WASHINGTON (AP) — Republicans blocked a Senate bill Wednesday aimed at narrowing the pay gap between men and women, an election-year ritual that Democrats hope will help spur women to back them in this fall's congressional elections.
By Scott Malone and Daniel Lovering BOSTON (Reuters) - Brandeis University has decided not to award an honorary degree to a Somali-born women's rights activist who has branded Islam as violent and "a nihilistic cult of death." The private university outside Boston said it had decided not to bestow the honor on Ayaan Hirsi Ali, a former Dutch parliamentarian who has been a staunch critic of Islam and its treatment of women. Hirsi Ali said in a 2003 interview with a Dutch newspaper that, by modern standards, the Muslim prophet Mohammad could be considered a pedophile. In a 2007 interview with the London Evening Standard, she called Islam "a destructive, nihilistic cult of death." "We cannot overlook certain of her past statements that are inconsistent with Brandeis University's core values," the university said in a statement late Tuesday. "We regret that we were not aware of these statements earlier." The move followed an open letter from the Council on American-Islamic Relations to the university's president, Frederick Lawrence, saying that to do so was "unworthy of the American tradition of civil liberty and religious freedom." Nihad Awad, the group's national executive director, said that "offering such an award to a promoter of religious prejudice such as Ali is equivalent to promoting the work of white supremacists and anti-Semites." Hirsi Ali said in a statement on Wednesday that she was "completely shocked" by Brandeis' decision.
WASHINGTON (AP) — The House Ways and Means Committee voted Wednesday to refer a former Internal Revenue Service official to the Justice Department for possible criminal prosecution in the agency's tea party controversy.
MURRYSVILLE, Pa. (AP) — Flailing away with two knives, a 16-year-old boy with a "blank expression" stabbed and slashed 19 students and a police officer in the crowded halls of his suburban Pittsburgh high school Wednesday before an assistant principal tackled him.
OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Edmond Harjo, one of the last surviving members of a group of American Indians who used their Native languages to outmaneuver the enemy during World Wars I and II, died last week in Oklahoma. He was 96.
By Patrick Rucker WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx on Wednesday asked oil-by-rail leaders to create a tank car fit to carry the kinds of fuel involved in recent fiery derailments even as he dodged lawmaker questions about when such a plan would be ready. But several accidents saw the rail cargoes explode with surprising force since summer, prompting demands for a tougher tank car to carry the fuel. Foxx said his agency was working hard to come up with a new tank car design. "My target date is as soon as possible," Foxx told a panel of the Senate Appropriations Committee when asked when the new standard would be ready.