From NPR News in Washington, I'm Jack Speer
President Obama made his first visit to the CIA's headquarters in Virginia today. The president's visit coming just days after the administration’s decision to release top secret memos detailing the agency's use of a simulated drowning technique known as waterboarding in the interrogation of terror suspects. President said in no way was the decision aimed at putting CIA employees in jeopardy. "I have fought to protect the integrity of classified information in the past and I will do so in the future. And there's nothing more important than protecting the identities of CIA officers. So I need everybody to be clear, we will protect your identities and your security as you vigorously pursue your missions." The White House last week moved to declassify the memos, arguing that much of the information they contained had already been made public. Attorney General Eric Holder has denounced the interrogation technique which was used by the Bush administration against several 9/11 suspects as torture.
Chrysler is slated to resume concession talks with the Canadian Auto Workers today. The auto maker says its future is at stake in the negotiations. Michigan radio's Tracy Samilton has details.
Both the US and Canadian governments won't give Chrysler more federal aid unless the auto maker partners with Fiat. Fiat says it won't partner with Chrysler unless its unions agree the concessions. For the Canadian Auto Workers, that would mean a large reduction in wages and benefits. Harley Shaiken is a labor expert at UC Berkeley. "The Canadian Auto Workers are truly between a rock and a hard place right now. They've made some significant cuts in the last year. They are being asked to take a 20% cut about $16 on top of that." The CAW has so far balked at Chrysler's demands. The union says if Chrysler does go bankrupt, it won't be the blame but rather the automaker's investors who are also refusing concessions. For NPR News, I'm Tracy Samilton in Ann Arbor.
An economic barometer designed to predict the direction of the economy three to six months down the road continues to head lower. There were some signs of leveling off. Business research group - the Conference Board said today its index of leading economic indicators fell 0.3% in March. Ken Goldstein is an economist of the Board, he says while the latest reading shows recession is likely to continue a bit longer, there are signs of easing. "The recession continues. The only good news here is that instead of everything being uniformly bad, and very bad. At least now, the bad news isn't quite so bad, and there’s even a little bit of a mix now and then." Index uses a Market Basket of components to try to predict future direction of the US economy.
San Francisco-based Oracle Corporation has moved to buy up software maker Sun Microsystems at a 7.4-billion-dollar deal, superseding IBM's efforts to acquire the company. With the move, Oracle might be able to become more of a one-stop technology firm assuming ownership of JAVA, the programming language that controls more than a billion devices worldwide.
On Wall Street today, the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 289 points.
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An inflammatory speech by Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad led to a mass walkout today at the United Nations' conference on racism in Geneva. Dozens of diplomats got up and left the room as the hard-line leader accused the West of using the Holocaust, in his words, as a pretext for aggression against the Palestinians. Speech was also protested by demonstrators. UN chief Ban Ki-moom has condemned the Iranian president’s remarks, Ban accusing the Iranian leader of using his speech to, "divide and even incite to drag opposition to the goals of the meeting".
Colorado law makers honored the tenth anniversary of the Columbine High School shootings today. From Rocky Mountain Community Radio, Bente Birkeland has details from Denver.
One law maker read a poem; another played a video taped message from Columbine Principle Frank DeAngelis. Democratic representative Christine Scanlan recalled her days as a student in Columbine in early 80s. She says she's grateful that schools across the country have learned from the tragedy. “This generation of kids thinks differently about high school. And we preach to them, if you will, take care of each other, be aware of each other. That's a generational change.” The state legislature passed a resolution designating April 20th as a day to remember the innocent victims of school shootings. The resolution also urges Coloradoans to recommit to becoming better parents, better community members and better people. For NPR News, I'm Bente Birkeland in Denver.
Las Vegas Sun has won a Pulitzer Prize for public service for exposing a high death rate among construction workers on a Las Vegas Strip. Other big winners this year include New York Times which garnered five Pulitzers. As well as the Detroit Free Press which won for appealing sexually explicit emails linked to that city's mayor.
I'm Jack Speer, NPR News in Washington.