Political News from Yahoo

US looking into possible chemical attack in Syria

WASHINGTON (AP) — The U.S. is looking into whether a toxic chemical was deployed on areas of Syria that are controlled by rebel forces seeking to oust Syrian President Bashar Assad.

Postal Service unveils image for Harvey Milk stamp

WASHINGTON (AP) — The U.S. Postal Service will feature a close-up, black-and-white photograph of Harvey Milk on its commemorative stamp of the California politician and gay rights icon.

Biden in Ukraine to show support as tensions rise

KIEV, Ukraine (AP) — Vice President Joe Biden on Monday launched a high-profile visit to demonstrate the U.S. commitment to Ukraine and push for urgent implementation of an international agreement aimed at de-escalating tensions even as violence continues. The State Department said photographs show that some of the forces in eastern Ukraine are Russian special forces

US: Pictures indicate Russian troops in Ukraine

WASHINGTON (AP) — The State Department has released images of soldiers in eastern Ukraine that it says are Russian forces, showing militants wearing similar uniforms and brandishing Russian weapons.

US sends salvage ship to help with S.Korea ferry disaster

The United States is sending a Navy salvage ship to help South Korea with the recovery of the ferry that capsized last week, the Pentagon said Monday. South Korea has not formally requested the ship, but the USNS Safeguard was being moved from Thailand toward South Korea in case it does, Pentagon spokesman Colonel Steve Warren said. An amphibious assault ship, the USS Bonhomme Richard, is already taking part in rescue operations off the southwestern coast where the Sewol sank on Wednesday with 476 people aboard, including 352 high school students on a holiday trip.

Court orders U.S. to release memo on drones, al-Awlaki killing

By Jonathan Stempel NEW YORK (Reuters) - A federal appeals court ordered the U.S. Department of Justice to turn over key portions of a memorandum justifying the government's targeted killing of people linked to terrorism, including Americans. In a case pitting executive power against the public's right to know what its government does, the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals reversed a lower court ruling preserving the secrecy of the legal rationale for the killings, such as the death of U.S. citizen Anwar al-Awlaki in a 2011 drone strike in Yemen. Ruling for the New York Times, a unanimous three-judge panel said the government waived its right to secrecy by making repeated public statements justifying targeted killings. These included a Justice Department "white paper," as well as speeches or statements by officials like Attorney General Eric Holder and former Obama administration counterterrorism adviser John Brennan, endorsing the practice.

U.S. to expand clemency criteria for drug offenders

By Julia Edwards WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. Justice Department will widen the criteria it uses to decide which drug offenders to recommend to the president for clemency, Attorney General Eric Holder said on Monday. The department expects thousands of drug offenders currently serving time to be eligible for reduced sentences under the new clemency guidelines and it will prepare to review an influx of applications, Holder said in a video address. The Justice Department will now recommend more candidates for the president's consideration. "There are still too many people in federal prison who were sentenced under the old regime - and who, as a result, will have to spend far more time in prison than they would if sentenced today for exactly the same crime," Holder said in his address.

U.S. justices seek narrow path in bondholder fight with Argentina

By Lawrence Hurley WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. Supreme Court justices on Monday indicated that creditors should be able to seek limited information about Argentina's non-U.S. assets in a case stemming from long-running litigation over Argentina's obligations to bond investors. During the one-hour oral argument concerning hedge fund NML Capital Ltd's efforts to seek payment of court judgments it says are worth around $1.7 billion, several justices suggested that military and diplomatic assets should be off-limits, which would narrow the scope of the ruling. A separate and more high-profile case - in which Argentina is challenging a court judgment ordering it to pay $1.33 billion to NML and other so-called holdout bond investors or face a potential default if it refuses to do so - is also pending before the U.S. high court. On Monday, the court heard Argentina's appeal of a lower court ruling that said a hedge fund could subpoena banks for information about the South American country's non-U.S. assets.

Supreme Court to review Jerusalem birthplace law

By Lawrence Hurley WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday agreed to weigh the constitutionality of a U.S. law that was designed to allow American citizens born in Jerusalem - the historic holy city claimed by Israelis and Palestinians - to have Israel listed as their birthplace on passports. The case concerns a long-standing U.S. foreign policy that the president - and not Congress - has sole authority to state who controls Jerusalem. Seeking to remain neutral on the hotly contested issue, the U.S. State Department allows passports to name Jerusalem as a place of birth, but no country name is included. The State Department, which issues passports and reports to the president, has declined to enforce the law passed by Congress in 2002, saying it violated the separation of executive and legislative powers laid out in the U.S. Constitution.

Another big week on tap for the Supreme Court

The Supreme Court will hear two significant cases and announce more decisions this week, as the nation’s highest court swings back into gear. Among the highlights: a TV dispute, truth telling in political campaigns, and a possible big decision from a case heard last October.

Supreme Court declines to revive Arizona immigration law

By Lawrence Hurley WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The Supreme Court on Monday declined to revive a provision in an Arizona law that sought to criminalize the harboring and transportation of illegal immigrants. The court's decision not to hear the state's appeal leaves intact an October 2013 ruling by the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco that found in part that the provision was trumped by federal immigration law. The harboring provision, part of Arizona's controversial 2010 immigration law, made it a criminal offense to encourage illegal immigrants to enter the state or to harbor or transport them within Arizona. In a 2012 case, the Supreme Court partially upheld other provisions of the 2010 law.

APNewsBreak: Africa land grabs endanger elephants

WASHINGTON (AP) — Political and military elites are seizing protected areas in one of Africa's last bastions for elephants, putting broad swaths of Zimbabwe at risk of becoming fronts for ivory poaching, according to a nonprofit research group's report that examines government collusion in wildlife trafficking.

Your Rent Is Too Damn High

The average nationwide percentage of income spent on rent is now the highest it’s been in 30 years. Unaffordable rents aren’t just a New York problem anymore.

Why the GOP Needs Another Bush

Does anyone really believe Ted Cruz, Rand Paul, or Chris Christie can contend against Hillary Clinton? At least Jeb, the establishment’s establishmentarian, would put up a fight.

Rape Threats Over a Comic Book

After criticizing the new ‘Teen Titans’ cover, journalist Janelle Asselin was name-called and threatened with rape. The worst part? No one is surprised.

Abused by Military Justice

Over a year ago, a civilian woman accused her Marine ex-husband of beating and raping her. She’s still waiting for the incidents to be fully investigated.

Why You Can’t Debate Creationists

Advocates of the pseudo-scientific, secularized version of creationism love debates, because they give the appearance of two equal sides. Here’s what it’s like to participate in one.

SC GOP Snubs Desegregation Judge

Julius Waties Waring, a challenger of ‘separate but equal,’ finally got a statue, but Lindsey Graham, Tim Scott, and Mark Sanford had better things to do than attend the dedication.