From NPR News in Washington, I'm Craig Windham.
Russia's decision to grant temporary asylum to former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden has drawn a sharp reaction from the White House, which calls the move "deeply disappointing." NPR's Ari Shapiro reports high-level talks that were scheduled for next month between the US and Russia may now be in jeopardy.
White House spokesman Jay Carney says the administration had no advanced warning of Russia's actions, and he says the president continues to believe that Russia should send Mr. Snowden back to the US to stand trial as soon as possible.
"This move by the Russian government undermines a long-standing record of law enforcement cooperation, cooperation that has recently been on the upswing since the Boston Marathon bombings."
This adds to a long list of disagreements between the US and Russia on issues ranging from Syria to gay rights. President Obama is scheduled to visit Moscow next month for a bilateral meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin. Carney says the administration is now evaluating the utility of that trip. Ari Shapiro, NPR News, the White House.
The White House says the president will nominate John Koskinen, a corporate turnaround specialist and former chairman of mortgage giant Freddie Mac, to be the new commissioner of the Internal Revenue Service. Before the nomination was announced, House Speaker John Boehner said congressional Republicans are going to press ahead with their investigation in what he called the abuse of power at the IRS.
"The American people deserve answers, and we're gonna continue to fight for the truth."
President Obama says he chose Koskinen because he's an expert at turning around institutions in need of reform.
Former Cleveland school bus drive Ariel Castro has been sentenced to spend the rest of his life behind bars for holding three women captive in his home and abusing them for years. Castro made a rambling statement during a hearing today in which he insisted he is not a monster.
"These people are trying to paint me as a monster and I'm not a monster. I'm sick."
One of Castro's victims, Michelle Knight, stood a few feet from him as she read a defiant and angry statement.
"I spent 11 years in hell. Now your hell is just beginning. I will overcome all this that happened, but you will face hell for eternity."
Under a plea deal, Castro avoids the death penalty but will never leave prison.
Manufacturing activity is on the rise, factory activity expanding in July at its fastest pace in just over a year. Brad Holcomb with the Institute for Supply Management says there were a number of reasons.
"Good new orders, good demand, very, very strong production and employment is positive."
Another report out today showed a decline in new claims for unemployment benefits down to the lowest level in more than five years. The Labor Department will have its latest readout on employment tomorrow.
On Wall Street just before the close, the Dow Industrial Average is up 118 points, the NASDAQ Composite up 48 and the S&P 500 index is up 20.
This is NPR News from Washington.
The Senate has overwhelmingly confirmed Samantha Power to be the new US ambassador to the United Nations. Power served as a foreign policy advisor to President Obama and spent years working as a human rights advocate. She succeeds Susan Rice, who's now the president's national security advisor.
The new secretary of the Interior, Sally Jewell, is making her feelings clear about climate changes. NPR's Elizabeth Shogren reports Jewell believes it is a big threat.
Sally Jewell is three months into her job, but she just made her first big address to her staff.
"I hope there are no climate change deniers in the Department of the Interior."
She urged anyone with doubts to go to Alaska, where the permafrost is dying, or to California's Sierra Mountains, where snow is melting earlier in the spring, creating havoc for water supplies.
"We are in a unique position that actually be able to do something about it. How exciting is that. You got a changing climate, and you and I can actually do something about it. That's a privilege, and I would argue some moral imperative that we gotta step up to."
The Interior Department includes agencies that manage vast stretches of public land, oil and gas leasing and endangered animals and plants. Elizabeth Shogren, NPR News, Washington.
The largest election-monitoring group in Zimbabwe says up to a million people were not allowed to cast votes in the presidential election yesterday. The main challenger to the incumbent, Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, says the vote was rigged.
"The credibility of this election has been marred by administrative and legal violations which affect the legitimacy of its outcome."
Official results in the first round of voting are not expected to be released until early next week.
I'm Craig Windham, NPR News in Washington.