CNN: Ohio kidnapping case: Amanda Berry's baby delivered by another captive
As Ariel Castro prepares to make his first court appearance Thursday, accusations of what he did to three young women trapped in his home for a decade get more and more abhorrent. The man charged with kidnapping and rape allegedly forced one of the women to deliver another captive's baby, and threatened to kill if the baby did not survive, a police source familiar with the investigation said.
USA Today: Bombing suspect says brother's wife not involved
Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev told investigators in the days after the attack that his brother's widow, Katherine Russell, was not involved in the plot, a federal law enforcement official said Wednesday. Russell, married to Tamerlan Tsarnaev who was killed in a confrontation with police three days after the bombings, has drawn the scrutiny of federal investigators, who have sought to question her more closely about contacts with her husband - including a telephone conversation between the two just hours after photographs of the Tsarnaev brothers were circulated as suspects by the FBI on April 18.
Christian Science Monitor: In Los Angeles, 1 in 10 residents is an illegal immigrant, study says
A report released Tuesday suggests that one quarter of the illegal immigrant workforce in the United States lives in California, and it offers a detailed look at who they are and how they live, using the Golden State as a microcosm to explore how current immigration reform efforts in Washington could impact America. The study by the University of Southern California’s Center for the Study of Immigrant Integration estimates that about 7 percent of California residents – or more than 2.6 million people – are in the country illegally. In Los Angeles County – the nation’s most populous – 1 in 10 residents is illegal. Sixty-three percent of those undocumented residents in Los Angeles are Mexican, 22 percent are from Central America and 8 percent are from the Philippines, China, or Korea.
Bloomberg: Blacks Made History Surpassing White Voter Turnout Rates
Almost two in three eligible blacks cast ballots in the 2012 presidential election, marking the first time they had a higher voter turnout rate than non-Hispanic whites, a U.S. Census Bureau analysis shows. Boosted by President Barack Obama’s re-election efforts, blacks were the only racial or ethnic group to show a significant increase in voting participation between the 2008 and 2012 elections, from 64.7 percent to 66.2 percent. Since 1996, when blacks had a turnout rate 8 percentage points lower than whites, the group’s participation has risen 13 percentage points to a new high in 2012 for recent presidential elections, according to the report released yesterday, which was based on a nationwide survey of voting-age Americans in November. In contrast, after peaking in 2004, the white voting rate dropped in two consecutive elections, to 66.1 percent in 2008 and 64.1 percent in 2012.
CNN: New York City Council approves paid sick time act, Bloomberg vows veto
The New York City Council has joined governments of at least five other major U.S. cities and one state in passing legislation requiring private employers to provide paid sick time. The Earned Sick Time Act, which now goes to Mayor Michael Bloomberg, will require private businesses with 20 or more employees, to provide five paid sick days annually, beginning in April 2014. Some businesses will be exempt from the requirement to pay employees for sick time, but will still be required to provide time off without penalty to employees. …The bill now goes to Bloomberg, who vowed Wednesday to veto it. Bloomberg said that the some workers will suffer as some companies may lay off employees or split up into smaller companies to avoid falling under the regulations.
CNN: Colorado legislature passes laws regulating legal pot
Colorado’s state legislature passed a pair of measures Wednesday regulating the sale of legal marijuana, becoming the first state to pass bills dictating how the now-legal drug will be taxed and sold in stores. The votes come roughly six months after voters approved a constitutional amendment allowing the recreational use of marijuana in the state. Gov. John Hickenlooper signed an executive order in December to officially legalize the personal use and limited growing of marijuana for those 21 or older.
CNN: Death penalty possible after jury convicts Jodi Arias of first-degree murder
A day after a jury found her guilty of first-degree murder in the slaying of her ex-boyfriend, Jodi Arias will return to court Thursday to begin a phase that will move her closer to learning whether she will live or die. During this part of the proceedings, the so-called "aggravation phase," jurors will take an important step closer to that life or death decision. "Now the odds, I think, shift somewhat in her favor, because it's a very different thing to sentence someone to die than to convict them," CNN senior legal analyst Jeffery Toobin said.In a television interview minutes after the verdict was announced, Arias said she'd prefer a death sentence.
CNN: More prince, less soldier: Prince Harry's next visit to the United States
Prince Harry's last visit to the United States, in August 2012, did not end well, after photographs of him romping naked around a Las Vegas hotel suite were published worldwide - just weeks before he began his tour of duty in Afghanistan. "I probably let myself down, I let my family down, I let other people down," he said in an interview a few weeks later. "It was probably a classic example of me probably being too much army, and not enough prince." Harry argued at the time that it happened in a private area and that he should have been able to expect a certain amount of privacy. Expect him to redress the balance then on his next visit to the United States, which begins on Thursday. And he won't be stopping in Las Vegas. His Private Secretary, Jamie Lowther-Pinkerton, has reassuringly confirmed that the prince will "fulfil his duties with his inimitable style in all he does."
CNN: President, electric industry plan ways to restore power
Continuing a relationship first established in the run-up to Superstorm Sandy, President Barack Obama sat down with representatives from the electric utility industry on Wednesday to discuss ways the federal government can help companies quickly restore power after major disasters. According to accounts from two industry executives in attendance, much of the meeting focused on improving responses to natural disasters, but both industry and government officials also drew parallels to potential outages caused by a major cyber attack. “There’s a lot of commonality in the responses to these types of activities,” said Nick Akins, president and CEO of American Electric Power.
Bloomberg: Obama Labor Pick Delayed as Republican Step Up Opposition
Thomas Perez’s nomination for U.S. labor secretary is running into mounting opposition from Senate Republicans, with some saying confirmation might be at risk. A committee vote on the nomination was delayed for a week. Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky on the Senate floor yesterday said Perez, the Justice Department’s top civil rights lawyer, has shown a willingness to “to bend or ignore the law” in pursuit of “far-left ideology.” Senator John Cornyn of Texas, the No. 2 Republican, joined McConnell in opposition. Senator Orrin Hatch, a Utah Republican and member of the labor committee considering the nomination, said, “there’s real trouble with the nomination” because “a lot of people don’t feel he’s been straightforward” answering questions from lawmakers. “There’s a real concern about giving him the job,” Hatch told reporters.
Politico: Asian-American leaders meet with Obama
Top Asian-American leaders met Wednesday with President Barack Obama and senior staff in a meeting that participants called a “meaningful” discussion on immigration, health care and civil rights. The sit-down with Obama on Wednesday – which came amid Asian-Pacific American Heritage Month – was the first time that the president met with top officials from the Asian-American and Pacific Islander community, participants said. “The meeting was very productive,” said Deepa Iyer, chairwoman of the National Council of Asian Pacific Americans and the executive director of the South Asian Americans Leading Together. “I think it really speaks to a recognition of the growing power of our community in the country … we’ve been able to galvanize a strong political base.”
Politico: GOP sharpens knives on immigration
The almost 200 amendments filed by Senate Judiciary Committee Republicans lay bare their strategy on immigration reform: They want to gut the bill. Not all of their amendments will get a vote from the committee, which begins marking up the legislation Thursday, and only a fraction even stand a chance of nabbing the panel’s blessing. But the attacks leveled by Republicans over the next three weeks are aimed at weakening the bill as it heads to the Senate floor, where the GOP hopes its ideas can gain traction. Republicans opposed to the Gang of Eight’s bill will try to score points during the markup by highlighting what they see as serious flaws in the legislation.
NYT: Senate Bill Would Halt Iran’s Access to an Estimated $100 Billion in Cash
Seeking to escalate pressure on Iran, a bipartisan group of senators introduced legislation on Wednesday that would deny the Iranian government access to its foreign exchange reserves parked in the banks of other countries, estimated to be worth as much as $100 billion, mostly in euros. The legislation, which has strong support, would be the first major new sanction confronting Iran since its inconclusive round of negotiations with the big powers last month on its disputed nuclear program. Despite Iran’s repeated denial, the West suspects it is aiming to be able to build nuclear weapons.
Washington Times: Two-thirds of senators to vote on U.S.-Mexico border without having seen it
Border security is a key sticking point in this year’s immigration debate, but only a little more than one-third of senators have been to the southwestern border during their time in office to get a firsthand look at the security situation, according to a survey of the chamber’s members by The Washington Times. Of 100 senators, 34 said they have been down to observe the border, 64 senators have not, and two — the Democratic chairman of the Judiciary Committee, which is writing the bill, and the chamber’s Republican leader — refused to answer. Those on all sides of the immigration debate agree that chances for passing a bill legalizing illegal immigrants and overhauling the legal system hinges on whether voters think the border is secure.
The Hill: ObamaCare repeal vote next week in House
In a nod to the right, House Republican leaders will once again seek to repeal President Obama’s healthcare law next week. The decision, announced Wednesday by House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.), represents a shift by top Republicans in the lower chamber. After the 2012 election, Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) said ObamaCare is the “law of the land” while Cantor indicated Republicans should torpedo parts of the health overhaul.
The Hill: McCain working on bill to allow for 'a la carte' cable TV packages
Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) is working on legislation that would pressure cable and satellite providers to allow their customers to pick and choose the channels they pay for, his office confirmed on Wednesday. Consumers have long complained about the rising costs of cable TV packages and having to pay for dozens or even hundreds of channels just to gain access to the few that they watch. But McCain's legislation, which he is expected to introduce in the coming days, will likely face furious opposition from both the TV broadcasters and cable providers.
CNN: New poll puts Democrat on top in Mass. Senate race
A new poll suggests the Democrats have the lead in the battle for an open U.S. Senate seat in Massachusetts up for grabs next month. According to a 7 News/Suffolk University survey released Wednesday night, Rep. Ed Markey, the Democratic nominee, holds a 52%-35% advantage over GOP nominee Gabriel Gomez among likely voters in the June 25th special election. Just over one-in-ten questioned were undecided. Markey has represented the state's 5th Congressional District for nearly four decades.
Politico: Joe Biden: Immigration fix this summer
Vice President Joe Biden on Wednesday called for passage of immigration reform legislation by the end of the summer. “As my grandpop would say, with the grace of God and the good will of neighbors, Congress will show the wisdom to pass the bipartisan immigration bill by the end of the summer,” Biden said, speaking at a gala dinner at the Washington Hilton. “They must.” Those remarks came as part of Biden’s address at the event sponsored by the Asian Pacific American Institute for Congressional Studies, a nonprofit organization focused on advancing Asian- and Pacific Americans in the political sphere
CNN: Author of critical immigration report previously wrote of lower IQ in immigrants
A report released by the conservative Heritage Foundation that was highly critical of proposed immigration legislation is coming under new scrutiny after it was discovered its co-author previously wrote a dissertation citing lower IQs among immigrants. The Heritage Foundation immediately distanced itself from the 2009 paper written by Jason Richwine, who is described on Heritage’s website as a quantitative analyst. He penned a dissertation at Harvard titled “IQ and Immigration Policy” that asserted in its summary the “average IQ of immigrants in the United States is substantially lower than that of the white native population, and the difference is likely to persist over several generations.”
BuzzFeed: Keystone Pipeline Opponents Hope For A Hero In Joe Biden
Environmental activists opposed to a controversial oil pipeline project have pinned their hopes on the same man they say forced the White House's hand on marriage equality: Vice President Joe Biden. After Elaine Cooper, a South Carolina Democrat and member of the state's Sierra Club chapter, said Biden told her he opposed the Keystone XL pipeline, national climate change organizations seized on the account, reported Tuesday evening by BuzzFeed, as a sign Biden could help push the Obama administration to reject the project over potential environmental impacts.
CNN: GOP donors to George P. Bush: Welcome to Washington
Some of Washington's most powerful Republican donors are playing host at a Wednesday evening fundraiser for George P. Bush, a candidate for Texas Land Commissioner and the son of former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush Attendees are paying $500 for the event taking place at the National Association of Wholesale-Distributors Office, according to a copy of the invitation. Among those expected to attend are Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, and Rep. Aaron Shock, R-Illinois. "I think he is part of the new generation of Republican leadership…it is very important" to support him, Republican donor Bobbie Kilberg, one of the event’s hosts, told CNN. Other hosts include Republican stalwarts Charlie Black, Dirk Van Dongen and Vin Weber.
CNN: Kerry to return to Mideast later this month on peace process push
Secretary of State John Kerry said Wednesday he will return to the Middle East later this month to try to push forward on the peace process. In Rome Wednesday, Kerry met with Israeli Justice Minister Tsipi Livni and Itzhak Moho, Israel's negotiator with the Palestinians. Conferring at the residence of the U.S. ambassador to Italy, Kerry said he and his partners face a short time timespan. "We understand the imperative to try to have some sense of direction as rapidly as we can," he said.
CNN: Congressman’s trip to Libya, call by top Clinton aide raised at Benghazi hearing
The most politically charged testimony of Wednesday’s House hearing on the deadly terror attack on the U.S. diplomatic compound in Benghazi, Libya, energized Republican claims that there is more to the story. An expectation ahead of the GOP-led hearing on the attack last September 11 centered on Republican efforts to more closely scrutinize actions of State Department officials serving under Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. Clinton, a witness at previous Benghazi proceedings on Capitol Hill, did not factor much in Wednesday’s questioning. But Republicans brought her into focus through testimony about her top deputy.
ALSO SEE: CNN: Doomed Libya ambassador: 'We're under attack'
NYT: Ex-Lawyer in State Department Criticizes Drone Secrecy
A former legal adviser to the State Department has sharply criticized the secrecy surrounding the Obama administration’s use of drones for the targeted killing of terrorism suspects, saying it is unnecessary and has backfired. In a speech Tuesday at Oxford University, Harold H. Koh, a Yale law professor who as the State Department’s top lawyer in 2010 gave the first public speech explaining the targeted killing program, said the administration “has not been sufficiently transparent to the media, to the Congress and to our allies.”
CNN: South Korean president to Congress: "No North Korea provocations can succeed"
The future of the Korean peninsula relies on U.S. involvement in the peace process, South Korean President Park Geun-hye told a joint meeting of Congress Wednesday. Park said that despite recent tensions with communist North Korea, reunification of the Koreas is possible, even if it "feels distant today." "North Korea continues to issue threats and provocations, firing long range missiles, staging nuclear tests and undermining peace on the peninsula and far beyond it," Park said. "The Korean government is reacting resolutely but calmly. We maintain the highest level of readiness."
WSJ: U.S. Is Warned Russia Plans Syria Arms Sale
Israel has warned the U.S. that a Russian deal is imminent to sell advanced ground-to-air missile systems to Syria, weapons that would significantly boost the regime's ability to stave off intervention in its civil war. U.S. officials said on Wednesday that they are analyzing the information Israel provided about the suspected sale of S-300 missile batteries to Syria, but wouldn't comment on whether they believed such a transfer was near. Russian officials didn't immediately return requests to comment.
Reuters: U.N. team won't be deterred if North Korea rebuffs inquiry into abuses
U.N. investigators will seek the cooperation of North Korea as part of an inquiry into allegations of widespread human rights abuses in the country but won't be deterred if Pyongyang refuses, the head of the investigating panel said on Thursday. Michael Kirby, an outspoken former justice of Australia's top court, was named this week as head of a three member team that will look into allegations of torture, food deprivation and labor camps that are believed to hold at least 200,000 people.
CNN: 17 Air Force officers stripped of authority to launch nuclear missiles
In an unprecedented action, an Air Force commander has stripped 17 of his officers of their authority to control and launch nuclear missiles. The 17 are being sent to undergo 60 to 90 days of intensive refresher training on how to do their jobs. The action comes after their unit performed poorly on an inspection and one officer was investigated for potential compromise of nuclear launch codes, according to Lt. Col. John Dorrian, an Air Force spokesman.
CNN: Head of Marine battalion relieved of duty in wake of deadly training accident
Three Marines, including the commanding officer of an infantry battalion, have been relieved of their duties in the wake of the death of seven service members killed during a mortar exercise accident in March, according to a statement from the Marines. Lt. Col. Andrew McNulty, the officer in charge of the 1st Battalion, 9th Marine Regiment, was replaced temporarily by Maj. Thomas M. Siverts, the unit's second in command. Brig. Gen. James Lukeman said he replaced McNulty because he "lost confidence in him as the commander of this battalion."
CNN: Accused Air Force officer had training for sex assault prevention post
An Air Force officer charged with sexual battery stemming from an incident in Northern Virginia had received training for his job heading up a military unit aimed at preventing sex assaults, military records show. Lt. Col. Jeffrey Krusinski, a 1994 graduate of the Air Force Academy who served tours in both Iraq and Afghanistan, was arrested early on Sunday for allegedly grabbing a woman's buttocks and breasts in a parking lot in Arlington County not far from the Pentagon. A police report said the unidentified woman fought off her assailant, who appeared intoxicated. Krusinski, 41, is due in an Arlington County court on Thursday after local officials refused a request from the Air Force for it to handle the case.
WaPo: With 10 patterns, U.S. military branches out on camouflage front
In 2002, the U.S. military had just two kinds of camouflage uniforms. One was green, for the woods. The other was brown, for the desert. Then things got strange. Today, there is one camouflage pattern just for Marines in the desert. There is another just for Navy personnel in the desert. The Army has its own “universal” camouflage pattern, which is designed to work anywhere. It also has another one just for Afghanistan, where the first one doesn’t work. In just 11 years, two kinds of camouflage have turned into 10. And a simple aspect of the U.S. government has emerged as a complicated and expensive case study in federal duplication.
AVIATION, REGULATION and JUSTICE:
CBS: Suspended Secret Service agent says Obama security "not compromised"
It was a year ago that the US Secret Service was entangled in a sex scandal while President Barack Obama was planning a trip to Colombia. Several members of an advance security team were accused of hiring prostitutes before the President arrived. Of the 11 Secret Service agents caught up in the Cartagena scandal, six of them, a year later, find themselves still on indefinite suspension, without pay and without a hearing. Gregory Stokes is the first of the agents to speak publicly. He says the agents were in a foreign country where using an escort service is legal, and at the time, was not specifically prohibited by Secret Service regulations.
WSJ: Deal to Cut Ex-Enron CEO's Sentence
Ex-Enron president and chief executive Jeffrey Skilling cuts a deal with the Justice Department to shorten his federal prison sentence to as little as 14 years. Senior Special Writer John Emshwiller reports The News Hub. Photo: Getty Images. The last great battle of the decadelong legal war over the crimes at Enron Corp. is poised to come to an end. Enron's incarcerated former president and CEO Jeffrey Skilling and the Justice Department have reached an agreement to recommend that his federal prison sentence be reduced to as little as 14 years from 24 years. Under the deal, Mr. Skilling would halt further attempts to have his conviction overturned, and more than $40 million seized from him as part of the case would also be freed up for distribution to victims in the Enron affair.
CNN: Man who faked his way into cockpit pleads guilty to fraud
The man who conned his way into the cockpit of an US Airways flight in March pleaded guilty Wednesday in Philadelphia to one count of fraud in connection with an identification document. Philippe Jeannard, 61, had used his mother's old Air France employee documents in an attempt to pass as a pilot and score a free ride in the jump seat of a plane after he had been denied an upgrade to business class, according to the original complaint.
CNNMoney: Enron convict Skilling to get out of jail early
Enron convict Jeffrey Skilling has reached a deal to be released early from prison, according to court documents filed Wednesday. Skilling was sentenced to 24 years in prison for his role in the Enron debacle. Under the deal, he could shave nearly a decade off the 15 years remaining on his prison term. The former Enron chief executive, now known as inmate #29296-179 at the Englewood federal prison in Littleton, Colo., was convicted for fraud, conspiracy, insider trading and lying to auditors in the largest corporate fraud in history.
Boston Globe: PACs key source of Markey funds
US Representative Edward J. Markey, who has repeatedly called on Republican Gabriel E. Gomez to sign a pledge curbing third-party spending in their Senate race, knows from personal experience how difficult it is to renounce outside contributions. Markey himself pledged in 1984 not to accept contributions from political action committees, but put that promise aside in 2003 after Congress tightened campaign finance laws and as the congressman contemplated the possibility of replacing Senator John F. Kerry, who was then running for president. Between 2003 and 2012, the Malden Democrat received $2.7 million from political action committees, about a third of his total haul during that time.
WaPo: D.C. to establish a hybrid traditional-charter school in Southeast
A long-struggling Southeast D.C. elementary school will undergo a renovation and then reopen under the management of a high-performing charter school, Chancellor Kaya Henderson announced Wednesday evening. Malcolm X Elementary was among five city schools that the chancellor proposed to close last fall but later decided to keep open. Now the school, after the completion of a $21 million renovation next year, will be operated by Achievement Prep Public Charter School. Henderson described the effort as a first-of-its-kind partnership that will produce neither a traditional school nor a charter school but something in between.
NYT: Mothers Convicted of Felonies May Get Chance to Stay Out of Prison
There are few experiences more unsettling for a child than watching a mother being taken away to prison for months or years. For years, women’s advocates have worked to establish alternatives for mothers convicted of crimes, saying the lives of their children become so upended they often end up in jail themselves. On Wednesday, the Brooklyn district attorney, Charles J. Hynes, with leaders from various women’s groups, announced a new program that represents one of the most ambitious efforts yet: It will allow a carefully chosen group of women who plead guilty to felonies to remain in their own homes with their children.
Sacramento Bee: Federal probe cites major problems at Nevada mental hospital
A Nevada psychiatric hospital under scrutiny for busing hundreds of patients out of state in recent years suffers from "systemic" problems that compromise the safety of the patients who are being discharged, a federal investigation has determined. Rawson-Neal Psychiatric Hospital in Las Vegas, Nevada's primary public hospital for mentally ill people, is at risk of losing critical federal funding if it fails to correct problems identified in a report issued Wednesday by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.
AFP: Israel approves 296 West Bank settler homes
Israel has given the go-ahead to build nearly 300 homes in the settlement of Beit El near Ramallah, a spokesman said, in a move likely to spark tensions as Washington seeks to rekindle peace talks. "The Civil Administration has given the green light for 296 housing units at Beit El, but this is only the first stage of a process before actual construction can begin," he said, speaking on behalf of a unit within the defence ministry which administers the West Bank. He explained that the construction plans were part of a compensatory measure for settlers who were evicted last year from Ulpana, an unauthorised outpost on the outskirts of Beit El which was evacuated following a High Court ruling.
WSJ: Iran Cracks Down Ahead of Election
The Iranian government has launched a pre-emptive crackdown ahead of presidential elections next month, Iranians say, including disrupting the Internet, creating a cyber-surveillance unit for social media, arresting a prominent editor and canceling university classes. The coming election is the first presidential vote since the contested polls in 2009 ignited massive protests against the government and fraud allegations. This time around, amid international concern over Iran's nuclear program and the country's involvement helping Syria's embattled regime to stay in power, Tehran is keen to present a united and stable front to protect its legitimacy.
CNN: Seven killed in Bangladesh garment factory fire
At least seven people died in a fire in a clothing factory in Bangladesh's capital late Wednesday, police and the factory's general manager told CNN. Among those killed were a police officer and the factory owner, who were meeting at the facility when the blaze erupted, officials said. Zabidur Rahman, the general manager of the factory, said the fire broke out on the third floor of the 11-story sweater factory in Dhaka's Mirpur district. He said a nurse at the hospital told him all seven victims suffocated.
CNN: Bangladesh building collapse death toll surpasses 900
More than two weeks after a factory collapsed in Bangladesh, trapping workers in a mangled concrete heap, the death toll has surpassed 900. Authorities pulled more bodies from the rubble, bringing the number of people killed to 912 , officials said Thursday. The April 24 collapse occurred in Savar, a suburb of the capital, Dhaka. Rescue workers saved more than 2,400 people in the aftermath of the collapse, but have focused on using heavy machinery to uncover bodies buried beneath the ruins.
The Guardian: Chen Guangcheng brother claims government-hired thugs attacked him
The eldest brother of the Chinese activist Chen Guangcheng has said he was beaten up by two men he said were government-hired thugs. The alleged attack on Thursday marks an escalation in the harassment of Chen's family. Their treatment has already received prominent attention from the US in recent weeks and could cause further friction between Beijing and Washington over human rights.
CNN: Zambian men arrested over alleged homosexual acts
Zambian police rearrested two men this week on charges of engaging in homosexual acts "against the order of nature," a rights group said. James Mwansa and Philip Mubiana, both 21, were arrested after neighbors reported them to the police, according to Amnesty International. Authorities subjected them to anal examinations without their consent and forced them to confess, the human rights group said.
CNN: Pakistan's voters to go to polls amid growing tension
When Pakistanis go to the polls on Saturday they will be electing key players battling to govern one of the world's most complicated countries. From corruption, claims of international interference, terrorism and religious extremism to overpopulation, inflation, poverty and unemployment, Pakistan has been famously dubbed by some as the world's most unstable nuclear power. For much of its 66-year existence, the nation of 193 million people has been ruled by a military government. But this year's election is being hailed as one of the most democratic to date.
CNN: Eye for an eye? Pakistani prisoner dies after beating
A man from India died in Pakistan early last week from a beating he took in jail there days before. The day after his passing, a Pakistani inmate received a beating in an Indian prison. He died Thursday, a government official in India said. Some are calling it a revenge attack, something that CNN cannot confirm.
Politico: Wall Street hires Washington
The financial industry has long been a draw for former political operatives seeking a bigger paycheck and New York lifestyle. But with the big banks now under constant assault from reformers, regulators and some members of Congress, the flow of top talent from Washington to Wall Street has become a small flood. Two of the biggest blue chip firms in the industry, Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley, will soon have top-level executives with the ear of the CEO who once occupied senior jobs in the White House and United States Treasury. Other banks including Citigroup, Credit Suisse and JPMorganChase have also staffed up with former political and regulatory officials. The current exodus to New York reflects something of an historic shift.
ALSO SEE: WSJ: Big Banks Push Back Against Tighter Rules
Reuters: Billionaire investors take aim at Fed's policies at Sohn event
Wealthy money managers bashed Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke's easy money policies at a closely watched annual investment conference and charitable event on Wednesday. The Sohn Investment Conference, which raises money for pediatric cancer research, gets big name hedge fund managers to share their "best ideas" with other wealthy investors. This year's conference was sprinkled with criticisms of the Fed's $85 billion in monthly purchases of Treasuries and mortgage securities in an attempt to stoke the economy.
Financial Times: UK watchdog swoops on big banks
The UK’s new City regulator is swooping on the London offices of the world’s biggest banks and asset managers in a new probe aimed at a lucrative City business – helping pension funds make big changes to their investment portfolios. The site visits, people familiar with the situation said, are the most dramatic example yet of the Financial Conduct Authority’s focus on ensuring that wholesale markets participants protect the interests of end users, such as retail fund investors and pensioners, when contracting for services.
Bloomberg: U.S. Foreclosure Filings Decline to Lowest in Six Years
U.S. foreclosure filings fell in April to the lowest level in more than six years as inexpensive mortgages and rising demand for homes allowed troubled owners to refinance or sell before losing their properties to lenders. A total of 144,790 properties received notices of default, auction or seizure, down 5 percent from March and 23 percent from a year earlier, RealtyTrac said today. It was the lowest tally since February 2007, the Irvine, California-based data seller said in a report. One in 905 households got a filing. Borrowing costs close to historic lows and an improving labor market have combined to aid the housing market, boosting prices and allowing distressed homeowners to rework loans or sell property for less than the amount owed, known as a short sale.