1 April 2015

Reid's exit sets off Senate leadership scramble

FILE - In this March 3, 2015 file photo, Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid of Nev., center, flanked by Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., left, and Senate Minority Whip Richard Durbin of Ill., speaks during a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington. In the wake of the announced retirement of Reid, a very public feud has opened between the No. 2 and No. 3 Senate Democrats and former long-time housemates, Schumer and Durbin. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File)WASHINGTON (AP) — Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid's decision to retire has sparked a very public feud between the No. 2 and No. 3 Senate Democrats, Dick Durbin of Illinois and Chuck Schumer of New York.


1 April 2015

New Jersey Sen. Bob Menendez indicted on corruption charges

In this March 23, 2015 file photo, Sen. Robert Menendez, D-NJ speaks in Garwood, N.J. Menendez has been indicted on federal corruption charges.(AP Photo/Mel Evans, File)WASHINGTON (AP) — Sen. Bob Menendez, the son of Cuban immigrants who rose to become one of the highest-ranking Hispanic members of Congress, was charged Wednesday with accepting nearly $1 million in gifts and campaign contributions from a longtime friend in exchange for a stream of political favors.


1 April 2015

Governor in a political firestorm over Indiana law

Former Texas Governor Rick Perry speaks at a breakfast meeting, Tuesday, March 24, 2015, in Houston. A day after Sen. Ted Cruz announced he's seeking the Republican presidential nomination, Perry refused any discussion of how his fellow Texan's move affects his own anticipated White House run. (AP Photo/Pat Sullivan)WASHINGTON (AP) — Just a week ago, Indiana Gov. Mike Pence was considered one of the few Republican presidential prospects who could unite the GOP's business wing with religious conservatives.


1 April 2015

Senator Menendez of New Jersey indicted on corruption charges

Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ) speaks during a news conference in Newark, New JerseyBy Julia Edwards WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. Senator Robert Menendez of New Jersey was indicted on corruption charges, allegations that the high-ranking Democrat vowed to fight at a news conference on Wednesday night. Menendez was indicted by a grand jury in New Jersey for accepting gifts from Salomon Melgen, a Florida ophthalmologist, in exchange for using the power of his Senate office to benefit Melgen's financial and personal interests, according to the court filing. Speaking in Newark, New Jersey as dozens of supporters cheered and applauded, Menendez told reporters that the prosecutors in the case were "dead wrong" and he intended to prove it.


1 April 2015

Things to know about indictment against Sen. Menendez

U.S. Sen. Bob Menendez speaks during a news conference, Wednesday, April 1, 2015, in Newark, N.J. Menendez, the top Democrat on the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee, was indicted on corruption charges, accused of using his office to improperly benefit an eye doctor and political donor. (AP Photo/Craig Ruttle)NEWARK, N.J. (AP) — Sen. Bob Menendez, a New Jersey Democrat, and Dr. Salomon Melgen, a Florida eye doctor, were indicted Wednesday on federal corruption and bribery charges.


1 April 2015

Felony indictments dismissed against former Va. legislator

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — A former Virginia state lawmaker who pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor in a sex scandal involving a teenager will no longer face felony charges in the case.

1 April 2015

Obama calls Nigerian president-elect Buhari

US President Barack Obama spoke to Nigerian President-elect Muhammadu Buhari and outgoing leader Goodluck Jonathan, praising both for their role in the country's first democratic transfer of powerUS President Barack Obama spoke to Nigerian President-elect Muhammadu Buhari and outgoing leader Goodluck Jonathan on Wednesday, praising both for their role in the country's first democratic transfer of power. Obama spoke to the men separately to "commend them for their leadership during Nigeria's election," the White House said. Nigeria has suffered six military coups since independence from Britain in 1960 and has seen 16 years of unbroken civilian rule by Jonathan's party. "This historic step for Nigeria and Africa," said Obama's National Security Advisor Susan Rice.


1 April 2015

Zarif says 'seize the moment' as Iran talks hit final stretch

Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif walks through a courtyard at the Beau Rivage Palace Hotel during an extended round of talks on April 1, 2015 in LausanneIran's foreign minister Wednesday told world powers to "seize the moment" and drop "excessive demands" as marathon high-stakes nuclear talks headed into another long bruising night of hard bargaining. French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius arrived back in Switzerland to rejoin the negotiations saying the talks were in the final stretch. Fabius was re-joining US Secretary of State John Kerry and their counterparts from Germany and Britain. "Iran has shown its readiness to engage with dignity and it's time for our negotiating partners to seize the moment," Mohammad Javad Zarif told reporters late on a seventh day of talks in Lausanne.


1 April 2015

Menendez's million-dollar defense

Embattled senator's legal bills already climbed into the seven-figure range — before his indictment on federal corruption charges.

1 April 2015

Arkansas governor seeks fix of religion bill seen as targeting gays

Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson answers reporters' questions as Sen. Jonathan Dismang, R-Beebe, background, listens at the state Capitol in Little Rock, Ark., Wednesday, April 1, 2015. Hutchinson called for changes to the state's religious objection measure facing a backlash from businesses and gay rights groups, saying it wasn't intended to sanction discrimination based on sexual orientation. (AP Photo/Danny Johnston)By Steve Barnes LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (Reuters) - Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson told lawmakers on Wednesday to revise a bill that rights activists and U.S. businesses said allowed discrimination against gays, and home-state corporate giant Wal-Mart Stores Inc praised his action. Indiana's governor a day earlier said lawmakers should fix a similar Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA). In a news conference at the Capitol in Little Rock, Hutchinson, who previously said he would sign the bill, said he was sending the act back to the Republican-controlled legislature to be rewritten so it can better balance tolerance for diversity and protections of religious freedom.


1 April 2015

Obama unveils sanctions program to fight cyberattacks

President Barack Obama ordered a new sanctions program which could block assets of US and foreign hackers and of companies that seek to profit from cyberattacksPresident Barack Obama on Wednesday ordered a new sanctions program that could block assets of US and foreign hackers and of companies that seek to profit from cyberattacks. Obama said the threat from cyberattacks was a "national emergency" and that the sanctions could help strike back against those involved in attacks on US targets. "Starting today, we're giving notice to those who pose significant threats to our security or economy by damaging our critical infrastructure, disrupting or hijacking our computer networks, or stealing the trade secrets of American companies or the personal information of American citizens for profit," Obama said in a blog post on the Medium website.


1 April 2015

Kerry to stay at Iran talks till at least early Thursday

US Secretary of State John Kerry looks out of the window of his room at the Beau-Rivage Palace hotel during a break in Iran nuclear talks in Lausanne, Switzerland, on April 1, 2015Lausanne (AFP) - US Secretary of State John Kerry will stay in negotiations with Iran and his counterparts until at least Thursday morning, as they seek to reach a deal on the Iranian nuclear programme.


1 April 2015

Netanyahu, Boehner hail 'strong' US, Israel ties

US House Speaker John Boehner (L) and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu hold a press conference at the prime minister's office in Jerusalem on April 1, 2015US House Speaker John Boehner and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu hailed Wednesday the "strong" ties between their nations, amid tensions between Netanyahu and the Obama administration. "In this violent and unstable region, where states are imploding and fanaticism is exploding, one thing remains rock solid -– our friendship, our alliance, our partnership," he said.


1 April 2015

Cuba fears 'tens of thousands' of US yachts

A Spanish cruise ship enters Havana's harbor on November 12, 2010Tens of thousands of American yachts could descend on Cuba if US President Barack Obama authorizes boat travel to the island, which is not ready for the influx, an official said Wednesday. Pleasure cruises from the United States to Cuba have virtually halted since former president George W. Bush cracked down on private boat trips in 2004 with an executive order that expanded the government's authority to stop unauthorized travel out of US waters.


1 April 2015

Uber files complaints with EU against France, Germany, Spain

Uber has filed complaints with the EU against France, Germany and Spain as the popular taxi app hits back against efforts to ban it from Europe's streetsUber has filed complaints with the EU against France, Germany and Spain as the popular taxi app hits back against efforts to ban it from Europe's streets, officials said Wednesday. The US-based firm's legal appeal to the European Union comes amid an increasingly tense battle with regulators and traditional cab drivers in several European countries. Uber argues that efforts by national governments to shut it down breach EU laws on competition and the single market, according to copies of the complaints seen by AFP.


1 April 2015

White House says Iran nuclear talks still 'productive'

US Secretary of State John Kerry (R) looks at his watch during a walk in the garden of the Beau-Rivage Palace hotel while taking a break during an extended round of talks on April 1, 2015 in LausanneThe White House on Wednesday said progress was still being made in crunch nuclear talks with Iran, but warned the United States would walk away if negotiations stall. "The sense that we have is that, yes, the talks continue to be productive and that progress is being made," said White House spokesman Josh Earnest. Marathon negotiations are taking place in Lausanne, Switzerland, between Iran and six world powers including the United States.


1 April 2015

Italy's Egyptian museum reopens after 'pharaonic' revamp

A visitor at the Egyptian Museo delle Antichita Egizie in Turin, the only museum other than the Cairo Museum that is dedicated solely to ancient Egypt art and culture, on March 31, 2015Huge black and gold sarcophaguses with kohl-rimmed eyes dwarf visitors at Turin's palatial Egyptian museum, which is reopening to the public after a "pharaonic" five-year renovation. Now visitors donning 3D glasses in the museum in northern Italy will be able to explore a reconstruction of the tomb of Queen Nefertari, Ramesses the Great's favourite wife, as well as that of another tomb and a cult chapel. The red-brick building in the heart of Turin's historic centre, built as a Jesuit school in the 17th century, has undergone a 50 million euro ($53.7 million) makeover that has doubled its exhibition space to 12,000 square metres (129,000 square feet). "The Egyptian museum will become a great international museum once again," he said.


1 April 2015

Poll finds rising exile support for Obama's Cuba policy

Man stands near national flags of U.S. and Cuba on balcony of a hotel being used by first U.S. congressional delegation to Cuba since change of policy announced by U.S. President Obama, in Havana(Reuters) - A poll of Cuban-Americans shows support for the White House's new Cuba policy has risen in the three months since it was announced, with 51 percent now in favor of closer engagement with Cuba, up from 44 percent in December. The poll by consulting firm Bendixen & Amandi International, and released in New York on Wednesday, sampled 400 people across the country's population of approximately 2 million Cuban-Americans, mostly concentrated in Florida and New Jersey. The White House policy change announced Dec. 17 includes plans to restore diplomatic relations with Cuba after 54 years, relax travel restrictions for Americans seeking to visit the island and increase commercial ties, while leaving intact the U.S. embargo against the island. "In the three months since President Obama's historic announcement, rather than increasing opposition, the study reveals there is now slight majority support amongst Cuban-Americans for normalization of relations with Cuba," said Fernand Amandi, of Bendixen & Amandi International, a Miami firm which did work for both Obama's presidential campaigns.


1 April 2015

High-stakes Iran nuclear talks in nail-biting extension

The head of Iranian Atomic Energy Organization, Ali Akbar Salehi (C), walks after a meeting at the Beau Rivage Palace Hotel during an extended round of nuclear talks on April 1, 2015 in LausanneRollercoaster talks aimed at stopping Iran getting a nuclear bomb went into extra time on Wednesday amid cautious signs that after seven days of tough negotiations a framework deal may be near. Speaking after Iran and major powers missed a midnight deadline to agree the outlines of a potentially historic accord, Iran's chief negotiator appeared hopeful. "We believe that at the end of the day we will be able to come to a conclusion and a resolution for all issues," Abbas Araghchi said in a live interview with Iranian state television from Lausanne. He said he expected a press statement to be released, but repeated that global powers and Iran were still haggling over two main sticking points -- a mechanism for lifting crippling sanctions against the Islamic republic and the country's research ands development programme.


1 April 2015

Rugby Union - Ulster sign New Zealand back Piutau

Rugby Union - Ulster sign New Zealand back Piutau- Ulster have signed versatile New Zealand international back Charles Piutau on a two-year deal from July 2016. The 23-year-old, who can play at full-back, wing or centre, has won 14 caps for the All Blacks since making his Test debut against France in June 2013 and arrives from Super 15 side Auckland Blues. "However, when I spoke with Ulster I was impressed with what they had to say and I am excited about their future plans.