February 2014

Feb 24, 2014

Pentagon Plans to Shrink Army to Pre-World War II Level

By Thom Shanker and Helene Cooper, The New York Times

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel plans to shrink the United States Army to its smallest force since before the World War II buildup and eliminate an entire class of Air Force attack jets in a new spending proposal that officials describe as the first Pentagon budget to aggressively push the military off the war footing adopted after the terror attacks of 2001.

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Obama to unveil new manufacturing institutes in Chicago, Detroit

By Christi Parsons and Melissa Harris, Los Angeles Times

President Obama plans to announce on Tuesday the opening of two new manufacturing institutes in the Chicago and Detroit areas as part of a larger plan to use public-private partnerships to advance his agenda despite opposition from Republicans in Congress.

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Feb 21, 2014

Dead Guards on Freighter Are Identified as Former Navy SEAL Members

By Nicholas Kulish and Mark Mazzetti, The New York Times

Two former Navy SEAL members who had been hired to protect the container ship that was attacked by Somali pirates in 2009 — an episode that became the basis of the Oscar-nominated film “Captain Phillips” — were found dead while the ship, the Maersk Alabama, was docked in the Seychelles, officials said Thursday.

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Iran Talks Set Five-Month Plan for Race to Final Nuclear Accord

By Indira A.R. Lakshmanan, Ladane Nasseri and Jonathan Tirone, Bloomberg News

Iran and world powers set a schedule for five months of negotiations in a race to agree on a definitive nuclear accord before their interim deal expires in July.

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Yemen Terrorists Behind Latest Warning and New Concerns Over Syria

By Pierre Thomas, ABC News

The Al Qaeda affiliate in Yemen that launched the Christmas Day bombing attempt in 2009 and the explosives-laden cargo plot in 2010 is behind Wednesday’s warning to airlines around the world that terrorists could be developing new ways to smuggle “shoe bombs” and other deadly devices onto planes, sources told ABC News.

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Republicans Should Tread Carefully On Minimum Wage

By Amy Walter, Cook Political Report

Lately, Republicans have been been pretty happy with government. Well, with one agency at least. Over the last two weeks the number crunchers at the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office have released reports that include some bad news for two significant legislative priorities of President Obama and Democrats--the Affordable Care Act and the minimum wage.

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CBO Data Could Spur Minimum Wage Hike to $9

By Alexis Simendinger, Real Clear Politics

If Congress decides $10.10 an hour is too steep a climb from the existing $7.25 federal minimum wage, might policymakers shake hands on an increase closer to $9 an hour?

As the Congressional Budget Office and the White House continued to disagree Wednesday over the uncertainties and potential labor-market downsides of President Obama’s $10.10 proposal, their dispute -- in its fine print -- was about how much the minimum wage could rise before its evident benefits would erode.

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Feb 20, 2014

Report: US drone may have killed dozen civilians

By Kimberly Dozier, Associated Press

A U.S. military drone strike in Yemen last December may have killed up to a dozen civilians on their way to a wedding and injured others, including the bride, a human rights group says. U.S. officials say only members of al-Qaida were killed, but they have refused to make public the details of two U.S. investigations into the incident.

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The Trans Pacific Partnership is in trouble on Capitol Hill. Here’s why.

By Ed O'Keefe, The Washington Post

President Obama is meeting Wednesday with the leaders of Mexico and Canada and a major new trade pact with Asian countries is among several important topics of discussion.

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CBO Data Could Spur Minimum Wage Hike to $9

By Alexis Simendinger, Real Clear Politics

If Congress decides $10.10 an hour is too steep a climb from the existing $7.25 federal minimum wage, might policymakers shake hands on an increase closer to $9 an hour?

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Feds urge airlines to check shoes for explosives

With Pete Williams, NBC News

The Department of Homeland Security is asking airlines that fly to the U.S. to pay extra attention to passenger shoes.

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Feb 19, 2014

Want to know the next House Member to retire? Look here.

By Ed O'Keefe, The Washington Post

Two more House lawmakers have announced plans to step down this week -- Reps. Rush Holt (D-N.J.) and Gloria Negrete McLeod (D-Calif.) -- adding to a growing list of Democrats and Republicans in both chambers planning to hang it up after this year. So far, there's no broad trend to this year's planned retirements other than a few who are close to top leaders and several who are older, have served for several decades and believe that Democrats have no hope of retaking the House anytime soon.

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