House Speaker John A. Boehner (R-Ohio) and Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said embattled Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki should not resign, as that would not solve the problems of long wait times at VA hospitals and clinics. A hundred members of Congress are calling for Shinseki to quit after a scathing inspector general's report. Shinseki is due to send President Obama the results of an internal audit on Friday.
House leaders stand up for Shinseki
Ex-Microsoft chief Ballmer agrees to buy the Clippers
Former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer reportedly has agreed to buy the Los Angeles Clippers from Donald Sterling and his estranged wife, Shelly, for $2 billion. The deal, confirmed by several people familiar with the terms, would be a record price tag for an NBA team. The NBA Board of Governors still has to approve the sale. Donald Sterling, who has vowed to fight his lifetime ban from the league over a racist rant, also might have to sign off on it.
NSA releases emails to discredit Snowden
The Obama administration released an email exchange on Thursday to refute National Security Agency leaker Edward Snowden's claim that he raised concerns about the agency's mass surveillance programs before fleeing and leaking secret documents. In the email, Snowden merely asks an NSA lawyer if executive orders override laws. Snowden said the emails released by the NSA were "incomplete," because they didn't include messages he sent to other NSA offices.
Ukraine's Poroshenko vows to punish rebels behind helicopter attack
Ukrainian President-elect Petro Poroshenko vowed to punish pro-Russian rebels who downed a Ukrainian military helicopter on Thursday, calling them "bandits." The attack killed an army general and 11 others. Ukraine's acting defense minister said Friday the government would continue its offensive against rebels in eastern Ukraine. Russia has started pulling troops from near the border and urged Kiev to "start a real national dialogue."
CDC warns measles is hitting unvaccinated Americans
A new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warns that measles cases reached a 20-year high in the first five months of 2014. Sixty of the cases occurred in California, and 138 struck in Ohio Amish communities, where people brought the disease home from service trips abroad. Ninety percent of those sickened had not been vaccinated, a sign that measles anywhere in the world could reach unvaccinated Americans, CDC officials said.
Obama tries to increase awareness of head injuries in contact sports
President Obama convened sports executives, athletes, and medical experts on Thursday to address the rising problem of concussions in football and other contact sports. Obama said part of the problem was the lack of "solid numbers" on how widespread the problem is. The NFL and other leagues face lawsuits from retired players who say officials downplayed the danger of head injuries, turning on-the-field safety into a high-profile cause.
SpaceX unveils manned space capsule
SpaceX founder Elon Musk unveiled the re-useable Dragon V2 spaceship late Thursday. The company is hoping the craft, which can land anywhere "with the accuracy of a helicopter," will beat out competitors from Boeing and Sierra Nevada Corp to become the first private spaceship to carry NASA astronauts to the International Space Station. NASA has been without a U.S.-based spacecraft to get people to and from the orbiting lab since the shuttle fleet was retired in 2011.
Southwest fined for advertising non-existent fares
The U.S. Department of Transportation fined Southwest Airlines $200,000 on Thursday for advertising $59 flights from Atlanta to Chicago, New York, or Los Angeles last year, even though it didn't really offer any tickets at such a low fare. The DOT also reinstated a $100,000 fine from 2013, bringing the cost of the case to $300,000. "Consumers have rights," Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx said. Southwest blamed an error in its TV ads.
Rangers beat Canadiens to reach Stanley Cup finals
The New York Rangers won a spot in hockey's Stanley Cup finals on Thursday with a 1-0 victory over the Montreal Canadiens in game six of the Eastern Conference finals. Dominic Moore sealed the win with the game's lone goal late in the second period. It will be the Rangers' first appearance in the Stanley Cup finals since 1994. The Rangers will face either the Los Angeles Kings or the Chicago Blackhawks in the finals' first game on June 4.
Two boys share the National Spelling Bee title for the first time in 52 years
For the first time since 1962, two students have been declared co-champions of the annual Scripps National Spelling Bee. Ansun Sujoe, 13, and Sriram Hathwar, 14, both got through the entire 25-word list of words without making a mistake in a tense final round Thursday night. Both boys will get the $30,000 prize. The final word, nailed by Sujoe, was F-E-U-I-L-L-T-O-N — a section of a European newspaper meant to have wide appeal.