China’s U.N. influence rising, West should be careful: institute

SYDNEY (Reuters) – China’s engagement with the United Nations is on the rise as its economic power grows, but the West should be cautious with calls for it to act as a responsible world leader, as Beijing’s goals may not be the same as the West’s, said a new report on Friday. Read more

Lawmakers meet Fed’s Hoenig, discuss mandate

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Republican lawmakers on Thursday met with a senior Federal Reserve official who opposes the central bank’s easy money policies to discuss stripping the Fed of its task of ensuring full employment. Read more

House sends $4.5 billion school-lunch bill to Obama

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The House of Representatives passed on Thursday and sent to President Barack Obama a bill that boosts funding for the school lunch program by $4.5 billion through 2020 and bans “junk” food from school buildings. Read more

Reid "confident" Senate to consider START soon

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Majority Leader Harry Reid expressed confidence on Thursday the U.S. Senate would debate the New START nuclear treaty with Russia this year, as he gave no sign of yielding to Republican pressure to scale back his agenda for the coming weeks. Read more

Republicans cool to "do not track" Web plan

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Republicans, who will control the House of Representatives in January, greeted the idea of Internet “do not track” legislation coolly on Thursday, expressing concern that hindering advertiser access to consumers web browsing habits would slow innovation. Read more

Senator McCain says too soon to end military ban on gays

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – A top Republican warned on Thursday it might be too soon to end the U.S. military’s ban on gays, as the party geared up to block President Barack Obama’s bid to repeal the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy this year. Read more

Deficit panel plan gains support

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – A far-reaching plan to cut U.S. deficits and slow the growth of long-term debt gained crucial support from two key Republican senators on Thursday but remained short of votes needed to trigger congressional action. Read more

U.S., South Korea trade talks stretch into 3rd day

COLUMBIA, Maryland (Reuters) – Talks between the United States and South Korea on politically difficult beef and auto trade issues that are key to U.S. approval of a bilateral free-trade agreement stretched into a third day on Thursday. Read more