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A holiday must be around the corner. As if the smell of homemade pumpkin bread and pie wasn’t enough indication, the administration Wednesday announced a new and much anticipated regulation on ozone emissions. Such announcements have become customary before holiday breaks.

Smoking Rate Declines But Some Groups are Prone to Continue Puffing

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention this week reports that the level of adults smoking cigarettes is at the lowest level since record keeping began in 1965. The CDC has been surveying regular declines in smoking rates and the agency’s current survey notes a decline in cigarette smoking from 20.0 percent of the population in 2005 to 17.8 percent in 2013. The CDC survey also highlights some population groups that are still particularly prone to smoking, including males, Southerners, American Indians/Alaska Natives, people with disabilities and those who are lesbian/gay/bisexual.

Senate Cybersecurity Vote Not Likely in Lame Duck

Senate Intelligence Chairwoman Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., has acknowledged that a Senate vote on her cybersecurity bill likely isn’t going to happen before the 113th Congress ends, according to a story (subscription) by CQ Roll Call’s Rob Margetta.

House Panel Set to Begin Work on Children’s Health Insurance Program Renewal

Senate Democrats, who hold enough votes next year to stall consideration of controversial measures, will likely block action Republican-led action on contentious health topics — particularly regarding the Affordable Care Act. President Obama also can halt any measures with a presidential veto.

GAO to DOE: Get Better Cost Estimates

The Energy Department and National Nuclear Security Agency need clearer guidelines for developing cost estimates, the Government Accountability Office said.

NSA Telephone Data Collection Program Not Based on 'Secret Law,' Says Former Intel Staffer

All that talk about “secret law” as the foundation for the allegedly illegal National Security Agency telephony metadata program? Hogwash, writes a former House Intelligence Committee staffer in the National Security Law Journal.

Wyoming Moves to Control Uranium Oversight

A state legislative committee advanced a measure to give Wyoming more direct regulatory control of uranium mining.

Roundup: All Things Chuck Hagel

We’ve written a number of things here at Five By Five about the departure of Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel. Here’s a smattering of key articles from elsewhere.

U.S., EU Officials Meet On Norwegian Air Controversy

Transportation Department and State Department officials met Tuesday with representatives of the European Union to discuss why the Transportation Department hasn’t yet decided on an application for a foreign air carrier permit from Norwegian Air International (NAI), the Ireland-based affiliate of the budget airline Norwegian Air Shuttle.

Leahy Writes Visa and MasterCard on Cyberlockers

The chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee wants Visa and MasterCard to stop providing payment processing services to leading cyberlockers and any other websites “dedicated to infringing activity.”

FDA Issues Restaurant Menu Nutrition Label Regulations

Today, the FDA unveils final regulations mandated by the Affordable Care Act on restaurant menu and food vending machine labeling of nutrition information. The rules have been under development for several years and were subject to intensive lobbying from nutrition groups, grocery stores, movie theaters and pizza delivery chains.

Lame Duck Isn't Done With Takata Airbag Issue

When Congress returns to lame-duck business next week, the Takata airbag recall will continue to be under lawmakers’ scrutiny.

Iran Is Being Too Stubborn in Nuclear Talks, Experts Say

The consensus of a panel at the Brookings Institution Tuesday: The reason Iran nuclear talks have been extended is because Tehran is being overly rigid in the face of a very generous offer from the United States and its negotiating partners.

Amtrak Narrows Loss As Northeast Service Thrives

Amtrak is still losing money, but the good news is that it lost less money in Fiscal Year 2014 than it did in prior years.

Study Indicates Most Internet Users Understand Concept of Net Neutrality

According to a survey by Pew Research Center, the majority of Internet users correctly identified what the concept of net neutrality refers to.

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