WASHINGTON, Feb. 3 (UPI) -- Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., said Sunday in order for the country to avoid across-the-board sequestration cuts in March, new revenue is needed.
Following last month's agreement on a temporary extension of the federal debt limit, Congress is now confronted with the prospect of $1.2 million in automatic spending cuts -- called sequestration -- scheduled to begin March 1.
The cuts would slice equally across defense and domestic spending and substantial government funding out of the economy.
In an appearance on ABC's "This Week," Reid said any new deal to avoid the sequester must include new revenue.
"The American people need to understand that it's not as if we've done nothing for the debt. $2.6 trillion already we've made in cuts. And all those cuts have come from non-defense programs," he said. "We need to keep our eye on the prize and continue doing something about spending, but I think that what we need to do is do some of the things that Mitt Romney talked about. He said there's some low-hanging fruit; there are a lot of tax loopholes that should be closed. I agree with him. We haven't done that."
Reid pointed to oil subsidies and overseas jobs as a possible source of revenue.
"We have issues dealing with shipping jobs overseas. Why don't we ... fill some of these? We can dial that however we want, because it's a huge loss of revenue," he said.
Evacuations end after N.C. derailment
BLADENBORO, N.C., Feb. 3 (UPI) -- An evacuation order was lifted after officials determined a train car with ammonia that derailed in North Carolina this weekend was not leaking.
About 400 people were allowed to return to their homes in Bladenboro Saturday night after it was determined the tank car was secure and there was no immediate threat of dangerous fumes being released.
The car was one of 10 that derailed Saturday as a CSX freight train passed through town. Officials from the railroad and Bladen County decided to offload the chemical before trying to move the car later this week.
"Hazmat has deemed there is no leak at this time however CSX wants to go ahead, due to the way the tanker is positioned they want to off load the ammonia which is going to be a time consuming process," sheriff's Capt. Rodney Hester told WTVD-TV, Raleigh, N.C.
Sexual activity reported at preschool
CARSON, Calif., Feb. 3 (UPI) -- A California preschool is shutting down amid allegations some of the students were involved in sexual activity with one another, officials said.
Attorney Greg Owen, who is representing four alleged victims, told ABC News students at the First Lutheran Church of Carson School would engage in oral sex during recess and nap time.
"It all boils down to a lack of supervision," he said. "There were times when teachers would let aides in the room for hours at a time to watch the kids. During nap time, the aides would be sleeping and the children would have been molesting each other during this time."
Owen said he plans to file a lawsuit Monday in Los Angeles County Superior Court against the school, the church, the principal, the teacher and the alleged child perpetrator.
KABC-TV, Los Angeles, reported one 5-year-old girl gave oral sex to at least two boys, aged 4 and 5 years old.
The father of the 5-year-old boy, Richard McCarthy, told KABC his son told him "about all the bad things that girl had been doing to him."
He said he's afraid to send his son to a new school because "the two boys that have been introduced to this feeling that they don't know how to process are still looking for it, and trying to make it happen."
"There's no way I can just take him to another school and be that parent that just lets a predator loose," he said.
Church leaders said the school closing has nothing to do with the alleged sexual activity, but is instead because of the recent resignation of the school director, who left for personal reasons, KABC reported.
Cleric calls for babies to wear burqas
RIYADH, Saudi Arabia, Feb. 3 (UPI) -- A cleric in Saudi Arabia has issued a fatwa calling for all baby girls to be fully covered by a burqa due to reports of young girls being sexually molested.
Sheik Abdulla Daoud, in an interview last year on al-Majd television, said wearing the burqas will help protect babies, al Arabiya News reported Sunday.
The video recently surfaced on social media, prompting outrage from fellow Saudis on Twitter. Some said Daoud should be held accountable for what he said because it breaches individual privacy.
Sheikh Mohammad al-Jjzlana, former judge at the Saudi Board of Grievances, said Daoud's fatwa made Islam and Sharia law look bad.
Jjzlana urged people to ignore Daoud's statement and any unregulated fatwas. He said it makes him feel sad anytime he sees a family veiling their baby, describing it as an injustice, al-Arabiya News reported.
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