Slatest PM: Senate Nears Vote on "Border Surge"

Your News Companion by Ben Mathis-Lilley
June 21 2013 4:05 PM

Slatest PM: Senate Nears Vote on "Border Surge"

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Immigrants become American citizens during a naturalization ceremony under portraits of former federal judges on June 21, 2013 in the Brooklyn borough of New York City

Photo by John Moore/Getty Images

Putting on the Final Touches: Associated Press: "Senators are finalizing a deal that could add dramatic security improvements to the U.S.-Mexico border and smooth the way for bipartisan Senate passage of far-reaching immigration legislation backed by President Barack Obama. The deal doubling Border Patrol agents and adding hundreds of miles of fencing along the Southwest border has already won support from four undecided Republican senators who are now likely to back the immigration bill when it comes to a final vote. On Friday, senators were in final negotiations on other elements of the deal, including provisions on Social Security and other benefits, that could bring still more GOP support on board."

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Timing: The Hill: "The Senate will vote Monday on ending debate on a border security deal supporters hope will bring more GOP support to the immigration bill. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) announced the vote Friday as he filed a cloture motion on a border security amendment to the bill. ... Reid hopes to finish work on the Senate immigration bill by the end of next week and said a vote to end debate on the underlying bill will be held Thursday. ... Supporters of the Senate bill hope to win at least 70 votes in support of their legislation, which they believe would build pressure on the House to take up the measure."

We made it! It's Friday, the first day of summer. Welcome to the Slatest PM, where we’re rounding up today’s top stories and calculating how many hours of sunlight we can enjoy after work (it’s a lot). Follow me, your afternoon news guide, on Twitter at @s_brodez and the whole team at @slatest.

The Slatest: Paula Deen Finally Says Sorry (While Looking Like She's Being Held Hostage By Her PR Team)

A Tale of Two Afghanistans: CBS News: "A senior envoy from Afghan President Hamid Karzai's High Peace Council told CBS News on Thursday that the Taliban delegation in Doha is still not sending the signals which would allow peace talks between the government and the militant group to begin. Ismail Qasimyaar, the Council's chief international advisor, said the Taliban would first have to stop behaving as if it were an alternative Afghan government. … The Taliban flew a flag representing, they said, 'The Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan.' A plaque outside the office bore the same logo.”

The U.S. Has Been Training Syrian Rebels For Months: Los Angeles Times: "CIA operatives and U.S. special operations troops have been secretly training Syrian rebels with anti-tank and anti-aircraft weapons since late last year, months before President Obama approved plans to begin directly arming them, according to U.S. officials and rebel commanders. The covert U.S. training at bases in Jordan and Turkey, along with Obama’s decision this month to supply arms and ammunition to the rebels, have raised hopes among the beleaguered opposition that Washington ultimately will provide heavier weapons as well."

The FBI and Michael Hastings' Death: Politico: "The FBI denies that it was investigating journalist Michael Hastings after an online storm of speculation about his death this week fueled by a Wikileaks tweet. On Wednesday, Wikileaks tweeted that Hastings 'contacted WikiLeaks lawyer Jennifer Robinson just a few hours before he died, saying that the FBI was investigating him.' According to reports, a follow-up tweet on Thursday read 'It is not acceptable that the FBI was investigating yet another national security journalist, this time Michael Hastings,' but that tweet has since been deleted."

Exodus Leader Admits "Same-Sex" Attraction: Los Angeles Times: "The leader of Exodus International, an anti-gay ministry that's changing course to work with LGBT communities, acknowledged that he feels 'same-sex attraction' and intends to open talks with those 'who suffered unimaginable pain.' Alan Chambers, president of Exodus International, believes Christianity is changing and 'we’ve got to adapt to our culture that’s changing too… We like to put God and people in a neat and tidy box, so as long as your story is like that, you fit. But life is not like that,' he said. 'I’m married. I have children. I have same-sex attraction. But at the same time, I’m thrilled with my life and I’m thrilled with my wife.'"

Possible Radioactive Waste Leak in Washington State: CBS News: "An underground tank holding some of the worst radioactive waste at the nation's most contaminated nuclear site might be leaking into the soil. The U.S. Energy Department said workers at Washington state's Hanford Nuclear Reservation detected higher radioactivity levels under tank AY-102 during a routine inspection Thursday. Spokeswoman Lori Gamache said the department has notified Washington officials and is investigating the leak further. An engineering analysis team will conduct additional sampling and video inspection to determine the source of the contamination, she said."

Don’t Stow Your Devices for Take-Off: NBC News: "Federal officials could be loosening restrictions on those personal electronic devices airline passengers hate to put away at the beginning and end of their flights, NBC News reported Friday. The Federal Aviation Administration is expected to relax the ban on devices that now need to be completely shut off before a flight takes off or lands. Passengers currently must turn those gadgets off below 10,000 feet. Under new rules being considered, cell phones would still be off limits but other devices, such as e-readers, would be permitted for use during the entire flight."

James Gandolfini's Autopsy: CBS News: "An autopsy on James Gandolfini confirmed the "Sopranos" star died of a heart attack, with no evidence of substance abuse or foul play, a family friend said Friday. Michael Kobold told reporters that Gandolfini's body has been released to a funeral director and that the family was working with the Italian government to speed up the bureaucratic red tape to get the body back to the United States soon."

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