Political News from Yahoo

Japan, U.S. tiptoe into new phase of Pacific trade talks

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.

You, Robot

With films about the symbiosis of man and machine like ‘Transcendence’ and ‘Her,’ Hollywood’s had an epiphany: to be human is to be transhuman.

The Week’s Best Longreads

From the rise of the sharing economy to the Microsoft-AOL chat wars, the Daily Beast picks the best journalism from around the web this week.

Is NY Going Bankrupt Again?

He might be 80, but former lieutenant governor Richard Ravitch, out with a new memoir, has the same gleam in his eye—and he’s still warning of crises. Andrew Cuomo, call your office.

The Cult of Royal Porn

A documentary about Britain’s royal family is a romp of pretty pictures and gossip. But it doesn’t want to ask deeper questions about power and privilege.

Obama highlights military, economic ties in Asia

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — President Barack Obama was touting economic and military ties to South Korea Saturday, as he sought to showcase U.S. influence in the region amid China's growing power and nuclear threats from North Korea.

Top Taliban Commander Out

He was supposed to be number two to Mullah Omar, and he still commands loyal troops in embattled Helmand province, but Mullah Abdul Qayam Zakir has resigned – or been sacked.

State leaving online health exchange for US site

DURHAM, Ore. (AP) — After months of trying to get its problem-plagued online health exchange to work, Oregon on Friday officially gave up on the state portal and decided to switch to the federal website — the first state in the nation to do so.

Possible GOP presidential candidates court NRA

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.

Rand Paul seeks new allies among Romney 2012 team

BOSTON (AP) — Fighting to move beyond his father's shadow, Sen. Rand Paul is crafting new alliances with the Republican Party establishment during a Northeast tour that began Friday in Boston.

Hagel eyes value, danger of military goodwill

LOS LIMONES, Guatemala (AP) — U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel got a firsthand look Friday at the U.S. military's goodwill-building humanitarian work — its dangers as well as its benefits.

SEC probing New Jersey Governor Christie's transport funding: report

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. ...

Egypt diplomat seeks new path for US relations

WASHINGTON (AP) — Egypt is seeking to chart a new direction with the United States, the Arab nation's top diplomat said Friday, following several years of upheaval and uncertainty that has forced delays in American aid to Cairo and spurred tensions between the two governments.

Russian aircraft violated Ukraine's airspace: US

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."

Two key IRS executives in Obamacare rollout to retire: memo

(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. ...

Oregon's broken healthcare exchange to shift to federal network

By Shelby Sebens PORTLAND, Oregon (Reuters) - Oregon, whose health insurance network has been dogged by technical glitches that have prevented even a single subscriber from enrolling online, will move its state health exchange to the federal system, officials said on Friday. A state that fully embraced the Affordable Care Act, Oregon endured one of the rockiest rollouts of President Barack Obama's healthcare law, requiring tens of thousands of applicants to use paper forms since launching on October 1. Managers of the state exchange, Cover Oregon, determined it would cost about $78 million to fix the beleaguered exchange, well above the projected cost of switching over to the federal system. On Friday, the Cover Oregon Board of Directors voted unanimously to accept a recommendation by a technology advisory group to shift the private insurance side of the program to the federal exchange.

New York Republican congressman Grimm to be indicted, lawyer says

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.

New Orleans Dishes Out the Musical Gumbo

As New Orleans kicks off its 44th Jazz and Heritage Festival this weekend, gospel, Bounce, the Blues, and the Boss reaffirm the city’s reputation as a hospitable cradle for all things musical.

US warship leaves Black Sea as Ukraine crisis heats up

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.

Guantanamo review board: Yemeni should be repatriated

Washington (AFP) - A review board Friday recommended US officials repatriate a Yemeni man detained at Guantanamo for 12 years, saying the suspected Osama bin Laden bodyguard no longer poses a threat to US security.