Republican amendment fight threatens Iran bill in Senate

Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Senator Corker uses the phones before meeting with Secretary of State Kerry on nuclear negotiations with Iran on Capitol Hill in WashingtonBy Patricia Zengerle WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A dispute among Republican senators over changes to an Iran nuclear review bill on Thursday threatened the measure's chances of being passed by the U.S. Congress, leaving Senate leaders scrambling for a way to advance the legislation. Two Republican senators, Tom Cotton and Marco Rubio, used an unorthodox procedural move to try to force the Senate to vote on their amendments to a bill authored by another Republican senator, Bob Corker, that would give Congress the right to review an international nuclear agreement with Iran.

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Preliminary Baltimore police report: no evidence Gray fatally injured during arrest: ABC

Police are seen along Pennsylvania Avenue two days after it was looted and set ablaze in protest against the death of Freddie Gray, a 25-year-old black man who died in police custody, in Baltimore, MarylandA preliminary probe has found no evidence that 25-year-old Freddie Gray was fatally injured during his videotaped arrest in Baltimore, a local ABC affiliate reported on Thursday, citing sources briefed on the police report and on findings made by the medical examiner. The medical examiner found Gray's catastrophic injury was caused when he was slammed into back of the police transport van and apparently broke his neck. Law enforcement sources also said Gray sustained a head injury that matches bolt in the back of police van, the affiliate reported. Gray's death a week after his arrest sparked violent protests over police treatment of minorities.

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Read the rest of the story...Unconventional launch for unconventional candidate: Sanders 2016

Liberal U.S. Senator Sanders to challenge Clinton in 2016 race

U.S. Senator Sanders holds news conference after announcing his candidacy for the 2016 Democratic presidential nomination, on Capitol Hill in WashingtonBy Emily Stephenson WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders, an independent from Vermont, launched a long-shot bid for the 2016 Democratic presidential nomination on Thursday, a move likely to pressure Hillary Clinton from the left on issues from income inequality to corporate governance. "How do we create an economy that works for all of our people, rather than a small number of billionaires?" The 73-year-old, second-term senator faces long odds against the fund-raising might and name recognition of Clinton - the Democratic front-runner and former U.S. secretary of state, senator and first lady - to head the Democratic presidential slate in the November 2016 election. Sanders highlighted his fight against authorizing the Iraq war, which Clinton voted for as a senator, and his opposition to trade deals that liberals and labor unions fear could hurt American workers. Clinton has not expressed her position but said trade deals should help workers and protect U.S. security.

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State Department turns over more documents to U.S. House panel

A House panel investigating the deadly 2012 attack on U.S. diplomatic facilities in Benghazi, Libya, has received 4,000 pages of documents from the State Department's official inquiry into the attack, its chairman said on Thursday. The documents are from the State Department's "Accountability Review Board" (ARB) investigation into the Sept. 11, 2012 attack that took the lives of U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans. U.S. Representative Trey Gowdy, a South Carolina Republican who heads the Select Committee on Benghazi, said in a statement it was the first time the proceedings of a State ARB had been turned over to Congress. Republicans say the State Department failed to protect diplomatic personnel at the time, when Hillary Clinton - now the presumptive Democratic frontrunner for the 2016 presidential race - was secretary of state.
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Boston bomber trial’s sentencing phase stalled by juror illness

Dzhokhar Tsarnaev is pictured in this handout photo presented as evidence by the U.S. Attorney's Office in BostonBy Elizabeth Barber BOSTON (Reuters) - Testimony was suspended on Thursday in the sentencing phase of convicted Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev's trial due to a juror’s illness, a federal judge said. The trial will resume on Monday once one of the 12 jurors and six alternate jurors hearing the case recovers, Judge George O’Toole told the court. Court is expected to open with prosecutors cross-examining Alexa Guevara, a 21-year-old college friend of Tsarnaev's who sobbed as she told jurors on Wednesday that he was a kind person who encouraged her to go to art school, liked joking around, and was more decent than other college guys. Tamerlan Tsarnaev, an accomplished boxer who became fascinated with militant Islam after a trip to Russia's Dagestan region, was killed days after the bombing following a shootout with police.

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Read the rest of the story...Bai: Democrats shouldn’t congratulate themselves on gay marriage

New York City comes out tops in youth survey

A passenger boat navigates the Hudson River in front of One World Trade Center in Lower Manhattan in New YorkNew York has been ranked as the most popular city for young people aged 15 to 29 years old, scoring particularly high for its offerings of music, film and fashion, a survey released on Thursday said. London was a close second, scoring well on healthcare and travel, while Berlin was found to have high levels of digital access in the survey of 10,000 young people around the world by Toronto-based YouthfulCities. The survey was launched last year but last year's winner, Toronto -- which was praised for high levels of youth employment, digital accessibility and high living standards among other factors -- dropped to sixth place in this year's ranking. New York was ranked third last year.

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Obama to announce free e-books for low-income kids

President Barack Obama walks on the South Lawn of the White House in WashingtonBy Roberta Rampton WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Barack Obama will go to a public library in one of Washington's poorest neighborhoods on Thursday to talk about a plan to give low-income children access to 10,000 e-books. Working with publishers and libraries, the White House sees the modest plan as part of a strategy to address inner city problems by increasing educational opportunities for kids - woes brought into focus with recent riots in nearby Baltimore. "If we're serious about living up to what our country is about, then we have to consider what we can do to provide opportunities in every community, not just when they're on the front page, but every day," said Jeff Zients, Obama's top economic adviser, in a briefing with reporters. The plan includes $250 million in e-book commitments from publishers, including from the five major publishing houses: Verlagsgruppe Georg von Holtzbrinck GmbH's Macmillan, CBS Corp's Simon & Schuster Inc, Penguin Random House, Lagardere SCA's Hachette Book Group Inc, and News Corp's HarperCollins Publishers LLC. The New York Public Library is developing an app to connect low-income kids with the books, and Obama will urge more communities to find ways to get kids into libraries.

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