Britain urged the U.S. Congress on Monday to stop delaying approval of reforms to the International Monetary Fund that would give more power at the institution to emerging economies. Finance minister George Osborne, in a speech in Rio de Janeiro, said it was time for the world's new heavyweight nations such as Brazil to have a bigger say at the IMF. "Let's implement the reforms we have agreed to in our international institutions like the IMF, so that countries like Brazil have the enhanced status and say that your economic strength earns you the right to," Osborne said. "The failure of the U.S. Congress to ratify the agreed IMF reforms is bad for the institution and bad for the international community," he said.
The US Navy believes it has finally worked out the solution to a problem that has intrigued scientists for decades: how to take seawater and use it as fuel. The development of a liquid hydrocarbon fuel is being hailed as "a game-changer" because it would signficantly shorten the supply chain, a weak link that makes any force easier to attack. The US has a fleet of 15 military oil tankers, and only aircraft carriers and some submarines are equipped with nuclear propulsion. Vice Admiral Philip Cullom declared: "It's a huge milestone for us."
By Lawrence Hurley WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday declined to consider whether a New Mexico photography company had free speech grounds to refuse to shoot the commitment ceremony of a same-sex couple. The court's refusal to intervene means an August 2013 New Mexico Supreme Court decision against the company remains intact. Albuquerque-based Elane Photography had said its free speech rights under the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution should be a valid defense to the state's finding that it violated the New Mexico Human Rights Act. The company's owners, Elaine and Jonathan Huguenin, are Christians who oppose gay marriage.
By Lawrence Hurley WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Ducking a new case on the divisive issue of campaign finance, the U.S. Supreme Court on Monday rejected a challenge to an Iowa law that bans corporate contributions in state elections. By opting not to hear the case, the court left intact an 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruling from June 2013 that upheld the ban. By so doing, the court indicated it was unwilling for now to press ahead with further deregulation of campaign finance following the 5-4 ruling on Wednesday in the case of McCutcheon v. Federal Election Commission. The group sued after Iowa revised its laws in light of the 2010 Supreme Court ruling Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, in which the court said corporations and unions could make unlimited independent expenditures that are not coordinated with a campaign.
By Lawrence Hurley WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday turned down a long-shot request for a ruling on whether the U.S. government's gathering of Americans' phone records is unlawful. The justices' refusal to intervene means the case will go forward in the appeals court, as scheduled. Plaintiffs Larry Klayman and Charles Strange had said the issue was so important the high court should not wait for a Washington federal appeals court to rule in the case concerning the National Security Agency. The high court rarely hears an appeal before an appeals court has ruled.
Beijing warned the United States on Monday against interfering in Hong Kong's affairs after US Vice President Joe Biden met with two of the city's outspoken pro-democracy campaigners last week. In an unusually high sign of support, Biden attended talks at the White House on Friday with Martin Lee, a founder of Hong Kong's opposition Democratic Party, and Anson Chan, former number two in the city's government. Biden "underscored our long-standing support for democracy in Hong Kong", the White House said in a statement.
By Phil Stewart TOKYO (Reuters) - U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel will visit China's sole aircraft carrier when he arrives in the country on Monday, a U.S. official said, in an unprecedented opening by Beijing to a potent symbol of its military buildup. The official believed Hagel would be the first official visitor from outside China to be allowed on board the Liaoning, although that could not be immediately confirmed. China's Defence Ministry did not immediately respond to a request for comment although Chinese state television noted Hagel would visit the ship. Chinese security experts said Beijing could be trying to quell U.S. criticism that it was not transparent about its military modernization.