The economy slowed its growth in the first quarter of 2012; Chinese activist Chen Guangcheng escapes house arrest; George Zimmerman has received over $200,000 in online donations; The House passes the controversial CISPA bill; and Secret Service agents are being investigated for sexual misconduct during a 2011 trip to El Salvador. Meanwhile, Washington, DC gears up for this weekend’s White House Correspondents’ Dinner; Sarah Michelle Gellar is pregnant with her second child; and Gwenyth Paltrow reveals she suffered from post-natal depression.
(via Reuters) US Q1 growth slows on inventories, weak business spending, http://reut.rs/KgM2P4
U.S. economic growth cooled in the first quarter as businesses cut back on investment and restocked shelves at a slower pace, but stronger demand for automobiles softened the blow. Gross domestic product expanded at a 2.2 percent annual rate, the Commerce Department said on Friday in its advance estimate, moderating from the fourth quarter’s 3 percent rate. While that was below economists’ expectations for a 2.5 percent pace, a surge in consumer spending took some of the sting from the report and growth was still stronger than analysts’ predictions early in the quarter for an expansion below 1.5 percent.
China dissident Chen Guangcheng escapes house arrest, http://bbc.in/JrjXYK
Chen Guangcheng, a blind Chinese activist, has released a video that shows he’s escaped house arrest. Guangcheng was put under house arrest in September 2010 after he protested China’s forced abortions. In the video, he calls attention to the brutal treatment and physical abuse the government has inflicted on his family. He also asks Premier Wen to “open a probe into this corrupt behavior.” Chen has received international support including requests from Secretary of State Hillary Clinton that he be released.
Donations pour in to Trayvon Martin’s killer, http://bit.ly/Ihjlqw
Mark O’Mara, an attorney for George Zimmerman, has said that his client has received close to $204,000 in online donations from supporters. O’Mara will disclose the money to Judge Kenneth Lester at a hearing taking place today. He also noted that Zimmerman has had problems with his Facebook and Twitter accounts and may shut-down the donation service in case copycats try to make money off of his cause. O’Mara said that Zimmerman needs the money as he “is indigent for the costs.”
US Secret Service probes El Salvador sex allegations, http://bbc.in/K8al6C
The Secret Service has opened a new misconduct investigation after it was revealed agents may have paid for sexual favors at a strip club during a 2011 trip to El Salvador. The officers allegedly partook in this misconduct prior to President Obama’s arrival in the country. While in El Salvador, one agent boasted that they “did this all the time” in regards to paying for sex while traveling for the president. Secret Service Director Mark Sullivan has said he has yet to find anything “credible” in this new investigation.
(via The Associated Press) White House threatens to veto student loan bill, http://bit.ly/Ihnqez
The White House threatened a veto Friday of a Republican bill keeping the interest rates on federal student loans from doubling this summer, objecting that the measure would finance its $5.9 billion cost by abolishing a health care program. The GOP bill would repeal a preventive care program created under President Barack Obama’s health care overhaul law of 2010. Picking up on a theme that House Democrats have been sounding this week, the White House said that “women in particular” benefit from the program — a message that reflects the Democratic effort to woo women voters by accusing Republicans of waging a war on them.
Cyber-security bill Cispa passes US House, http://bbc.in/IwctmL
The House has passed The Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act (CISPA), a bill that would allow the government to detect cyber security threats through easier access to people’s personal web browsing histories. President Obama has already threatened to veto the bill. The White Houes has said that CISPA repeals “important provisions of electronic surveillance law without instituting corresponding privacy, confidentiality and civil liberties safeguards.” Advocates of the bill say that it will allow easier file sharing between Web agencies and security firms.
Colts draft Andrew Luck at No. 1, http://es.pn/JrlpKO
Sarah Michelle Gellar expecting second child, http://cbsn.ws/IdLCOg
Missing Cuban actor, “War Witch” win Tribeca awards, http://reut.rs/IJRtba
White House Correspondents’ Dinner: Where to Go When Hollywood Hits D.C., http://bit.ly/JfjmFk
‘I couldn’t connect with my son… I felt like a zombie’: Gwyneth Paltrow reveals how Chris Martin helped her realize she had post-natal depression, http://bit.ly/KhHrNd
Tags: andrew luck, Barack Obama, chen guangcheng, chris martin, cispa, Colts, commerce department, George Zimmerman, Gwyneth Paltrow, Hillary Clinton, kenneth lester, mark o'mara, mark sullivan, premier wen, President Obama, sarah michelle gellar, the secret service, tribeca film festival, war witch, white house correspondents dinner