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Venezuela to shrink U.S. Embassy staff, require tourist visas
Sat, 28 Feb 2015 23:06:12 -0500

Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro, center, waves a national flag during a rally in Caracas, Venezuela, Saturday, Feb. 28, 2015. Venezuelans took to the streets of Caracas in dueling demonstrations on Saturday, with one group calling attention to a crackdown on opponents of the government and another showing support for the embattled socialist administration. At left is Venezuela's first lady Cilia Flores. (AP Photo/Fernando Llano)President Nicolas Maduro says “gringo” meddling forced him to adopt new requirements.




Rand Paul wins CPAC presidential straw poll
Sat, 28 Feb 2015 20:21:22 -0500

Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky. speaks during the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in National Harbor, Md., Friday, Feb. 27, 2015. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)The Kentucky senator is voted the top GOP candidate for the third consecutive year.




Giant, cross-border smuggling tunnel found under Arizona house
Sat, 28 Feb 2015 17:11:50 -0500

A ladder is seen at the entrance to a cross border tunnel located underneath a warehouse in TijuanaPolice pulled over a U-Haul carrying 4,700 pounds of marijuana this week. When they traced the truck’s route to a house on the border, they discovered the longest drug-smuggling tunnel the region has ever seen.




Dems call GOP Homeland Security strategy a political blunder
Sat, 28 Feb 2015 11:56:54 -0500

In this Feb. 27, 2015, photo, House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi of Calif., accompanied by House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer of Md., voice their objections to the Republican majority during a delay in voting for a short-term spending bill for the Homeland Security Department during a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington. Democrats didn’t get all they wanted in Congress’ struggle over Homeland Security, but many feel they are winning a broader political war that will haunt Republicans in 2016 and beyond. "It’s a staggering failure of leadership that will prolong this manufactured crisis of theirs and endanger the security of the American people," said Pelosi. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)Democrats are losing some skirmishes over the Department of Homeland Security, but many feel they are winning a political war that will haunt Republicans in 2016 and beyond.




Obama, Netanyahu on collision course 6 years in the making
Sat, 28 Feb 2015 14:02:37 -0500

FILE - In this May 18, 2009 file photo, President Barack Obama meets with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington. For six years, Obama and Netanyahu have been on a collision course over how to halt Iran’s nuclear ambitions, a high-stakes endeavor both men see as a centerpiece of their legacies. The coming weeks will put the relationship between their countries, which otherwise remain stalwart allies, to one of its toughest tests. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak, File)For six years, President Barack Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu have been on a collision course over how to halt Iran's nuclear ambitions, a high-stakes endeavor both men see as a centerpiece of their legacies.




Nemtsov a possible 'sacrificial victim,' investigators say
Sat, 28 Feb 2015 22:28:15 -0500

In this file photo taken on Thursday, May 30, 2013, Boris Nemtsov, a former Russian deputy prime minister and opposition leader, presents a report claiming widespread corruption during preparations for the 2014 Winter Games in Sochi, at a news conference in Moscow, Russia. Russian police say opposition leader Boris Nemtsov has been shot and killed in Moscow. (AP Photo/Ivan Sekretarev, File)Boris Nemtsov, a Russian opposition leader and sharp critic of President Vladimir Putin, was gunned down Saturday near the Kremlin, officials said. Nemtsov was killed just a day before a protest planned against Putin's rule.




Congress averts Homeland Security shutdown
Sat, 28 Feb 2015 01:37:01 -0500

The US Senate approves funding for the Department of Homeland Security hours before a midnight deadline, but remaining congressional hurdles pushed the agency responsible for domestic security to the brink of shutdownFeuding lawmakers fund the agency only until March 6, forcing Congress to revisit the issue next week.




Democrats caught between Obama, Netanyahu on speech
Sat, 28 Feb 2015 03:10:04 -0500

FILE - In this Feb. 8, 2015 file photo, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu attends the weekly cabinet meeting in his Jerusalem office. Jewish House Democrats personally offered Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu a chance to lower the political temperature after he accepted a Republican invitation to speak to Congress next week on Iran _ a less provocative, closed-door session. Netanyahu turned them down, frustrating members of President Barack Obama's party caught between the White House and the Israeli leader. (AP Photo/Sebastian Scheiner, File)WASHINGTON (AP) — Jewish House Democrats personally offered Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu a chance to lower the political temperature after he accepted a Republican invitation to speak to Congress next week on Iran — a less provocative, closed-door session.




GOP leaders are struggling to show they really are in charge
Sat, 28 Feb 2015 14:46:40 -0500

WASHINGTON (AP) — Two months into full Republican control of Congress, GOP leaders are struggling to demonstrate they really are in charge.

Investigators search for what triggered Missouri rampage
Sat, 28 Feb 2015 20:46:56 -0500

Police tape surrounds one of the crime scenes where Joseph Aldridge killed seven people in Tyrone, MissouriBy Kevin Murphy and Carey Gillam KANSAS CITY, Mo. (Reuters) - What led Joseph Aldridge to gun down seven people in a southern Missouri hamlet remained uncertain on Saturday, though authorities speculated that the death of the gunman's mother from cancer could have triggered the rampage. Aldridge, 36, embarked on a shooting spree late on Thursday in the rural community of Tyrone, going door-to-door in the wintry night, killing four relatives and three neighbors, and wounding another, before fatally shooting himself, police said. The massacre unfolded shortly after Aldridge's mother, 74-year-old Alice Aldridge, died from complications of metastatic lung cancer. Texas County Coroner Tom Whittaker said an autopsy revealed the fatal condition.




Chicago protesters demand probe of what they call police 'black site'
Sat, 28 Feb 2015 20:04:38 -0500

British newspaper The Guardian said in a report earlier this week the Chicago Police Department holds suspects and witnesses for long periods of time at a former warehouse called Homan Square, without giving them access to attorneys or phone calls to family and without recording their detention. The piece was the subject of intense debate in recent days in Chicago, with some criminal justice experts saying it was exaggerated and others giving it credence. Chicago police spokesman Martin Malone did not immediately return a call requesting comment on Saturday. Earlier in the week, the Chicago Police Department (CPD) in a statement said it "abides by all laws, rules and guidelines pertaining to any interviews of suspects or witnesses" at Homan Square and other facilities.

Storm leads to 1,000 canceled flights in Texas as more snow heads east
Sat, 28 Feb 2015 15:51:15 -0500

A morning commuter carries an umbrella as she passes by the NYSE during a winter storm in New YorkBy Mary Wisniewski CHICAGO (Reuters) - Stormy weather coated parts of Texas and Oklahoma with ice on Saturday, canceling nearly 1,000 flights at the Dallas Fort-Worth International Airport, while more snow headed toward the already winter-weary Midwest and Northeast. Meteorologists said a storm moving east across the plains will bring a wide swath of 1-3 inches of snow into the Midwest, including Illinois and Kentucky, on Saturday night. Snow was already falling Saturday afternoon in areas that do not usually see it, such as Arkansas and Oklahoma, said Alan Reppert, senior meteorologist for Accuweather.com. Snow and freezing rain overnight made roads treacherous in the Dallas area on Saturday morning, but conditions were improving in the afternoon as temperatures rose, according to NWS meteorologist Jamie Gudmestad.




U.S. sets out 'bottom lines' for Iran nuclear deal
Sat, 28 Feb 2015 01:09:58 -0500

The director of the Iranian Atomic Energy Organization, Ali Akbar Salehi, leaves after a meeting on February 23, 2015 in GenevaThe United States set out what it called its "bottom lines" to reach a deal with Iran to rein in its nuclear program, ahead of new talks next week. Washington had stuck to its guns that it wanted a "good deal" and had agreed to several extensions of the negotiations "because we have held firm to certain bottom lines," a senior US administration official said. "We will only accept an agreement that cuts off the different pathways to the fissile material that Iran needs for a nuclear weapon," the official stressed. US Secretary of State John Kerry will leave at the weekend for Switzerland, where he will meet once again with his Iranian counterpart Mohammad Javad Zarif.




Jeb Bush’s biggest CPAC win: No gifts for Democrats
Fri, 27 Feb 2015 16:19:27 -0500

Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush pauses as he speaks during the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in National Harbor, Md., Friday, Feb. 27, 2015. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)The ex-Florida governor addresses complaints conservatives have made about him.




Missouri murder spree shatters tiny community's comfort zone
Fri, 27 Feb 2015 20:56:14 -0500

Missouri Shooting RampageA rural Missouri county that had zero homicides last year spent Friday reeling after seven people were murdered by a man who police said went on a house-to-house shooting rampage in the middle of the night.




Despite fiery CPAC speech, is Ted Cruz changing course?
Fri, 27 Feb 2015 10:19:52 -0500

Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, speaks during the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in National Harbor, Md., on Thursday, Feb. 26, 2015. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)Republican Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas used a speech at the Conservative Political Action Conference on Thursday to rail against the party establishment, calling himself a “disruptive app” such as Uber that would upend the political system. Delighting the assembled conservative shock troops, Cruz castigated the Republican leadership for selling out their principles by separating a funding bill for the Department of Homeland Security from a measure that would roll back President Barack Obama’s executive action on immigration




Ukraine conflict at 'crossroads' as troop deaths shake truce
Fri, 27 Feb 2015 13:04:24 -0500

A Russia-backed rebel walks past the body of an Ukrainian servicemen killed in fighting in the Debaltseve area, and disinterred by Ukrainian POWs in Novohryhorivka, Ukraine, near the embattled railway hub, Friday, Feb. 27, 2015. Ukrainian POW's, guarded by separatist fighters, worked along with Ukrainian volunteers and are reported to have recovered 15 bodies from the area over the past two days.(AP Photo/Vadim Ghirda)International monitors said Friday the conflict in Ukraine was at a "crossroads" as further losses among government forces rattled a two-week-old truce just as it seemed to be gaining traction. The envoy to Ukraine for the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE), which is monitoring the peace deal, told the UN Security Council that while there were encouraging signs, the country still risked all-out war. Russia formally annexed the territory in March 2014, triggering an international furore. The uprising in Ukraine's east, which has claimed at least 5,800 lives, began the following month.




Attackers in Bangladesh hack to death American blogger
Fri, 27 Feb 2015 15:39:53 -0500

In this Thursday, Feb. 26, 2015, photo , Rafida Ahmed, wife of a prominent Bangladeshi-American blogger, Avijit Raoy is being rushed to hospital on a stretcher after she was seriously injured by unidentified attackers, in Dhaka, Bangladesh. Roy, who was known for speaking out against religious fundamentalism was hacked to death in the streets of Bangladesh's capital as he walked with his wife, police said Friday. (AP Photo/Rajib Dhar)DHAKA, Bangladesh (AP) — A prominent Bangladeshi-American blogger known for speaking out against religious extremism was hacked to death as he walked through Bangladesh's capital with his wife, police said Friday.




For Jeb Bush, the Q&A is the message
Fri, 27 Feb 2015 05:17:07 -0500

FILE - In this Feb. 18, 2015 file photo, former Florida Gov. Jeb. Bush speaks in Chicago. As Florida’s governor, Jeb Bush was among the nation’s most conservative state chief executives. He’s quietly embarking on work to persuade the right-flank of the Republican Party he’d be that same kind of conservative in the White House. Eight years removed from office, Bush is viewed by some conservatives as a squishy moderate: a member of the GOP’s most established family with a toxic position on immigration and education standards. (AP Photo/M. Spencer Green, File)The former Florida governor's openness sets him apart from his likely 2016 opponents.