News in Brief (2)

The Washington Post reports that a plume of volcanic ash from Iceland hovering over Northern Europe severely disrupted air travel for hundreds of thousands of airline passengers today as authorities cancelled flights across the region. The ash cloud, which has drifted from a volcano in Iceland, forced officials to shut down airspace in Britain, Ireland, France and Scandinavia, causing further delays worldwide. The volcano is still spewing ash into the air, and authorities said they did not know when the airspace would reopen.

—————————————

The New York Times reports that Russia formally announced that it would suspend all adoptions of Russian children by Americans, responding to the case of a 7-year-old boy who was sent back to Moscow alone last week by his adoptive mother in Tennessee. Russian officials said new regulations had to be put in place before adoptions by Americans could proceed.

—————————————

The Hill reports that the Supreme Court is asking for more federal security funds, citing as one reason the “volume” of threats it receives. Justice Clarence Thomas told a House appropriations subcommittee on Thursday that the court wants money for 12 additional police officers, although security personnel want 24 ideally. Thomas said the court was considering the nation’s broader fiscal difficulties in asking for only 12. He said the court has only one person dedicated to threat assessment.

—————————————

Talking Points Memo reports that NBC News obtained a scathing report from Defense Secretary Robert Gates, who said that most of the Defense Department’s safeguards were “unclear” or “inadequate” to identify the threat and prevent the mass shooting that killed 13 soldiers at Fort Hood, Texas, in December. Army psychiatrist Major Nidal Hassan is charged in the shootings that also wounded 31. The secretary’s report found that the DOD’s commitment to the Joint Terrorism Task Force is “inadequate,” which results in “inconsistent” coordination with the FBI. The report also found that the Joint Task force knew well before the shooting that Hassan was in communications with an al-Qaeda sympathizer and recruiter, but that was not reported to DOD or the military.