Colorado pot sales — Colorado made roughly $2 million in marijuana taxes in January, state revenue officials reported Monday in the world’s first accounting of the recreational pot business. The tax total reported by the state Department of Revenue indicates $14.02 million worth of recreational pot was sold from 59 businesses. The state collected roughly $2.01 million in taxes. Colorado legalized pot in 2012, but the commercial sale of marijuana didn’t begin until January. Washington state sales begin in coming months.
Medicare proposal — Under pressure from patients, pharmaceutical companies and members of Congress from both parties, the Obama administration Monday withdrew a proposal that would have allowed insurers to limit Medicare coverage for certain classes of drugs, including those used to treat depression and schizophrenia. Medicare officials had said the proposal would have saved money and reduced the overuse of drugs. But it created political problems for the White House, with some Democrats joining Republicans in denouncing the changes, saying they would harm Medicare beneficiaries.
Snowden speaks — Appearing on a screen against the backdrop of the U.S. Constitution, National Security Agency leaker Edward Snowden spent an hour on Monday offering practical advice and calls to action specific to the large audience at the South by Southwest Interactive festival. “South by Southwest and the technology community, the people in the room in Austin, they’re the folks who can really fix things, who can enforce our rights through technical standards,” Snowden said.
Senate all-nighter — The Senate was headed into another all-nighter Monday evening as 26 Democrats who call themselves the “climate caucus” planned to speak nonstop about climate change from about 6:30 p.m. until 9 a.m. today. The talkathon is the latest effort by the group, which is working with a parallel House caucus, to elevate the issue of global warming.
Marathon security — Boston plans to hold a ceremony to honor those killed and injured in the bombings at last year’s marathon and to stage a race this year that will be one of the biggest — and, they said Monday, the safest. More than 3,500 police officers, twice last year’s number, will be deployed for the 118th running of the Boston Marathon, scheduled for April 21, public safety officials said at a news conference. Those plans include plainclothes officers, security contractors, security checkpoints with metal detectors, bomb-sniffing dogs and surveillance cameras.
Pistorius trial — Oscar Pistorius, the double amputee track star accused of murdering his girlfriend, vomited repeatedly in the courtroom on Monday as a pathologist gave “graphic” evidence about her injuries. News coverage of the testimony was restricted by a sweeping ban on live broadcasting or reporting on Twitter. The athlete’s reaction came after the judge, Thokozile Masipa, concurred with requests from both the defense and prosecution — and from the pathologist, Gert Saayman — for live audio, Twitter feeds and video broadcasting of testimony to be prohibited because of what was termed the “explicitly graphic nature” of the evidence.
Taliban threats — The Taliban threatened to attack next month’s presidential election in Afghanistan, calling on its followers “to use all force” in targeting poll workers and political activists and to disrupt balloting. “We once again call on all of our countrymen to keep away from electoral offices, voting booths, rallies and campaigns so that, may God forbid, their lives are not put into danger,” read a statement released Monday by the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan, as the Taliban likes to be called.
Papal trip — Pope Francis is to travel to South Korea in August, the Vatican said Monday, in what will be the first papal visit to the country in 25 years. “His Holiness Francis will make an Apostolic Trip to the Republic of Korea from 14 to 18 August 2014, on the occasion of the Sixth Asian Youth Day, to be held in the diocese of Daejeon,” Vatican spokesman Father Federico Lombardi said in a statement.
— From wire reports