The court has ruled that limiting how much money individuals can contribute to political campaigns impinges on free speech. The justices decided that limiting individuals to $2,600 donations per federal candidate is OK, but limiting them to $48,600 in total contributions to national races over two years is unacceptable, as is capping donations to party committees. The impact? A likely increase in the role money plays in American political campaigns, and a possible decrease in the money funneled to private political action committees.
The Presidential Daily Brief
A major earthquake struck off the coast of northern Chile overnight, cutting off power and triggering landslides and seven-foot high tsunami waves. At least six deaths were reported. The full extent of the quake’s impact remains unclear, although officials say the damage appears less than feared. Communications have been cut in several areas. Multiple aftershocks continued to rattle the region. The government evacuated the northern coast and said troops will maintain order while infrastructure is repaired.
The president crowed just a little as he announced in the Rose Garden that health insurance registration through the Affordable Care Act hit 7.1 million, comfortably surpassing the enrollment goal. It took six months of glitches and untold political capital, but Obama proudly announced that the system is helping people nationwide. Lo and behold, he quipped, “Armageddon has not arrived.” He conceded that the law won’t fix everything about America’s healthcare system but declared: “The Affordable Care Act is here to stay.”
Moscow is finding new ways to make its estranged former satellite suffer. Ukrainians may now have to decide between empty wallets and empty fuel tanks after Russia’s state-controlled gas exporter, Gazprom, hiked Ukraine’s rate by 44 percent. Meanwhile, NATO foreign ministers have agreed to halt civilian and military cooperation with Russia. The alliance is debating whether to establish permanent military bases in the Baltic states. It is seen as a bid to reassure Eastern European nations put on alert by Russia’s amassing of tens of thousands of troops on Ukraine’s eastern border.
An attack on the Texas military base injured several. (CNN).
Plane disappearance may remain a mystery. (BBC).
Kerry calls off West Bank trip as talks falter. (DW).
Energy company charged in fatal blast. (USA Today).
Cameron orders investigation of Muslim Brotherhood in the UK. (Global Post).
Activists say death toll in Syria tops 150,000. (Al Jazeera).
General Motors’ chief executive said the company’s failure to quickly address ignition and airbag glitches linked to fatalities was “disturbing” and “unacceptable.” ”It came to light on my watch, so I’m responsible,” Mary Barra told a congressional hearing as relatives of crash victims watched. “Today’s GM will do the right thing.” The company has hired the attorney who established a compensation fund after 9/11. It may be an indication that GM is considering paying compensation for crashes that occurred before it declared bankruptcy in 2009, even though it’s legally sheltered from doing so.
Where’s the love? Two seemingly stone-hearted American expats living in the City of Amour have launched a petition to snip some 700,000 padlocks attached to city bridges by lovers. The padlocks, engraved with lovers’ names, first decorated the Pont des Arts and Pont de l’Archeveche, and are supposed to be a symbol of eternal love. But they’re spreading like a metal plague across the city, critics complain. Most concerning, the metal is adding an extra 103 tons to the Pont des Arts footbridge, which may prove to be a losing combination.
Source: The Guardian
Facebook’s chief operating officer has cut her company holding from 41.2 million shares to 17.2 million since the site’s public offering. This has fueled speculation that the money could be used for her political ambitions. She denies the rumors, insisting that the shares were sold to cover tax costs. Her boss, Mark Zuckerberg, meanwhile, cut his salary to just $1 in 2013. Not to worry though, his shares are said to be worth between $25 and $30 billion, so he can still pay the bills.
Slow down, pounding the streets too much isn’t good for you. While moderate running and exercise have proven to have positive health effects, new research points out that high-mileage runners — who run at least 20 miles a week — tend to have shorter lives. The figures are similar to those who get no exercise. Findings at Pennsylvania’s Cardiovascular Research Institute appear to rule out cardiac stress, but the fine line between a shorter finish and longer life remains unclear.
The DJ credited with inventing the house genre has unexpectedly passed away at the age of 59. New York native Knuckles, born Frankie Nicholls, started putting his own spin on disco in the late 80s. By the 90s, he was lighting up Chicago’s hottest clubs with a unique, blaring electronic sound unheard anywhere else. Dubstep and grime have Knuckles to thank for establishing house on the turntables. He will be remembered for paying tribute to the disco era while daring to forge something new.
Golf’s number one will not play in next week’s competition for the first time in 19 years after undergoing back surgery. Woods, 38, has won majors 14 times since his first amateur break in 1995. But a troublesome pinched nerve, which forced him to withdraw from March’s Honda Classic and Arnold Palmer Invitational, has sidelined his 2014 Masters bid. The golfing legend announced he would not be participating and would focus on his rehabilitation instead. The setback is not expected to affect his career, and Augusta awaits his return in 2015.