Political News from Yahoo

VA: 65 percent of senior executives got bonuses

WASHINGTON (AP) — About 65 percent of senior executives at the Veterans Affairs Department got performance bonuses last year despite widespread treatment delays and preventable deaths at VA hospitals and clinics, the agency said Friday.

US hits 7 Ukraine rebels with sanctions

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Obama administration imposed sanctions Friday on several pro-Russian separatist leaders in Ukraine, including self-proclaimed rebel mayors, governors and commanders in chief of cities under siege, for refusing to cede to the central government in Kiev. The sanctions came as U.S. officials renewed accusations that Russia is providing the separatists with tanks and heavy weaponry and as Ukraine's president announced a unilateral ceasefire that Washington urged Moscow to support.

US to open immigrant family detention center in NM

WASHINGTON (AP) — New detention facilities will be opened to house immigrant families caught crossing the border illegally amid a surge from Central America, the Obama administration said Friday.

Obama expands government benefits for gay couples

WASHINGTON (AP) — A year after the Supreme Court struck down a law barring federal recognition of gay marriages, the Obama administration granted an array of new benefits Friday to same-sex couples, including those who live in states where gay marriage is against the law.

House committee ordered to hearing as SEC probes insider trading

By Nate Raymond, Jonathan Stempel and Sarah N. Lynch NEW YORK/WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A U.S. judge on Friday directed the House Ways and Means Committee and a staffer to appear at a July 1 hearing to address their alleged refusal to respond to U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission subpoenas as part of an insider trading probe. The order by U.S. District Judge Paul Gardephe in New York covers both the committee and Brian Sutter, staff director for its healthcare subcommittee, and came at the SEC's request. The SEC said it is examining whether material nonpublic information concerning an April 1, 2013 announcement by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services of 2014 reimbursement rates for a Medicare program was leaked improperly, and whether anyone traded on that information. The case could prompt a courtroom showdown between the SEC's authority to enforce U.S. securities laws against Congress' power to manage its own affairs.

California lawmakers to get 2 percent pay raises

A California compensation commission voted on Friday to give state lawmakers a 2 percent raise this year, boosting the nation's highest legislative salaries. The California Citizens Compensation Commission, which meets annually to set pay rates for lawmakers, approved the increase for Governor Jerry Brown and the state’s 120 full-time lawmakers on a 4-1 vote. Commission chairman Thomas Dalzell said the raise still leaves salaries below pre-recession rates, but that the commission based its decision on the 2 percent pay increase all state employees are slated to receive this year. Eight other statewide elected offices and four leadership positions within the state legislature also come with six-figure salaries.

Benghazi suspect faces U.S. criminal, not military, court

A suspected leader of the attack on the U.S. compound in Benghazi, Libya, captured by U.S. forces and spirited out of the country, can expect to move quickly through the initial steps of the criminal justice system within hours of arriving on American soil. Seized in a raid last Sunday, Libyan militant Ahmed Abu Khatallah is the suspected leader of a group implicated in the 2012 attack on a U.S. diplomatic compound and CIA base in Benghazi. A U.S. official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said Abu Khatallah was aboard the USS New York, an amphibious transport ship traveling toward the United States at normal speed. When the U.S. decides they're going to indict someone abroad, they're going to bring them to the criminal justice system," not to military prisons as during the George W. Bush administration, said Karen Greenberg, the director of Fordham University's Center on National Security.

Obama warns Iraq on unity

US President Barack Obama warned Friday that no amount of US firepower could keep Iraq together if its political leaders did not disdain sectarianism and work to unite the country. Obama told CNN, a day after announcing the dispatch of 300 special forces advisors to Iraq following a lightning advance by extreme Sunni radicals, that American sacrifices had given Iraq a chance at a stable democracy, but it had been squandered. "We gave Iraq the chance to have an inclusive democracy.

Lawyers say UN chief served with Haiti lawsuit in NY

Lawyers for more than 1,500 victims of Haiti's deadly cholera epidemic said Friday they had served UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon with a personal summons to appear in US court. Stanley Alpert, a lawyer for the plaintiffs, accused Ban and the United Nations of "ducking service in these lawsuits for months." A lawsuit was filed against the United Nations in March in US federal court in Brooklyn, demanding the UN take responsibility, compensate the victims and provide critical sanitation. There had been no cholera in Haiti for at least 150 years until it was allegedly introduced by Nepalese UN peacekeepers sent there in the wake of the devastating January 2010 earthquake.

More than 400 U.S. military drones lost in crashes: report

The United States has lost more than 400 military drones in major crashes worldwide since 2001, The Washington Post said Friday in a report questioning the safety and reliability of the unmanned aircraft. Citing 50,000 pages of accident investigation reports, the Post said military drones have since the 9/11 attacks "malfunctioned in myriad ways," including mechanical breakdowns, human error and foul weather. "Military drones have slammed into homes, farms, runways, highways, waterways and, in one case, an Air Force C-130 Hercules transport plane in midair," it said. Sixty-seven drone crashes occurred in Afghanistan, and 41 in Iraq, but 47 occurred within the United States during test and training flights, the Post said on its website.

Biden vows to tackle 'unacceptable' child migrant surge

US Vice President Joe Biden warned Friday that Central American nations had a "responsibility" to work with Washington to stem a surge of thousands of illegal child migrants into the United States. Biden issued his blunt call to action in Guatemala as the White House announced new measures to speed up deportations of the illegal child migrants, amid a row with Republicans that has further dashed dimming hopes of passing a new immigration reform law.

England Eliminated From the World Cup

With Costa Rica’s shock 1-0 victory over Italy, England has been eliminated from the World Cup. The gloomy postmortem has begun, but team manager Roy Hodgson is not resigning.

Good morning, Donetsk -- Ukraine rebels spread the word on radio

If you're channel hopping in the restive eastern Ukraine city of Donetsk these days you can still tune in to the usual soft rock and Russian ballads. Welcome to Radio Republic -- the only official station of the self-proclaimed rebel Donetsk People's Republic, coming at the war-torn region with a blend of patriotic jingles and political diatribes to keep listeners tuned in. Georgy asked that his surname not be reported and his face not to be photographed due to the illegal nature of the operation. I am better at this than I am at shooting," Georgy said.

Rand Paul Says 'I Don't Blame' Obama for Iraq Crisis

ABC’s Shushannah Walshe and Benjamin Siegel report: New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky took opposite views of the crisis in Iraq today, with Christie blaming it on President Obama’s foreign policy while Paul said he doesn’t put the “blame on...

Boko Haram kill 10 in raids on Nigerian villages: official

Suspected Boko Haram gunmen have killed 10 people in raids on five villages in Nigeria's northeast Adamawa state, a local official said on Friday. "We have confirmed that 10 people were killed in the attacks on the five villages by Boko Haram insurgents yesterday (Thursday). Many people sustained injuries while trying to escape," said Maina Ularamu, Madagali local government council chairman. Scores of gunmen dressed in military uniform stormed the villages of Imirsa, Shuwari, Yaza, Humabza and Anguwar Shuwa, burning homes and looting food supplies, he told AFP.

After eurozone crisis, IMF rethinks rescues

The International Monetary Fund is rethinking bailouts in the wake of the eurozone crisis, with an eye to giving governments near default better options to stabilize their finances.