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- House rejects stopgap security agency funding, partial shutdown looms
By David Lawder and Richard Cowan WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The House of Representatives on Friday failed to approve a stopgap funding bill for the U.S. domestic security agency in an embarrassing setback for Republican House Speaker John Boehner, increasing the threat of a partial agency shutdown at midnight. With just hours left before spending authority expires for the Department of Homeland Security, a three-week spending bill was rejected in the House by a 224-203 vote that left lawmakers few options ahead of the deadline. The vote sent lawmakers scrambling to determine their next steps in a political battle that was originally triggered by Republican efforts to block funding for Democratic President Barack Obama's executive orders last November on immigration by attaching provisions to the department's spending bill. Boehner, who has struggled to control conservatives in his party who considered any compromise on immigration a surrender to Obama, left the House chamber and refused to comment before the final vote was announced.
- Jeb Bush enters the lion's den, touts conservative credentials
By Steve Holland and Andy Sullivan NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. (Reuters) - Republican Jeb Bush asked skeptical conservatives to consider him a “second choice” on Friday but refused to back down from policy positions that have led many right-leaning activists to view his potential presidential candidacy with suspicion. "I'm a practicing, reform-minded conservative," the 62-year-old former Florida governor told the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in Maryland near Washington. Many attending the annual gathering of grassroots activists made clear they prefer a potential Bush rival, Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker, among others. Bush was heckled and booed, but the antipathy was balanced out by enthusiastic supporters who showed up shortly before he spoke and clapped heartily and aggressively.
- Obama struggles with Wall Street to woo Democrats over broker rules
By Sarah N. Lynch and Suzanne Barlyn WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The Obama administration is battling Wall Street to win the support of dozens of Democrat lawmakers over rules that could rein in brokers who handle trillions of dollars in retirement accounts. President Barack Obama on Monday called on the Department of Labor to write new rules for brokers that seek to reduce conflicts of interest and "hidden fees" the White House says cost Americans $17 billion from their retirement plans every year. He portrayed the reform as a central tenet of middle-class economics that would help Americans "retire with dignity." What Obama didn't mention is that more than 100 current and former Democrats in the U.S. House of Representative and Senate have raised concerns in the past about attempts to draft such rules, either through comment letters or by voting for legislation that would delay such a reform.
- Pentagon pulls order relocating military judges to Guantanamo By Ian Simpson FORT MEADE, Md. (Reuters) - The U.S. Defense Department said on Friday it had rescinded an order relocating military judges to Guantanamo Bay that was intended to speed up trials of al Qaeda suspects but drew allegations of Pentagon meddling in the judicial process. Deputy Defense Secretary Robert Work's about-face on his Jan. 7 order clears a hurdle for the slow-running trials at the U.S. naval base in Cuba. He cited "unlawful command influence," or Pentagon meddling in the judicial process. In a statement, Work's office said he "believes it is important to preserve the independence of the Military Commission (court) in appearance, as well as in fact." Work's order had stripped three military judges of other duties and ordered them to move to Guantanamo Bay indefinitely to speed up the proceedings.
- Jeb Bush’s biggest CPAC win: No gifts for Democrats Jeb Bush exited a conservative gathering without having gift-wrapped any material for Democrats to attack him with if he is the party’s nominee in a general election.
- War crimes and genocide: IS systematically killing religious and ethnic minorities in Iraq, study finds Human rights groups are building the legal case against the Islamic State for war crimes and genocide in its targeting of minorities
- Despite fiery CPAC speech, is Ted Cruz changing course?
Republican Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas used a speech at the Conservative Political Action Conference on Thursday to rail against the party establishment, calling himself a “disruptive app” such as Uber that would upend the political system. Delighting the assembled conservative shock troops, Cruz castigated the Republican leadership for selling out their principles by separating a funding bill for the Department of Homeland Security from a measure that would roll back President Barack Obama’s executive action on immigration
- For Jeb Bush, the Q&A is the message
He hasn’t formally declared his candidacy for the GOP presidential nomination or rolled out a policy agenda, but the former Florida governor is already setting a tone that’s distinguishing him from the rest of his likely opponents.
- CPAC shows how the GOP’s 2016 strategy of avoiding the MSM could backfire
The Republican National Committee has made shifting from mainstream to conservative media interviewers one of its top priorities for the 2016 cycle, but getting conservatives to ask the questions might not be as much of a pleasure cruise as Republicans hoped.
- Carly Fiorina Accuses Hillary Clinton of Playing an 'Imitation' Game
Positioning herself as the anti-Hillary Clinton candidate in a crowded field of prospective GOP 2016 contenders, Carly Fiorina is unapologetic in attacking the presumptive Democratic nominee. “I think it’s totally fair game to call out the presumptive Democratic nominee on her track record and policies,” the former Hewlett-Packard CEO told ABC News on the sidelines of the Conservative Political Action Conference. At one point, to the cheers of the audience, Fiorina joked, “Like Mrs. Clinton, I too have traveled the globe.
- Sen. Jim Inhofe Throws Snowball on Senate Floor in Attempt to Debunk Climate Change
Sen. Jim Inhofe, a devoted climate change denier, tossed a snowball at someone on the Senate floor today as he tried to debunk climate change. “So, Mr. President, catch this,” Inhofe, R-Okla., said on the Senate floor, tossing the snowball to someone off-screen as he tried to suppress a smile. This isn't the first time Inhofe has used snow to make a point about climate change. The Environmental Protection Agency's website says, "Rising global average temperature is associated with widespread changes in weather patterns.
- FBI: 'We Are Losing the Battle' to Stop ISIS Radicalization Online
The terrorist group wreaking havoc in Syria and Iraq as it blasts videos of beheadings to the world “has proven dangerously competent like no other group before it at employing [online] tools for its nefarious strategy,” the head of the FBI’s counterterrorism division, Assistant Director Michael Steinbach, told lawmakers today. In August, Juraboev allegedly posed a question on an Uzbek-language site tied to ISIS: “I am in USA now.
- A look at some of Missouri Auditor Schweich's top findings
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — Tom Schweich released about 570 audits during his roughly four years as Missouri state auditor, which ended Thursday when he shot himself in what police describe as an apparent suicide. Those audits examined local school districts, municipal courts, state agencies and the offices of other statewide elected officials, among others.
- Former US Rep. Rick Renzi reports to prison for 3-year term PHOENIX (AP) — Former Arizona Congressman Rick Renzi reported to a federal prison in West Virginia on Friday to begin serving a three-year sentence for corruption, money laundering and other convictions.
- Partial shutdown? House rejects Homeland Security funding
WASHINGTON (AP) — The rebellious Republican-controlled House unexpectedly voted down short-term funding for the Department of Homeland Security late Friday, increasing the prospect of a partial shutdown at midnight of an agency with major anti-terrorism responsibilities.
- Administration circulates plans for possible DHS shutdown WASHINGTON (AP) — The Obama administration is circulating procedures for how the Department of Homeland Security will operate in the event of a midnight shutdown.
- GOP, Dem senators offer bill challenging Obama on Iran WASHINGTON (AP) — A bipartisan group of senators is pushing legislation that would require a congressional review of any deal the Obama administration and other western powers strike with Iran on its nuclear program.
- FCC approves net neutrality The nation's top Internet regulator voted to ensure all companies have equal access to the web's pipes.
- Mitt Romney, Rand Paul and a porno spoof 'Net neutrality' PR campaign highlights curious paths for peddling influence.
- 'Socialized' or not, Britain's health care system is superior Commentary: fear-mongering aside, British system is superior
- Canada worried as growing number of youths join jihad
Concerned about a growing number of Canadian youths traveling overseas to join jihadists, and lacking an immediate alternative, political leaders have asked parents to keep a more watchful eye on their children for signs of extremism. "These situations are disastrous," Quebec premier Philippe Couillard said Friday, a day after Canadians learned that six of their own, aged 18 and 19, including two young women, had left for Syria via Turkey mid-January. All of them were born in Canada to immigrant parents who said they sought to instill Western values in their offspring. On Wednesday, an Alberta family revealed that their 23-year-old daughter had flown to Syria.
- White House condemns 'brutal' Nemtsov murder, urges probe
The White House condemned what it called the "brutal" murder of Russian opposition leader Boris Nemtsov, a fierce critic of President Vladimir Putin who was shot dead in Moscow on Friday. "We call on Russian govt to conduct prompt, impartial & transparent investigation & ensure those responsible are brought to justice," President Barack Obama's National Security Council said in a tweet. "United States condemns brutal murder of Boris Nemtsov," it said in another tweet.
- Ukraine leader says troop deaths 'serious breach' of truce
Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko declared the killing of three government troops by pro-Moscow rebels a "serious breach of the ceasefire", during a telephone call Friday with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, her office said. "The firing by separatists on Ukrainian troops who were withdrawing constitutes a serious breach of the ceasefire," he was quoted as saying. International monitors said earlier Friday the conflict in Ukraine was at a "crossroads" as further losses among government forces rattle the two-week-old truce just as it had seemed to be gaining traction. The latest skirmishes came as the UN geared up to discuss the conflict exactly one year after Russia began seizing ports and cities on the Black Sea peninsula of Crimea.
- Training of Syrian rebels in Turkey in 4-6 weeks: US
The US military said Friday the training of moderate Syrian rebels will likely begin within four to six weeks in Turkey after the two NATO allies clinched an agreement last week. Potential recruits still needed to be vetted for the training sessions, which will take place in Saudi Arabia and Qatar, as well as Turkey, Pentagon spokesman Rear Admiral John Kirby told a news conference. About 1,500 Syrian rebels had been identified to take part and of those 100 had been screened and approved, Kirby said.
- Stopgap DHS funding fails in US House, midnight shutdown looms
The US House rejected Republican leadership Friday, failing to approve a three-week extension of Department of Homeland Security funding and setting up a dramatic showdown hours before the agency goes into partial shutdown. If Congress can not pass legislation that allows money to flow, 30,000 DHS employees will be furloughed, while some 200,000 agency staff, including border agents, will be ordered to work without pay. Keeping the DHS funded is a congressional priority, but it became embroiled in bitter political battle over President Barack Obama's immigration plan, which most Democrats support. The Senate approved a "clean" DHS funding bill Friday free of controversial amendments sought by House Republicans to block Obama's immigration executive orders.
- US could reopen embassy in Cuba within weeks
The United States and Cuba said they made progress Friday in talks on restoring diplomatic ties and Washington could reopen its Havana embassy before a key April summit if differences are overcome. After a second round of historic meetings, negotiators from both countries appeared optimistic about the road ahead, but cautioned there were still outstanding issues to resolve in order to restore diplomatic ties frozen for half a century. In open, honest and sometimes challenging...conversation we addressed the requirements of each side and the differences we identified in our first discussion in Havana a month ago," said top US diplomat for Latin America, Roberta Jacobson.
- Fischer says Fed's QE an effective stimulus
Federal Reserve Vice Chair Stanley Fischer on Friday said the Fed's exceptional large-scale asset purchases were continuing to provide "meaningful stimulus" to the US economy. At a monetary policy forum in New York, Fischer laid out the positive effects of the central bank's massive rounds of quantitative easing aimed at pulling the economy out of the 2008-2009 Great Recession. The controversial QE tool also has been used by the British and Japanese central banks amid a slowing global recovery and is set to be launched next month by the European Central Bank to revive the eurozone. Fischer noted that the Fed's balance sheet over the past several years has swollen to about $4.5 trillion, largely reflecting the QE programs, from about $900 billion in 2006.
- UN unable to identify attackers in South Sudan copter downing
A UN inquiry has concluded that a Russian helicopter was probably hit by anti-aircraft fire when it crashed in South Sudan last year, but could not determine who was responsible for the attack, the UN spokesman said Friday. Three Russian crew members were killed and a fourth injured in the downing on August 26 of the Mi-8 helicopter flying for the UN mission in South Sudan. The board of inquiry concluded that "there is a high probability that the helicopter was hit by anti-aircraft fire which caused mechanical failure and eventually leading to the crash," UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric said. In September, the UN mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) had indicated that a rebel leader, Peter Gadet, had a hand in the attack.
- Boko Haram raid villages after Chadian offensive: residents
Boko Haram fighters have raided villages in northeast Nigeria on the border with Cameroon, apparently in reprisal for a Chadian offensive against its hideouts, residents told AFP on Friday. Hundreds of residents fled across the border into Cameroon, prompting Chad -- part of a regional coalition against the Islamists -- to respond by bombarding rebel positions, they said. "They targeted mainly Shuwa tribesmen, who are from the same ethnic group as a large number of the Chadian troops," said Adum Walfannea, himself a Shuwa Arab, from Anguduram village. Kurso Khala, who fled one of the worst-affected villages, Mudu, said the militants besieged a local market and blocked all but one entrance.
- Jeb Bush cheered, jeered at conservative confab
Jeb Bush courted rightwing American voters at a crucial political testing ground Friday, but the presumed Republican presidential frontrunner for 2016 received a mixed reception -- including heckles -- from wary conservatives. The former Florida governor has work to do to convince some of the Republican Party faithful crowding the annual talk shop known as CPAC at Oxon Hill, close to Washington, where several competing presidential hopefuls are attempting to get core conservatives on side. It is not necessarily as a member of the controversial Bush dynasty -- a hurdle that in itself may be a heavy lift -- but rather as an establishment favorite whom some here see as a sellout to billionaire donors and Obama-backed policies like immigration reform and education standards. When pressed, Bush said he opposes President Barack Obama's executive overreach shielding millions from deportation.
- US 'unwavering' in protecting gay rights: Kerry
Secretary of State John Kerry said Friday the United States was "unwavering" in its commitment to protecting homosexuals worldwide, as he introduced Washington's first envoy for gay rights. Randy Berry, who was named Monday, is tasked with helping countries coordinate US strategy on rights for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people, as well as to highlight such issues around the world. "The United States of America remains unwavering in our commitment to advance the human rights of all human beings, and that includes LGBT persons prominently, appropriately equal to everybody else -- here at home and around the world," Kerry said to wide applause. Berry, standing with his husband and two children, decried the violation of LGBT rights worldwide.
- DR Congo army launches new offensive against Rwandan rebels
The Democratic Republic of Congo army has launched a fresh offensive against Rwandan Hutu rebels in the east of the country, an army officer participating in the operations said on Friday. "We have been ordered to hunt down the FDLR (Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda) and we recovered some positions," an army based in the eastern Virunga National Park told AFP. Military operations are ongoing in the Rutshuru territory on the border of Rwanda and Uganda, North Kivu civil society groups said in a statement confirming the government report. The first army offensive against the FDLR took place on Tuesday in the South Kivu province, also in the east.
- Mexico's 'I'm tired now' attorney general steps down
Mexico's much-maligned attorney general, who has faced public anger over the investigation into the presumed slaughter of 43 students, will step down Friday to take up another cabinet post. Jesus Murillo Karam will be sworn in as the new minister of rural, territorial and urban development at a ceremony presided by President Enrique Pena Nieto, the government said. Murillo Karam's exit was widely expected under a reform that will turn the federal prosecutor's office into an autonomous department. Murillo Karam concluded that the students were abducted by corrupt local police officers who handed them over to a drug gang that killed the young men and incinerated their bodies in September.
- ICC prosecutor in Uganda urges LRA rebel chief to surrender
The International Criminal Court's chief prosecutor pleaded on Friday for the Ugandan Lord's Resistance Army rebel chief to surrender, vowing he would receive a fair trial just as his deputy faces. Senior rebel leader Dominic Ongwen, a child-soldier-turned-warlord in Uganda's LRA, appeared before the ICC in The Hague for the first time in January, charged with war crimes and crimes against humanity. ICC prosecutor Fatou Bensouda called for the surrender of Ongwen's rebel supremo Joseph Kony, the last LRA rebel indicted by the ICC believed to be still at large.
- US sets out 'bottom lines' for Iran nuclear deal
The United States on Friday set out what it called its "bottom lines" to reach a deal with Iran to rein in its nuclear program, ahead of new talks next week. Washington had stuck to its guns that it wanted a "good deal" and had agreed to several extensions of the negotiations "because we have held firm to certain bottom lines," a senior US administration official said. "We will only accept an agreement that cuts off the different pathways to the fissile material that Iran needs for a nuclear weapon," the official stressed. US Secretary of State John Kerry will leave at the weekend for Switzerland, where he will meet once again with his Iranian counterpart Mohammad Javad Zarif.
- US says could open embassy in Cuba before April summit
Washington (AFP) - The United States said Friday it could reopen its embassy in Havana before a high-profile summit of the Americas in April, but cautioned "serious disagreements" remain over restoring ties with Cuba.
- US cancels rule requiring judges to stay in Guantanamo
The Pentagon has scrapped a rule that required US military judges overseeing tribunals at Guantanamo Bay to stay permanently at the American base in Cuba, officials said Friday. The rule, imposed last month, was meant to speed up the pace of the trials for Guantanamo inmates facing terror charges. Deputy Defense Secretary Robert Work rescinded the rule in a memo on Thursday, Pentagon press secretary Rear Admiral John Kirby told reporters. Work was aware that "there was perhaps an inappropriate perception formed by that decision" and cancelled the change to safeguard the independence of the military commissions, Kirby said.
- Cameron defends security services after media unmask 'Jihadi John'
Prime Minister David Cameron on Friday defended Britain's security services and vowed to defeat Islamic extremists after media reports named Islamic State executioner "Jihadi John" as London graduate Mohammed Emwazi. "We will do everything we can with the police, the security services, with all that we have at our disposal, to find these people and put them out of action," Cameron said at news conference in Wales.
- Cuba cites 'progress' in talks with US, but issues remain
Geändert: 10.12.2010 19:40 Uhr