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How Congress stalls military’s effort to save tax dollars

Parked around the airstrip at Lackland Air Force Base are more than a dozen massive C-5A Galaxy transport planes. There is no money to fly them, repair them or put pilots in the cockpits, but Congress rejected the Air Force’s bid to retire them. So every now and then, crews will tow the planes around the Texas tarmac a bit to make sure the tires don’t rot, then send them back into exile until they can finally get permission to commit the aging aircraft to the boneyard. It’s not an unfamiliar story. Idle aircraft and pricey ship deployments underscore the
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Senate moving to force sales tax on Internet sales

A measure to empower U.S. states to require out-of-state retailers to collect online sales tax cleared a legislative hurdle in the Senate on Monday, after earlier winning official backing from President Barack Obama. Seventy-four senators voted to limit debate and move forward with a final vote on the proposed legislation in the Democratic-controlled Senate, likely on Wednesday. “You have businesses all around America on Main Streets and shopping malls collecting sales tax on the things that they sell, competing with Internet retailers who do not,” said Democratic co-sponsor Senator Richard Durbin. Supporters of the measure include brick-and-mortar retailers such as
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Boston bombing aftermath sidetracks immigration bill debate

Congressional advocates of comprehensive U.S. immigration legislation were diverted into a sometimes testy debate on Monday over whether the measure should be delayed because of questions arising from the Boston Marathon bombing allegedly carried out by two immigrant brothers. The idea of holding up the legislation gained some ground with the support of U.S. Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky, a prominent Republican who in the past supported immigration reform. However, the highest-ranking Republican in Washington, U.S. House of Representatives Speaker John Boehner of Ohio said he saw no reason for the bombings to delay the debate. Florida Senator Marco Rubio,
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FBI wants more answers from surviving, mute bombing suspect

The 19-year-old charged with the Boston Marathon bombing, his throat injured by a gunshot wound, wrote down answers to the questions of investigators about his motives and connections to any terror networks. Dzhokhar Tsarnaev’s answers led them to believe he and his brother were motivated by a radical brand of Islam without major terror connections, said U.S. officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the investigation publicly. But the written communication precluded back-and-forth exchanges often crucial to establishing key facts and meaning, said officials who cautioned they were still trying to verify what
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White House defends FBI’s bungling of previous investigation of Tsarnaev

The White House is defending the FBI’s performance in its 2011 inquiry into Tamerlan Tsarnaev (tsahr-NEYE’-ehv) one of the suspects in the Boston Marathon bombings. White House spokesman Jay Carney says it’s clear that the FBI followed up on information it received about Tsarnaev. He says the FBI interviewed him and his relatives and didn’t find any domestic or foreign terrorism activity. The Russian FSB intelligence security service told the FBI in early 2011 about information that Tsarnaev was a follower of radical Islam. The FBI says it conducted interviews and provided the results in the summer of 2011. The
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Delays clog airline travel as FAA furloughs start

Commercial airline flights started backing up and delayed some travelers Monday, a day after air traffic controllers started going on furlough because of government spending cuts. Information from the FAA and others showed that flying Sunday was largely uneventful, with most flights on time. There were delays in parts of Florida, but those were caused by thunderstorms. Mark Duell at the flight tracking website FlightAware said that John F. Kennedy and LaGuardia airports in New York indicated delays due to lower staffing starting late Sunday evening. The FAA website said that flights from Philadelphia and Orlando, Fla., into John F.
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Medical care slowdown strikes companies as Obamacare approaches

As the clock ticks down to the start of a U.S. healthcare overhaul, companies from device makers to hospital chains have been surprised to see Americans make even fewer trips to the doctor’s office. Use of non-emergency medical services has been weak for several years in the wake of a deep recession, high joblessness and the steadily rising cost of care. Those trends now may be exacerbated in the months before President Barack Obama’s healthcare law takes full effect in 2014, analysts said. Part of the reason is that employers are shifting more of the insurance benefits they offer to
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Feds want to question wife of slain bombing suspect

Federal authorities have asked to speak with the wife of suspected Boston Marathon bomber Tamerlan Tsarnaev, and her lawyer said Sunday he is discussing with them how to proceed. Amato DeLuca told The Associated Press that Katherine Russell Tsarnaev did not speak to federal officials who came to her parents’ home in North Kingstown, R.I., Sunday evening, where she has been staying since her husband was killed during a getaway attempt early Friday. Tsarnaev, 26, and his brother, Dzhokhar, 19, two ethnic Chechen brothers from southern Russia, are accused of planting two explosives near the marathon finish line Monday, killing
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Cops may never be able to question surviving terror suspect

Boston Mayor Tom Menino said on Sunday authorities may never be able to question the Boston Marathon bombing suspect, who lies seriously injured and unable to speak after eluding police for 24 hours. Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, 19, was in “very serious” condition at a Boston hospital after being captured Friday night, Menino told ABC’s “This Week” program. “And we don’t know if we’ll ever be able to question the individual,” he said without elaborating. Tsarnaev’s brother, Tamerlan, 26, was killed in a firefight with police earlier on Friday as officers hunted them for the twin blasts on Monday that killed three
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Did the FBI drop the ball on bombing suspect?

U.S. lawmakers asked on Sunday why the FBI had failed to spot the danger from one of the Boston Marathon bombing suspects, and they complained it was one of a series of cases in which someone the agency had investigated had later taken part in attacks. House of Representatives Homeland Security Committee Chairman Michael McCaul wrote to the FBI and other officials asking why Tamerlan Tsarnaev did not raise suspicions after Russia asked the bureau to investigate him two years ago. “Because if he was on the radar and they let him go, he’s on the Russians’ radar, why wasn’t
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