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News Wrap: Sectarian Violence Continues in Iraq With Car Bombs in Baghdad, Basra

May 20, 2013 at 12:00 AM EST
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HARI SREENIVASAN: A wave of sectarian killing across Iraq left at least 95 people dead today. It was the worst single day of violence there in more than a year-and-a-half. Ten car bombs went off across Shiite neighborhoods in Baghdad. At least 48 people were killed and more than 150 wounded in those attacks.

Car bombs also targeted Shiites in the southern city of Basra. Elsewhere, Sunnis came under attack in areas north and west of Baghdad. In all, more than 240 people have been killed in Iraq since last Wednesday.

There’s word today that computer hackers in the Chinese military have resumed attacks on U.S. companies and government agencies. The New York Times reported that today. There had been a lull of three months after industry and Pentagon investigations identified the Chinese unit involved. The report cited security experts who said the hacking is back up to 60 percent to 70 percent of the rate it was previously.

There was more today on the IRS targeting of conservative groups and what and when White House officials learned of it. Presidential aides confirmed that White House Counsel Kathryn Ruemmler was told April 24th about a special audit into IRS activities. She, in turn, notified the president’s chief of staff, Denis McDonough, among others.

But White House Press Secretary Jay Carney says Ruemmler advised against telling President Obama because the investigation was still under way.

JAY CARNEY, White House Press Secretary: That was the — her opinion that she expressed to other members of the senior staff, that this is not the kind of thing, when you have an ongoing investigation or an ongoing audit, that requires notification to the president, because what is important is that we wait until that kind of process is completed before we take action.

HARI SREENIVASAN: Carney said again the president was not informed of what the investigation found until news reports surfaced 10 days ago.

A congressional investigation has found that Apple Incorporated avoid billions in taxes through a web of offshore subsidiary companies. A Senate committee reported today that between 2009 and 2012, the tech giant shifted at least $74 billion dollars out of the reach of the IRS by incorporating in Ireland. Apple says it is the largest taxpayer in the U.S. at six billion dollars and its strategies are legal. Its CEO, Tim Cook, is expected to testify at a Senate hearing tomorrow.

Boeing’s new 787 Dreamliner is airborne again in the U.S., four months after being grounded over battery issues. United Airlines flew one of the new jets on a Houston-to-Chicago route this morning. The company said its Dreamliners will resume international flights next month. In January, the worldwide fleet of 787s was grounded after incidents of the lithium ion batteries overheating and smoldering. Boeing ultimately redesigned the battery and its charger.

Wall Street had trouble getting off the ground today. The Dow Jones industrial average lost 19 points to close at 15,335. The Nasdaq fell two points to close at 3,496.

Those are some of the day’s major stories — now back to Judy.