By Krista Hughes WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The United States and Japan are edging into a new phase of trade negotiations after U.S. President Barack Obama and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's summit, people with knowledge of talks to create one of the world's biggest trade pacts said. Talks on the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a 12-nation bloc which would span 40 percent of the world economy and extend from Asia to Latin America, have been deadlocked as the United States and Japan stared off over farm and auto exports. Briefing reporters on the president's plane from Japan, a senior U.S. official said negotiators set the parameters for agreement on Japan's sensitive sugar, beef, pork, rice, dairy and wheat sectors, involving which trade barriers to eliminate, which to reduce, and over which time period. "There are these parameters, and there are trade-offs among parameters.
INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Several potential Republican presidential candidates courted gun-rights supporters Friday at the National Rifle Association's annual convention, talking up their pro-gun credentials while imploring the crowd to fight not just for their Second Amendment rights but for other freedoms they say are being threatened.
NEW YORK (Reuters) - Federal securities regulators are probing whether New Jersey Governor Chris Christie's administration improperly diverted funds from the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey for use on transport projects in New Jersey, the publication Main Justice reported on Friday. The Securities and Exchange Commission is looking into New Jersey's use of up to $1.8 billion in tax-exempt bond financing from the Port Authority to fix a bridge and roadways feeding into the New Jersey side of the Holland Tunnel, Main Justice reported, citing unnamed sources. ...
Washington (United States) (AFP) - Russian warplanes violated Ukraine's airspace several times in the past 24 hours, a Pentagon spokesman said Friday, in the latest sign of a mounting confrontation between Moscow and Kiev. "I can confirm that on several occasions in the last 24 hours, Russian aircraft have entered Ukrainian airspace," said Colonel Steven Warren. He did not provide more details, including where the incidents occurred or what kind of Russian planes were involved. Warren urged Russia to take "immediate steps to de-escalate the situation."
(Reuters) - Two senior Internal Revenue Service executives who were instrumental in the rollout of President Barack Obama's new healthcare law are retiring, according to an internal IRS memorandum obtained by Reuters on Friday. Sarah Hall Ingram will step down at the end of April and James Taylor by the end of May, said the memo sent to IRS staff on behalf of IRS Commissioner John Koskinen. Taylor has been senior director of Affordable Care Act operations and Ingram, director of services and enforcement in the Affordable Care Act (ACA) office. ...
Federal prosecutors intend to bring criminal charges against Michael Grimm, a Republican U.S. congressman from New York who has been under investigation for campaign finance violations, his lawyer said on Friday. Attorney William McGinley condemned the expected charges as a "politically driven vendetta" against the congressman, who generated headlines in January when he threatened to throw a television reporter off a balcony after an interview in the U.S. Capitol building. Grimm's confrontation with the reporter, which was caught on camera, took place on the evening of President Barack Obama's State of the Union address to Congress. "I will break you in half," Grimm told the reporter with cable channel NY1 News, who had asked the Republican about the federal investigation into possible campaign finance violations.
The US guided missile destroyer USS Donald Cook has left the Black Sea, two weeks after it was deployed there to reassure Eastern European allies worried by the Ukraine crisis, the Navy said Friday. The presence of the warship, which departed on Thursday, was an "example of the US Navy's commitment to enhancing interoperability at sea, serving as a cornerstone of NATO's military strength, while demonstrating the US and allied forces' capability to provide the right presence, in the right place, at the right time." Word of the Donald Cook's departure came as Kiev accused Moscow of seeking to trigger a "third world war." During its stint in the Black Sea, the destroyer carried out exercises with the Romanian navy, as well as with the American frigate USS Taylor.