Political News from Yahoo

Low expectations for Syrian peace talks

WASHINGTON (AP) — In its last-ditch attempt to get moderate Syrian opposition groups to the negotiating table, the Obama administration faces the prospect that a no-show wouldn't be such a bad thing.

Expectations low for Syrian peace conference

WASHINGTON (AP) — In its last-ditch attempt to get moderate Syrian opposition groups to the negotiating table, the Obama administration faces the prospect that a no-show wouldn't be such a bad thing.

Feds side with same-sex couples in Utah

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — Gay couples in Utah have experienced a helter-skelter wave of emotions over the last three weeks: They were suddenly allowed to marry, then saw the weddings stopped by the U.S. Supreme Court and were told the state wouldn't recognize the unions.

Chief official believed NJ lane closings illegal

TRENTON, N.J. (AP) — The September lane closings near the George Washington Bridge that caused huge traffic jams and now appear to have been politically orchestrated by a member of Gov. Chris Christie's administration and key allies violated federal law, a chief official said in an email ordering the lanes reopened.

Why You Failed Your Resolutions

Give up the annual self-flagellation ritual of New Year's resolutions and starting tweaking your behavior to meet—and beat–your goals in 2014.

White House weighs in on Jimmy Kimmel China controversy

The White House has weighed in on a petition calling for the government to crack down on "Jimmy Kimmel Live," a television talk show that sparked a furor in China in October with a joke about killing Chinese people to avoid paying down U.S. debt to the country. More than 105,000 people signed on to a White House petition calling for an apology after the show, broadcast on ABC, included a segment where Kimmel asked a group of children how the United States should pay back the $1.3 trillion it owes to China, the world's second-largest economy. A 6-year-old said, "Kill everyone in China." Kimmel replied: "That's an interesting idea." Afterwards, Chinese-American groups protested outside the California headquarters of ABC, which is owned by Walt Disney Co, and the Chinese Foreign Ministry complained. The White House, which accepts petitions and responds to the most popular ones, noted that ABC and Kimmel have "already apologized independently" and said that the comments "do not reflect mainstream views of China in the United States." "As the president has stated publicly, the United States welcomes the continuing peaceful rise of China," the White House said in its official response to the petition.

Serial Killer in Nazi Berlin

Berlin, 1940. Late one a night a railway worker boards her train home and chats with a man. Then everything goes wrong. An excerpt from Scott Andrew Selby’s ‘A Serial Killer in Nazi Berlin’.

A New Crime Classic

HBO’s 'True Detective' sounds like your average celebrity-studded crime procedural. Yet, buoyed by Matthew McConaughey, it’s one of the most riveting and provocative series ever. Period.

Hanky-Panky At The Élysée?

French President François Hollande is threatening legal action over a tabloid photo-spread that allegedly showed the world leader dallying with a French actress.

What to Drink in 2014

From Eastern European wines to Barolo to beer in the shower, here are what 13 top critics, chefs, and sommeliers are excited about drinking this year.

The Week’s Best Reads

From the internet’s hostility to women to a politician’s lonely quest for the facts on GMOs, The Daily Beast picks the best journalism from around the web this week.

Ted Cruz’s Harvard Law Manifesto

How to reach the GOP’s furthest right wing while looking classy? The Texas senator found an elite spot to make his case against the United Nations’ Agenda 21 and federal treaty powers.

Police Blotter Bliss

On the mean streets outside Portland, it’s wealthy suburbanites vs. crickets, teenagers, a dead beaver, and the moon. Check out one of America’s most absurd newspaper police blotters.

We Know Who Should Be MVP

The best NFL quarterback isn’t Peyton Manning, Tom Brady, or Drew Brees. It’s Seattle’s Russell Wilson, who only gets paid $527,000 this season. He may get a Super Bowl ring, too.

Lawmaker seeks to halt bond sales for California high-speed rail

By Jim Christie SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - A Republican California lawmaker proposed on Friday to put a measure before voters to stop bond sales for the state's planned high-speed rail system, in the latest bid by critics to derail the ambitious project. The rail system, a priority of Governor Jerry Brown, would send passengers hurtling through the state's fertile San Joaquin Valley as they travel from San Francisco to Los Angeles. While it is uncertain if the proposed measure by Assemblyman Jeff Gorell will eventually qualify for a statewide ballot, it seizes on potential voter discontent over the project. "California cannot afford to pay for a high-speed train system that will cost more than $100 billion at a time when prisoners are being released from prisons and taxpayers are being asked to dig deeper into their own pockets to pay for basic services," the measure says.

Congress to pass stopgap funding bill next week: top Republican

The House of Representatives next week will pass a stop-gap funding measure to prevent a government shutdown for three days as negotiators try to finalize a $1 trillion spending bill, Republican Majority Leader Eric Cantor said on Friday. This will allow more time for the spending bill to clear often lengthy procedural hurdles in the U.S. Senate. Lawmakers have been trying to reach agreement on the massive funding bill by January 15, when all government spending authority expires for military and domestic discretionary programs and federal agencies. But negotiators on the measure, which sets thousands of budget line items from national parks to Pentagon weapons programs, still have a number of funding and policy issues to resolve that will likely take through this weekend.

Arkansas lieutenant governor resigns over ethics violations

By Steve Barnes LITTLE ROCK, Arkansas (Reuters) - Arkansas Lieutenant Governor Mark Darr, under political siege from fellow Republicans as well as Democrats after admitting to numerous violations of state ethics laws, announced on Friday that he would resign effective February 1. I will no longer subject my family to its hard lessons," Darr said in a statement. Darr continued to insist that he was guilty only of "mistakes, but not one with malicious intent." "I have been honest, forthright and acted with integrity," said Darr. In December, Darr agreed to an $11,000 fine imposed by the Arkansas Ethics Commission and accepted its finding of 11 breaches of regulations and statutes including converting campaign funds to personal use and receiving improper expense reimbursements from taxpayer funds.

Ark. lt. gov. says he'll resign over ethics case

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — Arkansas Lt. Gov. Mark Darr said Friday he would leave office Feb. 1, giving in to pressure from Democrats and fellow Republicans who said his impeachment was inevitable over ethics violations tied to his campaign and office spending

Damage-control worries followed NJ lane closings

TRENTON, N.J. (AP) — Officials squabbled over media leaks and worried about bad publicity in the days after lane closings near the George Washington Bridge caused huge traffic jams that now appear to have been politically orchestrated by members of Gov. Chris Christie's administration, documents released Friday show.

Documents reveal anger, chaos in Christie bridge scandal

By Dave Warner TRENTON, New Jersey (Reuters) - Documents related to the bridge closure scandal engulfing New Jersey Governor Chris Christie revealed on Friday that authorities were deeply divided about the shutdown, with one warning it was illegal and risking people's lives. More than 1,000 pages of anxiously awaited documents subpoenaed by New Jersey lawmakers investigating the massive, four-day traffic jam on the George Washington bridge were made public after revelations that Christie's staff appeared to have orchestrated the closure as political payback. The documents, many subpoenaed from former Port Authority executive David Wildstein, cast new light on the turmoil within the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, the agency overseeing the nation's busiest bridge. On the fourth day of the shutdown, Patrick Foye, executive director of the Port Authority, lashed out in an email to executives, including Port Authority Chairman David Samson, and ordered the lanes reopened.