Lew set to start as Treasury chief
WASHINGTON (AP) — Jacob Lew is scheduled to be sworn in today as Treasury secretary and will have to hit the ground running.
He is taking over the job just a day before huge automatic government spending cuts are set to take effect. He’s likely to be involved with any negotiations to reverse the cuts, and also in budget talks next month to continue funding the government.
The Senate confirmed Lew late Wednesday, affirming President Barack Obama’s choice of a budget expert at a time when Congress and the White House are at odds over spending and taxes.
Lew, 57, had most recently served as Obama’s chief of staff. During his confirmation hearing, Lew signaled no major economic policy changes.
China: U.S.-based hackers target sites
BEIJING (AP) — China’s military said today that overseas computer hackers targeted two of its websites an average of 144,000 times per month last year, with almost two-thirds of the attacks originating in the United States.
The claim from Defense Ministry spokesman Geng Yansheng follows accusations last week by the American cybersecurity company Mandiant that Chinese military-backed cyberspies infiltrated overseas networks and stole massive amounts of data from U.S. companies and other entities. China denied the allegations, and its military said it has never supported any hacking activity.
Geng told reporters at a monthly news conference that an average of 62.9 percent of the attacks on the Defense Ministry’s official website and that of its newspaper, the People’s Liberation Army Daily, came from the U.S.
Boeing reports fix to regulators
TOKYO (AP) — Boeing CEO Ray Conner met with Japan’s transport minister and other officials in Tokyo today to explain his company’s proposal for resolving problems with the 787 Dreamliner’s lithium-ion batteries that have kept the aircraft grounded for over a month.
Conner met with Akihiro Ota, who heads the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism, and with the director general of the Civil Aviation Bureau, to explain the proposed solution to the problem of the batteries overheating.
“I just want to reiterate that the 787 is still the game-changing aircraft it is meant to be,” Conner told reporters between meetings in Tokyo.
He would not give details of Boeing’s plan, but said it had come up with a solution “that addresses all probable causes of the incidents in the aircraft.”
Fraternity raises money for surgery
BOSTON (AP) — A college fraternity in Boston has raised more than twice the money needed to pay for a new pledge’s gender transition surgery.
The Phi Alpha Tau fraternity at Emerson College began raising money for sophomore Donnie Collins early this month after his insurance company wouldn’t cover his breast removal surgery.
Their initial goal was $4,800, but donations had exceeded $17,000 by Wednesday afternoon, more than double the procedure’s $8,000 price.
In a note posted this week with a thank-you video on YouTube, Collins said the surgery with a Springfield plastic surgeon would be scheduled this week.
Extra money donated in the ongoing campaign will go to a group that gives grants for similar surgeries for transgender people.