Barack Obama may finally lay to rest unflattering comparisons with Lyndon Johnson on Thursday, 50 years after his towering predecessor forced the Civil Rights Act, which outlawed racial discrimination, into law. America's first black president will make a keynote address at the Johnson library in Texas at a civil rights summit also drawing former leaders Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton and George W. Bush. The quickest way to exasperate an Obama aide is to compare their boss's often criticized political skills to those of LBJ, president between 1963 and 1969.
By Patrick Temple-West WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A U.S. House of Representatives committee has asked the Justice Department to consider criminal prosecution for a former U.S. Internal Revenue Service official who played a key role in last year's Tea Party scandal at the IRS. By a vote of 23-14 along party lines, the Republican-led Ways and Means Committee referred Lois Lerner to the Justice Department for criminal prosecution. The request was submitted in a letter to Attorney General Eric Holder. The letter to Holder, who heads the Justice Department, said that based on its findings, the committee believed Lerner may have violated criminal statutes.
A Republican congressman from Kansas introduced legislation on Wednesday that would nullify efforts in multiple states to require labeling of genetically modified foods The bill, dubbed the "Safe and Accurate Food Labeling Act" was drafted by U.S. Rep. Mike Pompeo from Kansas, and is aimed at overriding bills in roughly two dozen states that would require foods made with genetically engineered crops to be labeled as such. The bill specifically prohibits any mandatory labeling of foods developed using bioengineering. What this bill attempts to do is set a standard." Consumer groups have been arguing for labeling because of questions they have both about the safety for human health and the environmental impacts of genetically modified foods, also called GMOs. Ballot measures in California in 2012 and last year in Washington state narrowly lost after GMO crop developers, including Monsanto Co., and members of the Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA) poured millions into campaigns to defeat the measures.
Washington (United States) (AFP) - The United States said Tuesday it was going into an upcoming meeting with Russia, Europe and Ukraine on the crisis in the former Soviet republic with low expectations. "I have to say that we don't have high expectations for these talks but we do believe it is very important to keep that diplomatic door open and will see what they bring," said Victoria Nuland, assistant secretary of state for European affairs. US and EU diplomats have agreed with Russia to hold four-way negotiations involving Ukraine next week to de-escalate the worst European security crisis in decades. US Secretary of State John Kerry on Tuesday accused Moscow of sending agents into eastern Ukraine to stoke a secession crisis in ethnic Russian areas of the country.
Iran described as "unacceptable" Wednesday a decision by the United States to deny a visa to Tehran's newly appointed UN ambassador over his alleged links to the 1979 US hostage crisis. The clash over the nomination threatens to complicate a key moment in the easing of relations between Washington and Tehran as both sides strive to conclude a deal on the Islamic republic's nuclear programme. On Tuesday, a day after the US Senate passed a resolution that would deny a visa to Hamid Aboutalebi, White House spokesman Jay Carney said his selection was "not viable." Iran had already defended Aboutalebi's appointment, brushing aside US concerns, and did so again on Wednesday.
Officially, Mike Huckabee, winner of the 2008 Iowa Caucuses, was back in the Hawkeye State on Tuesday to headline a dinner sponsored by an influential social conservative group. Unofficially, the former Republican presidential candidate-turned-Fox News host was there to hold a series of private meetings...
Shinzo Abe's success in signing a free-trade deal with Australia proves Japan's prime minister can bend the once-powerful farm sector to his will, experts say, offering leverage against US claims of intransigence in a wider pan-Pacific deal. Tokyo looks set to make the most of its triumph, which came just weeks before US President Barack Obama arrives in Japan on a state visit that had at one point been expected to crown the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). The Japan-Australia deal was signed Monday after Abe's summit with Prime Minister Tony Abbott, and followed seven years of sometimes torturous negotiations.