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Consignment shops raided for selling stolen baby formula

KNOXVILLE (WATE) – The Knox County Sheriff’s Office raided three children’s consignment stores in the Knoxville area for selling baby formula was shoplifted from stores.

As part of an undercover investigation, deputies went to Wee Care Shoppe and Rugrats Resale Shop on Chapman Highway and Penny’s New and Used Baby Stuff on Broadway. Captain George Edlund said in a press conference at Wee Care Shoppe on Thursday afternoon, five individuals were targeted.

Informants went to the consignment stores with baby formula to sell, notifying the owners that the formula was stolen, and it was still bought for cash, according to investigation. “As far as the danger to the public, I don’t know that there is one,” said Edlund. “The issue is that it is being sold on the black market.”

Store owners will be charged with attempted theft and forfeiture, according to Edlund. He believes the black market of baby formula at these stores has been going on since December or January. “I understand that baby formula is very expensive to buy, but it is apart of child care,” he said.

House takes key step toward 'fast-track' vote

President Barack Obama's quest for "fast-track" negotiating authority on a Pacific Rim trade deal passed its first test in the U.S. House of Representatives on Thursday, with another day of voting to come on a contentious package of bills.

By a vote of 397-32, the House approved a measure authorizing funds to help workers who lose their jobs as a result of trade deals, without cutting Medicare health benefits for the elderly to pay for it, as the Senate had proposed.

The vote moved lawmakers closer to dealing with the core issue before them, the fast-track bill expected to come to a vote on Friday. Already approved by the Senate, fast-track is needed, Obama says, to help him promptly conclude a 12-nation Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade deal.


In an unusual coalition, the Democratic president and House Republican leaders are allied in supporting fast-track. Most Democrats and some Republicans oppose it. The authority would strip Congress of the ability to make changes to a trade deal, but allow it to hold a yes-or-no vote on one.

If fast-track is approved, it would go to Obama's desk to be signed into law, giving him more sway in negotiating the TPP and reassuring Japan, the second-largest economyinvolved. Japanese officials have said fast-track approval is needed for the pact, which would encompass 40 percent of the global economy.

Republican House Speaker John Boehner declined to guarantee victory on fast-track.

“We’re working hard to get there,” he told reporters at a press conference.

He said he had worked to address concerns of lawmakers from both parties. He said if the TPP founders, leaving the United States on the trade sidelines, "our allies will gravitate back towards China, away from us and away from our workers.”

In a sign of the importance of the issue to Obama, the White House dispatched Treasury Secretary Jack Lew, Labor Secretary Thomas Perez and White House Chief of Staff Denis McDonough to the Capitol to advocate for fast-track with House Democrats.

After administration officials left a closed-door meeting with House Democrats, Richard Trumka, president of the AFL-CIO labor federation and an opponent of fast-track, then spoke.

Labor organizations oppose fast-track, saying it does not give Congress adequate oversight of trade deals that they fear will result in American job losses.

Failure to pass fast-track would seriously hamper Obama's drive to finish the TPP, a centerpiece of his goal to improve U.S. ties with Asia, this year.

The House was expected to debate later on Thursday the procedures it will use for considering fast-track and a related customs enforcement bill on Friday.

On the funding authorization for worker assistance just approved by the House, the Senate was also expected to promptly approve it, sending it to Obama for enacting into law.

The worker aid is important to Democrats, some of whom will be needed in voting on Friday on the fast-track legislation itself.

Also on Friday, the House will take another vote on trade adjustment assistance, which, like fast-track, could be much closer than Thursday's vote.

Rupert Murdoch to hand over Fox reins

Rupert Murdoch, the 84-year old media baron, will hand over the chief executive reins at entertainment conglomerate Twenty-First Century Fox Inc to his 42-year-old son James, a source familiar with the situation said on Thursday.

Fox Chief Operating Officer Chase Carey will step into an advisory role as part of the generational shift at the parent company of Fox News and movie studio behind "X-Men" and other series, the source said, adding that James Murdoch and his 43-year-old brother Lachlan would work as partners.

The elder Murdoch, whose media career spans the better part of a century, will take on the role of executive chairman, according to published reports.

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