House Democrats tell Obama to take a hike on tax deal

House Democrats tell Obama to take a hike on tax deal

In a blow to President Barack Obama, his Democratic allies in the House of Representatives voted Thursday to reject a compromise he reached with Republicans to avert a massive New Year’s tax hike. Despite an unrelenting White House charm offensive, House Democrats declared behind closed doors, by voice vote, that the framework deal was unacceptable […]

‘Don’t ask, don’t tell’ don’t pass

‘Don’t ask, don’t tell’ don’t pass

The US Senate dealt a potentially deadly blow Thursday to efforts to end a nearly two-decade ban on gays serving openly in the US military, voting against taking up a bill to repeal the restriction. Lawmakers voted 57-40 — three votes short of the 60 needed — to move forward with annual military spending legislation […]

Obama turns up the heat on allies for tax cut support

Obama turns up the heat on allies for tax cut support

The White House courted and squeezed wary Democratic allies on Wednesday in a bid to rescue a compromise with Republicans to avert a massive New Year’s tax hike while extending jobless benefits. Swift passage of the embattled deal could clear a path for some of President Barack Obama‘s other embattled priorities for a year-end legislative […]

Johnny Depp decries the media ‘beast’

Johnny Depp decries the media ‘beast’

Megastar Johnny Depp says he has mostly learned to tame the media “beast” which constantly stalks him — but makes no bones about what he would do if the paparazzi overstepped the mark. And while acknowledging the demands of global fame, the 47-year-old former “enfant terrible” also lamented the “voyeuristic sensationalism” of modern media culture. […]

What’s the damage from WikiLeaks? That’s hard to quantify

What’s the damage from WikiLeaks? That’s hard to quantify

The Pentagon said Tuesday it would be “hard to quantify” the danger posed by the WikiLeaks release of secret documents but insisted the information would be used by US adversaries. “If someone has been killed as a result, it’s very tangible and very quantifiable,” Pentagon spokesman Colonel Dave Lapan told reporters. “But how do you […]

Warning to America: Be prepared to use force against China

Warning to America: Be prepared to use force against China

Then-Australian leader Kevin Rudd told the United States it should be prepared to use force against China “if everything goes wrong”, a US diplomatic cable released by WikiLeaks reveals. In wide-ranging talks with US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Rudd also described Chinese leaders as “paranoid” about Taiwan and Tibet, and said that his push […]

Republicans block tax cuts for middle class

Republicans block tax cuts for middle class

President Barack Obama’s Republican foes in the Senate have blocked a move to let Bush-era tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans expire, rejecting in the process Democrats‘ efforts to extend those breaks just for the middle class. Obama said he was “very disappointed” at the vote. “It makes no sense to hold tax cuts for […]

Pope’s flip-flop on condoms stirs controversy

Pope’s flip-flop on condoms stirs controversy

Campaigners against the spread of AIDS welcomed a u-turn by Pope Benedict XVI on the use of condoms Sunday, saying it marked a historic break with the past which would save lives. In a series of interviews to appear in a book published this week, Benedict said that while the use of condoms should not […]

Obama’s gas-guzzling ride anything but green

Obama’s gas-guzzling ride anything but green

The Portuguese hosts of Friday’s NATO summit hoped to use the event to promote clean-energy and electric cars, but all eyes were on US President Barack Obama‘s diesel-guzzling “Beast” instead. As is usual when he travels, Obama’s eight-tonne armoured behemoth of a limousine was flown out to Lisbon before the US leader’s arrival, and it […]

Hope fades for shoot-from-the-lip tea party candidate

Hope fades for shoot-from-the-lip tea party candidate

Two weeks after decisive US mid-term polls, a controversial Tea Party member is clinging to hopes of election in Alaska despite growing signs his bid to become a senator on a technicality has failed. In the state which gave the world Sarah Palin, Joe Miller is battling to oust incumbent Republican Lisa Murkowski, notably by […]