Tag Archives: Reuters

Taegan Goddard’s Political Wire 12-21-2013

Obamas arrive in Hawaii 12-21-2013

Taegan Goddard’s Political Wire

Obamas Arrive in Hawaii for Vacation [The Caucus] 12/21/2013 7:33:22 AM
After an end-of-the-year news conference, President Obama and his family touched down in Hawaii, his boyhood home, for a …

Monkey Cage: ‘Father Christmas’: The week in one song [Politico] 12/21/2013 8:00:27 AM
With the holiday five days away, I give you Christmas, as seen through the acerbic eyes of Ray Davies and the Kinks. Read full …

GovBeat: Chris Christie just took a big risk on immigration [CBS News] 12/21/2013 7:30:37 AM
In late September 2011, Rick Perry was riding high. Just a month and a half after joining the race for the Republican …

5 takeaways: Obama’s news conference [CBS News] 12/20/2013 5:13:36 PM 
Obama’s message: If you liked 2013, you’ll love 2014.

From crime to cigarettes, Bloomberg leaves his mark on New York [Reuters]12/21/2013 7:03:09 AM
NEW YORK (Reuters) – Love him or hate him, one thing is for sure: New Yorkers will not forget outgoing Mayor Michael Bloomberg …

Weekly addresses: GOP says Obamacare fails young people; White House looks ahead to 2014 [The Trail] 12/21/2013 6:00:06 AM
(CNN) – House Republicans took aim at Obamacare in their weekly address, while in his own weekly address President Obama …

Analysis: How the White House is rebranding Obamacare for ‘young invincibles’[Reuters] 12/21/2013 1:05:06 AM
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Last summer, White House officials planning a nationwide push to urge young adults to enroll in new …

Obama: Diverse Olympic delegation “speaks for itself” [Politico] 12/21/2013 12:25:29 AM
President Obama explains his decision to send LGBT athletes in the U.S. delegation to Olympics in Sochi, Russia, saying such …

Obama sidesteps question about Snowden amnesty [Politico] 12/21/2013 12:24:33 AM
President Obama says NSA leaker Edward Snowden started a worthwhile conversation about privacy, but he also damaged U.S. …

Federal Judge Rules That Same-Sex Marriage Is Legal in Utah [New York Times]12/20/2013 11:19:33 PM
The judge said that Utah’s amendment barring same-sex marriage violated the United States Constitution. If the ruling is …

2013: The year of gay marriage? [NBC News] 12/20/2013 1:17:01 PM
We’ve already published our 10 biggest political stories of the year. They include the government shutdown, the bungled …

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10 things you need to know today: December 4, 2013

Lift off!

Lift off! (AP Photo/John Raoux)

The Week

A judge clears Detroit to slash pensions, SpaceX marks a new milestone, and more

1. Judge rules Detroit deserves bankruptcy protection
A judge ruled Tuesday that the city of Detroit can remain under bankruptcy court protection. The decision means the city can impose pension cuts on its employees to salvage its finances. Unions and pension managers had argued that giving the city such power violated retiree contract protections. The ruling could change the course of bankruptcies in other cities, where leaders had assumed pensions were untouchable. [BloombergNew York Times]
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2. SpaceX marks a new milestone with rocket launch
SpaceX launched a 224-foot rocket carrying a massive satellite from Cape Canaveral on Tuesday night. The SES-8 telecommunications satellite will be released in geostationary transfer orbit nearly 50,000 miles from Earth — about a quarter of the way to the moon — marking a record distance into space for the private company, which also has a contract to resupply the International Space Station. The launch had been delayed twice. [Los Angeles Times]
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3. Train engineer nodded off before deadly crash
The engineer of a New York commuter train that derailed early Sunday, killing four people, told investigators he was “in a daze” before the crash, CNN reported Tuesday. A union official said the engineer, William Rockefeller, apparently nodded off briefly just before the crash. The Metro-North Hudson Line train in the Bronx was traveling more than 50 miles per hour faster than the speed limit when it jumped off the tracks in a sharp turn. [CNNNew York Times]
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4. French investigators say Arafat wasn’t poisoned, after all
Yasser Arafat’s widow says French scientists have ruled out poisoning by radioactive polonium as the cause of the Palestinian leader’s 2004 death. Palestinians suspect Israel of poisoning Arafat, but Israel denies it. A recent Swiss lab report said Arafat’s remains had high levels of polonium, boosting suspicions of murder. Arafat’s widow, Suha, says she is “upset by these contradictions by the best European experts.” [Associated Press]
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5. Kim Jong Un fires his uncle, a rival
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has reportedly dismissed his powerful uncle, Jang Song Thaek, who played a key role in his rise to power after the death of his father, Kim Jong Il. South Korean lawmakers said Tuesday that Kim appears to have forced out his uncle, who still had loyal followers in the old guard, to consolidate his power base and boost the influence of his younger supporters. [Reuters]
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6. Newtown 911 recordings are being released
Newtown, Conn., officials warned parents and other residents to prepare themselves emotionally for the release of nearly half an hour of 911 recordings from last year’s massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School. Town leaders had tried to keep the tapes private, but the state Freedom of Information Commission ordered them to be released. The town only recently dropped its challenge of the decision. [Reuters]
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7. Americans see the U.S. losing power abroad
For the first time in 40 years, a majority of Americans said the U.S. was less important around the world than it was a decade ago, according to a Pew survey released on Tuesday. Seventy percent of the poll’s respondents said America is not as well respected as it used to be. More than half said the U.S. should “mind its own business” instead of having an active foreign policy. [BBC News]
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8. Hezbollah accuses Israel of assassinating a top commander
A senior Hezbollah commander, Hassan al-Laqis, was gunned down outside his home just south of Beirut on Wednesday. The Lebanese Islamist militant group immediately announced the killing and blamed Israel, threatening swift repercussions for “this ugly crime.” Israeli foreign ministry spokesman Yigal Palmor said Israel had nothing to do with the killing. “They don’t need facts,” he said of Hezbollah, “they just blame anything on Israel.” [Associated Press]
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9. Space agency plans to plant a garden on the moon
NASA plans to send seedlings where no plant has gone before — the moon. The Lunar Plant Growth Habitat project aims to catch a ride with one of the private companies competing for Google’s Lunar X Prize, and plant basil, flowers, and turnips on the moon in late 2015. “They can test the lunar environment for us acting as a ‘canary in a coal mine,’” NASA said. “If we send plants and they thrive, then we probably can.” [SlateNASA]
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10. Coroner completes autopsies after crash that killed Paul Walker
Universal Pictures said Tuesday that it was suspending production of the next Fast & Furiousmovie while authorities investigate the fiery crash that killed one of the franchise’s stars, Paul Walker. The Los Angeles County coroner’s office said it had completed autopsies on two bodies found in the mangled limited-edition Porsche sports car. The results, expected Wednesday, should formally identify the bodies and determine who was driving. [Washington Post]

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10 things you need to know today: November 23, 2013

Remembering a president.

Remembering a president. (Tom Pennington/Getty Images)

The Week

The nation mourns JFK, the world moves closer to a deal on Iran’s nuclear program, and more

1. America honors JFK
Thousands gathered in Dallas, the site of John F. Kennedy’s assassination, to pay tribute to the former president on Friday. The ceremony, honoring the 50th anniversary of the president’s death, featured historian David McCullough, who read excerpts from Kennedy’s speeches. Many other observances were held across the nation, too. [New York Times]

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2. Iran nuclear deal appears imminent
Things are looking up in Geneva, where negotiators from a half dozen world powers and Iran are coming closer to a deal that would curb Iran’s nuclear program. The key sticking points, largely centering on Iran’s enrichment of uranium and one particular partially built reactor, seemed to have largely been overcome. Any deal would largely just be a first step on the road to a longer-lasting comprehensive agreement that is still likely months away. [Los Angeles Times]

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3. ObamaCare signup delayed
The Department of Health and Human Services will delay open enrollment in ObamaCare in 2015. The signup start date will be pushed back to November 15, from October 15, and the enrollment period will be extended to eight weeks instead of seven. Health officials hope the extra time will allow insurance companies and consumers to avoid the glitches from the first rollout. The White House insists it’s not about pushing the deadline until after the midterm elections. [CNN]

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4. Islamist factions in Syria unite to create massive rebel army
The six major Islamist groups in Syria merged to form the Islamist Front under common leadership. The newly united rebel army poses a serious threat to Western-backed military forces. The head of the Islamic Front told Al Jazeera their goal is “to topple the Assad regime completely and build an Islamic state.” [Reuters]

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5. Iraq is rocked by bombings, again
Bombings and shootings broke out in Iraq on Friday, killing at least 23 people. The violence is part of a wave of sectarian attacks throughout the country. The attacks have not been claimed by any one organization, but the Iraqi government is blaming Sunni militant groups, including al Qaeda. [Reuters]

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6. 100-million-year-old ocean discovered under Chesapeake Bay
Researchers discovered the remains of an ancient saltwater ocean trapped a half-mile underground. An asteroid that smashed into the area around 35 million years ago created a crater that preserved about 3 trillion gallons of seawater. According to government hydrologists, the find is “the oldest large body of ancient seawater in the world.”[USA Today]

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7. Afghanistan rejects call to sign a security pact with the U.S.
A representative for Afghan President Hamid Karzai rejected a U.S. plea to sign a security agreement by the end of the year. Karzai suggested sealing the Bilateral Security Agreement in April 2014, which the U.S. also rejected. If no agreement is reached, the U.S. could pull the majority of its troops by the end of next year. [Reuters]

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8. Google patents robot to help people manage their social media
The software learns users’ social media patterns to mimic their response to updates and messages on social media. The program still needs refinement, but Google hopes it will help manage the deluge of virtual connections.[BBC]

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9. Comcast mulls a bid for Time Warner
Comcast shareholders are urging management to consider bidding on Time Warner Cable Inc, according to CNBC. The report said Time Warner prefers Comcast to buy it, but earlier this monthReuters reported Charter Communications is also interested. [Reuters]

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10. Bitcoin accepted in space voyages
Virgin Galactic announced it will accept Bitcoin as currency in future trips into space. Richard Branson, founder of the Virgin Group, wrote in a blog post Friday, “Bitcoin, the virtual currency, has really captured the imagination recently as one of the world’s most innovative businesses looking to the future.” [Forbes]

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Taegan Goodard’s Political Links – 11-12-2013

This photo Aug. 1, 2013 photo, courtesy of Sen. James Inhofe, R-Okla., shows from left, Inhofe’s grandson Cole Inhofe, Sen. Inhofe and Inhofe’s son Perry Inhofe in Oshkosh, Wis. Dr. Perry Inhofe, was killed in a weekend plane crash in northeast Oklahoma. Photo: Ryan Jackson, AP

Political Wire

Sen. Inhofe’s son killed in plane crash [Politico] 11/12/2013 6:19:38 PM 
The son of Sen. James Inhofe (R-Okla.) has died in a plane crash, a person close to Inhofe and Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel’s …

Medicaid signups an early Obamacare bright spot [Washington Post] 11/12/2013 4:47:47 AM
Study: 444,000 people in 10 states have enrolled already, and 15 other states are also expanding their Medicaid programs under …

10 Things Members and Staff Should Know About Open Enrollment [Wall Street Journal] 11/12/2013 4:30:00 AM
Open enrollment season for members of Congress and designated staff started quietly Monday, coinciding with a federal holiday …

NBC poll: Christie faces divided GOP, trails Clinton in hypothetical ’16 race [NBC News] 11/12/2013 3:10:29 AM
If New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie runs for president in 2016, he would likely face the dual challenges of uniting a fractured …

Done: Congress seems to be winding down [CBS News] 11/11/2013 11:50:54 PM
Expectations are that the last weeks of 2013 will not produce any legislative breakthroughs.

A Face-Off Outside Dallas in the Escalating Battle Over Texas’ Gun Culture [Reuters]11/11/2013 11:48:22 PM
A meeting of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America was interrupted by a peaceful protest by armed members of Open Carry …

Listening Post: After Near Miss on Iran, Kerry Says Diplomacy Is Still the Right Path [Reuters] 11/11/2013 11:19:33 PM
As the prospect of a nuclear deal with Iran becomes more real, Secretary of State John Kerry is having to fend off those who …

Official at Health Site Says He Didn’t Know of Potential Risk [Reuters] 11/11/2013 11:18:28 PM
The chief digital architect for the federal health insurance marketplace, Henry Chao, told congressional investigators that he …

Back and Forth in Undecided Virginia Attorney General Race [Reuters] 11/11/2013 10:52:07 PM
Mark R. Herring, the Democrat, edged ahead of Mark D. Obenshain, the Republican, on Monday.

Fewer than 50,000 sign up on Obamacare website, media report suggests [CNN]11/11/2013 9:02:02 PM 
It appears fewer than 50,000 people successfully signed up for health coverage through the federally run Obamacare …

 

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10 things you need to know today: October 29, 2013

China suspects a crash in Beijing’s Tiananmen Square was a premeditated suicide attack.

The Week

A judge blocks new Texas abortion restrictions, China suspects a crash at Tiananmen Square was a suicide attack, and more

1. Judge strikes down key Texas abortion restrictions
On Monday, a federal judge rejected two abortion limits that Texas state lawmakers had approved during a special legislative session in July. One of the rules limited doctors’ options in prescribing pregnancy-ending drugs; the other required doctors to have admitting privileges at a hospital within 30 miles of an abortion clinic. District Judge Lee Yeakel said the measures, which were to take effect Tuesday, unconstitutionally restricted women’s abortion rights. [USA Today]
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2. China suspects Tiananmen crash was a suicide attack
Chinese authorities suspect that the people who drove an SUV into a crowd of people at Beijing’s Tiananmen Square were carrying out a premeditated suicide attack, Reuters reported Tuesday. The vehicle burst into flames, killing five people, including three who were inside. At least 38 others were injured. The incident occurred ahead of a November conclave of the Communist Party’s Central Committee, which is expected to announce major economic reforms. [Reuters]
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3. Obama may ban spying on friendly heads of state
President Obama is preparing to order the National Security Agency to stop spying on leaders of U.S. allies, as the governments of Germany and Spain protest allegations of NSA eavesdropping. Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee, said Monday that the U.S. shouldn’t collect phone calls or emails of friendly presidents and prime ministers. She said her committee would review all intelligence collection programs. [New York Times]
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4. University agrees to pay Sandusky accusers millions
Penn State said Monday that it would pay $59.7 million to 26 men who said they were sexually abused by former assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky, who was sentenced to 30 to 60 years last year. Sandusky admitted to taking showers with some of the boys, but denied molesting them. He has appealed his conviction from prison. University President Rodney Erickson said the settlement payments should be a “step forward in the healing process.” [Los Angeles Times]
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5. Al Shabab leaders killed in apparent drone strike
An airstrike reportedly killed two commanders of the terrorist group al Shabab in southern Somalia on Monday. Locals said the attack destroyed a vehicle the men were riding in. A Kenyan military source said government troops had raided nearby Jilib, but witnesses reported that the vehicle was hit by an armed aerial drone. Al Shabab was behind a terrorist attack that killed 67 people at an upscale Kenyan mall last month. [BBC News]
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6. Apple stock sinks despite strong iPhone sales
Apple shares dipped by 12 percent after hours on Monday after the smartphone and tablet powerhouse reported disappointing quarterly profits, despite strong iPhone sales. Apple sold 33.8 million iPhones in its third quarter. The company said it made between $55 billion and $58 billion, a bit better than Wall Street expected. Investors, however, had hoped for an even stronger showing, so many sold shares to cash in on the stock’s recent gains. [Reuters]
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7. White House extends ObamaCare penalty deadline by six weeks
The White House officially announced Monday night that it was extending by six weeks the deadline for Americans to get health insurance without incurring a penalty. People without insurance will now have until March 31 to avoid penalties. Medicare administrator Marilyn Tavenner is set to testify to Congress on Tuesday. [New York Daily NewsPolitico]
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8. Brazilian surfer may have set big-wave record
Brazilian surfer Carlos Burle on Monday may have ridden the biggest wave ever surfed. Witnesses said the massive wave off the coast of Portugal appeared to be 100 feet tall. That would beat a record Hawaii native Garrett McNamara set in January in the same spot. Burle’s feat came shortly after he rescued his friend Maya Gabriel, who nearly drowned trying to catch another monster wave. [CBS News]
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9. Town sues Sriracha maker over spicy odors
The city of Irwindale, Calif., filed a lawsuit on Monday asking a judge to shut down a Sriracha factory, because people are complaining that spicy odors are giving them headaches and burning their eyes. City officials said they just wanted Huy Fong Foods, maker of the Asian hot sauce, to come up with a plan to eliminate the problem with the fumes. The factory processes the chilis needed for the whole year’s worth of sauce in the three months between September and December. [Los Angeles Times]
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10. Red Sox take game five
The Boston Red Sox took a 3-2 lead in the World Series with a 3-1 win over the St. Louis Cardinals on Monday night. The Red Sox got help from star David Ortiz, who went three for four with an RBI double and is now hitting .733 in the Fall Classic. The Red Sox are now just one win away from their third baseball championship in 10 years, and the final two games scheduled will be at their home field, Fenway Park. [Boston GlobeBBC News]

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Report: U.S. Tracked Merkel’s Cell Phone Since 2002

Aptopix-germany-obama-visit

AP Photo / Gero Breloer

Apparently this all started during the paranoid years of the Bush/Cheney administration…

TPM LiveWire

The United States may have monitored German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s mobile phone for over ten years, German magazine Der Spiegel reported Saturday.

Der Speigel reported that Merkel’s mobile phone was listed by the NSA’s Special Collection Service (SCS) since 2002, and it was still on the list weeks before President Barack Obama visited Berlin in June, according to Reuters.

The magazine cited an SCS document that said the NSA had a “not legally registered spying branch” in the U.S. embassy in Berlin, where NSA and CIA staff were able to monitor communications.

The report noted Obama told Merkel he would have stopped the surveillance had he known about it, according to Reuters.

 

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Obamacare applications near 700,000, official says

The federal government forms for applying for health coverage are seen at a rally held by supporters of the Affordable Care Act, widely referred to as ”Obamacare”, outside the Jackson-Hinds Comprehensive Health Center in Jackson, Mississippi October 4, 2013. REUTERS/Jonathan Bachman

Reuters

About 700,000 applications have been submitted for U.S. healthcare coverage being offered through new exchanges created by President Barack Obama’s healthcare law, a U.S. official said on Thursday.

The U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services released the number during an update for journalists about the healthcare marketplace, which has had a rocky rollout since enrollment in the new plans began on Oct 1.

The U.S. government is operating the healthcare.gov website, which has been plagued by technical problems since the outset and is the portal for 36 states; the remaining states are operating their own online marketplaces. The nearly 700,000 applications are the total from both the state- and federally-run exchanges, Julie Bataille, a CMS spokeswoman, said on the media call.

Applications for at least 390,000 people have been completed through the state-run exchanges, according to a Reuters tally of state reports.

Completed applications mean that the applicants received a determination about whether they are eligible for tax credits or the Medicaid program for low-income Americans. Applicants have not necessarily chosen a plan.

While some states have released numbers for people who have enrolled in plans, Bataille said she did not have that figure, but that CMS would release it monthly.

The Congressional Budget Office estimated earlier this year that 7 million people would buy the new private plans offered by state exchanges for coverage next year.

(Reporting by Lewis Krauskopf and Sharon Begley; Editing by Richard Chang)

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John Kerry: U.S., Russia Reach Deal On Syrian Chemical Weapons

The Huffington Post

After days of intense negotiations, the United States and Russia reached agreement Saturday on a framework to secure and destroy Syria’s chemical weapons by the mid-2014 and impose U.N. penalties if the Assad government fails to comply.

The deal, announced by U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov in Geneva, includes what Kerry called “a shared assessment” of the weapons stockpile, and a timetable and measures for Syrian President Bashar Assad to comply.

It was not immediately clear whether Syria had signed onto the agreement, which requires Damascus to submit a full inventory of its stocks within the next week.

“The world will now expect the Assad regime to live up to its public commitments,” Kerry told a packed news conference at the hotel where negotiations were conducted since Thursday night. “There can be no games, no room for avoidance or anything less than full compliance by the Assad regime.”

Lavrov added, cautiously, “We understand that the decisions we have reached today are only the beginning of the road.”

The negotiations are considered critical to breaking the international stalemate blocking a resumption of peace talks to end the Syrian civil war, now in its third year.

Under the framework agreement, international inspectors are to be on the ground in Syria by November. During that month, they are to complete their initial assessment and all mixing and filling equipment for chemical weapons is to be destroyed.

The deal calls for all components of the chemical weapons program to be removed from the country or destroyed by mid-2014.

“Ensuring that a dictator’s wanton use of chemical weapons never again comes to pass, we believe is worth pursuing and achieving,” Kerry said.

Noncompliance by the Assad government or any other party would be referred to the 15-nation U.N. Security Council by the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons. That group oversees the Chemical Weapons Convention, which Syria this week agreed to join.

The U.S. and Russia will press for a Security Council resolution enshrining the chemical weapons agreement under Chapter 7 of the U.N. Charter, which can authorize both the use of force and nonmilitary measures.

But Russia, which already has rejected three resolutions on Syria, would be sure to veto military action, and U.S. officials said they did not contemplate seeking such an authorization.

The U.S. and Russia are two of the five permanent Security Council members with a veto. The others are Britain, China, and France.

Still, U.S. officials stressed that President Barack Obama retains the right to launch military strikes without U.N. approval to protect American national security interests.

Lavrov indicated there would be limits to using such a resolution.

Continue reading here…

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10 things you need to know today: August 13, 2013

.

James “Whitey” Bulger: Convicted

The Week

Whitey Bulger is convicted for Boston mob murders, a judge slams New York’s stop-and-frisk policy, and more

1. BULGER CONVICTED IN BOSTON MOB KILLINGS
Notorious Boston mobster James “Whitey” Bulger was convicted Monday of a host of gangland crimes, including 11 murders. Bulger terrorized South Boston in the 1970s and 1980s, but fled and evaded capture for 16 years after a corrupt FBI agent warned him he was about to be indicted. Authorities caught up with Bulger, 83, in 2011. He was living in a Santa Monica, Calif., retirement apartment, with a stash of weapons and $822,000 in cash. He is expected to spend the rest of his life in prison. [Reuters]
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2. JUDGE ORDERS CHANGES TO NEW YORK’S STOP-AND-FRISK POLICY
A federal judge ruled Monday that New York City’s controversial stop-and-frisk policy was resulting in unconstitutional racial profiling, delivering a blow to Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s legacy as a crime buster. Judge Shira Scheindlin appointed a federal monitor to oversee the program to ensure that it doesn’t unfairly target black and Latino men. A combative Bloomberg said the policy had saved lives, and warned that weakening it could have deadly consequences. [New York Daily News]
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3. NORTH CAROLINA VOTER ID LAW FACES COURT CHALLENGE
North Carolina Gov. Patrick McCrory (R) signed the state’s controversial new voter ID law on Monday, calling it a common-sense measure that will prevent voter fraud. The law was immediately challenged in court by civil rights groups, which argue that the law will suppress voting by Democratic-leaning young black and Latino voters, who are most likely to lack sufficient ID. [CBS News]
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4. MUSK REVEALS HYPERLOOP DESIGN DETAILS
Elon Musk, the chief executive officer of Tesla Motors Inc. and Space Exploration Technologies Corp., on Monday revealed some of the details on his next big transportation dream — the solar-powered, supersonic Hyperloop. Musk said the system, which would send passengers in pods through tubes at up to 800 miles per hour, would be cheaper and faster than California’s proposed high-speed rail system, theoretically zipping people from Los Angeles to San Francisco in as little as 30 minutes. [Bloomberg]
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5. LONDON BARS COMPANY FROM TRACKING PEOPLE WITH HIGH-TECH TRASH CANS
London officials on Monday ordered an advertising firm to stop using a network of high-tech trash cans capable of tracking people in the city’s financial district through their smartphones. The Renew ad firm had not said how it planned to use the system, but it might have allowed the company to target people with commercials based on their habits or who they were — sending different messages to locals and tourists, for example. Privacy advocates called the system creepy and intrusive. [Associated Press]
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6. STUDY LINKS INDUCING LABOR TO AUTISM RISK
Pregnant women who have their labor induced or sped up artificially are slightly more likely to bear a child with autism, according to a study published Monday in the journal JAMA Pediatrics. The authors say that didn’t mean induction caused autism. The increased risk probably stems from an underlying problem with the pregnancy that made it necessary to jump-start labor, says lead author Simon Gregory of the Duke Institute of Molecular Physiology. [USA Today]
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7. BOOKER EXPECTED TO WIN TODAY’S N.J. SENATE PRIMARY
New Jersey voters go to the polls Tuesday in a primary election to choose the general election candidates to fill the late Democrat Frank Lautenberg’s Senate seat. Newark Mayor Cory Booker is expected to easily win the Democratic primary. He holds a 37-point lead over his nearest challenger in the polls, and has a 54 percent to 29 percent edge over the favored GOP candidate, Steve Lonegan, in the Oct. 16 special general election. [Reuters]
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8. CALIFORNIA LETS TRANSGENDER STUDENTS PICK BATHROOMS AND SPORTS TEAMS
California Gov. Jerry Brown (D) signed a law on Monday making his state the first in the nation to allow transgendered students to choose which school bathrooms to use. The law also lets the students decide whether to join boys’ or girls’ sports teams based on their gender identity. Activists said the law would protect students from discrimination, but some parents opposed it. “Just because they’re confused doesn’t mean they have to confuse everybody else,” one woman said. [CNN]
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9. ACKMAN LEAVES PENNEY BOARD
Activist investor William Ackman has resigned from the board of struggling retailer J.C. Penney, the company said Tuesday. Ackman, whose Pershing Square Capital Management is Penney’s biggest investor, had been locked in a battle with fellow directors and Penney executives over the company’s future. His critics said he was the one who endangered the company’s turnaround efforts by pushing changes, including disposing of discounted sales, that alienated the company’s core customers. [New York Times]
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10. JUDGE DISMISSES RACIAL DISCRIMINATION COMPLAINT AGAINST DEEN
A federal judge in Georgia on Monday threw out the racial discrimination claims a former employee had made against embattled celebrity chef Paula Deen. The ex-employee, Lisa Jackson, claimed in a suit that she had been subjected to sexual harassment and racism at a Savannah restaurant co-owned by Deen and her brother Bubba Hiers, but the judge said Jackson had no grounds to make the race claim because she, like Deen, is white. The sexual harassment claims remain open. [ABC News]

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10 things you need to know today: July 27, 2013

Week-long protests have culminated in bloodshed.

Week-long protests have culminated in bloodshed.

The Week

Violent protests rock Egypt, the U.S. government says it won’t pursue the death penalty for NSA leaker Edward Snowden, and more

1. VIOLENCE ERUPTS DURING PROTESTS IN EGYPT
Dozens of people were killed in protests in Alexandria and Cairo as demonstrations broke out across the country over the ouster of deposed President Mohamed Morsi, who is being held by the army in an undisclosed location. Pro- and anti-Morsi forces have repeatedly clashed over the last week. [The New York TimesCNN]
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2. U.S. GOVERNMENT SAYS IT WON’T PURSUE DEATH PENALTY AGAINST SNOWDEN
Attorney General Eric Holder told the Russian government that the U.S. has no plans to pursue the death penalty for NSA leaker Edward Snowden, who is still believed to be stuck at Moscow’s airport. Snowden, who could face up to 30 years in prison if convicted of espionage, has claimed asylum in Russia on the grounds he could could face torture or the death penalty in the United States. [Associated Press]
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3. DOMINIQUE STRAUSS-KAHN CHARGED WITH PIMPING
Dominique Strauss-Kahn, the former head of the International Monetary Fund, was charged with “aggravated pimping as part of a group” on Friday for his alleged involvement in sex parties in the French city of Lille. Strauss-Kahn has admitted to attending the parties, although he claims to have not known that the women involved were prostitutes. He faces a maximum of 10 years in prison and a $2 million fine. [Reuters]
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4. EMBATTLED SAN DIEGO MAYOR TO TAKE TIME OFF FOR THERAPY
San Diego Mayor Bob Filner announced that he would take two weeks off for “intensive therapy” after being accused of sexual harassment by seven women, including four who went public on Thursday to claim he made sexual advances on them and touched them inappropriately. [ABC10 San Diego]
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5. CLEVELAND KIDNAPPER PLEADS GUILTY
Ariel Castro pleaded guilty to 937 criminal counts in connection with the abduction of Amanda Berry, Gina DeJesus and Michelle Knight, who escaped from Castro’s Cleveland home in May after allegedly being held there for a decade. Castro now faces 1,000 years in jail with no parole, but will likely avoid the death penalty. A judge will decide the sentence on August 1. [USA Today]
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6. HALLIBURTON ADMITS TO DESTROYING OIL SPILL EVIDENCE
Hallburton pleaded guilty to destroying critical evidence connected with the Deepwater Horizon disaster that killed 11 people and spilled 5 million barrels of oil into the Gulf of Mexico in 2010. The company agreed to a $200,000 fine and three years of probation. [The New York Times]
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7. SAC CAPITAL PLEADS NOT GUILTY TO INSIDER TRADING
SAC Capital, the hedge fund founded by billionaire Steve Cohen, pleaded not guilty on Friday to charges that it tolerated “insider trading that was substantial, pervasive and on a scale without known precedent in the hedge fund industry.” U.S. prosecutors say they are basing their case on “court-authorized wiretaps,” as well as electronic communications such as emails and instant messages. [Reuters]
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8. LINCOLN MEMORIAL VANDALIZED WITH GREEN PAINT
Unknown vandals splattered the Lincoln Memorial with green paint on Thursday night, causing park officials to close parts of it down as they began the cleaning process. U.S. Park police said they are reviewing surveillance tapes in hopes of identifying the perpetrators. [CBS News]
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9. DEFENSE CLOSES IN BRADLEY MANNING CASE
The lawyer for Pfc. Bradley Manning, who leaked hundreds of thousands of classified documents to WikiLeaks, said in his closing arguments that Manning wasn’t a traitor looking for notoriety, but rather a “young, naive, well-intentioned soldier” whose “sole purpose was to make a difference.” The presiding judge, Colonel Denise Lind, is expected to reach a verdict within the next few days. [The Guardian]
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10. “PINK PANTHERS” JEWEL THIEF ESCAPES SWISS PRISON
Poparic Milan, a member of the Bosnian “Pink Panthers” gang of jewel thieves accused of 340 robberies since 1999, was busted out of a jail in Switzerland on Friday by a group of armed men, according to Swiss authorities. Interpol estimates that the gang has stolen $436 million in luxury goods from stores throughout Europe, Asia, the Middle East, and the United States. [NBC News]

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