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Obama to focus on middle class in State of Union address

Mon, 01/19/2015 - 21:04

By Steve Holland WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Barack Obama will challenge the Republican-led Congress to back his tax-raising ideas for helping middle-class Americans in a State of the Union speech on Tuesday that will set up a tough debate and may impact the 2016 campaign to replace him. Looking to burnish his legacy with two years left in office, Obama will appear before a joint session of Congress in the well of the House of Representatives at 9 p.m. The speech will be his best opportunity of the year to command the attention of millions of Americans watching on television. Obama will push a plan to increase taxes by $320 billion over 10 years on the wealthy by closing tax loopholes and imposing a fee on big financial firms. The money would be used to pay for an increase in benefits for the middle class.

State of the Union spoilers

Mon, 01/19/2015 - 18:52

Here's a look at what we already know about President Obama's big speech.

Photos: King's life, legacy celebrated across America

Mon, 01/19/2015 - 18:08

Tributes and rallies were held around the U.S. on Monday to celebrate the life and legacy of Martin Luther King Jr.

Two-year-old Kentucky boy killed by train while walking with dog

Mon, 01/19/2015 - 16:49
By Tim Ghianni NASHVILLE, Tenn. (Reuters) - A two-year-old boy was struck and killed by a train on Monday while he was walking with a dog along railroad tracks in southwestern Kentucky, police said. The boy, identified as Trayton Joiner by the Christian County coroner's office, was taken by ambulance to a local hospital, where he died, said Hopkinsville Police Sergeant Martin Lopez. Hopkinsville is about 70 miles northwest of Nashville, Tenn. Hopkinsville Police spokesman Paul Ray told WKDZ radio station that the train engineer saw the dog first, and then the child with the dog, but was unable to stop in time. The dog, a female pit-bull mix, was also struck and was taken to Skyline Animal Clinic in Hopkinsville.

Jindal: Muslims establish 'no-go zones' outside civic control

Mon, 01/19/2015 - 16:47

WASHINGTON (AP) — Some countries have allowed Muslims to establish autonomous neighborhoods in cities where they govern by a harsh version of Islamic law, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal said Monday during a speech in London.

Intrigue surrounds Argentine prosecutor's death

Mon, 01/19/2015 - 16:10

Officials say there is no indication anybody else was involved in the death of a prosecutor who had accused Argentina's president of shielding Iranian suspects in a deadly terror attack.

Tributes, protests mark Martin Luther King Jr. Day

Mon, 01/19/2015 - 15:12

By Laila Kearney and Sebastien Malo NEW YORK (Reuters) - Tributes to civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. were held nationwide on Monday as protests over the treatment of minorities by law enforcement rolled on across the country. Observers of Martin Luther King Jr. Day have this year linked the federal holiday to a rallying cry in recent months during demonstrations over police brutality: "Black lives matter." King's 1960s dream of racial equality was being viewed through a lens focused on the recent deaths of unarmed black men after confrontations with police, including Eric Garner, who died in July after being put in a chokehold in New York City, and Michael Brown, shot in Ferguson, Missouri, in August. More than 1,800 people pressed into a King commemoration service at the Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta, where King once preached, some holding signs with his famous quote "I am a man," others with placards reading "I can't breathe" in Garner's memory and "Hands up! Don't shoot!" to honor Brown.

McCain urges 'boots on the ground' to combat IS

Mon, 01/19/2015 - 14:29

US Senator John McCain on Monday urged the deployment of international ground forces to combat jihadists in Syria and Iraq, as he toured the Middle East with a Senate delegation. "For months we've been bombing (Syrian border town) Kobane and we still haven't driven ISIS out," the Senate Armed Services Committee chairman told reporters in Jerusalem, using an acronym for the Islamic State group. "The reality is, we need more boots on the ground... we need intelligence, we need special forces, and we can't treat Iraq and Syria as different battlegrounds because it's the same enemy," McCain said.

FAA probing near miss between planes at New York airport

Mon, 01/19/2015 - 13:20
The Federal Aviation Administration said on Monday that it was investigating whether an air traffic control problem caused a near miss between two planes in New York over the weekend. A JetBlue Airways Corp flight to Austin, Texas, was preparing to takeoff at New York's John F. Kennedy International Airport on Saturday when a Caribbean Airlines flight crossed its path, the FAA said in a statement. The Caribbean Airlines Boeing 737 was returning from South America's Guyana. The departing JetBlue Airbus 320 had received control tower clearance when it attempted to takeoff but returned to the gate after the mishap, JetBlue said in a statement.

Oil spills in Yellowstone River after pipeline leak

Mon, 01/19/2015 - 09:27
(Reuters) - Crews worked on Monday to clean up crude oil that spilled in and near the Yellowstone River in eastern Montana even as Bridger Pipeline LLC tried to determine what caused the weekend breach, the Wall Street Journal reported. The release of crude oil from Bridger's Poplar Pipeline system near Glendive, Montana began on Saturday morning, the company said in a statement. Bridger said its initial estimate was that 300-1,200 barrels of crude oil had been released.

Tributes, protests mark Martin Luther King Jr. Day

Mon, 01/19/2015 - 09:17

By Laila Kearney and Sebastien Malo NEW YORK (Reuters) - Tributes to civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. were held around the United States on Monday as protests over the treatment of minorities by law enforcement rolled on across the country. Observers of Martin Luther King Jr. Day have this year linked the federal holiday to a rallying cry in recent months during demonstrations over police brutality: "Black lives matter." In a pre-dawn rally in Oakland, California on Monday, about 40 people converged on the home of Mayor Libby Schaaf, calling for harsher punishment of police who use violence against civilians. They chalked outlines of bodies on the tree-lined street, played recordings of King's speeches and projected an image of the slain civil rights leader with the words "Black lives matter," on the mayor's garage door. Other protests were planned in major cities such as Dallas and New York, where the family of Eric Garner, who died after being placed in a police chokehold, was set to lay a wreath on the Brooklyn street where two uniformed officers were ambushed in December by a gunman claiming to avenge Garner's death.

Plea to imams to fight extremism draws Islamophobia charge

Mon, 01/19/2015 - 07:26

By Andrew Osborn LONDON (Reuters) - Muslim groups accused the British government of copying the language of the far right on Monday and of stoking Islamophobia after ministers wrote to imams asking them to explain to Muslims how Islam is compatible with being British. In a letter to over 1,000 imams last Friday, Eric Pickles, the minister for local government and communities, asked them to explain to Muslims how Islam can be "part of British identity", arguing they had a duty to do more to fight extremism and root out anyone preaching hatred. Muslim groups said the letter unfairly singled them out. "The letter has all the hallmarks of very poor judgment which feeds into an Islamophobic narrative, which feeds into a narrative of us and them," Tahla Ahmad of the Muslim Council of Britain (MCB) told Sky News.

Syria begins destruction of chemical weapons facilities

Mon, 01/19/2015 - 05:52

The destruction of production and storage centers begins.

EU calls for anti-terror alliance with Arab countries

Mon, 01/19/2015 - 01:43

The proposal comes in the wake of deadly attacks and arrests across the EU.

Rebels, military battle near Yemen's presidential palace

Mon, 01/19/2015 - 01:22

Bodies lay in the streets, witnesses say, and the status of President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi was not immediately clear.

Attorney's biggest challenge: Defending the accused Boston Marathon bomber

Mon, 01/19/2015 - 01:16

Judy Clarke is known as the “patron saint of defense attorneys” for her willingness to take on the cases of notorious killers and finding a way to save their lives. But she faces her biggest challenge yet in trying to spare accused Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev from the death penalty.

Which current members of Congress voted against making MLK Day a federal holiday?

Mon, 01/19/2015 - 01:11

In 1983, Congress voted overwhelmingly to approve legislation to honor the memory of the late Martin Luther King Jr. by observing a federal holiday on the third Monday of every January. But not every elected official was onboard with the effort.

'Selma' stars including Oprah march in Alabama

Sun, 01/18/2015 - 20:07

Hundreds marched to recall one of the bloodiest chapters of the civil rights movement.

Patriots roll over Colts, will play Seahawks in Super Bowl

Sun, 01/18/2015 - 19:33

New England crushes Indianapolis, 45-7, to reach its sixth Super Bowl in 14 seasons.

Seahawks return to Super Bowl with miracle win

Sun, 01/18/2015 - 16:33

Seattle earns a second straight NFC title with a stunning overtime victory over Green Bay.