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National news briefs — compiled on April 15

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DETROIT

Deal reached on retirees’ pensions

The city of Detroit reached a deal with a group of retired police officers and firefighters that would protect pensions but trim annual cost-of-living payments — the first major agreement with retirees in the bankruptcy case, mediators announced Tuesday. The city retreated from an earlier proposed 6 percent cut in pensions and the elimination of the 2.25 percent cost-of-living payment. Leaders of the Retired Detroit Police and Fire Fighters Association, which has more than 6,000 members, endorsed the deal along with creation of a health plan.

WASHINGTON

Court upholds EPA rule

Duke Energy Corp., Southern Co. and other energy companies must abide by federal limits on mercury and additional power-plant pollutants, a U.S. court said, upholding a rule regulators say will save lives and the industry claims was illegally drafted. The U.S. Court of Appeals on Tuesday concluded the Environmental Protection Agency followed Congress’ instructions in issuing the regulation. American Electric Power Co. of Columbus expects to spend $4 billion through 2020 on environmental compliance, mostly to meet requirements of the mercury rule, said spokeswoman Melissa McHenry. That’s down from previous estimates because of last-minute changes in the mercury rule that offered cheaper compliance options and AEP’s decision to retire some plants instead of outfitting them with emission-control equipment, McHenry said in an e-mail.

Veteran to receive Medal of Honor

President Barack Obama will award the Medal of Honor to former Army Sergeant Kyle J. White, who put his own life at risk in an hours-long effort to save fellow service members during a 2007 ambush in Afghanistan. White, a 27-year-old Seattle native, will be the seventh living recipient of the nation’s highest military honor for actions in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. He will receive the medal in a ceremony at the White House on May 13. White retired from the Army in 2011.

Obama commutes sentence

President Barack Obama on Tuesday cut prison time for a drug convict sentenced to more than three extra years because of a typographical error in a court order. White House counsel Kathryn Ruemmler said Obama’s commutation of Ceasar Cantu’s sentence from 15 to 11½ years demonstrates “the importance of clemency as a fail-safe mechanism” for worthy inmates who run out of options. She said Obama has directed the Justice Department to improve its clemency recommendation process and recruit more applications from convicts. Cantu was sentenced in Danville, Va., in 2006 by a U.S. District judge who used a pre-sentencing report that had a critical error.

Compiled from wire reports.


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