Political News from Yahoo

The V.A.’s Ticking Time Bombs

A single, secret wait list contributed to the deaths of dozens of veterans in a single VA hospital. Insiders say there could be many, many more such lists.


US hauls Indonesia back to WTO over farm import rules

The United States said Thursday it was taking Indonesia back to the WTO to loosen its rules on the import of agricultural products, saying that reforms have been insufficient. The United States, joined by fellow agricultural exporter New Zealand, said that they were seeking consultations under the World Trade Organization. The United States in early 2013 also held WTO consultations with Indonesia over its \"opaque and complex\" rules on imports. In response, Indonesia streamlined its import licensing process and removed a number of items from regulation including garlic, chili powder and cabbage.


Susan Rice reassures Israel on Iran nuclear ambitions

US National Security Adviser Susan Rice assured Israel at high-level talks on Thursday that Washington remained determined to stop Iran developing nuclear arms, the White House said. \"The US delegation reaffirmed our commitment to prevent Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon,\" said a White House statement released after talks in Jerusalem between Rice, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and senior officials from both sides. \"The delegations held thorough consultations on all aspects of the challenge posed by Iran, and pledged to continue the unprecedented coordination between the United States and Israel,\" it added.


US voices 'concerns' at sale of French warships to Russia

US officials voiced concern Thursday at the sale of French warships to Moscow as they mulled tougher sanctions on Russia for the political upheaval triggered by the Ukraine crisis. \"We have regularly and consistently expressed our concerns about this sale even before we had the latest Russian actions and we will continue to do so,\" Assistant Secretary for Europe Victoria Nuland told US lawmakers ahead of a visit next week to Washington by French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius. The first of two Mistral warships is not due to be delivered to Russia until later this year, and France has so far resisted pressure to suspend the controversial $1.2 billion contract. The Mistral is an advanced helicopter assault ship and France's 2011 agreement to sell them to Russia already triggered protests from the United States and other NATO allies.


Immigration: US warns schools against bias

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Obama administration said Thursday that troubling reports continue of school districts raising barriers to enrollment for children brought into the U.S. illegally.

Witnesses oppose NLRB ruling on college athletes

WASHINGTON (AP) — Baylor University President Ken Starr is voicing strong opposition to a National Labor Relations Board regional director's ruling that college scholarship athletes at Northwestern University are technically employees of the school and thus entitled to collective bargaining rights.

First lady honors outstanding museums, libraries

WASHINGTON (AP) — Museums and libraries are playing an important role in a country that is aiming to provide a top-flight education to its children, Michelle Obama said Thursday as she helped honor 10 institutions from across the U.S. for outstanding community service.


Ukraine Separatists Say No to Putin

Pro-Russian insurgents in east Ukraine vow they’ll go ahead with a referendum on independence. It looks like they’re defying the Russian president. But are they really?


U.S. billionaire green activist shifts from bomb thrower to team player

By Andy Sullivan and Valerie Volcovici WASHINGTON (Reuters) - As Boston Red Sox fans streamed into Fenway Park last April for an early-season baseball game, a small plane circled above, towing a banner that read \"Steve Lynch for Oil Evil Empire.\" Downtown, truck-mounted video screens looped attack ads against the Democratic congressman, who was running for a Senate seat. The man footing the bill for this sharp-edged campaign, San Francisco billionaire Tom Steyer, called Lynch \"Dr. Evil\" in a local TV interview because he did not oppose the proposed Keystone XL oil pipeline from Canada to the United States, which environmentalists say would worsen climate change. When Lynch, a former steel worker, lost the Democratic primary to environmentalist Ed Markey, politicians across the United States were served notice: a deep-pocketed activist was willing to punish them if they did not tackle climate change. Steyer's take-no-prisoners stance on Keystone, an issue that divides Democrats, and his willingness to spend millions of dollars to aggressively push his agenda, has raised questions about whether he might undercut the party's chance to retain control of the Senate in the November 4 congressional elections.


Bill ending NSA data collection continues swift path through Congress

By Patricia Zengerle WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A bill to end the government's bulk collection of telephone records got a unanimous go-ahead on Thursday from a second U.S. congressional committee, advancing the first legislative effort at surveillance reform since former contractor Edward Snowden revealed the program a year ago. The House of Representatives Intelligence committee voted unanimously by voice vote for the \"USA Freedom Act,\" which would end the National Security Agency's practice of gathering information on calls made by millions of Americans and storing them for at least five years. The panel's vote cleared the way for the measure to be considered by the full House of Representatives, a day after the House Judiciary Committee also voted unanimously to advance a similar, but somewhat more restrictive, measure addressing the collection of telephone metadata. Republican Michigan U.S. Representative Mike Rogers, the intelligence panel's chairman, and Maryland Representative Dutch Ruppersberger, its top Democrat, said they were pleased the measure had garnered strong support from both Republicans and Democrats.


No Obama-Putin one-on-one at D-Day anniversary

US President Barack Obama has no plans to meet one-on-one with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin in June when both attend the D-Day anniversary in France, the White House said Thursday. Russia's intervention in the political crisis in Ukraine has triggered the worst chill in relations between Washington and the Moscow since the end of the Cold War. Both leaders are expected to attend the June 6 ceremony of remembrance in Normandy to mark the 70th anniversary of the Allied landings in Nazi-occupied France during World War II.


Top U.K. Islamist Worked at a Peep Show

On trial for terrorism-related charges in the U.S., Abu Hamza revealed he worked in the red-light district and married an undivorced woman in the ‘70s before turning to extremism.


The British Are Here

ABC and NBC News have British chiefs, the CEO of the New York Times used to run the BBC—how and why have the British risen to such exalted positions within American media?


Do Michelin Stars Still Matter?

In 2003, Bernard Loiseau took his own life after succumbing to the pressures of maintaining his three-star rating. Now with the advent of user-generated reviews, are the stars still relevant?


U.S. senator eyes bill to halt corporate tax 'inversion'

U.S. Democratic Senator Carl Levin on Thursday said he plans to introduce legislation soon to prevent corporate inversions, an increasingly popular restructuring that involves U.S. companies moving overseas to avoid U.S. taxes. Levin, a long-time advocate for closing corporate tax loopholes, said he is talking with other senators about potential legislation.


Susan Rice reassures Israel on Iran nuclear ambitions

US National Security Adviser Susan Rice assured Israel at high-level bilateral talks on Thursday that Washington remained determined to stop Iran developing nuclear arms, the White House said. \"The US delegation reaffirmed our commitment to prevent Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon,\" said a White House statement released after talks in Jerusalem between Rice, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and senior officials from both sides. \"The delegations held thorough consultations on all aspects of the challenge posed by Iran, and pledged to continue the unprecedented coordination between the United States and Israel,\" it added.\"


Free market America? Yes, but with limits

The United States portrays itself as a bastion of the unfettered free market, but when foreign firms launch takeover bids for American businesses things are not always so laissez faire. The United States is the world's top destination for foreign investment. Business leaders here scoff at protectionism, such as the French government's opposition to US engineering giant General Electric's bid for the energy business of French rival Alstom. \"There's a sense here that the highest bidder should prevail,\" said Mitchell Marks, a mergers and acquisitions specialist at the University of San Francisco.


US Treasury secretary to visit China

US Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew will travel to China on May 11-13 for talks on the economic outlook for the world and the two superpowers, the Treasury announced Thursday. Lew and Chinese counterparts will also discuss China's reform agenda, the coming annual US-China Strategic and Economic Dialogue, and \"efforts to level the playing field for US workers and firms.\" The Treasury said Lew's meetings with senior Chinese government officials will be on Tuesday. Last month the Treasury warned Beijing over the recent fall in the yuan currency, which the United States has maintained is undervalued and contributes to China's huge trade surplus with the US.


US, Canada 'appalled' at Sudan aerial bombing near hospital

The United States and Canada said Thursday they were \"appalled\" by aerial bombing which Sudan reportedly carried out near a hospital in war-torn South Kordofan. \"We strongly condemn any targeting of civilians, and are appalled by this attack on those providing essential medical care or humanitarian assistance to people in need,\" embassies of the two North American nations said in a joint statement. \"International humanitarian law obligates all parties to a conflict to distinguish civilians from combatants.\" The statement said a number of bombs were reportedly dropped by Sudan's air force near the Mother of Mercy Catholic Hospital in the Nuba Mountains of South Kordofan state on May 1-2.


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