CNN Washington AM Note
June 5th, 2013
06:11 AM ET
11 months ago

CNN Washington AM Note

NATIONAL:

CNN: Fires, floods, storms: Mother Nature sends extremes across U.S.

Tempestuous weather is striking the United States on four fronts. It seems as if Mother Nature is trying to throw much of the nation one extreme or another. Here's a roundup: An area of "disturbed weather" in the Gulf of Mexico, off the Yucatan Peninsula, could bring heavy rain and flooding to the Florida Peninsula and the Georgia and Carolina coasts by Thursday, CNN meteorologist Sean Morris said. …A 32,000-acre wildfire is burning some old-growth chaparral that lies in the western tip of the Mojave Desert in northern Los Angeles County. …The mighty Mississippi River is now at major flood stage in St. Louis, but the worst of it is over and waters will recede this week, Morris said. The river has risen to more than 10 feet above flood stage.

CNN: Parents of Boston bombing suspect share phone call with son

Inside their dark, barren home in Dagestan, Zubeidat and Anzor Tsarnaev finally hear the voice they've been longing to hear for weeks. It's the voice of their only surviving son, Dzhokhar. To the outside world, he's suspected of helping to launch a gruesome attack at the Boston Marathon that killed three people and maimed dozens more. But to the Tsarnaevs, Dzhokhar is an innocent teen who has been victimized by the American justice system. In an exclusive interview with CNN affiliate ITN, Zubeidat Tsarnaev plays a recorded phone call with her 19-year-old son. It's their first conversation since Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was shot and arrested in April.

WaPo: Komen cancels 3-Day walk in District, six other cities in 2014

The Susan G. Komen foundation canceled its signature 3-Day walk in Washington and six other cities next year, slashing the number of the fundraising events by half, as participation continues to drop more than a year after a funding controversy involving Planned Parenthood. Komen called its decision to pull out of the event one that “was not made lightly, as this bold and empowering event has touched the lives of thousands of participants.” Spokeswoman Andrea Rader cited economic uncertainty and competition from other charities as factors in the decision — the same reasons Komen has cited for the drop in fundraising since founder Nancy Brinker sparked national headlines in February 2012 when she unsuccessfully attempted to deny funds to Planned Parenthood.

CNN: FBI raids office of California state Sen. Ron Calderon

FBI agents raided the offices of California state Sen. Ron Calderon and the Latino legislative caucus on Tuesday. It was not immediately clear why. "This afternoon, agents from the Federal Bureau of Investigation served search warrants in the State Capitol at the office of Sen. Ron Calderon and in the Legislative Office Building at the Latino Legislative Caucus office," Tony Beard, chief sergeant at arms for the California Senate, said in a statement. "Those warrants are sealed by order of the federal court; therefore we have no further information. The Senate has and will continue to fully cooperate with the agents in this matter." Calderon, a Democrat, represents the city of Montebello in Los Angeles County.

WHITE HOUSE:

CNN: Documents: Obama trade nominee has $500,000 in Caymans

President Barack Obama's nominee to become U.S. trade representative has almost half a million dollars in an investment account registered in the Cayman Islands, according to disclosure documents submitted to the Senate committee preparing to weigh his confirmation this week. Michael Froman, currently serving as Obama's deputy national security adviser for international economic affairs, was nominated to the trade post last month. Republicans have already begun to cry foul, saying Obama's choice of Froman – along with his selection of Treasury Secretary Jack Lew and Commerce Secretary-nominee Penny Pritzker – is hypocritical given his vilification of Mitt Romney's offshore accounts during the 2012 presidential campaign.

CNN: First lady clashes with protester; threatens to leave event

First lady Michelle Obama had a rare run-in with an audience heckler Tuesday during a fund-raising event in Washington for the Democratic National Committee. The outburst from the crowd distracted Obama from her prepared remarks, prompting her to threaten to leave if the woman wanted to keep speaking. "One of the things I don't do well is this," she said, according to a pool reporter who attended the event. Television cameras were not allowed inside. Obama walked toward the protester, saying she could "listen to me or you can take the mic, but I'm leaving. You all decide. You have one choice," according to the pool report.

Fox News: Obama officials deny using 'secret' email accounts, though some agencies won't disclose details

The Obama administration on Tuesday defended officials' use of private email accounts to conduct government business and denied that they were in any way "secret" - though the public faces hurdles in gaining access to that information.  The Associated Press reported earlier that some of President Obama's political appointees were using "secret" government emails accounts - a situation that could complicate their responsibility to turn over emails under public records requests and congressional inquiries.  One of those officials, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, denied that her account was "secret" when asked by Fox News about the report.  "There's a public email and a private email," she said, adding that anyone could formally request to have access to that information.  Sebelius explained that she needed the alternative account to deal with the influx of messages.  "27-28,000 come into the public email, about 400 come into the private email. It's just a management issue. I can't possibly answer or screen all of them, and I want people to get timely answers," she said.  White House Press Secretary Jay Carney gave a similar explanation, saying the practice is "consistent with prior administrations."

NYT: U.S.-China Meeting’s Aim: Personal Diplomacy

When Tom Donilon, President Obama’s national security adviser, met with President Xi Jinping in Beijing last week to discuss his coming visit to the United States, China’s newly minted leader told him he wanted a conversation with Mr. Obama that did not involve diplomatic talking points. As if to underscore the message, he ignored the notes sitting in front of him. When Mr. Xi arrives on Friday for his first visit as president, Mr. Obama will make his own symbolic gesture, welcoming him amid the olive trees and artificial lakes of a 200-acre California estate. In more than six hours of meetings over two days, with ample time for dinner and a sunset stroll beneath the San Jacinto Mountains, administration officials hope Mr. Obama and Mr. Xi, who met for the first time last year in Washington, will really get to know each other, while exchanging ideas about how best to manage a complex, sometimes combustible relationship between the world’s two biggest economies.

ALSO SEE: NYT: China’s First Lady Won’t See U.S. Counterpart on Visit

San Jose Mercury News: Obama in San Jose to speak on 'Obamacare' on Friday

President Barack Obama will come to San Jose on Friday to tout California as proof that his "Obamacare" health care reforms are working. The White House on Tuesday announced the policy address, which follows the president's appearances Thursday at a pair of fundraisers for Senate Democrats. It's not yet clear where the president's address will be or whether it will be open to the public. This trip could be a chance for Obama to "take the spotlight off of the IRS, the AP issues, Benghazi - all these things that individually may or may not amount to much, but collectively cast a shadow over a guy who's trying to get things moving in his second term and instead finds himself in neutral, at best," said San Jose State University political expert Larry Gerston. But it might not be a cakewalk, either, as some of his deep-pocketed local supporters could ask tough questions at the fundraisers.

CAPITOL HILL:

USA Today: GOP senators say immigration bill has 'serious flaws'

As the Senate prepares to debate a sweeping immigration bill that would allow the nation's 11 million unauthorized immigrants to become U.S. citizens, some Republicans, including one who helped write the law, are sounding skeptical about its chances of clearing the chamber. Four senators penned a letter to their colleagues Tuesday saying the bill has "serious flaws" and laid out nine areas where they say significant change is needed before the bill can pass the full Senate. "We need immigration reform, but the American people deserve better than a 1,000-page bill that makes our immigration system more complex and less accountable without truly ensuring border security," the letter read. "Americans expect their government to end the lawlessness, not surrender to it." The letter was written by four senators who already voted against the bill when it passed the Senate Judiciary Committee on a 13-5 vote last month: Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas; Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa; Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, and Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Ala.

Politico: John Cornyn’s big ideas on immigration

Senate Minority Whip John Cornyn intends to introduce a sweeping amendment to the immigration bill when it goes on the floor next week, seeking to replace an entire section devoted to border security and tweak the national security and criminal justice titles. Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), one of the members of the Senate’s bipartisan Gang of Eight, has been working with Cornyn on the amendment “for weeks,” a Rubio aide said. The Texas Republican wants stricter border patrol provisional “triggers” before registered immigrants are allowed to apply for green card status. His amendment would require 100 percent operational control of the Southern borders and that 90 percent of illegal border crossers be apprehended. It would also require 100 percent border surveillance, or situational awareness, of each one-mile segment of the Southern border and installment of a national E-Verify system before registered immigrants can pursue green cards.

Politico: GOP whip Kevin McCarthy hopes Heritage hire Mike Franc can help mend fences

A key member of House Speaker John Boehner’s leadership team is hiring The Heritage Foundation’s top Capitol Hill hand as his policy director, an appointment that could help bolster GOP leadership’s rocky relationship with the party’s right wing. The Republican leadership has had difficulty controlling House conservatives, many of whom came to Washington skeptical of government, squeamish about leadership’s motives and unwilling to change. After surviving a challenge to his speakership in January, Boehner has had to pull bills from the floor or rely on Democratic votes to get things passed. Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy — the man charged with counting those votes — is moving to beef up GOP leadership’s credibility with the right by hiring Mike Franc, The Heritage Foundation’s vice president of congressional relations. The strategy: Franc’s close, personal relationships with conservative lawmakers combined with strong policy chops and the imprimatur of the Heritage brand will serve as a stamp of approval for a GOP agenda that’s been stymied.

CNN: Representatives knock Sen. Saxby Chambliss' comments on sexual assault

Representatives from both political parties on Tuesday slammed U.S. Sen. Saxby Chambliss after he said that hormones may be partly responsible for sexual assaults in the military. His controversial comments came during a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing on the subject. Addressing top military officials, Chambliss, R-Georgia, said: "The young folks that are coming into each of your services are anywhere from 17 to 22-23. Gee whiz - the hormone level created by nature sets in place the possibility for these types of things to occur. "So we've got to be very careful on how we address it on our side, but guys, we're not doing our job. You're not doing yours, and we're not doing ours with the rates that we are seeing on sexual assaults. "As I said to start with, you recognize it. We recognize it, and we got to figure this thing out because we simply can't tolerate it." The response was swift.

ALSO SEE: CNN: Military chiefs oppose removing commanders from sexual assault probes

WATCH: VIDEO – Senators confront the military's chiefs about the crisis of sexual assault in the armed forces.

POLITICAL:

CNN: Christie opts for special election, says voters should decide

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie opted for a special election to fill a newly vacant Senate seat through 2014 instead of appointing a replacement through that time, saying the decision was about giving voters "a choice and a voice in the process" and was not driven by political self-interest. While the Republican's decision for a special October ballot could help him avoid stronger Democratic turnout in his re-election bid a month later, it also opens him up to criticism from his own party that is on the short end of the balance of power in the Senate. Christie explained his decision one day after the Garden State's senior senator, Frank Lautenberg, a liberal Democrat, died at 89 after an illness. Christie said he would name a placeholder as soon as possible to fill the seat until the October election.

ALSO SEE: CNN: Christie accused of 'debilitating stupidity' after election decision

ALSO SEE: NBC/WSJ Poll: Christie's appeal rises above polarized nation, NBC/WSJ poll shows

Politico: Cory Booker’s unexpected sprint for Senate

This was not the summer Cory Booker was expecting. As the fundraising and polling favorite, the Newark mayor was not expected to face much of a challenge for Sen. Frank Lautenberg’s seat heading into 2014. Democrats far outnumber Republicans in the state, and in terms of a primary challenge, the conventional wisdom was that Rep. Frank Pallone (D-N.J.), who had long hoped to succeed Lautenberg, wouldn’t give up a safe House seat to make it happen. That has changed now. Gov. Chris Christie’s decision Tuesday to hasten the process for replacing Lautenberg, who died Monday at 89, means Booker will now have to ramp up quickly for a Democratic primary against a well-financed longtime congressman.

ALSO SEE: Rothenberg Political Report: New Jersey Senate Remains Safe for Democrats in Long Term

NBC/WSJ Poll: Scandals Prompt Doubts About Honesty

Recent controversies surrounding the Internal Revenue Service and other government agencies have sown doubts about the honesty of the Obama administration, but most people don't hold the president personally responsible for the agency actions, a new Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll finds. A majority of poll respondents, some 55%, said IRS scrutiny of conservative groups raised some level of doubt about the administration's "overall honesty and integrity." Similar shares said the same about the Justice Department's subpoena of reporter phone records and about the administration's handling of the deadly terrorist attacks on a U.S. diplomatic outpost in Benghazi, Libya. Moreover, a plurality of 43% in the poll said IRS scrutiny of conservative groups was part of a widespread effort by those in government, compared with 29% who saw it as a case of a few officials acting on their own.

HuffPo: Republican National Committee Hires Senior Facebook Engineer As Chief

The Republican National Committee has hired a senior Facebook engineer with a decade of experience in Silicon Valley to fill its newly created position of chief technology officer, The Huffington Post has learned. Andy Barkett, 32, an engineering manager at Facebook and a California native, will head RNC efforts to make the party more competitive in the digital realm, the RNC confirmed Thursday evening. One source called the decision to hire Barkett "a relatively speedy development." Barkett will split his time between Silicon Valley and Washington, sources said. At Facebook, Barkett "was in charge of dozens of engineers on six production engineering teams responsible for thousands of servers and scaling systems in mobile infrastructure, messaging, advertisements, newsfeeds, platforms, and payments," according to the RNC.

NYT: Critics of Health Care Law Outspending Its Supporters on Ads

Seven months before the core provisions of President Obama’s health care law are to take effect, most television advertising that mentions the law continues to come from its opponents. Since the law’s passage in March 2010, critics have spent a total of about $400 million on television ads that refer to it, according to a new analysis by the Campaign Media Analysis Group at Kantar Media, which tracks such spending. Supporters have spent less than a quarter of that — about $75 million — on ads that cast the law in a positive light, according to the analysis. The biggest advertiser in support of the law has been the Department of Health and Human Services, which has run educational ads that mention it. Most of the negative ads have come from Republican outside groups, including Crossroads GPS, which was founded by Karl Rove and other top Republican strategists, and the National Republican Congressional Committee.

National Review: Rand Paul, the Crunchy Con

Long before he was famous for a filibuster, Senator Rand Paul was a cargo-shorts-wearing ophthalmologist who lived in Bowling Green, Ky. His political activity, beyond supporting his father, was relegated to reading through his bookshelf, which was stocked with the works of Austrian economists and obscure philosophers. He wore hemp shirts, bought organic vegetables, and canoed. But since winning his Senate seat three years ago, Paul has mostly kept that side of himself — his “crunchy conservatism,” as he calls it — under wraps. Instead, he has played up his tea-party persona, and focused on legislating in the buttoned-down Senate. But during a speech here on Friday night at the Ronald Reagan presidential library, and in a tour of several tech companies, the crunchy Rand Paul reemerged. “I’m a libertarian conservative who spends most of my free time outdoors,” he told the sold-out crowd. “I bike and hike and kayak, and I compost.” The audience, which was full of retired businessmen and lawyers, laughed as he made light of his bohemian ways.

CNN: Election ends 32-year family hold of House seat

Republican state Rep. Jason Smith won a special election Tuesday in southeast Missouri, beating out Democrat Steve Hodges in a district dominated by Republicans. Smith will succeed former GOP Rep. Jo Ann Emerson, who stepped down in January, just two months after winning re-election, to become president and CEO of the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association. The seat had been in family hands for 32 years, as Emerson was first elected in 1996 to succeed her husband, who died in office months earlier. Emerson won nearly three quarters of the vote last November in the mostly rural district.

CNN: Mississippi gov’s surprising remark on working moms

The recently renewed debate over working mothers gained more traction Tuesday when a Republican governor suggested the country’s education problems were the result of both parents holding jobs. Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant, speaking at a Washington Post education forum, seemed to anticipate the backlash his comments may spark, but proceeded anyway after being asked why America’s schools had fallen behind compared to other countries. “I’m going to get in trouble. You want me to tell the truth? Should I tell you the truth? I think when both parents started working. When the mom’s in the workplace – it’s not a bad thing, I’m going to get in trouble, I can see the e-mails tomorrow – but now both parents are working, they’re pursuing their careers, it’s great,” Bryant said.

NATIONAL SECURITY:

CNN: U.S. Foreign Service officer charged in Vietnam visa fraud case

A U.S. Foreign Service officer has been charged in a visa fraud conspiracy in which Vietnamese citizens paid between $20,000 and $70,000 per visa, according to court documents Michael Todd Sestak, 41, appeared in federal court in Washington Tuesday and will remain in jail pending further court proceedings. He is charged wtih conspiracy to commit bribery and visa fraud. Sestak was visa chief at the U.S. Consulate in Ho Chi Minh City and allegedly started to approve visas for a fee beginning in March 2012. Sestak allegedly worked with co-conspirators who advertised visas for people who were unable to get them on their own or had been turned down. They also encouraged people to enter the United States on tourist visas, overstay the visas and remain in the U.S., according to prosecutors.

Reuters: China has 'mountains of data' about U.S. cyber attacks: official

China's top Internet security official says he has "mountains of data" pointing to extensive U.S. hacking aimed at China, but it would be irresponsible to blame Washington for such attacks, and called for greater cooperation to fight hacking. Cyber security is a major concern for the U.S. government and is expected to be at the top of the agenda when President Barack Obama meets with Chinese President Xi Jinping in California on Thursday and Friday. Obama will tell Xi that Washington considers Beijing responsible for any cyber attacks launched from Chinese soil and must take action to curb high-tech spying, White House officials said on Tuesday. China's Internet security chief complained that Washington used the news media to raise cyber security concerns which would be better settled through communication, not confrontation.

ALSO SEE: CNNMoney: New Chinese hacker group targets governments and nuclear facilities

Fox News: Push to declassify more documents seized from bin Laden compound

While senior administration officials, including national security advisor Tom Donilon, described the Usama bin Laden documents in 2011 as the equivalent of "a small college library," two years after the raid on his compound by US Navy Seals only 17 documents are public. Now a senior Republican lawmaker wants the administration to declassify more of the Al Qaeda leader's writings. "It's always a dangerous thing to put a very narrow political lens on a direction of a group that is this lethal to Americans, to our allies, to Muslims around the world," Republican Congressman Mike Rogers, Chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, told Fox News. "We need to have that extra set of eyes scrutinizing this information and coming to a conclusion about where were they (Al Qaeda) going, did we miss something? Is there something we could be doing better to try and counter their growth industry of Al Qaeda affiliates around the world?"

CNN: Fort Hood suspect sought to protect Taliban

Fort Hood massacre suspect Army Maj. Nidal Hasan argues that he sought to protect Taliban leaders during a shooting rampage at the sprawling Texas military base that killed 13 people. Representing himself against murder charges, Hasan explained his "defense of others" strategy at a pre-trial hearing on Tuesday without offering details, according to a statement from the military base. That prompted the military judge overseeing the long-delayed court-martial to give him a day to present any facts to underpin his case, the statement said. Judge Col. Tara Osborn will at that time consider Hasan's request for a three-month delay to further prepare his arguments.

WSJ: Treasury Ramps Up Iran Sanctions, Amid Skepticism

The U.S. announced a new set of Iran sanctions on Tuesday, targeting a network of firms that U.S. officials said were front companies that reap billions of dollars in profits for Iran's top leaders. The new measures marked the fourth such step in a little more than a week, reflecting a renewed U.S. determination to constrict the Iranian economy. But they weren't enough to convince skeptical lawmakers at a Senate Banking Committee hearing on Tuesday that sanctions would force Iran to curtail its nuclear program. The Treasury Department said Tuesday that Iran's senior leadership used a network of nearly 40 front companies—including firms based in Germany, Croatia, Dubai, and South Africa—to garner profits for the regime and help evade existing U.S. and European sanctions.

AVIATION, REGULATION and JUSTICE:

CNN: Justice says it followed rules in leak probe, but key question unanswered

The Justice Department defended its scrutiny of reporters around a high-profile national security leak investigation, saying on Tuesday that it followed its own regulations in acquiring subpoenas for Associated Press phone records. But a letter from Peter Kadzik, principal deputy assistant attorney general, to members of Congress failed to answer a key question asked by lawmakers: When did Attorney General Eric Holder formally recuse himself from the leak investigation? Holder said in congressional testimony that he took that step to avoid a possible conflict of interest because he had been interviewed about the leak during the course of the investigation. That investigation centered on who told the AP about a 2012 plot by an al Qaeda affiliate in Yemen to bomb an airliner. The issue has generated sharp political controversy.

CNN: Search warrants questioned in Fox News leaks case

Lawyers for a former State Department contract worker accused of leaking national secrets to a Fox News reporter are questioning whether search warrants in the case were properly obtained and may ask a federal judge to throw out evidence seized with the warrants. Also in U.S. District court Tuesday, the judge questioned prosecutors and the defense about the pace of the case against former State Department contractor Stephen Jin-Woo Kim. One search warrant in the case has caused a major national controversy because in an affidavit, an FBI agent stated that Fox News correspondent James Rosen could be an "aider and abettor and/or a co-conspirator" in a crime. Rosen has not been charged. Based on news reports, the Kim defense began questioning the warrants in the hearing Tuesday.

WSJ: Medical Spas Get a Checkup

States are tightening regulations on medical spas—and wading into some ugly disputes over where beauty treatments stop and the practice of medicine begins. Medical spas are fast-growing hybrids between day spas and doctors' offices. They typically offer Botox injections, facial peels, laser skin treatments and other minimally invasive cosmetic procedures. Some add breast implants, tummy tucks and chin, face, brow and eyelid lifts as well. The International Spa Association counts 1,750 across the U.S., up from 471 in 2003. Some of the growth comes from dermatologists and plastic surgeons adding services and amenities to their practices. But doctors trained in unrelated specialties, such as obstetricians or oral surgeons, also are supplementing their incomes with the lucrative procedures that are rarely covered by insurance, and many of the services are performed by a range of nonphysician personnel.

NYT: Report Says T.S.A. Screening Is Not Objective

The Transportation Security Administration has little evidence that an airport passenger screening program, which some employees believe is a magnet for racial profiling and has cost taxpayers nearly one billion dollars, screens passengers objectively, according to a report by the inspector general for the Homeland Security Department. The T.S.A.’s “behavioral detection program” is supposed to rely on security officers who pull aside passengers who exhibit what are considered telltale signs of terrorists for additional screening and questioning. It is illegal to screen passengers because of their nationality, race, ethnicity or religion. According to the report, the T.S.A. has not assessed the effectiveness of the program, which has 2,800 employees and does not have a comprehensive training program. The T.S.A. cannot “show that the program is cost-effective, or reasonably justify the program’s expansion,” the report said. As a result of the T.S.A.’s ineffective oversight of the program, it “cannot ensure that passengers at U.S. airports are screened objectively,” the report said.

CNN: DEA: Suburban mom by day, pot grower by night

Federal authorities say Andrea Sanderlin, 45, ran the marijuana operation from the warehouse, where they found two rooms packed with more than 1,000 marijuana plants and large amounts of dried marijuana, along with state-of-the-art lighting, irrigation, and ventilation systems to facilitate the hydroponic growing of the plants, according to court documents. "The warehouse was filled with over $3 million worth of hydroponic marijuana and the organization covertly produced 3,000 marijuana plants," Brian Crowell, special agent in charge at the Drug Enforcement Administration, said in a statement Tuesday. When agents raided Sanderlin's home on May 20, they found books on how to grow marijuana and how to launder money, according to the DEA.

REGIONAL HEADLINES:

WaPo: McDonnell aides expressed concern about his role in event for Star Scientific

Top aides to Virginia Gov. Robert F. McDonnell (R) expressed concerns about the governor’s participation in a 2011 event at the governor’s mansion that marked the launch of a dietary supplement made by a major McDonnell campaign donor, according to newly released e-mails. “I don’t understand this? we are doing an event with them?” McDonnell’s communications director Tucker Martin wrote the evening before the event to Mary Shea Sutherland, the chief of staff for first lady Maureen McDonnell, who had organized the luncheon. Sutherland had asked Martin to review and approve a news release that the donor, Star Scientific, intended to distribute about the event, which was to announce the launch of Anatabloc, its new dietary supplement. A minute later, Martin wrote to Sutherland again. “Are we sure we can do something like this?” he asked, copying a number of other senior McDonnell aides.

Hartford Courant: Senate, House Overwhelmingly Approve Bill To Withhold Homicide Photos, Other Records, After Newtown

The state Senate and House, after short debates, voted overwhelmingly early Wednesday to approve a bill blocking public disclosure of photos of homicide victims and some other records in reaction to the Newtown school massacre. The Senate took up the bill at 1:17 a.m. and voted 33-2 to approve it at about 1:35 a.m. Voting no were Democratic Sens. Edward Meyer of Guilford and Anthony Musto of Trumbull. At 2 a.m. the House approved it by a vote of 130-2, with Democratic Reps. Stephen Dargan of West Haven and Peter Tercyak of New Britain voting against it. The bill was sent to Gov. Dannel P. Malloy, who was out of state during the day Tuesday, but is expected to sign it. It would take effect immediately.

Tampa Bay Times: Rick Scott vetoes immigrant driver license bill

Gov. Rick Scott on Tuesday vetoed a bill that would have allowed children of illegal immigrants to get temporary Florida driver's licenses, a decision that may bolster his standing among immigration hard-liners but could hurt him among Hispanic voters. The vetoed measure, informally known to supporters as the "Dream Act Driver License" law, passed the Legislature by a nearly unanimous vote. It would have applied to young people covered by President Barack Obama's 2012 policy affecting noncitizens brought to the U.S. illegally as children, which suspended any deportation action against them for a two-year period.

Dallas Morning News: Texas GOP ramps up outreach to minorities, young people

The state GOP has a message for Democrats eager to turn Texas blue: See you in the trenches. Aided by the national party, Texas Republicans will hire nearly two dozen full-time outreach workers in the next seven months, state Chairman Steve Munisteri said Tuesday. The extra employees will operate from five new field offices, courting Hispanics but also other groups that are not traditionally Republican, such as blacks, Asian-Americans and young people, he said. “It’s amazing what a loss will do,” Munisteri said.

INTERNATIONAL:

CNN: Pakistan's Sharif completes long journey back to power

As political comebacks go, Nawaz Sharif's is among the more remarkable.

He served two terms as Pakistan's prime minister in the 1990s before he was overthrown in a military coup and banished into the political hinterlands. After a Pakistani court sentenced him to life in prison for hijacking and terrorism, he managed to negotiate his way into exile in Saudi Arabia, where he remained for seven years, waiting for the political tides to shift and allow his return. On Wednesday, he completed his long journey back to power and became prime minister for an unprecedented third term.

CNN: Syrian regime says it's taken over the key city of Qusayr

The gory battle for Qusayr may be over, but a new wave of sectarian warfare may be on the horizon. The Syrian government announced Wednesday it has taken control of the strategic border city, where regime forces and Hezbollah fighters have been battling rebels for weeks. State-run TV said regime forces staged an operation "that led to the annihilation of a number of terrorists" - a term often used to describe rebels. There was no immediate response from the rebel Free Syrian Army. But some members of the Syrian opposition acknowledged the loss of Qusayr to government forces.

ALSO SEE: CNN: France: Sarin gas used in Syria

BBC: Turkey protests resume in Istanbul after apology

Istanbul have used tear gas and water cannon against protesters in a fifth night of anti-government demonstrations. The clashes came hours after Deputy Prime Minister Bulent Arinc apologised for the violent police response to initial protests last week. Mr Arinc is due to hold a meeting with activists later on Wednesday. Protests over the demolition of a park in Istanbul have grown into days of unrest across the country. Mr Arinc apologised to protesters injured in demonstrations opposing the redevelopment of Gezi Park. He said the original protests were "just and legitimate" and the "excessive use of force" by police was wrong.

ALSO SEE: CNN: Turkey's Erdogan: Successful leader or 'dictator'?

The Guardian: Cameron calls in tax havens ahead of G8 summit in June

David Cameron has asked the senior ministers of all Britain's overseas territories – including Bermuda, Jersey and the British Virgin Islands – to London on the eve of this month's G8 summit to urge them to root out the multibillion-pound evasion industry by signing up to agreements to share tax information. Britain has made a clampdown on corporate and individual tax avoidance the central theme of its chairmanship of the G8 summit in Northern Ireland on 17 and 18 June, and Cameron has decided that he cannot be a credible chair of the summit if he is not seen to be trying to put Britain's own house in order.

CNN: Report: Joseph Kony's struggling militia killing elephants for cash

African warlord Joseph Kony and his struggling militia are poaching elephant ivory across central Africa to get funds for weapons, ammunition and food, a report says. Kony is wanted by the International Criminal Court for alleged war crimes. He is accused of recruiting underage boys as fighters and girls as sex slaves, and is the subject of a massive manhunt aided by U.S special forces. His militia, the Lord's Resistance Army, has been butchering elephants for years, according to a report released Tuesday by various groups, including the Enough Project and the Satellite Sentinel Project.

BUSINESS:

Bloomberg: China Starts Probe of Wine After EU Announces Solar Tariffs

China (CNFRBAL$) said it started an anti-dumping and anti-subsidy investigation of wine imports from the European Union after the 27-nation bloc yesterday imposed tariffs on Chinese solar panels. The EU yesterday announced tariffs as high as 67.9 percent on solar panels from China, which will be implemented initially at a lower rate of 11.8 percent. China’s Ministry of Commerce responded today by saying the country “firmly” opposes the EU decision and in the same statement said that Chinese authorities had started the probe of wine imports. Growing trade tensions between China and the EU puts at risk a relationship that that generated $168 billion of exports and imports in the first four months of this year, according to Chinese government statistics. The dispute over solar shipments comes after economic growth in China slowed in the first quarter to 7.7 percent and the euro-area economy reported a sixth quarter of recession.

ALSO SEE: CNNMoney: EU slaps tariffs on Chinese solar panels

CNNMoney: Chrysler refuses to recall 2.7 million Jeep SUVs

In a rare rebuff of the U.S. government, Chrysler Group is refusing a National Highway Traffic Safety Administration request for a recall of 2.7 million SUVs. The government agency says the gas tank design used in 1993 to 2004 Jeep Grand Cherokees and 2002 to 2007 Jeep Libertys is unsafe. It is the first time since 1996 that an automaker has challenged a recall demand from the safety agency. That case, also involving Chrysler, was over the seat belt system on 91,000 cars. Chrysler - which was an independent U.S. company at the time - won a federal court decision on that dispute two years later. Chrysler - now controlled by the Italian carmaker Fiat after the 2009 U.S. government-sponsored bailout - said it has been working with the agency over concerns over the vehicles in the current dispute since 2010.

CNNMoney: Apple banned from selling some iPhones and iPads after Samsung patent win

Apple won the biggest battle in its endless patent war with Samsung, but now it's Samsung's turn to be victor. A trade agency ruled Tuesday that several older Apple products violate a Samsung patent and can't be sold within the United States. The International Trade Commission's long-awaited ruling bans Apple from importing or selling the AT&T (T, Fortune 500)-compatible models of the iPhone 4, 3GS and 3, as well as the AT&T 3G-connected versions of the iPad and iPad 2. Those products - which are, like most tech products, assembled overseas and must be imported - infringe on a Samsung patent for encoding mobile communications, the ITC ruled. The ban does not affect the newest generation of Apple's products, the iPhone 5 and the fourth-generation iPad, which use different technology than the earlier devices.

 


Filed under: Washington AM Note
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  1. Marie MD

    But, but, but climate change and our planet's carbon monoxide levels being the highest ever are not true climate events.
    Just ask the tea trolls and those who don't believe in science, which are mostly rethugs and tea trolls.

    June 5, 2013 06:32 am at 6:32 am |