Political News from Yahoo

Sniping shadows Kerry's pursuit of Mideast peace

JERUSALEM (AP) — U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry's closed-door diplomacy to broker peace between Israel and the Palestinians has burst into a public spat, with both sides trading blistering criticisms, Republican senators showing up in Jerusalem to argue Israel's side, and Palestinian demonstrators protesting his visit.

Democrats breaking GOP's long lock on Cuban vote

MIAMI (AP) — For more than two decades, running for Congress in this sun-soaked capital of Cuban exiles has required two things: a Republican registration card and a hard line toward the Castro regime.

Exclusive: Turmoil at East-West Center in Hawaii as energy team quits

By Ken Wills HONOLULU (Reuters) - The East-West Center in Hawaii, a U.S. government-funded institute to promote better relations with Pacific and Asian nations, is hardly a center of harmony these days. At yearend, the four-person energy research team resigned, protesting funding and job cuts and accusing the center's president of jeopardizing the viability of the 54-year-old institution, which receives about $16 million in federal funding and has been a respected forum for geopolitical research and discussion. The resignations followed a steady paring of the center's research staff during the 16-year tenure of President Charles E. Morrison, reflecting what he says is a more cost-effective strategy. The program on population was famous worldwide, the program that I ran for many years was famous worldwide, and now they have all been shut down or greatly reduced," Fereidun Fesharaki, a senior fellow for 34 years and leader of the energy team, said in an interview on Thursday.

Government moves to appeal surveillance ruling

WASHINGTON (AP) — Government lawyers are asking the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Washington to overturn a federal judge's ruling that threatens the National Security Agency's practice of collecting every Americans' telephone records every day.

Obama to speak on unemployment benefits extension Tuesday

President Barack Obama will ratchet up his administration's push for an extension of emergency unemployment benefits on Tuesday with an event at the White House attended by people whose benefits have expired. Obama, who is on vacation in Hawaii, and his advisers have been pressing Congress to extend the federal aid to help out-of-work Americans who are searching for jobs and avoid damage to the economy. "The president will talk about the toll that allowing unemployment benefits to expire has had on 1.3 million Americans, and he'll warn of the negative consequences for the broader American economy if Congress fails to act quickly on this urgent priority," the White House said in a statement. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, a Democrat, has vowed to bring to a vote a bill extending federal unemployment insurance benefits as soon as Congress returns from its holiday recess on January 6.

Obama admin proposes new gun background check measures

The Obama administration on Friday announced it was taking two new executive actions on gun control, proposing a regulation to clarify gun restrictions for the mentally ill and another that would make it easier to add information about mental health restrictions into the federal background check system. President Barack Obama tried last year to bring in sweeping new gun control measures in the aftermath of a Connecticut school shooting, but most of his measures were defeated in Congress. "The Administration's two new executive actions will help ensure that better and more reliable information makes its way into the background check system," the White House said in a statement.

Obama proposes firearm background check changes

HONOLULU (AP) — The Obama administration on Friday announced a pair of executive actions aimed at strengthening federal background checks for gun purchasers, with a particular focus on limiting firearm access for those with mental health issues.

Interior Department ends federal 'Blueway' program

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — A U.S. Interior Department program intended to recognize conservation efforts along the nation's waterways was dissolved on Friday amid opposition from landowners and politicians who feared it would lead to increased regulations and possible land seizures.

Skimpy health law plans leave some "underinsured"

WASHINGTON (AP) — If you know people who are working for just a little money and struggling with medical bills, President Barack Obama's health care overhaul may sound like the answer to their problems.

Adding a baby to new health law plans not easy

WASHINGTON (AP) — You were patient with the government's kooky website, and now you have your health insurance card. That's good, since your family is expecting a new baby.

Marine aircraft ferries Americans from South Sudan

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Pentagon says Marines used a KC-130 cargo plane to evacuate about 20 Americans from the U.S. Embassy in Juba, South Sudan, in a move prompted by what the State Department calls a deteriorating security situation.

Gov't: Birth control mandate should not be blocked

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Obama administration on Friday called on a Supreme Court justice to stop blocking the new health care law's requirement that some religion-affiliated organizations provide health insurance that includes birth control.

Kim Jong Un fed his uncle to 120 starving dogs: report

Forget the hangman’s noose, the firing squad or lethal injection: North Korean leader Kim Jong Un executed his uncle and a handful of the man’s aides by feeding them to a horde of 120 starving dogs, according to a shocking account.

Palestinian protesters greet Kerry's visit

Palestinian protesters on Friday condemned the latest efforts by U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry to advance peace talks with Israel, using chants evoking the Arab uprisings and telling him to go home. Hours before Kerry was due to meet Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, a raucous crowd of several hundred took to the streets of Ramallah, the West Bank's de facto capital, chanting "Kerry, you coward, there's no place for you in Palestine!" Separately, an official close to Abbas dismissed Kerry's drive for a "framework agreement" as biased toward Israel. But Yasser Abed Rabbo, Abbas's deputy in the Palestine Liberation Organisation, said the plan, still being finalized, "restricts Palestinian sovereignty on Palestinian land".

McCain: Israel concerned about Mideast peace deal

JERUSALEM (AP) — Republican Sen. John McCain says Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has "serious, serious concerns" about parts of the proposal Secretary of State John Kerry is using to broker peace with the Palestinians.

America Feels Like the North Pole

As people from Chicago to New York dig out a foot or more of snow, the second wave of an arctic attack begins.

Boehner’s Immigration Cojones

Surprise signs of immigration progress have been spotted on Capitol Hill, raising the prospect that John Boehner could yet shepherd reform through Congress without sacrificing his job.