Report: Medicare, Soc. Security to run out by 2019, 2041

WASHINGTON

Trustees for the government’s two biggest benefit programs warned that Social Security and Medicare are facing “enormous challenges” with the threat to Medicare’s solvency far more severe.

The trustees, issuing their once-a-year analysis, said the resources in the Social Security trust fund will be depleted by 2041. The reserves in the Medicare trust fund that pays hospital benefits were projected to be wiped out by 2019.

Both those dates were the same as in last year’s report. But the trustees warned that financial pressures will begin much sooner when the programs begin paying out more in benefits each year than they collect in payroll taxes. For Medicare, that threshold is projected to be reached this year and for Social Security it is projected to occur in 2017.

Both programs are expected to come under increasing pressure as 78 million baby boomers start retiring and drawing benefits.

WASHINGTON

Pentagon says it sent missiles to Taiwan by mistake in 2006

Shipping by mistake electrical fuses for an intercontinental ballistic missile to Taiwan raised concerns yesterday for U.S.-China relations and triggered a broad investigation into the security of Pentagon weapons.

China vehemently opposes U.S. arms sales to Taiwan. Four of the cone-shaped fuses were shipped to Taiwanese officials in fall 2006 instead of the helicopter batteries they had ordered.

Despite quarterly checks of the inventory, defense officials said they never knew the fuses were gone. Only after months of discussions with Taiwan over the missing batteries did the Pentagon finally realize – late last week – the gravity of what had happened.

BAGHDAD

Militiamen battle with U.S. soldiers over oil capital

Iraq’s leaders faced their gravest challenge in months yesterday as Shiite militiamen loyal to anti-American cleric Muqtada al-Sadr battled for control of the southern oil capital, fought U.S. and Iraqi troops in Baghdad and unleashed rockets on the Green Zone.

Armed Mahdi Army militiamen appeared on some Baghdad streets for the first time in more than six months, as al-Sadr’s followers announced a nationwide campaign of strikes and demonstrations to protest a government crackdown on their movement. Merchants shuttered their shops in commercial districts in several Baghdad neighborhoods.

U.S. and Iraqi troops backed by helicopters fought Shiite militiamen in Baghdad’s Sadr City district after the local office of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki’s Dawa Party came under attack, the U.S. said.

MIAMI

Crane accident kills two in Florida

Part of a construction crane plummeted 30 floors at the site of a high-rise condominium yesterday, smashing into a home that the contractor used for storage and killing two workers, police said.

Five workers were injured, including one in critical condition, officials said. The other four had injuries not considered life-threatening.

One of those killed died inside the house, and the other died at a hospital, police spokesman Delrish Moss said.

– Compiled from Daily wire reports

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