Political News from Yahoo

Bill ending NSA bulk data collection moving quickly in U.S. House

By Patricia Zengerle and Mark Hosenball WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A bill to end the government's bulk collection of telephone records got a unanimous go-ahead on Thursday from a second U.S. congressional committee, but the measure, according to some sources, could actually enhance U.S. surveillance capabilities. Advancing the first legislative effort at surveillance reform since former contractor Edward Snowden disclosed the program a year ago, the House of Representatives Intelligence Committee unanimously approved by voice vote the \"USA Freedom Act.\" The measure would end the National Security Agency's practice of gathering information on calls made by millions of Americans and storing them for at least five years. It would instead leave such records in the custody of telephone companies. The bill would allow the NSA to collect a person's phone records if investigators can convince the secretive Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court they have a reasonable suspicion the person was involved in terrorism.

Obama turns to tech leaders for cash for Democrats

By Steve Holland LA JOLLA, California (Reuters) - President Barack Obama warned tech leaders on Thursday to dig deep in their wallets to fund Democratic candidates and feel a sense of urgency about congressional elections in November or risk further gridlock in Washington and a failure to move on their priorities. Obama took his California fund-raising tour to the seaside home in La Jolla of Qualcomm founder Iwin Jacobs. Later he was headed to Silicon Valley for a fundraiser in San Jose co-hosted by Y Combinator President Sam Altman and Yahoo Inc. CEO Marissa Mayer. The tech industry has raised questions about the scale of the National Security Agency's surveillance under the Obama administration, but there's little sign that Obama is losing support in Silicon Valley.

Rush Blasts Obama Over Boko Haram

The news that the State Department under Hillary Clinton declined to list Boko Haram as a terrorist group ricocheted through Washington on Thursday.

Obama sends Vietnam nuclear deal to Congress

The US Congress on Thursday began its review of a nuclear agreement with Vietnam which advocates say would create billions of dollars in trade but has triggered human rights concerns. President Barack Obama sent to Congress the text of the agreement which would allow the United States to transfer reactors and know-how to Vietnam, which has ambitious plans to build a nuclear network from virtually scratch to meet rising energy demand and reignite economic growth. The agreement will come into force after Congress is in session for 90 working days -- likely meaning late 2014 -- unless lawmakers approve a resolution that objects to the deal. Vietnam's relations have warmed markedly with former war foe Washington since they re-established relations in 1995.

Today in Forty-Five Seconds

London edges closer to Orwell's nightmare, a rare megamouth shark is caught off Japan, Snapchat settles with the U.S. feds, and today's other biggest stories.

US House approves major Africa power bid

The US House of Representatives on Thursday approved a plan to bring power to 50 million Africans to boost the continent's development and growth, clearing a key political hurdle. The Electrify Africa Act -- which accompanies a major initiative for Africa unveiled last year by President Barack Obama -- aims to install 20,000 megawatts of electricity by 2020 in the continent where power shortages have impeded education, health and economic growth. Half of the Republican Party, which is the majority, voted against the act with conservatives saying that Africa should not be a priority amid economic concerns at home. Funding for energy projects would come from the private sector, with US-backed finance institutions including the Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC) offering credit guarantees.

US Officials Arrive in Nigeria to Help With Search for Kidnapped Girls

U.S. officials are on the ground in Nigeria to help the government there find the hundreds of girls kidnapped by the terrorist group Boko Haram, Secretary of State John Kerry announced today. “Our inter-agency team is hitting the ground in Nigeria now, and they are...

No Obama-Putin one-on-one at D-Day anniversary

US President Barack Obama has no plans to meet one-on-one with Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin in June when both attend the D-Day anniversary in France, the White House said Thursday. Russia's intervention in the political crisis in Ukraine has triggered the worst chill in relations between Washington and Moscow since the end of the Cold War. Both leaders are expected to attend the June 6 ceremony of remembrance in Normandy to mark the 70th anniversary of the Allied landings in Nazi-occupied France during World War II.