- - Thursday, July 5, 2012

DES MOINES — Two Republican officials say GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney and the Republican National Committee combined raised more than $100 million in June.

It’s a striking number for a presidential challenger, and it doesn’t count the tens of millions that GOP outside groups have raised to help Mr. Romney defeat President Obama this fall.

The Republican officials confirmed the figure only on the condition of not being identified because they were not authorized to release it to the media. Politico first reported the figure.

Mr. Obama hasn’t released what he and the Democratic National Committee raised in June.

In May, Romney and the RNC raised a combined $76.8 million, while Mr. Obama and the DNC brought in $60 million.


Clinton goes to France for Syria talks, then Asia

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton has escaped sweltering Washington, but she won’t be getting much of a respite from the heat as she crisscrosses Europe, Asia and the Mideast to deal with some of the world’s most inflamed crises.

Mrs. Clinton embarked Thursday on an eight-country trip that will take her first to France for an international conference on Syria and talks with Palestinian leaders. She then heads to Asia for a meeting of Afghan donor countries in Japan and a regional security gathering in Cambodia. She ends the trip in the Middle East, where she will see Egypt’s new president and visit Israel.

It will be the globe-trotting secretary of state’s longest overseas journey this year and comes as the situation in Syria continues to deteriorate. Syrian President Bashar Assad’s regime shows no sign of easing its brutal 16-month crackdown on the opposition despite international pressure and a plan for political transition proposed by former U.N. chief Kofi Annan.


Lawmakers unveil 5-year farm and food bill

The House Agriculture Committee is unveiling its approach to a long-term farm and food bill that would reduce spending by some $3.5 billion a year, almost half of that coming from cuts in the federal food-stamp program.

The legislative draft put forward Thursday envisions reducing current food-stamp spending projections by $1.6 billion a year, four times the amount of cuts incorporated in the farm bill passed by the Senate last month.

It also differs from the Senate bill in creating new federal programs to protect farmers from natural and financial disasters. The committee votes on the bill next week. Timing for full House action is uncertain.

The two chambers must reach a compromise on the five-year legislation before the current farm bill expires at the end of September.


Regulators crack down on unapproved painkillers

The Food and Drug Administration says it will begin cracking down on companies that market versions of the painkiller oxycodone that have not undergone federal review.

Oxycodone is a powerful pain reliever with the potential for addiction, abuse and death, when used inappropriately. The drug is marketed legally by companies like Purdue Pharma, which sells the time-release pill OxyContin. FDA reviews these drugs to make sure they are safe and effective.

However, other companies have marketed similar pills for years without FDA clearance.

In a Federal Register notice, the FDA said companies marketing unapproved versions of oxycodone have 45 days to cease manufacturing them. Companies that don’t comply will be subject to product seizure and court proceedings.

Oxycodone and other opioid painkillers are among the most widely abused drugs in the U.S.


Ex-governor detained at border checkpoint

PHOENIX — Former Arizona Gov. Raul Castro, who in the 1970s served as the state’s first and only Hispanic governor, was detained at a U.S. Border Patrol checkpoint after the vehicle he was traveling in triggered a radiation sensor.

The Arizona Republic reported that Mr. Castro was briefly detained June 12 at a checkpoint on Interstate 19 as he was traveling from his home in Nogales, Ariz., to celebrate his 96th birthday in Tucson. The Mexican-born Mr. Castro was governor of Arizona from 1975 to 1977.

Mr. Castro said agents questioned him outside his vehicle in 100-degree heat. He said he explained to them that he had undergone hospital testing on his pacemaker the previous day, likely triggering the sensor.

Mr. Castro told the Associated Press on Thursday that he thought the stop was prompted by a monitor being set off, not on his appearance.

“I don’t think being Hispanic had anything to do with it,” Mr. Castro said. He said he was detained for 40 to 45 minutes; the federal agency said it lasted 10 minutes.

The former governor downplayed the detention, noting that he wasn’t pleased with the way he was treated, but didn’t file a complaint.


Wartime remains of six airmen located in Laos

Six U.S. airmen missing from a combat mission over southern Laos during the Vietnam War will be buried Monday after their remains were located and identified after a 17-year investigation.

The Defense Department said Thursday the six will be buried in a single casket at Arlington National Cemetery.

Their AC-47D aircraft went down Dec. 24, 1965, after sending a mayday signal.

A U.S.-Lao team located the crash site in 1995, and investigators searched the area four times between 1999 and 2001 but found no human remains. The search resumed in 2010 and 2011, when remains were located. They were identified using dental records and other evidence.

More than 300 American personnel are missing from Laos, where the U.S. bombarded supply lines of communist guerrillas fighting U.S. forces in neighboring Vietnam.

• From wire dispatches and staff reports

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