Archives for News

North Korea threatens to ‘settle accounts’ with United States

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un warned Friday that his rocket forces were ready “to settle accounts with the U.S.,” unleashing a new round of bellicose rhetoric after U.S. nuclear-capable B-2 bombers dropped dummy munitions in joint military drills with South Korea. Kim’s warning, and the litany of threats that have preceded it, don’t indicate an imminent war. In fact, they’re most likely meant to coerce South Korea into softening its policies, win direct talks and aid from Washington, and strengthen the young leader’s credentials and image at home. But the threats from North Korea and rising animosity from the
Read More

Stealth bombers sent to South Korea

The U.S military says two nuclear-capable B-2 bombers have completed a training mission in South Korea amid threats from North Korea that include nuclear strikes on Washington and Seoul. The statement Thursday by U.S. Forces Korea is an unusual confirmation. It follows an earlier U.S. announcement that nuclear-capable B-52 bombers participated in ongoing U.S.-South Korean military drills. The U.S. says the B-2 stealth bombers flew from a U.S. air base and dropped munitions on a South Korean island range before returning home. The announcement will likely draw a strong response from Pyongyang. North Korea sees the military drills as part
Read More

Gun control advocates struggle to win over reluctant Democrats

  It would seem a lobbyist’s dream: rounding up votes for a proposal backed by more than 8 in 10 people in polls. Yet, gun control supporters are struggling to win over moderate Democrats in their drive to push expanded background checks for firearms purchasers through the Senate next month. Backed by a $12 million TV advertising campaign financed by New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, gun control groups scheduled rallies around the country Thursday aimed at pressuring senators to back the effort. President Barack Obama was meeting at the White House with gun violence victims. Moderate Senate Democrats like Mark
Read More

Obama sets up another dinner with Senate Republicans

President Barack Obama is keeping up his congressional charm offensive, with a second dinner with Senate Republicans planned for next month. Obama dined with a dozen GOP senators earlier this month at a hotel near the White House. The dinner was aimed in part at seeing whether the parties could restart talks on a grand budget bargain that has eluded them throughout Obama’s presidency. The president arranged next month’s dinner during a phone call with Georgia’s Republican Sen. Johnny Isakson. The senator is putting together the guest list for the April 10 outing. Obama followed up his first dinner with
Read More

Kentucky lawmakers override governor’s veto of “religious freedom” bill

Kentucky lawmakers have voted to override the governor’s veto of a bill intended to better protect legal claims of religious freedom. The law will give stronger legal standing to people in court who claim the government burdened their ability to practice their religion. The legislation protects “sincerely held religious beliefs” from infringement unless there is “a compelling governmental interest.” The courts will still consider and rule on each matter. Democratic Gov. Steve Beshear vetoed the bill Friday over concerns that someone’s claim of religious freedom could undermine civil rights protections for gays and lesbians and lead to costly lawsuits for
Read More

Supremes take a look at second gay rights issue

In the second of back-to-back gay marriage cases, the Supreme Court is turning to a constitutional challenge to the law that prevents legally married gay Americans from collecting federal benefits generally available to straight married couples. A section of the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act says marriage may only be a relationship between a man and a woman for purposes of federal law, regardless of state laws that allow same-sex marriage. Lower federal courts have struck down the measure, and now the justices, in nearly two hours of scheduled argument Wednesday, will consider whether to follow suit. The DOMA argument
Read More

Petraeus sorry he screwed around and had to quit CIA job

In his first public speech since resigning as head of the CIA, David Petraeus apologized for the extramarital affair that “caused such pain for my family, friends and supporters.” The hero of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars struck a somber, apologetic tone as he spoke to about 600 people, including his wife and many uniformed and decorated veterans, at the University of Southern California’s annual ROTC dinner on Tuesday. “I know I can never fully assuage the pain that I inflicted on those closest to me and a number of others,” Petraeus said. Petraeus has remained largely in seclusion since
Read More

Ex-Presidents cost American taxpayers at least $3.7 million a year

Former President Bill Clinton’s 8,300-square-foot Harlem office near the Apollo Theater costs taxpayers nearly $450,000. George W. Bush spends $85,000 on telephone fees, and another $60,000 on travel. Jimmy Carter sends $15,000 worth of postage — all on the government’s dime. The most exclusive club in the world has a similarly exclusive price tag — nearly $3.7 million, according to a new report from the nonpartisan Congressional Research Service. That’s how much the federal government spent last year on the four living ex-presidents and one presidential widow. Topping the list in 2012 was George W. Bush, who got just over
Read More

Will Sen. Tim Johnson’s retirement help GOP pick up a seat?

The anticipated retirement announcement from South Dakota Sen. Tim Johnson gives Republicans one of their best chances of picking up a seat in their quest to regain control, as the veteran moderate Democrat steps aside. Johnson, the chairman of the Senate Banking Committee, is expected to say Tuesday afternoon that he will not seek a fourth term in the Senate next year. The fifth Senate Democrat to call it quits, Johnson was facing a potentially difficult challenge from popular Republican Gov. Mike Rounds and still coping with the constraints of a 2006 brain hemorrhage that left his speech impaired and
Read More

Gay marriage issue before Supreme Court Tuesday

The Supreme Court is wading into the fight over same-sex marriage at a time when public opinion is shifting rapidly in favor of permitting gay and lesbian couples to wed, but 40 states don’t allow it. The court’s first major examination of gay rights in 10 years begins Tuesday with a hearing on California’s ban on same-sex marriage. On Wednesday, the justices will consider the federal law that prevents legally married gay couples from receiving a range of benefits afforded straight married Americans. People have been waiting in line — even through light snow — since Thursday for coveted seats
Read More