CNN Washington AM Note
April 9th, 2013
05:45 AM ET
2 years ago

CNN Washington AM Note

BREAKING OVERNIGHT:

CNN: North Korea tells foreigners in South to take safety measures

North Korea issued its latest dispatch of ominous rhetoric on Tuesday, telling foreigners in South Korea they should take steps to secure shelter or evacuation to protect themselves in the event of a conflict on the Korean Peninsula. The unnerving message, announced by state-run media, follows a warning from the North last week to diplomats in its capital city, Pyongyang, that if war were to break out, it would not be able to guarantee their safety.

CNN: Iran marks 'National Nuclear Day' with a new uranium-processing site

Two days after nuclear talks with world leaders yielded little progress, Iran announced it has opened a new uranium-processing site to mark "National Nuclear Day." The country opened a uranium-processing facility as well as a uranium mine in the central province of Yazd, state-run TV reported. Despite two days of intense negotiations, European Union Foreign Policy Chief Catherine Ashton said Saturday that Iran and six world powers "remain far apart" on Tehran's controversial nuclear program.

NATIONAL STORIES:

CNN: Winter still blowing with blizzard and twister

A wildfire due to extreme drought, a possible tornado touchdown and a blizzard warning all within a 50 mile radius– the weather in northeast Colorado must have gone crazy overnight. Hours after firefighters defeated a 2,600 acre blaze in Sterling County, a wind storm, suspected of being a tornado, tore down a home in adjoining Washington County to the south. The National Weather Service is predicting a blizzard in the neighboring counties of Arapahoe and Adams to the east, where temperatures should drop into the single digits Tuesday night. Those traveling to the area beware. At least two dozen flights into Denver International Airport are expected to be canceled, as the tarmac is predicted to see 5 to 8 inches of snow.

CNN: Search for U.S. couple, their missing sons focuses on Cuba

The search for a U.S. man who allegedly abducted his two young sons last week focused Monday on Cuba, with a Florida sheriff's department saying it had received information that the man, his wife and sons had arrived in the island nation, possibly by sailboat. A State Department official in Washington told CNN that the U.S. Interest Section in Havana "is aware of this case and is in contact with local authorities to get more information." The official would not comment further, citing "privacy considerations." Authorities believe the father, Joshua Michael Hakken of Louisiana, abducted his sons Chase Hakken, 2, and Cole Hakken, 4, early Wednesday after breaking into the Florida home of the children's grandmother and tying her up.

Bloomberg: Adults Skipping Medicines to Save Money, Research Finds

Adults who haven’t reached retirement age were twice as likely as those who have to skip their prescribed medications to save money, a U.S. study found. About 20 percent of adults regardless of age have asked their doctors for a lower cost treatment, according to the study released today by the Atlanta-based Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Spending on drugs is expected to increase an average of 6.6 percent a year from 2015 through 2021, the Kaiser Family Foundation has reported. Americans spent $45 billion out-of-pocket on retail prescription drugs in 2011, the CDC said. The Affordable Care Act is expected to expand access in 2014 when medication coverage is considered an essential benefit of any health plan offered in new insurance marketplaces called exchanges.

WSJ: Colorado Sets Pot-Sale Rules

A task force of Colorado lawmakers decided Monday that purveyors of recreational marijuana won't have to grow most of what they sell, a controversial move that is likely to divide the nascent pot industry. Whether marijuana retailers should be "vertically integrated" was the last major question lawmakers had to address as they developed rules for recreational-pot sales and use. State voters legalized marijuana for everyone 21 and older in November. The full state legislature must approve rules to govern the new market by May 8.

HuffPo: Sequester Effects: Top Public Defender Forced To Fire Himself

As he looked over his office's budget sheets alongside his administrative assistant, Steve Nolder, the director of the public defender's office in southern Ohio, was confronted with no good options. … Nolder had to reduce staff. He looked around and studied his no-good options before concluding that the best path forward was to fire himself. …As the effects of sequestration take hold, one of the most harmed professional groups has been federal public defenders. The federal public defender system has been forced to absorb an estimated $43 million cut this year alone.

WHITE HOUSE:

CNN: Obama scolds lawmakers for reticence in passing gun control

President Barack Obama angrily chided lawmakers reluctant to back gun control legislation on Monday, saying the overwhelming support for measures like universal background checks among the American people should force action in Congress. The president was speaking in Hartford, not far from the site of the massacre in Connecticut that left 20 children and six adults dead at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown. Obama's calls for tighter gun control laws began in the aftermath of that shooting, though measures he proposed appear to be stalled in Congress.

CNN Poll: Obama at 51% approval but lower on key issues

As President Barack Obama begins what could be a pivotal week, with gun control, immigration reform and border security, and the budget all in the spotlight, a new national survey indicates the president's approval rating has inched above the 50% mark. But according to a CNN/ORC International poll released Monday, the president's approval numbers on those three crucial issues remain below 50%.

NYT: Student Loan Rate Set to Rise, Despite Lack of Support

The interest rate on many student loans is scheduled to double on July 1, to 6.8 percent from 3.4 percent — just as it was last year, when in the midst of an election campaign, Congress voted to extend the lower rate. Again this year, no one wants the increase to happen, especially since even the current rate is well above market. But once again, there is likely to be a good deal of brinkmanship before the issue is settled. This time around, though, longer-term solutions may be on the horizon. On Tuesday, the day before the White House plans to send its budget to Congress, student advocacy groups are releasing an issue brief charging that the federal government should not be profiting from student loans, while more and more students bear a crushing debt burden.

BuzzFeed: $250 Billion In Federal Contracts Doled Out In States With No LGBT Anti-Discrimination Laws

Nearly $250 billion in federal contracts given out in the last fiscal year went to contractors operating in states where the companies could fire a worker solely because the person is gay, lesbian or bisexual, a new report has found. A group of organizations that have been urging President Obama to sign an executive order banning federal contractors from discriminating against LGBT workers will be releasing the new report Tuesday as a step in increasing pressure on the president to act during tax time. The report, a copy of which was provided to BuzzFeed Monday night, also has found that nearly $300 billion in federal contracts were given out in states that have no specific state-level protections against anti-transgender discrimination.

USA Today: Report: Redundant federal programs waste billions

Redundant federal programs are leading to billions in waste, congressional auditors say, and the government is slow to adopt reforms to fix the problem. The White House says President Obama recognizes the problem and will propose eliminating redundant programs in the budget plan he releases Wednesday. Among the 31 areas of duplicative spending, spelled out in a report by the Government Accountability Office obtained by USA TODAY: • Government agencies are spending billions on new mapping data — without checking whether some other government agency already has maps they could use. • At least 23 different federal agencies run hundreds of programs to support renewable energy. • Each branch of the armed services is developing its own camouflage uniforms without sharing them with other services.

Politico: White House Garden Tours going forward

White House officials have decided to go ahead with annual garden tours this year despite sequester cuts, an official familiar with the decision tells POLITICO. Tours of the White House itself remained canceled because the cuts have left Secret Service short on manpower to staff them. But there will be enough agents to staff the garden tours, the official said. The tours are slated to happen this Saturday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Sunday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Guests will be able to view the Jacqueline Kennedy Garden, Rose Garden and South Lawn of the White House, as well as the White House Kitchen Garden.

CAPITOL HILL:

CNN: Leading Senate talks falling short of universal background checks

The leading Senate negotiations on gun control legislation favor expanding background checks, but the effort would as of now fall short of the universal approach backed by President Barack Obama and many Democrats, CNN has learned. FBI background checks are currently required for commercial sales. The proposal being considered would expand them to gun shows and Internet sales, but would not require checks for other private transactions, according to multiple sources from both parties who are familiar with the talks. Sources familiar with the negotiations between Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin, D-West Virginia, and Sen. Pat Toomey, R-Pennsylvania, tell CNN they exchanged proposals and ideas over the past few days and will soon get a better sense of where things stand.

CNN Exclusive: Gabby Giffords still appreciates gun culture

Former Congresswoman Gabby Giffords was nearly killed more than 2 years ago by a man with a gun. Today, her brain injuries make speaking difficult, and yet she has become an active spokeswoman for new restrictions on guns. Ironically she has not lost her love of guns. Target practice is still a form of entertainment at her mother's house deep in the Arizona desert. Her husband Mark Kelly uses pots and water bottles as targets, while Giffords watches from the patio with her mother cheering him on.

WATCH: VIDEO - Former Congresswoman Gabby Giffords and Mark Kelly tell CNN's Dana Bash that they continue to own guns for recreation.

NYT: Senate Talks on Farmworker Program Inch Forward

After hitting a snag last week, negotiations in the Senate for an agricultural workers program — the last piece of a broad overhaul of the nation’s immigration laws — appeared to be coming back from the brink on Monday. Representatives of farmworkers and growers inched closer to a deal on wages for workers, under pressure from a bipartisan group of senators who want to move forward soon with a broad immigration overhaul. Though the overall structure for the agricultural workers program had been set, the deal broke down last week over the issue of wages and the number of visas — known as H-2A visas — the program would provide to low-skilled farmworkers.

Bloomberg: U.S. Senators Seeking Tougher Economic Sanctions on Iran

A group of U.S. lawmakers is proposing to intensify the economic pressure on Iran over its disputed nuclear program by drafting the harshest penalties to date on a nation whose income from oil exports has been cut in half by sanctions since 2011. A draft Senate bill, a copy of which was obtained by Bloomberg News from a congressional office, would penalize foreign countries that do business with any Iranian entity controlled by the government. It also would bar Iran from using earnings from oil exports to purchase anything other than food and medicine. The draft measure, which is expected to be finalized and introduced this month, also would require the Islamic Republic to release political prisoners, respect the rights of women and minorities and be “transitioning to a free and democratically elected government” before Iranian government-controlled entities could be removed from the U.S. sanctions list.

WaPo: Michael Bloomberg group’s gun-control scorecard will give lawmakers letter grades

New York Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, one of the nation’s most committed and deep-pocketed gun-control proponents, is ratcheting up pressure on lawmakers by launching a new system to grade them based on their votes and statements on gun issues. Mayors Against Illegal Guns, the nonprofit group financed by Bloomberg (I), will unveil a scoring system Tuesday to award lawmakers grades of A through F, much like the National Rifle Association, which has derived much of its power by deploying letter rankings against politicians at election time. The group’s strategists briefed The Washington Post on the plans ahead of Tuesday’s announcement.

POLITICAL:

CNN: Dem favored in Chicago area district vote

Chicago area voters head to the polls Tuesday to fill the congressional seat left vacant by disgraced former Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. And while February's Democratic primary for the special election for Illinois' 2nd Congressional District was a high profile contest full of drama, the general election campaign has so far been a very low profile affair, and turnout is expected to be light. Democratic nominee Robin Kelly, a former Illinois state representative, is considered the overwhelming favorite in a district, which includes parts of Chicago's Southside, that is one of the most Democratic in the nation.

CNN: GOP lawmakers continue to call out Beyoncé and Jay-Z for ‘shameful’ vacation

Beyoncé and Jay-Z are continuing to face heat from Republicans in Washington for their jaunt last week to Cuba, which remains off-limits for Americans looking only for a tropical vacation. "How nice it would have been if they had said something about freedom and human rights,” Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen told CNN. She and fellow Florida Republican Mario Diaz-Balart are calling on the Treasury Department to reveal whether the superstar couple traveled to Cuba legally. …On Friday, they sent a letter to the Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control requesting the agency look into the trip and report back.

Politico: Hard-core PAC for hard-right Republicans

A former one-term congressman from Louisiana aims to keep stirring up trouble on Capitol Hill from the outside with a new super PAC to support hard-right conservatives in the House of Representatives. Former Rep. Jeff Landry, who lost his bid for reelection last year, will helm a group dubbed Restore Our Republic. The goal of the super PAC, he told POLITICO, is to give conservatives aligned with the GOP’s activist base the same outside support that establishment-side Republicans get from independent expenditure groups. Assisting Landry in the enterprise is Republican strategist Nachama Soloveichik, a former senior aide to Pennsylvania Sen. Pat Toomey and a onetime spokesperson for the conservative Club for Growth

CNN: Santorum to focus on GOP's future in Iowa

Republicans hoping to regain the White House in 2016 would make a mistake by ignoring social issues, one of those potential candidates said Monday. Rick Santorum, who says he's open to another White House bid and already speaks like a candidate, told CNN the GOP's focus on the economy and taxes, instead of social issues, was what led to presidential losses for the party in the last two cycles. "That's exactly why the establishment Republicans supported Romney and McCain, because they didn't emphasize these positions, and they were going to run on one issue, which was limited government and lower taxes," Santorum said. "All of which are good things, and I support them, but I think what they showed is that they're insufficient."

ALSO SEE: Des Moines Register: Santorum: Supreme Court won’t make mistake of allowing same-sex marriage rights

Time: Clinton Insiders: Hillary Needs $100 Million

Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will need to raise $100 million over the next 20 months if she hopes to clear the field of serious Democratic challengers, top Democratic operatives say. “I would think you’d want an eye popping number to clear the field,” said one senior Democratic official. “I think the $100 million commitment would say to potential opponents ‘think before you jump to your death.’” Clinton herself does not have to raise the cash to clear the field of effective rivals, explains one Clinton insider, “If a super PAC raises $75 million to $125 million in the next two years, that’s formidable and it indicates that there is really strong support [for her].”

The Hill: McConnell raises $1.8 million in first quarter toward 2014 re-election bid   

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) raised $1.8 million during the first quarter of the year and has about $8.6 million cash on hand for his reelection bid, a daunting sum for any potential challenger to match. … Though McConnell is considered by Democrats to be one of the most vulnerable Republican incumbents in the nation, due to recent polling that shows him unpopular in his state and nationwide, the millions in his campaign coffers will make him a tough — and expensive — target. He spent more than $20 million in his 2008 bid, and has said he's willing to spend more than that this time around to defend the seat.

NATIONAL SECURITY:

CNN: Japan deploys missile-defense batteries

Japan deployed missile-defense systems at three sites around Tokyo early Tuesday ahead of a possible missile launch by North Korea, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said. The Patriot missile batteries were set up in the central district of Ichigaya and in the suburbs of Asaka and Narashino, Suga told reporters Tuesday. The deployments come as U.S. and South Korean officials warn Pyongyang could be preparing for another provocative move after weeks of belligerent rhetoric.

WATCH: VIDEO – CNN's Chris Lawrence investigates who is bankrolling North Korean leaders while the country's economy is in shambles.

ALSO SEE: CNN: CNN Poll: Worries about North Korean threat at all time high

Bloomberg: North Koreans Don’t Report for Work at Joint Gaeseong Zone

North Koreans employed at a joint industrial complex with South Korea didn’t report for work this morning, severing the last exchange link between the two countries as tensions rise over Kim Jong Un’s nuclear program. South Korea is in communication with its northern counterparts at the Gaeseong complex, Unification Ministry spokeswoman Park Soo Jin said by phone today. It was the first time since the industrial park opened in 2005 that North Korean employees there didn’t show up for their jobs, Park said.

NYT: Kerry to Focus on Palestinian Economy as Part of Peace Process

Secretary of State John Kerry signaled Monday that he is hoping to use the economic development of Palestinian areas on the West Bank as a means to build support for a new set of Middle East peace negotiations. “I’m having discussions about those steps that would get at this issue of mistrust,” Mr. Kerry told reporters after meetings on Monday with Israeli and Palestinian officials. One step, he added, is to move on the “economic front because that can be critical to changing perceptions and realities on the ground, all of which can contribute to forward momentum.” Mr. Kerry’s latest trip here represents a new phase of American involvement in Middle East diplomacy. On both the Israeli and the Palestinian sides, officials said Mr. Kerry’s personal engagement appeared at the least to have put the peace process back on the agenda for the first time in years.

Reuters: Defense Secretary Hagel to visit Israel this month: official

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel will pay a first visit to Israel since taking office later this month to bolster the allies' cooperation in the Middle East, an Israeli official told Reuters on Tuesday. Hagel and his counterpart, Israeli Defence Minister Moshe Yaalon who is also newly appointed, discussed the visit by phone last month, the Israeli Defence Ministry said. The official said Hagel would visit between April 21-23. Hagel's visit will follow a trip by Secretary of State John Kerry who is currently visiting Israel and the Palestinian territories to try to restart long-stalled peace talks and after a visit last month by President Barack Obama.

Jerusalem Post: 'US softening opposition to Fatah-Hamas unity'

The US appears to have softened its opposition to unity between Fatah and Hamas, a top Fatah official in the West Bank said Monday. Azzam al-Ahmed, a member of the Fatah Central Committee and a senior adviser to Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, said that US opposition to the unity idea was “less strong.” Ahmed’s comments came hours after Abbas met in Ramallah with US Secretary of State John Kerry to discuss American efforts to revive the stalled peace process with Israel. Ahmed said that Abbas would meet with Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal in Doha, Qatar, later this week to discuss the formation of a Palestinian unity government.

CNN: Navy to deploy laser to destroy drones, small boats

The U.S. Navy plans to deploy a laser weapon aboard a warship for the first time, Navy leaders said on Monday. The laser will be deployed on the USS Ponce in early 2014. "The weapon's quick-reaction capability matches what we see as potential targets" in the Persian Gulf, a Defense Department official said.

CNN: Suspect in Syria case removed from 'no fly' list, now jailed in U.S.

U.S. authorities had a former soldier they were investigating removed from a "no-fly" list and allowed him to travel from Turkey to the United States where he was promptly arrested on charges related to fighting alongside a terror group in Syria. That unusual step, revealed on Monday by a federal prosecutor in U.S. District Court in Alexandria, Virginia, allowed authorities to get Eric Harroun back in the United States without having to ask Turkish authorities to arrest him. Harroun, 30, of Phoenix, was not in FBI custody during the flight, but agents were aboard and observed him, said Assistant U.S. Attorney Carter Burwell.

AVIATION, REGULATION and JUSTICE:

CNN: United plans to resume 787 service in May

United Airlines plans to resume flying the 787 Dreamliner in May, the carrier told CNN in anticipation of regulatory approval of Boeing's remedy for battery problems that forced the jetliner's worldwide grounding. While United is the only U.S. carrier that flies the wide body, a signal from the world's biggest carrier indicates that others are also likely making plans to resume service in coming weeks. For the first time in months, it also indicates a clear time line for Boeing to return the aggressively promoted but troubled jetliner to the skies after it was grounded by regulatory authorities globally in January.

United said it plans to start flying 787 again on May 31.

Bloomberg: Texting While Flying Linked to Commercial Crash in First

The pilot of an emergency medical helicopter flying over Missouri was sending and receiving text messages before a 2011 crash, the first time such distractions have been implicated in a fatal commercial aviation accident. The U.S. National Transportation Safety Board, which meets today to assign a cause for the accident that killed four people including a patient, documented seven texts sent and received by the pilot, according to agency records. The Air Methods Corp. (AIRM) helicopter crashed in a field after running out of fuel, according to preliminary NTSB reports. Use of electronic devices by pilots during flight was prohibited by company rules, according to the reports.

CNN: Fox News reporter urged to reveal source in Aurora shooting

The journalist who first reported about a notebook that James Holmes allegedly sent his psychiatrist before last year's horrific theater massacre could face jail time for not revealing her sources. FoxNews.com reporter Jana Winter has been subpoenaed by Holmes' attorneys to testify on Wednesday, but on Monday Judge Carlos Samour Jr. put off a ruling on whether Witter must reveal her source. Winter has indicated that she has no plans to identify who told her the notebook from the accused Colorado movie theater gunman was, as she reported, "full of details about how he was going to kill people."

BBC: Transatlantic flights 'to get more turbulent'

Flights across the North Atlantic could get a lot bumpier in the future if the climate changes as scientists expect. Planes are already encountering stronger winds, and could now face more turbulence, according to research led from Reading University, UK. The study, published in Nature Climate Change, suggests that by mid-century passengers will be bounced around more frequently and more strongly. The zone in the North Atlantic affected by turbulence could also increase.

San Jose Mercury Times: No free meals? IRS considers taxing perks at Google, other tech firms

For thousands of Bay Area techies blessed to be working for benevolent behemoths like Google (GOOG) and Facebook, there could be an end to the free lunch. And the free shuttle to work. And maybe even the free haircut. As firms pile on benefits to attract and retain the brightest of the bright, it has increasingly been part of the job description of Silicon Valley tech workers that they be pampered nearly to death with perks. But now the IRS is reportedly examining whether free food - and the other free perks - provided by Silicon Valley tech companies qualifies as a fringe benefit on which employees should pay additional tax.And that set off a great grumbling that could be heard from San Jose to San Francisco.

REGIONAL HEADLINES:

Philadelphia Inquirer: Allyson Schwartz files to run for Pa. governor

U.S. Rep. Allyson Schwartz launched her campaign for the 2014 Democratic nomination for governor Monday, declaring that Gov. Corbett’s “failed leadership” has crippled the Pennsylvania economy in a competitive world. “He’s just missing in action most of the time,” Schwartz, of Montgomery County, said in an interview. She noted that the state’s unemployment rate has been well above the national average during Corbett’s term. “What I’m hearing from people around the state is that they know we need a fresh perspective about the economy and growth.”

Boston Globe: Once a ‘disrupter,’ Edward Markey now a mover in House

Edward J. Markey is no longer a precocious newcomer, banging on the doors of the party establishment. The man from Malden who once proclaimed himself a maverick is now a 66-year-old master of the inside game, a practical lawmaker capable of fusing bold ideas with patience, cross-party relationships, and compromise.

Columbus Dispatch: House to give up $13 billion in federal funds for Medicaid expansion

Ohio will forgo $13 billion in federal aid over the next seven years that would have paid to provide health care to thousands of uninsured Ohioans under a budget plan House GOP leaders will unveil Tuesday, The Dispatch has learned. Facing immense pressure from tea-party-affiliated groups, Republican leaders will strip Gov. John Kasich’s proposed Medicaid expansion to cover 275,000 adults without health insurance, with the entire cost paid by the federal government under Obamacare for three years. It also would have saved Ohio taxpayers $400 million over the next two years. Instead, Republicans will propose providing $50 million a year in state funds for mental health and addiction services, according to multiple sources.

New Orleans Times Picayune: Jindal continues to call for elimination of income tax, even as he scraps his own proposal

Gov. Bobby Jindal's tax swap plan may have cooled, but the battle over the state's tax code may be just heating up in the Louisiana Legislature. Even as the governor announced he was shelving his plan in a surprising about-face as he opened the 2013 legislative session, Jindal called for lawmakers to agree to some kind of proposal eliminating the state income tax. Jindal on Monday advocated replacing a complex, tightly connected series of proposals with that singular goal. In his remarks to the Legislature, the governor put essentially no restrictions on the request. "Send me that bill," Jindal said. "Send me that bill to get rid of those taxes. Send me that bill to make Louisiana the best state in the country to create jobs, to raise a family. Send me that bill."

INTERNATIONAL:

CNN: In a Taliban hotbed, a woman runs for Pakistan's parliament

Badam Zari is a novelty in the tribal districts of northern Pakistan. Like many women in the towns along the Afghan border, the 38-year-old Zari has only a grade-school education. But unlike others before her, she's taking her frustrations with conditions in her hometown into the political arena. Zari is the first woman to run for Pakistan's parliament from the Federally Administered Tribal Areas, the restive region that has become a hotbed of the Taliban. Disgusted with what she says is the failure of the established political parties to improve things, she's running as an independent.

CNN: Kenya's new president to be sworn in; Jesse Jackson among crowd

Kenya will swear in its youngest-ever president Tuesday before a massive crowd, including American civil rights activist Jesse Jackson. Uhuru Kenyatta will become the country's fourth president after a prolonged election dispute that ended up in the Kenyan Supreme Court. Kenyatta, the 51-year-old son of Kenya's founding leader, won the election with 50.07% of the vote. Raila Odinga, who got 43.31%, had challenged the outcome in court on the grounds that it was flawed and marred by technical problems. After the court upheld Kenyatta's election, Odinga offered the president-elect his congratulations. Jackson, a former U.S. presidential candidate, attended the festivities as a private guest.

CNN: China bird flu crisis claims new victim, as death toll rises to 7

China's bird flu crisis showed no sign of easing Tuesday, as another person was reported to have died from the virus, the state-run Xinhua news agency reported. Four new cases of H7N9 avian influenza were reported Monday - two in eastern China's Jiangsu Province, one in neighboring Anhui Province and another case in Shanghai, where the patient died. This brings the total number of people infected in the country to 24, with seven deaths, according to China's National Health and Family Planning Commission.

CNN: Margaret Thatcher, Britain's first female PM, dead at 87

Former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, a towering figure in postwar British and world politics and the only woman to become British prime minister, has died at the age of 87. She suffered a stroke Monday, her spokeswoman said. A British government source said she died at the Ritz Hotel in London. Thatcher's funeral will be at St. Paul's Cathedral, with full military honors, followed by a private cremation, the British prime minister's office announced.

BUSINESS:

CNNMoney: Inflation slows dramatically in China

China's consumer price index took a substantial dive last month, retreating from a 10-month high posted in February. Chinese consumers paid 2.1% more for goods and services in March than they did a year ago, the government's National Bureau of Statistics reported Tuesday. That's a slower rate than February's 3.2% annual increase, and represents tame inflation for the world's second largest economy. A year ago, the country was experiencing an annual inflation rate of almost 4%.

NYT: Teacher Knows if You’ve Done the E-Reading

Several Texas A&M professors know something that generations of teachers could only hope to guess: whether students are reading their textbooks. They know when students are skipping pages, failing to highlight significant passages, not bothering to take notes — or simply not opening the book at all. “It’s Big Brother, sort of, but with a good intent,” said Tracy Hurley, the dean of the school of business. The faculty members here are neither clairvoyant nor peering over shoulders. They, along with colleagues at eight other colleges, are testing technology from a Silicon Valley start-up, CourseSmart, that allows them to track their students’ progress with digital textbooks.

Financial Times: EU to pass $23.3bn Virgin Media takeover

John Malone’s Liberty Global is to win EU approval for its $23.3bn takeover of Virgin Media, paving the way for the creation of the biggest broadband communications group in Europe. The European Commission will announce next week it has no serious competition concerns about the purchase of the UK cable operator, taking Liberty Global’s reach to 25m customers across 14 countries. The green light from Brussels allows the prompt completion of the transaction and avoids a lengthy second phase investigation, which would take months.


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