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Older News Archivescom0116
NEWS     SUNDAY, APRIL 20, 2014     NEWS

Boehner Says Ge's 'Hell-Bent' On Passing Immigration Legislation This Year
House Speaker John Boehner and his Republican leadership team are telling donors and industry groups that they want to pass immigration legislation this year, despite the reluctance of other party members to tackle the divisive issue before the November elections. Many lawmakers and activists have assumed the issue was off the table in an election year. But Boehner, R-Ohio, said at a recent Las Vegas fundraiser that he was "hell-bent on getting this done this year," two people in the room told The Wall Street Journal. Fox News

Flight 370 Search: Probe Of Current Area Should Be Done In A Week
The underwater drone scanning for traces of Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 should complete its task in the zone under scrutiny within a week as the search for the plane intensifies, a government official said Saturday -- day 43 of the effort. "Today and tomorrow, it's imperative that we focus because the experts have narrowed down the search area," said Hishammuddin Hussein, the Malaysian acting transport minister. Then, citing a comment made this week by Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott, he said, "Whatever the outcome of the next few days, we need to regroup and reconsider the operations." Are searchers close to finding debris from the jetliner? "It's difficult to say," Hishammuddin said. "The narrowing of the search today and tomorrow is at a critical juncture. I appeal to everybody around the world to pray and pray hard that we find something to work on over the next couple of days." CNN

High Stakes As Restive Benghazi Votes In Libyan Local Polls
Libyan voters went to the polls on Saturday to elect municipal council members in 15 cities, including Benghazi, the country's second city, which is seeking greater autonomy for the eastern seaboard region. With 41 more municipalities due to vote in the next three weeks, the elections pose an organizational and security challenge for a country that is still riven by factional fighting, nearly three years after the civil war that toppled veteran ruler Muammar Gaddafi. Benghazi has until now had only an interim council with piecemeal funding from central government, but the election is meant to pave the way for fuller and more regular allocations, potentially improving the volatile city's relationship with Tripoli. Reuters

Monster El Nino May Be Brewing
Researchers are keeping a close eye on a giant pool of abnormally warm water in the Pacific Ocean that some think could trigger another El Niño of epic proportions if it rises to the surface, sending weather patterns into a tizzy around the world. That could mean heavy rains in drought-stricken California, dry weather across the Midwest and East Coast, and parched landscapes in Australia and South Africa while it pours in South America. The phenomenon is linked to the periodic warming of surface waters in the eastern tropical Pacific Ocean. "Given the drought that California is in the middle of right now, that is really where the heightened interest is," said Mike Halpert, acting director of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Climate Prediction Center in College Park, Md. "It turns out that the odds increase for California to be wet the stronger the event is." MSNBC

Feds Approve Powdered Alcohol; ‘Palcohol’ Available Later This Year
The U.S. government has approved a new brand of powdered alcohol that can be mixed into a drink or sprinkled over food. “Palcohol” will be available later this year, The Telegraph reported. The Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau approved seven new version of Palcohol this week, including Margarita and Cosmopolitan flavors. The company briefly touted its product online as a solution to the rising price of liquid alcohol, Lehrman Beverage Law reported. “What’s worse than going to a concert, sporting event, etc. and having to pay $10, $15, $20 for a mixed drink with tax and tip. Are you kidding me?!” A statement on the company website initially read. “Take Palcohol into the venue and enjoy a mixed drink for a fraction of the cost.” Washington Times

White House On Petition To Deport Justin Bieber
The White House has two words for those who want President Barack Obama to deport Justin Bieber: No comment. Nearly 275,000 people signed an Internet petition calling the Canadian-born teen idol reckless and asking Obama to revoke his green card. That's far more than required to merit an official response through the White House's "We the People" program. The White House says it's sorry to disappoint, but it won't be commenting. It's citing a caveat that lets the White House decline to address certain petitions. CBS

Monica Lewinsky E-Mail Omitted From Latest Batch Of Clinton Documents
An email from Monica Lewinsky was omitted from the Clinton library’s latest document dump for privacy reasons. Every two weeks this spring, the National Archives has been releasing documents from Clinton’s presidency through The William J Clinton Presidential Library & Museum in Little Rock, Ark. The documents were previously withheld under the Presidential Records Act. The library posted the latest batch online today, linking to thousands of pages of official memos and communications between aides. Included in a list of withdrawn/redacted documents (commonly interspersed in the large .pdfs), midway through a batch of documents concerning Gen. Wesley Clark, is an email from Monica Lewinsky’s Pentagon email address. ABC

SEC Said To Weigh Shining Light On Brokers’ Stock Routing
The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission is weighing a requirement that brokers tell investors exactly where their stock trades go to be executed, a proposal that may address complaints that the decisions are sometimes made without the client’s best interests at heart. The proposal could give investors more insight into whether they are getting the best price when they buy and sell large numbers of shares, according to three people familiar with the matter. Brokers entrusted with orders in the U.S. stock market can choose from dozens of exchanges and private venues. Some money managers such as T. Rowe Price Group Inc. (TROW) have told regulators that incentives offered by exchanges for attracting orders can put a broker’s financial interest at odds with the customer’s. Bloomberg

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Documents Detail Another Delayed GM Recall
General Motors waited years to recall nearly 335,000 Saturn Ions for power steering failures despite getting thousands of consumer complaints and more than 30,000 warranty repair claims, according to government documents released Saturday. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the government's auto safety watchdog, also didn't seek a recall of the compact car from the 2004 through 2007 model years even though it opened an investigation more than two years ago and found 12 crashes and two injuries caused by the problem. The documents, posted on the agency's website, show yet another delay by GM in recalling unsafe vehicles and point to another example of government safety regulators reacting slowly to a safety problem despite being alerted by consumers and through warranty data submitted by the company. A recall can be initiated by an automaker or demanded by the government. ABC

Putin Says Deadline To Pay for Gas Isn’t Linked To Ukraine Vote
Russia wasn’t considering the date of planned elections in Ukraine when it set a deadline for its neighbor to start paying for natural gas supplies, according to Russian President Vladimir Putin. “We don’t tie economics to the political process in Ukraine,” Putin said in an interview on state-run television’s “Vesti With Sergey Brilev” program broadcast today, according to a transcript provided by the president’s office. “It’s just that we were supposed to be paid on April 7 for gas delivered in March. We weren’t, and I’ll say it again, that’s $525 million. We got nothing.” Ukraine’s gas bill, which Putin says has reached $2.2 billion, threatens to undermine steps toward easing tensions agreed on by foreign ministers from Ukraine, Russia, the European Union and U.S. in Geneva this week. Putin set a one-month deadline on April 17 during a televised call-in show, where he took questions from the public. Ukraine’s presidential election is scheduled for May 25.  Bloomberg

Obama: Easter A Time To Reflect On Hope, Renewal
President Barack Obama is encouraging Americans to draw strength and inspiration from the Easter and Passover holidays. In his weekly radio and Internet address, Obama says Holy Week and Easter are times for reflection and renewal. He says the common threat of humanity is a shared commitment to loving our neighbors as ourselves. He says there's no better time for people to rededicate themselves to that mission. Obama also says the Easter story is one of hope and faith that better days are yet to come. Las Vegas Sun

Boston Wonders If Massive Security Will Mar Marathon Monday
There’s a tense excitement running through Boston as it prepares for the 118th Boston Marathon, a uniquely Bostonian event held on Patriots Day, the third Monday of April, which celebrates the first battles of the Revolutionary War. Residents are waiting to see how much of the traditional carefree spirit of Marathon Monday will remain after officials, in response to last year’s bomb blasts that killed three and injured more than 250, implement security measures to make the 26.2-mile route “the safest place on the planet,” a goal the long-term race director outlined last week. The numbers are impressive: There will be about 4,000 uniformed and plainclothes police officers and National Guard soldiers along the course, more than double the number from last year. Law-enforcement officers will be watching live video feeds from 100 cameras along the route — 25 erected just for the race — and from at least one helicopter. Seattle Times

In Colorado, A Pot Holiday Tries To Go Mainstream
Once the province of activists and stoners, the traditional pot holiday of April 20 has gone mainstream in the first state in the nation to legalize recreational marijuana.
Tens of thousands gathered for a weekend of Colorado cannabis-themed festivals and entertainment, from a marijuana industry expo called the Cannabis Cup at a trade center north of downtown, to 4/20-themed concerts at the legendary Red Rocks Amphitheater — acts include Slightly Stoopid and Snoop Dog — to a massive festival in the shadow of the state capitol where clouds of cannabis smoke are expected to waft at 4:20 p.m. MDT Sunday. Tampa Tribune

Samsung Slugs It Out With Apple For Consumers
In the South Korean industrial town of Gumi, about a 45-minute helicopter ride southeast of here, Samsung Electronics factory workers, nearly all of them young women, are methodically applying the finishing touches on Galaxy S5s. The launch of Samsung's newest flagship smartphone on April 11 was a little over a week away, and though most of the Galaxy S5 manufacturing process in the factory is automated, workers on this day were putting the backs of AT&T Galaxy S5 phones on or manually removing the stickers on certain tiny components. Not far away on the Gumi campus, Samsung's very first mobile phone, the SH-100, is on display. A monstrously large and heavy contraption compared to today's models, it launched during the 1988 Seoul Olympics. Samsung pays homage to its remarkable mobile past at Gumi, where walls of about 1,800 phones introduced by the Korean electronics giant are encased behind glass and displayed by year. USA Today

Stress May Make Allergy Symptoms Worse
Stress may trigger symptom flare-ups in people with seasonal allergies, a new study suggests. Researchers followed 179 people with hay fever for 12 weeks, and found that 39 percent of them had more than one flare-up. Those patients had higher levels of stress than those who didn't have allergy symptoms during the study period.
Sixty-four percent of the participants with higher stress levels had more than four flare-ups over two 14-day periods, according to the findings in the April issue of the Annals of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology. CBS

Asia Seeks Obama’s Assurance In Territorial Spats
As President Barack Obama travels through Asia this coming week, he will confront a region that's warily watching the crisis in Ukraine through the prism of its own territorial tensions with China. Each of the four countries on Obama's itinerary — Japan, South Korea, Malaysia and the Philippines — has disputes with China over islands and waters in the South and East China Seas. Their leaders will be weighing Obama's willingness to support them if those conflicts boil over. "What we can say after seeing what happened to Ukraine is that using force to change the status quo is not acceptable," said Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, whose country is in one of the fiercest disputes with China. Las Vegas Sun

U.S. Airplanes Would Typically Need Government Approval To Land In Iran Due To Sanctions.
An airplane owned by the Bank of Utah mysteriously showed up at an airport in Tehran, Iran, despite a ban on the U.S. doing business in the country. The private aircraft, which bears a small U.S. flag, arrived at the Mehrabad Airport on Tuesday. Brett King, one of the bank's executives in Salt Lake City, said the bank acted as a trustee for investors who have a financial stake in the plane. “We have no idea why that plane was at that airport," he said. UPI

Pope Francis, Huge Crowd Joyously Celebrate Easter
Romans and pilgrims, young and old — turned out for the Mass that Francis celebrated at an altar set up under a canopy on the steps of St. Peter’s Basilica. So great were their numbers that they overflowed the huge square, which was bedecked with row after row of potted daffodils, sprays of blue hyacinths and bunches of white roses. Waving flags from the pope’s native Argentina as well as from Brazil, Mexico, Britain, Poland and many other countries, they also filled the broad boulevard leading from the square to the Tiber River. Washington Post

Syria Media Reports Assad Visits Christian Village
President Bashar Assad on Sunday toured a historic Christian village his forces recently captured from rebels, state media said, as the country's Greek Orthodox Patriarch vowed that Christians in the war-ravaged country "will not submit and yield" to extremists. Syrian state TV and the country's official SANA news agency said Assad was in Maaloula, inspecting the damage done in recent fighting to its monasteries and churches. The rebels, including fighters from the al-Qaida-affiliated Nusra Front, took Maaloula several times late last year. Their last attempt to capture and hold on to the ancient Christian hamlet came in mid-December. Government troops swept through the village on Monday sending rebel fighters fleeing to nearby hills. Houston Chornicle

GM Boosting China Production Capacity To 5 Million
The president of General Motors said Sunday that the company and local partners are boosting production capacity for GM-brand vehicles in China to 5 million. Speaking at the Beijing auto show, David Amman said the company also expects sales of its Cadillac luxury cars to double to 100,000 next year. General Motors Co. and its Chinese partners are in the midst of what the company has said is an $11 billion investment program through 2016. Amman said that includes three factories due to open this year and two more next year. He said would raise the "total scope" for production of GM-brand vehicles in China to 5 million. Atlanta Journal

Delay In Ferry Evacuation Puzzles Maritime Experts
It is a decision that has maritime experts stumped and is at odds with standard procedure: Why were the passengers of the doomed South Korean ferry told to stay in their rooms rather than climb on deck? Evacuations can be chaotic and dangerous, and an important principle in maritime circles is that even a damaged ship may be the best lifeboat. But car ferries like the Sewol, which left about 300 people missing or dead when it sank Wednesday, are different. Under certain conditions — like those that confronted the Sewol — car ferries are particularly susceptible to rapid capsizing. This makes it critically important that when there is trouble, the crew quickly evacuate passengers, or at least gather them in preparation to abandon ship. Charlotte Observer

Gasoline Prices Hit 14-Month High
Surging gasoline prices in the San Diego area have reached their highest level in more than a year. The average price of a gallon of regular-grade gasoline climbed to $4.27 on Friday at San Diego gas stations, up 12 cents from a week ago and 27 cents in a month, according to the AAA daily fuel gauge report. The last time gasoline sold for so much was March 2, 2013. Best gas prices? Search map or by city or zip code for the lowest gas prices in your area. The price spike can be traced to a jittery wholesale markets responding to temporary shutdowns at two major California refineries that together account for 16 percent of the state gasoline producing capacity, said San Diego-based gasoline analyst Charles Langley. "This is about the market getting panicked," he said. "The perception of a shortage can change prices, too." San Diego Union

GOP Maing Bold Play For US Senate Seat In Oregon
Republicans are making a bold play for a U.S. Senate seat in reliably Democratic Oregon — where a Republican hasn't been elected to a statewide office in more than a decade. Republicans back in Washington think they've found the right candidate in Monica Wehby. The children's brain surgeon has raised more than $1 million and has put her early opposition to President Barack Obama's health law at the center of her campaign. The race is shaping up as a test of the GOP strategy of relentlessly using the health law against Democrats in hopes of regaining control of the Senate. Republican voters will decide among Wehby, state legislator Jason Conger and a few others in next month's primary. Kansas City Star

Florida Budgets Put Priority On Hometown Projects Over At-Risk Kids
In the wake of a bloody year for Florida youngsters, lawmakers have pledged to repair the state’s frayed safety net for abused and neglected children. But as the state’s annual legislative session winds toward the final gavel, many children’s advocates say legislative leaders have failed to match their words with action and fear some proposals may create new problems. Gov. Rick Scott has proposed spending $39 million to hire 400 “boots on the ground,” or child abuse investigators who will respond to hotline reports and identify at-risk kids. But investigators typically work with a family for 60 days or less, and then families in need of follow-up help are sent to privately run local agencies. Miami Herald

Obama's Bay Area Visit May 8 To Include Y Combinator
President Obama will hit the Mountain View headquarters of Y Combinator, the hot technology startup funder and incubator, as part of a May 8 fundraiser that will now be co-hosted by the company's president, Sam Altman, and Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer, The Chronicle has learned. The event was originally planned at the Palo Alto home of Mayer, where only about 200 could be accommodated. The change was made because of demand for tickets to the Obama fundraiser, which benefits the Democratic National Committee, sources said. Ticket pricing will remain the same to the event - starting at $1,000 per person for the reception, $5,000 for a photo line with the president, and up to $32,400 for membership in the DNC Presidential Partners program. SF Gate

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Mazda Recalls 109,000 Older SUVs Over Rusting Parts
Mazda is recalling 109,000 Tribute SUVs in cold-weather states to fix rusting frame parts. The recall covers SUVs from the 2001 through 2004 model years. Mazda says in documents filed with U.S. safety regulators that the frame can rust and a wheel control arm can separate from it. That could result in a loss of steering control.
The SUVs were originally sold or registered in 20 states and Washington, D.C., where salt is used to clear snow and ice from roads. Dealers will install a reinforcement brace to fix the problem. Mazda says it will notify owners by letter when parts are available. MSNBC

Scalia To Students On High Taxes: At A Certain Point, ‘Perhaps You Should Revolt’
Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia told a group of law students that it might be a good idea to revolt if taxes become too high in the future. While speaking at the University of Tennessee College of Law on Tuesday, Justice Scalia was asked by a student about his interpretation of the constitutionality of the income tax, the Knoxville News Sentinel reported. The longest-serving justice currently on the bench answered the student by saying that the government has the constitutional right to implement the tax, “but if it reaches a certain point, perhaps you should revolt.” Justice Scalia continued to tell the students that they have every right to express criticism of the government. Washington Times

Delta Passengers Questioned After Bomb Threat Found
FBI officials questioned passengers on board Delta Flight 1500 and searched the Boeing 737 after a note with a bomb threat was discovered on the plane. No bomb was found. The pilot of the plane notified air traffic control of the threat, which was found on a note in the rear galley of the plane by a flight attendant. "Flight 1500 now declaring an emergency at this time. We have a written threat aboard the aircraft," the pilot said. "Our flight attendant found a note indicating there was a bomb onboard towards the rear of the aircraft." The plane, which was en route to Denver from Detroit, arrived safely at Denver International Airport and was taken to a remote location at the airport for screening. "The FBI came on board the plane and asked, of course, did anybody leave the note. They said there was a piece of paper in the back with the word bomb written on it," said passenger Joe Vance. UPI

Road Kill Bill Would Make Claiming Animals Simpler
Getting a drive-through meal could take on new meaning in Michigan if legislation is approved making it easier to take home road kill. Sen. Darwin Booher, R-Evart, is sponsoring a bill to simplify the road kill claiming process and allow more people to keep dead animals for food, bait or pelts. It unanimously passed the Senate last month. “All of us are disgusted by looking at deer lying on the side of the road for weeks until they rot right out,” Booher said in a telephone interview while driving. “The only thing that distracts me anymore is that I look along the road” and see animal carcasses, he added. The lifelong hunter said he’s hit 11 deer with his car since joining the Legislature in 2004, but hasn’t kept any. It can take hours for officials to deliver a salvage tag needed under current law, he said. Detroit News

Space Station Robot Getting Its Legs
Robonaut, the first out-of-this-world humanoid, is finally getting its space legs. For three years, Robonaut has had to manage from the waist up. This new pair of legs means the experimental robot - now stuck on a pedestal - is going mobile at the International Space Station. "Legs are going to really kind of open up the robot's horizons," said Robert Ambrose from NASA's Johnson Space Center in Houston. It's the next big step in NASA's quest to develop robotic helpers for astronauts. With legs, the eight-foot Robonaut will be able to climb throughout the 260-mile-high outpost, performing mundane cleaning chores and fetching things for the human crew. Philadelphia Inquirer

Credit Card Companies Lure In Customers With Low Teaser Rates
Credit card companies know there’s no free lunch, but they’re letting more customers get a taste as an enticement by gouging their existing card members. The average credit card interest rate for people with fair credit has hit a shocking 21 percent, up more than 2 percent from only a year ago, according to industry group CardHub.
Credit card companies, which attract new customers with zero percent teaser rates and more rewards, have raised rates while their costs remain historically low, industry observers say. “Credit card interest rates were higher across the board during the first three months of 2014 relative to the same period last year,” according to CardHub’s Landscape report. The report said the increase was roughly 2.12 percentage points on a year-to-year basis. NY Post

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ObamaCare Enrollees Told To Change Passwords After Heartbleed Review
People who have accounts on the enrollment website for President Obama's signature health care law are being told to change their passwords following an administration-wide review of the government's vulnerability to the confounding Heartbleed Internet security flaw. Senior administration officials said there is no indication that the HealthCare.gov site has been compromised and the action is being taken out of an abundance of caution. The government's Heartbleed review is ongoing, the officials said, and users of other websites may also be told to change their passwords in the coming days, including those with accounts on the popular WhiteHouse.gov petitions page. Fox News

Vow To Push Forward On Ukraine Pact Meets Defiance On The Ground
Two days after an international pact was brokered with the stated goal of easing tensions in Ukraine, the major players met again in Kiev to hash out plans to push it along, but ended their meeting offering little indication of progress. "It was agreed to move ahead rapidly with the practical implementation of the Geneva Statement," the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe said in a statement released Saturday that referred to the pact, which was agreed to on Thursday in the Swiss city by officials from Ukraine, the United States, the European Union and Russia. CNN

Iran Slams U.S. Justice Verdict On Manhattan Skyscraper
Iran on Saturday criticized a U.S. government move to seize a Manhattan skyscraper owned largely by a foundation that promotes its language and Islamic culture, saying this violated the right to religious freedom in the United States. According to a court document filed in New York on Thursday, the U.S. Department of Justice agreed to distribute proceeds from the sale of the Fifth Avenue high-rise to families affected by alleged Iranian-aided attacks, including the 1983 bombing of the U.S. Marine barracks in Beirut. The settlement marks the latest turn in a long-running battle over the 36-storey building owned chiefly by Alavi Foundation, a non-profit Persian and Islamic cultural center. Reuters

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US Synagogue Network Urges Jews Not To Walk Home Alone
The National Council of Young Israel has urged synagogue goers not to walk home alone during the final days of the Passover holiday.  The security precaution is one of several emailed to those affiliated with the national modern orthodox synagogue network this week in response to the recent shooting attack at a Jewish Community Center in Overland Park, Kansas.  Jewish community centers, synagogues and other institutions around the country boosted their security last week following the attack, in which Klansman Frazier Glenn Cross killed three people, including a teenage boy.  Police have increased their presence at Jewish sites in both New York and Washington and senior Jewish communal officials have consulted with both the FBI and Department of Homeland Security. Jerusalem Post

US Lawmakers Wary Of Israeli Spying Hesitate On Visa Waiver
American lawmakers in Washington are hesitant to ease visa restrictions for Israelis wishing to enter the United States for fear that it would increase the risk of Israeli espionage, Roll Call is reporting on Saturday. Earlier in the week, JTA reported that the US and Israel are creating a working group to help Israel advance toward joining the visa waiver program. “This is a goal of both the United States and Israel, and it would make travel easier for citizens of both countries,” Julia Frifield, the assistant secretary of state for legislative affairs, said in a letter sent Thursday to Rep. Nita Lowey (D-N.Y.). Permitting Israel into the visa waiver program would exempt Israeli nationals from having to produce a tourist visa, allowing them to stay in the country for a period of up to 90 days. Jerusalem Post

Iran Condemns US Seizure Of Alavi Foundation Building
Iran has condemned a US decision to seize a Manhattan skyscraper belonging to a non-profit organisation with alleged links to the Tehran government. The 36-storey building is owned chiefly by the Alavi Foundation, a Persian and Islamic cultural centre. Iran said its seizure was illegal and violated religious freedom. On Thursday the US justice department agreed to distribute proceeds from the sale of the building to victims of attacks by Iran-backed militants. Iranian foreign ministry spokeswoman Marzieh Afkham said on Saturday: "Confiscation of the properties of an independent charity organisation raises doubt about the credibility of US justice." BBC

Japan Risks Angering China With Military Expansion
Japan began its first military expansion in more than 40 years on Saturday, breaking ground on a radar station on a tropical island off Taiwan to resist China's claims of ownership of nearby islands. The move risks angering China, which in dispute with Japan over the Senkaku islands – known in China as the Diaoyu islands – which they both claim. The Japanese defence minister, Itsunori Onodera, who attended a ceremony on Yonaguni island to mark the start of construction, suggested the military presence could be enlarged to other islands in the seas south-west of Japan's main islands. Guardian

Wall Street Deregulation Pushed By Clinton Advisers
Wall Street deregulation, blamed for deepening the banking crisis, was aggressively pushed by advisers to Bill Clinton who have also been at the heart of current White House policy-making, according to newly disclosed documents from his presidential library. The previously restricted papers reveal two separate attempts, in 1995 and 1997, to hurry Clinton into supporting a repeal of the Depression-era Glass Steagall Act and allow investment banks, insurers and retail banks to merge. A Financial Services Modernization Act was passed by Congress in 1999, giving retrospective clearance to the 1998 merger of Citigroup and Travelers Group and unleashing a wave of Wall Street consolidation that was later blamed for forcing taxpayers to spend billions bailing out the enlarged banks after the sub-prime mortgage crisis. Guardian

Americans Aren’t Ready For The Future Google And Amazon Want To Build
Americans are hopeful about the future of technology. But don’t release the drones just yet. And forget meat grown in a petri dish. Pushing new tech on a public that isn’t ready can have real bottom-line consequences. That’s the takeaway from a new study released by the Pew Research Center looking at how U.S. residents felt about possible high-tech advances looming in the not-too-distant future. Overall, a decisive majority of those surveyed believed new tech would make the future better. At the same time, the public doesn’t seem quite ready for many of the advances companies like Google and Amazon are pushing hard to make real. If the stigma surrounding Google Glass (or, perhaps more specifically, “Glassholes”) has taught us anything, it’s that no matter how revolutionary technology may be, ultimately its success or failure ride on public perception. Wired

UN Envoy Urges Respect For Religious Freedom After Israeli Forces Disrupt Easter Procession
A top United Nations envoy on Saturday said he was dismayed that a peaceful Easter procession led by Palestinian Christians through Jerusalem's Old City was disrupted by Israeli security forces. “Once again I call on all parties to respect the right of religious freedom, granting access to holy sites for worshippers of all faiths and refraining from provocations not least during the religious holidays,” said Robert Serry, the Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process. UN News

OPCW-UN Mission Reports Further Progress In Eliminating Syria's Chemical Weapons
Syria has, as of 19 April, removed or destroyed in-country approximately 80 per cent of its chemical weapons material, the head of the Joint Mission of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons and the United Nations announced today. Sigrid Kaag, Special Coordinator of the OPCW-UN Joint Mission, said in a statement that further engagement is expected to sustain momentum and to complete removal operations during the next days. This will contribute to meeting the deadlines set by the OPCW Executive Council, including the 30 June 2014 target date for completing the destruction of Syria's entire chemical weapons programme. UN News

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