Latest Virginia news, sports, business and entertainment

20. října 2012 v 3:15 | sports
Unemployment rates fall in 7 US swing states
WASHINGTON (AP) Unemployment rates fell or held steady last month in nine key swing states at the center of this year's presidential election.
Rates dropped in Ohio, Florida, Wisconsin, Colorado, Iowa, Nevada and North Carolina. They were unchanged in New Hampshire and Virginia.
The declines could help President Barack Obama at a critical time. With just 18 days until Election Day, polls show GOP challenger Mitt Romney gaining momentum with voters.
Overall, the Labor Department says rates fell in 41 states last month, rose in six and were unchanged in three. The national unemployment rate dropped in September to 7.8 percent, the lowest level since Obama's first month in office.
Still, many key states are facing high unemployment. The rate was 11.8 percent in Nevada and 9.6 percent in North Carolina.
Va jobless rate steady at 5.9 pct in September
RICHMOND, Va. (AP) Virginia's jobless rate remained steady at 5.9 percent in September for the third consecutive month.
The Virginia Employment Commission says the number of unemployed Virginians decreased in September, but the labor force increased.
The state's seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for September was 0.4 percentage points lower than a year ago.
Virginia's unemployment rate has been trending down since January 2010, when joblessness peaked at 7.3 percent. The rate had fallen to a three-year low earlier this year and increased during June and July in a pattern similar to last year.
The state's jobless rate is still below the national average, which fell to 7.8 percent in September. The Labor Department says rates fell in 41 states and Washington, rose in six and were unchanged in three.
Obama accuses Romney of suffering from 'Romnesia'
FAIRFAX, Va. (AP) President Barack Obama is making a direct gender pitch in hotly contested Virginia, telling a college crowd that when it comes to issues important to women's health and jobs, Mitt Romney is distancing himself from past stances and suffers from a case of "Romnesia."
He says Romney wants to take the country to policies more suited to the 1950s.
Portraying his Republican challenger as forgetful of his past positions on contraception, abortion and workplace equality for women and other issues, Obama joked that: "If you come down with a case of Romnesia ... here's the good news: Obamacare covers pre-existing conditions. We can fix you up. We've got a cure."
Obama spoke at George Mason University in northern Virginia, a key battleground in the election.
Panetta warns of sequestration consequences
NORFOLK, Va. (AP) Defense Secretary Leon Panetta is warning business leaders in Hampton Roads that automatic defense cuts scheduled to take effect in January would be devastating to the military.
Panetta spoke Friday at a Hampton Roads Chamber of Commerce forum on the state of the military.
The Pentagon would face cuts of about $500 billion in projected spending over 10 years as a result of the planned cuts known as sequestration.
The Hampton Roads area plays host to all five branches of the military and is home to the world's largest naval base. The region's economy is heavily dependent on military spending and Panetta said he would do everything he could to keep the area strong for the military in the future.
GOP contract hire in Va. charged with voter fraud
HARRISONBURG, Va. (AP) A man who worked for a contractor hired by the state Republican Party faces 13 felony and misdemeanor counts after authorities in Virginia's Shenandoah Valley say he tossed voter registration forms into a trash bin.
The Rockingham County sheriff says 31-year-old Colin Small of Phoenixville, Pa., was charged Thursday with voter registration fraud after the forms were found in a Harrisonburg trash bin. The sheriff says Small worked for a company hired by the state GOP to register voters. Republican officials say Small was fired.
Democratic State Sen. Donald McEachin of Henrico County on Friday called for the state attorney general to investigate. The attorney general's office said it can investigate only if asked by the State Board of Elections.
It was not immediately clear if Small has an attorney.
APNewsBreak: Tenn.'s meningitis has likely peaked
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) Tennessee's chief medical officer says the rate of new infections of deadly fungal meningitis appears to be declining in the state where it was first discovered.
Dr. David Reagan said in an interview Thursday that not everyone who received the contaminated medicine that caused the infections will get sick.
He said the most important factor determining who does get sick is how much fungus was contaminating the vial of medication they received, not their age or even how healthy they were. Tennessee's meningitis patients range in age from 23 to 91.
Tennessee has 63 of the 257 patients sickened with meningitis or joint infections. Eight of the 20 who have died were in Tennessee.
U.Va. board appoints new chief operating officer
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (AP) A retired Ernst & Young executive is the new chief operating officer and executive vice president of the University of Virginia.
The university's Board of Visitors unanimously approved Patrick Hogan's appointment Friday. Hogan succeeds Michael Strine, who resigned in August in the wake of a failed attempt by some board members to oust university President Teresa Sullivan.
Hogan is a retired deputy global managing partner with Ernst & Young, one of the world's largest accounting firms. He worked for Ernst & Young for 37 years.
Hogan serves as vice chairman of the McIntire School of Commerce Advisory Board at U.Va. He's also a member of the university's Hospital Operating Board.
Sullivan said Hogan understands the university's mission, as well as the globalization that affects both higher education and industry.
Va. man sentenced for pointing laser at Navy jets
NORFOLK, Va. (AP) A Virginia Beach man has been sentenced to 18 months in prison for aiming a laser pointer at Naval aviators and their jets near Naval Air Station Oceana.
The U.S. attorney's office said Friday that 56-year-old Robert Bruce was also fined $4,000 for harassing the pilots. Congress passed a law in February that specifically prohibits such actions, which threaten pilots' vision. He faced a maximum possible penalty of up to 20 years in prison.
Agents with the Naval Criminal Investigative Service video recorded Bruce repeatedly directing his later pointer at Naval aircraft in flight and seized his handheld laser pointer.
Court documents say Bruce pointed the laser at the jets because he was angry about the noise the jets made.

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