By Valerie Volcovici WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The Obama administration will release an updated report on Tuesday showing how climate change touches every part of the country, as the administration seeks to convince the American public on the need for a crackdown on carbon pollution. Some environmental and public health groups expect the U.S. National Climate Assessment to be a "game changer" in the administration's efforts to address climate change. The extensive report will update a January 2013 draft, which detailed how consequences of climate change are hitting on several fronts, including health, infrastructure, water supply, agriculture and especially more frequent severe weather. The advisory committee behind the report was established by the U.S. Department of Commerce to integrate federal research on environmental change and its implications for society.
By John Whitesides WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Republicans in North Carolina will vote on Tuesday on their candidate for a U.S. Senate seat in November, in the first of several primaries this month that will test whether the party's establishment can beat back challenges from Tea Party rivals. State House Speaker Thom Tillis, backed by party mainstream leaders and business groups, appears to have an edge over Tea Party favorite Greg Brannon and evangelical minister Mark Harris in North Carolina, but he needs 40 percent of the vote to avoid a costly July runoff with the second-place finisher. The showdown to determine who will take on vulnerable Democratic Senator Kay Hagan kicks off a month-long string of Republican primaries that could prove instrumental to the party's efforts to retake control of the Senate in November.
By Patricia Zengerle WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A former prosecutor and critic of the Obama administration's handling of the 2012 Benghazi attacks was picked on Monday to head a Republican-led congressional investigation of the assault that killed the U.S. ambassador to Libya and three other Americans. South Carolina Representative Trey Gowdy, a member of the House of Representatives Oversight Committee, will lead a new panel investigating the attacks on U.S. diplomatic facilities in Benghazi, Libya. "I know he shares my commitment to get to the bottom of this tragedy and will not tolerate any stonewalling from the Obama administration," House Speaker John Boehner said in announcing Gowdy as his pick as chairman of the select committee. Asked by Fox News interviewer Greta Van Susteren how the panel would differ from all the other congressional hearings on Benghazi, Gowdy said the investigations so far had been fragmented.
By Daniel Trotta HAVANA (Reuters) - Four U.S. lawmakers visiting Cuba on Monday urged President Barack Obama to authorize negotiations with the Cuban government about freeing jailed U.S. contractor Alan Gross. Gross, 65, is serving a 15-year sentence over his 2009 arrest and 2011 conviction for attempting to set up an Internet service for Cuban Jews while working as a subcontractor for the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID). Cuba considered his work a subversive program that used illegal, undercover and noncommercial technology. Cuba has said it is willing to engage in negotiations about Gross without preconditions, while U.S. officials have disregarded the offer as an attempt to exchange Gross for the three Cuban agents.
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — The struggle for control of the Republican Party is getting an early voter test in North Carolina, where former presidential nominee Mitt Romney and tea party favorite Rand Paul on Monday pushed their own candidates for the right to challenge Democratic Sen. Kay Hagan in November.