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In brief: Clinton defends Benghazi response

Sat., May 31, 2014

WASHINGTON – Hillary Rodham Clinton dismisses her critics and defends her handling of the deadly 2012 terrorist attack in Benghazi, Libya, in her new book, offering fellow Democrats a guide for how to talk about the fraught issue through the 2016 presidential race.

The former secretary of state’s “Hard Choices” is a rebuke to Republicans who have seized upon the Sept. 11, 2012, terrorist attack that killed U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans.

Republicans have accused the Obama administration of stonewalling congressional investigators and misleading the public about the nature of the attack in the weeks before the presidential election. Republicans used the attack to try to undermine President Barack Obama’s re-election and, now, to tarnish the still-uncertain Clinton bid to replace him in early 2017.

“Those who exploit this tragedy over and over as a political tool minimize the sacrifice of those who served our country,” Clinton writes in a 34-page chapter, obtained by Politico. The book comes out June 10.

Officers indicted in chase shootings

CLEVELAND – Six officers in Cleveland’s troubled police department were indicted Friday in a November 2012 car chase that ended with two unarmed suspects dying in a hail of 137 shots, and which was decried as a racially motivated execution.

Patrol officer Michael Brelo has been charged with two counts of manslaughter, and five supervisors have been charged with dereliction of duty for failing to control the chase.

Brelo fired a total of 49 shots, Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Tim McGinty said. After the initial barrage, Brelo jumped on the hood of the victims’ car, which by then was trapped by police cruisers, and fired 15 more shots, McGinty said. The prosecutor said that final volley caused fatal wounds.

The victims were unarmed.

Medicare can pay for sex changes

SAN FRANCISCO – Medicare can no longer automatically deny coverage requests for sex reassignment surgeries, a federal board ruled Friday in a groundbreaking decision that recognizes the procedures are medically necessary for some people who don’t identify with their biological sex.

Ruling in favor of a 74-year-old transgender Army veteran whose request to have Medicare pay for her genital reconstruction was denied two years ago, a U.S. Department of Health and Human Services review board said there was no justification for a three-decade-old agency rule excluding such surgeries from covered treatments.

The lifting of the coverage ban means applicants for coverage now will be able to seek authorization by submitting documentation from a doctor and mental health professionals stating that surgery is recommended in their individual case.

Doggy doo-doo forces landing

PHILADELPHIA – A cross-country flight had to make an unscheduled landing when a service dog pooped twice in the aisle, sickening passengers with the odor.

US Airways spokesman Andrew Christie said the Wednesday US Airways flight from Los Angeles to Philadelphia had to make an unscheduled stop in Kansas City.

The flight continued after the mess was cleaned up on the ground. The passenger and service dog were rebooked on another flight.


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