CNN Washington AM Note
June 11th, 2013
06:24 AM ET
10 months ago

CNN Washington AM Note

BREAKING OVERNIGHT:

CNN: State TV: Suicide attacks kill 14 in central Damascus

A pair of suicide attacks in central Damascus on Tuesday killed at least 14 people and injured 31 others, Syrian state TV reported. The explosions took place near a police station, a police source said. Syria's state news agency, SANA, reported a slightly higher casualty toll, reporting 33 injuries after "two suicide bombers" blew themselves up.

CNN: Turkish riot police move in on protesters at Taksim Square

Turkish riot police in sizable numbers moved into Taksim Square on Tuesday morning, where they engaged in a game of cat-and-mouse with a small, hard-core group of protesters. The protesters lobbed Molotov cocktails at armored vehicles and burned one. Police responded by spraying water cannons. The demonstrators, using wooden boards as shields, would pull back - only to return again, lobbing cocktails and firecrackers and flashing "victory" signs. Smoke from tear gas and fireworks wafted through the air as the armored vehicles shoved away makeshift barriers set up by the demonstrators.

NATIONAL STORIES:

CNN: U.S. weather: Deadly beaches, grinding tornadoes, sweltering heat

Summer has not yet officially arrived, but the country's midsection is burning up. Denver broke a heat record Monday - and Tuesday promises more sweltering heat.  Farther east in Baltimore, a storm threw down a tornado Monday, destroying houses and causing flash flooding. And on the Gulf Coast, rip currents have killed at least four.

CNN: Girl's ordeal spurs temporary change to lung transplant policy for kids

The organization that oversees national transplant policies has approved a one-year change that makes children younger than 12 eligible for priority on adult lung transplant lists, the group announced Monday. The Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network's executive committee approved the change in a conference call. It said in a statement that doctors may submit a request to a national review board to have a child who is younger than 12 put on a list for older patients. The board has seven days to approve the request, taking into account the child's lung allocation score.

NBC: Group aiming to give free guns to single mothers in Houston

While cities like New York, Los Angeles and Phoenix champion gun buyback events and programs, a gun giveaway group, called The Armed Citizen Project, has launched in Houston. The founder of the nonprofit organization, Kyle Coplen, 29, said he had a few reasons behind his idea to arm "residents in high crime areas" and especially single mothers with a free pump-action shotgun and training. He said his first and foremost priority is “to train and arm residents in high crime areas and let criminals know that they’re at risk if they break into their house.” His secondary goals are to get people more comfortable with guns by providing them with shotguns — what he called a "gateway gun" — and to conduct a study to find out if an increase in guns in an area results in a decrease in crime. Founded in January, the Armed Citizen Project is currently based in the Houston neighborhood of Oak Forest, which does not have the highest crime rate in Houston but according to Coplen, the community of about 400 houses had 100 home invasions last year.

NYT: Chicago Tactics Put Major Dent in Killing Trend

A year after this city drew new attention for soaring gun violence and gang bloodshed, creating a political test for Mayor Rahm Emanuel in President Obama’s hometown, Chicago has witnessed a drop in shootings and crime. Killings this year have dipped to a level not seen since the early 1960s. So far in 2013, Chicago homicides, which outnumbered slayings in the larger cities of New York and Los Angeles last year, are down 34 percent from the same period in 2012. As of Sunday night, 146 people had been killed in Chicago, the nation’s third-largest city — 76 fewer than in the same stretch in 2012 and 16 fewer than in 2011, a year that was among the lowest for homicides during the same period in 50 years. In recent months, as many as 400 officers a day, working overtime, have been dispatched to just 20 small zones deemed the city’s most dangerous.

WHITE HOUSE:

WSJ: Peru Leader Surprises Critics With Free-Market Policies

Many in Peru and on Wall Street once feared that Ollanta Humala might be the second coming of Hugo Chávez in South America. Like the late Venezuelan strongman, Mr. Humala was a former lieutenant colonel who had led a failed uprising and advocated a bigger state role in the economy to help the poor. But nearly two years into his presidency, the 50-year-old meets with President Barack Obama on Tuesday as a leader who has moved closer to Peru's business sector and aligned the economy with free-market stalwarts like Chile, even as some neighbors like Bolivia and Ecuador tilt toward socialism. Late Monday, Mr. Humala, whose close-cropped hair and demeanor still give him the air of a military man, met with members of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and with academics. On Tuesday, he and Mr. Obama are expected to discuss trade, the fight against drug trafficking and other issues. Mr. Humala campaigned partly against the U.S.-led war on drugs, but has since become an ally in the fight against drug trafficking, U.S. officials say.

The Hill: White House postpones annual congressional picnic

The White House will not hold its annual congressional picnic in June, according to sources familiar with the planning. The annual event, traditionally held for Senate and House members and their families, might happen in September instead. The administration blamed automatic spending cuts for canceling tours of the White House, but a source close to the situation said delaying the bipartisan, bicameral picnic was “schedule-related, not sequester-related.” It’s unclear what factors will determine whether the White House will hold the event in September. But even if the picnic happens then, fewer children will be able to attend because school will be back in session. That fact has irritated people who have attended in the past.

CAPITOL HILL:

CNN: Senate poised to take up immigration

The Senate will vote on Tuesday to begin debate on immigration reform, an emotionally charged proposal with huge political stakes that may never get through Congress despite years of negotiation and major compromise. It aims to create a 13-year path to citizenship for most of the country's 11 million undocumented immigrants, a bipartisan proposal hammered out by the so-called "Gang of Eight" senators this spring that has the backing of President Barack Obama. Polls show many Americans also favor some form of immigration policy overhaul, depending on the details of legislation. GOP leaders have signaled their support for starting debate, so a procedural motion aimed at doing so is expected to receive the 60 votes necessary to take that next step even if the fate of the legislation is uncertain.

WSJ: Insider Probe Hits Congress

The Federal Bureau of Investigation has shifted the focus of a broadening insider-trading investigation to Congress, seeking information to determine whether one of Sen. Charles Grassley's aides may have been involved in sharing information about an important government decision with Wall Street this spring, said a person familiar with the matter. It is rare for federal law-enforcement officials to involve congressional aides in investigations, mainly because the Constitution extends legal protection to legislative-branch employees for their official duties. Making matters more unusual, the Iowa senator is the top Republican on the Senate Judiciary Committee, which oversees the Justice Department. In addition to the FBI probe, the Justice Department last month sent Mr. Grassley's office a letter seeking information on the same Grassley health-care aide, Rodney Whitlock, said a person familiar with the matter. Mr. Grassley agreed to cooperate and has shared the information with the Justice Department, his spokeswoman said.

Roll Call: 20-Week Abortion Ban Heading to House Floor Next Week

The House will vote next week on a bill banning abortions across the country after 20 weeks of pregnancy. Doug Heye, deputy chief of staff to House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va., confirmed to CQ Roll Call that the chamber is on track to consider legislation next week that would ban all abortions after the 20-week threshold — the point at which some medical professionals believe a fetus can begin to feel pain. The legislation, sponsored by Rep. Trent Franks, R-Ariz., is being marked up by the full House Judiciary Committee on Wednesday and has the strong backing of the National Right to Life Committee. Heye also confirmed that the bill would be brought to the floor under a rule, designed to allow for passage via a simple majority. Franks had a previous incarnation of the bill that would have banned abortions after 20 weeks only in the District of Columbia, and it came up for a vote in 2012 under suspension of the rules, an expedited procedure for allowing bills to come to the floor. But such suspension measures require a two-thirds majority vote for passage, and the bill failed to pass that goal post.

WaPo: Farm Bill passes in the Senate

The Senate passed a five-year farm bill on Monday night that sets federal food and farming policy for the next decade, but makes smaller cuts than a House version of the legislation that is set for consideration next week. Senators approved the 1,150-page bill by a vote of 66 to 27, with several senators absent due to flights delayed because of bad weather approaching Washington, D.C., Monday evening. The legislation would cost roughly $955 billion over 10 years and includes significant cuts in direct subsidies to farmers — some of whom receive aid even if they don’t farm — and a roughly $4 billion cut in the $80 billion federal food stamp program over the next decade. “I don’t think you can have an economy unless you make things and grow things. This bill is about growing things. That’s what we need to do in this country,” said Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.), who chairs the Senate Agriculture Committee.

Bloomberg: Obama Commerce, Transportation Picks Advance in Senate

The nominations of Penny Pritzker for Commerce secretary and Anthony Foxx as Transportation secretary advanced to the full U.S. Senate, bypassing the political fights that have stymied other high-level appointments. The Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee voted unanimously for Pritzker, a Chicago billionaire, and Foxx, the mayor of Charlotte, North Carolina, said Chairman Jay Rockefeller, a West Virginia Democrat. He said the votes yesterday to advance President Barack Obama’s nominees were “extraordinary,” given disagreements on other selections. “I urge my colleagues to act quickly now to schedule votes on their nominations,” Rockefeller said in a statement. A vote may be set before the July recess, he said. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, a Nevada Democrat, also is delaying until July consideration of several nominations that have triggered Republican opposition and led to threats by Democrats to change filibuster rules to expedite confirmations.

Politico: D.C. fall preview: Shutdown, debt ceiling fight

With Washington consumed by scandals this summer, the White House and GOP congressional leaders are slowly lurching toward a potential debt default or government shutdown this fall. Three months after President Barack Obama began his charm offensive with Senate Republicans, the two sides have yet to even agree on the scope of the spending or deficit problems — let alone what’s needed to solve it. Their sharp differences were on display in private meetings on Capitol Hill last week between Senate GOP lawmakers and top White House officials. They underscore the growing expectations that the two sides will fail to reach a budget agreement this year, meaning the crisis atmosphere that dominated the fiscal debate during much of 2011 and 2012 could return in the coming months. House Republicans and Senate Democrats remain more than $90 billion apart on 2014 discretionary spending, with prospects for a House-Senate conference on the budget dwindling daily.

CNN: Boehner, Cantor to meet with Newtown families

The two top Republicans in the GOP-controlled House of Representatives will meet Thursday with families who lost loved ones in the Newtown, Connecticut, elementary school shooting. According to an aide to John Boehner, the House speaker and Majority Leader Eric Cantor will sit down with the families, who will be in Washington to mark six months since the massacre that left 26 dead. "Speaker Boehner's heart goes out to the victims of this senseless tragedy and their families. He wants to hear their stories and talk about ways to reduce the culture of violence in our country," Boehner spokesman Michael Steel said.

POLITICAL:

CNN: Democrats go after Republicans over deportation vote

Some House Republicans who voted last week to end President Barack Obama's deportation rule will get hit with new Spanish language radio ads in their districts over the next week. Spending five figures on the ad buy, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee is targeting nine members who voted for an amendment that would defund a program that allows some young undocumented immigrants to defer deportation. Last week's vote appeared to be a symbolic move, as the bill has little chance of going anywhere in the Democratic-controlled Senate.

WaPo: Cummings: Cincinnati employees say their actions started IRS targeting efforts

An Internal Revenue Service manager in Cincinnati singled out the tea party case that prompted widespread targeting of conservative groups, and an agent from the same office developed the initial search criteria for the initiative, according to the House oversight committee’s top Democrat. Rep. Elijah E. Cummings (Md.) said this week that the new details should absolve the White House of blame for the issue and bring to a close House investigations of the issue. The IRS has come under fire from Republicans since an inspector general report last month showed that the agency had singled out conservative groups seeking nonprofit tax status for scrutiny during the 2012 election cycle. In a memo to his colleagues on the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, Cummings cited excerpts from transcripts of congressional interviews that appear to shed light on a previously unknown detail — namely, what prompted the IRS targeting in the first place.

ALSO SEE: The Hill: IRS scandal ‘solved?’ Hardly, say GOP

CNN: Rick Perry tries to lure gun makers to Texas

Texas Gov. Rick Perry has been courting gun manufacturers in states that have enacted tougher gun laws, and next week, he's taking his message on the road. Perry will travel to Connecticut and New York to meet with business leaders in the firearm industries, his office announced. Before Perry’s four-day trip, a public-private group called TexasOne began running two television commercials in both states on Monday, touting Texas as a welcoming climate for gun manufacturers. The campaign emphasizes that Texas levies no state income tax, while the state income tax in New York can range from 4% to 8.8%. The $1 million ad buy will run for one week, and Perry's office said no state tax dollars will be used for the trip or the advertising.

NATIONAL SECURITY:

CNN: NSA leak journalist says more revelations on their way

As U.S. federal agents build a case against the contractor who exposed controversial electronic surveillance programs by the National Security Agency, one of the journalists who has been working with him says more secrets are set to be revealed soon. "There are extremely invasive spying programs that the public still does not know about that the NSA regularly engages in or other capabilities that they're developing," said Glenn Greenwald, a columnist for the Guardian, the British newspaper that broke the first story based on secret NSA documents. "We are working on stories right at this moment that we think are very valuable for the public to know that don't in any way harm national security but that shine a light on this extremely secretive though momentous agency," he said in an interview with CNN's Christiane Amanpour on Monday. Greenwald received the documents from Edward Snowden, a 29-year-old employee at the computer consultant Booz Allen Hamilton, a contractor for the U.S. electronic intelligence agency.

ALSO SEE: CNN: Feds start building case against NSA leaker

ALSO SEE: CNN: Poll: Majority say phone tracking is 'acceptable'

WSJ: Russia Would Weigh Snowden Asylum Bid

Russia would consider a request for asylum from Edward Snowden, the National Security Administration contractor who has admitted leaking details of top-secret government surveillance programs, the Kremlin's chief spokesman said Tuesday. "We will take action based on what actually happens. If we receive such a request, it will be considered," spokesman Dmitry Peskov told Russian newspaper Kommersant. Mr. Peskov didn't immediately respond to a request for comment.

HuffPo: PRISM Program: Obama Administration Held 22 Briefings For Congress On Key FISA Law

Obama administration officials held 22 separate briefings or meetings for members of Congress on the law that has been used to justify the National Security Agency's controversial email monitoring program, according to data provided by a senior administration official. According to the official, the sessions that took place over the course of 14 months starting in October 2011 touched on Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) Amendments Act, which gives the attorney general and director of national intelligence the authority to gather intelligence on non-U.S. citizens for up to one year. Section 702 has been cited by Director of National Intelligence James Clapper as the legal basis for the NSA's PRISM program, which has allowed the government to track email communication data.

CBS: State Dept. dismisses allegations of "endemic" misconduct

After CBS News reported on documents indicating that the State Department may have covered up allegations of illegal and inappropriate behavior within its ranks, State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki on Monday told reporters that any such incidents would be "fully investigated." But she disputed the charge that improper behavior within the department is an endemic problem. "I'm not going to speak to specific cases, but it's hardly endemic," Psaki told reporters at a State Department briefing. "Any case we would take seriously and that's certainly what we're doing." State Department memo reveals possible cover-ups, halted investigation. The Diplomatic Security Service, or the DSS, is the State Department's security force, charged with protecting the secretary of state and U.S. ambassadors overseas and with investigating any cases of misconduct on the part of the 70,000 State Department employees worldwide. On Monday morning, CBS News' John Miller reported on an internal State Department Inspector General's memo, which alleged that several recent investigations were influenced, manipulated, or simply called off. The memo obtained by CBS News cited eight specific examples.

CNN: Obama administration faces gut check moment in Syria

Key meetings this week on Syria will try to figure out how the Obama administration can help moderate heavy rebel casualties and stem opposition defections to radical groups as the prospect for a political solution to the civil war grows dim. Recent gains by the regime in Qusayr and its ongoing offensive to retake areas of Aleppo – all with the help of Hezbollah fighters – has created an urgency in the administration to act before President Barack Obama's stated policy objective of ousting Syrian President Bashar al-Assad is lost. "It's really bad but whether this is fatal, we don't' know," one senior administration official said of recent gains by regime forces. "There is a recognition that unless we provide help, a lot of help, the situation is going to be very, very terrible." Officials say in numerous conversations with U.S. Ambassador to Syria Robert Ford and other officials, Salim Idriss, the commander of the rebel Free Syrian Army, described a dire situation. He pleaded for weapons and ammunition to stop both causalities and defections to radical groups like Jabat al-Nusra.

Reuters: Many soldiers fail to grasp Army sex assault problem: U.S. general

The U.S. Army is failing to deal with sexual assault in its ranks because too many soldiers in positions of authority do not think there is a problem, the Army chief of staff told a summit of leaders called to address the issue. General Ray Odierno told a gathering of officials in the Army's Sexual Harassment, Assault Response and Prevention program that when he travels to different bases and speaks to smaller units, he finds too many sergeants, lieutenants and captains who say they do not have a sex assault problem. "That's baloney," he said. "That's the problem. We're not seeing ourselves." Some think because they are in an all-male unit, they don't have a sexual assault problem, Odierno said. "That's not right," he said. "In fact, you probably have some perpetrators, probably have some predators and you probably have some males who have probably been sexually assaulted or sexually harassed."

LA Times: F-35 fighter jet conducts first in-flight missile launch near L.A.

A F-35 fighter jet launched a missile in mid-flight from its internal weapons bay for the first time in a test flight for the Air Force. The missile firing took place last week about 60 miles northwest of Los Angeles at the Navy’s Point Mugu Sea Test Range after the plane took off from Edwards Air Force Base.  It is a milestone that paves the way for targeted launches later this year. On Monday, aircraft manufacturer Lockheed Martin Corp. released a video in which the F-35 ejects an AIM-120 missile that briefly falls before firing its rocket motor and bursting into flight. "It's a testament to the entire military-industry test team,” said the pilot, Lt. Col. George "Boxer" Schwartz. “They've worked thousands and thousands of hours to get to this point - to where we are today." Indeed. The F-35 is a nearly $400-billion weapons program under development for more than a decade. There are three versions of the F-35 being developed for the Pentagon.

AVIATION, REGULATION and JUSTICE:

CNN: Feds drop 'morning-after pill' appeal

The Obama administration will allow minors to obtain one form of the emergency contraception known as the "morning-after pill," dropping its appeal of a judge's order requiring it to be sold over the counter. U.S. District Judge Edward Korman had ruled in April that the government must allow over-the-counter sales, and a federal appeals court rejected the administration's challenge to that ruling last week. The administration had been criticized by some women's rights groups for trying to stop contraception sales to underage females. In a Monday letter to Korman, Justice Department attorneys said the Food and Drug Administration and the Department of Health and Human Services had agreed to make the single-pill version of the drug available "without age or point-of-sale restrictions."

CNN: Coast Guard, BP end Gulf cleanup in 3 states

The Coast Guard and BP declared the Deepwater Horizon cleanup over in three states Monday but will keep watching dozens of miles of Louisiana shoreline where oil still washes ashore. More than three years after the worst oil spill in U.S. history erupted in the Gulf of Mexico, the coastlines of Mississippi, Alabama and Florida have been returned to "as close to pre-spill conditions as possible," said Lt. Cmdr. Natalie Murphy, a Coast Guard spokeswoman. In Louisiana, however, 84 miles of coastline - mostly barrier islands like Grand Isle and Elmer's Island, about 90 miles south of New Orleans - is still subject to cleanup, Murphy said. Those areas are still seeing tar balls and occasional mats of weather oil wash up on the beach regularly, particularly since Hurricane Isaac stirred up fresh oil from the seabed in late 2012.

REGIONAL HEADLINES:

Hartford Courant: Newtown Families Returning to Washington

Newtown gun control advocates will travel to Washington this week to lobby lawmakers and to raise awareness for their cause as they approach the six-month anniversary of the school shootings. Family members of Daniel Barden, Lauren Rousseau, Jesse Lewis, Dylan Hockley, Mary Sherlach, Ana Marquez-Greene, Benjamin Wheeler, and Victoria Soto are among the group who will be in Washington this week. They will be joined by other members of the Newtown community, 40 of whom will take a bus down to Washington on Wednesday. "It's the six month anniversary this week," said Neil Heslin, father of Jesse Lewis, who died at Sandy Hook Elementary School on Dec. 14. "I thought it was important to be there so it wasn't a date that was just forgotten." House Speaker John Boehner, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor and House Judiciary Committee Chairman Robert Goodlatte, all Republicans who have been reluctant to support gun control, are among the legislators who have agreed to meet with families this week.

Capital Gazette: Man who leaked NSA's surveillance program a former Anne Arundel student

To many classmates of the Arundel High School class of 2001, he was simply known as Eddie. Twelve years later, Edward Joseph Snowden has identified himself as the source of a leak of classified information about a National Security Administration surveillance program. Long before leaking the NSA information, which has sparked a nationwide debate about privacy versus security, the 29-year-old apparently spent much of his youth as a student in Anne Arundel County, records show. County Schools spokesman Bob Mosier confirmed Monday that an Edward Snowden attended Crofton Woods Elementary School before graduating to Crofton Middle School. Mosier said Snowden attended Arundel High School during his freshman year and a portion of his sophomore year before leaving. Mosier could not say why he left. School yearbooks appear to show pictures of a young Snowden.

New Orleans Times Picayune: Death row inmates sue Angola Prison due to extreme temperatures

Three inmates on death row at the Louisiana State Penitentiary filed suit in Baton Rouge federal court Monday against jail officials due to "appalling and extreme conditions...as a result of extreme heat" in the facilities. The lawsuit requests that corrections officials work with the warden and jail staff to mitigate "extreme and unsafe" temperatures and humidity in the Death Row facility at the penitentiary, which is more commonly known as Angola Prison.  The lawsuit, filed Monday on behalf of the inmates by the Promise of Justice Initiative, says the conditions prisoners suffer each summer violate the cruel and unusual punishment clause of the Eight Amendment. The defendants are Department of Public Safety and Corrections and specifically its Secretary James LeBlanc, Angola Prison Warden Burl Cain and Death Row Warden Angela Norwood. The plaintiffs are Death Row inmates Elzie Ball, Nathaniel Code and James Magee.

Chicago Tribune: Daley forms committee to challenge Quinn

Former White House chief of staff Bill Daley plans to announce Tuesday that he's forming an exploratory committee as he weighs a Democratic primary challenge to Gov. Pat Quinn. The move allows Daley to start raising money and not let the summer slip away as he waits to see whether he'll get a one-on-one matchup with Quinn in March. Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan also is thinking about running for the Democratic governor nomination, but it's unclear when she'll make that decision. It's also uncertain whether Daley will stay in should Madigan join the fray.

INTERNATIONAL:

CNN: Prosecutors call for Strauss-Kahn pimping charges to be dropped

French prosecutors in Lille asked Tuesday for charges to be dropped against former IMF chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn over his alleged participation in a prostitution ring, citing a lack of evidence. Strauss-Kahn was among a number charged with aggravated pimping in an investigation into sex parties at the Hotel Carlton in the northern city of Lille. He did not deny attending the parties, his lawyers said, but he did not know that the young women at the parties were being paid for sex. The case is known in France as the "Carlton affair."

CNN: 2 candidates withdraw from Iran elections

Two of the eight candidates running in Iran's upcoming presidential election have dropped out of the race ahead of Friday's election – offering up cryptic reasons for doing so. Mohammad Reza Aref announced his decision to withdraw Monday on his campaign website. Hours earlier, another candidate, Gholam-Ali Haddad-Adel, also said he wouldn't be contesting. Haddad-Adel didn't offer a reason. Aref cited former Iranian President Mohammad Khatami, a moderate with whom he has a close relationship.

WSJ: Qatar Promises Free Fuel to Egypt

Qatar promised Egypt five free cargoes of liquefied natural gas this summer after a meeting of representatives from the two countries' governments in Doha, giving the cash-strapped country a reprieve from worsening energy shortages. The gas cargoes are intended to help Egypt generate more electricity so it can avoid wider power outages as energy demand peaks in the hottest summer months. However, one Egyptian official said that as part of a broader agreement with Qatar reached Monday, his country may have to pay higher-than-hoped prices for subsequent natural-gas supplies. Egypt has faced a natural-gas and diesel shortage since last year, which has led to rising food costs, long lines at filling stations and electricity blackouts. The energy-supply problems have deepened popular discontent with Egypt's ruling Islamist government and exacerbated broader economic difficulties there.

CNN: Venezuela says it foiled plot to assassinate President Maduro

Venezuela has thwarted a plan by two paramilitary groups to kill President Nicolas Maduro, state-run VTV reported Monday. Interior Minister Miguel Rodriguez Torres said members of the groups, made up of nine Colombian citizens. were arrested Sunday in the country's northwest before they were able to enter the capital, Caracas, with heavy weapons. Intelligence officials are tracking a third group, he said. "This may be part of a plan that was orchestrated from Colombia to kill President Maduro and de-stabilize the Venezuelan government," he said.

CNN: China ready for fifth manned space mission

China is ready to send three astronauts into orbit in what will be its fifth and longest crewed mission in its burgeoning space exploration program. Weather permitting, the Shenzhou 10 spaceship is expected to blast off from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center in the Gobi Desert on Tuesday, with state news agency Xinhua reporting that time slot for launch is 1738 local time (0538 ET). The spacecraft will be launched by a Long March-2F rocket. It will dock with the Tiangong-1 space module and the crew will transfer supplies to the space lab, which has been in orbit since September 2011. During the 15-day mission, the crew will master the rendezvous and docking capabilities that are essential for the operation of a manned space platform.

ALSO SEE: CNN: Super secret base fuels China's space ambitions

CNN: Security increases at hospital where Mandela lies in intensive care

Authorities increased security around a Pretoria hospital where former South African leader Nelson Mandela remained in intensive care, three days after being rushed there with a recurring lung infection. Police set up gates and fences around entrances to the facility on Tuesday, closely checking vehicles trying to access the compound. The increasingly frail Mandela was taken to a hospital in Pretoria on Saturday. Later in the day, the South African president's office said the 94-year-old former leader was in a "serious but stable condition." He was breathing on his own and his wife was by his side, the office said at the time.

BUSINESS:

Financial Times: World has 10 years of shale oil, reports US

Global shale resources are vast enough to cover more than a decade of oil consumption, according to the first-ever US assessment of reserves from Russia to Argentina. The US Department of Energy estimated “technically recoverable” shale oil resources of 345bn barrels in 42 countries it surveyed, or 10 per cent of global crude supplies. The department had previously only provided an estimate for US shale reserves, which it on Monday increased from 32bn barrels to 58bn. The pace of oil and gas production gains has consistently surprised forecasters since horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing, better known as “fracking”, were pioneered in US shale rock formations about ten years ago. Only the US and Canada were producing oil and natural gas from shale in commercial quantities, the department said.

CNNMoney: Overdraft fees cost bank customers hundreds a year

Checking account customers are racking up hundreds of dollars in overdraft fees each year, a new government report finds. On average, overdrawing an account costs customers $225 in fees per year, according to a new study from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. Overdraft fees are sparked when a customer overdraws their checking account by making a purchase with their debit card and the bank covers the transaction instead of denying it, while non-sufficient fund (NSF) fees kick in when a check or automatic payment overdraws the account. Depending on the bank, the average amount spent on these fees can be as low as $147 per year and can go all the way up to $298. And banks aren't complaining, with overdraft and non-sufficient fund fees making up 60% or more of consumer checking account fee revenue, the CFPB estimated.

Houston Chronicle: Top health insurance bosses earn millions

Health care reform, new Wall Street regulations and outrage over large pay packages are likely to put pressure on compensation for health insurance executives. But it doesn't seem to have happened yet. The highest-paid executive at each of the "Big Five" health insurers - UnitedHealth Group, Aetna Inc., WellPoint Inc., Humana Inc. and Cigna Corp. - made more than $8 million each in 2012, according to filings this spring with the Securities and Exchange Commission. The CEO of EmblemHealth Inc., a nonprofit that owns ConnectiCare, also had total compensation at that level in 2011, the last year for which information is available. Pay for top management teams - the five highest-paid executives at each company - ranged from $21 million at Humana to $47 million at United Health. Compensation includes salary, bonus, stock gifts and options granted that year, non-equity pay and benefits.

CNN Money: Big Tobacco back on TV with e-cigarette ads

Big Tobacco is back on the airwaves. More than four decades on from the federal ban on cigarette ads for radio and television, some of the nation's major tobacco producers are back on TV with spots featuring e-cigarettes. Blu eCigs, a subsidiary of Lorillard (LO), kicked off an ad campaign in October with television spots featuring actor Stephen Dorff. R.J. Reynolds (RAI, Fortune 500) is planning TV ads for its Vuse e-cigarette beginning in August. "This is rather remarkable in that it hasn't happened in about 40 years," said Richard Smith, a spokesman for R.J. Reynolds. The government banned radio and television ads for cigarettes in 1970. Ads for smokeless tobacco were later banned in 1986.

 


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soundoff (One Response)
  1. Marie MD

    Tooth boy from VA and bo ner meeting with the same families they voted against just a few months ago? Talk about walking into the lion's den except these are humans (maybe) who just don't act on instinct.

    June 11, 2013 06:33 am at 6:33 am |