From NPR News in Washington, I'm Lakshmi Singh.
In a rare rebuke, President Obama's turning down Russian President Vladimir Putin's invitation to meet in Moscow next month, though he still plans to attend the G20 summit in St. Petersburg. NPR's Ari Shapiro reports the White House says Russia's decision to grant temporary asylum to American Edward Snowden, the analyst accused of leaking state secrets, was the final straw.
The Snowden controversy was just the latest in a long string of disagreements between the US and Russia. The two countries have butted heads over Syria, arms control, missile defense, gay rights and more. Ben Rhodes is deputy national security adviser for strategic communications.
"Frankly, we felt it was necessary to say we're going to continue this relationship, and we'll continue to work with Russia on areas where we can agree, but we're not going to go forward with this summit. That's not going to make progress, and we're not going to go forward with the summit against the backdrop of all these negative trends."
Rhodes says the way to turn the relationship around is to find areas of common interest where the countries can work together -- whether that's investigating the Boston bombing or coordinating the drawdown in Afghanistan. Ari Shapiro, NPR News, Washington.
The self-confessed gunman in the 2009 Fort Hood shooting is denying that he's trying to get the death penalty. But as NPR's Martin Kaste explains, Major Nidal Hasan's standby defense counsel says otherwise he now wants out.
"That he's been representing himself, but he has the option of going to these defense attorneys who used to represent him. He can still go to them for procedural help, filing a motion that sort of thing. They don't wanna be part of that any more. They don't wanna be his aids in that procedural staff. They basically say either he gets real defense help or they don't want to be part of that at all."
NPR's Martin Kaste in Fort Hood, Texas. In his opening statement yesterday, Hasan did not deny that he was the shooter that killed 13 people and wounded more than 30. He was expected to focus his arguments on motive.
There was also some mysterious back-and-forth in court today in Boston as jurors mulled the fate of reputed mobster James Whitey Bulger. Lawyers are under gag order and not talking. Earlier today jurors had questions. NPR's Tovia Smith reports they are considering dozens of counts against the 83-year-old who's accused of racketeering in everything from money laundering to murder.
Jurors asked about statutes of limitation some of the crimes go back decades. But the judge said that wasn't an issue. More notably, says former prosecutor Josh Levy, jurors also asked for clarification on aiding and abetting laws.
"What I would take from that is that they are focusing like a laser on the government's arguments that you don't need to decide who actually committed the physical act of murder, that Mr. Bulger was a participant. Under the law, he is guilty. Legally it does not make a difference."
Bulger's attorneys contested only a few of the government's charges primarily whether Bulger strangled two women. But the defense conceded that Bulger was indeed making millions from criminal activities. Levy says it's making the jury's job somewhat easier. Tovia Smith NPR News, Boston.
Dow was off 48 points at 15,471.
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A new study shows that retirement savings have not recovered from the recent recession. NPR's Ina Jaffe reports that unemployed or underemployed workers had to dip into their retirement savings just to get by.
The survey is the latest annual report from the non-profit Transamerica Center for Retirement Studies. It shows that 62% of unemployed or underemployed workers have little or no competence that they'll be able to comfortably retire. More than half of unemployed workers who had a 401k at their previous job say they've withdrawn funds from the account. Median retirement savings for all workers who lost jobs during the recession is just 7,500 dollars. Workers in their 40s have the lowest median retirement savings -- just 1,900 dollars. In looking for work, the majority cites higher pay as being more important than retirement benefits. Ina Jaffe, NPR News.
Part of East Africa's largest aviation hub is a scene of charred debris. Kenya's main airport in Nairobi was engulfed in flames today. Short of equipment, firefighters took hours to contain the blaze, and the incident severely affected the air travel in Africa.
It is really, really hot in China. So hot in fact.
"It's like someone pointing a hair dryer at your face."
James Griffiths is living and sweating a lot more than usual in over 105-degree weather in Shanghai, where the heat wave is the worst it's been in at least 140 years. The blog editor says it's miserable.
"A friend of mine points out in the middle of the day that he stands next to a bus. He can't feel the heat coming off the engine because it's the same temperatures as the air around did."
The heat wave is blame for dozens of deaths in at least 40 cities and counties.
I'm Lakshmi Singh, NPR News in Washington.