CNN Washington AM Note
April 23rd, 2013
05:39 AM ET
12 months ago

CNN Washington AM Note

BREAKING OVERNIGHT:

CNN: Car bomb explodes outside French embassy in Tripoli; 2 guards, girl injured

A bomb exploded outside the French embassy in Tripoli, Libya, early Tuesday morning, witnesses told CNN. Two French security guards and a young girl were injured in the car bombing, the state-run Libya News Agency reported. The blast was powerful enough to blow off the front wall of the embassy. Windows of nearby buildings in this largely residential, upscale neighborhood were also blown out.

NATIONAL STORIES:

CNN: Source: Boston bomb suspect says his brother masterminded attack

The surviving suspect in the Boston Marathon bombings has told investigators that his older brother, not any international terrorist group, masterminded the deadly attack, a U.S. government source said. Preliminary interviews with Dzhokhar Tsarnaev indicate the two brothers fit the classification of self-radicalized jihadists, the source said Monday. Tsarnaev has conveyed to investigators that Tamerlan's motivation was that of jihadist thought and the idea that Islam is under attack and jihadists need to fight back, the source said. The government source cautioned that the interviews were preliminary, and that Tsarnaev's account needs to be checked out and followed up on by investigators.

ALSO SEE: CNN: Boston bombing suspect's wife 'very distraught,' lawyer says

WATCH: VIDEO – Joe Johns looks at the order of events outlined in court documents filed against the surviving Boston bombing suspect.

WSJ: U.S. Is Probing Suspect's Alleged Links to Militants

U.S. investigators are looking into a Russian intelligence report that alleged Boston bomber Tamerlan Tsarnaev met with a suspected militant during his six-month visit to Russia in 2012, according to American law-enforcement officials. In the aftermath of the bombings, some American counterterrorism officials received information from law-enforcement officials in Makhachkala, Dagestan, detailing alleged contacts between Mr. Tsarnaev and a suspected militant being tracked by Russian officials, according to a law-enforcement official briefed on the Boston Marathon investigation. The accuracy of that report and whether it was shared before the attack in Boston is a subject of debate.

ALSO SEE: Time: Boston Bombing Suspect Visited Radical Mosque in Dagestan, Officials Confirm

ALSO SEE: CNN: What was Tamerlan Tsarnaev doing in Russia?

CNN: Heat is on FBI over handling of bombing suspect

When Russia asked the FBI in 2011 to check out Tamerlan Tsarnaev because of his shift toward increasing Islamic extremism, the bureau interviewed him and his family as part of a review that found no ties to terrorism. Two years later, Tsarnaev, 26, and his younger brother allegedly set off two bombs at the Boston Marathon that killed three people, then killed a university police officer and sparked a manhunt that paralyzed the city last week. Now members of Congress want to know how someone who was brought to the attention of authorities and who exhibited increasingly radical leanings never came under further monitoring or questioning.

ALSO SEE: NYT: Officials Say They Had No Authority to Watch Older Suspect

Foreign Policy: Boston's Jihadist Past

When Boston Marathon runners rounded the bend from Beacon Street last week, they were in the home stretch of the race. As they poured through the closed intersection, they ran past a nondescript address: 510 Commonwealth Avenue. The location was once home to an international support network that raised funds and recruited fighters for a jihadist insurgency against Russian rule over Chechnya, a region and a conflict that few of the runners had likely ever given any serious thought.

NYT: For Wounded, Daunting Cost; for Aid Fund, Tough Decisions

For victims of the Boston Marathon bombings, the terrible physical cost may come with a daunting financial cost as well. Many of the wounded could face staggering bills not just for the trauma care they received in the days after the bombings, but for prosthetic limbs, lengthy rehabilitation and the equipment they will need to negotiate daily life with crippling injuries. …Kenneth R. Feinberg, the lawyer who has overseen compensation funds for victims of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, the shootings at Virginia Tech and other disasters, arrived in Boston on Monday to start the difficult work of deciding who will be eligible for payouts from a new compensation fund and how much each person wounded in the bombings and family of the dead deserves.

ALSO SEE: Boston Globe: Injury toll from Marathon bombings rises to 282

New York Daily News: Cancer rate 15% higher than normal for 9/11 responders: study

Cancer among 9/11 responders is 15% higher than among people not exposed to the Ground Zero toxins, a study by Mount Sinai Hospital’s World Trade Center Health Program has found. The increase was seen primarily in three types of the disease, thyroid, prostate and blood cancers, such as leukemia and lymphoma. Researchers analyzing data from 20,984 participants in the WTC Health Program from 2001 to 2008 found 575 cases of cancer, compared with the 499 epidemiologists expected to see in the general population for that size sample. The findings will be published online Tuesday in the medical journal Environmental Health Perspectives.

Houston Chronicle: Official suggests rail car may have led to West explosion

The chairman of the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality raised the idea Monday that the explosion at a fertilizer plant that devastated the tiny town of West may have stemmed from a rail car reportedly loaded with ammonium nitrate. "I would submit to you that the ammonia tank that's been a lot of people's focus was likely not what we saw exploding there," TCEQ Chairman Bryan Shaw said at a forum sponsored by the Texas Tribune. "It's more likely — as I've done some analysis of that — that it's likely possibly a rail car with ammonium nitrate in it," Shaw said. "That's early, early — just looking at some of the visual studies."

ALSO SEE: CNN: A town copes with lives lost in Texas blast

 

WaPo: Study: Voice-activated texting while driving no safer than typing

It had appeared that technology might have solved a problem of its own creation when voice-activated texting came along so that drivers could keep their eyes on the road. Not so, says the first major study of the subject. It’s every bit as dangerous to speak into a mobile device that translates words into a text message as it is to type one. “It didn’t really matter which texting method you were using, your reaction times were twice as slow and your eyes were on the road much less often,” said Christine Yager, who did the research for the Texas Transportation Institute at Texas A&M University.

WHITE HOUSE:

CNN: Obama to host female senators at White House

President Barack Obama will host female U.S. senators at the White House on Tuesday night as he continues his personal outreach to push his second-term legislative agenda. According to one of those lawmakers, Democratic Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand of New York, Obama invited all 20 women senators. Gillibrand added later that the meeting “is a good step toward bipartisan cooperation.”

WSJ: Obama Budget Spreads the Tax Pain

President Barack Obama's budget proposal would lead to significant tax increases on upper-income Americans, and also to moderate increases on some lower-income Americans, largely because of a new tax on tobacco products, according to an analysis by a Washington think tank. The Tax Policy Center, a project run by the Urban Institute and the Brookings Institution, found that the budget plan would raise roughly $1.1 trillion over 10 years through a combination of limits on tax breaks, a tax on the banking industry and new estate taxes, among other things. The White House's proposed tax increases have run into stiff opposition from congressional Republicans. Still, the plan is likely to draw attention from House and Senate leaders considering whether to pursue an overhaul of the tax code this year, particularly because the White House says that tax increases must be part of any broad deficit-reduction plan.

NYT: In Gun Bill Defeat, a President Who Hesitates to Twist Arms

Senator Mark Begich, Democrat of Alaska, asked President Obama’s administration for a little favor last month. Send your new interior secretary this spring to discuss a long-simmering dispute over construction of a road through a wildlife refuge, Mr. Begich asked in a letter. The administration said yes. Four weeks later, Mr. Begich, who faces re-election next year, ignored Mr. Obama’s pleas on a landmark bill intended to reduce gun violence and instead voted against a measure to expand background checks. Mr. Obama denounced the defeat of gun control steps on Wednesday as “a shameful day.” But Mr. Begich’s defiance and that of other Democrats who voted against Mr. Obama appear to have come with little cost. Sally Jewell, the interior secretary, is still planning a trip to Alaska — to let Mr. Begich show his constituents that he is pushing the government to approve the road.

CNN: Oil, money and politics; EPA snags Keystone XL pipeline

The politics of oil and ecology have put President Obama between a rock and hard place, as he faces a decision on whether or not to permit construction of a new pipeline. The squeeze just got tighter with a new, negative environmental assessment. The Keystone XL pipeline will give America energy independence, thousands of jobs, important industrial infrastructure and won't cost taxpayers a dime, say proponents. Many of them are Republican lawmakers. It is dangerous, inherently filthy and must be stopped, say opponents, some of whom are Democrats who helped get the president elected. On Monday, the Environmental Protection Agency weighed in on the side of the environmentalists, weeks after the State Department came down on the side of the proponents. The EPA sent a letter to high officials at State, blasting the draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) it published in March that had reflected positively on the pipeline project.

CAPITOL HILL:

Bloomberg: U.S. Consumer Bureau Says $425 Million Went to 6 Million

In its first 21 months, the U.S. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has secured $425 million in relief for 6 million consumers wronged by financial service providers, its director will tell Congress today. “We also imposed penalties on the companies to deter such activity in the future,” CFPB Director Richard Cordray will say, according to testimony prepared for delivery to the Senate Banking Committee today. “These actions will serve as a warning signal for anyone who seeks to profit by deceiving or misleading consumers.”

The Hill: Rangel sues Boehner seeking to overturn House Ethics censure   

Rep. Charles Rangel (D-N.Y.) is suing Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) and six other lawmakers, charging that they mishandled the ethics investigation that led to his public censure in late 2010. In a complaint filed Monday in federal court in Washington D.C., Rangel claims the Ethics Committee that investigated his alleged wrongdoing is guilty of “numerous flagrant, knowing and intentional violations” of his due process rights.

National Journal: How CISPA Opponents Were Outspent by Industry Lobbyists, 38 to 1

Last week, the House approved CISPA, the House cybersecurity bill that’s long rankled privacy advocates - not to mention the White House, which issued a presidential veto threat in response to the action. The Obama administration’s warning is a sign that CISPA may already be dead. But for now, at least, its supporters in industry who want to be able to share information on cyber threats with the government and other companies can boast some momentum.  It was an expensive win. According to data from the Sunlight Foundation, CISPA allies have spent $605 million lobbying for the bill since 2011. …Opponents of the bill spent a grand total of $4.3 million in Congress fighting the measure. For a better idea of what that looks like, for every $1 spent by critics like the American Civil Liberties Union, proponents of CISPA spent nearly $38.

POLITICAL:

CNN: Boston attack shouldn't delay immigration reform, says Ryan

Rep. Paul Ryan, number two on the GOP's presidential ticket in 2012, said Monday that last week's bombings at the finish line of the Boston Marathon should be an impetus to modernize the current immigration system, refuting calls from some Republicans to halt the revamp amid an ongoing investigation. "I would say for the sake of national security, I want to modernize our immigration laws," Ryan said. He was speaking at the invitation of Rep. Luis Gutierrez, D-Illinois, at the City Club of Chicago.

Politico: Immigration reform could be bonanza for Democrats

The immigration proposal pending in Congress would transform the nation’s political landscape for a generation or more — pumping as many as 11 million new Hispanic voters into the electorate a decade from now in ways that, if current trends hold, would produce an electoral bonanza for Democrats and cripple Republican prospects in many states they now win easily. Beneath the philosophical debates about amnesty and border security, there are brass-tacks partisan calculations driving the thinking of lawmakers in both parties over comprehensive immigration reform, which in its current form offers a pathway to citizenship — and full voting rights — for a group of undocumented residents that roughly equals the population of Ohio, the nation’s seventh-largest state.

ABC/WaPo Poll: G.W. Bush Advances in Esteem Yet Still With More Brush to Cut

After the most unpopular second term of the post-World War II era, George W. Bush has gained in public esteem as time since his presidency has passed – not that the public’s ready yet to throw him bouquets. Just more than four years after he left office, with his presidential library about to open its doors, Americans divide on Bush’s performance during his tumultuous eight years as president: Forty-seven percent approve while 50 percent disapprove in a new ABC News/Washington Post poll. Albeit tepid, that score represents progress for Bush.

ALSO SEE: National Journal: George W. Bush's Reluctant Re-Emergence on the Political Scene

WSJ: Rand Paul Tries to Transform a Moment Into a Movement

Sen. Rand Paul's big moment lasted nearly 13 hours. To many, that's how long it took the Republican lawmaker to transform from fringe politician to overnight sensation, in an old-fashioned Senate floor filibuster to seek White House safeguards against using drones to kill Americans. Billed as a spontaneous gesture, the filibuster was in fact the most successful of several planned actions that began when the eye doctor-turned-senator decided in December to weigh a run for president.

Honolulu Star Advertiser: Hanabusa to challenge Schatz for Inouye Senate seat

U.S. Rep. Colleen Hanabusa has decided to challenge U.S. Sen. Brian Schatz in the Democratic primary next year, according to a source close to her campaign. Hanabusa was the late U.S. Sen. Daniel Inouye’s choice as his replacement, and the senator had urged Gov. Neil Abercrombie to select her just before he died at 88 in December. Abercrombie instead chose Schatz, his lieutenant governor. Hanabusa had been considering primary challenges to either Schatz or Abercrombie. A source close to her campaign said Monday that Hanabusa had decided on a Senate campaign and was informing close allies.

NATIONAL SECURITY:

CNN: Boston bombing looms large at U.S./Russia meeting

When Secretary of State John Kerry meets Tuesday with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov on the sidelines of NATO meetings, he will have a full agenda, starting with the crisis in Syria, disarmament talks with Iran and nuclear saber rattling by North Korea. There also will be the issue of missile defense and ongoing negotiations between Moscow and Washington to make drastic cuts in their respective nuclear arsenals. But the Chechen roots of the Boston Marathon bombing suspects will loom large. While Russia could be helpful in tracing possible motivation of the alleged attackers, brothers Dzhokhar and Tamerlan Tsarnaev, as well as any possible connection to terrorist groups, the Obama administration wants to make sure it does not upset an already fragile relationship.

Reuters: North Korea demands recognition as nuclear arms state

North Korea demanded on Tuesday that it be recognized as a nuclear weapons state, rejecting a U.S. condition that it agree to give up its nuclear arms program before talks can begin. After weeks of tension on the Korean peninsula, including North Korean threats of nuclear war, the North has in recent days begun to at least talk about dialogue in response to calls for talks from both the United States and South Korea. The North's Rodong Sinmun newspaper rejected as groundless and unacceptable the U.S. and South Korean condition that it agrees to dismantle its nuclear weapons and suspend missile launches. "If the DPRK sits at a table with the U.S., it has to be a dialogue between nuclear weapons states, not one side forcing the other to dismantle nuclear weapons," the newspaper said, referring to the North by its official name, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea.

Reuters: Israel says Syria used chemical arms, probably nerve gas

Syrian government forces have used chemical weapons – probably nerve gas – in their fight against rebels waging a two-year-old uprising, the Israeli military's top intelligence analyst said on Tuesday. Brigadier-General Itai Brun told a security conference photos of victims showing foam coming out of their mouths and contracted pupils were signs deadly gas had been used.

WaPo: Vast majority of global cyber-espionage emanates from China, report finds

Analyses of hundreds of documented data breaches found that hackers affiliated with the Chinese government were by far the most energetic and successful cyberspies in the world last year, according to a report to be issued Tuesday by government and industry investigators. Although hackers with financial motives are the most common source of data breaches worldwide, China dominated the category of state-affiliated cyber-espionage of intellectual property, said the 2013 Data Breach Investigations Report. The report was issued by Verizon’s RISK Team and 18 partners, including officials from the United States and several foreign governments. Of 120 incidents of government cyber-espionage detailed in the report, 96 percent came from China; the source of the other 4 percent was unknown, it said.

Financial Times: China and US try to forge military ties

China and the US tried to take a step forward towards a stronger military relationship as the top US military official started talks with Beijing’s new military leadership. General Fang Fenghui, chief of the general staff of the People’s Liberation Army, called the visit of General Martin Dempsey, chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, “an important event in the bilateral military exchange programme”. “The Pacific Ocean is wide enough to accommodate us both. We should be co-operating partners regardless of the circumstances,” Gen Fang said. Gen Fang is part of a new generation of military leaders which the Chinese Communist party installed last fall along with its new civilian leadership.

CNN: Suspects in thwarted terror plot to appear in court

Two men accused of planning to carry out an al Qaeda-supported attack against a passenger train traveling between Canada and the United States will make their first court appearance on Tuesday, police said. The hearing in Toronto's Old City Hall Court comes a day after the Royal Canadian Mounted Police announced they had arrested 30-year-old Chiheb Esseghaier of Montreal and 35-year-old Raed Jaser of Toronto. The two men face charges of "receiving support from al Qaeda elements in Iran" to carry out an attack and conspiring to murder people on a VIA railway train in the greater Toronto area, Assistant Police Commissioner James Malizia said.

ALSO SEE: CNN: Congressman: Thwarted terror plot targeted train from Canada to U.S.

CNN: Report: U.S. soldier pleads guilty to killing 5 comrades in Iraq 'out of rage'

A U.S. Army sergeant pleaded guilty Monday to gunning down five fellow service members at a combat stress clinic in Iraq after military prosecutors agreed not to seek the death penalty. Sgt. John Russell admitted to the May 11, 2009, killings at Baghdad's Camp Liberty, telling a Joint Base Lewis-McChord court that he "did it out of rage," according to The News Tribune of Tacoma. The court scheduled a May 6 hearing to determine whether Russell committed the slayings with premeditation, which the 48-year-old soldier has disputed. The outcome will determine whether Russell is sentenced to life without parole or given a lesser sentence. As part of the plea agreement, Russell described to the court how he killed Navy Cmdr. Charles Springle, Army Maj. Matthew Houseal, Sgt. Christian Bueno-Galdos, Spec. Jacob Barton and Pfc. Michael Yates Jr.

AVIATION, REGULATION and JUSTICE:

CNN: U.S. to keep restriction on small knives on planes for now

The U.S. government will temporarily delay a controversial rule that would again permit passengers to carry small knives on commercial flights three days before it was due to take effect. The Transportation Security Administration said in a statement on Monday it would consider additional input from a federal advisory committee that includes aviation-related interests, passenger advocates, and law enforcement experts before activating the new regulation. Airline passengers had been cleared to carry knives with small blades, including some pocket knives, beginning on Thursday. The TSA did not give a new date for the policy to take effect.

CNNMoney: Furloughs cause airport delays

Flight delays are here. Just like the government warned a few months ago, air travelers have started experiencing late flights caused by forced federal spending cuts. On Monday afternoon, all three New York City-area airports reported delays for all incoming flights, in part because fewer air traffic controllers reported for duty as they were forced to take unpaid time off, according to unions and airline trade groups. Charlotte Douglas International Airport was also reporting "ground delays" with extra wait time averaging of 20 minutes due to furloughs and weather problems, according to Victoria Day of Airlines for America, a trade group for the major airlines.

CNN: Ex-teacher accused of child pornography caught in Nicaragua

One of the FBI's Ten Most Wanted fugitives was picked up Saturday in Nicaragua, according to a federal law enforcement official. The official did not provide details on how Eric Toth, 31, was located and apprehended. Toth is a former Washington private school teacher who was wanted on child pornography charges. According to the FBI, in June 2008, images of child pornography were found on a school camera Toth had been using. He allegedly also produced such images in Maryland. U.S. officials are working on returning him to the United States to face charges.

REGIONAL HEADLINES:

Sacramento Bee: San Francisco launches probe into Nevada patient-busing

San Francisco City Attorney Dennis Herrera today announced a formal investigation into whether the State of Nevada improperly "dumped" psychiatric patients to his city and across California. In a letter to the director of Nevada's Department of Health and Human Services sent this morning, Herrera demands that the state turn over documents related to its aggressive practice in recent years of discharging mental patients to Greyhound buses and transporting them across the country. The letter, copied to Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval and Nevada Attorney General Catherine Cortez Masto, cites a Bee investigation detailing how the Rawson-Neal Psychiatric Hospital in Las Vegas bused roughly 1,500 patients to other cities and states from July 1, 2008 through early March 2013.

Des Moines Register: 2nd Bachmann aide: Sorenson took money, broke rules

Emails confirm that campaign aides for U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann discussed paying Iowa state Sen. Kent Sorenson monthly wages for his role on the congresswoman’s 2012 presidential campaign, and show efforts were made to ensure he was paid by an entity other than the presidential campaign itself. But the emails don’t make clear whether or not he violated ethics rules, as a complaint lodged against him by another former campaign staffer alleges. The emails were made public Monday alongside a sworn statement from former Bachmann chief of staff and campaign operative Andy Parrish. Taken together, they represent the latest in a long-running and convoluted fight among staffers from Bachmann’s ill-fated run for the presidency.

Wilmington News Journal: Feds buy time for Fisker from skidding into deeper trouble

The U.S. Department of Energy has tapped a Fisker Automotive reserve account to cover the troubled automaker’s first installment payment on a federal loan that was due Monday, the department reported. The move appears to give Fisker a three-month reprieve in its efforts to survive by finding investors or partners to recapitalize the company – or find some way to sell off the company’s assets and escape what many expect will be a bankruptcy filing. The embattled plug-in hybrid auto manufacturer announced plans in 2009 to build cars at the shuttered General Motors plant in Delaware beginning next year. It was a plan leveraged by a $529 million Energy Department loan and more than $20 million in Delaware grants and loans.

The State: Colbert Busch agrees to only one congressional debate

Elizabeth Colbert Busch — who leads her Republican rival in the 1st Congressional District race, according to a new poll — has agreed to only one debate against Mark Sanford. Sanford, who launched a five-day tour across the district Monday, is accusing the Charleston County Democrat of debate-dodging and running a “stealth campaign.” Sanford, who wanted four debates, is encouraging TV stations to carry the only scheduled debate, on April 29 at The Citadel in Charleston.

Las Vegas Sun: In split vote, Nevada Senate passes measure to begin repeal of gay marriage ban

Following more than an hour of riveting and personal floor speeches — during which one state senator publicly announced for the first time he is gay — the Nevada Senate voted 12-9 to begin the process of repealing the gay marriage ban from the state constitution. Only one Republican, Sen. Ben Kieckhefer, joined with Democrats to vote in favor of Senate Joint Resolution 13, which would repeal the ban on gay marriage and replace it with a requirement that the state recognize all marriages regardless of gender. The late night vote came after more than an hour of emotional floor debate, during which opponents of the measure decried efforts to label them as "insensitive and unenlightened," and supporters argued marriage equality should be extended to all regardless of gender. In a particularly emotional moment, Sen. Kelvin Atkinson, D-North Las Vegas, publicly declared for the first time that he is gay.

New Jersey Star Ledger: Christie to attend Bush library dedication in Dallas

Gov. Chris Christie will attend the dedication of the George W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum in Dallas this week. President Barack Obama and four living ex-presidents are expected to be there for the invitation-only dedication ceremonies on Thursday and Christie also be a guest at a dinner Wednesday. Christie will leave New Jersey for Texas on Wednesday and return the next day, spokesman Michael Drewniak said.

INTERNATIONAL:

CNN: French lawmakers to hold final vote on same-sex marriage

France is set to become the latest nation to legalize same-sex marriage Tuesday, despite vocal opposition from conservatives, when legislation goes before lawmakers in the lower house for a final vote. The bill, which would also give same-sex couples the rights to adopt, was approved in the Senate earlier this month.

CNN: Large number of Chinese ships around disputed islands, Japan says

Japan said Tuesday that eight Chinese government ships had entered waters around a group of islands in the East China Sea that lie at the heart of a territorial dispute between the two countries. The Japanese Coast Guard said the number of Chinese ships around the uninhabited islands - known as Senkaku in Japanese and Diaoyu in Chinese - was the largest since tensions increased over the dispute last year. The Japanese government bought several of the islands from a private owner in September, angering Chinese authorities and provoking a spate of sometimes violent anti-Japanese demonstrations in many Chinese cities.

CNN: Israel,Turkey discuss compensation for flotilla raid victims

Turkish and Israeli officials sat down at the negotiating table for the first time since Israel's prime minister apologized a month ago for a deadly 2010 raid on a Gaza-bound aid ship that left eight Turks and an American dead. The one-day talks were held in the Turkish capital, Ankara, on Monday. The two delegations discussed guidelines for determining how much Israel would compensate the families of the victims, according to Turkey's semi-official Anatolian News Agency. Further talks are likely, although an exact timetable has not been released. Relations between Israel and Turkey, once close military and economic partners in the region, ruptured after the botched raid of the ship Mavi Marmara nearly three years ago.

Financial times: Syrian rebels seek control over oilfields

Syria’s top rebel commander is seeking western backing to create a military unit to take control of oilfields controlled by al-Qaeda-linked extremists and other rebels, as lucrative natural resources captured from the regime stoke tension between rival factions. EU foreign ministers on Monday lifted an oil embargo against Syria to allow rebels to sell crude to fund their operations. But the move comes amid signs of growing tension within the opposition over control of captured oilfields and other strategic assets.

Christian Science Monitor: Nuclear North Korea entreats Mongolia for help in feeding its people

The ambassador from Pyongyang to Ulan Bator officially has claimed that a “severe food shortage” may be in the offing, and his country is seeking relief. North Korea's young leader Kim Jong-un has been threatening nuclear war, raising tensions, using scant fuel resources to drive his mobile rocket launchers around in anticipation of another test; last week Mr. Kim shut a joint North-South industrial park at Kaesong that earns hard currency. But when it comes to actually feeding people at a time of expected shortfall in the corn crop, Kim is apparently hoping that Mongolians will take pity.

Jerusalem Post: EU working on plan to label settlement products

The European Union is working on legal guidelines for any member states that might choose to clearly label products produced in West Bank settlements, according to diplomatic sources. “We are pursuing efforts to ensure correct labeling of settlement goods as tasked by the council,” an EU spokesperson told The Jerusalem Post on Monday.

WSJ: Serbia, Kosovo Advance Toward Bloc

Serbia and Kosovo moved a step forward Monday on the long road to joining the European Union, days after a landmark agreement to normalize relations between the two once-warring parties. The European Commission, the EU's executive arm, recommended to EU countries that talks with Serbia about joining the bloc be formally opened. Belgrade had "taken very significant steps and sustainable improvement in relations with Kosovo," it said. In a separate report, the commission said that the Kosovo government in Pristina had also met all of its "short-term priorities." It urged member states to authorize talks on a so-called Stabilization and Association Agreement, which can be a precursor to joining the EU.

Miami Herald: Aid shortfalls jeopardize Haiti’s humanitarian programs 

For the first time since four back-to-back storms and hurricanes battered Haiti five years ago, the U.N.’s lead feeding program and other agencies don’t have enough food to stockpile in strategic areas before a major storm hits. …A lack of donor response to Haiti’s ongoing humanitarian crisis is crippling everything from hurricane preparedness to cholera treatment programs to camp relocation efforts, and putting at risk the humanitarian gains made in recent years, the heads of U.N. humanitarian agencies say.

CNN: Anger, frustration over rapes in India: 'Mindset hasn't changed'

Four months after a vicious gang rape left a 23-year-old physiotherapy student dead and triggered a national outcry over the treatment of women, more protests ignited in New Delhi after another brutal rape - this time the victim was a five-year-old girl. Two men have been arrested in the case. Authorities say the girl was abducted, locked in a house and raped repeatedly. She was found semiconscious three days later and doctors removed foreign objects from her genitals, including candle pieces and a small bottle

BUSINESS:

CNNMoney: Cybercrime's easiest prey: Small businesses

A data breach investigations report from Verizon (VZ, Fortune 500), to be released Tuesday, will show that small businesses continue to be the most victimized of all companies. Of the 621 confirmed data breach incidents Verizon recorded in 2012, close to half occurred at companies with fewer than 1,000 employees, including 193 incidents at entities with fewer than 100 workers. A separate report from cybersecurity firm Symantec (SYMC, Fortune 500) confirmed that trend. It found cyberattacks on small businesses with fewer than 250 employees increased 31% in 2012, after growing by 18% in the prior year.

WSJ: Regulators Get Banks to Rein In Bonus Pay

U.S. banks are bowing to regulators' concerns about the size of executive pay and its role in financial industry risk-taking. Seven large U.S. financial-services firms, including PNC Financial Services Group, PNC +0.28% Capital One Financial Corp., COF -1.44% and Discover Financial Services Inc., DFS +0.62% said they are scaling back the maximum bonuses awarded to executives who beat their performance targets, according to regulatory filings. Late last year, the Federal Reserve began contacting banks about their compensation plans, said a person familiar with the phone calls. In regulatory filings, many of the firms cited the Fed as a reason for changes.


Filed under: Washington AM Note
soundoff (7 Responses)
  1. Marie MD

    Hey CNN, any word on the confederate probing governor of VA and a donors $15,000 to pay for something or other for his daughter's wedding? Look it up.
    Heard this morning that the worst president in our history has a 47% approval rating. For what? All I can think about is that he has kept a low profile and is being rewarded with a library. Stupid is as stupid does.

    April 23, 2013 06:36 am at 6:36 am |
  2. Larry in Houston

    That has to be made up – lol – or a fabricated % approval rating – He's the one who started the debt crisis in the first place – people who blame Obama don't know what they are talking about – the "dumbest one" was handed a "surplus" , unlike what the "dumbest one" handed Obama. He handed Obama 2 un-paid wars ( he practically started, in my opinion) and the debt was already sky high – Everybody in this country should give Obama credit for not going into another war – & slowly having this country get back on track – some people don't realize what the stock market was like under the "dumbest one's" regime's last yr in office – ( 2007) – and I can go on & on – as far as I'm concerned, him / cheney / & paulson / should be in prison for how they raped this country, & the crimes they committed in this country.

    April 23, 2013 08:37 am at 8:37 am |
  3. Peace

    We want to live in a peaceful world and not to be blown up with these thugs whenever they decide to do so. Where are the drones so that we get rid of them before they finish us all! Drones are most needed now than it was before.

    April 23, 2013 08:38 am at 8:38 am |
  4. Larry in Houston

    ""EPA snags Keystone XL pipeline"" Here's another good article, CNN. People who read this one, should highlight the word "snag" & "EPA" in their mind, while reading this. This is why factories have a difficult time deciding to come back from other countries, to re-start their factories here. ( in other words: other countries don't have a problem with "snag" & EPA) (# 2 ) I'm afraid of starting a lemonade stand, for fear of the EPA coming in, and if one of my employees accidentally spilled some lemonade out onto the curb/ street/ or sidewalk, they would fine me to the point I will have to go out of business. Point is : the EPA has no limits, and they can do what they want.

    April 23, 2013 08:46 am at 8:46 am |
  5. Name willard

    I don't belived that cnn news can't be story something so us will mocked out of cnn news that fox newd are great heat work
    I want question what about presdient obama that is protect
    The trail is underway for a former denocratic office a board of election work who are accused of begien part of a plot that has raised question over whether presdient obama campagin when was a canadiate in 2008 submitted enough legit make signature to quailfield for the presdient primary ballot
    That is all frauad

    April 23, 2013 08:56 am at 8:56 am |
  6. ST

    I think this young Boston bomber could had been blown up instantly in the boat once he was found hiding. Now it has become a brand new huge political issue: how should he be charged, politicians like Liz Cheney, Lindsey Graham find their way to inject themselves to the incident; a lot of cost will be incurred until the case is over; they have interrupted the major issues like: immigration reform & guns issue. It was not a wise idea to let him live for a while, while he terminated some lives and caused inconvenience to a lot of people. All problems could have been solved at once.

    April 23, 2013 09:06 am at 9:06 am |
  7. Wired Weird in SF

    See the usual democrat libertrons blaming Bush for everything here. In the meantime Obama and cthe corrupt democrats are getting ready to steal more of our money to give to the dope addicts (did you see the mess they made in SF to celebrate their special day, taxpayer will have to pay for cleanup), welfare frauds (did you see how the Obozophone fraud is growing) and the corrupt unions. Just another depressing day in the Obamanation of a country we have become.

    April 23, 2013 09:07 am at 9:07 am |