Political News from Yahoo

Do not hurt Russian people with sanctions: Jimmy Carter

Former US president Jimmy Carter said Tuesday the West should not impose sanctions that would hurt the Russian people over their leaders' actions in Ukraine. "So far, we have limited the sanctions to the leadership of Russia, and I think that is the proper approach," the Nobel peace laureate told AFP on the sidelines of a discussion in Paris on climate change. US Vice President Joe Biden earlier warned Russia of "more costs" and "greater isolation" if it continued to "pull Ukraine apart". Carter, who is credited with brokering the 1978 Cape David peace accords between Egypt and Israel and establishing US diplomatic relations with China, said Russia's takeover of Crimea had been "inevitable".


GOP: Ukraine Is Obama’s New Syria

Bob Corker, the top Republican on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, sees disturbing parallels between the Obama administration's current policy in Ukraine and what he sees as its failures in Syria.


Passover Hell Week

The events in Ukraine and Kansas City that occurred around Passover week offer tragic reminders of the heritage of Jewish oppression.


U.S. official responsible for reforming Medicare is leaving post

By David Morgan WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The Obama administration on Tuesday announced the departure of the top health official responsible for reforming Medicare under President Barack Obama's healthcare reform law. Jonathan Blum, Medicare director and principal deputy administrator of the U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), has presided over a range of reform initiatives during a five-year tenure including efforts to move the $635 billion healthcare program for the elderly and disabled away from costly fee-for-service medicine. During Blum's tenure, Medicare has seen annual per capital cost growth slow to historic lows, though analysts are divided over how much credit can be attributed to reforms ushered in by the law known as Obamacare. His resignation, announced in an internal memo from CMS Administrator Marilyn Tavenner, follows months of controversy over two separate proposals to scale back Medicare Advantage payments to private health insurers for 2015 and to reform the program's popular Part D prescription drug benefits.

US 'closely monitoring' N.Korea for feared nuclear test

The United States said Tuesday it was watching North Korea "very closely" following South Korean warnings that Pyongyang may be preparing a fourth nuclear test ahead of a visit to Seoul by President Barack Obama. "North Korea has a history of taking provocative action and we are always mindful of the possibility that such an action could be taken," White House spokesman Jay Carney told reporters aboard Air Force One as Obama departed for his week-long trip to Asia. Carney said any action by North Korea would "most likely be in violation of numerous commitments that the DPRK (North Korea) is bound by but of course, that is something that they unfortunately have done many times." He declined to comment on the validity of a South Korean defense ministry briefing which cited increased activity at North Korea's main nuclear test site.


Uber’s “Safety” Fee

Popular ridesharing app Uber announced a $1 “safe rides fee” after a wave of complaints. They say the fee will go towards driver background checks, new safety features, and more.


The Internet’s ‘fhqwhgads’ Cartoon

Before Twitter and Buzzfeed, there was Homestar Runner. As the aging homepage wallpaper peeled away revealing the html beneath, the gang finally returned to the Internet.


UN envoy raises possibility of Somali withdrawal

WASHINGTON (AP) — The top United Nations envoy in Somalia is warning that foreign diplomats may have to withdraw from the war-ravaged nation if they continue to be attacked.

High court hears streaming TV case

WASHINGTON (AP) — Supreme Court justices debated Tuesday whether they can side with broadcasters in a copyright challenge to an Internet startup company without threatening the burgeoning world of cloud computing.


US troops head to exercises in Eastern Europe

WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. Army troops are arriving in Poland to begin what will be a series of military exercises in four countries across Eastern Europe in a move to bolster allies in the wake of Russia's annexation of Ukraine's Crimean Peninsula last month.

US reviewing plans for fewer troops in Afghanistan

WASHINGTON (AP) — The White House is reviewing a new series of options that would leave fewer than 10,000 U.S. troops in Afghanistan next year, a U.S. official said Tuesday.

IRS's summons power faces test in Supreme Court

By Patrick Temple-West WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The Internal Revenue Service will go before the U.S. Supreme Court on Wednesday to defend the way it enforces its power to issue legal summonses to obtain sensitive documents from taxpayers who refuse to cooperate with audits. The IRS is squaring off against Michael Clarke, a West Palm Beach, Florida, investor who is arguing that the U.S. tax agency in 2011 improperly issued a summons "as retribution" against him and his business partners for resisting an audit. Clarke maintains, according to court filings, that the IRS should have to explain its summons intentions at an evidentiary hearing before a court order is approved by a judge. Taxpayers cannot "engage in a fishing expedition about the motives of IRS agents," the government said in court documents, adding that a win for Clarke would bog down tax enforcement with another layer of litigation.


Kerry: 'It was easier' in Cold War

Secretary of State John Kerry attested Tuesday to the massively complex challenges Washington faces in Ukraine, Russia, Iran and the Middle East, declaring "it was easier" during the Cold War. In a candid moment during a State Department speech, the top US diplomat said changing global power dynamics made a quaint memory of the early East-West stalemate, when American children would "crouch under our desks at school and practice" safety steps for a possible nuclear attack.


Supreme Court hears challenge to ban on 'false' campaign speech

By Joan Biskupic WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. Supreme Court justices across the ideological spectrum voiced doubts on Tuesday about a state law that prohibits false statements during a political campaign. The Ohio law allows candidates and other citizens to file a complaint for allegedly false slogans, prompting a state election commission hearing and public scrutiny of advocacy groups' or individuals' claims in the middle of a campaign. Justice Anthony Kennedy, a Republican appointee, speculated that calling in a group's leaders "to justify what (they're) going to say" could impinge on free speech rights under the U.S. Constitution's First Amendment. Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, a Democratic appointee, observed that simply being forced to defend an advertisement could be costly and diminish speech at a crucial point in a campaign.


Supreme Court upholds Michigan ban on college affirmative action

By Lawrence Hurley WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday dealt a blow to the use of racial preferences in higher education by upholding a Michigan law that bans the practice in state university admissions. The court made it clear it was not deciding the larger and divisive question of whether affirmative action admission policies can be lawful. The majority opinion rejected the argument made by civil right groups that the 2006 Michigan constitutional amendment that passed as a ballot initiative to ban the practice had imposed burdens on racial minorities in violation of the U.S. Constitution's guarantee of equal protection. Affirmative action programs, first advocated in the 1960s to combat discrimination against racial minorities, have faced a backlash from conservatives in recent decades.


Detroit bankruptcy judge taps consultants for city's plan

(Reuters) - The federal judge overseeing Detroit's historic bankruptcy case tapped a top restructuring official at Phoenix Management Services on Tuesday to help the court determine if the city's plan to adjust its $18 billion of debt is feasible. U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Steven Rhodes also named Richard Ravitch as a consultant to the court on municipal finance matters. Ravitch, who advised New York City during its fiscal crisis in the 1970s and who had served as a New York State lieutenant governor, agreed to consult for free and will not be required to testify in the case, according to the judge's order. Martha Kopacz, a senior managing director at Phoenix Management Services in Boston, beat out four other applicants, including Ravitch, for the position of expert witness.


Young Money Talks an Old-School Game in Washington

The heir to a billion-dollar hotel fortune, Patrick Gage, is an avowed warrior in the global fight against human trafficking. But ask him out for a beer to talk about it and he would, by the letter of the law, be compelled to turn down...


US weighs curbing deportations

WASHINGTON (AP) — Tens of thousands of immigrants who are in the U.S. illegally but don't have serious criminal records could be shielded from deportation under a policy change being weighed by Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson.


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