tunnels and help enable high-speed Amtrak service, is estimated to cost about $20 billion. Read more

Philadelphia bars employers from requesting salary history

PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Despite a threat from cable giant Comcast to take legal action, Philadelphia has banned employers from asking potential hires to provide their salary history, a move supporters say is a step toward closing the wage gap between men and women. Democratic Mayor Jim Kenney signed the measure on Monday, and said he’s confident the bill can withstand legal challenges. Comcast and the city’s Chamber of Commerce have said the law goes too far in dictating how employers can interact with potential workers. Read more

UK government loses Brexit case, must consult Parliament

LONDON (AP) — Britain’s government must get parliamentary approval before starting the process of leaving the European Union, the Supreme Court ruled Tuesday, potentially delaying Prime Minister Theresa May’s plans to trigger exit negotiations by the end of March. The 8-3 ruling from the judges forces the government to put a bill before Parliament, giving pro-EU politicians a chance to soften the terms of Brexit – Britain’s exit from the EU. “Leave” campaigners had objected, saying Parliament shouldn’t have the power to overrule the electorate, which voted to leave the bloc in a June 23 referendum. Read more


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