Political News from Yahoo

U.S. judge upholds NSA phone surveillance program

A U.S. judge ruled the National Security Agency's program that collects records of millions of Americans' phone calls is lawful, rejecting a challenge by the American Civil Liberties Union to the controversial counter-terrorism program. Friday's decision by U.S. District Judge William Pauley in Manhattan diverges from a December 16 ruling by U.S. District Judge Richard Leon in Washington, D.C., who said the "almost Orwellian" program was likely unconstitutional. The program's existence had first been disclosed by Edward Snowden, the former NSA contractor whose leaks have detailed the breadth of U.S. electronic surveillance and sparked a debate over how much leeway to give the government in protecting Americans from terrorism.

Military sex assault reports jump by 50 percent

WASHINGTON (AP) — The number of reported sexual assaults across the military shot up by more than 50 percent this year, an increase that defense officials say may suggest that victims are becoming more willing to come forward after a tumultuous year of scandals that shined a spotlight on the crimes and put pressure on the military to take aggressive action.

Post-Xmas WorkOut Plan

A new study provides a strong argument for doing whatever you can to exercise this week. Then, eat all the Christmas ham you want.

For divided Congress, water projects are a unifier

WASHINGTON (AP) — Big multimillion-dollar water projects, once a favorite target of good-government reformers who made them a poster child of political pork, are back in vogue as a rare force of concord in a dysfunctional Congress.

Official business behind him, Obama looks to 2014

HONOLULU (AP) — The last vestiges of 2013's political wrangling officially behind him, President Barack Obama is setting his sights on the coming year, when a number of unfinished tasks will increasingly compete for attention with the 2014 midterm elections.

UNOS to oversee hand, face transplants like organs

WASHINGTON (AP) — Sure your liver or kidney could save someone's life. But would you donate your hands, or your face? Signing up to become an organ donor may get more complicated than just checking a box on your driver's license.

Obama signs bipartisan budget deal, annual defense bill

By Ros Krasny HONOLULU (Reuters) - President Barack Obama on Thursday signed a compromise budget that reduces the risk of another government shutdown and a defense bill that cracks down on sexual assault in the military and smooths the path for transferring detainees from the U.S. prison in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. The two-year U.S. budget agreement, negotiated by Congress earlier this month, and the National Defense Authorization Act for fiscal 2104 were among seven pieces of legislation signed by Obama, who is vacationing with his family in Hawaii. The U.S. Senate passed the budget deal on December 18 to ease automatic spending cuts and reduce the risk of a government shutdown. Obama at that time praised the measure - the first budget agreed to by a divided Congress since 2009 - saying it was "a good first step away from the shortsighted, crisis-driven decision-making that has only served to act as a drag on our economy." He did not comment further on Thursday.

Obama signs bipartisan budget deal, defense bill

HONOLULU (AP) — President Barack Obama signed a bipartisan budget deal Thursday easing spending cuts and a defense bill cracking down on sexual assault in the military, marking a modest end to a challenging year for the White House and Congress.

Obama signs bipartisan budget deal easing cuts

HONOLULU (AP) — President Barack Obama has signed a bipartisan budget bill easing automatic spending cuts over two years, marking a modest end to a challenging year for the White House and Congress.

Obama signs defense authorization act for fiscal 2014

HONOLULU (Reuters) - U.S. President Barack Obama on Thursday signed the National Defense Authorization Act for fiscal 2014, authorizing appropriations for Department of Defense programs and related spending at other agencies. The act sets out a Pentagon base budget of $526.8 billion in the 2014 fiscal year. It boosts the Pentagon's ability to help destroy Syria's chemical weapons and also makes it easier for the White House to transfer prisoners from the military prison in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, to countries willing to accept them. ...

South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley Finds $575 Pistol Under Christmas Tree

Gov. Nikki Haley channeled a real-life version of “A Christmas Story” this year when she found a pistol under her family’s Christmas tree. The South Carolina Republican shared her excitement about the gift, a Beretta PX4 Storm, on social media, posting the following message on...