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Updated: 6 min 28 sec ago

Homeland Security funding drama darkens U.S. fiscal outlook

Sat, 02/28/2015 - 21:03

By Richard Cowan and David Lawder WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Congress narrowly averted a partial shutdown of the U.S. domestic security agency late on Friday night, but the forces behind the chaotic episode remain - fractious Republicans and House Speaker John Boehner's lack of control over them. In five to seven months, the federal debt ceiling will again be reached, and by October Congress must pass spending bills to keep the government running in the new fiscal year. Failing to deal effectively with these issues could have much more damaging repercussions - such as a broad government shutdown or a debt default - than a partial shutdown of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). Some conservatives speak of ousting Boehner, but it is unlikely they can muster enough votes, while others made clear on Friday that they were willing to take big risks to score ideological points.     Brinkmanship like this, reminiscent of 2013's 16-day federal government shutdown, was supposed to be over.


Venezuela to shrink U.S. Embassy staff, require tourist visas

Sat, 02/28/2015 - 18:30

President Nicolas Maduro says “gringo” meddling forced him to adopt new requirements.


Investigators search for what triggered Missouri rampage

Sat, 02/28/2015 - 16:46

By Kevin Murphy and Carey Gillam KANSAS CITY, Mo. (Reuters) - What led Joseph Aldridge to gun down seven people in a southern Missouri hamlet remained uncertain on Saturday, though authorities speculated that the death of the gunman's mother from cancer could have triggered the rampage. Aldridge, 36, embarked on a shooting spree late on Thursday in the rural community of Tyrone, going door-to-door in the wintry night, killing four relatives and three neighbors, and wounding another, before fatally shooting himself, police said. The massacre unfolded shortly after Aldridge's mother, 74-year-old Alice Aldridge, died from complications of metastatic lung cancer. Texas County Coroner Tom Whittaker said an autopsy revealed the fatal condition.


Chicago protesters demand probe of what they call police 'black site'

Sat, 02/28/2015 - 16:04
British newspaper The Guardian said in a report earlier this week the Chicago Police Department holds suspects and witnesses for long periods of time at a former warehouse called Homan Square, without giving them access to attorneys or phone calls to family and without recording their detention. The piece was the subject of intense debate in recent days in Chicago, with some criminal justice experts saying it was exaggerated and others giving it credence. Chicago police spokesman Martin Malone did not immediately return a call requesting comment on Saturday. Earlier in the week, the Chicago Police Department (CPD) in a statement said it "abides by all laws, rules and guidelines pertaining to any interviews of suspects or witnesses" at Homan Square and other facilities.

'Jihadi John' contemplated suicide in 2010: report

Sat, 02/28/2015 - 15:19

The London man believed to be Islamic State executioner "Jihadi John" told a journalist four years ago that surveillance by British security services had left him contemplating suicide, it emerged Saturday. Mohammed Emwazi, named by media and experts as the militant thought to have beheaded at least five Western hostages held by the IS group, told the Mail on Sunday reporter that he felt like a "dead man walking". Prime Minister David Cameron and a former head of foreign spy agency MI6 strongly rejected the idea, while London mayor Boris Johnson accused Cage of an "apology for terror".


Rand Paul wins CPAC straw poll

Sat, 02/28/2015 - 14:07

The Kentucky senator is voted the top GOP candidate for the third consecutive year.


Giant, cross-border smuggling tunnel found under Arizona house

Sat, 02/28/2015 - 13:11

Police pulled over a U-Haul carrying 4,700 pounds of marijuana this week. When they traced the truck’s route to a house on the border, they discovered the longest drug-smuggling tunnel the region has ever seen.


NYT: U.S. moving to deport Bosnians tied to war crimes

Sat, 02/28/2015 - 12:42

The United States is moving to deport at least 150 Bosnians suspected of taking part in war crimes and ethnic cleansing in the former Yugoslavia in the 1990s, the New York Times reported Saturday.


Investigators search for what triggered Missouri rampage

Sat, 02/28/2015 - 12:36

By Kevin Murphy and Carey Gillam KANSAS CITY, Mo. (Reuters) - What led Joseph Aldridge to gun down seven people in a southern Missouri hamlet remained uncertain on Saturday, though authorities speculated that the death of the gunman's mother from cancer could have triggered the rampage. Aldridge, 36, embarked on a shooting spree late on Thursday in the rural community of Tyrone, going door to door in the wintry night, killing four relatives and three neighbors, and wounding another, before fatally shooting himself, police said. The massacre unfolded shortly after Aldridge's mother, 74-year-old Alice Aldridge, died from complications of metastatic lung cancer. Texas County Coroner Tom Whittaker said Saturday that an autopsy revealed the fatal condition.


Storm leads to 1,000 canceled flights in Texas as more snow heads east

Sat, 02/28/2015 - 11:51

By Mary Wisniewski CHICAGO (Reuters) - Stormy weather coated parts of Texas and Oklahoma with ice on Saturday, canceling nearly 1,000 flights at the Dallas Fort-Worth International Airport, while more snow headed toward the already winter-weary Midwest and Northeast. Meteorologists said a storm moving east across the plains will bring a wide swath of 1-3 inches of snow into the Midwest, including Illinois and Kentucky, on Saturday night. Snow was already falling Saturday afternoon in areas that do not usually see it, such as Arkansas and Oklahoma, said Alan Reppert, senior meteorologist for Accuweather.com. Snow and freezing rain overnight made roads treacherous in the Dallas area on Saturday morning, but conditions were improving in the afternoon as temperatures rose, according to NWS meteorologist Jamie Gudmestad.


Obama, Netanyahu on collision course 6 years in the making

Sat, 02/28/2015 - 10:02

For six years, President Barack Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu have been on a collision course over how to halt Iran's nuclear ambitions, a high-stakes endeavor both men see as a centerpiece of their legacies.


Dems call GOP Homeland Security strategy a political blunder

Sat, 02/28/2015 - 07:56

Democrats are losing some skirmishes over the Department of Homeland Security, but many feel they are winning a political war that will haunt Republicans in 2016 and beyond.


GOP leaders are struggling to show they really are in charge

Sat, 02/28/2015 - 03:47
WASHINGTON (AP) — Two months into full Republican control of Congress, GOP leaders are struggling to demonstrate they really are in charge.

New York's exploding manhole covers pose unexpected winter hazard

Sat, 02/28/2015 - 03:05
By Sebastien Malo NEW YORK (Reuters) - Salvatore Grillo was walking his Labrador retriever near Brooklyn's Prospect Park on a cold morning in February when he heard what sounded like a muffled explosion. Police said an underground blast had blown a cast-iron manhole cover skyward and the heavy metallic disk came crashing down on his head. In the snowy first week of February, Consolidated Edison Inc, the local utility, tallied about 600 "smokers," fires and occasional explosions involving manholes, part of a seasonal surge that plagues New York every winter. "These incidents are yet another example of New York City's outdated infrastructure.

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)


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