Management, safety cited in nuclear leak
Department of Energy investigators say a radiation release from the government's underground nuclear waste dump in southeastern New Mexico was the result of a slow erosion of safety at the 15-year-old site. In a report Thursday, they also say the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant near Carlsbad fails to meet federal standards for nuclear facilities and its employees bungled their response to the emergency. Given the new findings and those from an investigation of an earlier underground truck fire at the site, watchdog Don Hancock of the Southwest Information Research Center says the leak in mid February that contaminated 21 workers with low doses of radiation was a "best-case scenario."
Senate panel faults ex-watchdog
A Senate panel has found that the official who was the Department of Homeland Security's acting inspector general from 2011 to 2013 "jeopardized the independence" of his office by delaying reports or alerting department officials about their contents. In a 29-page report released Thursday, a subcommittee of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee said Charles Edwards, a longtime federal employee, had been "openly seeking a nomination" to become the department's permanent inspector general. Edwards stepped down in December before a scheduled hearing by the panel on his tenure. He was placed on administrative leave late Thursday.
Oklahoma plans double execution
Oklahoma plans to hold its first double execution in nearly 80 years, Gov. Mary Fallin said Thursday. The move comes a day after the state Supreme Court removed one of the final obstacles, ruling late Wednesday that Clayton Lockett and Charles Warner are not entitled to know the source of the drugs that will be used to kill them Tuesday. Multiple executions in one day are rare. Oklahoma's last double execution was in 1937.
San Jose, Costa Rica
Explanation sought on 'Cuban Twitter'
The Costa Rican government says it's waiting for the Obama administration to explain why it devised a secret "Cuban Twitter" network from inside the Central American nation's borders despite warnings in 2009 that the plan could jeopardize the two countries' diplomatic relations. Foreign Minister Enrique Castillo said it was "inappropriate" to use his country to develop the primitive social media network, known as ZunZuneo, which aimed to stir political unrest in Cuba. The network was created under the U.S. Agency for International Development. Users were unaware it was backed by the U.S. government.
NRA to kick off annual convention
The National Rifle Association today kicks off its annual convention, where it will mix politics with advocacy for Second Amendment issues, including one of its longtime goals: a national reciprocity law that would allow gun owners to carry licensed weapons across state lines. Efforts to pass such a law have failed in the past. That it is on the agenda less than two years after the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., is evidence of the NRA's ability to bounce back from a low point.