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September 30th, 2013
05:45 AM ET

Government Shutdown: Get Up To Speed In 20 Questions

Let's start with the obvious question: Will the government shut down this week? Most likely.

On that, Republicans and Democrats agree. It's everything else that has them bickering and blaming. And unless they strike a deal on a spending bill Monday, the government will begin closing shop at 12:01 a.m. Tuesday.

CNN's Brianna Keilar reports.

After weeks of congressional back-and-forth, the ball is now in the Senate's court. It meets at 2 p.m. Monday to decide what to do next.

The outcome, while likely, isn't a foregone conclusion. The deadline is midnight - and one day can be a long time on Capitol Hill.


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September 27th, 2013
05:33 AM ET

Climate Change Report Blames People For Problems

A new U.N. report on climate change just out overnight presents the strongest evidence yet that human activities are largely to blame for the warming of the planet.

The panel's scientists peg it to a 95 percent certainty. CNN’s Indra Petersons reports.

The report is the first issued in six years by the U.N.'s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and says the Arctic sea ice is melting and oceans are warming and rising.


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September 26th, 2013
12:28 PM ET

The Debt Ceiling: Time To Raise It Again?

In four days, the U.S. government could shut down as fierce partisan fighting over funding Obamacare continues. But economic catastrophe may come seventeen days later, when the U.S. could default on its loans if Congress doesn't raise the debt ceiling.

CNN's Dana Bash reports.

Though a shut down would lead to the closure of national parks and job furloughs, the White House warns lawmakers not to use the debt ceiling as a bargaining chip.

White House Spokesperson Jay Carney said, "There is no negotiating over Congress' responsibility to ensure that we do not default."

GOP sources tell CNN that as soon as Saturday, House Republicans are planning to pass a bill that does raise the debt ceiling, but also adds several party priorities like tax reform or delaying Obamacare.

Democrats say this is unlikely.

For more, visit CNN.com

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September 26th, 2013
12:26 PM ET

FBI: Navy Yard Shooter 'Delusional'

Aaron Alexis was under "the delusional belief that he was being controlled or influenced by extremely low frequency electromagnetic waves" before he embarked on a bloody shooting rampage at the Washington Navy Yard, an FBI official said Wednesday.

CNN's Joe Johns reports.

The 34-year-old contractor, who until a few years ago had served in the Navy, spelled out this belief - with the words, "My ELF weapon" - in the sawed-off Remington 870 shotgun he brought into the military facility's Building #197 on the morning of September 16.

"ELF" refers to low-frequency electromagnetic waves, a technology used for submarine communications that conspiracy theorists believe the government employs to monitor and manipulate unsuspecting citizens, the FBI said.

"Ultra low frequency attack is what I've been subject to for the last 3 months," read a message obtained by federal authorities from Alexis's thumb drives, phones and computers. "And to be perfectly honest, that is what has driven me to this."


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September 25th, 2013
09:33 AM ET

Republicans Keeps On Talking To Defund Obamacare

As Texas Republican Senator Ted Cruz continues to make a point to try to defund Obamacare by talking and talking on the body's floor, Senators are expected to eventually pass a new funding bill that preserves the health care law.

Then that bill will go back to Congress, which puts the pressure on Speaker John Boehner to either pass the new spending bill or block it,  CNN's Jim Acosta reports.

Cruz started speaking at about 2:40 on Tuesday afternoon saying "I intend to speak in support of defunding Obamacare until I am no longer able to stand."

In a marathon event, Cruz has read tweets, told stories, and has only breaked while other Republican senators step in to ask him questions.

Though not every colleague supports this action.  Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell said,  “I just don't happen to think filibustering a bill that defunds Obamacare is the best route to defunding Obamacare.  All it does is shut down the government and keep Obamacare funded, and none of us want that.”

Though Acosta points out this is not a filibuster because the action will not prevent a vote.

In less than one week, on October first, new online marketplaces open for business across the country to give the uninsured their first shot at buying into health care plans.

President Obama has said, “What we want to make sure of is that everybody in every category in every age group understands why health insurance is important and why they should sign up.”

But Cruz and some other Republicans say they'll only vote for a measure that averts a government shutdown if it also defunds Obamacare.




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Filed under: Budget • government
September 24th, 2013
05:59 AM ET

Government Shutdown Six Days Away

Lawmakers must agree on a new spending plan in the next six days to keep the federal government up-and-running, CNN's Dana Bash reports.

It’s a family feud that affects every family in the country, at only 6 days till a government shutdown, one member of the figuratively broken GOP family, Texas Senator Ted Cruz, is breaking away from his broken home and gathering support in order to filibuster Obamacare, which would all but guarantee a government shutdown if it succeeds.

To eradicate the healthcare law, Cruz says, “that should be our priority, not simply continuing business as usual in Washington.”

Republican Peter King called him a fraud.

King said, "The issues are too important, too serious. They require real solutions not headline cheap headline hunting schemes."

In the Democratic led Senate, the votes are not there, and some of Cruz' GOP colleagues are so miffed it has gotten really personal. GOP Senator Bob Corker tweeted:

"I didn't go to Harvard or Princeton (the schools Cruz graduated from), but I can count."

Among many grass roots conservatives, Cruz is a hero.  But in the Senate, run on relationships, he's rubbed GOP veterans the wrong way.

For more on this story, visit CNN.com 

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September 24th, 2013
05:57 AM ET

Kenya Mall Massacre Enters Day Four

Kenyan authorities vow the end is near as the nation enters the fourth day of a terror attack that shook it to the core, CNN's Arwa Damon reports.

The Kenyan government now says it has regained control of the Westgate Mall, but it's still unclear if all of the hostages have been freed after a three-day standoff with Islamist militants.

This morning, we're learning more about the attackers who launched the deadly siege.  Three have been killed but the exact number of gunmen that remain inside is still unknown.

Kenya's foreign minister told "PBS' Newshour" that two or three of the militants are young Americans who appeared to be of Somali or Arab origin.  The state department is looking into these reports.

For more on this developing story, visit CNN.com 

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September 23rd, 2013
09:53 AM ET

Kenyan Forces Claim Control Of Mall

Kenyan forces assault terrorists in Nairobi's Westgate Shopping Mall on Monday afternoon, killing two and claiming to take control of all floors of the building despite sporadic gunfire and the continued presence of the attackers inside.

The Somali militant group Al-Shabaab has taken credit for the attack, which is in its third day,  as retribution for the government sending  Kenyan troops to Somalia to help fight insurgents.

CNN's Nic Robertson gives more background on the terror organization.

Robertson reports their full name is Harakat al-Shabaab al-Mujahideen.

Perhaps Shabaab's most well recognized recruit is  American Omar Shafik Hammami from Alabama, known also as Abu Mansoor al-Amriki.

Hammami was killed recently in infighting but the organization boasts it has other American recruits.

As far back as 2010, British security chiefs have been warning about Al-Shabaab's threat beyond Somalia's border. In September of that year, Jonathan Evans, the head of MI5, warned "It is only a matter of time before we see terrorism on our streets inspired by those who are today fighting alongside Al-Shabaab."

Now this group loosely controls swaths of southern Somalia all the way to the Kenyan border and they vow attacks inside Kenya.

For updates on this breaking story, visit CNN.com

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September 20th, 2013
11:32 AM ET

GOP Sets Vote Today on Spending Plan

With House Republicans setting a vote for today on a temporary spending bill that would de-fund Obamacare, Congress edges closer to a government shutdown.

Now just 10 days to go before a government shutdown – and a possible debt default not far behind – White House officials says President Obama is ready to engage with leaders on Capital Hill in the hopes of averting a nightmare, CNN's Jim Acosta reports.


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Filed under: Politics
September 19th, 2013
03:03 PM ET

Investigating Aaron Alexis

As the community begins to heal after Monday's shooting, new details are emerging that paint a picture of the damage left behind inside Building 197. As investigators sift through the evidence in the Navy Yard killings, Navy officials say damage inside Building 197 is so extensive, it may take weeks to repair and reopen in, CNN's Pamela Brown reports.

The mother of the gunman apologized to the families of the victims on Wednesday, saying "I don't know why he did what he did and I'll never be able to ask him why. Aaron is now in a place where he can no longer do harm to anyone, and for that I am glad. To the families of the victims, I am so, so very sorry that this has happened. My heart is broken."

Law enforcement sources say nothing points to a specific motive for the rampage, even after the seizure of Aaron Alexis' computer and other possessions, as well as interviews with his social contacts.

And odd details are emerging. For example, a federal enforcement source tells CNN that Alexis made unexplained etchings into the shotgun he used in the attack.

Also, new details have emerged suggesting authorities might have been able to contain the gunman more quickly. A government official tells CNN, when the first radio call came in about a shooting at the Navy Yard, highly-trained, tactical capital police officers  were told by a watch commander to stand down.

The Capital police chief has ordered an "independent fact review" of their response in the critical first moments after the shooting was reported.

The medical examiner's office was expecting to complete its autopsy of Aaron Alexis late last night. No information about any toxicology results will be released until next of kin are notified.

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