Archives for News

Lawmakers warn of threat to U.S. from Syrian chemical weapons

Syria’s stockpile of chemical weapons could be a greater threat after that nation’s president leaves power and could end up targeting Americans at home, lawmakers warned Sunday as they considered a U.S. response that stops short of sending military forces there. U.S. officials last week declared that the Syrian government probably had used chemical weapons twice in March, newly provocative acts in the 2-year civil war that has killed more than 70,000 people and displaced hundreds of thousands more. The U.S. assessment followed similar conclusions from Britain, France, Israel and Qatar — key allies eager for a more aggressive response
Read More

Boston bombing suspect talked jihad with mother, wiretaps show

Russian authorities secretly recorded a telephone conversation in 2011 in which one of the Boston bombing suspects vaguely discussed jihad with his mother, officials said Saturday, days after the U.S. government finally received details about the call. In another conversation, the mother of now-dead bombing suspect Tamerlan Tsarnaev was recorded talking to someone in southern Russia who is under FBI investigation in an unrelated case, officials said. The conversations are significant because, had they been revealed earlier, they might have been enough evidence for the FBI to initiate a more thorough investigation of the Tsarnaev family. As it was, Russian
Read More

FAA claims flight operations will be normal by Sunday night

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) said on Saturday it had suspended all employee furloughs and that it expects the U.S. air travel system to return to normal by Sunday evening Eastern Time. The suspension follows passage on Friday of a bill allowing the agency to shift money within its budget to halt furloughs of air-traffic controllers that started April 21. The furloughs, prompted by automatic budget cuts, caused thousands of flight delays and hundreds of cancellations throughout the week. The FAA said in a statement on Saturday that it expects staffing to return to normal levels over the next 24
Read More

GOP donors funding push to approve gay marriage

A national group of prominent GOP donors that supports gay marriage is pouring new money into lobbying efforts to get Republican lawmakers to vote to make it legal. American Unity PAC was formed last year to lend financial support to Republicans who bucked the party’s longstanding opposition to gay marriage. Its founders are launching a new lobbying organization, American Unity Fund, and already have spent more than $250,000 in Minnesota, where the Legislature could vote on the issue as early as next week. The group has spent $500,000 on lobbying since last month, including efforts in Rhode Island, Delaware, Indiana,
Read More

Boston bombing probe pushes on

With the Boston marathon bombing suspect in a prison hospital, investigators are pushing forward both in the U.S. and abroad to piece together the myriad details of a plot that killed three people and injured more than 260. FBI agents picked through a landfill near the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth, where 19-year-old suspect, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, was a sophomore. FBI spokesman Jim Martin would not say what investigators were looking for. A federal law enforcement official not authorized to speak on the record about the investigation told The Associated Press on the condition of anonymity on Friday that the FBI was
Read More

Obama finds fault with Congressional flight delay fix

President Barack Obama chided Republicans on Saturday for approving a plan to ease air-traffic delays caused by federal spending cuts while leaving budget cuts that affect children and the elderly untouched. The Senate and the House of Representatives backed a plan this week to give the Department of Transportation flexibility to cover immediate salaries of air traffic controllers at the Federal Aviation Administration who had been furloughed as part of budget cuts known as “sequester. The furloughs, which started Sunday, led to take-off and landing delays at airports nationwide. “This week, the sequester hurt travelers, who were stuck for hours
Read More

Republicans run into recruiting problems in key Senate races

Republicans are struggling to recruit strong Senate candidates in states that present the party’s best opportunities to reclaim the majority, a sign that the GOP‘s post-2012 soul-searching may end up creeping into the midterm congressional elections. It’s admittedly early, with more than 18 months before the November 2014 elections. But candidate recruitment efforts are well underway. And, so far, Republicans haven’t been able to field a top-tier candidate in Iowa or Michigan, swing-voting states where the GOP hopes to make a play for seats left open by the retirement of veteran Democratic senators. Also, the GOP is facing the prospect
Read More

Biden claims economy allowed Obama to beat McCain in 2008

Vice President Joe Biden said Friday that Arizona Sen. John McCain probably would have beat his boss in the 2008 presidential election had the economy not collapsed. Biden’s comment about McCain and President Barack Obama came during the opening dinner of an annual forum among the Red Rocks of Sedona in northern Arizona. He and McCain, a Republican, touched on the gun control debate following the Newtown shootings and the bombings in Boston, but made no mention of Syria. Just as the night came to a close, Biden turned to the grueling nature of presidential campaigns. “The truth of the
Read More

Plane landing gear found in New York City: From 9/11?

A rusted 5-foot-tall piece of landing gear believed to be from one of the hijacked planes destroyed in the Sept. 11 attacks has been discovered near the World Trade Center wedged between a luxury apartment building and a mosque site that once prompted virulent national debate about Islam and free speech. The twisted metal part, jammed in an 18-inch-wide sliver of open space between the buildings, has cables and levers on it and is about 17 inches wide and 4 feet long, New York Police Department Commissioner Raymond Kelly said Friday. “It’s a manifestation of a horrific terrorist act a
Read More

Slower than expected growth adds more bad economic news

The economy regained speed in the first quarter, but not as much as expected, heightening fears it could struggle to cope with deep government spending cuts and higher taxes. Gross domestic product expanded at a 2.5 percent annual rate, the Commerce Department said on Friday, after growth nearly stalled in the fourth quarter. Economists had expected a 3.0 percent growth pace. “It wasn’t the bang-up start to the year we had hoped for, and the signals from March suggested that we will only decelerate from here,” said Avery Shenfeld, chief economist at CIBC World Markets in Toronto. Growth rebounded in
Read More