White House wants Assad out
The White House says that Syria’s future cannot include President Bashar Assad.
White House spokesman Jay Carney says the U.S. views Syria’s future as being a post-Assad future. But he says it’s up to the Syrian opposition to decide which elements of Assad’s regime could be included in a transitional government.
Carney was asked to clarify the U.S. position a day after Secretary of State John Kerry said the U.S. and Russia would convene a conference soon to seek peace talks between the Syrian government and the opposition. Obama has long said Assad must leave office. But Kerry said Tuesday it was up to the Syrian people whether he should leave.
The Obama administration also announced $100 million in new humanitarian aid Wednesday to the opposition.
SALT LAKE CITY
Teen charged in coach’s death
A Utah teen accused of punching a soccer referee who later died was charged Wednesday with homicide by assault, a count issued when an attack unintentionally causes death.
Salt Lake County District Attorney Sim Gill announced the charges, saying he will seek to try the teen as an adult.
The 17-year-old has been in juvenile detention since April 27 when the incident occurred at a recreational-league soccer match in a Salt Lake City suburb. The referee, Richardo Portillo, 46, had penalized the teen for pushing an opposing player.
ST. PAUL, Minn.
Gay marriage OK in sight
On the eve of a historic House vote, the group lobbying to pass gay marriage at Minnesota’s Capitol threw its weight Wednesday behind a proposed change to the bill that gives more comfort to churches opposing same-sex marriage and could make it easier for Republicans to support it.
The House is scheduled to debate and vote today on a measure that would make the state the 12th in the country to allow gay marriage. An amendment posted Wednesday from GOP Rep. David FitzSimmons suggests reframing the bill’s proposed changes to Minnesota’s marriage laws, swapping in the term “civil marriages” in all instances whether couples are of the same or different genders.
Clinton Libya call recalled
A former top diplomat in Libya on Wednesday described a 2 a.m. call from Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton during the deadly assault on the U.S. diplomatic mission in Benghazi, Libya, and amid confusion about the fate of U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens and fears about the safety of additional American personnel.
“She asked me what was going on and I briefed her on developments. Most of the conversation was about the search for Ambassador Stevens,” Gregory Hicks, the former deputy chief of mission in Libya, told the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee.
The hearing on the Sept. 11, 2012 attack is the latest in a long-running and bitter dispute between the administration and congressional Republicans who have challenged the White House’s actions before and after the deadly assault.