- - Tuesday, April 19, 2011


First lady’s plane diverted to avert mishap

Air-traffic controllers directed a plane carrying first lady Michelle Obama to abort a landing at Andrews Air Force Base because it was too close to a military cargo jet, officials said Tuesday.

A Boeing 737 belonging to the Air National Guard, one of several Guard planes used by the White House, came within about three miles of a massive C-17 as the planes were approaching Andrews shortly after 5 p.m. Monday to land, according to the Federal Aviation Administration and Maj. Michelle Lai, a spokeswoman for Andrews.

The FAA requires a minimum separation of five miles between two planes when the plane in the lead is as large as the 200-ton cargo jet, in order to avoid dangerous wake turbulence that can severely affect the trailing aircraft.


Cantor, Kyl put on panel

The No. 2 Republicans in the House and Senate have been named to a deficit panel led by Vice President Joseph R. Biden that is tasked with developing a bipartisan plan to curb federal budget deficits.

House Majority Leader Eric Cantor of Virginia and Senate Minority Whip Jon Kyl of Arizona join several Democratic stalwarts on the panel, which meets next month. President Barack Obama set up the panel last week.

It’s the second such panel for Mr. Obama, who largely ignored the bipartisan but politically painful cuts and revenue increases the first panel came up with last year. The new group comes as must-pass legislation to maintain the government’s ability to borrow comes to a head. Both Mr. Obama and Republicans say spending cuts must be part of that effort.


WWI documents set for release

The CIA is declassifying secrets for writing with invisible ink and even opening sealed letters without detection: state-of-the-art spying techniques from World War I.

Six secret documents, made available on the CIA’s website Tuesday, show how diplomats and generals of yesteryear got the drop on each other. There’s a document written in French about the German’s secret ink formula, showing that the French had cracked the German code.

CIA Director Leon Panetta says it’s possible to reveal these secrets now because the old methods have been far outpaced by recent advances in the chemistry of secret ink and the lighting methods used to detect it.

Documents on secret writing fall under the CIA’s authority to declassify. The agency said it declassified more than a million historical documents last year alone.


Unemployment falls in majority of areas

The unemployment rate fell in two-thirds of the nation’s states last month, the latest evidence that the strengthening economy is encouraging many employers to boost hiring.

The Labor Department says the unemployment rate dropped in 34 states in March. That’s the largest number of states to record a decline since June. The rate rose in seven states and was unchanged in nine and the District.

Nationally, the unemployment rate fell in March to a two-year low of 8.8 percent, and private employers added more than 200,000 jobs for the second consecutive month.


Obama: Perspective gained from Christ

Pausing to observe Holy Week amid war and policy struggles, President Obama said on Tuesday that the agony of Jesus Christ through death and resurrection puts mere political struggle “in perspective.”

For the second year running, Mr. Obama hosted an Easter prayer breakfast at the White House, and the East Room was filled with administration officials and clergy from across the country.

Mr. Obama said “critical national debates” are raging, and “my plate has been full as well. The in-box keeps accumulating. But then comes Holy Week …

“As busy as we are, as many tasks as pile up, during this season, we are reminded that there is something about the resurrection … of Our Savior Jesus Christ that puts everything else in perspective.”


Obama, advocates discuss immigration

Supporters of overhauling the nation’s immigration laws say President Obama has assured them he will continue pushing for a new policy. Obama had promised to make that an early priority, but his failure to deliver thus far has dismayed Hispanics and immigrant advocates.

Mr. Obama met at the White House on Tuesday with an array of people who want to see a new policy in place.

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