In today’s news, the Koch brothers made illegal sales to Iran; Amanda Knox insists she is innocent; New Jersey Governor Chris Christie may have changed his mine about running for president; and ABC and Yahoo are teaming up to try to boost traffic to their news’ sites. In other news, Arrested Development announces new television episodes, and Seth Rogen ties the knot.
Coral + Caitlin
Koch Brothers Flout Law With Secret Iran Sales, http://bloom.bg/pbcrFy
An investigation reported in Bloomberg Markets Magazine says the billionaire Koch brothers allegedly made a great deal of money from sales of petrochemical equipment to Iran. Koch Industries avoided the U.S. trade ban using foreign subsidiaries. The company allegedly engaged in illicit payments in Africa, India, and the Middle East; and, from 1999 to 2003, it had to pay more than $400 million in fines. An employee of Koch Industries says that managers taught them how to steal and cheat and called the methods of doing this the “Koch Method.”
TransCanada Pipeline Foes Allege Bias in U.S. E-Mails, http://nyti.ms/nR65s8
The Obama administration is about to decide whether or not to build a pipeline to take crude oil from Canada’s oil sands to the United States Gulf Coast. Emails were released that reveal an overly friendly relationship between lobbyists for the company that is building the billion-dollar pipeline and officials in the State Department, the agency that has final say over the pipeline. Some emails even show members of the States Department inviting officials of the lobbyist group to holiday parties.
Amanda Knox: “I am innocent,” http://bit.ly/pkSxQR
After spending four years behind bars, Amanda Knox pleads with the Italian appeals court, saying she did not kill her British roommate. Knox and co-defendant Raffaele Sollecito were convicted in 2009 of sexually assaulting and murdering Meredith Kercher, who was stabbed to death in her bedroom. “I did not kill. I did not rape. I did not steal. I wasn’t there. I wasn’t there at the crime,” Knox said.
Americans Raid Byways of Haqqani Insurgents in Afghanistan, http://nyti.ms/qq2sfu
The Haqqani network is saying it had nothing to do with the the assassination of Afghan peace-talks leader Burhanuddin Rabbani, but the U.S. does not believe it. Since Osama bin Laden was killed, the U.S. military’s mission in Afghanistan is to shut down the byways that allow Haqqani insurgents to pass between Afghanistan and Pakistan. With U.S. troops set to be mostly out of the country by 2014, that doesn’t leave a lot of time. The goal is to take on Haqqani fighters while boosting the ranks of Afghan troops and police in the most contested areas. The Haqqani network also worked with al Qaeda and the Taliban to murder U.S. informants.
Megrahi says his Lockerbie role exaggerated, http://reut.rs/n9ggoq
Abdel Basset al-Megrahi, the man convicted of the 1988 Lockerbie bombing that killed 270 people, said his role in the attack had been exaggerated, and the truth about what really happened would emerge soon. Lockerbie was convicted of bombing a plane going from London to New York. No one on the plane survived, and 11 on the ground were killed from falling wreckage. However, Lockerbie vaguely stated his role was strictly administrative and that hopefully in the next few months the truth will come out.
(via Reuters) Nobel prizewinner dies before announcement, http://reut.rs/nB5bQf, After using his discoveries to prolong his own life Ralph Steinman, a scientist who won the Nobel prize for medicine on Monday for work on fighting cancer, died of the disease himself just three days before he could be told of his prize.
House Sets Up Battle on Funding Social Programs, http://nyti.ms/qUGqHd
House Republicans are starting another battle with President Obama over spending and domestic policy with a bill that would cut some of his favorite health and education programs, tie the hands of the National Labor Relations Board and eliminate federal grants for Planned Parenthood clinics. The bill, which finances the Departments of Labor and Education and Health and Human Services, would prohibit President Obama from spending more money to carry out the new health care law until all legal challenges to the law were resolved.
New State Rules Raising Hurdles at Voting Booth, http://nyti.ms/qX30Uz
Everyone has heard about the new voting laws that will affect students and minorities through requiring photo ID and decreasing the number of early voting days. The Brennan Center for Justice at New York University School of Law has tried to tally just how many voters stand to be affected. They said the laws, “could make it significantly harder for more than five million eligible voters to cast ballots in 2012.” Michael Waldman, the executive director of the Brennan Center said, “It is the most significant rollback in voting rights in decades.”
Christie Decision Expected “Within Days,” http://slate.me/mZGp9x
Sources told ABC News that New Jersey Governor Chris Christie will make a decision in a few days about whether or not he’s entering the 2012 GOP primary race. It would be difficult for Christie to jump into the race this late. He would have very little time to launch a national campaign and to raise the tens of millions of dollars that other candidates have.
ABC News and Yahoo News Announce Deal to Share Content, http://nyti.ms/qQ5smm
On Monday, “Good Morning America” announced that ABC News will partner with Yahoo News to share videos and stories. ABC News has been ranking fairly low on the list of most visited news sites, but the new partnership with Yahoo may have the ability to change that. Each Web site will have editorial independence, but the news organizations will share content, co-produce coverage of some news events and have “integrated bureaus” in New York, Washington and Los Angeles.
Howard Kurtz goes, “Inside Obama’s Populist Makeover” http://bit.ly/r1Z67G
Gary Rivlin wants, “The Starbucks Stimulus” http://bit.ly/nohiNU
Leonard Pitts gives us, “Some thoughts on a half-baked idea” http://trib.in/oePjs5
New show, movie for ‘Arrested Development’ fans, http://bit.ly/nqRNsk
Rooney signs off on “60 Minutes” but “not retiring,” http://reut.rs/qNed89
Seth Rogen Weds Writer Lauren Miller, http://on.mtv.com/os2LIK
Mike Myers Welcomes Son Spike, http://bit.ly/qA3PDh
Taylor Swift Surprises Atlanta Crowd with Rap Duet, http://bit.ly/nSlmAB