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Catherine Thompson

Catherine Thompson is a news writer for Talking Points Memo. Before joining TPM, she worked as a research assistant to investigative reporter Wayne Barrett and interned at The L Magazine. At New York University she served as the deputy managing editor of NYU's student newspaper, The Washington Square News. She can be reached at catherine@talkingpointsmemo.com.

Articles by Catherine

Ecuador has found what it says was a hidden microphone in its London embassy, which houses Wikileaks founder Julian Assange. The nation plans Wednesday to announce who it believes controlled the device, according to Reuters

Foreign Minister Ricardo Patino said the device was discovered in the office of the Ecuadorean ambassador to the United Kingdom, Ana Alban, during one of Patino's meetings with Assange on June 16.

"I didn't denounce this at the time because we didn't want the theme of our visit to London to be confused with this matter," Patino said in a news conference Tuesday in Quito, the capital of Ecuador, as quoted by Reuters. The foreign minister had met at the time with British Foreign Secretary William Hague to discuss Assange.

"Furthermore, we first wanted to ascertain with precision what could be the origin of this interception device in the office of our ambassador," Patino added. "We are sorry to say so, but this is another instance of a loss of ethics at the international level in relations between governments."

Egypt's state flagship newspaper Al-Ahram reported Wednesday that Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi will either step down or be removed from office when the army's deadline for resolving the political crisis arrives, according to Reuters.

"Al-Ahram learnt that with the end of the 48-hour period set by the armed forces ... it is expected in the hours that follow it, one of two things: either Mursi announces his resignation himself, or the declaration of his removal through the road map for the future set out by the armed forces," the newspaper said, as quoted by Reuters.

The state newspaper reported the military's "road map" for the country includes a neutral transition government headed by a military leader as well as a three-member presidential council chaired by the head of the Supreme Constitutional Court.

The North Carolina state Senate approved a bill late Tuesday restricting abortions that was tacked onto a measure dealing with foreign law, according to local media reports.

The omnibus legislation was listed on a senate committee's calendar only as House Bill 695, which bars family courts from recognizing foreign law such as Islamic Sharia law, according to WRAL. That bill was then amended at 5:30 p.m. to incorporate abortion provisions, including licensing requirements that would compel abortion clinics to meet standards similar to those of ambulatory surgical centers. Legislative staff said that only one clinic in the state meets those standards, according to the Raleigh News & Observer.

Other provisions would require a doctor to be present for the entire abortion procedure, whether surgical or drug-induced (medical); put a ban on sex-selective abortions; and prohibit plans on the federal health care exchange from covering the costs of an abortion.

The Senate tentatively approved the bill 27-14. A final vote Wednesday would send the legislation to the House, where some of the proposals have already passed in separate bills.

A teenage boy from Logan County, Okla. put a rifle in his mouth and pulled the trigger without realizing it was loaded on Tuesday, KFOR reported.

Logan County authorities said Jared Ridgway, 16, was trying to prove to a friend that the rifle wasn't loaded when he stuck the firearm in his mouth. The boy's mother told KFOR that he suffered a stroke as a result of the gunshot wound and that doctors may not be able to remove the bullet for fear of excessive bleeding.

The incident occurred at a friend's house, where Logan County Sheriff's Department Capt. Richard Stephens said the homeowners "left the scene knowing full well the boys had a firearm and were likely to use it."

Stephens said child negligence charges had been presented to the District Attorney against the owner of the trailer where the incident occurred.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell's (R-KY) reelection campaign released a video Tuesday featuring an auto-tuned soundtrack that posed the question "What rhymes with Alison Lundergan Grimes?"

The video features clips of Grimes, the Kentucky secretary of state who on Monday announced her run to challenge McConnell in the 2014 Senate race. The video is overlaid by text that casts her as a candidate who is "not ready for prime time," who "sticks to party line," and is a "left wing mime."

Watch the video below: 

Fox News' Greta Van Susteren took to her blog Tuesday to dismiss a report that she may have contacted her former employer, CNN, about potentially returning to that network.

Van Susteren wrote:

I am very busy here in Florida so let me just quickly blog this:

I am not going anywhere.

I have a long term contract with Fox  and it is for a show in “prime time.”

Done, ok?  (And by the way, don’t you love the courage of the anonymous sources? and those who then speculate from there? ) 

Mediaite reported Monday that Van Susteren had initiated meetings with CNN's Jeff Zucker about a potential return, citing "high-level sources within CNN."

The U.S. Embassy in Cairo will remain closed to the public through Wednesday, according to a notice posted on its website.

The notice urged U.S. citizens in Egypt to exercise caution around the demonstrations in Cairo.

"As a matter of general practice, U.S. citizens should avoid areas where large gatherings may occur," the notice said. "Even demonstrations or events intended to be peaceful can turn confrontational and possibly escalate into violence. U.S. citizens in Egypt are urged to monitor local news reports and to plan their activities accordingly."

According to the embassy website, the Cairo post has been closed to the public since Sunday.

Former Rep. Gabby Giffords (D-AZ) fired a handgun at a Las Vegas, Nev. shooting range Monday as part of her "Rights and Responsibilities Tour."

In a video posted by ABC News, Giffords, who was shot in the head at an event in 2011, fired a single shot with her left hand. Her husband, former astronaut Mark Kelly, stepped in to steady her arm and take the gun from her when she pointed the firearm upwards after firing. Onlookers applauded Giffords after the shot.

Giffords and Kelly are on a week-long, seven-state tour to promote gun control laws.

Watch video of Giffords on the shooting range below, courtesy of ABC News: 

 

[h/t Atlantic Wire]

First Lady Michelle Obama attended the African First Ladies Summit on Tuesday and spoke alongside former First Lady Laura Bush to promote health, economic empowerment, and education for women.

According to a pool report, both first ladies discussed the importance of being role models for young girls who may feel pressured to give more importance to their looks than to their values -- leading Obama to talk about her famous bangs.

"But being able to pursue our passions and do things that not only help our country and connect us with the rest of the world, it's a great privilege," Obama said, as quoted by the pool report. "So while people are sort of sorting through our shoes and our hair -- and whether we cut it or not ... we take our bangs and we stand in front of important things that the world needs to see. And eventually, people stop looking at the bangs and they start looking at what we're standing in front of."

A spokesman for Canada's foreign affairs minister confirmed to the Associated Press Tuesday that the country will shutter its Cairo embassy over concerns about reports of violence in Egypt.

Rick Roth told the AP that divisions within Egypt threaten its stability and endanger its future economy. The spokesman told the news agency that Canada is calling on all parties involved to participate in the political process.

The embassy closure was first announced via Twitter: 

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