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SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) - The federal government is charging Illinois with securities fraud, claiming it misled investors about the health of its pension system.

Gov. Pat Quinn's office said Monday that the state has agreed to settle the Securities and Exchange Commission case. Assistant budget director Abdon Pallasch (AB'-dun PAL-lish) says the state is promising better financial disclosures but admitted no wrongdoing.

The case revolved around more than $2 billion of municipal bonds sold from 2005 to early 2009 to pay state obligations to public-employee pension programs.

The SEC charged that the state did not adequately inform investors that a 50-year funding plan adopted in 1995 did not adequately cover pension liabilities.

The five pensions systems are now $97 billion in debt and a solution is lawmakers' top priority.
Monday, 11 March 2013 11:56
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Nurses from Saint Louis University and Des Peres hospitals took to the streets in Midtown Monday morning. About 200 nurses marched up and down Grand Avenue in front of SLU Hospital. Part of National Nurses United, the RNs are calling on Tenet Healthcare Corporation to renew and extent their contracts. Tenet Heathcare owns and operates SLU and Des Peres hospitals. SLU nurse Aaron Southworth tells KTRS that more nurses means better heath care.

"Making the patient/staffing ratio better will benefit all nurses, it will benefit patients, and it will benefit the hospital as a whole," said Southworth.

Among other concerns, the nurses want management to hire lift teams for patients. They say nurses have some of the highest rates of back injuries from moving patients. The nurses also expressed concerns when it comes supplies, staffing, and overall policy matters.

In a statement released to KTRS News, SLU says they will continue to negotiate with the nurses in good faith and they hope to reach an agreement that's beneficial to both sides.
Monday, 11 March 2013 11:52
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REPUBLIC, Mo. (AP) - A southwest Missouri high school teacher says the state should add bass fishing as a high school sport.

Jim Huson, a teacher at Republic High School, says a proposal to add the sport will be on the spring ballot for high school administrators. He says bass fishing would become a sport if it gets approval from 50 percent, plus one, of the administrators.

KY3-TV reports approval would allow students to fish for state and national championships.

If approved, schools could have up to two boats with two students fishing in each boat. Teams would have a five-fish limit, and the team with the five heaviest fish wins.
Monday, 11 March 2013 08:33
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A gunman wearing an Afghan police uniform opened fire at a police training facility in eastern Afghanistan today, killing at least two American troops and three Afghans, officials say.

The shooting took place while the troops were visiting the facility to help train the Afghans, a key part of the U.S. handover strategy before combat troops leave in 2014. According to coalition officials, the shooting also left several wounded.

A joint U.S.-Afghan team is investigating the shooting.

This latest insider attack in Wardak, a restive province in the country's east, comes one day after a deadline set by Afghan President Hamid Karzai for all U.S. Special Forces to leave the province. Karzai set the deadline two weeks ago, after accusing Afghans who work for U.S. Special Forces of harassing, torturing and murdering innocent civilians.

The attack also comes just a day after new U.S. Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel's trip to Afghanistan, one marred by controversy.

Osama bin Laden's Son-in-Law Pleads Not Guilty in NYC Court Watch Video On Saturday, a suicide bomber on a bicycle struck just outside the Afghan Ministry of Defense, one of the most heavily fortified buildings in the country. At least nine Afghan civilians were killed. Though Hagel was in a meeting at a coalition military base at the time and never in any danger, nearby bases were put into lockdown, and reporters travelling with Hagel's press pool were ushered into a safe room in the basement of the base they were on.

Then on Sunday, Karzai implied the Taliban were serving U.S. interests by creating instability in Afghanistan. The inflammatory comments were made during a nationally televised speech.

Referring to recent insurgent attacks, including the one outside the Ministry of Defense, Karzai said the attacks were "not aimed at showing their strength to the USA, but to serve the USA.

"In fact, yesterday's bombings in the name of the Taliban were aimed at serving the foreigners and supporting the presence of the foreigners in Afghanistan and keeping them in Afghanistan, by intimidating us," Karzai said.

The top U.S. commander in Afghanistan, Gen. Joseph Dunford, quickly rejected the comments, calling them "categorically false."

"We have fought too hard over the past 12 years, we have shed too much blood over the last 12 years, to ever think that violence or instability would be to our advantage," Dunford said.

Later that evening, Hagel cancelled a scheduled joint press conference with Karzai. A spokesperson cited security concerns, though a Karzai spokesperson said it was due to "scheduling pressures." The two still held a private dinner meeting with Dunford in attendance, but the cancellation of the joint press conference was widely seen as a snub to Karzai in response to his inflammatory remarks.
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