- The Washington Times - Friday, May 31, 2013

President Obama was sent multiple letters that tested positive for the deadly poison ricin and Sen. John McCain was accused of meeting with kidnappers during his trip to Syria.

On the international stage, a new respiratory virus sweeping the Middle East has been dubbed ‘a threat to the entire world’ by the World Health Organization.

Here’s a recap, or wrap, of the week that was from The Washington Times.

• Sequester is fed speak for Now Hiring; government posts 27,000 high-paying job openings

The budget cuts known as sequestration were supposed to wreak havoc, forcing the shrinking of critical workforces including airport security officers and food inspectors.

But since sequestration kicked in March 4, the government has posted openings for 4,300 federal job titles to hire some 10,300 people.

• Straight shooter: D.C. man who shot pit bull mauling boy refuses legal aid; asks donors to help kid

A D.C. man who faced criminal charges for using an unregistered gun to kill a pit bull as it mauled a neighborhood boy is now raising funds for the 11-year-old victim to help him cope in the aftermath of the vicious attack.

The effort comes amid an outpouring of support from gun-rights activists offering to raise money for Benjamin Srigley, 39, who was ordered to pay a $1,000 fine as part of an agreement he would not be charged with a crime.

• ‘I hate this country’: Hot mic catches Adam Levine on ‘The Voice’

A hot mic on NBC’s hit talent show “The Voice” caught Maroon 5 singer and co-host Adam Levine saying, “I hate this country,” after singer Amber Carrington was “saved by America,” The Washington Examiner reported Wednesday.

The co-host tried to assuage the anger that ensued after his on-air faux pas, by tweeting a series of definitions this morning.

• House investigator subpoenas all communications on Benghazi ‘talking points’

House Republicans’ chief investigator issued a subpoena Tuesday for State Department documents that he said would shed light on how the administration wrote the “talking points” that were used to give a wrong impression of the September terrorist attack in Benghazi, Libya.

Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Darrell E. Issa told Secretary of State John F. Kerry to provide all communications regarding the talking points from 10 department officials, including Victoria Nuland, who was chief spokeswoman at the time, and Deputy Secretary William Burns.

• Not so fast: Vatican says Pope Francis got it wrong, atheists do go to hell 

The Vatican has issued a new statement running counter to Pope Francis‘ recent suggestion that good deeds can earn atheists entrance to heaven.

The Rev. Thomas Rosica, a Vatican spokesman, said in what was described as an “explanatory note” that those who know about the Catholic Church “cannot be saved [if they] refuse to enter her or remain in her,” United Press International reported.

• School interrogation over toy gun leaves boy, 5, with wet pants, suspension

A Maryland family is appealing their 5-year-old son’s school suspension over a toy cap gun, characterizing the boy’s two-hour interrogation and subsequent 10-day boot from class a bit over the top.

The Calvert County kindergartner’s troubles began Wednesday, when he carried an orange-tipped unloaded toy cap gun inside his backpack on the school bus, WJLA News reported. Shortly before lunch, school officials called the boy to the office to account for a claim that he pointed the toy gun at someone on the bus and pretended to shoot. The boy – during a two-hour interrogation that ensued – denied he pointed his toy at anyone.

• Another ricin-tainted letter mailed to Obama

Yet another ricin-tainted letter was mailed to President Obama, the third such poisoned letter sent to the White House in recent weeks and part of a batch of suspicious mail sent from Spokane, Wash. that also targeted a federal judge and a post office in that city, the FBI said.

A fourth letter sent to Fairchild Air Force Base near Spokane is being analyzed for possible ricin contamination, FBI officials told reporters. All the letters were intercepted by authorities before they reached their targets.

• Middle East virus, MERS, called ‘threat to the entire world’

A respiratory illness that is sweeping the Middle East, infecting dozens and killing at least 30, is a global threat that must be contained, medical experts said.

The Middle Eastern Respiratory Symptom Coronavirus has infected at least 50 in Jordan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Tunisia, Germany, the United Kingdom and France.

“We understand too little about this virus when viewed against the magnitude of its potential threat. Any new disease that is emerging faster than our understanding is never under control,” said Dr. Margaret Chan, the head of the World Health Organization, in remarks this week reported by The New York Daily News. “These are alarm bells, and we must respond. The novel coronavirus is not a problem that any single affected country can keep to itself or manage all by itself. The [virus] is a threat to the entire world.”

• Sen. John McCain accused of posing with kidnappers in Syria

Sen. John McCain is denying Lebanese media reports that he posed with known kidnappers during his recent visit to Syria.

Two men pictured next to Mr. McCain were responsible for kidnapping 11 Lebanese Shiites, press from that country is claiming, as reported in the Daily Mail. And nine of those abducted are still being held hostage, the Daily Star in Beirut claims.

• House probes whether Eric Holder lied, wants explanation of ‘discrepancies’ about surveillance

The House Judiciary Committee opened an investigation Wednesday into whether Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. lied under oath in testimony about the Justice Department’s surveillance of journalists, while the White House declared again that President Obama “absolutely” has confidence in Mr. Holder.

Judiciary Chairman Bob Goodlatte, Virginia Republican, and Rep. F. James Sensenbrenner Jr., Wisconsin Republican, asked Mr. Holder in a letter to explain “discrepancies” between his sworn testimony before the panel earlier this month and the Justice Department’s decision to obtain a search warrant for the emails of James Rosen, the chief Washington correspondent for Fox News.

• Chinese mother of newborn in sewer was present for rescue

BEIJING — The mother of the Chinese newborn trapped in a sewer pipe in a stunning ordeal caught on video had raised the initial alarm and was present for the entire two-hour rescue but did not admit giving birth until confronted by police, reports said Wednesday.

The state-run, Hangzhou-based newspaper Dushikuaibao said police became suspicious when they found baby toys and blood-stained toilet paper in the 22-year-old woman’s rented room, in the building where Saturday’s rescue occurred in eastern China.

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