News Wrap: Obama urges Senate to vote on Lynch confirmation

In our news wrap Friday, President Obama hosted Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi at the White House, and addressed a list of issues, including the way GOP leaders are handling one of his main cabinet appointments. Also, financial leaders from the world’s major economies gathered to discuss rising challenges and issued a joint communique saying they see modest improvements in the global economy.

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    President Obama hosted Italy's Prime Minister Matteo Renzi at the White House today.

    And, at a joint news conference, he addressed a list of sticky issues, starting with the way GOP leaders on Capitol Hill are handling one of his main Cabinet appointments.


    This is embarrassing, a process like this.


    The president had strong words for Senate Republicans, who, since February, have delayed the confirmation of Loretta Lynch to be attorney general.


    There are times where the dysfunction in the Senate just goes too far. This is an example of it. It's gone too far. Enough. Call Loretta Lynch for a vote. Get her confirmed. Put her in place. Let her do her job.


    Senate Republican leaders have said they hope to get to it next week, but only if another controversial issue is resolved first.

    Today, the president was mainly asked about a collection of international issues. His defended his plan to sign a bill that would give Congress a say on a final nuclear deal with Iran, calling it a reasonable compromise. But Mr. Obama stressed the importance of appearing credible in the remaining negotiations.


    If it is perceived that we walked away from a fair deal that gives us assurances Iran doesn't get a nuclear weapon, then those international negotiations will fray. And it won't just be Russia or China. It will be some of our close allies who will start questioning our capacity or the wisdom of maintaining these. We don't want to put ourselves in that position.


    On trade, the president pushed a new agreement with Asia, the Trans-Pacific Partnership, but he acknowledged the deal faces vigorous opposition at home.


    There's going to be a set of Democratic senators and House members who traditionally have just, on principle, opposed trade, because the unions, on principle, regardless of what the provisions are, are opposed to trade.

    And then there are others who, like me, believe that we cannot stop a global economy at our shores. We've got to be in there and compete.


    Meantime, as Europe's economy struggles to rebound, the two leaders urged the Greek government to make economic reforms, even as they continue to seek financial aid.


    My attitude has been, yes, you need structural reforms of the sort that Matteo is initiating. The sustainability of structural reforms depends on people feeling some sense of hope and some sense of progress. And if all it is is just getting squeezed, but there's no growth, then over time the political consensus breaks down, and not only do you not get structural reforms, but you also end up reverting to some of the old patterns that didn't work.


    As his country faces rising unemployment and declining GDP, Italian Prime Minister Renzi praised the U.S. as a model for the wider European economy.

    Just down the road from the White House, financial leaders from the world's major economies gathered to discuss rising challenges. The leaders posed for a group photo after two days of meetings. And the Group of 20 issued a joint communique, saying they see modest improvements in the global economy. But there was no official discussion of Greece and its financial woes.

    North African migrants seeking refuge in Europe hit more trouble as they came across the Mediterranean Sea, a boat docked in Italy today carrying survivors who'd been badly burned after a gas explosion on their vessel.

    John Ray of Independent Television News has this report from Sicily.


    From the Mediterranean, this ocean of manmade misfortune, a ship of horrors. Rescue teams who have saved so many poor souls this week say they have seen nothing yet to match this suffering, migrants, mostly women, disfigured by burns from an accident on shore, then cast out to sea in a sinking dinghy.

    The smugglers they paid handsomely for the journey abandoned the injured and the dying to their fate.

  • BARBARA MOLINARIO, United Nations Refugee Agency:

    The traffickers wouldn't allow them to leave and reach the hospital. So they didn't get treatment for a few days. And then they were put on a boat, in fact, on a runner dinghy. And when rescuers arrived, they had spent two days at sea, but they were drifting away, because the rubber dinghy was half-deflated already.


    A baby was among the victims caught by an exploding gas cylinder as the women gathered around a cooking stove.

    This afternoon, we watched as the injured were brought to hospital in Sicily. Wounds so long attended leave lives in the balance. Here, the survivors will belatedly get the specialist medical help they need, but despite the best efforts of surgeons, doctors here say that, though they may live, many will bear the scars of their journey forever. The smugglers responsible have not been caught.


    The United Nations estimates some 13,000 migrants have been rescued from the Mediterranean Sea in the past week alone.

    A state ceremony was held in Germany today to honor the victims of last month's Germanwings plane crash. Hundreds of family members and dignitaries attended the memorial service at the Cologne Cathedral. The steps leading up to the altar were lined with 150 candles, one for each person on board. Investigators found the co-pilot deliberately slammed the airliner into the French Alps while en route from Barcelona to Dusseldorf.

    A court in Beijing sentenced Chinese journalist Gao Yu to seven years in prison today on charges she leaked state secrets. Gao, a 71-year-old veteran reporter, denied the charges brought against her. The document in question detailed the Communist Party leadership's plans to target civil society and press freedom as a threat to the party's power. Gao plans to appeal the sentencing. She has already served time in prison on state secrets charges more than two decades ago.

    The parents of the youngest victim in the Boston Marathon bombing asked federal prosecutors to give up seeking the death penalty for the bomber. Bill and Denise Richard urged the Justice Department to work toward a deal that would give Dzhokhar Tsarnaev a life sentence without the opportunity of parole. Tsarnaev was convicted last week in the 2013 attack that killed three people, including 8-year-old Martin Richard.

    The large outbreak of measles that was traced to Disneyland in California has come to an official end. Officials at California's Department of Public Health said no new infections have been reported in the past 42 days. That's equal to two incubation periods. The outbreak sickened 147 people in the U.S. and it renewed a national debate over vaccinations.

    The International Space Station received a much-needed delivery of supplies today. Its crew captured the SpaceX supply ship using a huge robotic arm. The capsule contained more than 4,000 pounds of cargo, including groceries, equipment, science experiments, and an espresso maker for an Italian astronaut. It will be sent back to Earth next month full of experiment results and discards.

    On Wall Street today, stocks reacted to new trading regulations in China and renewed worries over Greece and its finances. The Dow Jones industrial average lost 280 points to close at 17826. The Nasdaq fell 76 points, and the S&P 500 dropped 24. For the week, the Dow and Nasdaq both fell 1.3 percent. The S&P fell 1 percent.

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