News Wrap: U.S. Suspends Bangladesh Trade Benefits
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KWAME HOLMAN: President Obama today downplayed the search for National Security Agency leaker Edward Snowden, who is believed to be in a transit area at a Moscow airport. Mr. Obama said he’s — quote — “not going to be scrambling jets to get a 29-year-old hacker.”
Speaking at a news conference in Senegal, the president also said help from other countries in capturing Snowden won’t be part of high-level negotiations.
PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: I’m not going to have one case of a suspect who we’re trying to extradite suddenly being elevated to the point where I have got to start doing wheeling and dealing and trading on a whole host of other issues simply to get a guy extradited, so that he can face the justice system here in the United States.
KWAME HOLMAN: Snowden has applied for political asylum in Ecuador. But, today, Ecuadorian officials said a pass allowing him to travel there was given in error, and his asylum application has not yet been processed.
The Obama administration suspended trade benefits for Bangladesh today in the wake of two garment factory disasters there in the past year. More than 1,200 people died in the incidents blamed on poor worker safety and labor practices. Today’s move increases tariffs on products from tobacco to sporting goods. But it will have little impact on Bangladesh’s main export to the U.S.: clothing.
The surviving Boston Marathon bombing suspect was indicted on 30 federal and 15 state counts today. The charges against Dzhokhar Tsarnaev included using a weapon of mass destruction, carjacking and killing a Massachusetts Institute of Technology police officer. Three people were killed and more than 260 wounded when Tsarnaev and his brother allegedly set off pressure cooker bombs near the finish line of the marathon in April. Tsarnaev’s arraignment is scheduled for July 10.
The Treasury Department inspector general said liberal groups were not mistreated by IRS examiners in the same way tea party groups were. In a letter to congressional Democrats, J. Russell George said only six progressive groups who applied for tax-exempt status were scrutinized, compared to some 300 conservative groups.
Meanwhile, the new head of the IRS, Danny Werfel, faced criticism at a congressional hearing over his report about the activities released on Monday.
REP. KEVIN BRADY, R-Texas: You’re not conducting interviews. You don’t know answers to the key questions, yet, in your report, you declare there is no evidence of intentional wrongdoing or misconduct on the part of IRS personnel, no evidence of intentional wrongdoing. Mr. Werfel, this report is a sham.
DANNY WERFEL, Acting Internal Revenue Service Commissioner: The notion that no witnesses are being interviewed is not accurate. The accurate answer is that witnesses are being interviewed whether I am personally sitting across the table or not from interviewing.
I would love to be able to, but the reality is I am going to follow the process and the rule of law in getting to the bottom of it. And one of the constraints that I have is that I have to let professional investigators do the interviewing, and that’s a constraint I’m willing to live with.
KWAME HOLMAN: The IRS practices were roundly condemned by both political parties. At least five IRS officials have been removed from their jobs.
Federal regulators filed a civil lawsuit against former New Jersey Gov. Jon Corzine for failing to properly manage MF Global. The financial firm collapsed in 2011, when more than a billion dollars in customer funds disappeared. The lawsuit seeks to ban Corzine from trading in the futures market and demands he pay unspecified penalties. Corzine has disputed the allegations against him.
Texas has executed its 500th prisoner since the death penalty was reinstated nationally in 1976. In that time, more than 1,300 executions have been carried out in the U.S., 40 percent of them in Texas. Kimberly McCarthy was put to death by lethal injection at a state prison in Huntsville. She was convicted of stabbing her elderly neighbor to death in 1997. She was the first woman to be executed in the U.S. in nearly three years.
For the first time, scientists have cloned a mouse using a single drop of blood. Researchers in Japan used blood cells from the tail of a living mouse to create the female clone. The study is aimed at aiding large-scale production of animals for farming and conservation purposes. The scientists used the same technique that produced Dolly the sheep, the world’s first cloned mammal.
A drop in jobless claims last week gave stocks on Wall Street a reason to rally today. The Dow Jones industrial average saw its third straight triple-digit gain, rising 114 points to close at 15,024. The Nasdaq added more than 25 points to close at nearly 3,402.
Those are some of the day’s major stories — now back to Margaret.