CNN: Iraq bombings kill at least 17, wound more than 120
A series of car bombings across Iraq on Monday killed at least 17 people and wounded more than 120 others, police said. The 17 attacks took place in Baghdad, Kirkuk, Tuz Khurmato and Hilla. Two of the bombings happened at a checkpoint to Baghdad's international airport.
CNN: Secretary Kerry to visit slain diplomat’s family
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry will stop in Chicago on Monday on his way back from a tour of Asia to meet with the parents of a 25-year-old foreign service officer who was killed in a suicide attack in Afghanistan this month.
CNN: Chavez’s political heir wins Venezuelan election
The man Hugo Chavez handpicked to be his successor won Venezuela's presidential vote, election authorities said, but the opposition candidate denounced irregularities and called for a recount. Nicolas Maduro secured 50.66% of votes in Sunday's presidential election, while opposition candidate Henrique Capriles Radonski won 49.07%, officials said. The top election official, National Electoral Council President Tibisay Lucena, called the results "irreversible."
Yahoo: Man shoots self in infield at NRA 500
The death of a man in the infield of Texas Motor Speedway on Saturday night during the Sprint Cup Series NRA 500 has been ruled a suicide from a gunshot to the head, according to the Tarrant County Medical Examiner's office. The incident happened late in the race when Kirk Franklin, 42, of Saginaw, Texas, apparently got into an argument with other campers, according to the Associated Press. Track spokesperson Mike Zizzo said Saturday night that the incident happened "in or around a pickup truck" in the infield.
Denver Post: Jackie Robinson Day: Concern over lack of African-American players
Major League Baseball will honor Jackie Robinson on Monday. All players will wear Robinson's retired No. 42 on their jerseys, paying homage to the courageous man who broke through baseball's color barrier 66 years ago.
The movie "42" premiered last week, giving a new generation a vibrant look at a man who stood proud and tall, and helped change the course of American history.
CNN: Florida police sergeant fired for having Trayvon Martin shooting targets
A Florida police sergeant was fired for possessing several so-called Trayvon Martin shooting targets, authorities said Saturday. Sgt. Ron King of Port Canaveral Police Department was fired Friday after an internal review investigated how he offered the hoodie paper shooting targets to two fellow officers, said John Walsh, interim CEO of the Canaveral Port Authority.
WHITE HOUSE BLOG POST: White House Taxpayer Receipt
It’s April 15th, Tax Day. Millions of families all across the countries have already filed their taxes or maybe some folks are just getting around to it today. Whether you’ve planned ahead or rushing to get them done, you deserve to know how your tax dollars are being spent. In his 2011 State of the Union Address, President Obama promised that, for the first time ever, American taxpayers would be able to go online and see exactly how their federal tax dollars are spent. And for the third year in a row, he’s keeping that promise. As long as he’s in office, every hardworking taxpayer will be able to jump online to see exactly how their tax dollars are being spent.
NBC: David Gregory announced at the end of "Meet the Press" that on Tuesday Savannah Guthrie will have a wide-ranging exclusive interview with President Obama at the White House. Politico reports that topics will include guns, immigration and North Korea.
ESPN: Alabama sets visit to White House
On Monday, Nick Saban and his national championship-winning Alabama Crimson Tide will be at the White House to be recognized by President Barack Obama after defeating Notre Dame 42-14 in the Discover BCS National Championship in January.
Politico: On immigration, Marco Rubio is everywhere
Sen. Marco Rubio on Sunday began his public campaign to win over conservative support for overhauling the nation’s immigration laws, appearing on a record-setting seven network news programs. Rubio offered a finely calibrated pitch designed to alleviate conservative concerns about reform. He pushed back against claims that a pathway to citizenship is tantamount to amnesty. He rebutted arguments that an agreement would impose dramatic new costs on taxpayers. And he defended the changes as necessary to keep the border secure.
CNN: Gun rights group endorses background check deal
A large alliance of gun owners announced Sunday it supports the bipartisan compromise on gun sale background checks that senators announced last week. The chairman of the Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms, Alan Gottlieb, sent a message to members and contributors stating the bill "bans any federal gun registry and carries a 15-year prison term for anyone who violates it."
CNN: McCain backs gun compromise; co-author says Senate support an ‘open question’
A bipartisan Senate deal that would expand background checks on gun sales received a tentative endorsement on Sunday by a top conservative, Sen. John McCain, who said he was “very favorably disposed” to the measure. “Eighty percent of the American people want to see a better background check procedure,” McCain said on CNN’s “State of the Union,” adding the country “wants to do what we can to prevent these tragedies and there’s a lot more that needs to be done.”
Times Leader: Former U.S. Rep. Charlie Wilson dies
Former Ohio Congressman Charlie Wilson has passed away in a Florida hospital following complications associated with a stroke suffered in February. Congressman Wilson passed this afternoon at 2:30 EST with his family by his side.
Note: This is U.S. Rep. Charlie Wilson from Ohio, not the famous U.S. Rep. Charlie Wilson from Texas who was the subject of the book and movie Charlie Wilson’s War. He died in 2010.
Reuters: Thatcher "witch" song 2nd in UK charts in death protest
A campaign by opponents of late Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher to get the song "Ding Dong! The Witch Is Dead" to the top of the British pop charts to celebrate her death failed on Sunday although it did manage to reach second place. Thatcher, who died aged 87 on Monday, deeply divided Britons and while some have paid warm tributes to the achievements of her right-wing Conservative governments, others said her privatization of swathes of industry had destroyed communities.
CNN: Jay-Z’s Cuba trip ‘hypocritical,’ says Rubio
Jay-Z and wife Beyoncé were bolstering an oppressive dictator when they traveled to Cuba for their anniversary, Sen. Marco Rubio said Sunday. The trip – which the Treasury Department said was officially sanctioned as cultural travel – only served to expose “the ridiculousness of the laws that we have in place,” Rubio continued on CNN’s “State of the Union.”
CNN: Jenna Bush Hager gives birth to baby girl
Former first couple George W. and Laura Bush said Sunday they were "elated" at the news their daughter Jenna had given birth to a girl. “Laura and I are thrilled to announce the birth of our grandchild, Margaret Laura 'Mila' Hager," the first-time grandparents wrote in a statement, noting the new addition to the Bush family was named for her grandmothers.
Texas Tribune: Bob Perry, Prolific GOP Donor, Dead at 80
Bob Perry, a wealthy homebuilder and philanthropist who was among the nation's largest political givers, has died at his home in Nassau Bay, near Houston. He was 80.
His death was confirmed by lobbyist and former state Rep. Neal T. "Buddy" Jones, a family friend and business associate, who said in a statement, "Bob Perry passed away peacefully in his sleep last night. The family asks for privacy right now as they grieve their loss. They look forward to talking with their friends in the coming days."
CNN: On North Korea's big day, Kerry underlines conditions for talks
As North Koreans celebrated the birthday on Monday of their country's late founder, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry urged the regime in Pyongyang to ditch its nuclear program and put a lid on its fiery threats if it wants to hold talks.
"The United States has made clear many times what the conditions are for our entering talks and they haven't changed," Kerry said during an interview with CNN's Jill Dougherty in Tokyo.
"The conditions have to be met where the North has to move towards denuclearization, indicate a seriousness in doing so by reducing these threats, stop the testing, and indicate it's actually prepared to negotiate," he said.
Kerry was speaking at the end of a three-day trip that focused on securing fresh commitments from South Korea, China and Japan to try to persuade Pyongyang to return to the negotiating table and renounce nuclear weapons.
His visit followed weeks of dramatic threats by Kim Jong Un's regime, including that of a nuclear strike on the United States and South Korea.
There is uncertainty about how advanced the North's nuclear weapons program is, but Kerry on Monday reiterated the U.S. government view that Pyongyang doesn't yet have the capacity to carry out a nuclear attack.
NYT Op-Ed: Gitmo Is Killing Me
ONEman here weighs just 77 pounds. Another, 98. Last thing I knew, I weighed 132, but that was a month ago. I’ve been on a hunger strike since Feb. 10 and have lost well over 30 pounds. I will not eat until they restore my dignity. I’ve been detained at Guantánamo for 11 years and three months. I have never been charged with any crime. I have never received a trial.
CBS: Top general calls for new evaluations amid many military scandals
The chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen. Martin Dempsey, plans to change how generals and admirals are evaluated. The officers' peers and those who serve beneath them could soon have a say. Gen. Dempsey wants regularly scheduled performance evaluations of high-ranking officers, which would look at not only their decision making abilities, but what he describes as their professional character.
AVIATION, REGULATION and JUSTICE:
WSJ: FAA Orders Inspections on Boeing's 737 Aircraft
Federal aviation regulators on Monday will order special inspections and, if needed, replacement of improperly manufactured parts on more than 1,000 Boeing Co. BA +0.41% 737 jets that could cause pilots to lose control. Industry officials said the directive is unusual because it applies to factory defects potentially affecting such a large number of planes, particularly relatively new versions of the most widely used jetliner flown by carriers world-wide.
The Hill: Supreme Court wrestles with right to patent human genes
Do companies have the right to patent your genes? The Supreme Court will wrestle with that highly charged question on Monday, when it hears oral arguments in a case that could have far-reaching implications for the future of medical research. The federal government itself is divided over the issue. The federal patent office has been approving patents on human genes since the 1980s, but the Justice Department on Monday will ask the court to invalidate those protections and rule that human genes cannot be patented.
Politico: 5 top issues between Amtrak and House GOP
Former House transportation committee Chairman John Mica is putting everything on the table for Amtrak reform. That includes a cup of coffee and a hamburger.
Mica’s long-standing complaints about losses on the railroad’s food service produced a tense exchange between him and Amtrak CEO Joe Boardman during a subcommittee hearing Thursday. And it provided an example of the host of issues Congress must haggle over as transportation leaders work toward passing a new passenger rail bill.
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