WASHINGTON -- Starting today, there is one more thing that air travelers must leave at home: lighters. Unlike guns, knives and other dangerous items that a passenger cannot carry on in his pocket but may stow in checked bags, lighters are banned from anywhere on a plane. The rule change is expected to produce a large number of seizures of lighters even though airports, airlines and the government have been telling travelers for the past 45 days about the impending ban. Lighters have not been permitted in checked bags for at least 30 years because they might start fires in cargo holds.
WASHINGTON -- The House voted Wednesday to eliminate federal estate taxes in 2010 and beyond, a repeal that Republicans hailed but many Democrats said would reward the richest families at the steep cost of deeper federal deficits. House lawmakers voted 272-162 to prevent the tax on inherited estates from reappearing after its one-year disappearance in 2010. The bill would end the tax at a cost of roughly $290 billion over the next decade. Most estates already are exempt from federal taxes. The House has passed bills repealing the tax several times since enacting the 2001 law that lifted the tax for a year. Those bills have languished in the Senate. Supporters hope a bigger Republican majority there could mean the difference this year.
WASHINGTON -- In a surprising turnaround, federal health advisers Wednesday recommended allowing silicone-gel breast implants to return to the U.S. market after a 13-year ban on most uses of the devices -- but only under strict conditions that will limit how easily women can get them. Mentor Corp. persuaded advisers to the Food and Drug Administration that its newer silicone implants are reasonably safe and more durable than older versions.Mentor, however, must meet several strict conditions in order to resume sales, advisers said.
LAS VEGAS -- A woman who claimed she scooped up a human finger in her chili at a Wendy's restaurant has decided not to sue the fast-food chain, her attorney said Wednesday. Anna Ayala is dropping her claim because the police investigations, DNA tests, a search of her home and intense publicity have "been very difficult for her emotionally," attorney Jeffrey Janoff said. He would not say if the decision was prompted by a report a woman in Nevada had lost her finger a month earlier in a leopard attack, and that it might be related to Ayala's claim.