CNN: Holmes' doctor warned that he was dangerous
A psychiatrist, who treated suspected mass killer James Holmes, warned police a month before the Colorado theater shooting that Holmes had made homicidal statements and was a danger to the public, according to documents released this week. It is unclear what was done with that information or if that warning could have helped stop the July 20 shooting at an Aurora, Colorado movie theater that left 12 dead and dozens injured. Holmes, a former doctoral student in neuroscience, faces 166 charges, including murder, attempted murder and weapons offenses, tied to the rampage during a screening of "Batman: The Dark Knight Rises."
CNN: Assault weapon ban, other restrictions pass in Maryland
Maryland is set to adopt some of the nation's strictest gun laws after the state Senate passed a bill on Thursday that includes an assault weapons ban and gun magazine limits. The legislation now goes to Democratic Gov. Martin O'Malley, who is expected to sign it into law. "With today’s vote, Maryland has chosen to enact a comprehensive, common sense approach to prevent gun violence & make our communities safer,” he posted online after the vote.
CNN: Texas mourners' plea: 'Chase 'em down, bring 'em to justice'
The memorial service Thursday for a slain Texas prosecutor and his wife was somber, but one phrase made mourners erupt in applause. "Chase 'em down. Go get 'em. Bring 'em to justice," said Chris Heisler, who led the service, drawing cheers and whistles from the crowd. "Take them out of the hole they come from." The emotional plea came as investigators search for suspects in the unsolved killings of two prosecutors that have shaken this Texas county and drawn national attention.
ALSO SEE: CNN: Interim Kaufman County DA known as tough court opponent
CBS: Newtown parents and family vow lifelong mission
Some of the parents and family of the 26 children and adults killed in the mass shooting in Newtown, Conn., tell Scott Pelley their mission for gun control will last throughout their lifetimes. Several parents and a husband of one of the victims of Adam Lanza's murder-suicide rampage last December spoke to Pelley in Newtown for a 60 Minutes report to be broadcast Sunday, April 7 at 7:00 p.m. ET/PT. A portion of the report was broadcast on the CBS Evening News with Scott Pelley.
CNN: Obama to propose changes to Medicare and Social Security in new budget
President Barack Obama's upcoming budget will include proposed changes to Social Security and Medicare plus some new tax increases, changes that are an effort for the president to reach a deficit deal with Republicans, according to senior administration officials. The budget will include an offer Obama made to House Speaker John Boehner in December, officials said. That proposal included $400 billion in savings to Medicare over 10 years. "The President's budget to be presented on Wednesday will show how we can invest in the things we need to grow our economy, create jobs and strengthen the middle class while further reducing the deficit in a balanced way," a senior administration official said. For Social Security, Obama plans to propose a switch to a key Republican request called "chained CPI," which is an inflation formula.
CNN: Activists make voices heard inside and outside Obama's fundraisers
The Keystone XL pipeline controversy greeted President Barack Obama in San Francisco this week with activists outside one big-dollar fundraising event urging him to reject the energy project. Although he didn’t mention Keystone specifically in his remarks at Ann and Gordon Getty’s Pacific Heights mansion on Wednesday night, Obama did allude to the tricky balance between protecting the environment and spurring economic growth. “If we’re going to deal with climate change in a serious way, then we’ve got to have folks in Congress – even when it’s not politically convenient – to talk about it and advocate for it, and break out of this notion that somehow there’s a contradiction between us being good stewards of the environment and us growing this economy. They are not a contradiction,” Obama told a crowd of 75 people at the $32,400-a-plate dinner.
CNN: Obama rekindles talk of a White House boys' club
President Obama reopened the debate Thursday over whether his administration is too influenced by men after praising the looks of Kamala Harris, California's attorney general and a possible future gubernatorial candidate. "You have to be careful to, first of all, say she is brilliant and she is dedicated and she is tough, and she is exactly what you'd want in anybody who is administering the law, and making sure that everybody is getting a fair shake," Obama said at a party fundraiser in Atherton, Calif., a wealthy suburb of San Francisco. "She also happens to be, by far, the best looking attorney general in the country." As the crowd laughed, Obama added, "It's true! C'mon."
CBS: Michelle Obama flubs, calls herself a "busy single mother"
During an interview with Burlington, Vt. CBS affiliate WCAX, first lady Michelle Obama described herself as a "busy single mother" before quickly correcting herself, explaining, "Sometimes when you've got the husband who's president, it can feel a little single, but he's there."
National Review: Heritage, NRA, ACLU Sound Alarm: Reid Bill Could Lead to National Gun Registry
The gun-control debate is making strange bedfellows. The Heritage Foundation, the National Rifle Association, and American Civil Liberties Union are all raising concerns about language contained in Senate majority leader Harry Reid’s gun legislation could allow for the creation of a national firearms registry. The Reid bill requires individuals to use licensed importers, dealers, or manufacturers to sell or transfer firearms, and mandates that “a record of transaction of any transfer that occurred between an unlicensed transferor and an unlicensed transferee” be kept. It does not, however, explain what sort of record should be kept or who must create and keep the records. Reid’s legislation does not include a prohibition on the creation of a national gun registry, which was included in 1993′s Brady Bill (specifically, regarding the National Instant Criminal Background Check System).
The Hill: Groups worry Schumer, Manchin watering down gun control bill
Gun control groups say Sens. Charles Schumer (N.Y.) and Joe Manchin (W.Va.) are watering down a bill that expands background checks on gun purchases. The groups say the two Democratic senators are going too far in a bid to win Republican support for gun control legislation expected to hit the Senate floor next week. “Everyone supports background checks except for NRA leadership,” said Josh Horwitz, executive director of the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence, one of the advocates alarmed by the changes Schumer and Manchin are suggesting. “I think we should be tough on this deal,” he said. “If the vote fails and a legislator votes down background checks, there’s hell down to pay.”
The Hill: First key fight in immigration battle is what to name the reform bill
One of the first political issues negotiators must tackle in crafting an immigration reform bill is among the most important: what to name it. It’s a decision that will bruise egos, create legacies and deeply affect subsequent messaging battles. “Every time the bill is mentioned in the press, you either have a brand that's positive or a brand that doesn't mean anything or even hurts you,” said Frank Sharry, the executive director of the pro-immigration reform group America’s voice. The wrong name, he warned, could doom a good bill.
CNN: Kerry pledges to donate portion of salary to charity
Secretary of State John Kerry on Thursday joined the list of Obama administration officials who have pledged to give back part of their salary in recognition of furloughed federal workers. Both President Barack Obama and Defense Secretary Hagel have said they will write a check to the Treasury to show unity with those affected by the forced spending cuts that went into effect on April1. Time Magazine reported Thursday that Attorney General Eric Holder will also take a pay cut equal to 14 days of his salary, citing a Justice Department spokesperson.
ALSO SEE: Politico: Janet Napolitano, Jack Lew to give pay to charity
CNN: Brown, former Massachusetts senator, may return to politics in New Hampshire
Former Sen. Scott Brown, the Massachusetts Republican who in November lost his reelection bid for a full term, said Thursday night he is considering a return to politics, and possibly not in the state which previously sent him to Washington. "I don't think I'm done with politics, but I'm not going to rule out anything right now because I really haven't thought a heck of a lot about it," he said, when asked by reporters whether he would run for office in New Hampshire. Scott was speaking at a Republican political event there and underscored his ties to the state which is just north of Massachusetts.
WSJ: Deep in the Red of Texas, Republicans Fight the Blues
Soon after Texas Republicans notched another round of lopsided wins last November, the state GOP sent notice to its local chapters: Please stop holding party meetings in country clubs. Other advice followed. Please consider hosting Republican recruiting tables at naturalization ceremonies. Word spread among state GOP lawmakers to back off on bills targeting illegal immigrants in the legislative session. In no state is the Republican grip at once so firm, and under such challenge from Democrats, as it is in Texas. And nowhere is that grip of more consequence to the fortunes of the national GOP.
Politico: Mark Zuckerberg immigration group’s status: Stumbling
Even the man who transformed social media can get into a messaging mess. The immigration reform group that will be Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s entry into politics was supposed to launch as early as next week with a lot of fanfare, support and money — but the person leading the effort is already hitting unlike on its launch plan. That plan, sent to board members and staff, was written by Joe Green — one of Zuckerberg’s Harvard roommates and the man the young billionaire tapped to lead his group. But before the group’s unveiling, Green has apologized for the plan’s phrasing and several claims which he now says aren’t right.
CNN: Sen. Nelson endorses same-sex marriage
Florida Sen. Bill Nelson on Thursday joined a recent wave of Democratic senators announcing their support for same sex marriage, reversing his position on the issue and telling a Florida newspaper the "civil rights and responsibilities for one must pertain to all." His statement to The Tampa Bay Times quoted the Declaration of Independence and asked, "If we are endowed by our Creator with rights, then why shouldn't those be attainable by Gays and Lesbians? Simply put, if The Lord made homosexuals as well as heterosexuals, why should I discriminate against their civil marriage? I shouldn't, and I won't," he wrote.
Roll Call: Pennsylvania: Fitzpatrick Gets Democratic Challenger
Democrat Kevin Strouse, a former Army Ranger, announced on Thursday that he will challenge GOP Rep. Michael G. Fitzpatrick in Pennsylvania’s 8th District. The district, which almost evenly split its vote in the 2012 presidential contest, is one of the Democrats’ best pickup opportunities. Democrats need to net 17 seats in 2014 to win back the House, and they’ll likely need districts like this one in suburban Philadelphia to get there.
CNN: Amid Pyongyang bluster, missile launch feared
Missile and launch components have been moved to the east coast of North Korea in the "last few days," a U.S. official with direct knowledge of the information told CNN Thursday. The apparent deployment comes amid further threatening statements by North Korea and heightened tensions in the region - a situation that "does not need to get hotter," a U.S. State Department spokeswoman said. The move of the missile and launch equipment could mean that Pyongyang, which unleashed another round of scathing rhetoric accusing the United States of pushing the region to the "brink of war," may be planning a missile launch soon.
WATCH: VIDEO – How and where would North Korea strike US troops? CNN's Chris Lawrence reports
CNN: U.S. reducing rhetoric that feeds North Korean belligerence
Recent announcements of American military deployments in response to belligerent statements by North Korea may have contributed to escalating tensions between the two countries, Pentagon officials told CNN on Thursday in explaining an effort to reduce U.S. rhetoric about the reclusive state. "We accused the North Koreans of amping things up, now we are worried we did the same thing," one Defense Department official said. They spoke on the same day a U.S. official first told CNN that communications intercepts indicated North Korea may be planning to launch a mobile ballistic missile in the coming days or weeks. Classified images and communications intercepts show that North Korea has moved up to two mobile missiles, launchers and fuel tanks to its East coast, another American official with knowledge of the matter told CNN.
ALSO SEE: CNN: North Korea difficult intel target
CNN: New talks seek progress on Iran's controversial nuclear program
Representatives from six world powers and Iran returned to the negotiating table Friday in Kazakhstan for fresh talks aimed at breaking the deadlock over Iran's controversial nuclear program. When negotiators from the six-nation diplomatic bloc last sat down with Iran's envoy in the Kazakh city of Almaty in February, they delivered what they characterized as a "fair and balanced offer" to defuse tensions over the Iranian nuclear program. "We are waiting to see how Iran responds to the proposal we put on the table," Michael Mann, a European Union spokesman, told journalists shortly after negotiations resumed on Friday.
ALSO SEE: Bloomberg: Iran’s $100 Billion Cost Adds Challenge to Nuclear Deal
CNN: U.S. General in charge of perilous Horn of Africa fired
Maj. Gen. Ralph Baker, commander of the Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa, was fired March 28, according to a Washington defense official. The command is headquartered in Djibouti and runs U.S. military operations in East Africa, including some counter-terrorism operations. Baker, a two-star general, is appealing the firing, which was ordered by his boss, Gen. Carter Ham, the commanding general of all U.S. military operations across Africa. The official declined to be named, because Baker's appeal is still under way.
AVIATION, REGULATION and JUSTICE:
CNN: Eric Holder: Supreme Court decision won't stop voting rights enforcement
Attorney General Eric Holder on Thursday vowed to aggressively enforce federal voting rights laws no matter what the Supreme Court decides this year about ending a controversial part of the 1965 Voting Rights Act. Speaking to African-American leaders in New York City, Holder called the requirement that portions of 15 mostly southern states continue to gain Justice Department or federal court approval of any proposed changes in voting procedures "indispensable" and a "constitutional tool" to eradicate discriminatory voting procedures. When the case was argued earlier this year, some conservative justices signaled that the provision, known as Section 5, may have outlived its usefulness.
NYT: U.S. Agrees to New Rules for Immigration Raids
Federal authorities have agreed to establish new policies governing the conduct of immigration officers during raids, including restrictions on how and when agents can enter private homes, the source of widespread ire and anxiety among immigrants. The rules are included in a settlement that was approved by a Federal District Court judge on Thursday, concluding a six-year-old class-action lawsuit. The suit contended that in eight raids in 2006 and 2007, Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents, without court warrants or other legal justification, forced their way into the homes of Latino families on Long Island and in Westchester County.
CNN: Secret Service head personal info on Internet, site claims
The FBI and the Secret Service are investigating another incident involving a website that has divulged purported personal information about senior U.S. government officials and celebrities. This time it is the new Secret Service director. A website posted information allegedly about Julia Pierson, who was named in March to head the agency charged with protecting the president and other top-level government officials.
NBC: Florida court: Undocumented immigrant can't be admitted to bar
An undocumented immigrant who applied for a law license in Florida cannot be admitted to the bar, the State Supreme Court said Thursday in a case being watched closely by both sides of the immigration debate. But the decision, according to legal observers, did not appear to be an actual rejection of the request made by Jose Godinez-Samperio, 26. Rather, the court indicated it would be deciding on the larger question it had been asked - whether or not to allow people unlawfully in the country to become lawyers - and not on a specific individual case.
CNN: Cop on vacation halts Hawaiian airport tussle
There's no such thing as an off-duty cop. At least if it's Justin Roberts, there's not.
The police corporal from Pinole, California, was just capping off a family vacation in Hawaii. He was going through security at the Honolulu airport last Saturday, when he felt compelled to spring into action to stop a rowdy security breach. He had just taken his shoes off to go through the body scanner, when he heard a "loud crash" off to his side, he told CNN affiliate KTVU. "When I turned around, I saw a woman with her arms flailing, screaming at this TSA agent." He turned back around, thinking security officers would handle the ruckus. They didn't at first. The disturbance turned into fisticuffs, TSA surveillance camera video revealed. The woman, who was trying to force her way through the security section for flight personnel, lit into the female TSA agent who was blocking her path.
Philadelphia Inquirer: Mandatory 2-year prison term proposed for illegal firearm users in Phila.
On a day when Connecticut and Maryland legislators ushered in historic new gun laws, a bipartisan lineup of Pennsylvania legislators and law enforcement officials put forth a bill that would slap an added mandatory two-year prison term on anyone caught with an illegal firearm – but only in Philadelphia. "This is not about gun control," Philadelphia District Attorney Seth Williams said Thursday, flanked by politicians and officials from the city and suburbs. "People who carry guns illegally are the people who are shooting people, murdering people, pistol-whipping people, threatening witnesses. . . . We need a game-changer here in Philadelphia."
Baltimore Sun: Ayanbadejo speculates on his release from the Ravens
In New York, where he was to be honored at Thursday night's Straight for Equality Gala, Brendon Ayanbadejo suggested to a local newspaper reporter that one of the reasons that he was cut by the Ravens was his outspoken advocacy for same-sex marriage — a suggestion he later distanced himself from on Twitter. “My bark is louder than my bite,” Ayanbadejo told Newsday. “I make a lot of noise and garner a lot of attention for various things off the football field. When that starts happening, why do you have that player around?”
San Francisco Chronicle: Oakland police trained on mental illness
Oakland police say they receive an inordinately high number of 911 calls, many of them from unstable people, so they have started tracking those calls and have begun to learn better ways to deal with people with mental illness. The understaffed Oakland Police Department believes it receives the highest number of 911 calls per capita in the nation. Officials hope they can minimize the explosive nature of some of those calls by improving their tactics, but they say that the unstable need to be handled by mental health professionals. "It's a losing battle to treat mental health issues through a 911 response," said Sgt. Chris Bolton, chief of staff to Police Chief Howard Jordan. "Deeper solutions are needed."
Denver Post: Gun-related recall efforts in Colorado carry risks
Gun-rights advocates furious over gun bills in the Colorado legislature have launched recall efforts against the state Senate president and a rural House lawmaker, and are talking about going after the governor and other Democratic politicians. Yet the state's most hardball gun-rights advocate isn't sure a recall is the best strategy. That dynamic underscores the strong hand Republicans believe the new gun-control laws have dealt them — but also the peril they face in going forward with recalls.
Financial Times: IEA to open up to emerging nations
The International Energy Agency is taking the first steps to open up to emerging economies such as China in the clearest indication of the sea-change in the world’s map of energy over the past decade. The IEA, which counts the US, Japan and Germany as members, has started discussions to seek an “association” with seven emerging economies for the first time since it was founded nearly 40 years ago, after the first oil crisis, as a grouping of industrialised economies.
NYT: Jordanians and Turks Are Focus of Syria’s Ire
Syria lashed out at Turkey and Jordan on Thursday for what it called their duplicitous work in fomenting the Syrian rebellion, accusing the Turkish prime minister of chronic lies and telling the Jordanians they were “playing with fire” in letting insurgents arm and train on their soil — a possible hint of retaliation. The criticisms in the state news media appeared to be part of an intensified propaganda response to new rebel gains in the two-year-old conflict and President Bashar al-Assad’s further isolation.
Jerusalem Post: Hamas reportedly training Syrian rebels in Damascus
The military unit of Hamas has broken ties with former ally Syrian President Bashar Assad and began training members of the opposition's Free Syrian Army in Damascus, the Times reported on Friday. Anonymous diplomatic sources told the Times that members of the Ezzedine al-Qassam Brigades were training FSA units in the rebel-held neighborhoods of Yalda, Jaramana and Babbila in the Syrian capital. “The Qassam Brigades have been training units very close to Damascus. These are specialists. They are really good,” a Western diplomat with contacts in both the Assad regime and the Syrian opposition told the British daily newspaper.
CNN: At least 35 people killed in India building collapse
At least 35 people have died and dozens have been injured after an illegal building still under construction collapsed in western India, police said Friday. The building, in Thane, about 10 kilometers northeast of central Mumbai, caved in on Thursday evening, injuring 69 people, said Digambar Jangale, a local police official. Rescuers are still searching through the wreckage, he said, and five children are among those pulled alive from the rubble so far Friday.
CNN: Gillard trip underlines Australia's dependence on China
Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard is expected to secure a major currency conversion deal with her nation's number one trading partner as she begins a six-day visit to China Friday. The deal has ramifications beyond Beijing-Canberra ties as a step towards full convertibility of the yuan on international markets, denting the primacy of the U.S. dollar as the world's reserve currency of choice. Currently, Chinese and Australian companies must use the U.S. dollar as an intermediary for trade. The Australian leader also faces the task of assuring China that her nation's growing defense agreements with the U.S. pose no threat to Beijing.
WSJ: Pakistani Candidates Face Religious Vetting
Pakistan's election authorities have begun forcing candidates for parliament to prove their Islamic credentials, often in front of TV cameras, in a test of whether any space remains for secularism in the country's politics. In a parallel process, officials are scrutinizing the personal finances of candidates for the May 11 election, while courts have begun jailing outgoing lawmakers for having falsely claimed to have college degrees, which were a requirement in the previous election. And on Thursday, a lawmaker was barred from running again on the basis of his newspaper columns. The heightened scrutiny comes as Pakistan's Supreme Court, under activist Chief Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry, has been on a mission to clean up government at a time when many Pakistanis view their leaders as corrupt.
CNN: Shanghai closing all live poultry markets as China avian flu toll rises to 6
Authorities in Shanghai will temporarily close all live poultry markets in the city starting Saturday, the city's municipal press office said Friday, after six deaths in eastern China from an unusual strain of bird flu. They have begun slaughtering all the birds at a market in the city after an unusual strain of bird flu that has so far killed six people in China was found in pigeons on sale there, state media reported. The cull at the Huhai agricultural market in Shanghai, which began Thursday, came as researchers in the United States said they had started work on developing a vaccine for the H7N9 avian flu virus, which had not been found in humans before the cases reported in China this week.
CNNMoney: Nikkei mounts another rally after BoJ decision
Japan's Nikkei touched its highest level in almost five years Friday, adding momentum in the wake of aggressive actions by the Bank of Japan to counter persistent deflation by pumping more money into the economy. The index shot above 13,000 for the first time since 2008 in early trading, before losing momentum to close at 12,833 - a 1.6% increase. The yen also weakened, falling to 97 per dollar, a level not seen since 2009. The reactions come one day after new BoJ chief Haruhiko Kuroda announced a vast expansion of the central bank's stimulus program.
Bloomberg: Lew to Push Growth Amid Contagion Concerns in First Europe Visit
Jacob J. Lew pivots to Europe, a region fraught with risks to the world economy, after making China his first overseas destination as Treasury secretary last month in a nod to the strongest engine of global growth. Lew arrives April 8 for a two-day visit to meet with European Central Bank President Mario Draghi in Frankfurt, German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble in Berlin, French Finance Minister Pierre Moscovici in Paris and European Union officials in Brussels. He returns to Washington the evening before President Barack Obama sends his overdue fiscal 2014 budget to Congress on April 10. As the American economy accelerates and Europe’s recession drags on, Lew may prod officials in the region to boost growth and limit financial-market contagion, said Eswar Prasad, a professor at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York.
CNNMoney: Major Bitcoin exchanges hit with cyberattacks
As interest has surged in Bitcoin, platforms that support the digital currency have been hit by damaging cyberattacks this week. Mt. Gox, a Tokyo-based exchange that claims to handle more than 70% of all Bitcoin trades, said in a statement on Thursday that it had been hit by a massive Distributed Denial of Service attack. In a DDoS attack, hackers direct a giant traffic surge to their target, overwhelming the site's servers and making it hard for legitimate users to gain access. The attacks appear to have shaken confidence among some Bitcoin users.
ALSO SEE: CNNMoney: Bitcoin ATMs coming soon
Reuters: Exclusive: Disney to begin layoffs in studio, consumer products – sources
Walt Disney Co expects to begin layoffs at its studio and consumer product divisions within the next two weeks, according to two people with knowledge of the matter, in the latest cost-reduction step to emerge from a company-wide review. The studio job cuts will center on the marketing and home video units and include a small number from the animation wing, said the sources, who spoke on condition of anonymity because the plans had not been made public. It is unknown how many jobs will be lost at either division.
WSJ: Corzine Blasted in MF Global Autopsy
Jon S. Corzine, the former New Jersey governor who revved up risky trading as chief executive at MF Global Holdings Ltd., MFGLQ -5.13% deserves much of the blame for the firm's 2011 demise, according to a bankruptcy trustee's report released Thursday. The report mentioned Mr. Corzine's name a total of 284 times—an average of more than once per page—and concluded that he and his management team engaged in "negligent conduct.