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Sunday, April 21, 2013

Daily Political Wire

George Wenschhof

Obama Receives Update on Boston Bombings Investigation - President Obama was briefed Saturday on the nascent investigation into the motivations of the two brothers suspected of orchestrating the Boston Marathon bombings.
At a White House meeting of the president's National Security Council, the administration's top intelligence, law enforcement and counter-terrorism officials updated Obama on Friday night's capture of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, the younger suspect, and the ongoing probe to discover what might have inspired the attacks.

Among those briefing the president were National Security Advisor Tom Donilon, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder, FBI Director Robert Mueller and Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano, the White House said.

Vice President Biden joined the 90-minute meeting by teleconference, the administration added. has more here.


North Korea Moves Missile Launchers - An unidentified South Korean military source told the South's Yonhap news agency that satellite imagery showed that North Korean forces had moved two mobile missile launchers for short-range Scud missiles to South Hamgyeong province.

"The military is closely watching the North's latest preparations for a missile launch," the source said.

The North moved two mid-range Musudan missiles in early April and placed seven mobile launchers in the same area, Yonhap said. A North Korean show of force could be staged to coincide with the anniversary of the founding of its army on April 25. has more here.


Kerry Works To Restore Israel-Turkey Relations - Wrapping up a 24-hour visit to Istanbul, Secretary of State John Kerry on Sunday sought to cement and speed up an improvement in relations between Turkey and Israel as well as explore new ways to relaunch Mideast peace efforts.

President Barack Obama has made both issues foreign policy priorities for his second term and Kerry was pushing them in meetings with Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas and Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu. has more here.


Hagel Begins Middle East Trip - Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel opened a weeklong visit to the Middle East on Sunday by pressing an American agenda focused on deterring Iran — including a significant new weapons deal for Israel — coupled with a strong caution that it was premature for the government in Jerusalem to opt for unilateral strikes on Tehran’s nuclear program.

During his travels, Mr. Hagel will be pushing forward with a $10 billion arms package intended to further increase Israel’s military edge over any other powers in the region while also bolstering the armed forces of two important Persian Gulf allies, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. The NY Times has more here.


Prospects for Budget Deal Dim - Democrats on the House Ways and Means Committee are growing more pessimistic that a bipartisan tax reform deal can get done this year, despite the best efforts of the panel’s chairman, Rep. Dave Camp (R-Mich.).

Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle have expressed an interest in rewriting a tax code that has ballooned to 4 million words, while Ways and Means members just finished up work on 11 separate groups that examined all areas of the tax code – a process that Democrats and Republicans called helpful.

But the two parties also remain deeply divided over whether the government should collect more revenue, an argument that has only intensified after the recent fiscal cliff deal increased government collections by some $600 billion.  You can read more here.


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