Archives for News

North Korea: More ‘bark” than ‘bite’?

Across North Korea, soldiers are gearing up for battle and shrouding their jeeps and vans with camouflage netting. Newly painted signboards and posters call for “death to the U.S. imperialists” and urge the people to fight with “arms, not words.” But even as North Korean leader Kim Jong Un is issuing midnight battle cries to his generals to ready their rockets, he and his million-man army know full well that a successful missile strike on U.S. targets would be suicide for the outnumbered, out-powered North Korean regime. Despite the hastening drumbeat of warfare — seemingly bringing the region to the
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Domestic use of drones raises privacy questions

It’s a good bet that in the not-so-distant future aerial drones will be part of Americans‘ everyday lives, performing countless useful functions. A far cry from the killing machines whose missiles incinerate terrorists, these generally small, unmanned aircraft will help farmers more precisely apply water and pesticides to crops, saving money and reducing environmental impacts. They’ll help police departments find missing people, reconstruct traffic accidents and act as lookouts for SWAT teams. They’ll alert authorities to people stranded on rooftops by hurricanes and monitor evacuation flows. Real estate agents will use them to film videos of properties and surrounding neighborhoods.
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Nevada State Assembly throws out lawmaker after two arrests

The Nevada State Assembly expelled Democratic Assemblyman Steven Brooks on Thursday after he was arrested twice this year, in the first time the chamber ousted a member in the history of the state legislature. Brooks’ expulsion was approved by a voice vote and the ouster was effective immediately. Lawmakers who spoke on Thursday before the vote did not say why they were moving to expel Brooks. The action came a day after a Nevada Assembly Select Committee met behind closed doors and voted 6-1 to recommend the lawmaker’s ouster. Such closed-door meetings are allowed under the Nevada constitution when lawmakers
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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