By Zachary Fagenson MIAMI (Reuters) - Six weeks after he pleaded guilty to cocaine possession and checked into a rehab clinic, Florida Congressman Henry "Trey" Radel will rejoin Congress when the new session begins next week, his spokesman said on Friday. Radel spokesman Greg Dolan declined to immediately confirm a report by Gannett that the Republican representative is enrolled in an out-patient program in Washington. Radel, 37, whose election to the U.S. House of Representatives in 2012 had the backing of the conservative Tea Party movement, was charged in November with buying 3.5 grams of cocaine in Washington on October 29, in the presence of an undercover agent. "I look forward to getting back to work next week, representing my neighbors in Southwest Florida as they face the burdens of Obamacare, a jobless recovery, and a federal government that continues to spend more than it takes in," Radel said in a statement.
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.
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.
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.
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.