Kentucky has chosen Rand Paul, the most prominent symbol of the Tea Party movement, as their candidate in the Republican Senate primary, reported The New York Times. Paul’s win by 24 points over Trey Grayson, who was supported by one of the most powerful Republicans on Capitol Hill, Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky), echoes the anti-Washington, anti-incumbent sentiment around the country.
Sen. Arlen Specter (D-Pennsylvania) will not be continuing his 30-year Senate career following Tuesday’s primary results, and Sen. Blanche Lincoln in Arkansas has been pushed into a runoff election in June. But in a bright spot for Democrats, the party kept the seat of late Rep. John P. Murtha in southwestern Pennsylvania. The Democratic win in a district that went for Sen. John F. Kerry in 2004 and Sen. John McCain (R-Arizona) in 2008 shows a precious ability to hold off Republicans in contested voting areas.
A Republican senator blocked a higher liability cap on oil spills, reported The Los Angeles Times, drawing accusations from President Obama for “playing special-interest politics.” Sen. James M. Inhofe (R-Oklahoma) said the effort by Sen. Robert Menendex (D-New Jersey) to move forward on the Big Oil Bailout Prevent Act, which would boost the legal cap of how much companies must pay for economic damages, would make drilling too expensive for smaller companies. “Big Oil would love to have these caps there so they can shut out all the independents,” Inhofe said of the measure to boost the existing $75 million cap. The recent BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico is expected to total billions of dollars in claims.
The Taliban has launched an attack on the US airfield at Bagram in Afghanistan in one of its boldest assaults to date, reported The Guardian UK and Democracy Now!. At least seven Taliban fighters were killed and nine NATO troops and seven US services troops were wounded in the second Taliban strike in two days in and around Kabul. The Taliban said at least 20 suicide bombers took part in the overnight attack, part of a Taliban offensive that the insurgents announced earlier this month. The earlier suicide attack on US troops in Kabul was the day the official US death toll in Afghanistan passed the 1,000 mark with the killing of five US troops.
President Obama and Mexican President Felipe Calderon pledged cooperation on immigration, the violent drug war and economic struggles on both sides of the border at a White House meeting Wednesday, reported the AP. During the meeting, Calderon took on Arizona’s restrictive new immigration law, which makes it a crime under state law to be in the US as an undocumented person, saying it encourages discrimination. Obama has asked the Justice Department to review the law, calling it “misguided.”
“We can do so if we create a safer border, a border that will unite us instead of dividing us, uniting our people,” Calderon said in a South Lawn ceremony heralding the start of his visit. “We can do so with a community that will promote a dignified life in an orderly way for both our countries.”
Obama sprinkled bits of Spanish into his discussion with Calderon about the escalating, bloody battle between drug cartels just south of the border and the pressure he is facing to pass immigration reform.
Russia will suspend US adoptions of Russian children, reported the AP, until the two countries reach a final agreement on adoption procedures. Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov told the Russian Parliament, which rejected a motion this month to halt American adoptions, that adoptions must be frozen until the pact is finalized. The issue has come to the fore after an American adoptive mother sent her seven-year-old Russian child back to the country unaccompanied in April, saying she was giving him up because of his emotional problems.