27 May 2015

Chief U.S. negotiator in Iran talks to leave State Department: NYT

U.S. Under Secretary for Political Affairs Wendy Sherman arrives at Andrews Air Force Base in MarylandThe chief U.S. negotiator in Iran nuclear talks, Wendy Sherman, will leave the State Department shortly after the June 30 deadline for the talks between Tehran and six major powers to reach agreement, the New York Times said on Wednesday. Sherman made her intentions known before leaving for Vienna and Geneva for a last round of talks aimed at securing curbs on Iran's nuclear program in return for lifting sanctions that have crippled the country's economy, the newspaper said. "It's been two long years," the Times quoted Sherman as saying, referring to the protracted and intensely complex discussions with the Iranians that began with secret talks between the two long-time foes.


27 May 2015

Key numbers from a report to Congress on US education

WASHINGTON (AP) — The American education landscape is shifting.

27 May 2015

EPA plans temporary pesticide restrictions while bees feed

WASHINGTON (AP) — If honeybees are busy pollinating large, blooming croplands, farmers wanting to spray toxic pesticides will soon have to buzz off, the Environmental Protection Agency is proposing.

27 May 2015

Divisive anti-gay marriage bill falls in Texas Legislature

Sen. Kirk Watson, left, shares a lighter moment with Lt. Governor Dan Patrick, right, during a brief pause as they wait on amendments to be printed, Wednesday, May 27, 2015 in Austin, Texas. (Ralph Barrera/Austin American-Statesman via AP) AUSTIN CHRONICLE OUT, COMMUNITY IMPACT OUT, INTERNET AND TV MUST CREDIT PHOTOGRAPHER AND STATESMAN.COM, MAGS OUTAUSTIN, Texas (AP) — Divisive efforts by Texas Republicans to defy the U.S. Supreme Court if same-sex marriage is legalized ended Wednesday night with conservative finger-pointing and opponents feeling relieved.


27 May 2015

SANZAR chief resigns to take Argentina post

Australia's Wallabies meet Argentina's Los Pumas' at Malvinas Argentinas stadium in Mendoza, Argentina in October 2014SANZAR chief executive Greg Peters said Thursday he was quitting the southern hemisphere body for a new role helping Argentina settle into an expanded Super Rugby competition next year. The New Zealander -- who has headed South Africa, New Zealand and Australia Rugby (SANZAR) since 2010 -- said his new position was general secretary of the Argentina Rugby Union (UAR). The Super Rugby competition will increase from 15 to 18 teams in 2016, with a Buenos Aires-based franchise joining South Africa's Southern Kings and fellow newcomers Japan.


27 May 2015

US, Iranian envoys to focus on nuclear deal in weekend talks

WASHINGTON (AP) — The top U.S. and Iranian diplomats plan to meet this weekend in Switzerland as efforts intensify to reach a comprehensive nuclear accord.

27 May 2015

Ricketts vetoes driver's licenses bill for immigrant youth

LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) — Gov. Pete Ricketts vetoed a bill Wednesday that would end Nebraska's status as the only state to ban driving privileges for young people brought to the country illegally as children but allowed to stay under a federal program.

27 May 2015

US launches new Islamic State investigations 'daily'

The United States now launches a new investigation into suspected Islamic State group sympathizers almost every day, a senior official said, underscoring the increased threat posed by the jihadist groupThe United States now launches a new investigation into suspected Islamic State group sympathizers almost every day, a senior official said, underscoring the increased threat posed by the jihadist group. Pointing to a significant uptick in cases linked to militants who now control swaths of territory in Iraq and Syria, the official warned Congress of "brinkmanship" over intelligence gathering powers that put national security at risk at a sensitive time. "We are opening new investigations daily, particularly the ISIL threat," said the senior administration official, using an acronym for the Islamic State group.


27 May 2015

Obama administration will not seek Supreme Court stay on immigration action block

Obama delivers remarks at the Memorial Day observance at Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, VirginiaBy Julia Edwards WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The Justice Department will not ask the U.S. Supreme Court to stay an appellate court ruling that President Barack Obama's move to shield millions of undocumented immigrants from deportation should remain on hold, a spokesman said on Wednesday. The immigration order was first put on hold by Texas Judge Andrew Hanen in February after the states, all led by Republican governors, argued that taking in migrants would be overly burdensome.


27 May 2015

US military shipped live anthrax to lab by accident

A sample of bacteria is analyzed, showing four lines which indicate a positive response for the existence of anthraxThe US military accidentally shipped at least one live anthrax sample across the country to a commercial lab in Maryland and four workers were undergoing medical treatment as a precaution, officials said. Four people at three different companies that had "worked with the live anthrax" were receiving post-exposure prophylaxis treatment as a precaution, officials said. "There is no known risk to the general public, and there are no suspected or confirmed cases of anthrax infection in potentially exposed lab workers," Pentagon spokesman Colonel Steven Warren said in a statement.


27 May 2015

Dalai Lama urges Suu Kyi to act on Rohingya

Rohingya migrants stand and sit on a boat drifting in Thai waters off the southern island of Koh Lipe in the Andaman sea on May 14, 2015The Dalai Lama has urged fellow Nobel peace laureate Aung San Suu Kyi to do more to help Myanmar's persecuted Muslim Rohingya minority amid a worsening migration crisis. Despite thousands of Rohingya fleeing on harrowing boat journeys to Southeast Asia to escape poverty and discriminatory treatment by the country's Buddhist majority, opposition leader Suu Kyi is yet to comment. The Tibetan Buddhist spiritual leader said she must speak up, adding that he had already appealed twice to her in person since 2012, when deadly sectarian violence in Myanmar's Rakhine state pitted the Rohingya against local Buddhists, to do more on their behalf.


27 May 2015

US tax data breach linked to Russia: report

The Internal Revenue Service disclosed the breach on Tuesday, saying hackers accessed data on a third-party site with tax records, without compromising the tax agency itselfA data breach affecting some 100,000 US tax filers appears to have originated in Russia, CNN reported Wednesday, citing unnamed sources. The Internal Revenue Service disclosed the breach on Tuesday, saying hackers accessed data on a third-party site with tax records, without compromising the tax agency itself. CNN said the link to Russia came from two unnamed sources with knowledge of the investigation being led by the US Treasury and the Department of Homeland Security.


27 May 2015

Conservative firebrand Santorum in White House re-launch

Former US Senator Rick Santorum speaks in Des Moines, Iowa, on May 16, 2015Rick Santorum, the dark-horse 2012 US presidential contender whose deeply conservative, often-gruff campaign put nominee Mitt Romney to the test, announced Wednesday he is launching a second run for the White House. With 15 or more prominent Republican presidential contenders as his 2016 rivals, Santorum, 57, is even more the White House underdog than he was four years ago. While he has years of new material from which to frame a counterpoint to likely Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton, Santorum has slipped from national prominence, and his appearances draw smaller crowds than the previous cycle.


27 May 2015

Biden castigates Putin, casts Ukraine crisis as a test

Local residents walk out of a destroyed house in the village of Ozeryanovka on May 27, 2015 in the self-proclaimed Donetsk People's RepublicUS Vice President Joe Biden on Wednesday denounced Vladimir Putin's "pure aggression" in Ukraine, warning that Western nations must be prepared to respond with further sanctions against Russia if necessary. "We're looking for him to, in our view, act more rationally and if he does not, we will continue to confront what I characterize as pure aggression," he said in a speech at a Washington think tank. In March 2014, Russia annexed Ukraine's Crimea region after a pro-European government came to power in Kiev.


27 May 2015

Majority of Americans back new trade deals: Reuters/Ipsos poll

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry speaks about the Trans-Pacific Partnership during a trade speech in RentonA majority of Americans support new trade deals, a Reuters/Ipsos poll showed on Wednesday, even as President Barack Obama struggles to win support for legislation key to sealing a signature Pacific Rim trade agreement. The House of Representatives is expected to consider a bill to speed trade deals through Congress in June, after it passed the Senate by a comfortable margin. The Reuters/Ipsos poll, conducted May 21-27, found that 56 percent of Americans support new trade deals to promote the sale of U.S. goods overseas, with just 13 percent opposed.