World briefly 5/17


Obama picks White House budget official to run IRS

WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama picked a senior White House budget official to become the acting head of the Internal Revenue Service on Thursday, the same day another top official announced plans to leave the agency amid the controversy over agents targeting tea party groups.

Obama named longtime civil servant Daniel Werfel as the acting IRS commissioner. Werfel, 42, currently serves as controller of the Office of Management and Budget, making him a key player in implementing recent automatic spending cuts known as the sequester.

“Throughout his career working in both Democratic and Republican administrations, Danny has proven an effective leader who serves with professionalism, integrity and skill,” Obama said in a statement. “The American people deserve to have the utmost confidence and trust in their government, and as we work to get to the bottom of what happened and restore confidence in the IRS, Danny has the experience and management ability necessary to lead the agency at this important time.”

Werfel replaces Steven Miller as acting IRS commissioner. Miller was forced to resign Wednesday amid the growing scandal, though he is still scheduled to testify Friday at a congressional hearing.

Also Thursday, Joseph Grant, one of Miller’s top deputies, announced plans to retire June 3, according to an internal IRS memo. Grant is commissioner of the agency’s tax exempt and government entities division, which includes the agents that targeted tea party groups for additional scrutiny when they applied for tax-exempt status.

Afghan woman recounts husband’s killing in rampage

KANDAHAR, Afghanistan — Sitting on a dirty straw mat on the parched ground of southern Afghanistan, Masooma sank deeper inside a giant black shawl. Hidden from view, her words burst forth as she told her side of what happened to her family sometime before dawn on March 11, 2012.

According to Masooma, an American soldier wearing a helmet equipped with a flashlight burst into her two-room mud home while everyone slept. He killed her husband, Dawood, punched her 7-year-old son and shoved a pistol into the mouth of his baby brother.

“We were asleep. He came in and he was shouting, saying something about Taliban, Taliban, and then he pulled my husband up. I screamed and screamed and said, ‘We are not Taliban, we are not government. We are no one. Please don’t hurt us,’” she said.

The soldier wasn’t listening. He pointed his pistol at Masooma to quiet her and pushed her husband into the living room.

Hatchet-wielding hitchhiker arrested in NJ homicide

ELIZABETH, N.J. — A homeless, hatchet-wielding hitchhiker who became an Internet hero earlier this year was arrested Thursday for allegedly beating a New Jersey lawyer to death inside his home.

Caleb “Kai” McGillvary, whose star turn as “Kai the Hatchet Wielding Hitchhiker” came after he intervened in an attack on a California utility worker, was arrested at a Philadelphia bus station, Union County Prosecutor Theodore Romankow said.

“I believe that everyone is a little safer with this person off the streets,” the prosecutor said. Philadelphia police could not immediately be reached for comment.

McGillvary was charged with killing Joseph Galfy Jr., a Clark, N.J., attorney found dead Monday. Romankow said he will be processed and sent to back to New Jersey, where his bail is set at $3 million.

Galfy’s body was found two days after authorities said he met McGillvary in New York City. Galfy, 73, was found wearing only his underwear and socks by police who went to his home to check on his well-being.

By wire sources