- - Monday, July 30, 2012

House and Senate negotiators pushed to finish a new round of stifling sanctions on Iran, targeting energy, shipping and insurance sectors with punitive measures to derail Tehran’s suspected push for nuclear weapons.

Lawmakers hoped to unveil a final bill late Monday, with a House vote as early as Wednesday. Congress has just a week before a monthlong August recess and members see the legislation as the last chance to impose crippling penalties on Iran.

Sanctions have broad bipartisan support in Congress and in a crucial boost to the measure’s prospects, officials at the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, the powerful pro-Israel lobbying group, said they support the legislation.

The draft bill would essentially sanction any transaction related to the energy sector and prohibit Iran from transferring money back to the country from oil sales to foreign nations.


New ad highlights Romney’s role in 2002 Olympics

NEW YORK — An independent group backing Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney is out with a new TV ad featuring a trio of former Olympic athletes praising his stewardship of the 2002 Winter Games.

Restore Our Future is spending $7.2 million to run the ad in Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Nevada, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Virginia. The ad will also air in Michigan and Wisconsin.

In the ad, figure skater Kristi Yamaguchi, speed skater Derek Parra and skeleton racer Jimmy Shea offer testimonials to Mr. Romney.

The former Massachusetts governor is credited with turning around the financially troubled games in Salt Lake City and steering them to success and profit.

Mr. Shea says Mr. Romney, “changed my life.”

The ad does not mention President Obama.


Democratic report blasts for-profit colleges

A Senate Democratic committee report says for-profit colleges place revenues above education and charge students high tuition and excessive loan rates. It says that top officials running the schools enrich themselves.

The report found students often leave these schools after four months, deeply in debt from loans and unable to find a job.

The report said veterans are especially vulnerable to encountering these problems, because for-profit colleges receive the largest share of military educational benefit programs.

Eight of the top 10 recipients of GI Bill money since the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks are for-profit education companies. The report said reaching an enrollment quota was the highest priority for recruiters.

Student performance was found to be poor. In 2008-2009, an estimated 54 percent left without a degree or certificate.


Website links Obama to African slave

SALT LAKE CITY — Ancestry.com says it has found evidence that President Obama could be a descendant of an African slave.

Mr. Obama’s black father is from Kenya and his white mother is from Kansas. It has been reported repeatedly in the past that Mr. Obama’s ancestors were not slaves.

The Utah-based Ancestry.com now says a team of researchers found that his mother’s mixed-race family line appears to trace back to one of the first documented African slaves in the U.S.

The company says Mr. Obama could be the 11th great-grandson of an African slave in Colonial Virginia.

The Ancestry.com team used DNA analysis, marriage and property records to trace Mr. Obama’s maternal ancestry. The company says two years of effort hasn’t established a definitive link because of gaps in family history. The White House declined comment Monday.


Roberts: Supreme Court likely to take case involving DNA

Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. says the Supreme Court will probably consider a Maryland case that blocked police from collecting DNA samples from people arrested for certain crimes.

Chief Justice Roberts had previously temporarily blocked the ruling from going into effect. On Monday, he wrote in a four-page order that Maryland would be allowed to continue DNA collection until the court decides what to do with the case. He said that Maryland, in asking that the ruling be blocked, showed a “reasonable probability” that the court would take the case.

Maryland began collecting samples from people arrested for violent crimes in 2009.

The court is taking its summer break. It will begin hearing new cases in October.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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