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April 24, 2009

McClatchy Washington Bureau Newsletter

Filed under: News — hypeplug @ 3:49 pm

McClatchy Washington Bureau

Daily News Update

8:00am Friday, April 24, 2009 EDT

  • Political pressure may force President Barack Obama to do something he’s resisted doing since he took office: support a new investigation into how the Bush-era CIA interrogated suspected terrorists using techniques that are widely considered torture.

  • Ahmed and Salim appear to be typical teenage brothers. The animated stars of an incendiary new Internet cartoon series aren’t typical, however. Its creators and fans see a humorous series that resembles “South Park” — at least visually — and mocks Islamic terrorism. Its critics see a hate-filled cartoon that uses crude stereotypes to dehumanize Muslims, intensify Arab-Israeli divisions and inflame the conflict between Muslims and Jews.

  • The White House called the growing crisis in the nuclear-armed South Asian nation “deeply disturbing,” and several key U.S. lawmakers told Secretary of State Hillary Clinton that the Obama administration’s new $7.5 billion plan to help stabilize Pakistan could be doomed by the failure of its government and military to battle the insurgents.

  • A bill introduced Thursday would provide “rebates” from a $30 billion fund to build the stalled Yucca Mountain nuclear-waste repository in Nevada.

  • California became the first state in the nation Thursday to mandate carbon-based reductions in transportation fuels in an attempt to cut the state’s overall greenhouse gas emissions.

  • Amid deep concerns about the stability of the U.S. financial system and Bank of America, then-Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson in December threatened to oust the bank’s management and board in order to force it to buy Merrill Lynch, according to documents released Thursday.

  • Armed with letters from Americans hit hard by soaring credit card fees and rates, President Barack Obama warned credit card executives Thursday that he’d happily sign into law tough new regulations that are working their way through Congress.

  • WellPoint, the nation’s largest health insurer, made 3 million computer-generated phone calls last week to gauge the public’s appetite for overhauling health care and to enlist, critics say, a grass-roots army to voice concerns about the sweeping proposals developing on Capitol Hill.

  • Health officials are having trouble understanding the cause and course of 12 cases of a rare, virulent form of meningitis that has killed four people in South Florida since December.

  • Fueled by waxy undergrowth and unpredictable winds, wildfires across a large swath of inland Horry County destroyed dozens of homes and displaced thousands of residents Thursday, leaving a smoky scar across the sky, scorch marks across the land and fears of more destruction to come.

  • With the recession straining budgets and causing widespread layoffs, company softball teams have felt an impact. Some have seen players pony up fees instead of business owners. Some have scratched to fill their rosters. Some have vanished altogether.

  • News of Haitian migrants dying in boating tragedies resonated so much with a Dutch novelist Geert van der Kolk that he wanted to experience the actual trip firsthand. So, he traveled to Haiti, built a 21-foot sloop, recruited a trio of brave boaters, and sailed the very passage that hundreds of Haitians thread every year in a desperate attempt to reach Florida shores.

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