- - Thursday, May 31, 2012

BOSTON — Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Elizabeth Warren has publicly acknowledged for the first time that she told officials at Harvard University and the University of Pennsylvania that she had American Indian heritage.

The Harvard Law School professor’s campaign said in a statement that she gave that information to the schools only after she had been hired.

Mrs. Warren has provided no documentation of American Indian heritage, which she has said was part of family lore.

She is running for the Senate seat from Massachusetts held by Republican Scott P. Brown.

ILLINOIS

State lawmaker’s outburst creating online stir

SPRINGFIELD — An Illinois lawmaker screamed profanities and referenced the Bible during a videotaped tirade directed at the state’s powerful House speaker. And it’s creating a stir online.

Republican Rep. Mike Bost said Thursday he’s been surprised by the mostly positive reaction he’s received. He says his frustration has been building for years.

Mr. Bost’s outburst came as House members were preparing to vote Tuesday on a contentious plan to overhaul Illinois’ pension system without a chance for debate or amendment.

Mr. Bost says that’s standard procedure in the Democrat-controlled House, but it shouldn’t be.

In reference to House Speaker Michael Madigan, Mr. Bost yelled: “You should be ashamed!”

Mr. Madigan chalked up the outburst to late-session frustration.

Mr. Bost voted in 1995 for the rule now used to prevent debate. He says that was a mistake.

 

LABOR

Filings for jobless aid at a five-week high

The number of Americans seeking unemployment benefits rose last week to a five-week high, evidence that the job market remains sluggish.

The Labor Department says weekly applications for unemployment aid rose 10,000 to a seasonally adjusted 383,000. The four-week average, a less-volatile measure, increased for the first time in a month to 374,500.

Applications had leveled off at about 370,000 for four weeks. That decline suggested that hiring could pick up in May. When applications drop below 375,000, it typically suggests that hiring is strong enough to reduce the unemployment rate.

Thursday’s figures don’t figure into the May employment report, to be released Friday. That report is based on figures gathered in the middle of the month.

PENTAGON

Marines expand probe of corpse urination video

The Marine Corps is investigating “other possible misconduct” by members of a battalion who drew worldwide attention when a video surfaced purporting to show them urinating on Afghan corpses, officials said Thursday.

In disclosing that a follow-up probe is under way, Marine spokesman Col. Sean D. Gibson said he could not provide details of the possible misbehavior or say what prompted the decision to widen the probe. He said the follow-up began May 15 and is to be completed by mid-June. It is headed by a Marine colonel.

“There are indications of other possible misconduct involving the unit depicted in the video that requires another investigation,” Col. Gibson said.

The disclosure in January of the video showing four Marines in full combat gear urinating on the bodies of three dead men led to a criminal investigation by the Naval Criminal Investigative Service as well as a Marine investigation of the unit involved, the 3rd Battalion, 2nd Marines, which fought in the southern Afghan province of Helmand for seven months before returning to its home base at Camp Lejeune, N.C., in September.

No investigation results have been released. 

PENTAGON

U.S. returns military officers to Pakistan

The Pentagon says that at Pakistan’s request, the U.S. military in Afghanistan has returned two officers to the headquarters of the Pakistani army’s 11th Corps to help coordinate military actions along the Afghan border.

The move is a small step toward improving U.S. relations with Pakistan, which were partially severed last November after an American air attack on the Pakistani side of the border inadvertently killed 24 members of the Pakistani army.

The U.S. liaison officers were withdrawn after the incident. U.S. trainers also were withdrawn and have not been returned.

A Pentagon spokesman, Navy Capt. John Kirby, said Thursday that there is still no Pakistani agreement to reopen land routes into Afghanistan that had been used to ferry supplies to American and NATO troops.

CAMPAIGN

Nancy Reagan backs Romney for president

LOS ANGELES — Former first lady Nancy Reagan served refreshments to Mitt Romney and his wife, Ann, on Thursday and offered the presumptive Republican presidential nominee something extra — her endorsement.

The Romneys “joined me at my home for some lemonade and cookies, and I offered my firm endorsement of his campaign for president,” the 90-year-old widow, who lives in Bel Air outside Los Angeles, said in a brief statement.

Mr. Romney has already earned enough delegates to win the nomination to face President Obama in the Nov. 6 presidential election.

“I am thrilled that after Tuesday’s primary, he is the clear choice, having won the magic number of 1,144 convention delegates,” Mrs. Reagan said. “Ronnie would have liked Governor Romney’s business background and his strong principles, and I have to say I do, too.”

She said, “I believe Mitt Romney has the experience and leadership skills that our country so desperately needs, and I look forward to seeing him elected president in November.”

• From wire dispatches and staff reports