Correspondent, Milan
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Sep 30, 2013

Defiant District of Columbia to stay open despite federal shutdown

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. government offices from the Internal Revenue Service to the national parks may be headed for a midnight shutdown amid a congressional budget battle, but the District of Columbia will remain open.

The semi-autonomous capital city’s mayor, Vincent Gray, has declared all 32,000 public workers essential, a break from prior practice that means they cannot be ordered home if the federal government shuts down.

Sep 30, 2013

A million U.S. government workers, unions brace for shutdown

Sept 30 (Reuters) – As many as a million U.S. government
employees were making urgent plans on Monday for a possible
midnight shutdown, with their unions urging Congress to strike a
last-minute deal.

To avoid sending hundreds of thousands of workers across the
country home without pay, lawmakers must act within hours, but
it was unclear if an agreement could be reached in time.

Sep 27, 2013

Ex-EPA adviser admits to fraud, CIA stint claim, 13 years of lies

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – A former U.S. Environmental Protection Agency adviser pleaded guilty on Friday to cheating the government out of $886,186 over 13 years of telling lies, including claims he had malaria and that he was working on a CIA project, officials said.

John Beale, 64, of New York, had skipped work for a total of 2-1/2 years while claiming to be working on a project for the Central Intelligence Agency’s operations directorate and other jobs, the District of Columbia’s U.S. Attorney’s Office and the EPA’s inspector general said in a statement.

Sep 27, 2013

Gun rights advocates sue to block tough Maryland gun law

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Gun rights supporters filed a motion on Friday to block Maryland’s new gun law, one of the toughest in the United States, from taking effect next week.

The motion, filed in U.S. District Court in Maryland, seeks a court order to block the law, which includes a ban the sale of 45 types of assault weapons.

Sep 26, 2013

U.S. Justice Dept spent $4.9 million on drones, new rules urged: watchdog

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. Department of Justice has spent $4.9 million for drone aircraft and unmanned aircraft and should develop guidelines on their use amid privacy concerns, the department’s watchdog said on Thursday.

The interim report from the department’s inspector general comes after U.S. debate about President Barack Obama’s use of domestic surveillance, from unmanned aircraft to monitoring of Americans’ phone records.

Sep 26, 2013

Record number of minorities take SAT but lag in college readiness

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Minority students made up a record portion of SAT test takers in 2013, and blacks and Hispanics improved on the U.S. college entrance exam but still lagged in demonstrating they are ready for college, the College Board said on Thursday.

The average score this year for the millions of students taking the exam on mathematics, writing and critical reading was 1,498 points, unchanged from 2012.

Sep 25, 2013

FBI releases video of “delusional” Navy Yard shooter

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The FBI released surveillance video and photos of Navy Yard shooter Aaron Alexis on Wednesday and said he believed electromagnetic waves were controlling him for months before the rampage that killed 12 people.

There are no signs that Alexis, 34, was targeting anybody in the September 16 shooting at the Navy Yard in southeast Washington, said Valerie Parlave, the FBI assistant director in charge of the Washington field office.

Sep 24, 2013

Blind dissident says China still harassing family, urges Obama to act

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Chinese political dissident Chen Guangcheng urged U.S. President Barack Obama on Tuesday to raise the continued harassment of his family with Chinese authorities.

Chen, who is blind, took refuge in the United States last year. He said authorities were still harassing and detaining family members in China, despite promises made to Washington that they would be left alone.

Sep 19, 2013

Navy Yard shooter seemed to aim at random, FBI chief says

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The contract worker who opened fire at the Washington Navy Yard this week appeared to have no particular target as he moved through a building and shot and killed 12 people, FBI Director James Comey said on Thursday.

Comey, whose agency is leading the investigation into the shooting, said that in surveillance video the man identified as 34-year-old Aaron Alexis “appears to be moving without particular direction or purpose.”

Sep 19, 2013

Washington Navy Yard reopens three days after mass shooting

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Thousands of workers streamed back into the Washington Navy Yard on Thursday, three days after a former reservist working at the site as a contractor opened fire with a shotgun on a cafeteria full of workers eating breakfast, killing 12 people.

The sprawling, walled complex, which covers about 16 blocks of the U.S. capital, had been closed to all but essential personnel and those involved in the investigation into why 34-year-old Aaron Alexis, who died in a gun battle with police, mounted his attack.

    • About Ian

      "Ian Simpson covers Italian equities from Milan with a focus on banks. In a 30-year career, he has been based in Dallas, Kansas City, New York, Washington, Puerto Rico, Brazil, Portugal and Italy. He has reported from more than 20 countries."
      Joined Reuters:
      Spanish, Portuguese, Italian, some Dari
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