From NPR News in Washington, I'm Jack Speer.
President Obama today left open the possibility of criminal prosecution for Bush administration officials who authorized harsh interrogation techniques. NPR’s Scott Horsley reports.
President Obama reassured intelligence officers from CIA this week, they won't be punished for following harsh interrogation guidelines drawn up under the Bush administration. But Mr. Obama was less willing to exonerate the officials who wrote those guidelines. He said he’d leave that up to his attorney general while conceding there are a host of very complicated issues involved.
"As a general view, I think that we should be looking forward and not backwards. Er, I do worry about this getting so politicized that we can not function effectively."
The president said any congressional inquiry in the harsh interrogation methods should be aimed at learning lessons and not scoring political points. Scott Horsley NPR News, the White House.
A human rights lawyer tells NPR a prominent legal team retained by the family of imprisoned journalist Roxana Saberi is being prevented from meeting with her by Iranian authorities. The Lawyer apart from the defenders of human rights centers has been blocked from visiting Saberi in a Teheran prison where she’s been held after she was sentenced eight years in prison on espionage charges. The lawyer is reported to be seeking to gain power of attorney in order to prepare an appeal. The 31-year-old Saberi who has worked for news organizations including NPR was convicted of espionage last week and sentenced following a one-day-trial behind close doors.
Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner said today results of government intervention into the financial system are not yet clear. He assured lawmakers at the hearing on the effectiveness of financial and industry bailout programme that tough standards will accompany any new federal funds for companies seeking government help. NPR’s Paul Brown has more.
Geithner told members of Congress he can't say for sure the 700-billion-dollar programme is helping to make credit more readily available. "To date, frankly the evidence is mixed." Geithner confirmed that banks are actually lending less now than when the programme began. But he said it's hard to know how things would have gone had government not intervened. And he said further bailout funds will come with conditions. "Not just to help protect taxpayers but try to help ensure the system emerges stronger not weaker. Geithner said history shows that early, forceful and sustained government action to promote the flow of credit is essential for a recovery from recessions at the lowest taxpayer cost. Meanwhile a new inspector general’s report recommends tougher rules at monitoring for the bailout programme. Paul Brown NPR News Washington.
According to reports from a special inspector general on the auto industry, GM will receive as much as 5 billions dollars on top of the more than 13 billion the carmaker's already gotten, while Chrysler which has gotten four billion could be in light to obtain half a billion more. GM has till June, while Chrysler has till April to convince a government task force they are viable companies.
On Wall Street today, the Dow was up 127 points.
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A Boston medical student has been held without bail on charges he used the online service Craigslist to arrange a meeting with a woman in a hotel room where he allegedly shot and killed her. 23-year-old Philip Markoff, a second year Medical student at Boston University, has also been implicated in an attack on another woman. Prosecutors say both women identify themselves as masseuses. Police say they found a semiautomatic weapon at Markoff’s home as well as ammunition. Markoff pleaded not guilty today. He is facing charges of murder in the death of Julissa Brisman in New York and kidnapping and armed robbery in the other assault.
Less than a year after receiving a hand-transplant in Jewish hospital, David Robert Armstrong has had his hand removed. From member station WFPL in Louisville, Gabe Bullard reports.
The 33-year-old Armstrong underwent the transplant last July. Last month he reported poor circulation in the hand and last week doctors removed it. Lead surgeon doctor Warren Breidenbach says the transplant team is awaiting the results of a tissue analysis. They are not sure if the hand was rejected or if problems stemmed from surgical complications. “No one's ever followed all the rules as Mr. Armstrong did. He did everything that doctor has asked him to do and then lost his hand. That's what makes this unique. This is the first time the doctors at Jewish have had to remove a transplanted hand. The program has been temporarily suspended until doctors know why Armstrong developed complications. Breidenbach says the results will likely help surgeons fine tune the transplant process. For NPR News, I’m Gabe Bullard, in Louisville.
Owners of mobile homes in California San Fernando Valley destroyed by wildfires last year will receive millions in additional insurance money. California’s Insurance commissioner said today the insurer AIG will provide as much as 125,000 in additional insurance coverage.
I’m Jack Speer, NPR News in Washington.