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Monday, September 16, 2013

12 Killed in Washington, D.C. Shooting

A gunman shot and killed twelve people at the Washington Navy Yard on Monday. While the gunman was killed by police, police said they were still looking for additional suspects.

Law enforcement identified the murderer as Aaron Alexis, who “terrified” a neighbor. According to police, Alexis was a contractor at the Navy Yard and used an AR-15 assault rifle, a shotgun, and a semiautomatic pistol in the shooting. An official told the New York Times, “It’s hard to carry that many guns, so there is some thinking that he may have taken some of them from security or whoever else he shot.”

Washington mayor Vincent Gray said that there is no reason to believe that the shooting was an act of terror, but added the caveat that authorities have not ruled out the possibility.

U.N.: Assad Administration Used Chemical Weapons

The United Nations released a report confirming that chemical weapons were in fact used in Syria. American ambassador to Syria Samantha Power asserted that the report implicated the Assad administration in the attacks, although the purpose of the U.N. report was not to determine who used the attacks, but to determine whether or not they were used.

In his New York Times op-ed last week, Vladimir Putin implied that the rebels were at least as likely to have used the weapons as the Assad administration. However, evidence is mounting that the Assad administration is to blame. The U.N. will make several more visits to the region to investigate other purported incidents.

Larry Summers Withdraws From Fed Nomination Process

Former Treasury secretary and White House economic advisor Larry Summers sent a letter to U.S. President Barack Obama withdrawing his name from consideration as chairman of the Federal Reserve Bank. While Summers was one of Obama’s top advisers during the crisis, liberal critics suggested that they wouldn’t confirm him — or would at least put up a fight — if he were nominated, citing his apparently-difficult personality and a reputation for having a hands-off approach to Fed policy.

In his letter to Obama, Summers said, “I have reluctantly concluded that any possible confirmation process for me would be acrimonious and would not serve the interest of the Federal Reserve, the Administration, or ultimately, the interests of the nation’s ongoing economic recovery.”

In his response, Obama said, “Larry was a critical member of my team as we faced down the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression, and it was in no small part because of his expertise, wisdom and leadership that we wrestled the economy back to growth and made the kind of progress we are seeing today,” Obama said. “I will always be grateful to Larry for his tireless work and service on behalf of his country.”

Ben Bernanke steps down as Fed chairman in January. Janet Yellen, current Vice Chairman of the Federal Reserve Bank, is the likeliest successor, although the Obama administration has been relatively cool to the idea of nominating her.

Obama Gives Major Budget Speech

On the anniversary of the Lehmann Brothers bankruptcy, Obama urged Congress not to imperil the economy by allowing a government shutdown, kickstarting a likely-rocky month of budget negotiations.

Obama said, “Budget battles and debates, those are as old as the Republic. [But] I cannot remember a time when one faction of one party promises economic chaos if it can’t get 100 percent of what it wants.” He urged Congress to work with the administration for a mutual agreement on the budget instead of refusing to raise the debt ceiling.

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