Lawmakers welcome wooing by Obama
Republican lawmakers said Sunday they welcome President Barack Obama’s courtship and suggested the fresh engagement between the White House and Congress might help yield solutions to the stubborn budget battle that puts Americans’ jobs at risk.
Yet the lawmakers cautioned that years of hurt feelings were unlikely to heal simply because Obama dined last week with Republican lawmakers. They also said they would not to rush too quickly into Obama’s embrace during three scheduled, and unusual, visits to Capitol Hill next week to win them over.
The White House charm offensive comes as automatic spending cuts have begun to take hold, and if Washington does not block them, they could cut jobs as varied as air-traffic controllers, meat inspectors and Head Start teachers.
Hostage killings are a dangerous turn
Radical Islamic fighters killed seven foreign hostages in Nigeria, European diplomats said Sunday, making it the worst such kidnapping violence in decades for a country beset by extremist guerrilla attacks.
Nigeria’s police, military, domestic spy service and presidency remained silent over the killings of the construction company workers, kidnapped Feb. 16 from northern Bauchi state. The government’s silence only led to more questions about the nation’s continued inability to halt attacks that have seen hundreds killed in shootings, church bombings and an attack on the United Nations.
The latest victims were four Lebanese and one citizen apiece from Britain, Greece and Italy. Britain and Italy said all seven of those taken from the Setraco construction company compound had died at the hands of Ansaru, a previously little-known splinter group of the Islamic sect Boko Haram.
Uncle: I tried to save 7 from house fire
Gino Cima raced to a house as it was engulfed by flames in rural Kentucky, frantically trying to save his nephew, his nephew’s pregnant fiancee and five young children inside. But he was too late: He found his nephew’s body near a side door, laying in a way that suggested the man had been trying to rescue the sleeping children.
Cima said Sunday that he arrived within minutes of hearing of the Saturday morning blaze.
The Knox County coroner and state police have not yet identified the victims, but family members said the five children killed ranged in age from 10 months to 3 years.
Relatives said the nephew’s fiancee was the mother of three of the children who died. The other two were siblings and friends of the family, visiting for a sleep-over, relatives said. Officials said the cause of the fire was under investigation.
Opposition leader to seek presidency
Venezuelan opposition leader Henrique Capriles announced Sunday night that he will run in elections to replace Hugo Chavez, launching what many consider a doomed candidacy with a no-holds-barred attack against a government he said had coldly betrayed Venezuelans’ trust.
Capriles slammed the government for using Chavez’s death to push the candidacy of Nicolas Maduro, who was sworn in as acting leader Friday. He also called top military brass an “embarrassment” for publicly supporting Maduro, although the constitution forbids the military from taking political sides.