News Desk

April 2007

Racial Profiling in Police Searches?

Research released Sunday by the Bureau of Justice Statistics has found that, while black and Hispanic drivers are almost equally as likely as whites to be pulled over by police, they are significantly more likely to be searched during the stop.

Drivers had between an 8 and 9 percent chance of being ...

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Food-Stamp Governor Splurges

Without a strict budget for groceries, Oregon Gov. Ted Kulongoski splurged on fresh berries with his usual yogurt for breakfast this morning.

Up through last night, he had forgone these delicacies as part of his participation in Oregon's Hunger Awareness Week, during which he lived on food stamps,

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Bloggers Salivate Over 'D.C. Madam'

Nothing--nothing--excites the political blogosphere like a Washington sex scandal. This Friday, ABC's 20/20 plans to air an interview with the so-called "D.C. Madam," Jeane Palfrey, who allegedly made more than $2 million over 13 years running a high-end prostitution service that attracted many ...

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U.S. Envoy to Iraq Draws Parallel to Lebanon

Note: Updated at 3:45 p.m. ET.

U.S. News Senior Writer Linda Robinson sends us this news from Baghdad from her interview today with Ryan Crocker, the U.S. ambassador to Iraq. The career foreign service officer, who is fluent in Arabic, drew a connection to his stints as a diplomat in Beirut in the ...

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Bolton Calls State Department Weak on N. Korea

In an interview with U.S. News, John Bolton, the recently resigned U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, argued that the State Department is likely to proffer more concessions to North Korea in light of the communist regime's intransigence in moving forward with denuclearization in return for ...

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Morning Buzz: April 30, 2007

This morning's top stories:

  • Five U.S. service members were killed in Iraq over the weekend, making April the deadliest month for U.S. troops this year, the AP reports.
  • A NATO offensive in southern Afghanistan's Helmand province, totaling more than 3,000 troops, is trying to rout the Taliban from its ...
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    Romney Said to Have Most to Gain From Republican Debate

    Now that the Democrats have completed their first presidential debate, it will be the Republicans' turn next Thursday when they convene at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, Calif., for their own nationally televised encounter.

    And no candidate is looking forward more to the ...

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    Captured Qaeda Suspect At Center of CIA Controversies

    More on the caputre of Abdul al-Hadi al-Iraqi:

    The announced transfer of a high-level al Qaeda operative to the U.S. military detention center at Guantanamo Bay from CIA custody was hailed as a significant victory for the United States. But the announcement about Abdul al-Hadi al-Iraqi's capture ...

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    Watchdog Groups Raise Red Flags Over Special Counsel Probe

    The Project on Government Oversight is offering harsh criticism of U.S. Special Counsel Scott Bloch and his recently announced probe into the political activities of key White House officials, most notably Deputy Chief of Staff Karl Rove.

    The group describes the investigation as "off to a bumpy ...

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    A Not-So-Happy Anniversary

    May 1, this coming Tuesday, marks the four-year anniversary of the president's now infamous "Mission Accomplished" speech aboard the USS Abraham Lincoln, an event that has come to signify for critics of the war the iconic image of defective prewar planning.

    As U.S. News Whispers Editor Paul Bedard ...

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    Morning Buzz: April 27, 2007

    This morning's top stories:

    • Taliban militants killed five people in an eastern district of Afghanistan duringa successful effort to seize control of the region.
    • In his new book, former CIA chief George Tenet says there was no "serious debate" on whether Saddam Hussein posed a legitimate threat before ...
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      Two GOP Votes for Iraq Bill Made the Difference

      Shortly before 1 p.m. today, the U.S. Senate narrowly approved the conference report for the Iraq spending bill containing a deadline for the withdrawal of most U.S. troops in Iraq, the last vote before the bill is sent to the president for an almost certain veto.

      The roll call for the 51-to-46 vote ...

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      Legal Brief: Stories Behind the Stories

      Two separate legal fights are making headlines today in the nation's capital. For the essential background on how these stories developed, here are a couple of links from the U.S.News & World Report archives:

      Today: The New York Times led today's edition with news that the Justice Department wants ...

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      Bloomberg Tries to Kill Speculation About a Presidential Run

      At the opening gala of the Tribeca Film Festival last night, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg and former Vice President Al Gore continued to publicly flirt with the presidential race, with Bloomberg joking, ostensibly about Gore, "Don't you just hate those rumors about running for president?"

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      Larger Virginia Tech Shooting Panel Being Considered

      Even as the three cabinet secretaries tapped by President Bush to review the Virginia Tech shootings hit the road this week on a listening tour, the White House is considering a broader commission to study and recommend changes to school security and related issues, according to officials.

      While ...

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      Morning Buzz: April 26, 2007

      This morning's top stories:

      • The House of Representatives passed the Iraq funding bill, including the timetable for withdrawal by a 218-208 vote (roll call here). The Senate is expected to do so as well today, setting the stage for the president's promised veto early next week.
      • Meanwhile, at least ...
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        Looking for 2BR in Basra, Util Incl.

        Frederick Kagan, an American Enterprise Institute fellow and leading proponent of the "surge" of troops into Iraq, today released Phase II of the institute's "Plan for Success in Iraq." One of its more notable features is a bid to get everyday Americans more involved in the war effort.

        The Bush ...

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        Gonzales Watch: Pryor Again Calls on AG to Quit

        Arkansas Democratic Sen. Mark Pryor, in a face-to-face meeting with Alberto Gonzales, directly told the embattled attorney general to resign, his communications director said today.

        "The trust level has been diminished greatly," Michael Teague told News Desk.

        As first reported here at News Desk,

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        Morning Buzz: April 25, 2007

        This morning's top stories:

        • The House is scheduled for a final vote today on the Iraq spending bill, which would mandate a withdrawal of troops beginning this fall. The president has promised a veto.
        • Lawmakers in Mexico City have voted to legalize abortion, setting the stage for a bitter court ...
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          Obama Team Sees South Carolina as Key to Victory

          Senior Editor Dan Gilgoff reports:

          An adviser to Barack Obama's presidential campaign says the Democratic senator from Illinois is increasingly looking to South Carolina as his best shot at guaranteeing a victory in next year's early primary states.

          The Obama campaign, according to the adviser,

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          Gonzales Watch: AG to Meet With Angry Senator

          Attorney General Alberto Gonzales has set up a meeting with Democratic Sen. Mark Pryor of Arkansas, who has accused Gonzales of lying to him about plans to replace a U.S. attorney in his state.

          At last Thursday's Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on the controversial firings of eight U.S.

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          Tillman's Brother Lashes Out at Military

          The brother of slain soldier Pat Tillman told a congressional committee today that he believes the U.S. military deliberately tried to conceal the fact that the former football player was killed by friendly fire.

          See U.S. News & World Report's original piece on Tillman's death here.

          Video: Tillman's ...

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          Dems Add Four States as Presidential Battleground Targets

          Whispers Editor Paul Bedard brings us this item:

          There are at least four new battleground states emerging to challenge Ohio and Florida for that title in the upcoming presidential election, according to Democratic Party sources.

          Key among the new four: Virginia, which elected a Democratic senator ...

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          Morning Buzz: April 24, 2007

          This morning's top stories:

          • A suicide bomber struck a military patrol base northeast of Baghdad today, killing nine U.S. servicemen and wounding 20 more.
          • A congressional committee begins hearings today into possible coverup of the events surrounding the friendly-fire death of soldier and former ...
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            Gonzales Watch: No Call Yet to Senator Pryor

            Chief Legal Affairs Correspondent Chitra Ragavan reports the latest on the attorney general and his relationship with Congress:

            At last week's Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on the controversial firings of eight U.S. attorneys, one Republican senator had a piece of what he called "personal ...

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            EPA Chief Faces Unpleasent Hearing

            Associate Editor Bret Schulte reports:

            The storm over global warming builds again in Washington. EPA administrator Stephen Johnson has been summoned before the Senate Environment Committee to explain the administration's failure to regulate greenhouse gases, a hearing that comes on the heels of a ...

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            Walls Are Nothing New In Iraq

            A proposed 3-mile wall in Iraq that would have partitioned off a Sunni enclave in Baghdad from the surrounding Shiite neighborhoods has invited a storm of controversy from top Iraqi lawmakers, who see it as segregating the neighborhoods by religious sect. U.S. military officials who back the ...

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            Effort to Draft Condi Rice Picks Up Steam

            This item comes to us from Whispers Editor Paul Bedard:

            An effort to get Secretary of State Condi Rice's name on key GOP primary ballots is picking up steam now that she has emerged as a top-three pick on several state and county straw polls.

            Crystal Dueker, spokeswoman for, said ...

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            The YouTube Wars Meet Official Washington

            YouTube will probably always be ruled by amateurs, but that isn't preventing organized politics from getting in--finally--on the phenomenon of user-submitted video. Within 24 hours of each other, both the Democratic and Republican national committees released video potshots on the popular site.

            The ...

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            Morning Buzz: April 23, 2007

            This morning's top stories:

            • At least 27 people are dead in Iraq in three separate suicide bombing attempts around the country.
            • A close presidential race in France between conservative Nicolas Sarkozy and socialist Segolene Royal has advanced to the second round of runoff voting.
            • California Rep.
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              Gunman Slipped Through Inconsistencies in State, Federal Laws

              Inconsistencies between state and federal laws allowed Virginia Tech gunman Cho Seung-Hui to purchase guns legally despite his record of exhibiting signs of a dangerous mental illness. But even if it had been illegal for Cho to buy the handguns, Virginia law would have been powerless to prosecute ...

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              Johnson Space Center Evacuated

              Building 44 of the Johnson Space Center was evacuated this afternoon after reports of a gunman inside, Houston police said. The building houses communications and tracking development laboratory, the AP reports.

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              Republicans See Gonzales as Weak Link for '08

              There's another reason--discussed privately but rarely cited in public--that so many Republican senators are upset with Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, reports Chief White House Correspondent Kenneth T. Walsh.

              More and more lawmakers are concluding that he has become such a weak advocate for ...

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              Video: Columbine Grads at Virginia Tech

              After we reported Tuesday morning on a Virginia Tech student, Regina Rohde, and her fiance who were present at both the Columbine High School shootings and the massacre at Virginia Tech on Monday, the two met with Chhayal Parikh, a video producer for to discuss their unique perspective ...

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              Morning Buzz: April 20, 2007

              This morning's top stories:

              • Attorney General Alberto Gonzales endured stinging questions and remarks from senators of both parties during his testimony on Capitol Hill yesterday, and now several Republican senators are joining with Democrats in calling for him to resign.
              • Virginia Gov. Tim Kaine has ...
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                Democratic Leaders Unlikely to Push Gun Control Issues Hard

                Democrats are expecting gun control to be a major campaign issue in the upcoming elections but aren't expected to press hard for tougher controls in the wake of the Virginia Tech massacre, reports Whispers Editor Paul Bedard.

                A key Democratic strategist today said that while House and Senate leaders ...

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                A Mother Records Her Daughter's Grief

                The mother of a Virginia Tech freshman who lost two high school friends in Monday's masssacre wrote down her thoughts in the initial days following the shootings. Shari Sachs is the mother of Nicole Bonfiglio, who graduated last year from Westfield High School in Chantilly, Va., with her friends,

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                Latest Developments From Virginia Tech

                U.S. News's Online News Editor Jay Keller compiled the most recent news on Monday's horrific shooting at Virginia Tech.

                NBC News's decision to air some of the video and pictures sent by Cho Seung-Hui to NBC has had immediate repercussions today, with family members of victims canceling plans to ...

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                Cho Nearly Landed on List of Those Banned From Buying Guns

                Note: This article was originally reported Wednesday evening. It has been updated this morning with new information from the FBI.

                Despite being temporarily detained at a mental health facility in 2005, Virginia Tech gunman Cho Seung-Hui's name was not added to the federal database meant to prevent ...

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                On the Scene: Gonzales Testifies

                U.S. News chief legal correspondent Chitra Ragavan sends us this update from the Senate hearing room where Attorney General Alberto Gonzales is testifying on his role in the firing of eight U.S. attorneys.

                "It's a jampacked hearing," Ragavan says. "Senators kept their own opening comments brief, a ...

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                Morning Buzz: April 19, 2007

                Today's top stories:

                • In the worst day of violence since the troop increase began in Iraq two months ago, at least 183 people died in four separate attacks on Wednesday.

                • Update: The AP now reports that the death toll has risen to 230. Meanwhile, another suicide bomber has killed at least 12 in ...

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                  Photo of the Day: Columbine Grads Relive Tragedy

                  After we reported yesterday morning on a Virginia Tech student, Regina Rohde, and her fiance who were present at both the Columbine High School shootings and the massacre at Virginia Tech on Monday, the two met with Chhayal Parikh, a video producer for to discuss their unique perspective ...

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                  Ohio Democrats Attack State GOP for Bringing Rove to Dinner

                  From U.S. News reporter Silla Brush:

                  Ohio Democrats are going on the attack, criticizing Republicans in the state for inviting Karl Rove to the annual Tuscarawas County Republican Party's Lincoln Day Dinner.

                  "Rove doesn't represent us; does he represent Ohio Republicans?" asked Chris Redfern, head ...

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                  Orange and Maroon Suddenly Has a Tint of Gold

                  There is no delicate way to put it: Tragedy is good for business.

                  Virginia Tech merchandise is suddenly in hot demand among those wishing to show solidarity with the school, particularly since Friday has been designated as a nationwide "Orange and Maroon Effect" day.

                  Steve Glosh, the assistant ...

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                  Who's Where on the Campaign Trail


                  • Most of the Democratic candidates are in Washington, D.C., today. Both John Edwards and Chris Dodd are delivering policy addresses.
                  • Republicans

                    • Rudy Giuliani attended a fundraiser this morning in New York City at the Metropolitan Club.
                    • Mike Huckabee skips around New Hampshire, delivering a ...
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                      Morning Buzz: April 18, 2007

                      This morning's top stories:

                      • Thousands gathered in Blacksburg, Va., yesterday to remember the 32 students and faculty slain by gunman Cho Seung-Hui, a 23-year-old student at Virginia Tech.
                      • Meanwhile, the horrific shooting has vaulted the issue of gun control back onto the national platform.
                      • Two deadly
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                        Virginia Tech's Football Legacy Made Response to Shootings Easier

                        Unexpected tragedies like the one that Virginia Tech experienced Monday pose problems for cellphone companies, which suddenly have to cope with exponentially higher demand as phone calls flood into and out of the system. Companies build enough technical capacity into their systems, technicians say,

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                        Iranian Weapons Found in Afghanistan, Pentagon Chief Says

                        Gen. Peter Pace, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told defense writers this morning that there is evidence that weapons from Iran -- in addition to being used in Iraq -- are being intercepted in Afghanistan as well, reports senior editor Anna Mulrine.

                        "It's not clear which Iranian entity is ...

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                        Docs: Gunman Was Due in Court

                        Courts documents from Montgomery County, Va., where Blacksburg is located, indicated that Cho Seung-Hui had been pulled over for speeding twice in the past three weeks, and had court dates scheduled for May.

                        • On March 30, he was charged with driving 74 mph in 55 mph speed limit zone (Doc).
                        • On April ...
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                          Iraq's Neighbors Turn Away Refugees

                          U.S. News Senior Editor Kevin Whitelaw reports:

                          Iraq's neighbors are turning away more and more Iraqi refugees trying to flee the violence there, according to a prominent human rights group. Jordan and Egypt in particular are blasted for turning away refugees, while Saudi Arabia is spending $7 ...

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                          Exclusive: In Blacksburg, Columbine Grads Relive Tragedy

                          Virginia Tech graduate student Regina Rohde was putting away the dog and getting ready to head to campus when news broke that there had been a shooting on campus.

                          Her feeling might not have been so different from the tens of thousands of other students who experienced the shock and trauma of ...

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