CNN: Boston probe eyes slain Canadian jihadist, source says
Federal agents are looking into possible links between dead Boston Marathon bomb suspect Tamerlan Tsarnaev and a Canadian boxer-turned-jihadist killed by Russian troops in 2012, a source being briefed on the investigation said Monday. William Plotnikov and six others died in a firefight with Russian forces in the southwestern republic of Dagestan in July 2012, while Tsarnaev was visiting the region, the source said. The 23-year-old Plotnikov was born in Russia, but his family moved to Canada when he was a teenager. The source said Plotnikov's body was prepared for burial by a local imam on July 14. Tsarnaev flew out of Dagestan two days later, arriving in New York on July 17. Investigators are looking into the possibility he left because of Plotnikov's death, the source said.
WATCH: VIDEO – Sources tell CNN that female DNA has been found on the bomb in the Boston attack. Susan Candiotti reports.
Boston Globe: Handling of data on suspect to get review
The nation’s top spy initiated a broad review Monday into “the US government’s handling of intelligence information leading up to the Boston Marathon bombings,” according to an internal memo obtained by the Globe. The memo is the latest evidence of concern that warning signs may have been missed that could have prevented the terrorist assault. The review, sought by James R. Clapper, the director of national intelligence, will be overseen by the Intelligence Community Inspector General, which investigates waste, fraud, abuse, and misconduct within the nation’s 17 intelligence agencies.
WATCH: VIDEO – A former federal intelligence official says agencies could have done more ahead of the Boston Marathon bombing attack.
NBC: Could Boston bombing suspect avoid death penalty? Talks have started
Prosecutors and lawyers for surviving Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev have begun very early discussions about a possible deal, in which he would cooperate in exchange for avoiding the death penalty, legal sources said Monday. As details of the nascent negotiations emerged, a lawyer who has helped other high-profile suspects cut deals that kept them out of the execution chamber got permission to join Tsarnaev's defense team.
ALSO SEE: CNN: Source: Dzhokhar Tsarnaev arrived at hospital 'covered in blood'
CBS: Boston Psychiatrist Wants Accused Bomber's Brain Studied Like a Crime Scene
A Boston psychiatrist wants the brain of slain marathon bomb suspect Tamerlan Tsarnaev studied like a crime scene to look for evidence that his boxing career may have left him brain damaged and possibly prone to depression and aggression. Tsarnaev, the eldest of two sibling suspects in the April 15 attacks that killed three people and injured more than 200, died four days later in a shootout with police. His bullet-riddled body has yet to be claimed, and Dr. Michael Craig Miller claims his brain could hold important clues.
ALSO SEE: Time: Did boxing damage play a role in Boston bombings?
CNN: New York officials to seek human remains at 9/11 plane part site
New York City officials will begin sifting through soil for human remains Tuesday at a site where a part believed to be from one of the 9/11 airliners was found. A Boeing Company technician confirmed that the piece, discovered last week, is a support structure from a trailing edge flap found on the wing of a Boeing 767 like the ones that were flown into the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001. It could not be determined from which of the two planes the part came, police said Monday. The piece was found in an 18-inch gap between two buildings near ground zero. One of the buildings is 51 Park Place, the site of a controversial Islamic community center.
CNN: Ricin suspect ordered held without bond
The Mississippi man accused of making a potent toxin found in letters mailed to President Barack Obama and other officials will be held without bond pending a preliminary hearing later this week, a federal magistrate ruled Monday. Federal authorities arrested James Everett Dutschke, 41, on Saturday on charges of possessing and using ricin after initially charging - and then clearing - another man with whom Dutschke has sometimes feuded.
ALSO SEE: CNN: Suspect in ricin case described as 'a little different'
CNN: NBA's Jason Collins comes out as gay
It's the biggest move of his career and it's off the court. Jason Collins, who played with the NBA's Boston Celtics and Washington Wizards this season, has disclosed that he is gay, making him the first active openly gay male athlete in the four major American pro team sports. The center, who said he is now a free agent, made the disclosure in a column appearing in the upcoming issue of Sports Illustrated.
ALSO SEE: ABC: Jason Collins Says It's 'Mind-Boggling' to Be First Openly Gay Pro Athlete
CNN: Jurors in Philadelphia abortion doctor trial hear final arguments
The defense attorney for a Philadelphia abortion doctor charged with murder in the deaths of four babies on Monday attacked prosecutors' evidence that live births took place at Dr. Kermit Gosnell's clinic as he presented closing arguments in the case. Gosnell, 72, is accused of killing babies with scissors that were used to cut their spinal cords. Authorities allege that some of the infants were born viable and alive during the sixth, seventh and eighth months of pregnancy.
CNN: Detectives quiz sex offenders in hunt for California girl's killer
Investigators interviewed registered sex offenders in the Northern California community where an 8-year-old girl was stabbed to death, but officials won't say if sexual assault is part of the unsolved crime. "They have been interviewed and in some cases they have been photographed and in some cases they have been searched," Calaveras County Sheriff's Capt. Jim Macedo said late Monday night. So far, despite an extensive manhunt and beefed-up security at schools in Valley Springs, authorities don't have enough information to name a suspect or even create a composite sketch in the death of Leila Fowler.
Time Exclusive: White House Streamlines Application for Obamacare
Joe Klein: A few weeks ago, I gave the President a tough time about the slow and messy implementation of his health care plan. But there’s been some progress in recent weeks — and I’m happy to pass it on. One of the things that concerned me was the 21-page application form that was required for people to join a health care exchange — which, if you’re unfamiliar with the jargon, is an online health-insurance superstore (think Orbitz or Hotels.com) where individuals will have the collective market power of large corporations like, say, Time Warner. Tomorrow morning the Administration will announce a spiffy, new three-page application for individuals (which we’ll attach here when it becomes public).*
WaPo: Obama’s campaign finance reform plans have faded
President Obama’s once-broad ambitions to clamp down on the influence of special interests have been largely abandoned since his reelection, dismaying longtime allies in the campaign-finance reform movement. The predicament will be on full display Tuesday, when all five members of the Federal Election Commission will be serving past the formal expiration of their terms. The panel’s sixth seat remains vacant. The president has not made a nomination to the FEC, which enforces the nation’s campaign finance laws, in more than three years.
NYT: New Interior Chief Savors a Steep Learning Curve
Sally Jewell bounded up a granite boulder near the peak of Old Rag Mountain and turned back to her hiking companion, who was staring up at the smooth rock that offered no obvious hand- or footholds. Ms. Jewell is an accomplished mountaineer. “Trust your feet,” she said. That mountaineer’s mantra has carried Ms. Jewell through a lifetime of challenging ascents and a varied career as petroleum engineer, banker and retail executive. On April 12, she was sworn in as the 51st secretary of the interior. Ms. Jewell, 57, who has climbed Mount Rainier seven times along with some of the world’s highest peaks, said that she is happiest on the steepest part of the learning curve.
USA Today: Tech companies driving the lobbying on immigration
Seven technology companies and a software association – all with interests in shaping the immigration debate now underway in Congress - each spent more than $1 million on their federal lobbying efforts during the first three months of this year, new reports shows. Their spending, totaling $13.8 million, swamps the $80,000 one longtime immigration advocate, the National Council of La Raza, spent on lobbying during the same time period. The spending is one part of the tech industry's new advocacy push to shape a leading Senate proposal that would dramatically expand the temporary visas and green cards given to foreign workers in the technology field. Among the biggest increases: lobbying by Facebook, which soared to $2.45 million, up from $650,000 during the same period last year and $1.4 million during the last three months of 2012.
ALSO SEE: Politico: Zuckerberg group draws fire over pro-Keystone, oil ads
NYT: Immigration Splits Senator From Mentor
Jim DeMint helped make Marco Rubio a Senate star — and he could be forgiven for regretting it. Mr. DeMint, a former Republican senator from South Carolina, endorsed Mr. Rubio early on in his 2010 Senate bid, when he was still a long-shot Tea Party candidate, and Mr. Rubio has said that Mr. DeMint is his best friend, after his wife. And yet, perhaps for the first time, the two men now find themselves at odds on a major issue. In 2007, Mr. DeMint was instrumental in helping to kill legislation to overhaul the nation’s immigration system, and now, six years later, Mr. Rubio, Republican of Florida, is a pivotal member of a bipartisan Senate group that has written a bill that would do just what Mr. DeMint was fighting to prevent.
WSJ: Ryan Takes a Key Role on Immigration
It's commonly assumed that the Republican most crucial to the effort to pass a comprehensive immigration overhaul is Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida. …But ultimately, the more important Republican in the quest for an immigration overhaul may well be Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin. Mr. Ryan resides on the other side of the Capitol, the House, where Republicans are in charge—and where skepticism about broad immigration changes runs higher among the GOP rank and file. Given his conservative credentials and the fact that he already has graced a Republican national ticket, he is in a prime position to affect the debate.
CNN: Boston bombings overshadow Massachusetts Senate election
Fifteen days after the Boston Marathon bombings, Massachusetts voters head to the polls Tuesday to select Democratic and Republican nominees in a special U.S. Senate election that's been almost completely overshadowed by the terror attacks. Even before the bombings, Massachusetts voters weren't paying that much attention to the contest to fill the remaining year and a half of the term of longtime Democratic Sen. John Kerry, who stepped down earlier this year to become U.S. secretary of state. But the attacks, which left three people dead and more than 260 injured, froze the race, as the two Democrat and three Republican candidates immediately suspended their campaigns for nearly a week. And even as the campaigning resumed, it's been competing with non-stop media coverage of the investigation into the bombings.
NYT: Publisher Is Backing Off a Book About Cuomo in Favor of One Written by Him
HarperCollins is backing away from plans to publish a biography of Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo by one of New York’s best-known political journalists, and instead has agreed to publish a memoir by the governor. …The book was to be published by Harper, an imprint of HarperCollins, in 2013, and Mr. Cuomo had agreed to cooperate with the project. But Mr. Cuomo’s relationship with Mr. Dicker has since soured, and the governor’s ambitions for his own book, which he had initially seemed to suggest would be some sort of monograph about governing, have apparently increased. In a news release late Monday, issued after The New York Times reported the publisher’s change of plans, HarperCollins said that Mr. Cuomo’s memoir “will be a full and frank look at his public and private life.”
Bloomberg: Chafee Says He’ll Sign Rhode Island Bill Legalizing Gay Marriage
Rhode Island Governor Lincoln Chafee said he will sign a bill legalizing same sex- marriage as soon as this week, providing an economic boost to the state and a resolution of an issue whose “time had come.” “There were no deals, no trades,” Chafee, a 60-year-old Republican-turned-independent, said today in an interview at Bloomberg News headquarters in New York. Lawmakers didn’t want to be on the wrong side of history, he said.
CNN: Sharp exchanges take center stage in S.C. debate
As the debate between Elizabeth Colbert Busch and former South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford got under way Monday, there was an elephant in the room: Would Colbert Busch mention Sanford’s infamous extramarital affair? About halfway into the showdown, the Democratic candidate vying to represent the state’s 1st Congressional District took a swipe at the Republican and his secret 2009 trip to see his mistress in Argentina. “When we talk about fiscal spending and we talk about protecting the taxpayers, it doesn't mean you take that money we saved and leave the country for a personal purpose,” she said sternly, looking directly at her opponent on stage.
CNN: First on CNN: Paul laying 2016 groundwork in South Carolina
To say Rand Paul is testing the 2016 waters would be an amusing understatement. With trips to Iowa and New Hampshire lined up in May, the Kentucky senator is diving in head first. Next up on his early state roadshow: South Carolina. Paul is organizing a series of public and private appearances across the first-in-the-South primary state in June, GOP sources with knowledge with the plans told CNN. The trip is "an effort to get to know Republicans across the state," as one person involved in the event-planning described it. He's also set to endorse Republican Mark Sanford in the special election in South Carolina's 1st Congressional District, two sources familiar with the race said. The endorsement could come as soon as Tuesday.
ALSO SEE: The State: Gov. Nikki Haley to guest at Mark Sanford fundraiser
National Journal: Mitch McConnell Wants to Be the Republican Party's Chief Tech Innovator
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell has set an ambitious goal for his reelection campaign: to build the most sophisticated Republican digital and data operation to date. The Kentucky Republican, known more as tactician than technologist, is making a major investment in technology infrastructure in hopes that a treasure trove of real-time data about the electorate will help guide him to a sixth term. “We’re making a commitment that we’re going to be on the cutting edge of both digital outreach and data collection and analysis,” said Jesse Benton, McConnell’s campaign manager. “We’re committed to setting the gold standard.”
NYT: All Puns Aside, Weiner Makes Lucrative Name in Consulting
Anthony D. Weiner has demystified the details of the 906-page Affordable Care Act for an electronic medical records company. He has counseled a biofuel firm about expansion into the emerging markets of Latin America and Africa. And he has plunged into the world of start-ups with his own green energy business. Over the past two years, it appeared as if Mr. Weiner, once the irrepressible fireball of New York City politics, had spent his days as a stay-at-home dad, licking his wounds and mourning his ambitions after the salacious images and messages that he sent to women prompted his resignation from Congress. But it turns out that from the moment he left public view, the man who had relied on a government paycheck his entire adult life was consumed by a corporate career whose profits and progress came to him, by his own account, with remarkable ease.
CNN: South Korea: Joint military drills with U.S. over, but vigilance on North remains
Joint military exercises between South Korea and the United States officially ended Tuesday, the South Korean Defense Ministry said. But the ministry noted that South Korea is still closely monitoring for possible provocation and possible missile launches by North Korea. A torrent of unnerving threats from Pyongyang in recent weeks has strained already fragile relations in the region.
CNN: Cargo plane crashes in Afghanistan, killing 7 Americans
A cargo plane crashed in Afghanistan killing all seven crew members on board Monday. All seven were U.S. citizens, the cargo carrier National Airlines said. The crash happened shortly after takeoff from Bagram Air Base in Afghanistan, the U.S.-based company said. The Boeing 747-400 was en route to Dubai, United Arab Emirates.
CNN: U.S. official: American detained in North Korea had proper visa
The Korean-American who has been held in North Korea since November entered the country on a valid tourist visa, a senior U.S. official told CNN on Monday. The U.S. State Department on Monday publicly called on the North to release Kenneth Bae on humanitarian grounds. Spokesman Patrick Ventrell told reporters that Swedish diplomats, who represent U.S. interests in North Korea because Washington has no diplomatic relations with the North, were able to visit Bae, a U.S. citizen, on Friday.
Fox News: Obama administration officials threatened whistle-blowers on Benghazi, lawyer says
At least four career officials at the State Department and the Central Intelligence Agency have retained lawyers or are in the process of doing so, as they prepare to provide sensitive information about the Benghazi attacks to Congress, Fox News has learned. Victoria Toensing, a former Justice Department official and Republican counsel to the Senate Intelligence Committee, is now representing one of the State Department employees. She told Fox News her client and some of the others, who consider themselves whistle-blowers, have been threatened by unnamed Obama administration officials. “I'm not talking generally, I'm talking specifically about Benghazi – that people have been threatened,” Toensing said in an interview Monday. “And not just the State Department. People have been threatened at the CIA.”
CNN: Pentagon steps up planning for potential military intervention in Syria
The Pentagon has in recent days stepped up planning for potential military intervention in the Syrian civil war, specifically because of growing evidence the regime may have used chemical weapons, CNN has learned. "There is intensified planning in the works as more precise information comes in on the Syrian regime's potential use of chemical weapons and the body of evidence grows," a senior administration official said. The official, who has direct knowledge of the effort, declined to be identified because of the sensitivity of the situation.
BBC: Extra medics in Guantanamo Bay for hunger strike
The US has reinforced medical staff at Guantanamo Bay to try to handle a spreading hunger strike by prisoners at the detention facility. About 40 nurses and other specialists arrived at the weekend, camp spokesman Lt Col Samuel House said. He said that 100 of 166 detainees were now on hunger strike, with 21 of them being force-fed through a tube. The inmates are protesting against their indefinite detention. Most are being held without charge.
WATCH: VIDEO – CNN's Christiane Amanpour examines the situation in Guantanamo Bay where detainees are now being force fed.
Reuters: Arab League seems to soften Israeli-Palestinian peace plan
Arab states appeared to soften their 2002 peace plan on Monday when a top Qatari official said Israel and the Palestinians could trade land rather than conform exactly to their 1967 borders. Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim al-Thani, Qatar's prime minister and foreign minister, made the comment after he and a group of Arab officials met U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry to discuss how to promote Israeli-Palestinian peace. Speaking on behalf of an Arab League delegation, Sheikh Hamad appeared to make a concession to Israel by explicitly raising the possibility of land swaps, although it has long been assumed that these would be part of any peace agreement.
AVIATION, REGULATION and JUSTICE:
WaPo: FBI looking into relationship between McDonnells, donor
FBI agents are conducting interviews about the relationship between Virginia Gov. Robert F. McDonnell, his wife, Maureen, and a major campaign donor who paid for the food at the wedding of the governor’s daughter, according to four people familiar with the questioning. The agents have been asking associates of the McDonnells about gifts provided to the family by Star Scientific chief executive Jonnie R. Williams Sr. and actions the Republican governor and his wife have taken that may have boosted the company, the people said.
ALSO SEE: Richmond Times Dispatch: Ex-chef alleges McDonnell misdeeds
Denver Post: Colorado officials investigate tie between 211 Crew prison gang and Saudi man
Federal and state investigators pursuing leads in the killing of Colorado prisons chief Tom Clements are exploring possible links between a prison gang and a Saudi man whose petition to be sent back home was denied by Clements just one week before his death. Police say the man suspected of killing Clements on March 19 was parolee Evan Ebel, but in recent weeks they have shifted their attention to two major questions: Why? And did he have help? They have interviewed dozens of people, including Ebel associates in the white-supremacist prison gang 211 Crew, and associates of Homaidan al-Turki, a Saudi national convicted of keeping his housekeeper a virtual slave in Colorado and sexually assaulting her. Al-Turki is serving an eight-year-to-life sentence at Limon Correctional Facility.
New Jersey Star Ledger: Police seize powerful bombs, shotgun shells from Edison High School student
A handful of homemade explosive devices, stuffed with gunpowder and ready to detonate, were seized from the home of a 16-year-old Edison High School student Sunday night, township Police Chief Thomas Bryan said tonight. Police found fuses attached to "less than six" carbon dioxide cartridges packed with gunpowder when they searched the teenager’s Edison home, Bryan said. Officers also recovered fireworks and several disassembled shotgun shells, which are normally packed with pellets or buckshot than can be used as schrapnel in an explosive device, according to Bryan. While Bryan said the weapons could have been deadly, police do not believe the teen had a specific plan to detonate the devices.
WaPo: Smithsonian to close some exhibitareas because of sequestration
The Smithsonian Institution will be closing small exhibit area sections in the African Art Museum, the Smithsonian Castle and the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden beginning Wednesday due to the across the board budget cuts known as sequestration. The closures, announced by Secretary Wayne Clough after a Board of Regents meeting Monday, are part of $42 million in cuts that began March 1 and extend through Sept. 30, the end of the fiscal year. They are part of a reduction in a security contract that supplements the Smithsonian security force and will affect “The Commons” on the first floor of the Castle which includes such items as a Panda video and a helmet worn by Gen. Charles Yeager.
Austin American Statesman: Domestic partner benefits violate same-sex ban, attorney general rules
The Texas Constitution bans the city of Austin, Travis County and area school districts from offering domestic partner benefits to employees in same-sex relationships, according to a legal opinion released Monday by Attorney General Greg Abbott. Domestic partnerships, as recognized by the local governments, are close enough to the definition of marriage to violate a constitutional amendment banning same-sex unions that 76 percent of Texas voters approved in 2005, the opinion stated.
CNN: After more than 120 years, a king for the Netherlands
Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands abdicated the throne on Tuesday, ending 33 years as the country's monarch and paving the way for her eldest son, Willem-Alexander, to become the first Dutch king in more than 120 years. The 75-year-old monarch handed over power in a constitutionally ordained ceremony. The transfer became official as she signed the "instrument of abdication." In a televised address Monday night, the queen said she knows the new royal couple will have the loving trust of the nation.
NYT: As Election in Iran Nears, Ahmadinejad’s Critics Are Piling On
Just six weeks before Iran’s presidential election, politicians and clerics have declared open season on President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and his government, in one instance calling him a “coward” and likening him to a “drunk driver.” The invective is the latest manifestation of infighting that broke out months ago between Mr. Ahmadinejad and his allies and a loose coalition of clerics and Revolutionary Guards commanders. Night after night during prime-time talk shows on state television — under the firm control of Mr. Ahmadinejad’s opponents — critics tear into what they see as the government’s mismanagement of the economy, blaming the president and not international sanctions for its poor performance.
CNN: Gunmen kills political candidate in Pakistan
Gunmen killed a political candidate and two others Tuesday in Pakistan. The attack in Balochistan province is the latest in a growing casualty toll ahead of the country's elections next month. The elections in May will mark the first time in Pakistan's history that one democratically elected government
CNN: Italian lower house approves new government
After months of political uncertainty and economic crisis, the lower house of Italy's parliament gave Prime Minister Enrico Letta's new government a vote confidence on Monday. Letta received support from lawmakers in a 453-153 lower house vote. Lawmakers in the upper house, the Senate, are scheduled to vote on Tuesday. Letta was sworn in on Sunday - the same day a gunman shot and wounded two national police officers outside the prime minister's office.
Christian Science Monitor: Japan and Russia want to finally end World War II, agree it is 'abnormal' not to
Russian President Vladimir Putin met in the Kremlin Monday with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, the first top-level Russo-Japanese summit in almost a decade. The two wrestled for hours with the problem that has stymied Russian and Japanese leaders for almost 70 years: how to find a mutually acceptable and hopefully profitable way to finally end World War II. "The leaders of both countries agreed that the situation where, 67 years after the conclusion of [World War II], we have still been unable to conclude a bilateral peace treaty, looks abnormal," said a joint statement at the meeting's end Monday.
NYT: Flow of Tainted Water Is Latest Crisis at Japan Nuclear Plant
Two years after a triple meltdown that grew into the world’s second worst nuclear disaster, the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant is faced with a new crisis: a flood of highly radioactive wastewater that workers are struggling to contain. Groundwater is pouring into the plant’s ravaged reactor buildings at a rate of almost 75 gallons a minute. It becomes highly contaminated there, before being pumped out to keep from swamping a critical cooling system. A small army of workers has struggled to contain the continuous flow of radioactive wastewater, relying on hulking gray and silver storage tanks sprawling over 42 acres of parking lots and lawns. The tanks hold the equivalent of 112 Olympic-size pools.
WSJ: Treasury to Pay Down Debt For First Time in Six Years
The federal government said Monday it would pay down a small portion of the national debt this quarter for the first time in six years. The debt reduction, seen as temporary, is a sign that higher tax receipts and spending cuts are improving Washington's finances. The respite in borrowing will likely give the Obama administration a bit more time before running up against the federal debt ceiling. The Treasury Department said that it expects to retire a net $35 billion in bonds, notes and bills from April to the end of June. That compares with its estimate from earlier this year that it would rack up an additional $103 billion in marketable debt in the second quarter.
Bloomberg: German Unemployment Climbs in Sign Economic Recovery Delayed
German unemployment rose for a second month in April, adding to signs that Europe’s largest economy is struggling to recover from a slump at the end of last year. The number of people out of work climbed a seasonally adjusted 4,000 to 2.94 million, the Nuremberg-based Federal Labor Agency said today. Economists predicted an increase of 2,000, according to the median of 29 estimates in a Bloomberg News survey. The adjusted jobless rate held at 6.9 percent, just above a two-decade low of 6.8 percent.
The International Monetary Fund predicts the German economy will expand 0.6 percent this year, even as its biggest export market, the euro area, remains mired in recession.
Financial Times: Great tax race: Luxembourg set to share companies’ bank details
Luxembourg is ready to share currently confidential information about multinationals’ bank accounts as part of efforts to shed the Grand Duchy’s image as a leading tax haven. Under pressure amid a renewed global crackdown on tax evasion and avoidance, Luc Frieden, finance minister, said Luxembourg was willing to expand the number of accounts covered by new information-sharing agreements with the US and the EU to include global companies. The accords, agreed this month, currently only cover individual taxpayers. The latest move demonstrates Luxembourg’s determination to shed its reputation as the EU’s capital for international tax evaders.