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Escort Recants Menendez Claim: Washington Post: "An escort who appeared on a video claiming Sen. Robert Menendez (D-N.J.) paid her for sex has told Dominican Republic police that she was instead paid to make up the claims in a tape recording and has never met or seen the senator before, according to court documents and two people briefed on her claim. The woman identified a lawyer who approached her and a friend to make the videotape, according to affidavits obtained by the Post. That man has in turn identified another lawyer who gave him a script for the tape and paid him to find women to fabricate the claims, the affidavits say."
The GOP's Answer to Sequestration: Washington Post: "A bill proposed by House Republicans on Monday to keep the government operating for the remainder of the fiscal year also would serve to mitigate some of the most striking impacts of the across-the-board spending cuts enacted last week. For instance, legislation would prohibit the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency from defunding beds in detention facilities where illegal immigrants are being held. ... For much of the government, the resolution would largely keep spending priorities that had been in place for the first half of the year, but would lock in the across-the-board cuts through Sept. 30, when the fiscal year ends. Only the Pentagon would receive broad new help to mitigate the impact of sequestration. ... The House will vote on the bill Thursday. It will then be up to Senate Democrats and President Obama to decide whether to accept the resolution, which would amount to accepting that the very same cuts they’ve said could devastate government services are here to stay."
Some Women Aren't Living as Long: Associated Press: "A new study offers more compelling evidence that life expectancy for some U.S. women is actually falling, a disturbing trend that experts can't explain. The latest research found that women age 75 and younger are dying at higher rates than previous years in nearly half of the nation's counties—many of them rural and in the South and West. Curiously, for men, life expectancy has held steady or improved in nearly all counties. The study is the latest to spot this pattern, especially among disadvantaged white women. Some leading theories blame higher smoking rates, obesity and less education, but several experts said they simply don't know why. Women have long outlived men, and the latest numbers show the average life span for a baby girl born today is 81, and for a baby boy, it's 76. ... The phenomenon of some women losing ground appears to have begun in the late 1980s, though studies have begun to spotlight it only in the last few years."
Ark. Governor Vetoes Abortion Ban: Arkansas Democrat-Gazette: "Gov. Mike Beebe on Monday vetoed a bill that would ban most abortions after 12 weeks of gestation. Senate Bill 134 ... would have banned abortions after 12 weeks if a fetal heartbeat is detected. The bill would require any woman considering abortion after 12 weeks to receive an abdominal ultrasound to determine whether there is a heartbeat. The bill includes exemptions for rape, incest or medical conditions that would not allow the fetus to live long after birth. Beebe vetoed House Bill 1037 on Feb. 26., which banned most abortions after 20 weeks. The Arkansas House and Senate passed simple majorities last week to override Beebe's veto, making HB1037 state law."
The Search Continues: New York Times: "A day after a car crash claimed the lives of a young couple in Brooklyn and their son was born prematurely in an emergency procedure, the baby died on Monday, the police said. The death of the baby, delivered about three months early, elevated the sadness in the couple’s tight-knit Orthodox Jewish community in Williamsburg, which had sought solace in the newborn’s survival. His death also served to reinvigorate calls to bring serious criminal charges against the driver of the BMW sedan that struck the livery vehicle that his parents, Raizy and Nathan Glauber, both 21, were riding in. Police officials on Monday identified the driver as Julio Acevedo, 44, of Brooklyn, who fled the scene of the crash."
Update From Mississippi: Reuters: "A gay, black mayoral candidate killed last week in Mississippi was beaten, dragged and set on fire before his body was dumped near a river, according to his family. In a statement issued late on Sunday, the family of Marco McMillian said a coroner who performed an autopsy on his body told them about the gruesome manner of death. 'We feel this was not a random act of violence based on the condition of the body when it was found,' the McMillian family said. ... The body of McMillian, a 33-year-old candidate for mayor of Clarksdale, Mississippi, was found on Wednesday. A day later, law enforcement officials arrested a 22-year-old man, Lawrence Reed, who is also black, and charged him with murder in connection with the case."
The NRA Gets Its Own NASCAR Race: ESPN: "The National Rifle Association announced on Monday that it has reached a deal to sponsor the April 13 Sprint Cup race, known as the NRA 500, at Texas Motor Speedway. It will be the first NRA-branded race in NASCAR's premier series. The organization sponsored a Nationwide Series race at Atlanta last season. ... Eddie Gossage, president of Texas Motor Speedway, said the agreement is for one year with a one-year option. Financial terms were unavailable, but the SBJ said Cup sponsorship typically sells in the high-six- to low-seven-figure range. ... The deal comes on the heels of NASCAR announcement last month in Daytona Beach about its efforts to raise funds and awareness for the 20 children and six adults killed as part of a mass shooting in Newtown, Conn. NASCAR partnered with Swan Racing to put a Sandy Hook School Support Fund paint scheme on the No. 26 car driven by Michael Waltrip in the Daytona 500. Sources told ESPN.com there were concerns during Speedweeks that the TMS deal might become public and impact NASCAR's efforts for Newtown."
Syria's Civil War is Now In Iraq: Reuters: "Syrian opposition fighters captured the northeastern city of Raqqa on Monday and crowds toppled a statue of President Bashar al-Assad's father, opposition sources and a resident said. The fall of Raqqa on the Euphrates River would be a significant development in the two-year-old revolt against Assad. The rebels do not claim to hold any other provincial capitals. ... On Monday the civil war spilled into neighboring Iraq, where officials reported that gunmen had killed at least 40 Syrian soldiers and government employees as they headed home after fleeing a Syrian rebel advance last week."
Kenyans Go to the Polls: New York Times: "Millions of Kenyans poured into polling stations on Monday to cast their ballots in a crucial, anxiously-awaited presidential election, and as the voting proceeded relatively smoothly a real chance emerged that a candidate charged with crimes against humanity could win the race. In the early vote count, Uhuru Kenyatta, the scion of a political family who has been accused by the International Criminal Court of financing death squads, held a commanding lead of 56 percent to 40 percent over the second-place candidate, Raila Odinga, Kenya’s prime minister. Election observers cautioned that the preliminary results may not be representative of the countrywide vote, but Mr. Kenyatta’s lead remained strong from the moment the first tallies came in. The United States and other Western allies of Kenya have warned of possible “consequences” if Mr. Kenyatta wins, though few Western officials have wanted to discuss exactly what kind of repercussions or sanctions this could bring."
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