Political News from Yahoo

Jeb Bush immigration remark could be 2016 problem

MIAMI (AP) — With a single phrase of compassion for immigrants in the U.S. illegally, Jeb Bush has prompted questions about his viability as a potential presidential contender and underscored how divisive the immigration issue remains for the Republican Party.


US threatening tougher sanctions on Russia

WASHINGTON (AP) — Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew is warning Russia that it could face tougher economic sanctions because of its actions in Ukraine but so far other economic powers are showing a reluctance to go as far as the United States.


Report: No missed opportunities in Boston attack

WASHINGTON (AP) — A review of how the government's intelligence agencies handled information they had before the Boston Marathon bombings last year concluded that it was impossible to know whether anything could have been done differently to prevent the attack.


Obama to focus civil rights message on voting

WASHINGTON (AP) — A day after hailing the Civil Rights Act as a lasting legacy of Lyndon B. Johnson's presidency, President Barack Obama is using another civil rights forum to issue an election-year warning against erosion of the Voting Rights Act, the landmark 1965 law that helped pave Obama's path in politics.


Extra-terrestrial Tweet-up links Tokyo with space

An unusual "Tweet-up" -- a meeting of people who know each other on Twitter -- involving an ambassador, an astronaut and a prime minister has taken place on a video-link between Japan and the International Space Station. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and US ambassador to Japan Caroline Kennedy chatted with the Japanese commander of the ISS, Koichi Wakata, as he circled the Earth hundreds of miles up. "Congratulations Commander Wakata on being the first Japanese commander of the space station and I am glad that we follow each other on Twitter," Kennedy said. "Ambassador Kennedy, it's quite an honour that you follow my tweets," Wakata replied.


Health secretary resigns after Obamacare launch woes

By Roberta Rampton WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius is resigning after overseeing the botched rollout of President Barack Obama's signature healthcare law, a White House official said on Thursday. Her departure removes one lightning rod for critics as Obama and nervous Democrats try to retain control of the U.S. Senate in November midterm elections, but Republicans continue to see problems with the Affordable Care Act as a winning issue. I think it's just going to embolden Republicans," said David Yepsen, director of the Paul Simon Public Policy Institute at Southern Illinois University. The October 1 launch of new Obamacare health insurance marketplaces, which was plagued by computer problems that stymied access for millions of people, has been condemned by Republicans as a step toward socialized medicine.


US threatens new sanctions on Russia as Ukraine deadline looms

Donetsk (Ukraine) (AFP) - US President Barack Obama threatened fresh sanctions against Moscow if it escalates the crisis over Ukraine, as pro-Russia separatists faced a Friday deadline from Kiev to lay down their arms. The president stressed that the United States, the European Union and other global partners must "be prepared to meet further Russian escalation with additional sanctions," the White House said in a statement, after Obama and German Chancellor Angela Merkel spoke by phone on Thursday. The United States also delivered the warning to Russia at World Bank/IMF meetings in Washington, amid worries that a spiralling Ukraine crisis could hurt the world economy. Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew told his Russian counterpart Finance Minister Anton Siluanov that in addition to the sanctions that followed Russia's annexation of Crimea last month, "the United States is prepared to impose additional significant sanctions on Russia if it continues to escalate the situation in Ukraine," the Treasury said.


U.S. agency recommends shorter prison sentences for drug offenders

By Julia Edwards WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Up to 70 percent of all federal drug offenses could carry shorter prison sentences if the recommendation passed on Thursday by an agency that advises U.S. federal judges on sentencing is not opposed by Congress. The U.S. Sentencing Commission's recommendation reflects a policy supported by the Obama administration to bring punishments for low-level drug offenders in line with the severity of their crime. Republican Senator Chuck Grassley, ranking member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, has said he opposes lowering sentences. The amendment would not reduce penalties for drug traffickers with the greatest drug quantities, and sentencing guidelines already take into account whether the drug offense was combined with violence or possession of a firearm.

CIA's 'harsh interrogations' exceeded legal authority: report

A classified U.S. Senate report found that the CIA's legal justification for the use of harsh interrogation techniques that critics say amount to torture was based on faulty legal reasoning, McClatchy news service reported on Thursday. The report also concluded that the CIA used interrogation methods that were not approved by its own headquarters or the U.S. Justice Department, impeded White House oversight and actively evaded oversight both by Congress and its own Inspector General. The CIA also provided false information to the U.S. Justice Department, which used that information to conclude that the methods would not break the law because those applying them did not specifically intend to inflict severe pain or suffering, the report added. "The report's findings appear to show that the CIA systematically misled Congress, the White House, and the Department of Justice about its brutal and unlawful interrogation program," said Raha Wala, senior counsel at Human Rights First in Washington.


Connecticut Republicans loudly applaud Jeb Bush

STAMFORD, Conn. (AP) — Republicans, to be seen as a young and dynamic political party, must present a positive agenda that restores opportunity for social mobility and reforms the nation's immigration policies, former Florida governor and possible 2016 presidential candidate Jeb Bush said Thursday.

Sebelius resigns after health care rollout fiasco

WASHINGTON (AP) — Embattled Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius is resigning as the White House seeks to move past the election-year political damage inflicted by the rocky rollout of President Barack Obama's signature health care law.


Jeb Bush remarks expose GOP's immigration problem

MIAMI (AP) — With three little words, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush set off a fury this week that served as a potent reminder of how difficult the immigration issue remains for his possible presidential ambitions and the Republican Party.


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