CNN Washington AM Note
March 15th, 2013
07:15 AM ET
1 year ago

CNN Washington AM Note

NATIONAL STORIES:

CNN: New York gun shows agree to new safety rules

New York authorities said Thursday that they had reached a deal with 23 gun show operators in the state after an investigation revealed weapons were sold without proper background checks. Under the new agreement, authorities say it will be easier to track whether sellers are following the proper safety steps.

NYT: Younger Generations Lag Parents in Wealth-Building

Pearl Brady has a stable job with good benefits and holds two degrees, a bachelor’s and a master’s. But despite her best efforts, she has no savings, and worries that it will be years before she manages to start putting away money for a house, children and eventually retirement. …Ms. Brady has plenty of company. A new study from the Urban Institute finds that Ms. Brady and her peers up to roughly age 40 have accrued less wealth than their parents did at the same age, even as the average wealth of Americans has doubled over the last quarter-century.

Bloomberg: North Dakota Poised to Set Earliest U.S. Abortion Limit

North Dakota lawmakers are poised to ban abortions as early as six weeks into a pregnancy, the narrowest window of any U.S. state, and become the first to bar terminations sought because of genetic abnormalities. House Bill 1456 would make it a felony for a doctor to perform a nonemergency abortion after a fetal heartbeat can be detected, which can be as early as five or six weeks. House Bill 1305 would prohibit abortions sought because a fetus has been or could be diagnosed with any genetically inherited defect, disease or disorder.

CNN: Carnival nightmare: Another cruise ship reports trouble at sea

First it was Triumph, then Elation, Dream and now Legend. While they are happy names for cruise ships, some passengers say they've had experiences recently that belie those names. In yet another setback, Carnival Cruise ship Legend is having technical difficulties that are affecting its sailing speed, the latest in a growing list of woes for the travel company. The Legend was on the last leg of a seven-day Caribbean cruise that departed Tampa on Sunday. Within a span of a month, three other Carnival Cruise ships have reported problems.

WATCH: VIDEO – Another Carnival ship experiencing problems forcing passengers to fly home early. Brian Todd reports.

WHITE HOUSE:

CNN: Obama: Iran more than a year away from developing nuclear weapon

Iran is more than a year away from developing a nuclear weapon, but that does not mean the United States will wait for it to become a reality, President Barack Obama said in an interview that aired Thursday on an Israeli television station. "I have been crystal clear about my position on Iran possessing a nuclear weapon. That is a red line for us. It is not only something that would be dangerous for Israel. It would be dangerous for the world," Obama told CNN affiliate Israeli Channel 2 TV before a scheduled visit next week to the country.

WATCH: VIDEO – Israel's Channel 2 News sat down with U.S. President Obama and talked about his position on Iran's nuclear program.

CNN: Obama headed to California for fundraisers

President Barack Obama is heading back to the GoldenState for fundraisers in April, emailed invitations to the events show. "Just wanted to give you a quick heads up that Barack will be back for his first visit of his 2nd term on Thursday, April 4, to help retire the debt of the Democratic National Committee that remains from our victory in November," tech executive Wade Randlett wrote in the invitation to supporters. Randlett is the chairman of the Bay Area Democrats.

CAPITOL HILL:

CNN Exclusive: One conservative's dramatic reversal on gay marriage

You probably recognize Sen. Rob Portman from his tireless campaigning for Mitt Romney in 2012. He was even on the short list to be Romney's running mate. He's been a leading Republican voice on economic issues for four decades. Now, the prominent Ohio conservative will be known for something else: reversing his hardline position against gay marriage. He invited CNN to his Senate office to reveal the news. "I'm announcing today a change of heart on an issue that a lot of people feel strongly about that has to do with gay couples' opportunity to marry," Portman told CNN.

WATCH: VIDEO – Conservative Sen. Rob Portman tells CNN's Dana Bash why he is reversing his views on same-sex marriage.

CNN: Impact of Obama charm offensive unclear

President Barack Obama wrapped up three days of personal outreach on Capitol Hill, holding what both sides called a "great" meeting on Thursday with Senate Republicans who urged him to deliver the necessary Democratic support for making needed reforms to popular entitlement programs. "He certainly understands that you can't fix the country without adjusting entitlements to fit the demographics of our country," said Senate GOP leader Mitch McConnell, usually a harsh critic of the president. "And we'll see where we go from here, but it was a great meeting." For his part, Obama labeled the more than 90-minute meeting as a "great conversation" as he headed to a separate gathering with House Democrats opposed to significant changes to Medicare and Medicaid, which provide health care to senior citizens, the poor and the disabled.

CNN: Senate panel passes ban on assault-style weapons

In a meeting rife with angry and emotional exchanges, the Senate Judiciary Committee on Thursday approved a new ban on semiautomatic firearms modeled after military assault weapons. The measure now goes to the full Senate for consideration as part of a package of gun measures prompted by a Connecticut school massacre last December that killed 20 first graders.

ALSO SEE: Roll Call: Spotlight Turns to Reid in Gun Control Debate

National Journal: Congressman Hosts Fundraiser for Scandal-Plagued Colleague, But Won't Show Up

Even though he's hosting a fundraiser next week for the campaign of scandal-plagued Rep. Scott DesJarlais of Tennessee, Rep. John Kline of Minnesota is distancing himself from the event, with a spokesman claiming he never planned to attend in the first place. Kline, the chairman of the House Education and Workforce Committee, was listed as a host of the fundraiser, as his office confirmed. The invitation also said Reps. Tom Price of Georgia, Darrell Issa of California, Frank Lucas of Oklahoma, Steve Scalise of Louisiana, and Jim Jordan of Ohio would be attending as special guests.

POLITICAL:

CNN: Nikki Haley to introduce Romney at CPAC

South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley will introduce Mitt Romney at a gathering of conservative activists on Friday, a GOP source told CNN. Haley, who endorsed Romney early in last year's Republican primary contest, wasn't previously listed as a featured speaker at the Conservative Political Action Conference, the annual confab of activists that's taking place this week at a resort just outside Washington in suburban Maryland.

WATCH: VIDEO – CNN's Brianna Keilar reports on the speakers at the annual Conservative Political Action Conference.

Politico: Does Sarah Palin have a second act?

In January 2009, Sarah Palin had the world on a string. A potential Republican presidential field-clearer for the presidency, every sentence she uttered was news. A Fox News contract awaited her. So did book deals. Four years later, Palin is without a clear option for elected office – or a clear sense she has an interest in any position of real public influence. …Once as polarizing as a 1990s-era Hillary Clinton, she can still rouse the conservative base and create headline ripples, and has instincts for picking candidates in a primary battle that other Republicans follow. She is getting the most speaking time at CPAC when she takes the stage Saturday at the Gaylord National hotel in Maryland, and her speech is among the most anticipated.

NYT: G.O.P. Divided on Proper Role for U.S. Abroad

For more than three decades, the Republican Party brand has been deeply tied to a worldview in which the aggressive use of American power abroad is both a policy imperative and a political advantage. Now, a new generation of Republicans like Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky is turning inward, questioning the approach that reached its fullest expression after the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, and signaling a willingness to pare back the military budgets that made it all possible.

WSJ: Conservatives Warn Lawmakers Against Tax Deals

President Barack Obama's wooing of congressional Republicans in the past week has spurred the party's most conservative faction into girding to keep GOP lawmakers in line. Conservative activists and organizations have begun warning Republican legislators that if they agree to raise taxes in any broad budget deal with the president, they should expect to face challengers from the party's right wing in their next primary elections.

Politico: RNC aide: Stop criticizing our digital strategy in press

A top GOP official on Thursday urged a hastily organized gathering of about three dozen conservative digital experts to stop causing negative publicity about the party’s technology problems because it could hurt fundraising, two people present told POLITICO. Mike Shields, hired about two weeks ago as chief of staff for the Republican National Committee, held forth in the Reagan conference room at party headquarters with several major figures present, including current digital director Tyler Brown and Zac Moffatt, digital chief of Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign.

NATIONAL SECURITY:

CNN: U.S. says it has exposed Iranian shipping scheme aided by businessman

The U.S. Treasury Department on Thursday detailed what it called an "intricate Iranian scheme" helped by a Greek shipping magnate in an effort to avoid oil export sanctions. Dimitris Cambis established a network of front companies to purchase multiple oil tankers in an elaborate scheme to disguise the origin of Iranian oil, the Treasury Department said.

WaPo: Dispute over high-risk prisoners threatens to disrupt U.S.-Afghan talks

A dispute over the fate of about three dozen militants held by U.S. forces in Afghanistan has disrupted negotiations over a long-term security agreement to leave U.S. troops in the country after 2014. The United States has refused to turn over the prisoners — deemed especially dangerous compared with more than 3,000 already transferred to Afghan control — unless President Hamid Karzai guarantees they will not be released. He has so far declined.

CNN: Iran confronts U.S. drone over Persian Gulf

An Iranian fighter jet targeted an unarmed U.S. Predator drone over the Persian Gulf this week, the Pentagon says. It was the latest Iranian move aimed at thwarting American military airborne intelligence efforts in the region. Defense Department spokesman George Little said on Thursday the unmanned MQ-1 drone was conducting routine classified surveillance over international waters on Tuesday when approached by an Iranian F-4.

FOX: Pentagon to beef up missile defense in response to North Korean threat, sources say

The Pentagon is beefing up the nation’s missile defense in the wake of provocative nuclear threats from North Korea and is set to deploy 14 additional ground-based interceptors at missile silos in Alaska and California, congressional and U.S. officials tell Fox News. The extra interceptors on the West Coast, designed to counter attacks from an intercontinental ballistic missile, would bring the total number of interceptors to 44, a plan originally proposed by the Bush administration. President Obama stopped the deployment of the additional interceptors when he took office in 2009, leaving the total number at 30.

Politico: Wary lawmakers launch pre-emptive BRAC strike

The Pentagon hasn’t said anything official to Congress about reviving its reviled base closure process, but lawmakers aren’t even waiting for the proposal. Their answer is already no. “I categorically reject this notion that presumes to balance the federal budget on the backs of our service members,” Virginia Rep. Rob Wittman said Thursday. The Base Realignment and Closure Commission — known as BRAC — always strikes terror in the hearts of lawmakers who fear home-district job losses from military base closures. And the process always brings out turf fighting among these lawmakers as they try to stop BRAC from hitting their hometowns.

AVIATION, REGULATION and JUSTICE:

CNN: TSA chief faces critics, says new knife policy will stand

The nation's aviation security chief on Thursday defended his recent decision to again permit knives aboard commercial flights, despite concerns from major airlines and their flight crews, and sharp criticism from some members of Congress. John Pistole, administrator of the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), told a House Homeland Security subcommittee that his decision would stand and would be carried out next month as planned. He said small knives no longer pose a threat to aircraft security, which now emphasizes bomb detection.

WaPo: Grand jury investigating Sen. Robert Menendez (D-N.J.), people familiar with probe say

A federal grand jury in Miami is investigating Sen. Robert Menendez (D-N.J.), examining his role in advocating for the business interests of a wealthy donor and friend, according to three people aware of the probe. Menendez has intervened in matters affecting the financial interests of Florida ophthalmologist Salomon Melgen, seeking to apply pressure on the Dominican government to honor a contract with Melgen’s port-security company, documents and interviews show. Also, Menendez’s office has acknowledged he interceded with federal health-care officials after they said that Melgen had overbilled the U.S. government for care at his clinic. Melgen has provided Menendez with plane flights and hospitality at his Dominican vacation home, say people acquainted with their relationship.

CNN: Boeing announces changes to Dreamliner battery system

Boeing spent more than 60,000 hours testing changes to the lithium-ion battery system for the 787 Dreamliner, which has been grounded in the wake of incidents on two planes, the chief project engineer for the project said Friday. At a news conference in Tokyo, Mike Sinnett said the company "may never get to the single root cause" of the battery issues, which included a small fire on the front of the battery box of a plane that was on the tarmac at Boston's Logan International Airport on January 7. He said he believes improvements to the system will prevent problems.

ALSO SEE: Reuters: Boeing confident 787 could be flying again "in weeks"

CNNMoney: Reuters editor indicted for conspiring with Anonymous hackers

Reuters' popular social media editor Matthew Keys was charged Thursday with conspiring with hacker group Anonymous to break into the network of the Tribune Co., his former employer. A grand jury in California indicted Keys Thursday, the U.S. Department of Justice announced. The complaint says Keys, 26, was fired in October 2010 from his job as a web producer at Tribune-owned California station KTXL FOX 40 (which is a CNN affiliate). Two months later, the government says, he gave members of Anonymous the log-in credentials for a computer server at Tribune.

REGIONAL HEADLINES:

Tampa Bay Times: Report: Camp Lejeune water highly contaminated with carcinogens

For much of CampLejeune's history, its drinking water was contaminated by potent carcinogens at levels rarely if ever seen in a large water system, a new federal report shows. A study by scientists at the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry shows vinyl chloride and trichloroethylene (TCE) in water at the North Carolina Marine Corps base reached levels 33 to 153 times higher than what federal regulators today consider safe. These compounds originate from several potential sources, including industrial solvents used at the base. A copy of the report was obtained Thursday by the Tampa Bay Times. When it is publicly released today, it is expected to renew health concerns for the up to 1 million people who lived and worked at Lejeune from 1953 to 1985, when water was polluted. That includes tens of thousands of Floridians.

San Jose Mercury News: Newtown parents push Silicon Valley leaders for tech to curb gun violence

Three months after their children were slaughtered, parents of Sandy HookElementary School students joined forces with Silicon Valley to find high-tech solutions to the nation's epidemic of gun violence. The parents have already testified to Connecticut's legislature and to Congress in favor of stricter gun-control laws - including the federal assault-weapons ban that the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee approved Thursday on a party-line vote. But this week, the Newtown parents flew across the country to begin exploring how the valley's technology can cut the number of people killed in America by guns. If the guns that Connecticut shooter Adam Lanza took from his mother employed a "smartgun" technology that allowed only the owner to fire them, 20 children and six educators might still be alive today, valley investors say.

Charleston Gazette: Sequester prompts Yeager to buy pilot-activated runway lights

To prepare for plans to drop an overnight air traffic controllers' shift at YeagerAirport as part of federal sequester-mandated spending cuts, the Charleston airport's governing board voted Thursday to install a remote-control system that allows approaching private pilots to activate runway lights. In the absence of controllers in Yeager's tower between midnight and 5 a.m., the airport's runway, taxiway and centerline lights would be turned off. Airport Director Rick Atkinson said it would cost as much to leave the lights burning during the overnight shift for one month as it would to pay for the $13,400 remote-control system. Currently, air traffic controllers activate the lights as aircraft approach the airport.
Des Moines Register: Branstad moving ahead with health care plan despite Democrats' compromise offer

Iowa Senate Democrats offered Thursday what they described as a compromise to expand the state’s Medicaid health insurance program to thousands of low-income Iowans, but Republican Gov. Terry Branstad said he'll move forward with his alternative plan in the Republican-led Iowa House.

WTAQ Green Bay: Gov. Scott Walker to deliver keynote address at Iowa GOP fundraiser

Governor Scott Walker will at least walk toward the starting line in the 2016 presidential race, when he speaks in Iowa in a couple months. The Republican Walker is scheduled to deliver the keynote address at the Polk County GOP spring fundraiser in West Des Moines on May 23rd. It’s Walker’s first foray into a state that leads off the presidential nominating contests with its January caucuses. Newt Gingrich and Michele Bachmann have headlined the PolkCounty event in past years.

The Detroit News: Detroit EM Kevyn Orr prepared to use bankruptcy hammer

Kevyn Orr, the new Detroit emergency manager appointed by Gov. Rick Snyder, talks to the media Thursday, March 14, 2014. Snyder made the unprecedented move to take control of Detroit's operations by selecting the Washington, D.C., bankruptcy attorney to lead the state's largest city. (Daniel Mears / The Detroit News) A Washington lawyer with deep experience in bankruptcy and restructuring, he says he wants to be "consensual," which City Council-in-opposition may like to hear even if most of its members probably won't believe it. He says he wants to negotiate in "good faith" with creditors, pension funds and unions, even if good faith may be in the eye of the beholder.

INTERNATIONAL:

Haaretz: Lapid, Bennett agree to join Israel's new government

After Thursday's last-minute glitch in coalition negotiations, Yesh Atid and Habayit Hayehudi agreed on Friday morning to sign an agreement to enter Israel's new government. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu telephoned Habayit Hayehudi leader Naftali Bennett on Thursday night, and appealed to him to sign the agreement according to conditions set earlier by the party. Bennett agreed.

CNN: Pope Francis meets with all cardinals ahead of inauguration

After the pomp and activities surrounding his election as pontiff, Pope Francis may get his first quiet day Friday when he meets with familiar faces - all the cardinals. The meeting in the late morning is the only event on his calendar for the day. He can likely use some rest before Tuesday, when St. Peter's Square will again bustle with followers and admirers for the official Mass to inaugurate him as the Bishop of Rome.

CNN: North Korea says it's the victim of 'intensive' cyberattacks

North Korea's state news agency reported Friday that the country's Internet servers are subject to daily "intensive and persistent virus attacks" that the government blames on "hostile forces" including the United States. "It is nobody's secret that the U.S. and the South Korean puppet regime are massively bolstering up cyberforces in a bid to intensify the subversive activities and sabotages against the DPRK," according to the official KCNA report. "... They are seriously mistaken if they think they can quell the DPRK's voices of justice through such base acts. The U.S. and its allies should be held wholly accountable for the ensuing consequences."

BBC: Syria conflict: EU to discuss arms ban as anniversary marked

As Syrians mark the second anniversary of the start of the nation's unrest, the EU is set to discuss lifting its arms embargo to allow supplying rebels. The leaders of France and Britain will try to push other EU members to agree to the move at the Brussels summit.

NYT: Sexist Taunt From North Korea Raises Gender Issue for the South’s New Leader

When North Korea blamed President Park Geun-hye’s “venomous swish of skirt” this week for tensions on the KoreanPeninsula, it brought up an issue that had been mainly unremarked upon in South Korea: Would their leader’s gender color the latest confrontation between the Koreas?

CNN: Li Keqiang named Chinese premier, government's second most powerful post

Li Keqiang on Friday was named China's premier, the No. 2 position in the Chinese government, completing the once-a-decade transition of leadership in the world's most populous nation. He replaces Wen Jiabao. Li rose to the position at the nation's annual parliamentary gathering, which a day earlier named Xi Jinping as China's new president. He was the sole candidate.

ALSO SEE: Financial Times: China's new president in corruption battle

NYT: Burmese Laureate Heckled Over Backing Copper Mine

Hundreds of angry farmers heckled and walked out on Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, the Burmese politician and Nobel laureate, during a visit on Thursday to villages in central Myanmar that might be displaced by a copper mine. The hostile reception, a stark contrast to the adoring crowds that greeted her after her release from house arrest more than two years ago, underscores the rockiness of her transition from international symbol to elected official.

Financial Times: Cameron calls vote on press regulation

David Cameron set the stage on Thursday for a bruising showdown on press regulation as the prime minister abruptly quit cross-party talks on the Leveson proposals. The premier wrongfooted political opponents by declaring in a hastily convened press conference that there would be a vote in the House of Commons on Monday on his plan for a royal charter to create a self-regulator

CNBC: EU Offers Crisis-Hit Members Wiggle Room on Deficits

European leaders meeting in Brussels on Thursday hinted that some countries could be given more time to meet their deficit goals as they address high unemployment and seek to ease the pain of tough austerity measures. The president of the European Commission told CNBC that while countries should pursue reforms and meet the deficit targets set under EU rules, there was room for maneuver if countries showed that they were making an effort to implement reforms.

BUSINESS:

WaPo: Web browsers consider limiting how much they track users

It’s often hard to tell which is the Web’s priority: helping you learn about the world or helping the world — and especially advertisers — learn about you. But that balance is beginning to shift, to the delight of consumer advocates and the horror of industry groups. Browser makers increasingly are embracing privacy controls that could limit the ability of advertisers to track ­users, threatening to undermine business models that now support many popular online services.

CNNMoney: Senate on London Whale: Worse than we thought

The Senate report on JPMorgan's London Whale trades is a damning indictment of the bank's laissez-faire culture that led to nearly $6 billion in losses. Democratic Senator Carl Levin of Michigan and Republican Senator John McCain of Arizona, who led a nine-month investigation into the trades, said JPMorgan (JPM, Fortune 500) manipulated results to mask the depth of the losses, actively shielding them from both regulators and investors.

CNNMoney: Samsung unveils the Galaxy S IV

Samsung's Galaxy S IV is here. As expected, it's built to vie for the position of best smartphone in 2013. How it will compare with Apple's (AAPL, Fortune 500) next iPhone or Google's (GOOG, Fortune 500) future Nexus flagship phone remains to be seen. But after a few minutes playing around with the the Galaxy S IV, it's easy to see how this smartphone could end up in the same conversation.


Filed under: Washington AM Note
soundoff (No Responses)

Comments are closed.