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Carney: Senior White House staff knew of IRS probe

IRS Scrutiny
Posted at 5:49 PM, May 20, 2013
and last updated 2013-05-20 13:54:15-04

WASHINGTON (AP) — The White House says White House Counsel Kathryn Ruemmler was first informed about an audit of the IRS' inappropriate targeting of conservative groups on April 24 and that she notified senior staff, including Denis McDonough, the chief of staff to President Barack Obama. White House press secretary Jay Carney says Ruemmler "appropriately" decided not to tell Obama at the time because the audit was ongoing.

The audit by a Treasury Department inspector general found that IRS employees singled out groups with names like "tea party" and "patriots" for special scrutiny that delayed their applications for tax exempt status.

Carney said no one in the White House intervened in the inspector general's audit. He says Obama did not learn of the probe until there were news reports about it.

Carney noted that the practice by the IRS workers ended in May 2012.

 

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Update on the latest news, sports, business and entertainment

SEVERE WEATHER-OKLAHOMA

UPDATE: Tornado in Oklahoma City suburb causes destruction

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — A mile-wide tornado chewing through the Oklahoma City area has reduced neighborhoods to rubble and left cars and trucks crumpled on the sides of highways.

Television video left piles of debris where homes used to be near Moore, Okla., and vehicles littering roadways south and southwest of Oklahoma City.

There were no immediate reports of injuries.

The suburb of Moore, where Monday's damage was concentrated, was hit hard by a tornado in 1999 that included the highest winds ever recorded near the earth's surface.

SEVERE WEATHER

2 dead, 39 injured from Oklahoma tornado

SHAWNEE, Okla. (AP) — Oklahoma's governor toured areas that were damaged by yesterday's tornadoes as residents have been trying to get out of the way of more today.

A tornado near Shawnee left two people dead Sunday. The two men in their 70s were found in or near a mobile home park outside Shawnee that was leveled by the twister. At least 39 others throughout Oklahoma were injured.

One man who sought refuge in a storm cellar with his wife and two children emerged to find that their mobile home had vanished. James Hoke said, "Everything is gone."

Residents of Arkansas, Kansas and Missouri are also being warned to watch for bad weather today.

A tornado that touched down in Wichita, Kan., yesterday knocked out power to thousands of homes and businesses, but missed the most populated areas of Kansas' biggest city.

TRAINS COLLIDE-CONN

UPDATE: Hard to get home for Connecticut commuters

BRIDGEPORT, Conn. (AP) — People who endured an extra-long commute from Connecticut to New York City this morning have now had to figure out how to get home -- unless they've given up and are staying in New York for the week.

A train collision Friday evening on one of the nation's most heavily traveled railways shut down that part of the rail line, and left commuters packed into buses today, or on highways that were even more heavily clogged than usual.

Meanwhile, three people remain hospitalized from Friday's wreck, which injured 72 people.

Connecticut state lawmakers say they are planning to hold hearings on the crash, on a rail network that they say is in need of extensive improvements.

Investigators are looking at a broken section of rail to see if it's connected to Friday's derailment of a train heading east from New York. It was then hit by a train heading west from New Haven. They're not sure if the rail was broken in the crash or earlier.

OBAMA-IRS

Carney: Senior White House staff knew of IRS probe

WASHINGTON (AP) — The White House says White House Counsel Kathryn Ruemmler was first informed about an audit of the IRS' inappropriate targeting of conservative groups on April 24 and that she notified senior staff, including Denis McDonough, the chief of staff to President Barack Obama. White House press secretary Jay Carney says Ruemmler "appropriately" decided not to tell Obama at the time because the audit was ongoing.

The audit by a Treasury Department inspector general found that IRS employees singled out groups with names like "tea party" and "patriots" for special scrutiny that delayed their applications for tax exempt status.

Carney said no one in the White House intervened in the inspector general's audit. He says Obama did not learn of the probe until there were news reports about it.

Carney noted that the practice by the IRS workers ended in May 2012.

IRAQ

UPDATE: Attacks kill at least 95 in Iraq

BAGHDAD (AP) — Today's wave of attacks in Iraq has now left at least 95 people dead.

The worst of the violence took place in Baghdad, where 10 car bombs ripped through open-air markets and other areas of Shiite neighborhoods. Police say at least 48 people were killed and more than 150 wounded in those attacks.

One bomb went off in a market in the northern Shiite neighborhood of Shaab, killing 14 people.

The predominantly Shiite city of Basra in southern Iraq was also hit, with two car bombs -- one outside a restaurant and another at the city's main bus station. At least 13 people died in those attacks.

Police and health officials say nine people were killed and 26 wounded when a parked car bomb struck Shiite worshippers as they were leaving a mosque in the southern city of Hillah.

North of Baghdad, a car bomb exploded next to a bus carrying Iranian pilgrims. A police officer says 13 Iranians and one Iraqi were killed.

There's been no claim of responsibility for the attacks, but Sunni militants are suspected. Sunni insurgents, particularly al-Qaida in Iraq, are known to use such large-scale bombings.

The violence pushes the death toll over the past week to more than 240. It extends one of the most sustained bouts of sectarian violence the country has seen in years.

US-MYANMAR

UPDATE: Obama cites Myanmar reforms during leader's visit

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama says despite tensions between the U.S. and Myanmar, President Thein Sein (tayn sayn) of Myanmar has shown leadership to move his country toward political and economic reforms.

Obama spoke as he sat in the Oval Office with the Asian nation's president at his side. It was the first time a Myanmar leader has visited the White House in 47 years.

Activists object to the invitation because of concerns over human rights in the country. But it marks a turnaround in international acceptance for Myanmar after decades of isolation and direct military rule.

Obama cited Myanmar's release of political prisoners, credible elections, more inclusivity and efforts to resolve ethnic conflicts.

He says both leaders discussed release of more prisoners and institutionalizing reforms.

DEADLY VAN CRASH-ILLINOIS

UPDATE: Illinois State Police: 5 killed in I-70 van crash

ST. LOUIS (AP) — Authorities say a van carrying church members returning from a California religious gathering careened off of a southern Illinois freeway and overturned several times, killing five people and hospitalizing six others.

State police Sgt. Mark Zimmerman said five people died at the scene of the accident shortly before 10 a.m. Monday on Interstate 70 in Fayette County, about 70 miles east of St. Louis.

Sheriff's deputy Shawn Carter says the van apparently first traveled onto the grassy median, then swerved back across the eastbound lanes before overturning.

Carter says the van was returning from a California religious event and had Maryland license plates.

Fayette County Hospital spokeswoman Lyn Gartke says four survivors taken there were in fair condition later Monday. The medical statuses of the other two survivors weren't clear.

HOFSTRA STUDENT SHOT

UPDATE: Godfather faults NY police in student death

NEW YORK (AP) — The godfather of a New York college student accidentally killed by a police bullet says the officer should have negotiated instead of firing as an armed intruder held the young woman hostage.

Henrique Santos, of Eastchester, tells the Journal News (http://lohud.us/12Q1LzB) that he is angry about the shooting of Andrea Rebello on Friday. Santos also wonders why eight shots were fired instead of one.

Rebello's twin sister was in the Long Island house when the shooting occurred.

Santos says Jessica Rebello now cries instead of sleeping. He says the twins did everything together.

The funeral for the Hofstra University student will be Wednesday in Sleepy Hollow, north of New York City.

WALL STREET

UPDATE: Small company stocks take the limelight

NEW YORK (AP) — Small companies are taking the limelight on a choppy start to the week.

The Russell 2000, an index of small-company stocks, rose above 1,000 for the first time Monday. The index is outpacing the Dow Jones industrial average and the Standard & Poor's 500 index this year.

Small stocks are doing well partly because they are less exposed to Europe's economic woes than large companies.

The Dow fell 19 points to close at 15,335, a loss of 0.1 percent.

The S&P 500 fell a point to 1,666, or 0.1 percent. The Nasdaq composite fell two points to 3,496, or 0.1 percent.

The Russell rose a point to 998.

Three stocks rose for every one that fell on the New York Stock Exchange. Volume was light at 3.2 billion shares.

BRITAIN-GAY CLERGY

NEW: Church of Scotland votes to allow gay ministers

LONDON (AP) — Senior members of the Church of Scotland have voted to let some congregations have openly gay ministers, a compromise first step that could lead to the church allowing gay clergy.

The church's General Assembly backed a motion affirming a traditional conservative view on homosexuality, but permitted liberal congregations to "opt out" if they wish to ordain gay men or women.

The assembly vote would require the approval of next year's General Assembly as well as votes by the church's regional presbyteries to become law. The process is expected to take at least two years.

Monday's decision came after a lengthy debate on the issue, which has divided the church of about 400,000 members for years.

The General Assembly, held each May, consists of about 700 members and decides church policy.

ARCTIC REFUGE-PLAN

NEW: Alaska unveils plan to assess gas, oil in ANWR

JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — Alaska has unveiled a plan to determine the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge's oil and gas potential, as the state looks to reinvigorate the debate over whether to drill on the refuge's coastal plain.

Alaska Gov. Sean Parnell said Monday that the U.S. Department of Interior hasn't indicated that it will address oil and gas issues in a new planning document for the refuge so Alaska is stepping up.

Alaska is proposing a multiyear plan that includes seismic surveys, environmental studies and exploration drilling on the refuge's coastal plain. Exploration would take place in winter, and Parnell says it would have a limited impact on the environment.

Parnell says he will ask the state Legislature for up to $50 million toward the plan, if the federal government is willing to partner with Alaska.

An environmentalist calls the plan a "recycled bad idea."

ISLAND FOX RESTORATION

NEW: Rare island fox rebounds on California island

CHANNEL ISLANDS NATIONAL PARK, Calif. (AP) — The rare and tiny island fox is on the verge of making a comeback from near-extinction on Santa Cruz Island, the largest of the Channel Islands off Southern California.

Biologists and other officials with the National Parks Service and The Nature Conservancy on Monday showcased their success at salvaging the island fox population, which had dropped to 70 animals less than a decade ago.

The rare type of fox is only found in the Channel Islands, a chain of eight islands, five of which form a national park.

Today there are 1,300 foxes on Santa Cruz Island.

To boost the fox population, biologists removed golden eagles that ate them and killed off feral pigs that attracted the eagles there as an easy food source.

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press.

Summary

Date: 5/20/2013 4:58 PM
Slug: AP-Right Now
Headline: Update on the latest news, sports, business and entertainment
Source: AP
Byline:  
Copyright Holder: AP
Priority: r (4)
With Photo:  
Dateline:  
Editors' Note:  
Word Count: 1860
File Name (Transref): V0543
Editorial Type:  
AP Category: d
Format: bx

 

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