CNN: Moscow airport: Snowden to meet with human rights group
American intelligence leaker Edward Snowden is due to meet with a human rights group Friday, the press service for Moscow's Sheremetyevo International Airport said. The former NSA contractor is believed to have been holed up in a transit area of the airport since leaving Hong Kong for Russia on June 23.
CNN: Repairs to start on San Francisco runway after Asiana crash
The runway where Asiana Flight 214 crashed over the weekend should reopen Sunday, San Francisco's airport director said late Thursday. Repairs to the runway will begin Friday after the aircraft is removed, according to John Martin.
CNN: Zimmerman jury has 3rd option as it prepares to deliberate
The murder case was filled with recordings of harrowing screams, panicked 911 calls and mystery over what happened that fateful night. On Friday, the jury will try to make sense of it when it starts deliberating George Zimmerman's fate. Zimmerman's defense presents its closing argument the same day, followed by a rebuttal by the prosecution. The case then goes to the sequestered jury of six women, who will decide whether Zimmerman should be acquitted, or convicted of second-degree murder, or manslaughter.
WATCH: VIDEO CNN's Randi Kaye profiles the judge on the bench in the George Zimmerman case.
CNN: James "Whitey" Bulger trial: Jurors view photos of alleged victims' remains
Graphic testimony from a forensic anthropologist, including images of decomposing bones and brain matter, continued Thursday in the federal case against Boston's reputed mob boss, James "Whitey" Bulger.
NBC: Newtown residents vent frustration at meeting on Sandy Hook fund distribution
The drawn-out process of distributing millions of dollars collected in the wake of the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre has agonized and infuriated many, the victims’ families and other Newtown, Conn., community members vented at a town hall meeting held Thursday to discuss how the funds would be doled out. Rob Accramondo, the founder of the My Sandy Hook Family Fund, said those gathered for the meeting Thursday wished the fund had been dealt with “in a much more transparent way.”
WSJ: Controlling the Tinderbox Right Next Door
In recent years, threats to communities such as Yarnell have increased owing to an extended drought, rising average temperatures and the buildup of dry, highly flammable vegetation such as chaparral, brush and over-dense forest—collectively known in wildfire-management circles as "hazardous fuels." The greater risk of what officials call "megafires" has heightened debate among conservationists, wilderness residents, fire-management officials and lawmakers over the best approach to wildfire control. It also comes as a White House budget proposes cutting back federal funding for local agencies' handling of hazardous fuels.
CNN: U.S. criticizes China's handling of Snowden case
U.S. officials have told Chinese officials that they're disappointed with the way China and Hong Kong handled the case of former NSA contractor Edward Snowden. President Barack Obama expressed "disappointment and concern" over the matter during an Oval Office meeting with Chinese officials on Thursday, the White House said.
Bloomberg: Obama’s Ad Men Turning Movie Nights Into Mini-Elections
Two of the masterminds behind President Barack Obama’s analytics-fueled campaign-advertising operation say they’ve been inundated with inquiries from corporate executives eager to apply the tactics that won the 2012 presidential race to their marketing efforts.
NYT: Difficult Spot for Obama on Immigration Push
As opposition to an overhaul of the immigration system hardens in the Republican-controlled House, President Obama is trapped between the need to promote what could be a legacy piece of legislation and the reality that being out front might be counterproductive at best.
HuffPost: Too-Big-To-Fail Rift Between Obama Treasury Department, Regulators, Lawmaker Alleges
A rift has emerged over “too-big-to-fail” between the Treasury Department and the regulators who oversee financial groups, a top Democratic lawmaker has alleged, potentially creating an uncomfortable situation for an administration keen to show it has cracked down on the nation’s biggest banks.
CNN: Five reasons immigration reform isn't close to the finish line
Two weeks ago, the Senate passed a comprehensive immigration reform bill on a 68-32 vote, with 14 Republicans joining the Democratic majority to send the measure drafted by a bipartisan "Gang of Eight" to the GOP-controlled House. However, House Republicans made clear Wednesday they opposed the comprehensive approach of the Senate and intended to consider the issue in a series of bills that will take months to reach final votes.
CNNMoney: Tentative student loan deal hits snag
An emerging bipartisan Senate deal to pare back rising student loan rates hit a stumbling block late Thursday, when initial cost estimates came in too high, according to multiple aides involved in the negotiations. The tentative deal aims to help students with subsidized student loans who face a doubling of interest rates, to 6.8%.
CNN: U.S. House approves farm bill without food stamp aid
House Republicans stripped food stamp provisions opposed by conservatives and narrowly passed scaled back legislation on Thursday to overhaul the nation's farm programs. Democrats chastised the GOP for ignoring initiatives they argue poor Americans need to keep from going hungry. The vote was 216-208 and no Democrat voted for it. Twelve Republicans opposed the bill.
The Hill: House Republicans crafting DREAM Act-like immigration bill
House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) and Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) are drafting legislation to provide a path to citizenship for immigrant children who were brought to the U.S. illegally by their parents, their offices said Thursday. The bill, which a Cantor spokeswoman said is in its “early stages,” would be the first House Republican proposal to address the status of illegal immigrants, but it would not go nearly as far as Democrats want.
Roll Call: ‘Nuclear Option’ Showdown Slated for Next Week
All systems are go for the “nuclear option” on the floor of the Senate, unless Republicans decide to meet a demand they have viewed as untenable. Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., told reporters after a caucus luncheon Thursday that he has the votes to get rid of the ability to filibuster executive branch nominations. Reid came to floor later in the afternoon to file motions to limit debate on seven executive branch nominations, with votes lined up for next week.
CNN: Spitzer says he exceeded signature requirement for NYC ballot
Former Gov. Eliot Spitzer said he expects to be on a New York primary ballot in September after a last-minute signature collection blitz ended Thursday. “Against the odds and all predictions – and in light of some who tried to thwart the effort – I am pleased to announce that we have collected more than 27,000 signatures in four days,” Spitzer said on his official Twitter account.
CNN: San Diego mayor admits he needs 'help' amid sexual harassment allegations
Dogged by allegations of sexual harassment, San Diego Mayor Bob Filner admitted Thursday "that I need help" but stopped short of resigning. "I'm clearly doing something wrong," he said.
WX Post: Hillary Rodham Clinton keeps busy giving paid speeches to industry groups
In the six months since stepping down as secretary of state, [Hillary] Clinton has addressed apartment-complex developers in Dallas, private-equity managers in Los Angeles and business executives in Grand Rapids, Mich. Still to come are travel agents, real estate brokers, clinical pathologists and car dealers — collecting more than $200,000 per appearance, according to one executive who arranges speaking tours.
HuffPost: States Push Post-Citizens United Reforms As Washington Stands Still
Pushback against the Supreme Court's Citizens United decision keeps growing in the states. Over the first six months of this year, even as campaign finance reforms go nowhere in Congress, four more states have backed resolutions calling for a constitutional amendment to overturn the 2010 ruling. That brings the total number of states supporting an amendment to 16.
Politico: Gay marriage puts Tom Corbett in bind
Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett, who’s suffering from low approval ratings and has a tough reelection battle looming next year, is facing yet another politically difficult decision: whether or not to stand up for the Keystone State’s same-sex marriage ban.
CNN: Is Snowden worth the risk? Latin America weighs pros and cons
It's been days since three Latin American presidents offered to give Edward Snowden a safe place to hide out from U.S. authorities. But the man who's admitted leaking classified documents about U.S. surveillance programs remains holed up at Moscow's Sheremetyevo International Airport. And the global guessing game over his next steps hasn't stopped. It's still unclear where Snowden will go, and how he'll get there. What's the holdup?
SEE ALSO: NYT: U.S. Is Pressing Latin Americans to Reject Snowden
The Guardian: Revealed: how Microsoft handed the NSA access to encrypted messages
Microsoft has collaborated closely with US intelligence services to allow users' communications to be intercepted, including helping the National Security Agency to circumvent the company's own encryption, according to top-secret documents obtained by the Guardian. The files provided by Edward Snowden illustrate the scale of co-operation between Silicon Valley and the intelligence agencies over the last three years. They also shed new light on the workings of the top-secret Prism program, which was disclosed by the Guardian and the Washington Post last month.
WSJ: U.S., Firms Draw a Bead on Chinese Cyberspies
The U.S. government gave American Internet providers addresses linked to suspected Chinese hackers earlier this year as part of a previously undisclosed effort aimed at blocking cyberspying, current and former U.S. officials said. The push reflects a significant shift in levels of cooperation between the government and Internet companies amid rising concerns over hacking. It also marks a bold move by the U.S. as it takes part in high-level meetings on cybersecurity and other matters with the Chinese this week in Washington. Each side accuses the other of cyberespionage.
Jerusalem Post: Pentagon report says Iran nukes to reach US in 2015
US intelligence agencies have assessed that as early as 2015, Iran will be set to test an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) that has the capability to strike the United States, a released Pentagon report states. "Iran has ambitious ballistic missile and space launch development programs and continues to attempt to increase the range, lethality, and accuracy of its ballistic missile force," the report says.
Military Times: VA expands efforts to keep vets off the streets
The Department of Veterans Affairs Thursday announced it is tripling to $300 million the investment provided to community groups such as Goodwill Industries, Catholic Charities and the Salvation Army to expand efforts for ending homelessness among veterans and their families.
TRANSPORTATION, REGULATION and JUSTICE:
CNN: Guns OK in post office parking lots, federal judge rules
Citizens can legally carry firearms in post office parking lots, a federal judge has ruled. The case stems from a lawsuit filed by Tab Bonidy, a resident of rural Avon, Colorado, who was prohibited by U.S. Postal Service regulations from carrying his gun on postal service property.
Reuters: Exclusive: Criminal charges against Solyndra founder are unlikely – sources
The founder of bankrupt solar panel maker Solyndra will likely avoid criminal charges even if charges are brought against other former executives of the company, according to several people familiar with the investigation. Christian Gronet founded the company in 2005 and was its chief executive until 2010. Solyndra filed for bankruptcy protection in 2011 after receiving $528 million in federal loans.
WX Post: US begins flying deportees to Mexico City in effort to discourage them from returning
U.S. immigration authorities began flying deportees deep into Mexico Thursday in an effort to discourage them from trying to return, U.S. and Mexican
SEE ALSO: CBS: Drug smugglers set free for lack of money to prosecute
Associated Press: FDA sets new limits on arsenic in apple juice
Parents who have been fretting over the low levels of arsenic found in apple juice can feel better about buying one of their kids' favorite drinks. The Food and Drug Administration is setting a new limit on the level of arsenic allowed in apple juice, after more than a year of public pressure from consumer groups worried about the contaminant's effects on children. Nationwide, apple juice is second only to orange juice in popularity, according to industry groups.
WSJ: Swiss Banks Near Deal on U.S. Tax Cheats
A group of Swiss banks is lining up to deliver key information to U.S. authorities investigating tax evasion, potentially moving a long-running legal battle further toward a close. Last week, the Swiss cabinet unveiled a program that would allow roughly a dozen Swiss banks that are being investigated by the Justice Department to deliver data on Swiss bank accounts held by American clients that had been transferred to other institutions as U.S. authorities began cracking down on overseas tax evasion.
Detroit Free Press: Lawsuit alleges bank shut down Arab Americans' accounts without reason
Attorneys in metro Detroit filed a class action Thursday against Huntington National Bank on behalf of Arab Americans who said their accounts were suddenly closed without explanation. Filed in U.S. District Court in Detroit, the lawsuit claims that Huntington “engaged in racial, ethnic, national origin or religious discrimination against its customers” who are Arab and Muslim. It’s asking the court to issue a temporary restraining order to stop the banks from closing the accounts of plaintiffs. No other banks were named in the lawsuit.
WX Post: Some Metro operators disabling emergency intercoms on trains
Metro officials acknowledged Thursday that some rail operators have disabled emergency intercoms on trains, cutting off critical safety devices because new equipment in the cab interfered with the intercoms and caused noisy false alarms. The revelation comes nearly a month after Metro admitted it had known since at least 2009 of some problems with the intercom system but hadn’t addressed the issue
Portland Press Herald: Is Maine on top of rail risks?
Maine’s financial capacity to respond to an oil spill has been cut by 60 percent since 2005 because of a sharp decrease in tariffs collected from companies that ship crude oil and legislators’ decisions to raid a designated cleanup fund. Meanwhile, with crude oil shipments across Maine increasing dramatically, oversight of the state’s 1,154 miles of railroads is largely left to one federal inspector and the companies that own the lines.
NYT: Ready Access to Plan B Pills in City Schools
Last month, the Obama administration seemingly changed the landscape of access to emergency contraception across the country when, in a reversal, it agreed to allow the best-known pill, Plan B One-Step, to become available to all ages without a prescription. Until recently, only those 17 and older could buy it over the counter. But New York City had long ago come to an accommodation with the idea that girls as young as 13 or 14 should have easy access to the pill.
The Tennessean: Nashville demonstration challenges blood donation ban on gay men
Gay and bisexual men in Nashville will challenge a 1977 federal ban on blood donations Friday, showing up at the American Red Cross offices on Charlotte Avenue. They’ll be tested for HIV in a recreational vehicle parked nearby and, if found negative, attempt to donate blood. Since the U.S. Food and Drug Administration doesn’t allow the American Red Cross and other agencies to take those donations, all the negative HIV test results will be shipped to the FDA.
CNN: Morsy supporters march again to deadly spot, as Egypt forms a government
Egypt's new interim Prime Minister Hazem El-Beblawi worked hastily on Friday to complete his new government as the Muslim Brotherhood threatened protests. Early Friday he was more than two thirds of the way there, a state-run news agency reported. The Brotherhood plans to march on the Presidential Palace and on the Republican Guards headquarters - where they believe Morsy is being detained - after noon prayers on Friday to remind the country who they feel is still Egypt's legitimate leader.
SEE ALSO: CNN: Mohamed Morsy's son: 'Dad, you are the legitimate leader' of Egypt
CNN: Manhunt for hundreds of Indonesian prison escapees
Indonesian police are searching for potentially hundreds of escaped inmates following a deadly prison riot in Medan, the capital of the province of North Sumatra. At least five people died, including two guards and three prisoners. More than 200 inmates, some of whom were jailed on terrorism charges, broke free from the maximum-security facility Thursday when the "water supply was cut off because of a power outage," said Ronny Sompie, the National Police Spokesman Brigadier General. Angry prisoners, unable to bathe or use the bathroom, burned the door to the prison offices, stole guns and took guards hostage.
CNN: Death toll continues rising in landslide in southwest China
Rescuers in China had pulled a total of 31 bodies from the wreckage from a landslide the size of a small town that rushed down a mountain earlier in the week. State-run CCTV reported on Friday that the number of people missing in and around the city of Dujiangyan was 166, up from 107 the previous day. The flooding that caused the landslide has destroyed 5,100 houses and damaged another 90,000. Rescuers continued digging through the debris in search of survivors and victims. The forecast calls for less rain, which should make the search easier.
Voice of America: Six Powers to Meet to Discuss Iran Nuclear Dispute
European Union foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton will host a meeting of senior officials from six major powers in Brussels on Tuesday to discuss how to advance nuclear talks with Iran after the election of a new president, the EU said on Thursday.
CNN: Irish Parliament OKs exception to abortion ban
Irish lawmakers overwhelmingly passed new legislation early Friday that allows abortions if the mother's life is at risk. The vote was 127-31 in favor of the bill. Members of Parliament in the devoutly Catholic country have spent hours debating the Protection of Life During Pregnancy Bill 2013, which is supported by the majority government.
Reuters: Special Report: The remaking of Narendra Modi
The European diplomats gathered at the German ambassador's residence in New Delhi's lush green embassy enclave quizzed the guest of honor on everything from the economy and communal violence to his political ambitions. But nobody, the representatives from most of the 28 European Union states agreed, could publicly mention the man they were meeting that day: Narendra Modi, India's most controversial politician and, possibly, the country's next prime minister.
CNNMoney: The hot business of exporting America's franchises
At this year's franchise expo in New York City, Americans dreaming of opening up their own pizza shop or burger joint were often fourth in line behind Kuwaiti, Chinese or Peruvian executives. Foreigners made up nearly a fifth of the attendees, and even small companies found themselves awash in attention. There's an insatiable appetite abroad for American franchises.
WSJ: Fed's Duke to Step Down Aug. 31
Federal Reserve Governor Elizabeth Duke plans to leave the central bank at the end of next month, ending a five-year tenure that included unorthodox new programs to resuscitate the economy following a severe financial crisis and recession. Ms. Duke, who submitted her resignation to President Barack Obama on Thursday, said in an interview that her departure coincides with the Fed's completion of new rules requiring the nation's biggest banks to set aside more capital as protection against future financial crises. Her term expired on Jan. 31, 2012, but she stayed on until now as she worked on policy issues.
NYT: Potential for Deals Drives a Big Surge in the Biotech Sector
Six other biotechnology companies completed I.P.O.’s in June, and five or so are lined up behind them — an incredible run considering the window for biotech offerings had been all but slammed shut since the 2008 financial crisis. The hot streak has been driven largely by the potential for deal-making in the industry, investors and analysts said.
Business Week: Why Costco Rules in Hearing Aids ... and Gummy Bears
Cornering a high-tech, health-care market seems like an anomaly for a business built on 5-pound bags of gummy bears. After all, Costco doesn’t have to carefully customize to each buyer of its toilet paper or vats of moisturizer. But shelves full of cheap, generic stuff is precisely what gave it a leg up in the hearing-aid business.
Bloomberg: Disney Says Wristband Boosts Sales in Disney World Test
Electronic wristbands tested at Walt Disney’s Florida resort succeeded in boosting spending by guests, parks division Chairman Thomas Staggs said. The bands serve as admission tickets, hotel room keys and credit cards. They were tested by 1,000 people at Walt Disney World in Florida, Staggs said in an interview at Allen & Co.’s annual conference in Sun Valley, Idaho, without offering details. Guests spent more on average in part because they had fun with the technology, he said. Disney, the world’s largest theme-park operator, plans additional trials of the technology, called MyMagic+, before expanding throughout Walt Disney World by year-end, Staggs said.