CNN Washington AM Note
April 16th, 2013
05:56 AM ET
2 years ago

CNN Washington AM Note

NATIONAL STORIES:

CNN: Terror at Boston Marathon: 3 dead, 144 wounded as witnesses describe horror

It was a gruesome end to what should have been a celebration of triumph. One man's legs were instantly blown off, yet he kept trying to stand up. Exhausted marathoners had to muscle the energy to flee the bloody scene. And more than 140 people remain hospitalized, some in critical condition. As authorities try to figure out who triggered the deadly bombings Monday at the Boston Marathon, which killed an 8-year-old boy and two others, many are at a loss to explain why anyone would target the annual event that celebrates thousands of runners from around the world.

ALSO SEE: CNN: What we know about the terror attack, aftermath at the Boston Marathon

ALSO SEE: CNN: Obama vows justice for Boston blasts

ALSO SEE: CNN: FBI to take lead in investigating Boston Marathon bombings

WATCH: VIDEO – CNN's Susan Candiotti delivers the latest on the FBI's investigation into the twin explosions at the Boston Marathon.

Boston Herald: Copley Square will remain ‘locked down’

Bay State residents can expect the massive security surge prompted by the marathon bombing to continue throughout the week, with Copley Square under lockdown, the Common converted into a National Guard staging area and a flood of law enforcement officials patrolling Boston — even as city officials urged residents to return to work as normal. “The city of Boston will be open, but it will not be business as usual,” said Gov. Deval Patrick, later adding that life in the city is “not going to be easy, simple or regular.”

CNN: What government tests found in your meat

When you shop for turkey burgers for dinner tonight, you may be buying more than meat. A recently released FDA report found that of all the raw ground turkey tested, 81% was contaminated with antibiotic-resistant bacteria. Also, according to the National Antimicrobial Resistance Monitoring System, or NARMS, Retail Meat Annual Report, ground turkey wasn't the only problem. Antibiotic-resistant bacteria was found in some 69% of pork chops, 55% of ground beef and 39% of chicken. In the meat NARMS tested, scientists found significant amounts of salmonella and Campylobacter - bacteria that causes millions of cases of food poisoning a year.

WHITE HOUSE:

Politico: What Obama’s learned about talking about terror

When bombs went off at the finish line of the Boston Marathon Monday afternoon, President Barack Obama was quick to speak out — but extremely cautious about what he said. Obama’s decision to step before cameras despite sketchy information about what happened in Boston just over three hours earlier, clearly reflected lessons learned from the series of terrorist attacks early in his administration: the potential cost of keeping a low profile and waiting is greater than the risk of speaking too soon. However, the content of his three-and-a-half-minute speech Monday—in particular his notable aversion to labeling the incident as “terror” or “terrorism”—seemed to reflect a continuing desire not to stoke fears or make premature public judgments even as he made sure to offer the public presence that he’d initially avoided during his first experiences managing terrorist attacks as president.

WATCH: VIDEO – President Obama comments on the bombing at the Boston Marathon that left at least three dead and scores injured.

WaPo: Republicans embrace Obama’s offer to trim Social Security benefits

President Obama’s offer to trim Social Security benefits has perplexed and angered Democrats, but GOP leaders are embracing the proposal and rushing to jump-start a debate that will delve even more deeply into the touchy topic of federal spending on the elderly. This week, two House subcommittees plan to hold hearings on “reforms to protect and preserve” programs for retirees, starting with Obama’s proposal to apply a less generous measure of inflation to annual increases in Social Security benefits. Also on the table are higher Medicare premiums and reduced benefits for better-off seniors, and a higher Medicare eligibility age.

CAPITOL HILL:

CNN: Senate gun law proposal lacks enough support now

A compromise proposal to expand background checks on gun sales lacks enough support to win Senate approval now, which will likely delay a vote on the measure that has strong public support, one of the sponsors told CNN on Monday. Sen. Joe Manchin, D-West Virginia, acknowledged the vote on the amendment he worked out with Republican Sen. Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania was being pushed back to try to build more support. Asked if the vote would take place Tuesday or Wednesday, as supporters had hoped, Manchin said he didn't think so. "I would say by the end of the week, probably," he added.

ALSO SEE:  CNN: GOP senators oppose background check compromise

CNN: Immigration bill: No path to residency without a secure border

The border with Mexico must be secure. This requirement is the cornerstone of an immigration reform bill a bipartisan group of senators are to file on Capitol Hill Tuesday. There will be no path to legal residency for migrants without it. Undocumented immigrants may also not reach the status of fully legal residents under the proposed legislation, until the Department of Homeland Security has implemented measures to prevent "unauthorized workers from obtaining employment in the United States." The bill drafted by the "Gang of Eight" senators stipulates that the security of "high risk border sectors along the Southern border" must be verified, before most undocumented immigrants can access pathways to legal residency laid out in the proposed legislation.

ALSO SEE: The Hill: Gang of Eight will delay rollout of immigration bill due to Boston explosion

CNN: In wake of Boston attack, King cautions against cuts to local law enforcement

A top House Republican influential on homeland security matters said cutting federal spending for local law enforcement can have serious consequences for fighting terrorism. "We have to be aggressive and never let our guard down," Rep. Peter King told CNN, hours after bombings at Monday's Boston Marathon killed three people and sent more than 130 people to hospitals. "When you see so many cuts contemplated to Homeland Security and to local police coming from the federal government, this war against terrorism, this was against us, in many ways is more dangerous than prior to 911," he said.

NOTE: Rep. Peter King, the chairman of the House Homeland Security Subcommittee on Counterterrorism and Intelligence, will be a guest on CNN’s Starting Point at 8:30am ET.

POLITICAL:

National Journal: Inside Elizabeth Colbert Busch's Private D.C. Fundraiser

Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee chairman Steve Israel pledged full support to Elizabeth Colbert Busch's special election campaign in South Carolina at a private fundraiser in Washington on Monday evening. "I am here to tell you that we are in this race. ... In three weeks and two days she will come to Washington and take her oath of office," Israel told supporters to applause, adding the he and Colbert Busch sat down and discussed the race in his office earlier in the day. Of course, the headliner of the event was Colbert Busch's brother, late-night comedian Stephen Colbert, who made a rare appearance out of character to tout the candidacy of his older sister, "Lulu." But it was not without at least one shot at her opponent, former Republican Gov. Mark Sanford.

NY1 Exclusive: Former Rep. Weiner Looks Back At Twitter Sex Scandal As He Weighs Mayoral Run

"I think I'll be spending a lot of time, here on out, saying I'm sorry," he said. Weiner is laying the groundwork for a political comeback. NY1's sit-down interview in Weiner's Park Avenue home came on the same day that the former politician released a 64-point plan on how to make the city a better place for the middle class, and one day after his long interview with the New York Times Magazine was published. He told NY1 political anchor Errol Louis that he will decide soon about whether to run for mayor. "I want to be part of the ideas primary. That's for sure. That primary I want to do very well in," Weiner said.

NYT: With Grandchild and Library, a New Chapter for Bush

For a former president, it does not get much better than this. Over the weekend, George W. Bush welcomed his first grandchild into the world. Next week he will welcome the arrival of his other baby, a 226,565-square-foot presidential center. Mr. Bush, 66, who has remained largely removed from the spotlight in the four years since leaving the White House, returned to television screens on Monday in a series of hospital snapshots with his new granddaughter, Mila, who was born to Jenna and Henry Hager in New York on Saturday night. Next week, he will host President Obama and other dignitaries to dedicate the George W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum.

NATIONAL SECURITY:

CNN: North Korea says it won't warn South Korea before an attack

North Korea has upped the temperature on its neighbors, warning in a new threat that it would not give any advance notice before attacking South Korea. "Our retaliatory action will start without any notice from now," Pyongyang said in a statement published Tuesday by its official news agency, KCNA. North Korea said it was responding to what it called insults from the "puppet authorities" in the South, claiming that there had been a rally against North Korea in Seoul. It called the rally a "monstrous criminal act." The renewed threats came a day after North Koreans celebrated the birthday of their country's founder, Kim Il Sung, who launched the Korean War.

NYT: U.S. Practiced Torture After 9/11, Nonpartisan Review Concludes

A nonpartisan, independent review of interrogation and detention programs in the years after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks concludes that “it is indisputable that the United States engaged in the practice of torture” and that the nation’s highest officials bore ultimate responsibility for it. The sweeping, 577-page report says that while brutality has occurred in every American war, there never before had been “the kind of considered and detailed discussions that occurred after 9/11 directly involving a president and his top advisers on the wisdom, propriety and legality of inflicting pain and torment on some detainees in our custody.” The study, by an 11-member panel convened by the Constitution Project, a legal research and advocacy group, is to be released on Tuesday morning.

CNN: Pentagon to downgrade award for drone operators

An award for drone operators that drew an angry response from lawmakers was downgraded to a lesser distinction Monday by Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel. The Distinguished Warfare Medal, which was approved last month by Hagel's predecessor, Leon Panetta, was to recognize "extraordinary direct impacts on combat operations." But the honor denotes that the action is not bound by a "geographic limitation," meaning operators on unmanned drones would have been eligible. Some lawmakers expressed concern the medal would be placed above those for battlefield valor, including the Purple Heart and the Bronze Star. In March, the production of the medal was halted so Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Martin Dempsey could conduct a review.

CNN: U.S. Marine helicopter makes hard landing in South Korea

A U.S. Marine helicopter participating in annual military exercises in South Korea made a hard landing Tuesday in a province that borders North Korea, the U.S. military said. The 21 personnel on board the CH-53E Super Stallion helicopter, which was making routine flights as part of the exercises, were taken to a hospital at the United States' Yongsan Garrison in South Korea, the military said in a statement. Fifteen of those have since been released from the hospital, and the other six are in stable condition, the statement said.

AVIATION, REGULATION and JUSTICE:

WSJ: FBI Uses 'Tripwires' to Nab Bomb Makers

The powerful blasts at the Boston Marathon finish line Monday underscore why the Federal Bureau of Investigation has spent years refining its "tripwire" system for catching would-be bomb makers before they can build a deadly device. … "The tripwires have certainly been successful in the past," said Don Borelli, a former counterterrorism official at the FBI who now works for Soufan Group. He pointed to the case of a Saudi man, Khalid Ali-M Aldawsari, who was convicted last year of attempting to use a weapon of mass destruction. That case began in February 2011 with a tip from a North Carolina chemical-supply company about a suspicious $435 order by Mr. Aldawsari, who was legally in the U.S. on a student visa. A shipping company separately notified authorities the same day that it had similar suspicions because the order didn't appear intended for commercial use.

CNN: Justices at odds over patents for human genes

It is a case at the intersection of science and finance, an evolving 21st century dispute that comes down to a simple question: Should the government allow patents for human genes? The Supreme Court offered little other than confusion during oral arguments on Monday on nine patents held by a Utah biotech firm. Myriad Genetics isolated two related types of biological material, BCRA-1 and BCRA-2, linked to increased hereditary risk for breast and ovarian cancer. At issue is whether "products of nature" can be treated the same as "human-made" inventions, and held as the exclusive intellectual property of individuals and companies. A ruling is expected by late June.

Politico: Meningitis deaths fuel a renewed FDA debate

Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Margaret Hamburg will be on the hot seat Tuesday as she tries to defend the agency’s failure to stop a fungal meningitis outbreak last year that killed more than 50 people. The episode mostly fell from the headlines as the deaths tapered off but is roaring back with the hearing on the Hill. Many Democrats in Congress want to give the FDA more authority to regulate compounding pharmacies like the one linked to this outbreak. But some Republicans question whether the agency failed to properly use the authority it already had, and the key House panel didn’t put the issue on its list of legislative priorities for the year.

REGIONAL HEADLINES:

Jackson Clarion-Ledger: Judge blocks closure of Jackson abortion clinic

U.S. District Judge Dan Jordan on Monday issued a preliminary injunction barring the closure of Mississippi’s only abortion clinic. The ruling comes three days before an administrative hearing by the state Department of Health on the Jackson Women’s Health Organization’s inability to meet the provisions of a state law requiring the clinic’s physicians to have hospital privileges.

LA Times: Costa Mesa man blew himself up, police believe

Local police and FBI agents looked for answers — and explosives — in a Costa Mesa home Monday after a man apparently blew himself up in a blast that shocked the quiet, suburban neighborhood where he lived alone. Authorities who searched the scene said they found at least two explosive devices in the modest one-story home and detonated them, and they later discovered a rambling and worrisome 17,000-word essay online expressing a deep fear of government. Police said it appears Kevin Harris, 52, intended to kill himself in the Sunday night explosion, which neighbors said sounded like a car crash or a garbage can tipping over

WaPo: Cuccinelli raises half of McAuliffe’s total during period that included Virginia legislative session

Democrat Terry McAuliffe raised more than twice as much money as Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli II during the latest fundraising period, as the Republican nominee for Virginia governor found himself hamstrung by rules banning him from courting donors during this year’s legislative session. Cuccinelli reported raising nearly $2.4 million during the first quarter of 2013 — including $1 million from the Republican Governors Association and $25,000 each from Koch Industries, which supports many GOP candidates, and Foster Friess, a wealthy investor from Texas who supports conservative Christian causes.

Dallas Morning News: Rick Perry calls for $1.6 billion of cuts in business taxes

Gov. Rick Perry called for business-tax cuts Monday, saying they would preserve Texas’ special status as “the most competitive place in the country” for entrepreneurs. It was not immediately clear, however, that Perry can build broad legislative support for his proposed overhaul of the business-franchise tax. Business and conservative groups hailed his plan, which would trim rates paid by all filers; deduct the first $1 million of gross receipts for most; and let companies that relocate in Texas deduct moving expenses.

The Tennessean: FBI investigating Pilot Flying J, company owned by governor's family

The FBI on Monday locked down the Knoxville headquarters of Pilot Flying J, the multibillion-dollar convenience store and truck stop chain owned by the governor’s family. Federal authorities, however, would not say what they were investigating. An official with the FBI’s office in Knoxville said the action involved both the FBI and the Internal Revenue Service, but did not offer details. The company was founded by the father of Gov. Bill Haslam and Jimmy Haslam, who owns the Cleveland Browns.

INTERNATIONAL:

CNN: UK police review London Marathon security plans

The security plan in place for the London Marathon this weekend will be reviewed following the deadly bomb blasts in Boston, London's Metropolitan Police said Tuesday. "We will be reviewing our security arrangements in partnership with London Marathon," said event commander Chief Supt. Julia Pendry. Police and race organizers said they are working closely together on security arrangements for Sunday's race, which attracts tens of thousands of competitors and spectators each year. The organizers of the London Marathon said they "fully expect" the event "will go ahead as originally scheduled."

CNN: Hugo Chavez's political heir Nicolas Maduro named Venezuela's president-elect

Election authorities proclaimed Hugo Chavez's handpicked successor Venezuela's president-elect Monday, despite his challenger's demand for a recount. "It was a result that was truly fair, constitutional and popular," Nicolas Maduro said, criticizing his opponent's refusal to concede. Maduro secured 50.8% of votes in Sunday's election, while opposition candidate Henrique Capriles Radonski won 49.0%, Venezuela's National Electoral Council said Monday. The South American country's top election official certified the results at a ceremony in Caracas, saying Venezuela's voting system had worked perfectly.

NYT: Assassinations Grow as Iraqi Elections Near

In the first Iraqi elections since the American troop withdrawal, Sunni candidates are being attacked and killed in greater numbers than in recent campaigns, raising concerns in Washington over Iraq’s political stability and the viability of a democratic system the United States has heavily invested in over years of war and diplomacy. At least 15 candidates, all members of the minority Sunni community, have been assassinated — some apparently by political opponents, others by radical Sunni militants. Many others have been wounded or kidnapped or have received menacing text messages or phone calls demanding that they withdraw.  By going after members of their own sect, radical Sunnis aligned with Al Qaeda are effectively seeking to destabilize the Shiite-led government, making an already angry and alienated community fearful to participate in national governance.

Bloomberg: Egypt’s IMF Loan Talks in Cairo End Without Agreement

Egypt’s talks with the International Monetary Fund ended without an agreement for a $4.8 billion loan yesterday, failing to live up to comments from government officials that an accord would be reached. Officials, including Planning and International Cooperation Minister Ashraf El-Araby, fueled expectations an agreement was imminent in the days before the talks. Egypt says the loan is needed to restore investor confidence and the talks had helped Egypt’s benchmark Eurobonds rally this month.

Financial Times: French ministers reveal their wealth

France’s socialist government ministers revealed a catalogue of possessions including Paris apartments, provincial houses, jewellery – and some distinctly modest cars – as they met a deadline for declaring their assets on Monday. The list included some examples of ample wealth, including €6m for Laurent Fabius, the veteran foreign minister and the cabinet’s richest member. But overall, President François Hollande will hope to avoid accusations that his government is made up of the much-derided “gauche caviar”, or champagne socialists. Mr Hollande demanded the disclosure in an effort to remove the stain from his presidency of a scandal prompted by the admission earlier this month by the former budget minister charged with combating tax evasion that he had lied about holding a secret Swiss bank account.

Daily Telegraph: Greece to sack 4,000 state workers to unlock bail-out cash

The redundancies will begin a savage round of job cuts in the Greek public sector, with another 11,000 officials due to be sacked by the end of next year. Greece is in deep recession, GDP has contracted by 22pc since 2008 and unemployment has spiralled to 27pc as the Greek government has implemented deeply unpopular EU-IMF austerity measures or “fiscal adjustment” in return for loans. “Our society has reached its limits. But finally we are meeting our targets and the programme is being improved,” said Antonis Samaras, the Prime Minister, in a nationally televised address.

BUSINESS:

CNNMoney: CEOs earn 354 times more than average worker

Chief executives of the nation's largest companies earned an average of $12.3 million in total pay last year - 354 times more than a typical American worker, according to the AFL-CIO. The average worker made $34,645 last year, according to the group that represents over 50 trade unions. Oracle (ORCL, Fortune 500) CEO Larry Ellison's $96.1 million pay package topped the list, followed by $54.3 million earned by Credit Acceptance Corp (CACC).'s Brett Roberts and Discovery Communications (DISCA) CEO David Zaslav's $50 million, according to the union's pay project. The one stand out was Apple (AAPL, Fortune 500) CEO Timothy Cook, whose pay dropped to $4.2 million from $376 million in 2011, when his compensation package got a boost from long-term stock awards.

Financial Times: Gold hit by sharpest tumble in 30 years

Gold prices have suffered their sharpest fall since the 1980s, heightening fears among investors that the precious metal's decade-long bull run has ended. Spot gold prices tumbled by more than $100 an ounce, or 8.7 per cent, in a few hours on Monday amid a rout in metals markets, while silver fell 11 per cent. Faltering European demand and weaker than expected Chinese economic data depressed oil prices, pushing Brent crude down by 3 per cent to $100.02 a barrel, a nine-month low.


Filed under: Washington AM Note
soundoff (One Response)
  1. king

    terrorist are thinking that this is the right time to attack America: they see that Washington is broke, they know that the repubs will filibuster anything the the president wants to do; look at what they're doing to the simple weapons background checks, hell any terrorist could buy a semi automatic weapon, and a couple of 100 ammo clips and take down a lot of people in a crowded event. what lobbyist cool aid are these repubs drinking. when will these folks ever start working with this president to give this country a sense of optimism. and why these folks still voting in these obstructionist when they know that they are only going to obstruct forward moving. we cannot stay in the past while other nations are moving ahead folks.

    April 16, 2013 07:18 am at 7:18 am |