CNN Washington AM Note
April 22nd, 2013
05:44 AM ET
1 year ago

CNN Washington AM Note

NATIONAL STORIES:

CNN: One week later: Boston honors bombing victims; suspect unable to speak

At 2:50 p.m. Monday, bells across Boston will chime to mark a tragedy that unhinged the city. As the country pauses to reflect on the Boston Marathon attacks exactly one week ago, the lone surviving suspect remains hospitalized with a tube down his throat, unable to verbalize what went through his mind the day a pair of bombs killed three people wounded more than 170 others. While authorities say Bostonians can rest easier now that Dzhokhar Tsarnaev is in custody, nagging questions hinders any complete sense of security: Why would the assailants want to kill and maim throngs of innocent civilians?

WATCH: VIDEO – A look at what unfolded in the city of Boston just hours and days after the Boston Marathon bombing.

CNN: Official: Boston bombings suspects 'were going to attack' others

Federal prosecutors were preparing charges Sunday against the surviving suspect in the Boston Marathon bombings even as authorities said they believed he and his brother were allegedly preparing to carry out more attacks when their plans were disrupted. Authorities have not said publicly what charges will be filed against Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, but a Justice Department official, who has been briefed on the case, told CNN he will face federal terrorism charges and possibly state murder charges. Tsarnaev, 19, remains in serious but stable condition with a gunshot wound to the side of the neck, a federal law enforcement source with knowledge of the investigation told CNN on Sunday.

ALSO SEE: NYT: F.B.I. Interview Led Homeland Security to Hold Up Citizenship for One Brother

CNN: Graham: ‘Ball was dropped’ in probe of Tamerlan Tsarnaev

The federal government messed up following the FBI’s investigation of Boston bombing suspect Tamerlan Tsarnaev, Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham said Sunday. The agency was looking into Tsarnaev’s extremist ties two years ago. “The ball was dropped in one of two ways,” Graham said on CNN’s “State of the Union.” In 2011, the FBI interviewed Tsarnaev after Russian authorities alerted the U.S. government, according to a senior U.S. official. …The senator from South Carolina said the FBI either “missed a lot of things” in its investigation, or federal laws did not allow the FBI to “follow up in a sound, solid way.”

ALSO SEE: CNN: House Homeland Security chairman believes suspect trained in Russia

NBC: Badly wounded Boston Marathon bombing suspect responding to questions

Despite a serious throat wound preventing him from speaking, the surviving Boston Marathon bombing suspect is beginning to respond to questions from investigators, federal officials tell NBC News. Nearly 48 hours after he was taken into custody following an intense gun battle and manhunt, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, 19, was communicating with a special team of federal investigators at Beth Israel Deaconess Hospital. He was responding to questions mostly in writing because of the throat wound, according to the officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity. The suspect remains in serious condition.  The throat wound may be the result of a suicide attempt, investigators said.

ALSO SEE: CNN: Doctors: Suspect can be brought of sedation in minutes to answer questions

WSJ: Turn to Religion Split Bomb Suspects' Home

After last week's Boston Marathon bombings, Zubeidat Tsarnaeva phoned her son Tamerlan in Massachusetts to make sure he was safe. "Mama, why are you worrying?" Tamerlan replied from Boston, laughing. Days later, it was the son who phoned his mother. The two, in recent years, had shared a powerful transformation to a more intense brand of Islam. "The police, they have started shooting at us, they are chasing us," Mrs. Tsarnaeva says Tamerlan told her. "Mama, I love you." Then the phone went silent. …A close examination of the Tsarnaev family shows that, over the past five years or so, the personal lives of the family members slipped into turmoil, according to interviews with the parents, relatives and friends. The upheaval in the household was driven, at least in part, by a growing interest in religion by both Tamerlan and his mother.

ALSO SEE: CNN: Older suspect in Boston bombings grew increasingly religious, analysis shows

CNN: Texan town tries to rebuild with community, spirituality

One by one, the beleaguered townspeople of West, Texas, filed into local churches Sunday to begin the healing process, following last week's deadly blast at the nearby West Fertilizer Co. plant. As parishioners streamed out of St. Mary's Catholic Church after Sunday's service, Father Boniface Onjefu hugged and consoled his congregants, and gave reassuring smiles and high fives to the church's youngest members. "West is a strong city. We shall definitely overcome this tragedy," Onjefu told those assembled at his church, about a mile from the explosion site. Several members of St. Mary's were killed or injured battling the blaze, Onjefu told CNN.

CNN: 5 die in Seattle shooting

Five people died late Sunday in a shootout at a Seattle, Washington, apartment complex. When police officers arrived, they could still hear gunfire, authorities said. Officers spotted two men lying wounded in the parking lot and attempted to rescue them, said police spokeswoman Cathy Schrock. But as they approached, one of the injured men reached for a gun, and the officers opened fire. Police confirmed that three men died in the apartment parking lot. In addition, a man and a woman were found dead from gunshot wounds inside the complex. No officers were injured.

WHITE HOUSE:

WSJ: U.S. Eyes Pushback On China Hacking

The Obama administration is considering a raft of options to more aggressively confront China over cyberspying, officials say, a potentially rapid escalation of a conflict the White House has only recently acknowledged. Options include trade sanctions, diplomatic pressure, indictments of Chinese nationals in U.S. courts and cyber countermeasures—both attack and defense, officials said. Officials said such a counterpunch, while likely not imminent, would be the natural culmination of a carefully choreographed escalation of warnings in recent weeks from President Barack Obama and top administration officials. The escalation was launched with a secret démarche, or formal diplomatic protest, to the Chinese government in January, officials said.

CAPITOL HILL:

WSJ: Pet Projects Sprinkled in Immigration Bill

Buried within the 844 pages of the bipartisan immigration bill—amid historic shifts in policies such as a path to citizenship for 11 million unauthorized immigrants—are pet provisions of the senators who crafted it. South Carolina Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham wants more visas for the meat industry, a major employer in his state. Sen. Charles Schumer (D., N.Y.) pushed for special treatment for Irish workers; his state is home to a large population with Irish ancestry. Republican Sen. Marco Rubio sought help for the cruise-ship industry, a big business in his home state of Florida. And Democratic Sen. Michael Bennet of Colorado wove in a boost for ski areas. After months of difficult negotiations—which nearly derailed an immigration deal—the business community and labor unions hashed out a new work-visa program to allow up to 200,000 low-skill workers to come to the U.S. Adding extra visas for meat, poultry and fish cutters wasn't part of that deal. Including it was the work of Mr. Graham, said people familiar with the negotiations.

Politico: Ted Cruz vs. Marco Rubio on immigration

The two have much in common as first-term senators elected with the help of the tea party from states with large Latino populations. Both have Cuban roots and are considered rising GOP stars and prospective presidential rivals. But the pair is divided on immigration legislation — a key difference that could have significant ramifications for their party and political ambitions. The Texas freshman is sharply critical of the pathway to citizenship for the nation’s 11 million undocumented immigrants, a central part of the bipartisan bill that Rubio helped write. Cruz is weighing whether to aggressively oppose the immigration overhaul, a decision that could neutralize Rubio’s outreach to conservative activists in order to minimize their opposition.

POLITICAL:

CNN: Political rhetoric finds its way into post-bombing debate

Few answers have emerged to the myriad questions about the Boston Marathon bombing and its aftermath, but that didn't stop political leaders from clashing about what happened and why it did on Sunday talk shows. Republican members of Congress played up a possible connection to global terrorists and said the lone surviving suspect should be designated an enemy combatant to allow unfettered questioning and unlimited detention. Democratic legislators called for handling the 19-year-old suspect as a crime suspect rather than a war enemy, allowing the U.S. citizen the right to legal representation under federal law that could impose the death penalty. A closer look at their statements and arguments showed how politicians blend facts, conjecture and spin to push their side's agenda while countering arguments from across the aisle.

ALSO SEE: CNN: After Boston, some call for delaying immigration bill

Politico: California is new fracking battleground

California is the latest state to embark on a fierce debate over whether and how to regulate the oil- and gas-extraction technique known as hydraulic fracturing — a controversy already roiling politics in rural Pennsylvania and inspiring an endless soap opera in New York state. But California could provide an even bigger stage for the drama: It’s not only the most populous U.S. state but also a Democratic stronghold, known for its strict air pollution regulations and some of the world’s most advanced green energy projects. And industry supporters have drawn encouragement from recent comments by Gov. Jerry Brown, who has expressed openness to the technology while speaking about the “extraordinary” potential of the state’s fossil fuel deposits.

Denver Post: Democratic fundraising committee sets record under Sen. Bennet

The fundraising arm for the Senate Democrats, headed by Sen. Michael Bennet, has raised more money in the first quarter of 2013 than at any other time in the committee's history, according to documents obtained by The Denver Post. The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee — which exists primarily to keep and gain Democratic seats in the U.S. Senate — raised $5.3 million in March and has brought in $13.6 million in 2013 alone, according to documents the committee will file with the Federal Elections Commission on Monday . The bulk of the committee's growth in cash comes from its targeted e-mail outreach similar, in part, to President Barack Obama's grassroots campaign efforts, staffers say.

NATIONAL SECURITY:

CNN: Allies divided on Syria as U.S. doubles aid

The United States doubled its nonlethal aid to the Syrian opposition on Saturday, as the opposition and its main foreign backers struggled to overcome deep divisions and present a unified strategy on how to end the two-year civil war. Secretary of State John Kerry said in a statement the United States would funnel another $123 million in aid to the Syrian Opposition Coalition, including an expansion of direct aid to armed rebels battling forces loyal to President Bashar al-Assad. "We want to see the coalition lead the way by ramping up its ability in order to be able to provide assistance, deliver services and respond to the needs of the Syrian people," Kerry told reporters after a meeting of 11 nations from the Friends of Syria group and Syrian opposition leaders.

NYT: Hagel, in Israel, Presses U.S. Agenda on Deterring Iran

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel opened a weeklong visit to the Middle East on Sunday by pressing an American agenda focused on deterring Iran — including a significant new weapons deal for Israel — coupled with a strong caution that it would be premature for Israel to opt for unilateral strikes on Tehran’s nuclear program. Mr. Hagel, who was subject to intense, even hostile scrutiny during his confirmation process over whether he was sufficiently supportive of Israel, hailed the “very special relationship” between the United States and Israel. He also repeatedly emphasized Israel’s right to defend itself “in a very dangerous, combustible region of the world.”

CNN: North Korea diplomacy effort grows, but sides are still far apart

A week of critical diplomacy is set to begin in Washington, Beijing and Pyongyang. But the sides are so far apart, at least in public declarations, it is impossible to predict where any diplomatic efforts will lead. North Korea continues to hold fast to the position that its nuclear and ballistic missile programs are non-negotiable. Pyongyang's official news agency says the North wants U.N. Security Council sanctions lifted. The sanctions were put in place after North Korea launched a three-stage rocket last December that put a satellite in orbit. More sanctions were added when the North conducted its third underground nuclear test in February. The U.S. and South Korea insist that a verifiable path to dismantling those programs must be on the table for any negotiating process to begin.

AVIATION, REGULATION and JUSTICE:

Reuters: Boeing begins fixing Dreamliners

Boeing Co (BA.N) on Monday began installing reinforced lithium ion batteries on five grounded 787 jets owned by launch customer All Nippon Airways (9202.T), starting a process that should make the first commercial Dreamliners ready to fly again in about a week. Teams of Boeing engineers are working on the ANA jets at four airports in Japan, including Tokyo's Haneda and Narita hubs, Ryosei Nomura, a spokesman for the carrier said. The Dreamliners have been parked since regulators in the United States and elsewhere ordered all 50 planes out of the skies in mid-January after batteries on two of them overheated.

REGIONAL HEADLINES:

WaPo: Maryland’s Gov. O’Malley ponders: What next?

After an extraordinarily productive two years in which Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley muscled through legislation on several top priorities — including same-sex marriage,gun control, transportation funding and repealing the death penalty — the question is: What, if anything, is there left for him to do before leaving office? In an interview, O’Malley (D), who is weighing a 2016 presidential bid, said he has spent little time thinking about “lame-duck considerations” in Maryland and that there is plenty he would like to accomplish before his second term ends in January 2015.  “I intend to run through this finish line and do everything I can to make these final 19, 20 months as effective as possible for the people I serve,” he said.

San Francisco Chronicle: Medicare cuts hit cancer patients

Bay Area oncologists say the mandated federal spending cuts that went into effect this month are putting the squeeze on their ability to administer expensive chemotherapy drugs, and some are starting to send their cancer patients on Medicare to hospitals for treatment. The automatic cuts under the sequestration that took effect April 1 reduced by 2 percent the amount of money Medicare, the federal health program for the elderly and disabled, reimburses doctors for the drugs. That may not sound like a huge percentage, but oncologists say it adds up, considering the cost of a single dose of a brand-name chemotherapy drug can run thousands of dollars.

LA Times: At least 5 die in Arizona car crash during Border Patrol pursuit

At least five people were killed and more than a dozen hurt when an SUV crashed while it was being chased by the Border Patrol, authorities said Sunday. Pima County Rural/Metro Fire Chief Willie Treatch said the midsize SUV was carrying 22 passengers, but U.S. Customs and Border Protection said 18 were aboard. Treatch said five people died at the scene and 17 were rushed to the hospital, some by helicopter. The incident happened about 11 p.m. Saturday near the intersection of Interstate 10 and State Highway 83 in Vail, Ariz., officials said.

INTERNATIONAL:

CNN: Taliban capture 8 Turks, Afghan pilot after chopper makes emergency landing

Taliban insurgents seized eight Turkish nationals and an Afghan pilot from a transport helicopter after it was forced to make an emergency landing late Sunday night in eastern Afghanistan, authorities said. The private helicopter, that was used to carry food and other items for the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF), was headed to Kabul from a NATO base in Khost province when it was forced to land in Azra district in neighboring Logar province, said the district's governor, Hamidullah Hamid. On board were eight Turkish engineers and an Afghan pilot. Because it's not always safe to travel by road in areas with heavy militant activity, engineers and others will often hitch rides in helicopters delivering supplies.

CNN: Syrian activist group: Record number of dead found

The bodies of at least 566 people who were killed over a six-day period across Syria were found Sunday, according to Local Coordination Committees in Syria, an opposition group based in the country. That is the highest number of victims discovered in a single day since the war began in March 2011, according to LCC spokeswoman Rafif Jouejati. At least 450 bodies were found in the Damascus suburb of Jadidat al-Fadel, LCC activist Abu Aasy said. Over the past six days, some 3,000 members of the security forces stormed the area, and the dead include at least 300 civilians and 150 members of the Free Syrian Army, he said.

Jerusalem Post: 'Jordan opens skies for IAF drones flying to Syria'

Jordan has opened two corridors of its airspace to Israeli Air Force drones seeking to monitor the ongoing conflict in Syria, French daily Le Figaro reported on Sunday, citing a Western military source in the Middle East. According to the report, Jordanian King Abdullah made the decision in March during US President Barack Obama's visit to Jordan, which came immediately after his first trip as president to Israel. Le Figaro quoted the military source as saying that the Israeli drones fly at night to avoid detection. The source added that "the Syrians have Russian air defense assets, but Israeli aircraft are difficult to detect and therefore virtually immune to anti-aircraft measures."

BBC: Nigeria fighting 'kills scores' in Baga

Intense fighting between the military and Islamist militants in north Nigeria is reported to have killed at least 185 civilians and destroyed 2,000 homes. Rocket-propelled grenades and heavy gunfire bombarded the remote town of Baga near the border with Chad for hours on Friday evening, government and military officials say. Nigeria faces a long-running insurgency in its predominantly Muslim north. The Boko Haram insurgency has left thousands of people dead since 2009.

WSJ: Iran Curbs Spark Trade Shift

Iran is accelerating its efforts to buoy its non-oil trade and to find new markets in Asia, Africa and the Middle East as it struggles for economic survival amid an intensifying U.S. financial war on Tehran and its allies, the country's chief economic manager said in an interview. U.S. and European sanctions targeting Tehran's oil exports and central bank have contributed to an 80% depreciation of the Iranian currency, the rial, over the past two years, said Shamseddin Hosseini, Iran's minister of economic affairs and finance. He also said the blacklisting of virtually all of his country's banking system by Washington and Brussels has significantly raised the cost for Iranians conducting international trade, forcing them to seek alternative payment methods or to resort to barter trade.

Christian Science Monitor: First West Bank marathon highlights barriers to Palestinian movement

Even as last week’s fatal bombing at the Boston Marathon suddenly robbed the popular events of their innocence in the US, the spirit of the newest marathon seemed little dampened as runners warmed up to drum-driven Middle Eastern folk music. But as the worldwide trend of marathoning spreads to the Holy Land, the Bethlehem Marathon has inevitably been routed through the charged terrain of geopolitical and religious conflict. Dubbed the "Right to Movement Palestine Marathon," event organizers cast the run as a demonstration against the Israeli security policies that limit Palestinian travel between their cities and towns.

CNN: Magnitude-5.9 earthquake hits Mexico

A magnitude-5.9 earthquake hit central Mexico near the Pacific Coast on Sunday night, the U.S. Geological Survey said. The earthquake was centered more than 200 miles from Mexico City, the USGS said, in the Mexican state of Michoacan. There were no immediate reports of damage or injuries in Michoacan, according to state civil protection officials. Some people in the capital said they could feel the tremors. Some neighborhoods there were without power, according to a preliminary report from the federal electrical commission. The quake was 46 miles deep, the USGS said.

CNN: Amid wreckage of China quake, the desperate search for survivors

Families badly in need of food and water are living in makeshift shelters near the shattered remains of their houses in this area of the southwestern Chinese province of Sichuan where a strong earthquake struck over the weekend, killing at least 188 people. In the race to find survivors in the rubble before it is too late, rescue workers are having to contend with frequent aftershocks that threaten to set off landslides and topple more buildings. Some of those who evaded the tumbling debris when the quake hit on Saturday are now taking refuge under lean-to tents; others have no shelter at all. In many cases, it's too dangerous to go back inside the precarious ruins of their heavily damaged houses to look for food and belongings.

CNN: China said to detain activists who sought to publicize top officials' assets

Chinese authorities have detained at least a half dozen activists this month, human rights groups said, in what appears to be a crackdown targeting a campaign to publicize the financial assets of top government officials. Human rights groups named six supporters of the "New Citizens Movement" who they said had been rounded up by security forces in several waves starting on April 1. Among them were Ding Jiaxi, a human rights lawyer, and Zhao Changqing, a former student leader from the 1989 Tiananmen Square protests. All six activists are being charged with "unlawful assembly," said the human rights lawyer Liang Xiaojun.

CNN: China bird flu cases now at 102

The number of bird flu cases in China jumped Sunday to 102, including 20 deaths, the World Health Organization announced. Seventy patients remain hospitalized with the virus. The WHO said there is still no evidence of human-to-human transmission. So far the virus has mainly affected eastern China, with 11 deaths and 33 infection cases reported in Shanghai, 24 cases, including three deaths, in Jiangsu Province, 38 cases, including five deaths, in Zhejiang Province, while Anhui Province has confirmed three cases, with one ending in death.

BUSINESS:

CNNMoney: Deficits are falling. For now

Deficits are falling. A lot. Remember 2009, the depths of the economic crisis? That year, the country spent way more than it brought in and ran an eye-popping shortfall that topped 10% of the size of the economy. This year the deficit is expected to be half that - around 5.3% of GDP, the Congressional Budget Office estimates. And by 2015, it's projected to drop to 2.4%. What's more, the national debt that has accumulated from annual deficits is also projected to fall to an estimated 73.1% of GDP in 2018 from an estimated 76.3% today.

WSJ: Economic Woes Abroad Bode Ill for the U.S.

Troubles overseas are threatening the U.S. recovery for the fourth year in a row. This time it's weakening economies abroad, rather than tumbling financial markets, signaling turbulence ahead. U.S. exports of goods to the European Union are declining outright. Growth in overall U.S. exports has been sputtering for months, after a three-year postrecession surge. And major U.S. companies are reporting increasingly dour overseas outlooks tied to the recession-plagued euro zone and slowing growth in other leading economies such as China. The renewed fears of a global slowdown come after months of hope that a stronger recovery was finally taking shape.

WaPo: Wall Street betting billions on single-family homes in distressed markets

Big investors are pouring unprecedented amounts of money into real estate hard hit by the housing crash, bringing those moribund markets back to life but raising the prospect of another Wall Street-fueled bubble that won’t be sustainable. Drawn by the prospect of double-figure profit margins on rents and the resale of homes whose prices plummeted in the crash, hedge funds, Wall Street investors and other institutions are crowding out individual home buyers. If the chain of easy credit and dangerous leverage that started on Wall Street fanned the housing bubble and eventual crash, some analysts find it disturbing that major investors are the ones snapping up the bargains — and eventual big profits — left in its wake.

Financial Times: Data shift to lift US economy 3%

The US economy will officially become 3 per cent bigger in July as part of a shake-up that will see government statistics take into account 21st century components such as film royalties and spending on research and development. Billions of dollars of intangible assets will enter the gross domestic product of the world’s largest economy in a revision aimed at capturing the changing nature of US output.


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

    The 19 year old terrorist partied and continued his (their) live as if nothing had happened.
    He is just as guilty as that brother of his and anything that comes his way is well deserved.
    If he can't speak I am sure he can still write!
    As far as the rethugs throwing their politics and change for reelection to the wind here shame on them. This is NOT about you (king and ms. lindsey for starters)

    April 22, 2013 06:34 am at 6:34 am |
  2. Marie MD

    I wonder how many of these rethugs in congress would have spent the endless hours, from Monday through Friday night, doing their jobs like the first responders (National Guard, police, FBI, ATF and every other agency involved in this probe) and ultimately got the job done.
    These politicians are a disgusting bunch of _______ (fill in the blank). They can't even do their own jobs and take more time off than any other congress on record because even when they are "working" they are too busy setting up speed bumps for the progress of the US. BTW – now that the FAA is going to hurt their chances to leave DC to go home on Thursdays I bet they will do something about the sequester.

    April 22, 2013 06:39 am at 6:39 am |
  3. Name lynn

    The immigrations bill dont have nothing to do with this bombing, them people is over here trying to make a good life not bombing the united states. The government letting the people over here, what is wrong with the people, let the immigrations come over here in america an lived.

    April 22, 2013 07:57 am at 7:57 am |