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Democrats caught between Obama, Netanyahu on speech

Fri, 02/27/2015 - 23:10

WASHINGTON (AP) — Jewish House Democrats personally offered Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu a chance to lower the political temperature after he accepted a Republican invitation to speak to Congress next week on Iran — a less provocative, closed-door session.

Congress averts Homeland Security shutdown

Fri, 02/27/2015 - 21:37

Feuding lawmakers fund the agency only until March 6, forcing Congress to revisit the issue next week.

U.S. sets out 'bottom lines' for Iran nuclear deal

Fri, 02/27/2015 - 21:09

The United States 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.

U.S. appeals court says Boston bomber trial can stay in city

Fri, 02/27/2015 - 19:43

(Reuters) - A U.S. appeals court on Friday ruled the trial for the accused Boston Marathon bomber can go ahead in the city, over attempts from his attorneys to change the venue on the basis an impartial jury could not be seated so close to the site of the 2013 attack. The split three-judge panel of the U.S. First Circuit Court of Appeals backed District Judge George O'Toole, who has three times rejected pleas by Dzhokhar Tsarnaev's lawyers to move the trial out of Boston, where the bombing killed three people and injured 264. "We are unable to conclude that it is clear and indisputable that the petitioner cannot receive a fair trial by an impartial jury in the Eastern Division of Massachusetts," the judges wrote in the 80-page opinion.

Eight dead in door-to-door Missouri shooting spree

Fri, 02/27/2015 - 18:14

A man armed with a handgun went on a house-to-house shooting spree in a rural Missouri town, killing seven relatives and neighbors before taking his own life, officials said on Friday. All of those killed by the gunman, identified as Joseph Aldridge, 36, lived within a few miles of each other in the tiny community of Tyrone, an unincorporated area with a population of about 50, authorities said. Authorities said the motive was unclear and declined to comment on whether the murders had been triggered by the death of Aldridge's mother, who was found at her home. Authorities said she may have died from natural causes.

House passes one-week funding extension for Homeland Security

Fri, 02/27/2015 - 18:13

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. House of Representatives passed a one-week funding extension for the Department of Homeland Security late on Friday, in time to avert a partial shutdown for the agency at midnight. The two-thirds majority vote, which came with support from Democrats a few hours after the House failed to pass a three-week extension, buys time for Congress to sort out a longer-term funding solution for the domestic security agency. (Reporting By David Lawder; Editing by Doina Chiacu)

U.S. border officials seize record 15 tons of pot at California border

Fri, 02/27/2015 - 18:10
U.S. customs officers at a California border crossing seized more than 15 tons of marijuana hidden inside a tractor-trailer shipment designated as a cargo of mattresses, the biggest narcotics bust ever at that port of entry, officials said on Friday.

Missouri murder spree shatters tiny community's comfort zone

Fri, 02/27/2015 - 16:56

A rural Missouri county that had zero homicides last year spent Friday reeling after seven people were murdered by a man who police said went on a house-to-house shooting rampage in the middle of the night.

Prominent Russian opposition figure Boris Nemtsov shot dead

Fri, 02/27/2015 - 15:32

MOSCOW (AP) — Boris Nemtsov, a Russian opposition leader and sharp critic of President Vladimir Putin, was gunned down Saturday near the Kremlin, officials said. Nemtsov was killed just a day before a protest planned against Putin's rule.

Adoption by same-sex parent recognized by Alabama appeals court

Fri, 02/27/2015 - 14:50

An Alabama appeals court ruled on Friday that the state must recognize the out-of-state adoption of three children by the estranged wife of their birth mother, lawyers for the plaintiff said. The decision comes as a handful of Alabama judges have refused to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples in defiance of a federal ruling, and as another same-sex couple in Mobile has sued seeking similar adoption rights. Alabama this month became the 37th state where gay marriage is legal after the U.S. Supreme Court refused to stay a federal ruling that struck down Alabama's ban on same-sex marriage. Despite that, Roy Moore, the conservative chief justice of the state's Supreme Court, has directed judges not to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples.

Texas snowstorm snarls transport, cancels nearly 600 flights

Fri, 02/27/2015 - 14:09
By Marice Richter DALLAS (Reuters) - A storm that dusted the Dallas area on Friday with about 1 to 3 inches of snow caused hundreds of traffic accidents and led to more than 600 flight cancellations. Flight tracker said as of 4:30 p.m. CST, 595 flights were canceled at Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport, one of the nation's busiest and a hub for major carrier American Airlines. The slippery weather conditions also led to a pileup of nearly 40 vehicles in Melissa, about 35 miles north of Dallas. No fatalities or serious injuries were reported, Department of Public Safety officials reported.

Stopgap Homeland Security spending bill fails in House

Fri, 02/27/2015 - 13:18

The House has rejected a stopgap spending bill for the Homeland Security Department with just hours to go before a midnight deadline to fund the agency or see it begin to partially shut down.

Jeb Bush’s biggest CPAC win: No gifts for Democrats

Fri, 02/27/2015 - 12:19

The ex-Florida governor addresses complaints conservatives have made about him.

Slain U.S. journalist's father: identification of 'Jihadi John' not important

Fri, 02/27/2015 - 11:10
The father of American journalist James Foley, who was taken captive in Syria and later decapitated by Islamic State militants, has said it was "not important" to him that his son's purported killer, "Jihadi John," had been identified. The Washington Post reported on Thursday that "Jihadi John," who was shown in Islamic State videos of the beheadings of several captives, had been identified as Kuwaiti-born British national Mohammed Emwazi, 26. "'Jihadi John' happened to be in that position, but if it was not him it would be somebody else, so in all fairness discovering who he is might be important to some people, but it's certainly not important to me," John Foley told reporters in Arizona, according to video from local television station KSWT. Foley, whose son's beheading was shown in a video released last August, also said he will be happy when Islamic State "is defeated." John Foley and his wife, Diane, speaking on Thursday on the sidelines of a forum in Tucson, Arizona, where they were panelists, criticized how the U.S. government dealt with them while their son was held captive.

Ukraine conflict at 'crossroads' as troop deaths shake truce

Fri, 02/27/2015 - 09:04

International monitors said Friday the conflict in Ukraine was at a "crossroads" as further losses among government forces rattled a two-week-old truce just as it seemed to be gaining traction. The envoy to Ukraine for the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE), which is monitoring the peace deal, told the UN Security Council that while there were encouraging signs, the country still risked all-out war. Russia formally annexed the territory in March 2014, triggering an international furore. The uprising in Ukraine's east, which has claimed at least 5,800 lives, began the following month.

7 fatally shot, gunman dead in southeastern Missouri

Fri, 02/27/2015 - 09:02

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — The Missouri State Highway Patrol says seven people have been killed in overnight shootings in southeastern Missouri and that the gunman is also dead.

U.S. Congress pursues stopgap funding to avert security agency shutdown

Fri, 02/27/2015 - 08:59

By David Lawder and Richard Cowan WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. Congress on Friday appeared to be headed toward approving a three-week-long stopgap funding bill for the domestic security agency that postpones the threat of a partial shutdown, but moves lawmakers no closer to a permanent solution. With only hours remaining before Department of Homeland Security funding expires at midnight, the House of Representatives was pursuing a short-term funding extension. It would give Republicans more time to agree on a way to keep the agency open over the long term, while still fighting Democratic President Barack Obama over his immigration order lifting the threat of deportation for millions of undocumented residents. The measure would then go to the Senate for expected approval on Friday afternoon.

Senate passes Homeland Security funds through Sept. 30

Fri, 02/27/2015 - 07:39

The DHS has three weeks of funding hours before it would have run out.

Attackers in Bangladesh hack to death American blogger

Fri, 02/27/2015 - 06:20

DHAKA, Bangladesh (AP) — A prominent Bangladeshi-American blogger known for speaking out against religious extremism was hacked to death as he walked through Bangladesh's capital with his wife, police said Friday.

Despite fiery CPAC speech, is Ted Cruz changing course?

Fri, 02/27/2015 - 06:19

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” like 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 Obama’s executive action on immigration