GOP senator won’t seek re-election
First-term Sen. Mike Johanns, R-Neb., announced Monday that he will not seek re-election next year, the fifth lawmaker to bow out of a Senate that has become increasingly polarized and dysfunctional. Johanns, a soft-spoken former Nebraska governor and secretary of agriculture in the George W. Bush administration, appeared well positioned to be re-elected and was not on any Democratic target list. But last year, he angrily criticized conservative groups that tried to step in and influence the Senate election in his state. And his efforts as part of the “Gang of Eight” to broker a bipartisan deficit reduction accord proved fruitless.
Gun-control measures win House approval
New ammunition limits and universal background checks passed the Colorado House during a second day of emotional debates that has drawn attention from the White House as lawmakers try to address recent mass shootings. The bills were among four the Democratic-controlled House passed amid strong resistance from Republicans, who were joined by a few Democrats to make some of the votes close. The legislation would place a limit of 15 rounds for firearms, and eight for shotguns.
Russians investigating adoptee’s death
Russian authorities have blamed “inhuman treatment” for the death of a 3-year-old boy adopted by an American family, but Texas officials say they are still investigating claims that the child was abused before his death. Russia’s Investigative Committee said Monday that it had questions about the death of an adoptee authorities identified as Maxim Kuzmin. The committee is the country’s top investigative agency.
Coast Guard says fuel leak sparked fire
The engine room blaze that disabled Carnival Cruise Lines’ Triumph for five days in the Gulf of Mexico was sparked because of a leak in a fuel line, according to a U.S. Coast Guard investigator. Lt. Cmdr. Teresa Hatfield, of the agency’s marine casualty investigation team, said that the Coast Guard and National Transportation Safety Board will likely wrap up work on the ship by the end of the week. But the investigation is expected to last about six months. The Miami-based cruise operator has canceled all sailings aboard the ship through mid-April and estimated a financial hit of as much as $80 million.
Shiites demand army protection after bomb
Thousands of Shiite Muslims staged protests across Pakistan demanding that the government and military protect them from Sunni extremists behind a bombing that killed 89 people Saturday in the southwestern city of Quetta. Shiites, a religious minority in Pakistan, pointed to the attack that followed a similar devastating bombing in January as further evidence of Islamabad’s indifference to what many describe as a pogrom against Shiites in Balochistan Province.
Militants dressed like cops attack compound
Militants disguised as tribal police officers and wearing vests packed with explosives mounted a coordinated attack on a central office of the tribal administration in Peshawar, killing five people and wounding seven others. The attackers struck the offices of the political agent of the Khyber tribal agency along the border with Afghanistan, whose main administrator works from an office in Peshawar. The agent is the senior administrative officer in Khyber. One bomber set off his explosives near the main entrance to the complex, killing one guard and wounding five others.
Leaders move away from deficit goals
Citing a recession across Europe, France’s Socialist government is moving away from its promise to bring its budget deficit down to 3 percent of gross domestic product this year, arguing that the recession creates an exceptional circumstance requiring less austerity. “I don’t think our credibility will be damaged if something exceptional intervenes,” France’s finance minister, Pierre Moscovici, said Monday. “If we have a deeper recession, we’ll have an even tougher time hitting our targets. We must not add austerity to the risk of recession.”
President likely to win re-election
Armenians voted in a presidential election that seemed certain to return President Serzh Sargsyan to office for a second five-year term and to maintain stability in a country that has become an increasingly important, if uneasy, U.S. ally in monitoring Iran’s nuclear ambitions. A veteran politician, Sargsyan, 58, is generally viewed as having presided over modest economic improvements in recent years, even as the country has struggled because of closed borders with Turkey and with Azerbaijan, its enemy in a continuing war over the disputed territory of Nagorno-Karabakh.
Lawmaker’s body found in barrel
The body of a missing city legislator and construction tycoon has been found in a private basement garage on the outskirts of Moscow, inside a rusted metal barrel filled with concrete. Russian TV showed investigators removing the body of the man, Mikhail Pakhomov, 36, from the garage. Police said he had been tortured and killed over an outstanding $80 million loan. The killing recalled the brutal violence that routinely emerged from Russian business disputes in the 1990s.