VIDEO: Today's Headline News from Associated Press

OBAMA PUSHES BACK ON CRITICS

 

WASHINGTON (AP) -- President Barack Obama is pushing back at critics of an interim nuclear deal the U.S. and world powers struck with Iran.

 

Obama says the U.S. cannot close the door to diplomacy or rule out peaceful solutions to the world's problems. Speaking in San Francisco, he says that wouldn't be right for America's security.

 

The president said Monday that America's commitment to peace and diplomacy is what makes the nation a beacon to the world. He says the goal is what people can build together, not what they can criticize.

 

Some U.S. lawmakers are criticizing the deal because they say it's too soft on Iran. Israel and other U.S. allies are also expressing major doubts.

 

US SPEWING 50% MORE METHANE THAN EPA SAYS

 

WASHINGTON (AP) — The United States is spewing 50 percent more methane — a potent heat-trapping gas — than the federal government estimates, a new comprehensive scientific study says. Much of it is coming from just three states: Texas, Oklahoma and Kansas.

 

That means methane may be a bigger global warming issue than thought, scientists say. Methane is 21 times more potent at trapping heat than carbon dioxide, the most abundant global warming gas, although it doesn't stay in the air as long.

 

Much of that extra methane, also called natural gas, seems to be coming from livestock, including manure, belches, and flatulence, as well as leaks from refining and drilling for oil and gas, the study says. It was published Monday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science.

 

The study estimates that in 2008, the U.S. poured 49 million tons of methane into the air. That means U.S. methane emissions trapped about as much heat as all the carbon dioxide pollution coming from cars, trucks, and planes in the country in six months.

 

That's more than the 32 million tons estimated by the U.S. Environmental Protection Administration or the nearly 29 million tons reckoned by the European Commission.

 

"Something is very much off in the inventories," said study co-author Anna Michalak, an Earth scientist at the Carnegie Institution for Science in Stanford, Calif. "The total U.S. impact on the world's energy budget is different than we thought, and it's worse."

 

EPA spokeswoman Alisha Johnson said her agency hasn't had time to go through the study yet, but hopes it will help "refine our estimates going forward."

 

While the world has a good handle on how much carbon dioxide is pumped into the air, scientists have been more baffled by methane emissions. They have had to use computer models to estimate how much methane is going into that air.

 

This study, however, was based on nearly 13,000 measurements from airplane flights and tall towers, the most used in any such research.

 

FDA OVERTURNS SAFETY LIMITS ON DIABETES DRUG

 

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The Food and Drug Administration is lifting severe safety restrictions on the former blockbuster diabetes pill Avandia, citing recent data suggesting that the much-debated medication does not increase the risk of heart attack.

 

The repeal means patients will no longer have to enroll in a special registry to be eligible to receive the drug. That safety requirement, put in place in 2010, sharply reduced Avandia prescriptions in the U.S.

 

The ruling is a belated victory for British drugmaker GlaxoSmithKline after more than a half-decade defending the safety of Avandia, which was once the best-selling diabetes drug in the world.

 

Sales began plummeting in 2007 after researchers first raised questions about possible links to heart attacks. After three years of debate, the FDA limited access to the drug in 2010.

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