The Obama administration is likely to fall far short of the lofty goals it set for itself at Thursday’s summit with Gulf leaders, several experts on the region said. While the White House has framed the seven-nation meeting as an opportunity to deepen and strengthen Gulf nations’ security relationship with the United States in light of a possible nuclear deal with Iran, the six foreign leaders attending have set out bargaining chips that the administration has already shot down, and it’s not exactly clear what else, besides those tangible items, either side wants. “There’s a very real prospect that this exercise could end up looking like the February Countering Violent Extremism summit,” Brian Katulis of the Center for American Progress, which is aligned with the Obama administration, said, referring to a 60-plus-country confab that issued a lengthy joint statement with few specifics. The White House has already ruled out a formal mutual defense treaty, which several of the Gulf nations were advocating, and is also unlikely to approve Saudi Arabia’s request for F-35 Joint Strike Fighter jets.
By Jarrett Renshaw PHILADELPHIA (Reuters) - Federal safety investigators probing the deadly Amtrak derailment in Philadelphia were waiting to interview the train's engineer, whose attorney said on Thursday he did not remember the crash that killed seven people and injured more than 200 others. The train bound for New York City from Washington was barreling into a curve at more than 100 miles per hour on Tuesday night, twice the speed limit, when the engineer slammed on the brakes, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) said. Investigators said they have not yet interviewed the train's engineer, identified by a city official as Brandon Bostian, to give him time to recover. NTSB board member Robert Sumwalt said on Wednesday that data from the black box, or event recorder, recovered at the crash site had not yet been fully analyzed.
By Elizabeth Barber BOSTON (Reuters) - The jury weighing whether Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev will be sentenced to death or to life in prison for the deadly 2013 attack on Thursday begins its first full day of deliberations on his fate. The same 12 people, who last month found the 21-year-old guilty of killing three people and wounding 264 others at the race's crowded finish line, deliberated for about an hour on Wednesday afternoon after prosecutors and defense lawyers made their closing arguments. "The importance of your deliberations should be obvious," U.S. District Judge George O'Toole said in his instructions to jurors, who can only sentence Tsarnaev to death by lethal injection or life in prison without possibility of release.
By Mary Reardon MADISON, Wis. (Reuters) - Hundreds of people protested Wednesday in Wisconsin's capital, blocking a road a day after a prosecutor ruled that a Madison police officer's fatal shooting of an unarmed biracial teenager was justified. Relatives of Tony Robinson, 19, had expressed disappointment at Dane County District Attorney Ismael Ozanne's decision on Tuesday that Madison officer Matt Kenny, who is white, used justified lethal force in the March 6 shooting. More than two dozen people were arrested, mostly on suspicion of obstructing the road, and then released, Madison Police spokesman Joel DeSpain said, describing their acts as peaceful civil disobedience. Minneapolis Police Chief Janeé Harteau in a statement late on Wednesday night promised a "thorough investigation" of the allegations.
(Reuters) - A fifth suspect has been arrested in connection with the killings of two Mississippi police officers over the weekend, officials said on Wednesday. Abram Wade Franklin, 29, was charged with obstruction of justice over the shootings that occurred during a routine traffic stop on Saturday, the Mississippi Department of Public Safety said in a statement. Officers Benjamin Deen, 34, and Liquori Tate, 25, a recent police academy graduate, were shot after Deen stopped a gold Cadillac Escalade in the city of Hattiesburg. Autopsy results by the Mississippi Bureau of Investigations released on Monday showed one of the officers was shot in the face and the other in the back.
By Jarrett Renshaw PHILADELPHIA (Reuters) - An Amtrak train that derailed in Philadelphia, killing seven people, was barreling into a curved stretch of track at 100 miles per hour, over twice the speed limit, when the engineer slammed on the brakes, U.S. investigators said on Wednesday. While the cause of Tuesday night's crash that injured more than 200 people remains to be determined, experts from the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) believe the derailment would have been prevented by installation of an advanced safety system called "positive train control," NTSB board member Robert Sumwalt said.
The U.S. House of Representatives approved a bill on Wednesday that would ban most abortions after 20 weeks, a measure strongly opposed by the White House. The Republican-led House approved the bill by a largely party-line vote of 242-184. An earlier version was pulled by House Republican leaders in January after a revolt by some Republican women in the chamber. House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte called Wednesday's vote "a victory for the most innocent and defenseless among us, our children." "Extensive medical research shows that unborn children begin to feel pain by 20 weeks post fertilization, and probably earlier," the Virginia Republican said.
By Mary Reardon MADISON, Wis. (Reuters) - Hundreds of protesters in Wisconsin's capital on Wednesday called for a say in the hiring and firing of Madison police, a day after a prosecutor said an officer's fatal shooting of an unarmed biracial teenager was justified. Relatives of Tony Robinson had expressed disappointment over Dane County District Attorney Ismael Ozanne's decision that Madison officer Matt Kenny, who is white, used justified lethal force in the March 6 shooting. Brandi Grayson, co-founder of the Young Gifted and Black Coalition that organized the protest, said the group wanted community control over the hiring and firing of officers and a U.N. investigation into racial disparities in Dane County and Wisconsin.