WASHINGTON: NATO nomination to proceed
The White House said Wednesday it will go ahead with Gen. John Allen's nomination to become NATO commander. The nomination had been put on hold while the Pentagon investigated Allen's email exchanges with a Florida woman linked to a sex scandal that led David Petraeus to resign as CIA director. The Pentagon said Tuesday that its inspector general determined that the email exchanges did not amount to conduct unbecoming an officer.
Dems seek to limit filibusters
Democrats will pursue their plan to curb the use of filibusters to block legislation if the party and Republican lawmakers don't reach agreement on the matter this week, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said Wednesday. A majority of Democrats will vote for some changes to the filibuster procedure, as long as they don't include requiring senators to hold the floor by talking endlessly, Reid and Dick Durbin of Illinois, the chamber's second-ranking Democrat, said. Specifically, 51 Democrats would vote to eliminate the use of the filibuster on motions to proceed to legislation, Durbin said. There would also be majority support for limiting, or disallowing altogether, use of the filibuster to block sending bills to conference with the House or limiting debate on judicial nominations, he said.
PENNSYLVANIA: Indictment in abuse of disabled
A paroled killer targeted mentally disabled adults in a scheme to steal their Social Security benefits, confining them like "zoo animals," forcing some into prostitution and causing the deaths of two victims through abuse and neglect, federal prosecutors said Wednesday. Linda Weston, 52, of Philadelphia, was indicted on charges including hate crimes, kidnapping, murder in aid of racketeering and forced human labor. It's the first time the federal hate crimes statute is being used to protect the disabled, authorities said. "Shocking does not begin to describe the criminal allegations in this case," U.S. Attorney Zane David Memeger said. The case came to light in October 2011 when a landlord discovered four malnourished people locked in the basement of an apartment building, one chained to a boiler. Weston's lawyer, George Yacoubian, said prosecutors had "overreached for effect" and Weston maintains her innocence.