Keystone XL bill passes in Senate, faces Obama veto
The U.S. Senate passed a bill on Thursday to approve the long-pending Keystone XL oil pipeline, despite the White House saying earlier in the day that President Barack Obama would veto the measure. The Republican-led Senate passed the bill that would approve TransCanada Corp's project to carry 800,000 barrels per day of heavy Canadian crude to Nebraska on the way to Gulf Coast refineries and ports. The House has passed its own pipeline bill and will work with the Senate to send the bill to the Obama's desk. After the potential veto, Obama is expected to make his own decision on the pipeline after the State Department finishes a review in coming weeks.
01/29/2015 - 09:29 PM
'Peace between us,' Raul Castro says of U.S. ties
Cuban President Raul Castro gave an endorsement to peace between the United States and his communist country, with the two nations in talks to restore ties after decades of animosity. Asked by a journalist at a summit of Latin American and Caribbean states what he would most like to see after the US economic embargo of Cuba is lifted, Castro barked: "Peace, peace between us, peace between the United States and us. Castro first said he would have to consider the question because the end of the economic embargo may be a long way away. US and Cuban diplomats met last week in Havana in landmark talks aimed at renewing ties that broke off in 1961.
01/30/2015 - 02:05 AM
Texas lawmaker under fire for divisive Facebook post
A newly-elected Texas state lawmaker is under fire for a divisive Facebook post asking Muslim visitors to an event at the state capitol in Austin to pledge allegiance to the United States.
01/29/2015 - 08:11 PM
Elderly residents die in blizzard-hit Massachusetts; death toll at least four
(Reuters) - An elderly man and woman found dead outside their homes in separate coastal Massachusetts communities were likely victims of a massive blizzard that hit New England earlier this week, police said on Thursday. Olive Dupuis, 84, was found dead Thursday morning next to her car, near her home in the coastal city of Salem, north of Boston, police lieutenant Matt Desmond said, adding weather was likely a factor with sub-freezing temperatures and snow. The Massachusetts cases, which are still under investigation, bring the death toll from a wind-whipped blizzard that slammed the northeastern United States earlier this week to at least four. The blizzard disrupted life for millions of residents across Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island and New York, dumping up to 3 feet (90 cm) of snow in places, though it largely bypassed New York City.
01/30/2015 - 05:22 AM
NYC public defenders in video advocate killing police, city finds
By Ellen Wulfhorst NEW YORK (Reuters) - Attorneys at a New York City public defenders' office participated in an online video that advocated the killing of police officers, featuring the lyrics "time to start killing these coppers," a city investigation disclosed on Thursday. The video "Hands Up," which shows singers pointing guns at someone portraying a police officer, was released shortly before the deadly ambush on Dec. 20 of two New York City officers by a gunman angry over police killings of unarmed black men. Two attorneys with the Bronx Defenders, a city-funded legal service organization, appear in the anti-police video, some of which was filmed at the Bronx office, according to the New York City Department of Investigation report. The Bronx Defenders posted a message on its website saying it "abhors the use of violence against the police." "The Bronx Defenders never approved the music video 'Hands Up,' and never saw it before it went online," it said.
01/30/2015 - 01:59 AM
Suspected Ebola patient admitted to California hospital
By Sharon Bernstein SACRAMENTO, Calif. (Reuters) - A patient suspected of contracting Ebola after traveling in West Africa and exhibiting symptoms of the disease was admitted on Thursday to a special isolation hospital unit in Sacramento and was being tested for infection, officials said. The patient was considered at a relatively low risk of infection. Although recently in an area where Ebola transmission is widespread, the person had no known contact with anyone who has had the disease, said Laura McCasland, a spokeswoman for the Sacramento County Public Health Department. McCasland said she did not know precisely where or when the patient had traveled in West Africa, the epicenter of the worst Ebola epidemic on record, or why the individual was there or for how long.
01/30/2015 - 02:23 AM
Senate panel approves Iran sanctions bill
The measure would levy a tougher penalty on Tehran if it fails to curb its nuclear program.
01/29/2015 - 07:39 PM
Lindsey Graham to test 2016 Republican presidential waters
By Steve Holland and Susan Cornwell WASHINGTON (Reuters) - South Carolina Republican Senator Lindsey Graham on Thursday formed a political organization to explore a potential run for his party's presidential nomination, the latest high-profile politician to test the 2016 waters. Graham would attempt to use his South Carolina home base to his advantage for any potential run, since the Southern state is typically the third to hold a nominating contest in presidential election years, after Iowa and New Hampshire. "What I'm looking at is, is there a pathway forward on the ground in Iowa and New Hampshire for a guy like me?
01/29/2015 - 05:21 PM
Gas blast at Mexico City children's hospital
At least three people are dead and dozens are injured.
01/30/2015 - 04:08 AM
Boy Scouts settle California suit over abuse
The case involved a man who was molested by a Scout volunteer in 2007.
01/29/2015 - 10:31 PM
Islamic State purportedly sets new deadline for hostage swap
A voice claiming to be a Japanese hostage relays the group's latest threat.
01/29/2015 - 05:17 PM
U.S. jobless claims plunge 14%
New claims for US unemployment insurance benefits plunged to the lowest level in nearly 15 years last week, the Labor Department reported Thursday. Initial jobless claims, a sign of the pace of layoffs, dropped to a seasonally adjusted 265,000 in the week ending January 24, a hefty decline of 43,000 from the prior week's slightly upwardly revised level of 308,000. It was the lowest level for initial claims since mid-April 2000. The Labor Department said there was no particular factor influencing the week's claims data, which is often volatile.
01/29/2015 - 02:03 PM
Weekly Ebola cases below 100
By Tom Miles and Stephanie Nebehay GENEVA (Reuters) - The number of new confirmed Ebola cases totaled 99 in the week to Jan. 25, the lowest tally since June 2014, the World Health Organization said on Thursday, signaling the tide might have turned against the epidemic. "The response to the EVD (Ebola virus disease) epidemic has now moved to a second phase, as the focus shifts from slowing transmission to ending the epidemic," the WHO said. "To achieve this goal as quickly as possible, efforts have moved from rapidly building infrastructure to ensuring that capacity for case finding, case management, safe burials, and community engagement is used as effectively as possible." The outbreak has killed 8,810 people out of 22,092 known cases, almost all of them in Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea. Cases and deaths have fallen rapidly in Liberia and Sierra Leone in the past few weeks, with just 20 deaths recorded in Liberia in the 21 days to Jan. 25.
01/29/2015 - 02:04 PM
Matt Bai: Jeb and the myth of the Sister Souljah moment
Contrary to what people say, there’s really no such thing as a “Sister Souljah moment” unless a political candidate has spent a good bit of time making the argument that underlies it first.
01/29/2015 - 09:12 AM
Malaysia declares MH370 an 'accident', airline to proceed with compensation
Malaysia declared on Thursday the disappearance of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 an accident, clearing the way for the airline to pay compensation to victims' relatives while the search for the plane goes on. "We officially declare Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 an accident ... and that all 239 of the passengers and crew onboard MH370 are presumed to have lost their lives," Department of Civil Aviation (DCA) director-general Azharuddin Abdul Rahman said in a statement. The announcement is in accordance with standards of annexes 12 and 13 in the International Civil Aviation, said Azharuddin. It will allow families of the passengers to obtain assistance through compensation, he said.
01/29/2015 - 12:30 PM
AirAsia co-pilot at controls when plane crashed
The French co-pilot was at the controls of an AirAsia plane before it crashed into the sea last month after flying through an area of towering clouds, killing all 162 people on board, investigators said Thursday. The announcement came as fishermen found two more bodies from the crash in waters off Sulawesi island in central Indonesia, around 1,000 kilometres (600 miles) from where the plane crashed, a search and rescue official said. On Thursday, Indonesia's National Transportation Safety Committee, which has been analysing the plane's black boxes, said that prior to the crash, the aircraft had climbed fast in an area packed with huge storm clouds, and the stall alarms started going off. They also revealed that the Airbus A320-200's less experienced French co-pilot, Remi Plesel, was flying the plane before it went down, rather than Captain Iriyanto, a former fighter pilot who had around 20,000 hours of flying time.
01/29/2015 - 12:57 AM
Unlikely bedfellows unite on criminal justice reform
From the Koch brothers to Al Franken, momentum builds to reduce prison population.
01/28/2015 - 11:07 PM
State Dept. officials meet with House Benghazi panel
Officials are prepared to meet immediately with a special House committee investigating the deadly 2012 attacks.
01/28/2015 - 11:45 PM
Arkansas panel rejects removing Lee from King holiday
LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — A bid to end Arkansas' practice of commemorating Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee and civil rights icon Martin Luther King Jr. on the same day was rejected by lawmakers Wednesday after opponents said the move would belittle Southern heritage.
01/29/2015 - 03:30 AM
After sparring with 2 Chainz, Nancy Grace debates pot with Dr. Drew
On the heels of her endlessly entertaining debate with rapper 2 Chainz over the legalization of marijuana, Nancy Grace picked up the anti-pot argument on Tuesday with fellow HLN host Dr. Drew.
01/28/2015 - 05:24 PM
Russia says Kiev's actions will escalate Ukraine fighting
By Thomas Grove MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russia said on Wednesday military action by the Ukrainian government would prompt an "inevitable further escalation of the conflict" with pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine and undermine any peacemaking. Russia has stepped up criticism of Kiev since violence has intensified in the conflict, where a ceasefire collapsed after rebels drove Ukrainian government forces out of Donetsk airport. The separatists say they want to drive back government forces and their artillery out of range of the cities they hold and improve their grip on strongholds. "The latest military actions provoked by Kiev will lead to the inevitable further escalation of the conflict (and) undermine efforts taken by the international community to end the bloodshed," Russia's Foreign Ministry said in a statement.
01/28/2015 - 06:39 PM
Hillary Clinton agrees to testify on Benghazi
The former secretary of state will appear before a House select committee.
01/28/2015 - 02:37 PM
Islamic State releases new audio message by Japanese hostage
Jordan says it is ready to trade an Iraqi woman militant for a pilot held by IS extremists.
01/29/2015 - 04:29 AM
Dozen killed in suicide attack against Mali rebels
An attack overnight in northern Mali by a pro-government armed group including suicide bombers killed a dozen people, security sources said Wednesday. "GATIA fighters, accompanied by suicide bombers, attacked a rebel Tuareg and anti-government Arab position in the night from Tuesday to Wednesday near the town of Tabankort. A security source in MINUSMA -- the United Nations peacekeeping mission in Mali -- confirmed the deaths, adding that two fighters blew themselves up while a third was killed before he was able to detonate his explosives. GATIA is the commonly-used name for the pro-government Imghad and Allies Tuareg Self-Defence Group.
01/28/2015 - 06:33 PM
Bucking Obama, senior Democrat seeks limits on war against IS
Rep. Adam Schiff's resolution forbids using ground forces in combat against IS militants.
01/28/2015 - 11:03 AM
Hezbollah carried out deadly attack on Israeli convoy
Lebanese Hezbollah militants killed and wounded a number of Israeli soldiers in a "big operation" on Wednesday targeting an Israeli military convoy in a frontier area, a Lebanese political source said. The attack in the Israeli-occupied Shebaa Farms area was in response to an Israeli rocket attack in Syria, the source, who is familiar with details of the operation, said.
01/28/2015 - 01:14 PM
Obama's attorney general pick aims to smooth DOJ ties with Congress
By Aruna Viswanatha and Julia Edwards WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Loretta Lynch, President Barack Obama's pick for attorney general, on Wednesday sought to make a clean break from the testy relationship her predecessor had with Congress, while supporting the legality of the administration's controversial actions on immigration. Lynch, a career prosecutor known for her diplomatic skills, struck a delicate balance during her confirmation hearing, telling the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee, "I look forward to fostering a new and improved relationship." Her willingness to listen to Republican concerns was generally well received by the senators.
01/28/2015 - 11:32 PM
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