Latest Newscast: NYC to Require Flu Shots for 150k Chidren, Radioactive Site in Queens

Wednesday, December 11, 2013


Good evening, here are the latest headlines from the WNYC newsroom.

New York City will soon require young children who go to preschool or day care to get flu shots. The Board of Health voted Wednesday in favor of the mandatory vaccine for children under 6. Dr. Jay Varma, deputy commissioner for disease control, says the vaccine could save lives and keep as many as about 20,000 city kids from getting sick. He says actual vaccinations are likely to be performed next fall.

The Environmental Protection Agency says a small industrial site in Queens is contaminated with radioactive material and should be designated as a Superfund cleanup site. The block in the Ridgewood section was once home to a company that processed thorium, including some sold to the government for the Manhattan Project atomic bomb program. EPA officials said Wednesday that recent surveys have found elevated radiation levels on the property. One test found radon gas leaking into a basement at a nearby school. That exposure wasn't believed to pose a health threat, but the agency was concerned about an elevated cancer risk for workers at an auto body shop.

There is dissatisfaction on both sides of the aisle from lawmakers who will have to vote on a budget deal. The measure would avert future government shutdowns but some conservatives don't like new spending levels. Some Democrats are unhappy there would be no extension of an expiring program of benefits for the long-term unemployed. A House vote is expected as early as tomorrow.

The head of the National Security Agency is telling lawmakers that he knows of no better way his agency can help protect Americans from foreign threats than through spy programs that collect billions of phone and Internet records from around the world. Gen. Keith Alexander today pleaded with the Senate Judiciary Committee not to abolish the NSA's bulk-collection program. He said global threats are growing -- specifically in Iraq and Syria -- that pose an "unacceptable risk" to America.

Very cold tonight with temps dropping to the lower 20s, and wind gusts of up to 20 mph. Mostly sunny Thursday, but still cold with highs in the upper 20s.

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