By Julia Harte WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Longer prison sentences for non-violent criminals and crowded prisons are hurting the American economy more than they are helping it, economists in U.S. President Barack Obama's administration said in a report released on Saturday. The prison population in the United States is 4.5 times larger than it was in 1980, primarily driven by longer sentences and higher conviction rates for nearly all offenses, according to the Council's report. Economists are "of one mind" that packed prisons, excessively long sentences, and insufficient reentry programs "are counter-productive to our economy as a whole in addition to hurting the people involved," Jason Furman, chairman of the White House Council of Economic Advisers, told reporters in a call on Friday.
BERLIN (AP) — When President Barack Obama opens the world's largest industrial fair in the northern German city of Hannover on Sunday, he'll be leading a delegation of American companies hoping to conquer new markets abroad. He'll also be trying to complete one of his presidency's main pieces of unfinished business — a trans-Atlantic trade pact.
NEW YORK (AP) — The Obama administration is trying to address Iranian complaints that U.S. financial regulations are denying Iran the sanctions relief it deserves under last year's landmark nuclear deal.
BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) — A woman beat to death a 13-month-old girl under her care on a Native American reservation in Montana, threw the baby's body into a dumpster and reported her missing before confessing to the crime a day later, a federal investigator testified.
MEXICO CITY (AP) — Searchers recovered four more bodies from a petrochemical plant wrecked by a huge explosion this week on Mexico's southeastern Gulf coast, raising the death toll to 28, the state oil company said Friday night.
PHOENIX (AP) — U.S. Sen. John McCain called for a criminal investigation into actions by the Environmental Protection Agency that led to a mine spill polluting rivers in three Western states last summer.
AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — When Ted Cruz kicked off his White House bid at Liberty University, he told the crowd "y'all can probably relate" to the $100,000-plus in student loan debt he ran up in college and paid off only a few years ago. Since then he's appealed for support from college seniors who are piled with student loans and scared about the prospects for getting out of debt.
PHOENIX (AP) — U.S. Sen. John McCain on Friday called for a criminal investigation into actions by the Environmental Protection Agency that led to a mine spill polluting rivers in three Western states last summer.