VIDEO: Today's Headline News from Associated Press

SNOWDEN STAYING IN RUSSIA FOR NOW

 

MOSCOW (AP) -- National Security Agency leaker Edward Snowden, who fled to Moscow's airport a month ago, aims to stay in Russia for the near future and learn the country's culture and language, his lawyer said Wednesday.

 

To get him started, Anatoly Kucherena said he gave Snowden a copy of "Crime and Punishment," Dostoyevsky's lengthy novel about the torment and redemption of a man who thought himself outside the law.

 

"I am not talking about the similarity of inner contradictions," Kucherena said after meeting Snowden in the transit zone of Sheremetyevo international airport, where Snowden has apparently been marooned since arriving from Hong Kong on June 23.

 

The day's developments left the White House - and nearly everyone else - "seeking clarity" about the status of the man who revealed details of an NSA program to monitor Internet and telephone communications.

 

When Snowden first arrived at Sheremetyevo, he was believed to be planning just to transfer to a flight to Cuba and then to Venezuela to seek asylum. But the United States, which wants him returned for prosecution, canceled his passport, stranding him. He hasn't been seen in public since, although he met with human rights activists and lawyers July 12.

 

Snowden then applied for temporary asylum in Russia, saying he eventually wanted to visit countries that had offered him asylum: Venezuela, Bolivia and Nicaragua.

 

It's unclear how long Russia will take to decide on the asylum request. Kucherena's meeting Wednesday with Snowden was preceded by a flurry of reports that said the lawyer would give him documentation that would allow him to leave the airport while the asylum process is underway.

 

HOUSE DEBATE GIVES NEW AIRING TO NSA SURVEILLANCE

 

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The U.S. House on Wednesday weighed whether to end the National Security Agency's authority to collect hundreds of millions of Americans' phone records as the fight pitting privacy rights against the government's efforts to thwart terrorism got a new airing.

 

A showdown vote, expected late in the day, marked the first chance for lawmakers to take a stand on the secret surveillance program since former NSA systems analyst Edward Snowden leaked classified documents last month that spelled out the monumental scope of the government's activities.

 

The issue created unusual political coalitions in Washington, with the Obama administration, national security leaders in Congress and the Republican establishment facing off against libertarian-leaning conservatives and some liberal Democrats.

 

With a flurry of letters, statements and tweets, both sides lobbied furiously in the hours prior to the vote in the Republican-controlled House. The director of national intelligence, James Clapper, warned against dismantling a critical intelligence tool.

 

Republican Rep. Justin Amash of Michigan, chief sponsor of the effort, said it was designed to end the indiscriminate collection of Americans' phone records.

 

GOOGLE UNVEILS NEW NEXUS 7, INTERNET TV DEVICE

 

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) -- Google is betting consumers will pay slightly more for a sleeker, more powerful version of its Nexus 7 tablet as the Internet company escalates its rivalry with Apple and Amazon.com in technology's key battleground - the mobile computing market.

 

The fancier devices unveiled Wednesday in San Francisco will go on sale in the U.S next Tuesday in Google's online store and numerous retailers with brick-and-mortar stores.

 

Among other things, the souped-up line of Nexus tablets will boast a higher-definition 7-inch display screen and a processor that promises to be nearly as twice as fast. Dual stereo speakers have been added for richer sound, and the device's battery duration has been extended to 10 hours for Web browsing, an increase of about an hour.

 

On other fronts, Google Inc. also unveiled a gadget that will lean on its widely used Chrome Web browser and take aim at Apple on another front - the living room.

 

The new device, called Chromecast, is part of the company's attempt to make it easier for people to access Internet content on their TVs. Chromecast is a small stick roughly the same size as a thumb drive that can be plugged into an HDMI port on flat-panel TVs. It brings Netflix, Google's YouTube site and other Internet content to what is usually the biggest screen in households.

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