CNN Washington AM Note
May 7th, 2013
06:08 AM ET
12 months ago

CNN Washington AM Note

NATIONAL STORIES:

CNN: 911 call - 'I've been kidnapped!' - cops find 3 women missing for years

Amanda Berry was last seen after finishing her shift at a Burger King in Cleveland in 2003. It was the eve of her 17th birthday. Georgina "Gina" DeJesus disappeared nearly a year later, in April 2004. She was 14. Michele Knight vanished in 2002, at age 19, according to the Cleveland Plain Dealer newspaper. All three were found alive in a home in a Cleveland neighborhood Monday night, police announced in a development hailed as a miracle by their families.

CNN: Bomb suspect's friend out on bail, released to mom

One of three friends accused of helping Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev cover up his alleged crime got out on bond Monday, released to his mother's custody. Robel Phillipos left the federal courthouse in a red Toyota sedan after a judge set bail at $100,000. He will stay at his mother's home, where he was living before his arrest last week, and be monitored electronically, according to terms his lawyers and prosecutors agreed to before Monday's hearing.

ALSO SEE: CNN: Attorney to announce tentative plan to distribute millions to Boston victims

Boston Globe: Witnesses suggest friendly fire felled MBTA officer

Eyewitness accounts strongly suggest that MBTA Transit Police Officer Richard H. Donohue Jr. was shot and nearly killed by a fellow officer in Watertown April 19 during the hail of gunfire unleashed on Dzhokhar Tsarnaev as the suspected terrorist made a getaway in a carjacked sport utility vehicle. Donohue went down in the early-morning darkness during an extraordinary gunfight in which at least a dozen police ­officers from four departments exchanged up to 300 rounds of gunfire with Dzhokhar’s older brother, Tamerlan Tsarnaev. The Tsarnaevs also allegedly set off explosives, including a pressure cooker bomb similar to the ones used in the Boston Marathon bombings.

NBC: More US babies die day they are born than any industrialized country, report shows

The U.S. is a worse place for newborns than 68 other countries, including Egypt, Turkey and Peru, according to a report released Tuesday by Save the Children. A million babies die every year globally on the same say they were born, including  more than 11,000 American newborns, the report estimates. Most of them could be saved with fairly cheap interventions, the group says.

CNN: Authorities rule out some potential causes of Texas blast

Investigators have ruled out four potential causes for the fire that led to an explosion at a fertilizer distribution facility in West, Texas, the state fire marshal's office said Monday in a statement. Authorities think it was something other than weather, natural causes, anhydrous ammonium or ammonium nitrate in a rail car. Officials also ruled out water from firefighters as a cause for the massive April 17 blast in which 14 people died. The fire began in the fertilizer and seed building but authorities are still trying to figure out the exact spot, the statement said.

WHITE HOUSE:

NYT: New Worries for Democrats on Health Law

As the administration struggles to put in place the final, complex piece of President Obama’s signature health care law, an endeavor on a scale not seen since Medicare’s creation nearly a half-century ago, Democrats are worried that major snags will be exploited by Republicans in next year’s midterm elections. Many Democrats also want to to see a more aggressive and visible president to push the law across the country. This week Mr. Obama is returning to the fray to an extent unseen since he signed the law in 2010, including a White House event on Friday to promote the law’s benefits for women, the first in a series of appearances for health care this year.

WSJ: Public Housing Agencies Push to Impose Time Limits, Work Requirements for Aid Recipients

Deep in the president's new budget is a plan that could transform public housing in the nation by allowing housing authorities to increasingly set time limits or work requirements for participants. Currently, government housing benefits are generally open ended. Unlike welfare—which has a five-year limit—federal housing programs allow low-income Americans to receive rent vouchers or live in government complexes for decades. The result is that people endure long waits to qualify for the program and sometimes celebrate almost like lottery winners when they get the word. In New York City, the average person stays in public housing for 20.7 years. But President Barack Obama's fiscal year 2014 budget calls for "substantial expansion" of a 1996 demonstration project that allows select housing authorities to set restrictions on residents, or try other strategies to promote self-sufficiency.

CAPITOL HILL:

Fox News: Critics say background check provision protects illegal immigrants with rap sheet

With more than 11 million illegal immigrants living in the so-called "shadows," immigration reform supporters say legalizing the group will make America safer. But opponents of the current Senate bill claim a provision requiring background checks for those illegal immigrants is so weak that it would actually protect criminals and gang members.

Their concern is with a clause that would, during the background check process, prohibit immigration officials from forwarding criminal histories to law enforcement for deportation purposes.  "The idea is we are supposed to be weeding out the bad apples," said Steven Camarota, of the Center for Immigration Studies. "But the big problem with the bill is it does not require those denied the amnesty to leave the country. In fact, a confidentiality provision in the bill prevents law enforcement from using information in the application to go find you."

NYT: G.O.P. Opponents Plan Immigration Bill Attack

Republican opponents of legislation to overhaul the nation’s immigration laws are readying an offensive intended to hijack the newly released bill as the Senate Judiciary Committee on Thursday begins a review that will offer the clearest sign yet of how difficult a path the legislation faces. With the committee expected to spend at least three weeks on the legislation, Republican critics could offer hundreds of amendments to try to reshape the overhaul. They include proposals that could lengthen the timeline for a pathway to citizenship and that could tamper with an already fragile deal negotiated between business and labor groups for a guest worker program. Anticipating an onslaught, Democrats are preparing a robust defense in an effort to keep the legislation largely intact.

ALSO SEE: BuzzFeed: Rob Portman Says Immigration Law “Should Follow” State Law For Gay Couples

Roll Call: Red-State Democrats Buck Obama On Social Security Cuts

The majority of Senate Democrats running for reelection in 2014, including three running in red states, have broken with President Barack Obama and are opposing his effort to cut Social Security benefits, imperiling the austerity project known as the "grand bargain." In his most recent budget proposal, Obama included a measure to reduce the cost-of-living adjustment related to senior and veterans benefits as a compromise offer to Republicans. He had already put so-called chained CPI on the table during both debt ceiling and fiscal cliff negotiations with House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio), and defended his move this time by emphasizing it was a reform "championed by Republicans leaders in Congress" that would only be made in exchange for new tax revenues.

CNNMoney: Senate approves Internet sales tax proposal

The Senate approved a long-anticipated Internet sales tax proposal on Monday, moving the legislation one step closer to enactment and paving the way for shoppers to pay sales tax on the majority of online purchases. The so-called Marketplace Fairness Act would allow the 45 states (and the District of Columbia) that currently charge sales taxes to require large online retailers to collect tax on purchases made by their residents. The law would only apply to online sellers that have sales of at least $1 million in states where they don't have physical operations, like a store or a warehouse. The Senate voted 69 to 27 to approve the bill, which enjoyed bipartisan support. But before it can become law, it must be approved by the House, where Republicans are split on the issue.

POLITICAL:

CNN: Sanford: Comeback race in 'good Lord and voters' hands'

Take a former Republican governor whose political career was left for dead along the Appalachian Trail after an infamous affair. Add a Democratic candidate best known as the sister of Comedy Central show host Stephen Colbert. Factor in the nearly $1 million spent by national Democratic groups, and toss in polling which indicates the contest, in a district held by the GOP for over three decades, is a toss-up, and you get a special congressional election that's captured national attention. Voters in coastal South Carolina will decide Tuesday who will fill the vacant U.S. House seat in the state's 1st Congressional District. The two leading candidates on the ballot are former two-term Gov. Mark Sanford, who's seeking political redemption as he runs for the seat that he once held for six years, and Elizabeth Colbert Busch.

Politico: Rand Paul, Marco Rubio face 2016 bind

Sens. Rand Paul and Marco Rubio are facing a big obstacle if they seek the White House in 2016 — and it’s not each other. State laws could force the two GOP senators into a difficult choice: run for president or run for reelection to the Senate that same year. Because in their home states of Kentucky and Florida, neither Republican can be on the ballot for both offices at the same time.

CNN: NRA has record conference turnout, new president

The National Rifle Association said Monday they saw a record number of attendees at their annual meeting in Houston last weekend with 86,228 attending, up almost 15,000 from last year's annual meeting in St. Louis, according to the group's spokesman Andrew Arulanandam. The NRA had estimated 75,000 would attend. Former President David Keene rounded out his two-year term as president of the NRA at the meeting. His replacement is former Alabama lawyer James "Jim" Porter, who officially assumes the position Monday as part of a formal rotation.

Politico: Gun control ads have Democrats worrying

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s aides met recently with staffers of New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg to warn them: Targeting vulnerable Democrats like Arkansas’s Mark Pryor on gun control could backfire on the party, several sources told POLITICO. It didn’t work. Ads from the Bloomberg-funded Mayors Against Illegal Guns are going up soon in Alaska, Arkansas and North Dakota — three states with Democratic senators who broke with the White House on last month’s background checks vote.

NATIONAL SECURITY:

CNNMoney: Pentagon says China using cyberattacks

The Pentagon has accused China of trying to extract sensitive information from U.S. government computers, the latest in a series of rhetorical skirmishes between the two countries on the issue of cyberattacks. The frank assessment, made in an annual report to U.S. lawmakers on Chinese military capabilities, is the harshest and most detailed set of accusations made thus far by the Obama administration. "In 2012, numerous computer systems around the world, including those owned by the U.S. government, continued to be targeted for intrusions, some of which appear to be attributable directly to the Chinese government and military," the report said.

CNN: Former deputy chief of mission in Libya: U.S. military assets told to stand down

In an interview with congressional investigators, a former top diplomat in Libya expressed concern that more could have been done by the military on September 11-12 last year to protect those being attacked at the U.S. compound and annex in Benghazi, Libya. Specifically, Greg Hicks wondered why the military did not send a plane into Libyan airspace as a show of force, and why four U.S. Special Operations soldiers were not permitted to travel to Benghazi on a Libyan plane the morning of September 12. The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee will hear from Hicks and others in a Wednesday hearing on the Benghazi tragedy, which ended in the deaths of four Americans - U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens, information officer Sean Smith, and former Navy SEALs Tyrone Woods and Glen Doherty.

CNN: 42 Syrian soldiers dead in reported Israeli strike, opposition group says

Concern about the possibility of broader war in the Middle East grew Monday after reported airstrikes on Syrian military installations. The reported strikes killed 42 Syrian soldiers, the opposition Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said Monday, citing medical sources. It said 100 people remained missing. The Syrian government warned Sunday's apparent strikes - which followed one last week that Syria also blames on Israel - "opens the door wide for all the possibilities." Syrian ally Iran warned of a "crushing response" while Russia called reports of Israeli involvement "very worrying."

ALSO SEE: WSJ: Hezbollah Steps Up in Syria as Israel Tries to Ease Tension

CNN: Kerry heads to Russia with Syria, terror on agenda

Secretary of State John Kerry departed for Russia on Monday, as the conflict in Syria heads into a new and potentially more dangerous phase, and the Obama administration tries to pin down who used chemical weapons. Carla Del Ponte, a member of the United Nations Independent International Commission of Inquiry on Syria, said Monday there are "strong suspicions... if not yet, let's say, indisputable proof" that sarin gas was used in Syria by opposition forces, rather than by the regime of Bashar al-Assad. The U.N. commission later issued a statement saying it "has not reached conclusive findings as to the use of chemical weapons in Syria by any parties to the conflict."

ALSO SEE: CNN: Foreign Relations chair moves bill to arm Syrian rebels

ALSO SEE: WSJ: Officials Spar Over Who Used Chemical Arms

CNN: North Korea removes missiles from launch site, U.S. official says

North Korea has withdrawn two mobile ballistic missiles from a launch site in the eastern part of the country, according to a U.S. official, the latest hint of an easing in tensions on the Korean Peninsula. The disclosure came Monday, the day before President Barack Obama is due to meet with his South Korean counterpart, Park Geun-hye, in Washington. During a fraught period last month that included near daily North Korean threats of war, U.S. and South Korean officials said they believed Kim Jong Un's regime could carry out a test launch of at least one of the missiles at any time. The United States and Japan responded by stepping up missile defenses in the region.

ALSO SEE: CNN: Official: Ahead of visit, U.S.-South Korea ties stronger than ever

ALSO SEE: CBS: North Korea will "pay" for any attack on South Korea, says President Park Geun-hye

Haaretz: Netanyahu promised Kerry to 'rein in' settlement construction until mid-June

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu promised U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry "to rein in" construction of settlement in the West Bank and East Jerusalem until mid-June, senior Israeli officials said on Tuesday. According to the officials, Netanyahu made the promise in light of U.S. efforts to renew negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians. Army Radio reported on Tuesday morning that Netanyahu met with Housing and Construction Minister Uri Ariel several days ago, and instructed him to put a hold on publication of new government tenders for construction of 3,000 housing units in the settlements and Jewish neighborhoods in East Jerusalem. The Prime Minister's Office declined to comment.

CNN: Hagel: 'Outrage, disgust' as Air Force leader charged with sexual battery

An Air Force officer who served as a branch chief for the service's Sexual Assault Prevention and Response program was arrested and charged with sexual battery over the weekend. Lt. Col. Jeffrey Krusinski, 41, has been removed from current duty, an Air Force official said Monday. The official declined to be named because it is an ongoing law enforcement matter. Krusinski was placed in charge of a section of the service's sexual assault prevention and response program in February, running a five-person office, the Air Force official said. He was arrested just after midnight Saturday in Arlington, Virginia, and is accused of grabbing a woman's breasts and buttocks, Arlington County police said.

AVIATION, REGULATION and JUSTICE:

CNN: Feds: Minnesota man charged after explosives, firearms found

A Minnesota man arrested after investigators found weapons and explosives in his home was scheduled to appear in federal court in St. Paul Monday afternoon. Buford "Bucky" Rogers was arrested Friday after a search of his Montevideo, Minnesota, home turned up several explosives including Molotov cocktails and a suspected pipe bomb, according to the affidavit written by an FBI agent. The agent said firearms also were discovered including a Romanian AK-M assault rifle. Rogers, a convicted felon, was arrested on a charge of illegally possessing a gun. "The FBI believes that a terror attack was disrupted by law enforcement personnel and that the lives of several local residents were potentially saved," the FBI said in a press release.

Politico: Napolitano: Student visa gap fix may come this month

Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano said Monday that she expects to have an automated system in place this month to close the gap that allowed a man from Kazakhstan charged with attempting to cover up the Boston Marathon bombings to enter the U.S. even though he was no longer enrolled in school. “I think by the end of the month, certainly, we probably will have a technological solution to this particular issue,” Napolitano said in response to a question from POLITICO during a public service forum in Washington. Napolitano confirmed reports last week that, in the meantime, officials with U.S. Customs and Border Protection are “manually” checking to make sure student visas issued overseas are still valid.

Bloomberg: Tanning Beds Should Carry Skin Cancer Warnings, FDA Says

Tanning beds would be required to warn young people of the dangers of skin cancer and face tighter oversight under a proposal from U.S. regulators. The Food and Drug Administration proposed that sunlamp products recommend against use by those younger than 18 years old and warn frequent users to regularly screen for cancer. The proposed order would also require sunlamp products seek FDA clearance before sale, the agency said yesterday in a statement. The risk of melanoma, the deadliest type of skin cancer, rises 75 percent in those exposed to ultraviolet radiation from indoor tanning, the FDA said.

REGIONAL HEADLINES:

Hartford Courant: Decisions On Distributing Money To Newtown Victims On Hold

Hearings on how to divide $7.7 million among 40 families affected by the killings at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown have been postponed after questions were raised about whether more money should go those families. The hearings were scheduled for this week. A three-person committee headed by former federal judge Alan Nevas was formed to distribute the money, which comes from an approximately $11.3 million fund under the control of the Sandy Hook-Newtown Community Foundation Inc.

ALSO SEE: Wilmington News Journal: Sandy Hook parents to visit, support Delaware's gun law push

Denver Post: Denver police: Gang-related violence nearly doubles this year

The number of gang-related violent crimes in Denver has nearly doubled in the first four months of this year, despite a police program aimed at encouraging gangsters to lead more peaceful lives. The overall number of gang-related or gang-motivated offenses has remained nearly steady in the first four months of this year compared with 2012, but police department figures show an increased percentage of violent gang-related crimes.

Des Moines Register: GOP’s Matt Whitaker says he’s running for U.S. Senate

Former U.S. Attorney Matt Whitaker is taking steps to run for the U.S. Senate, saying he would vote only for legislation that’s constitutional and pattern himself after tea party favorite U.S. Sen. Rand Paul. Whitaker said Iowans are looking for someone who can stand toe to toe with Democrat Bruce Braley, a congressman from Waterloo, who announced in February he’s seeking the Democratic nomination.

Minneapolis Star Tribune: Minnesota same-sex marriage vote nears the finish line

The simmering fight over same-sex marriage spilled into the open Monday, as both sides erupted in a final, frantic push on an issue that has divided the State Capitol for months. Several Republican legislators who have spent years trying to defend marriage as a union between one man and one woman said they are coming to believe that gay marriage could soon be legal under DFL legislative control. “Is it inevitable? I’d say probably,” said Rep. Michael Beard, R-Shakopee. “I mean, marriage is what it is, but they are redefining words and redefining meanings that have been in use for centuries because it is the cause of the week, the flavor of the month.”

INTERNATIONAL:

CNN: China rebukes Israel ahead of Netanyahu visit

The Chinese government had stern words for Israel at the start of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's five-day visit to the country. "We oppose the use of weapons. We believe the sovereignty of any country should be respected," said Hua Chunying, China's foreign ministry spokeswoman on Monday, responding to reports that Israel carried out airstrikes against its neighbor Syria last weekend. "China calls upon relevant parties to bear in mind peace and stability of the region, to exercise restraint and refrain from any actions that may escalate the tension," she added. Strangely, Netanyahu's visit to China on Monday coincided with the arrival of the President of the Palestinian Authority, Mahmoud Abbas.

Jerusalem Post: Beijing proposes four-point peace plan to Abbas

Chinese President Xi Jinping on Monday issued a four-point proposal for peace between Israel and the Palestinians. The Chinese news agency Xinhau reported that the proposal was made during a meeting between Jinping and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, who is currently visiting Beijing. The four-point proposal, according to the agency, calls for the establishment of an independent Palestinian state and peaceful coexistence with Israel.

CNN: Death toll from Bangladesh building collapse climbs above 700

The death toll from the disastrous building collapse in Bangladesh last month has risen above 700, authorities said Tuesday, as recovery workers continued to pull bodies from the rubble. The building, which housed five factories full of garment workers, caved in nearly two weeks ago, burying hundreds of people in a heap of mangled concrete in Savar, a suburb of the capital, Dhaka. It is the South Asian nation's deadliest industrial disaster. Rescue workers managed to save more than 2,400 people in the aftermath of the collapse, but their work for the past week has focused on using heavy machinery to uncover the remaining bodies buried inside the ruins.

ALSO SEE: CNNMoney: Bangladesh vows reform amid allegations of 'modern slavery'

CNN: Libyan protesters turn efforts to ousting Prime Minister Ali Zeidan

Despite the passage of a law banning Gadhafi-era officials from Libya's government, armed groups continued their blockade of two ministry buildings in Tripoli on Monday, this time demanding the dismissal of Prime Minister Ali Zeidan. The adoption of the political isolation law by Libya's parliament on Sunday had been a main demand of militiamen who surrounded the foreign and justice ministries last week. But on Monday some of the armed protesters said they want Zeidan out.

CNN: 18 dead in blast at Pakistani political rally

A blast Monday near a political rally left 18 people dead in a Pakistan tribal region, a local government official said. The strike occurred in the Kurram district, Riaz Khan said, and also wounded at least 56 people. Khan said the blast was detonated remotely and 10 kilograms of explosives were used. The explosion occurred during a rally staged by the Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazal Ur Rehman group, a right-wing religious party with sympathies for the militant Taliban movement.

CNN: Queen Elizabeth II to miss Commonwealth heads meeting

Queen Elizabeth II will not attend the Commonwealth Heads of Government meeting later this year, Buckingham Palace said Tuesday. The UK queen will be represented at the gathering in Sri Lanka in November by her son, Prince Charles. The reason for the decision is that Buckingham Palace is reviewing the number of long-haul flights the queen takes, a royal source said.

BUSINESS:

Reuters: New York to sue BofA, Wells Fargo over mortgage practices

New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman said on Monday he plans to sue Bank of America Corp and Wells Fargo and Co for violating the terms of a settlement designed to end mortgage servicing abuses. Schneiderman issued the announcement, which suggests lawsuits could be filed against the banks within two months, ahead of a widely anticipated report from the monitor for the multi-state settlement, which is expected to be critical of banks. The planned action is the first involving allegations that top banks, which agreed last year to provide $25 billion in relief to homeowners and comply with a set of servicing standards to atone for foreclosure misconduct, are not living up to their obligations under the deal.

CNNMoney: SEC sues financially troubled Harrisburg

The Securities and Exchange Commission has sued the city of Harrisburg for fraud, alleging that officials in the Pennsylvania capital misled the public about the city's financial condition. The SEC says the misleading statements came in the city's 2009 budget report, its annual and mid-year financial statements and a "State of the City" address. The case marks the first time the SEC has charged a municipality with misleading investors in statements made outside of securities documents.

Financial Times:  China seeks to water down key World Bank report

China is leading an effort to water down the World Bank’s most popular research report in a test of the development institution’s new president, Jim Yong Kim.According to people close to the matter, China wants to eliminate the ranking of countries in the Doing Business report, which compares business regulations – such as the difficulty of starting a company – in 185 different nations. The row is an example of China’s growing assertiveness at international bodies and its increased willingness to challenge liberal economic prescriptions. In this year’s Doing Business report, China ranked 91st out of 185 economies with especially low scores for its construction bureaucracy and tax system.

 


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soundoff (One Response)
  1. GI Joe

    Healthcare for future moms (that are poor) is terrible in this country. Just shameful. Prenatal should be free if the person checks out as not being able to get to or afford a doctor.

    May 7, 2013 08:07 am at 8:07 am |