- - Wednesday, June 6, 2012

U.S. officials say the Obama administration will offer up to $33 million in rewards for information about top members of an Islamist extremist group in Somalia linked to al Qaeda.

The rewards for the leaders of the al-Shabab militia movement will be announced Thursday by the State Department, The bounties will be administered by the department’s Rewards for Justice program.

It will be first time the program has offered rewards for members of al-Shabab, which is accused of terrorist attacks in Somalia, Uganda and Kenya. The officials spoke on the condition of anonymity because the bounties have not yet been announced.

The program will offer up to $7 million for al-Shabab’s founder, up to $5 million each for three of his main associates and up to $3 million each for two other top members.


Another judge strikes down part of Defense of Marriage Act

NEW YORK — A federal judge in Manhattan joined a growing chorus of judges across the country Wednesday by striking down a key component of the federal law that defines marriage as the union of a man and a woman.

U.S. District Judge Barbara Jones said the Defense of Marriage Act’s definitions “intrude upon the states’ business of regulating domestic relations” by re-examining the marriage definitions by the various states — six of which, plus the District of Columbia, recognize gay marriages.

“That incursion skirts important principles of federalism and therefore cannot be legitimate, in this court’s view,” said Judge Jones, a 1995 appointee of President Clinton.

The ruling came in a case brought by Edith Windsor, a woman whose partner died in 2009, two years after they married in Canada. Because of the federal law, Ms. Windsor didn’t qualify for the unlimited marital deduction on her late spouse’s estate and was required to pay $363,053 in federal estate tax. Ms. Windsor sued the government in November 2010.

The government declined to comment through Ellen Davis, a spokeswoman for government attorneys in Manhattan.


Carney: McCain leak claim a matter of political gain

The White House is denying claims from Republican Sen. John McCain that it orchestrated leaks of classified information to news organizations to boost President Obama’s national security reputation and re-election chances.

White House press secretary Jay Carney says any claim of leaks for political gain is “grossly irresponsible.”

Story Continues →