Political News from Yahoo

Senator calls secret Cuba Twitter plan cockamamie

WASHINGTON (AP) — A Twitter-like Cuban social media network that the U.S. government built to stir unrest was a "cockamamie" idea doomed to discovery and failure, the chairman of a Senate panel that oversees the U.S. Agency for International Development declared Tuesday. He said the agency didn't adequately describe to Congress the program it was secretly operating.

Iran nuclear 'breakout' time at two months: Kerry

Iran is two months away from breakout capability to produce enough nuclear material for a bomb should they resume their mothballed enrichment process, Secretary of State John Kerry warned Tuesday. Tehran is in the thick of international negotiations over its nuclear program, with a fresh round of talks beginning on Tuesday in Vienna aimed at starting a draft of an historic final deal. Under a temporary deal which took effect January 20, Iran froze certain nuclear activities for six months in exchange for minor relief from sanctions hurting its economy. A full-bore resumption of enrichment -- a gross violation of the temporary accord -- could see Tehran move swiftly toward nuclear breakout.

Obama to visit mudslide-site Oso on April 22

President Barack Obama will visit the Washington state town struck by a deadly mudslide to meet families affected by the disaster and view the devastation, the White House said on Tuesday. Obama will stop in Oso, Washington, on April 22, before starting out on a week-long trip to Asia. Obama will "view the devastation from the recent mudslide and meet with the families affected by this disaster, as well as first responders and recovery workers," the White House said.

U.S. plans balanced cuts to nuclear launchers under treaty with Russia: officials

By David Alexander WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The United States will scale back its land, sea and air nuclear missile launchers under the New START treaty with Russia, but it will not retire a ballistic missile squadron as some lawmakers had expected, U.S. officials told Reuters. The U.S. military will disable four missile launch tubes on each of its 14 nuclear submarines, convert 30 B-52 nuclear bombers to conventional use and empty 50 intercontinental ballistic missile silos, senior administration officials said on condition of anonymity. The New START treaty, which was agreed in 2010 and went into force on February 5, 2011, called for the United States and Russia to cut their deployed nuclear weapons to 1,550 apiece by 2018, down from the previous ceiling of 2,200.

Russians sent to foment 'chaos' in east Ukraine: Kerry

US Secretary of State John Kerry warned Tuesday that Russia was sending agents into eastern Ukraine to "create chaos" the Kremlin could use as a pretext for more military intervention. With tensions again on the boil in Ukraine, Kerry said he would meet next week with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov as Washington seeks to tamp down the most serious East-West crisis since the Cold War. But Kerry bluntly accused Russia of mounting an "illegal, illegitimate effort to destabilize a sovereign state."

North Carolina lawmaker tapped to replace mayor charged with bribery

By Colleen Jenkins WINSTON-SALEM, North Carolina (Reuters) - A North Carolina legislator has been appointed to serve as mayor of the state's largest city of Charlotte two weeks after the previous mayor resigned following his arrest on corruption charges that included accepting bribes. State Senator Dan Clodfelter will be sworn in on Wednesday. Charlotte hosted the 2012 Democratic Party National Convention. The city council chose Clodfelter, 63, on Monday night to complete the two-year term of former mayor Patrick Cannon, charged by U.S. prosecutors in March of taking more than $48,000 in bribes from undercover FBI agents posing as commercial real estate developers and investors wanting to do business in the city.