Reuters US Domestic News Summary

Following is a summary of current US domestic news briefs.

U.S. government experts, industry spar over asbestos testing in talc

For the first time in nearly 50 years, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration examined asbestos testing for talc powders and cosmetics at a hearing on Tuesday, after traces of the known carcinogen were found in several such products, including Johnson & Johnson's Baby Powder. Citing those FDA findings, some U.S. lawmakers and consumer advocates have called for stricter safety regulations to protect public health.

Buttigieg takes lead, Biden lags in Democrats' first 2020 results

Pete Buttigieg took a narrow lead in the first batch of long-delayed results from the chaotic Iowa Democratic Party caucuses on Tuesday, and former Vice President Joe Biden trailed badly in fourth place with about 62% of precincts reporting. U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders was a close second place and U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren placed third in the first results, released nearly 21 hours after Iowans poured into more than 1,600 public locations to begin the five-month process of picking a challenger to Republican President Donald Trump.

After controversial trial, U.S. Senate poised to acquit Trump

Donald Trump was on the brink of ending the darkest chapter of his tumultuous presidency on Monday as the U.S. Senate began the final phase of his impeachment trial that will almost certainly conclude on Wednesday with his acquittal. The 100 senators will hear four hours of closing arguments split equally between Trump's legal team and prosecutors from the Democratic-controlled House of Representatives, which charged him with abusing power by pressuring Ukraine to probe political rival Joe Biden, and then obstructing their inquiry.

Travel restrictions could cost U.S. $10.3 billion in Chinese visitor spending

Travel restrictions related to the novel coronavirus from China could impact city and state economies across the United States, which have benefited from a huge jump in tourism from China in recent years, analysts say. Riverside, California, known for its citrus groves, mountain scenery and art galleries, and Buffalo, New York, the closest big town to the vast Niagara Falls, would be among the hardest hit in a list of places from big cities to tourist towns particularly popular with Chinese visitors.

U.S. deploys 'more survivable' submarine-launched low-yield nuclear weapon

The U.S. Defense Department said on Tuesday the Navy had fielded a low-yield, submarine-launched ballistic missile warhead, something the Pentagon believes is needed to deter adversaries like Russia but which critics say lowers the threshold for using nuclear weapons. Low-yield nuclear weapons, while still devastating, have a strength of less than 20 kilotons. The atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima, in August 1945, had about the same explosive power.

Iowa official slams viral claim of suspicious voter registration activity as false

A viral claim by a conservative activist group that voter registration numbers in Iowa are suspiciously large ahead of the first U.S. presidential nominating contest on Monday is false, a senior state government official said, and called on the group to end its "misinformation campaign." Iowa's Secretary of State Paul Pate, a Republican, said the claim by Washington D.C.-based group Judicial Watch that total registration numbers for caucuses in eight Iowa counties were larger than the eligible voter population had been disproven by official data.

With impeachment almost over, Trump faces Congress in prime-time speech

With the impeachment drive against him ebbing, U.S. President Donald Trump faces his Democratic accusers on Tuesday night at a State of the Union speech where he is expected to push his case for another four years in office. Trump, a Republican, may be tempted to lash out at the Democratic critics seated before him in the U.S. House of Representatives, seeing it as a chance for payback against those who sought to oust him through what he calls a "witch hunt."

News organizations ask U.S. Labor Department to keep computers in data 'lockups'

Lawyers representing news organizations on Tuesday sent a letter to the U.S. Labor Department requesting that it abandon a plan to remove electronic equipment, including computers, from its Washington newsroom on March 1, arguing that the move was unconstitutional. Lawyers from Holland & Knight, representing Reuters, Associated Press, Bloomberg, Dow Jones & Company and Market News said the reasons given by the Labor Department for the changes did not hold up to legal and factual scrutiny.

Ex-Goldman Sachs VP renews lawsuit alleging anti-LGBTQ bias

A former Goldman Sachs Group Inc vice president has renewed his lawsuit accusing the Wall Street bank of firing him after he complained about being discriminated against because he was gay. William Littleton filed his complaint in Manhattan federal court on Tuesday, consolidating New York and federal civil rights claims he had previously filed with a New York state court and the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

Emergency 911 phone calls on Kobe Bryant crash show witnesses concerned about fog

Recently released emergency 911 phone calls about the helicopter crash that killed Kobe Bryant showed witnesses were concerned about the poor visibility due to fog and revive the tragic moment that rocked the basketball and entertainment worlds nine days ago. The twin-engine Sikorsky S-76B slammed into a hillside and killed all nine people on board in an accident that still has many of the basketball great's fans grieving, with more public memorials to come.