CNN Washington AM Note
May 6th, 2013
05:53 AM ET
1 year ago

CNN Washington AM Note

NATIONAL STORIES:

CNN: Feds search Boston bombing suspect's apartment

Federal authorities were at the apartment of deceased bombing suspect Tamerlan Tsarnaev on Sunday, executing a search warrant, an FBI spokeswoman said. Amanda Cox said, "There is court-authorized law enforcement activity" at the home in Cambridge, Massachusetts, that Tsarnaev shared with his wife and young daughter. Workers in white hazmat suits were at the apartment, CNN affiliate WCVB reported. … On Sunday, Tamerlan Tsarnaev's body remained at a funeral home, where his uncle said he was trying to deal with the logistics of readying the body for burial. Tsarni said he was the only family member at the funeral home and had not had contact with Katherine Russell, Tamerlan's widow. The funeral home owner, Peter Stefan, said he still has yet to find a cemetery willing to accept the body for burial.

ALSO SEE: CNN: Father of friend arrested in Boston bombing case defends son

WSJ: Colleges Cut Prices by Providing More Financial Aid

Private U.S. colleges, worried they could be pricing themselves out of the market after years of relentless tuition increases, are offering record financial assistance to keep classrooms full. The average "tuition discount rate"—the reduction off list price afforded by grants and scholarships given by these schools—hit an all-time high of 45% last fall for incoming freshmen, according to a survey being released Monday by the National Association of College and University Business Officers.

CNN: 9/11 museum admission fee plan angers some victims' families

Some families of 9/11 victims are outraged over the National September 11 Memorial Museum's decision to charge admission for visitors. Sally Regenhard, assistant chairwoman of the group 9/11 Parents and Families of Firefighters and WTC Victims, called the fee a "slap in the face" on Sunday. "Patriotic people from all corners of the country go to teach their children something and show respect, and now they will be faced with this fee? It is outrageous," she said. "This feeds the idea of New York City being money-hungry. It is taking advantage of tourists," Regenhard said. "Making people pay to grieve is going to prevent people from paying their respects and learn about the victims."

USA Today: Study: Many suicidal kids have access to guns at home

20% of children and young people at risk for suicide say there's a gun in their home, new research shows. And among these youth, 15% know how to get their hands on both the gun and bullets. "That's a volatile mix: kids at risk and the means to complete suicide," said Stephen Teach, who will present the study Monday at a meeting of the Pediatric Academic Societies in Washington.

WHITE HOUSE:

CNN: Obama dares Ohio State graduates 'to be better'

President Obama told graduates Sunday that "the institutions that give structure to our society have at times betrayed your trust" but called on young people to take a more active role in the political process as part of the solution. Obama delivered his first commencement address of the spring to nearly 10,000 graduates at The Ohio State University in Columbus. He urged students to reject the "voices" that "incessantly warn of government as nothing more than some separate, sinister entity that's the root of our all our problems, even as they do their best to gum up the works."

Reuters: Obama heads out on new jobs tour – first stop: Austin, Texas

President Barack Obama will travel on Thursday to Austin, Texas, the first stop in a new series of day trips designed to draw attention to policies and programs that help spur the economy, and build support for his economic policies, the White House said on Sunday. In Austin, Obama will visit a high school and a technology company, and will talk with entrepreneurs and workers about proposals he made earlier this year to boost jobs and training. Despite often saying that his top priority is creating more jobs, Obama's proposals have been overshadowed by debates over reforms to gun and immigration laws as well as efforts to reduce the deficit.

WSJ: South Korean President Aims to Bolster U.S. Ties

As South Korean President Park Geun-hye heads for a summit meeting with U.S. President Barack Obama this week, among her top priorities will be laying out how she hopes to induce a change in North Korea's confrontational behavior through dialogue. The challenges of that approach were underlined Sunday when Pyongyang said it had no intention to cut a deal for the release of an American sentenced to hard labor in the country and again blamed Seoul for the closure of their joint industrial park. Like her predecessors, Ms. Park has made the U.S. her first overseas destination after taking office to bolster an alliance that goes back to the 1950-53 Korean War, when the countries fought together against invasion from North Korea. Ms. Park will meet with Mr. Obama on Tuesday and deliver a speech at a joint session of Congress on Wednesday.

Financial Times: Obama backs rise in US gas exports

The Obama administration has signalled support for more plants to export liquefied natural gas, as the US embraces its surging energy production as a key new element of its national security policy. Barack Obama said at the weekend the US was likely to be a net gas exporter by 2020, the strongest sign yet that the president is swinging his support behind higher energy sales overseas. The Department of Energy is studying applications for new liquefied natural gas terminals, with approval of one in Texas likely within months. It would be only the second such approval granted for sales to countries without trade agreements with the US, such as Japan, the world’s largest importer of LNG.

CAPITOL HILL: 

CNNMoney: What an Internet sales tax will cost you

The days of shopping at major online retailers like Amazon.com without paying sales tax could soon be history. The Senate is expected to vote on legislation next week that would allow the 45 states (and the District of Columbia) that charge sales tax to require online retailers to collect taxes on purchases made by their residents. If approved, the bill will move to the House. So how would the passage of the "Marketplace Fairness Act" affect your online shopping? A lot depends on where you live.

CNN: Durbin says basics in immigration bill must stand

Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin, part of the bipartisan Gang of Eight senators pushing immigration reform, said Sunday on CNN’s “State of the Union” that he agrees with Republican Sen. Marco Rubio that their bill may need some improvement but argued that they need to “stand by the basic agreement” of the legislation. The Democrat from Illinois said, however, that he would support a same-sex provision in immigration reform, a plan that could undermine bipartisan support for the bill introduced last month.

WSJ: Tax Rewrite in Play in Capitol

Talk about overhauling the tax code is picking up across Capitol Hill this spring, with lawmakers of both parties agreeing on the need to simplify the system but remaining far apart on the details of how to do it. A tax overhaul "is long overdue," said Rep. Ron Kind (D., Wis.), the chairman of the New Democrat Coalition, a group of centrist House members. The current code, he said, is "a monstrosity." Obstacles to a tax rewrite remain high. And odds of success are still low. Still, supporters increasingly see a tax-code revamp as a potentially achievable goal—perhaps as part of a so-called grand bargain to reduce budget deficits—that could boost the sluggish economy.

ALSO SEE: Politico: House GOP ties debt cap hike to tax reform

WSJ: Task Force Aims to Lighten Criminal Code

Congress plans this week to create a new, bipartisan task force to pare the federal criminal code, a body of law under attack from both parties recently for its bloat. The panel, which will be known as the House Committee on the Judiciary Over-Criminalization Task Force of 2013, will comprise five Republicans and five Democrats. It marks the most expansive re-examination of federal law since the early 1980s, when the Justice Department attempted to count the offenses in the criminal code as part of an overhaul effort by Congress. Rep. Bobby Scott (D., Va.) said he expected the committee to work through consensus. "We've been warned it's going to be a working task force and it means we'll have to essentially go through the entire code," he said.

POLITICAL:

CNN: Richardson: 'Biden would run' regardless of Hillary Clinton's plans

If former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton decides to run for president in 2016, her White House bid would clear the Democratic primary field, some pundits argue, making it difficult for any other candidates to stand a chance. But former New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson doubts that would be the case and argued that Vice President Joe Biden, another potential contender, would not defer to Clinton. "I think he would run. Hillary Clinton would be formidable, no question about it. But I've known Biden over the years. He is somebody who's always wanted to be present," Richardson, a Democrat who ran for president in 2008, said on ABC's "This Week."

CNN: In South Carolina politics, two very different campaign styles

In South Carolina's 1st congressional district, the race for Rep. Tim Scott's open House seat is showcasing two very different candidates with two very different campaign styles. Elizabeth Colbert Busch, on the Democratic ticket, is criss-crossing the district in a fully wrapped tour bus with her name plastered along the outside. It's a look that evokes a presidential campaign. …Contrast that with her opponent, former Republican Gov. Mark Sanford, whose 2009 extramarital affair tarnished his reputation. He says he is running a very grass-roots campaign. Many of his campaign signs are hand-painted pressed wood signs that look like children may have spray-painted them.

ALSO SEE: BuzzFeed: South Carolina Democrat Could Back Obamacare Repeal

ALSO SEE: Politico: Sanford looking at election as last chance

USA Today: New NRA leader says Obama seeks 'revenge' on gun owners

The board of the National Rifle Association will elect as its president Monday a hard-line culture warrior who has worked for decades to make the NRA a more aggressive political force. The election of James Porter — ensured after the endorsement of outgoing President David Keene last week — is one of many defiant signals to come out of the NRA's annual meeting in Houston over the weekend. The organization vowed to continue to fight any compromise on gun-control legislation in Congress.

ALSO SEE: CNN: NRA's LaPierre says gun rights struggle a 'long war'

NATIONAL SECURITY:

CNN: Iran talks tough as Syria claims Israel attacked military facility

Iran has no doubt Syria will deal a "crushing response" to Israel and the Shiite regime stands ready to train its ally's soldiers, officials in Tehran have said. The remarks, delivered by various Iranian officials and reported in state media, came Sunday after Syria claimed that Israel launched a fresh attack inside its borders. "As a Muslim and friendly country, we stand by Syria and if there is need for training, we will provide them with necessary training," Brig. Gen. Ahmad-Reza Pourdastan, commander of the Iranian Army's Ground Forces, told reporters Sunday. Around the same time, Iranian foreign ministry spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast said he had no doubt Syria and its allies will "give a crushing response to the aggressions of the Zionists," the state-run IRNA news agency reported.

ALSO SEE: WaPo: Reported Israeli airstrikes in Syria could accelerate U.S. decision process

Reuters: U.N. has testimony that Syrian rebels used sarin gas: investigator

U.N. human rights investigators have gathered testimony from casualties of Syria's civil war and medical staff indicating that rebel forces have used the nerve agent sarin, one of the lead investigators said on Sunday. The United Nations independent commission of inquiry on Syria has not yet seen evidence of government forces having used chemical weapons, which are banned under international law, said commission member Carla Del Ponte.

ALSO SEE: CNN: Lawmakers divided over arming rebels in Syria

Reuters/Haaretz: U.S. received no early warning on alleged Israeli strikes in Syria, American official says

The United States was not given any warning before air strikes in Syria against what Western and Israeli officials say were weapons headed for Hezbollah militants, a U.S. intelligence official said on Sunday. Without confirming that Israel was behind the attacks, the intelligence official said that the United States was essentially told of the air raids "after the fact" and was notified as the bombs went off. Meanwhile, the New York Times quoted a Syrian official on Sunday who said members of the elite Republican Guard unit were hit during the attack. A Syrian doctor at the Tishreen military hospital told the paper that over 100 soldiers had been killed.

ALSO SEE: CNN: Obama: 'Do not foresee scenario' of American boots on ground in Syria

Weekly Standard: The Benghazi Talking Points

Even as the White House strove last week to move beyond questions about the Benghazi attacks of Tuesday, September 11, 2012, fresh evidence emerged that senior Obama administration officials knowingly misled the country about what had happened in the days following the assaults. The Weekly Standard has obtained a timeline briefed by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence detailing the heavy substantive revisions made to the CIA’s talking points, just six weeks before the 2012 presidential election, and additional information about why the changes were made and by whom.

CNN: Benghazi whistle-blower Hicks: Internal review 'let people off the hook'

Greg Hicks, former deputy chief of mission at the U.S. Embassy in Tripoli, Libya, told congressional investigators that the State Department internal review of the catastrophe at the mission in Benghazi "let people off the hook," CNN has learned. The Accountability Review Board "report itself doesn’t really ascribe blame to any individual at all. The public report anyway," Hicks told investigators, according to transcript excerpts obtained by CNN. "It does let people off the hook." The board's report on the Benghazi attack, in which Ambassador to Libya Chris Stevens and three other Americans were killed in September, is being reviewed by the State Department's Office of Inspector General. Rep. Darrell Issa, the chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, said Sunday on CBS that Hicks will testify Wednesday in a congressional hearing on the deadly attack in Benghazi.

ALSO SEE: Fox News: Clinton sought end-run around counter-terrorism bureau on night of Benghazi attack, witness will say

CNN: State media: U.S. man sentenced in North Korea not a 'bargaining chip'

The case of a U.S. citizen sentenced to 15 years in a North Korean labor camp is not a "political bargaining chip," the North's state-run Korean Central News Agency reported Sunday. Pae Jun Ho, known as Kenneth Bae by U.S. authorities, was arrested and prosecuted for various crimes aimed at "state subversion," KCNA said. It previously reported the Korean-American was arrested November 3 after arriving as a tourist in Rason City, a port in the northeastern corner of North Korea. In prior instances, North Korea has released Americans in its custody after a visit by some U.S. dignitary.

Daily Telegraph: MI6 'handing bundles of cash to Hamid Karzai'

MI6 officials have acknowledged that the organisation has made direct cash payments to their Afghan counterparts periodically over the 12 years Britain has been at war in Afghanistan. Mr Karzai declared handouts from the CIA and MI6 are an "easy source of petty cash" for his government as it attempts to seal alliances with powerful regional warlords and secure defections from the Taliban. The CIA support is believed to have amounted to tens of millions of dollars since 2001 while Britain has channelled a smaller fraction of that amount into "special projects" undertaken by Karzai's officials.

ALSO SEE: CNN: Karzai: CIA promises to continue cash payments

LA Times: Serving their country, losing their jobs

The jobs of the nation's citizen soldiers are supposed to be safe while they are serving their country: Federal law does not allow employers to penalize service members because of their military duties. Yet every year, thousands of National Guard and Reserve troops coming home from Afghanistan and elsewhere find they have been replaced, demoted, denied benefits or seniority. Government agencies are among the most frequent offenders, accounting for about a third of the more than 15,000 complaints filed with federal authorities since the end of September 2001, records show. Others named in the cases include some of the biggest names in American business, such as Wal-Mart and United Parcel Service.

AVIATION, REGULATION and JUSTICE:

CNN: Pennsylvania authorities: Cyanide suspected in doctor's death

The FBI said Friday that it is now assisting in the investigation into the death an accomplished Pittsburgh doctor who, local authorities say, might have died from cyanide poisoning. Autumn Klein, 41, who was a physician and former head of women's neurology at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, died on April 20. Her husband called 911 after finding her at home, according to Mike Manko, communications director for the Allegheny County district attorney's office. Klein's death is being investigated as a potential homicide or suicide, said Manko.

REGIONAL HEADLINES:

WaPo: Walter Reed investigates potentially deadly mix-up at medical center pharmacy

Walter Reed National Military Medical Center is examining how it mistakenly provided a Virginia woman with a potentially deadly heart stimulant instead of the Vitamin B12 injection she had been prescribed. Sandy Dean, a spokeswoman for the Bethesda hospital complex, said the mix-up was an “isolated incident,” but said the pharmacists and staff technicians will be retrained on verifying prescriptions and that new protocols will be put in place to “ ensure patients receive the correct medication.”

Arizona Republic: Gun-control bill's defeat spurs contributions to Giffords' group

The anti-gun-violence group created by former U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords of Arizona raised $1 million online in the wake of the Senate defeat of a bill to expand background checks for gun buyers. The response both surprised and encouraged the group as it works to secure votes for another attempt. “That’s an extraordinary reaction,” said Pia Carusone, executive director of Americans for Responsible Solutions, which was founded in January by Giffords, a Democrat, and her husband, retired Navy captain and astronaut Mark Kelly. “We’ve been doing well online, but nobody expected that.”

The Providence Journal: The data dig: Researchers mine mother lode of tweets, posts for clues about what makes us tick

Today Rhode Islanders will join 200 million other people around the world in posting a tweet or two — or 20. The latest Red Sox score, perhaps; a snarky remark about a politician on morning television; the link to that article about French bus drivers threatening to strike because their uniform pants are too tight. (True story.) By day’s end, the total number of pithy bursts of commentary will approach a half-billion. And no matter how ephemeral their authors might have thought their public tweets were when they launched them into cyberspace, every single one — each teenage grievance, each Syrian’s cry to topple the regime — will be archived at the Library of Congress for future research.

Des Moines Register: GOP's next tier weighs Senate run

Now that six of Iowa’s seven most powerful potential GOP hopefuls for the U.S. Senate race have shaken their heads “no,” an array of lower-tier Republicans are contemplating a campaign for the exclusive seat. State Sen. Joni Ernst, R-Red Oak, told The Des Moines Register on Saturday that she couldn’t say much about her decision-making process because she’s at a National Guard drill this weekend — she’s a lieutenant colonel — but said she’s “feeling very good today.” Former U.S. Attorney Matt Whitaker posted a message on Facebook: “As I consider this Senate race, I ask for your friendship and prayers for my family and I.” Rod Roberts, a former state legislator who now oversees the Iowa Department of Inspections and Appeals, told the Register on Saturday: “I am giving very serious consideration to this opportunity.”

INTERNATIONAL:

CNN: Death toll in Bangladesh building collapse rises above 650

Here is the latest from Bangladesh on Monday concerning the calamitous building collapse that took place April 24 in Savar, a suburb of Dhaka: - The death toll has risen to 657, according to Col. Sheikh Zaman, who is overseeing the recovery operation in Savar. - It is Bangladesh's deadliest industrial disaster. - Zaman said authorities still don't know how many bodies might still be buried in the rubble because they didn't receive a proper accounting from the owners who had factories in the building.

CNN: Bangladeshi capital wears an eerie calm a day after Islamists battle police

On any given Monday, Motijheel - the commercial center of Dhaka - is a bustling, chaotic mess of rickshaws and cars jockeying for space in overcrowded streets with an equally determined mass of pushing, shoving pedestrians. This Monday was different. Motijheel resembled a battleground, desolate and destroyed. A day earlier, it was.

BBC: Abbas and Netanyahu on separate China visits

Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu are both set for talks in China with top officials. Mr Abbas, who arrived in Beijing on Sunday, said he planned to explain the obstacles to talks with Israel. Mr Netanyahu, who is visiting Shanghai before flying to Beijing later this week, was due to sign trade deals and discuss the issue of Iran. The two men are not expected to meet while they are in China.

ALSO SEE: Jerusalem Post: PM publicly evades Syria situation on China trip

CNN: Ruling coalition wins again in Malaysia

Malaysia's ruling party has extended its decades-long grip on power after one of the country's most hotly contested parliamentary votes. Prime Minister Najib Razak's Barisan Nasional coalition has ruled Malaysia for 56 years. Razak, the son and nephew of former prime ministers, has been in office since 2009 and appears to have won a new mandate in Sunday's vote, according to results from Malaysia's electoral commission, which reported the coalition won 133 seats in parliament.

CNN: New Libyan law bans ex-Gadhafi officials from government

Lawmakers in Libya passed a law on Sunday banning senior Gadhafi government officials from holding official posts. The move comes after a week of rising tensions in the Libyan capital of Tripoli as heavily armed protesters surrounded the Foreign and Justice ministries demanding that the legislature pass the law. The political isolation law could exclude current senior officials such as the head of the General National Congress Mohamed al-Magariaf, who served as ambassador to India in the 1970s before he joined the exiled opposition to the Gadhafi government. The General National Congress is Libya's parliament.

BUSINESS:

Financial Times: Buffett is probed on Berkshire succession

The first shareholder question to Warren Buffett on Saturday morning was gentle, but with a mild preamble of complaint. The doors to the Omaha stadium had opened half an hour early at 6.30am, and he was asked if this could not be a permanent adjustment to the timeworn schedule of the Berkshire Hathaway annual meeting. Thousands of investors had queued in the Nebraskan drizzle to claim seats close to Mr Buffett and Charlie Munger, his vice-chairman, and when the octogenarians arrived onstage two hours later, more than 20,000 had packed in to hear their answers. The interrogation remained friendly.

The Detroit News: Detroit automakers fight to stem huge losses in Europe

Detroit automakers stand to lose more than $4 billion in Europe this year as they struggle to push through the sort of changes that saved the U.S. industry four years ago. Plant closures and layoffs — tools that helped turn around the U.S. market, where Detroit automakers shed 230,000 jobs between 2001 and 2010 and eliminated brands in the midst of a precipitous sales decline — are taking longer to execute there. And restructuring is more expensive than in North America because of powerful European unions, political resistance and restrictive labor laws.


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soundoff (One Response)
  1. Marie MD

    Another parent of "not my son/daughter" fame. Your son hid and threw away evidence crucial to a bombing case. I still think they should try them for the murder of the MIT policeman. They could have stopped the terrorists from running and causing the chaos they did if they had come forth on time.

    May 6, 2013 06:29 am at 6:29 am |