By Phil Stewart and Tim Kelly WASHINGTON/TOKYO (Reuters) - Two unarmed U.S. B-52 bombers on a training mission flew over disputed islands in the East China Sea without informing Beijing, defying China's declaration of a new airspace defense zone and raising the stakes in a territorial standoff. The flight did not prompt a response from China, the Pentagon said, and the White House urged Beijing to resolve its dispute with Japan over the islands diplomatically, without resorting to "threats or inflammatory language". Also defying Beijing, Japan's two biggest airlines - Japan Airlines and ANA Holdings - said they would stop giving flight plans and other information to Chinese authorities from Wednesday when passing through the zone.
Americans back last weekend's nuclear deal with Iran by a 2-to-1 margin and are very wary of the United States resorting to military action against Tehran even if the historic diplomatic effort falls through, a Reuters/Ipsos poll showed on Tuesday. The findings were rare good news in the polls for President Barack Obama, whose approval ratings have dropped in recent weeks because of the botched rollout of his signature healthcare reform law. According to the Reuters/Ipsos survey, 44 percent of Americans support the interim deal reached between Iran and six world powers in Geneva, and 22 percent oppose it. Even if the Iran deal fails, 49 percent want the United States to increase sanctions and 31 percent think it should launch further diplomacy.
By John O'Donnell BRUSSELS (Reuters) - The European Commission called on Tuesday for new protection for Europeans under United States' law against misuse of personal data, in an attempt to keep in check the U.S. surveillance revealed by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden. EU justice commissioner Viviane Reding said she wanted Washington to follow through on its promise to give all EU citizens the right to sue in the United States if their data is misused. "I have ... made clear that Europe expects to see the necessary legislative change in the U.S. sooner rather than later, and in any case before summer 2014," she said. The remarks underline a growing sense of unease in Europe at a delicate moment in transatlantic relations, when the globe's two biggest economies seek a trade pact to deepen ties.
By Kim Palmer CLEVELAND (Reuters) - Ohio Republican Governor John Kasich's decision to expand Medicaid under Obamacare has hurt him with some voters in his own party a year out from his re-election bid, a poll released on Tuesday found. Kasich held a lead over a relatively unknown, presumed challenger, Cleveland-area Democrat Ed FitzGerald, the Quinnipiac University poll said. About 24 percent of Republicans responding in the poll said they were less likely to vote for Kasich because he bypassed Ohio's Republican-dominated legislature in October and used a legislative panel to expand Medicaid. Kasich opposes the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, but wanted the $2.5 billion in federal money for his state that a Medicaid provision of the law provides.
By Jeff Mason GLENDALE, California (Reuters) - Almost two weeks ago, President Barack Obama, looking down, walked into the White House briefing room and apologized for the flawed rollout of his healthcare reform law. During a three-day Western swing through Seattle, San Francisco and Los Angeles, Obama touted the accomplishments of his signature law, popularly known as Obamacare, and promised the glitches were going away. "Yes, we decided to fix a broken healthcare system," Obama told workers at DreamWorks Animation on Tuesday, the final day of his trip. "I was talking to some of the studio execs here and I said, 'You know the rollout of the healthcare marketplace was rough' ... and yet here in California and here across this state, there are thousands of people who are getting healthcare for the first time - for the first time - because of this." The administration has promised the website will be working for the vast majority of Americans by the end of this month, and White House officials continue to express confidence that goal will be achieved.