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The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association has announced its lineup of speakers for the organization’s 2011 convention.

Included is the highest-ranking firefighter to survive the World Trade Center attack and Karl Rove, Republican strategist and special advisor to President George W. Bush. Rove’s speech is sponsored by Bayer Animal Health.

• A whole series of unsafe practices led to the April explosion at the Upper Big Branch Mine in West Virginia and the deaths of 29 miners.

Federal investigators outlined a list of findings in its investigation. A poorly maintained mining machine could have provided the spark that ignited a buildup of methane gas, and that ignition led to the explosion of coal dust that had accumulated throughout the mine. Federal law requires methane to be kept at levels where it will not ignite and regulations mandate that coal dust be controlled so that it won’t explode. 

Howard Berkes at NPR has a great story with lots of maps and photos, here. See mine map above. 

• The Federal Communications Commission wants to take broadcast spectrum from the television networks and give it to mobile device companies. The networks are saying no. 

• Walmart will make its foods healthier. Less salt, better labels, etc. Suppliers will be forced to follow these new standards. Michelle Obama will joing Walmart officials in rollout. 

• Thirty-one percent of people living in rural communities don’t live within a one hour’s drive from trauma care, according to a new study of Census data. 

“Trauma centers have been shown to decrease morbidity and mortality for injured patients of all age ranges, from children to the elderly,” the study authors say in a statement. “However, as highlighted in the media and in scholarly literature, trauma centers are more likely to be safety-net hospitals, are often underfunded, and are more likely to be poorly or not reimbursed for their provision of lifesaving but expensive care. These financial hardships are cited as contributing to the increasing closures of trauma centers in the United States and are part of the growing national crisis in access to emergency care.” 

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