CNN Washington AM Note
March 22nd, 2013
06:01 AM ET
1 year ago

CNN Washington AM Note

BREAKING OVERNIGHT:

CNN: Lockdown at Quantico Marine base ends with 3 dead

A shooting that prompted a lockdown for hours at a Marine base in Virginia ended with three dead, including the gunman, authorities said early Friday. The Thursday night shooting at Marine Corps Base Quantico is isolated, said Agustin Solivan, a Marine Corps spokesman.

CNN: South Korea says hacking not from Chinese address

The suspected cyberattack that struck South Korean banks and media companies this week didn't originate from a Chinese IP address, South Korean officials said Friday, contradicting their previous claim. The Korea Communications Commission, a South Korean regulator, said that after "detailed analysis," the IP address that was thought to be from China was determined to be an internal IP address from one of the banks that was infected by the malicious code.

NATIONAL STORIES:

CNN: Colorado prison chief's death probe extends to Texas police chase

Colorado authorities are working to determine whether a high-speed chase Thursday involving a man who shot repeatedly at law enforcement officers in Texas is related to this week's shooting death of Tom Clements, Colorado's prison chief. The chase and crash occurred in north Texas, about 700 miles from where Clements was killed Tuesday night. It began around 11 a.m. CT (noon ET) in MontagueCounty, where the driver of a black Cadillac shot at a law enforcement officer who had pulled him over in a traffic stop, said Wise County, Texas, Sheriff David Walker.

CNN: NRA sues over New York gun control

The National Rifle Association's New York state affiliate filed a federal lawsuit Thursday in Buffalo contesting the constitutionality of the SAFE Act, the sweeping gun-control bill Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed into law in January, the group announced in a press release. The new laws fortify New York's existing assault weapons ban, limit the number of bullets allowed in ammunition magazines and strengthen rules that govern the mentally ill, which includes a requirement to report potentially harmful behavior.

CNN: Chicago to shutter dozens of schools

Chicago school officials said Thursday that they plan to close dozens of schools in a bid to improve education and tackle a $1 billion deficit. The move would shutter 61 school buildings, including 53 underused schools and one program. The cut represents roughly 10% of all elementary school facilities in Chicago Public Schools, the country's third-largest school district.

CNN: Rape accusations, teens, and Twitter attacks in another U.S. town

Three teenage boys in a Connecticut town - at least two of them popular high school football players - stand accused of rape for alleged encounters with two 13-year-old girls. And at least one of the alleged victims has been attacked on social media, with messages from fellow teens calling her a "whore." The allegations are spiraling through Torrington, a small town of 36,000 people in northwest Connecticut.

CNN Money: Office supplies, grocery stores among government cuts

Government grocery stores on U.S. military bases around the world will close one day each week starting in May. The Environmental Protection Agency and U.S. Customs and Border Protection have already started buying fewer office supplies. And at the Department of Interior, employees have had to cancel previously-approved conferences they were planning to attend. These are just some of choices federal agencies are making on the edges to tighten their belts.

WHITE HOUSE:

CNN: Obama travels from Israel and Palestinian lands to Jordan

After putting himself in the middle of the historic tensions between Israelis and Palestinians this week, U.S. President Barack Obama wraps up his first trip to Israel on Friday since becoming president. He then moves on to another of America's closest allies in the region - Jordan, a military and intelligence partner, which has been facing trying times.

Jerusalem Post: Obama: Israel's existence will prevent another Holocaust By JPOST.COM

The state of Israel does not exist because of the Holocaust, but because of its strong existence the Holocaust will never happen again, US President Barack Obama said Friday morning at Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial. The statement marked a significant corrective to his speech in Cairo in 2009, where he appeared to argue that the legitimacy of the Jewish state stemmed from the Holocaust.

CNN: In Gaza, waiting for economics of peace to put fizz back into bottling plant

It hits you just a few steps past the Hamas checkpoint, at the sounds and sight of a mule-pulled cart passing by: To enter Gaza is to step back in time. Also front and center: the question of whether hate will ever give way to peace. In the city square, there's a giant billboard celebrating the Hamas militant wing that carries out attacks in Israel. Nearby, posters paying tribute to men Hamas calls "martyrs" but who by most any other definition would be called terrorists.

WaPo: Obama to declare five national monuments Monday, sources say

President Obama will designate five national monuments Monday including one commemorating Harriet Tubman and the Underground Railroad in Maryland, according to several environmental groups. The other four are the First State National Monument in Delaware and Pennsylvania;  New Mexico’s Rio Grande del Norte National Monument; San Juan Islands National Monument in Washington state; and Charles Young Buffalo Soldiers National Monument in Ohio.

CAPITOL HILL:

CNN: Congress avoids shutdown, bickers over 2014 budget

Capitol Hill lawmakers finally brought the 2013 budget fight to an end Thursday by approving a bill that ended the threat of a government shutdown - minutes before ratcheting up the partisan warfare over taxes and spending in 2014. Members of the House voted 318-109 to send President Barack Obama a bill funding the government through the end of the current fiscal year in September while easing the pain of $85 billion in forced spending cuts disliked by leaders on both sides of the aisle. The measure extending current federal funding authority was needed to avoid a partial shutdown of the government on March 27.

CNN: Reid formally introduces legislation to combat gun violence

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid formally introduced a much-anticipated gun bill Thursday, his office announced. The Senate is expected to debate the legislation when the upper chamber returns from a two-week recess. The bill, released just over three months after the elementary school massacre in Newtown, Connecticut, is made up of three measures. One measure expands the background check system, while the other two deal with school safety and gun trafficking.

Politico: Chuck Schumer: ‘Gang of 8’ close to immigration deal

With activists and lawmakers anxious to see an immigration bill, Sen. Chuck Schumer and other members of the gang of eight seemed optimistic on Thursday that a deal was within reach. The New York Democrat told Hispanic media outlets Thursday he was confident a deal would be reached in the days ahead, although the group is unlikely to be unveiled before the end of the Easter recess. “About 90 percent of the issues, including the path to citizenship, are settled,” Schumer said, adding that the group was meeting “hours” a day, and he was putting “more time into this than any other single issue.”

CNN: Congressional Republicans pressing administration for Benghazi answers

In a sign Congressional Republicans intend to keep political pressure on the administration over Benghazi, House Speaker John Boehner convened a meeting Thursday morning to discuss last year's attack on the U.S. consulate in Libya with key House committee chairmen and several GOP Senators who have been critical of the administration's handling of the incident. Boehner told reporters at his weekly press conference that there are "some members who wanted to have a conversation, kinda compare notes on what we know and what we don't know and frankly there is a lot we still don't know, and so it was a friendly exchange of information and some decisions about a way forward."

NYT: Once Few, Women Hold More Power in Senate

An hour before her colleagues gathered for their first vote of a new Congress, Senator Kelly Ayotte slipped into an empty Senate chamber to savor the grandeur of her legislative home. As Ms. Ayotte, a freshman Republican from New Hampshire, sat down at the wooden desk where generations of lawmakers from her state had cast their votes, a doorman marched toward her with purpose.Ms. Ayotte’s induction that January day in 2011 into the most rarefied ranks of the nation’s political class — female senators — had begun.

POLITICAL:

Politico: Republicans keep grip on K Street

Democrats control the White House and the Senate, but you wouldn’t know it by looking down K Street. Republicans hold more than 30 of the 50 highest-profile, in-house lobbying jobs in town, a POLITICO analysis found. That doesn’t even include lobbying shops and law firms, which have long been Republican-dominated. That means the biggest special influence players in Washington are relying more and spending big on a party that’s more on the outs than in, to make their case in the halls of Congress and to the White House.

CNN: Hillary Clinton to speak next month in New York

Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will make one of her first public appearances since leaving the Obama administration when she speaks at the annual Women in the World Summit next month, the Daily Beast and Newsweek, presenters of the summit, announced Thursday. Clinton has attended the New York summit every year since it started in 2010. This year's event takes place April 4 and 5.

CNN: Carson leaves room for political bid

Neurosurgeon Ben Carson, a rising superstar among conservatives, said Thursday he has no "intention" to run for political office anytime soon–but left he left the door open to the idea. "If a year and a half goes by and people are still clamoring for me to do that and there's no other very good candidate, I would certainly have to seriously consider it," he said on CNN's "The Lead with Jake Tapper." But, he added, "the likelihood of that is incredibly small."

NATIONAL SECURITY:

CNN: Official: 'Something went down' in Syria, but it was short of chemical weapons

The United Nations will investigate claims by the government and rebels that either side used chemical weapons against each other in the Syrian conflict. The United Kingdom and France have also put in requests with the U.N. to investigate the alleged use of such weapons in three cases. U.S. President Barack Obama and other American officials have said in recent days there was no intelligence to substantiate reports that rebels used chemical weapons against government troops.

WATCH: VIDEO – CNN's Barbara Starr reports on new U.S. intelligence that suggests Syria may have used chemicals but not chemical weapons.

WaPo: Drone base in Niger gives U.S. a strategic foothold in West Africa

The newest outpost in the U.S. government’s empire of drone bases sits behind a razor-wire-topped wall outside this West African capital, blasted by 110-degree heat and the occasional sandstorm blowing from the Sahara. The U.S. Air Force began flying a handful of unarmed Predator drones from here last month. The gray, mosquito-shaped aircraft emerge sporadically from a borrowed hangar and soar north in search of al-Qaeda fighters and guerrillas from other groups hiding in the region’s untamed deserts and hills.

HuffPo: New $49M Guantanamo Prison Proposed By Pentagon Official

Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel is weighing a proposal to build a new $49 million prison for special detainees held at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba - another sign that the base President Barack Obama promised to shut down will remain open indefinitely. The new prison proposal is in an early stage, unlike proposed upgrades that include a new dining hall, hospital and barracks for prison guards, which are more advanced. A spokesman said all of the facilities proposed for replacement are deteriorating because they were never intended to be permanent.

CNN: Detainees' attorneys angered by cancellation of flights to Guantanamo

The U.S. Navy has ordered commercial flights to the military base at Guantanamo, Cuba canceled because of a regulation that had been overlooked for years, outraging lawyers who use the flights to visit their clients at the detention facility. The order comes just days after lawyers of detainees held at Guantanamo sent a letter to U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel complaining of tougher treatment of detainees by the base commander who arrived last summer. At least 25 suspected terrorists held at the detention facility are participating in a hunger strike, which lawyers say is a result of the treatment they are receiving.

AVIATION, REGULATION and JUSTICE:

CNN: Last in, first out: New air traffic control towers among those on chopping block

At 106-feet tall, the new control tower at Frederick Municipal Airport in Maryland could be called monumental. On Friday the nation will learn whether it's a monument to government dysfunction. Opened last May with a $5.3 million from one federal government program, the tower could be closed because of another. The stimulus package - a 2009 law spearheaded by President Barack Obama to jump-start the economy - was Santa Claus, giving Frederick the new tower. The forced spending cuts - which went into effect March 1 - are The Grinch threatening to shut the tower down.

CNN: Reagan national security adviser under suspicion for representing Sudan

A former Reagan administration national security adviser is suspected of having illegally represented the government of Sudan, which has been under strict U.S. government sanctions and a trade embargo for nearly 20 years for supporting terrorism and violating human rights. FBI agents searched the Watergate apartment in Washington where Robert McFarlane resides seeking evidence of his alleged connection with Sudan. Court documents show agents seized handwritten notes, computer equipment and White House documents classified up to the level of Top Secret.

CNN: Married same-sex couple awaits epic high court appeal

The wedding photo shows the happy couple poised to kiss, ready to begin an adventure that has now taken them to the U.S. Supreme Court. For Karane and Jamelle Thomas-Williams, this is a fight for recognition by the federal government of their legal same-sex union, part of a landmark constitutional appeal over same-sex marriage and "equal protection." Their love has united them, but the larger social issue has split the country for more than four decades. The Washington, D.C., couple legally married last October, but not in the eyes of some of their employers or elected leaders.

WSJ: FCC Chairman Genachowski to Step Down

The nation's top telecommunications regulator is set to announce Friday that he will step down after four years on the job that included a successful challenge to AT&T Inc.'s T -0.11% proposed merger with T-Mobile USA, people familiar with the matter said. Julius Genachowski, chairman of the Federal Communications Commission, will announce his departure Friday, an FCC official and an industry official said, leaving the five-member commission with two vacant seats. President Barack Obama is expected to fill those seats soon. Mr. Genachowski's office declined to comment.

CNN: Some immigration detainees back in custody weeks after surprise release

After months in an immigration detention facility, Hector Adame was so surprised when guards said he could go that he didn't believe them. "They had to shout (the news) at him so he would leave," his wife, Victorina, said this week. The family soon learned that Adame - who had first been arrested on a drunk driving charge - was one of more than 2,000 immigration detainees federal authorities released last month in a controversial move that officials said would cut costs as forced budget cuts loomed. But the construction worker's joy at being released was short-lived. Now, the undocumented immigrant is back behind bars. So are more than two dozen others, according to federal officials.

REGIONAL HEADLINES:

Cleveland Plain Dealer: Kasich recants his support of civil unions

Ohio Gov. John Kasich revealed on Wednesday that he supports civil unions for same-sex couples. But don't quote him on that. A spokesman for the Republican governor said Thursday that Kasich misspoke when he expressed support for the legal partnerships. The truth is, he doesn't. "The governor's position is unchanged," Kasich's spokesman Rob Nichols said Thursday in a statement. "He opposes gay marriage and opposes changing Ohio's constitution to allow for civil unions."

INTERNATIONAL:

CNN: Attorney: Sarkozy under formal investigation in campaign funding case

An investigative judge has placed former French President Nicolas Sarkozy under formal investigation for breach of trust, accusing him of taking advantage of elderly L'Oreal cosmetic heiress Liliane Bettencourt to help fund his 2007 campaign, Sarkozy's attorney said, according to CNN affiliate BFM-TV. The former president was summoned to appear at Judge Jean-Michel Gentil's office in Bordeaux on Thursday in a case in which he is suspected of accepting illegal contributions from Bettencourt and her staff, BFM-TV said.

CNN: Angry over U.N. inquiry, North Korea touts its human rights credentials

North Korea reacted with indignation to a United Nations decision to investigate allegations of human rights abuses inside the isolated state, claiming it has one of the best systems worldwide for protecting citizens' rights. The United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva said delegates agreed Thursday to set up a commission of inquiry to examine "grave, widespread and systematic' violations of human rights" in North Korea.

NYT: Hezbollah Courier Found Guilty in Plot to Attack Israeli Tourists in Cyprus

In a decision that could have significant repercussions for Hezbollah’s operations in Europe, a court in Cyprus on Thursday found a man guilty of participating in a plot to attack Israeli tourists there, part of a conspiracy similar to a deadly bombing last July in Bulgaria. The court found the man, Hossam Taleb Yaacoub, a dual Swedish-Lebanese citizen, guilty on five of the eight charges against him, including participation in a criminal organization and in the preparation of a criminal act. The three other counts were conspiracy charges, which the ruling said were already covered under the other counts. Mr. Yaacoub will be sentenced at a separate hearing. He was initially charged with several terrorism-related counts as well.

BBC: Cyprus MPs due to vote on new plan to secure bailout

MPs in Cyprus are due to begin voting on a series of bills that aim to raise the funds the country needs to secure an international bailout. The country is in a race against time after the European Central Bank gave Cyprus until Monday to find the money. If it does not, liquidity to the country's banks could be cut off and they could collapse.

CNN: Italy to send 2 marines accused of killing fishermen back to India

Italy has moved to defuse a diplomatic dispute with India by agreeing to send back two Italian marines accused of killing two Indian fishermen last year. The two Italian marines are due to face trial in India over the allegations, but after the Indian Supreme Court allowed them to return to Italy last month to vote in national elections, Rome refused to send them back. That decision angered Indian government officials and Supreme Court justices, who noted that the Italian ambassador had given assurances to the court that the marines, Massimiliano Latorre and Salvatore Girone, would come back to India after the elections.

CNN: Marketplace blast kills 6 in Pakistan, injures 30

A powerful explosion racked Pakistan's troubled Balochistan province on Friday, killing six people and injuring 30 others, police said. Militants planted a bomb in a rickshaw parked in crowded marketplace in Dera Allah Yar, assistant police superintendent Zahoor Fareedi said. Around a dozen shops were damaged in the blast.

CNN: About 20 dead in Myanmar as clashes between Buddhists, Muslims continue

The death toll from clashes between Buddhists and Muslims in central Myanmar has risen to around 20, a local lawmaker said Friday. Set off by a dispute between a Muslim gold shop owner and two Buddhist sellers, the violence in Meiktila Township has prompted thousands of residents to flee their homes as rioters set fire to houses, schools and mosques, according to Win Htein, a member of parliament for the area.

CNN: Dominican military officials among 35 arrested in drug bust

Authorities in the Dominican Republic have arrested 35 people - including military, police and customs officials - in a drug bust at the country's busiest airport. The arrests were made in connection with the seizure of a private jet carrying 682 packets of cocaine in 26 suitcases, the country's drug enforcement agency said Thursday. The plane had been scheduled to leave the PuntaCanaInternationalAirport for France, with a layover in the Azores, authorities said.

BUSINESS:

Reuters: Special Report: Inside Putin's central bank surprise

"It will be a surprise – you'll like it," President Vladimir Putin said with a smile when asked whether he had decided who should be next head of Russia's central bank. The former KGB spy said nothing more to reporters but the timing of his comment on March 7, the eve of International Women's Day, sent a coded message that was quickly deciphered. Before the holiday weekend was out his top economic aide, Elvira Nabiullina, had emerged as the sole viable candidate after months of intrigue and disinformation over who Putin would name to the coveted post.

WSJ: Health Insurers Warn on Premiums

Health insurers are privately warning brokers that premiums for many individuals and small businesses could increase sharply next year because of the health-care overhaul law, with the nation's biggest firm projecting that rates could more than double for some consumers buying their own plans. The projections, made in sessions with brokers and agents, provide some of the most concrete evidence yet of how much insurance companies might increase prices when major provisions of the law kick in next year—a subject of rigorous debate.


Filed under: Washington AM Note
soundoff (3 Responses)
  1. king

    when will these repubs give this president any credit, they claim that the healthcare bill will destroy the nation, for the past 4 years, healthcare cost is actually going down, and the healthcare industry have been adding jobs at a monumental rate since its existence, and its not even fully incorporated yet. they claim tax hike on the job creators will destroy the economy, well since january the economy have been exploding with record stock market record after another. they have been obstructing the president job bill to modernize our crumbling infrastructure, while china and india modernize, and taking our investments from wall street and other countries. when will these repubs come to their senses and start working for the american people and stop cutting our education, while other countries boast theirs, to send their workers to america, and take our jobs. their one focus is cut cut cut, and it doesnt matter what devastation we are setting up to compete in the future with up and coming economies.

    March 22, 2013 07:05 am at 7:05 am |
  2. Rudy NYC

    CNN: NRA sues over New York gun control
    ------------------------
    The NRA needs to mind its' own business, and stop wasting my tax dollars in frivilous lawsuits. This is what they were successfully able to do to Chicago and the State of Illinois, whiich is to overturn common sense legislation.

    Remember that guy last year in upstate New York who set his house on fire and then shot and killed the volunteer firefighters when they showed up to put out the fire? The new law is designed to prevent weapons from being in the hands of distrurbed individuals like that.

    IF you wish to understand the NRA, then just a look at who the board members are. All of them are CEOs and top executives at companies that manufacture weapons and ammo. Not a single averge Joe, weekend deer hunter, among them.

    March 22, 2013 08:16 am at 8:16 am |
  3. Rudy NYC

    Congressional Republicans pressing administration for Benghazi answers
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    How stupid is the Republican pressure over Benghazi? Their main complaint seems to be that the administratino offered no armed response to fight off the attack. The nearest attack forces who could have responded were in Germany, which is several hours flight time away. They argue as if a fully armed and fully operational battle station was right next door. The place was a consulate annex, not the main embassy. Embassies are not forts or armed garrisons. They primarily a residence. The responsibility for providing amred protection at foreign embassies against such attacks falls on the host country.

    March 22, 2013 08:30 am at 8:30 am |