Beltway Confidential

10 highlights of the week

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Beltway Confidential,Commentary Writer

Rocketeers

1| SpaceX successfully launches private rocket

The details: The private SpaceX company successfully launched an unmanned rocket from Cape Canaveral on Friday. The rocket's payload included more than a ton of station equipment and experiments for the International Space Station.

Spending up

2| Consumer spending rose in January

The details: U.S. consumers modestly increased spending in January, according to the Commerce Department. According to the report, consumer spending rose 0.2 percent in January compared with December.

Joining the fight

3| Bloomberg donating $100m to help fight polio

The details: New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced a pledge of $100 million to the Global Polio Eradication Initiative in order to help fight polio around the world. The vaccine-preventable disease has been eradicated in most countries but still plagues parts of the world including Nigeria, Pakistan and Afghanistan.

Cars are selling

4| Ford's US sales rose 9 percent in February

The details: Ford Motor Co. announced that auto sales in the United States rose 9 percent in February. The company sold a total of 195,822 vehicles in February thanks to strong sales of the new Escape SUV and Fusion sedan. General Motors' U.S. sales rose 7 percent.

More manufacturing

5| Manufacturing expanded at fastest pace since June 2011

The details: U.S. manufacturing expanded in February at the fastest pace since June 2011. The Institute for Supply Management's index of factory activity rose last month to 54.2, up from January's reading of 53.1.

No more excuses

6| Reliable power demanded

The details: Pepco's inability to restore power for more than a week after last summer's derecho prompted the Maryland Public Service Commission to order utilities to develop contingency plans to restore power to 95 percent of their customers within the first 50 hours of an outage.

Sweetening the deal

7| FBI offered parking spots

The details: Metro's real estate committee recommended that the transit agency's board offer the FBI nearly 80 acres of parking spaces at the Greenbelt Metro station if the federal law enforcement agency chooses Prince George's County as the site of its new headquarters.

Excessive overtime

8| IG asked to investigate

The details: D.C. Councilman Tommy Wells wants the city's inspector general to launch a probe into what he called an "egregious" amount of overtime paid to 25 Fire and Emergency Medical Services employees last year. They pocketed more than $1 million in OT in addition to their regular salaries.

More charters

9| Rocketship coming to D.C.

The details: The DC Public School Charter Board approved Rocketship Education's application for eight new charter schools, which will make it the largest charter operator in the District. The California-based nonprofit uses an innovative combination of computer teaching and one-on-one tutoring to help disadvantaged kids learn.

Official unveiling

10| Hilda H.M. Mason Way

The details: The 1400 block of Roxanna Road in Northwest D.C. was rechristened by Mayor Vincent Gray on Friday as Hilda H.M. Mason Way to honor the late civil rights activist, educator, statehood advocate and longtime D.C. Council member.

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