Scientific research, high-speed rail, environmental protection and other priorities of the Obama administration would face steep cuts under a congressional Republican spending plan released on Wednesday.
More than 60 programs would be eliminated entirely, including birth control funding, the Americorps volunteer program, public broadcasting, the community-oriented policing program and a weatherization program for homes and office buildings.
Republicans in the House of Representatives aim to impose immediate cuts averaging 15 percent on domestic spending programs to narrow a budget deficit that is projected to hit a record $1.5 trillion this year, and show conservative voters that they are serious about scaling back the size of government.
The proposal has virtually no chance of becoming law because President Barack Obama and the Democrats who control the Senate are certain to oppose it.
But it will frame a debate over federal spending that is likely to dominate Washington this year.
Though Obama has sought to put the CIA’s interrogation program behind him, the result of a decade of haphazard accountability is that many officers who made significant missteps are now the senior managers fighting the president’s spy wars.
The AP investigation of the CIA’s actions revealed a disciplinary system that takes years to make decisions, hands down reprimands inconsistently and is viewed inside the agency as prone to favoritism and manipulation. When people are disciplined, the punishment seems to roll downhill, sparing senior managers even when they were directly involved in operations that go awry.
Financiers in the City of London provided more than 50% of the funding for the Tories last year, new research has revealed, prompting claims that the party is in thrall to the banks.
A controversial law firm that sent letters to alleged illegal file sharers has been told it cannot drop its cases to "avoid public scrutiny".
ACS:Law contacted thousands of people accusing them of illegally downloading movies and songs and demanding payments of £500 to avoid court action.
Cases against 26 of them proceeded, before the company attempted to pull out of prosecution at the last minute.
Now a judge had criticised the firm for its methods.
The U.S. labor force has been split into two groups: the relieved and the desperate.
The European Union is still struggling to find a long-term strategy to deal with the crisis that has befallen its common currency. SPIEGEL spoke to Pimco CEO Mohamed El-Erian about how Greece can get back on its feet, the fine line Germany is treading and why the US, despite high debt, is in better shape.
SPIEGEL: As one of the lessons to the crisis, Germany is calling for a European insolvency act, which would make orderly bankruptcy proceedings possible for countries that default. Does that make sense?
El-Erian: Yes. The burden of debt reduction has to be equally shared. It cannot go just to taxpayers.
SPIEGEL: We agree with that.
El-Erian: I think that what Germany has proposed starting in 2013 is a very important step in this regard. There is no reason why creditors should be immune from losses. After all, they do get paid a “risk premium” in terms of higher interest rates. They should also be exposed to the credit risk that comes with this higher compensation.
A hoard of secret text messages could hold the key to finally clearing the name of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, a court was told tonight.
The whistleblower’s Swedish lawyer said investigators have collected around 100 messages to and from his two alleged victims that undermine the case against him.
Bjorn Hurtig, 45, said the texts indicate the women expected to be paid, intended to get “revenge” and wanted to contact newspapers to “blast” his client’s reputation.
But he told Belmarsh Magistrates’ Court that prosecutors in Stockholm have not let him have copies, making it impossible for Assange to receive a fair trial.
He claimed Marianne Ny, who is behind the case against the former computer hacker, warned him not to disclose the contents of the texts as it may violate rules governing the conduct of lawyers.
Mr Hurtig said: “I have been briefly allowed to see other exculpatory evidence but I have not been permitted to make copies to show my client.
“I consider this to be contrary to the rules of a fair trial.”
Britain’s banks were locked in talks with the government tonight as they fought to ensure that the multimillion-pound pay deals of the City’s top speculators will not be made public.
As the chancellor, George Osborne, said months of talks between the banks and the government over lending and bonuses were all but complete, it emerged that any information revealed about highly paid bankers could be strictly limited.
Under the terms of the deal being thrashed out, the banks would need to provide pay details about only about five to 10 executive managers. This is likely to exclude the highest paid traders and deal makers inside the banks, who are often not senior managers.
For absurdity, how about those four Navy F-18s flying over the stadium – with its retractable roof closed? Everybody inside could only see the planes on the stadium’s video screens. It was strictly a two-second beauty shot. Know what it cost taxpayers? I’ll tell you: $450,000. The Navy justifies the expense by saying it’s good for recruiting.
WASHINGTON (AFP) – The “war on terror” prison at the US naval base in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba is “one of the finest prison systems in the world,” former defense secretary Donald Rumsfeld said in an interview with Fox News on Tuesday.
Rumsfeld, who is promoting his autobiography titled “Known and Unknown,” praised US military personnel that worked at the site in the interview on FOX News Channel?s Hannity show.
“The heart-breaking thing with respect to Guantanamo is not that there is anything wrong with it, it is one of the finest prison systems in the world,” said Rumsfeld.
“What?s awkward is the fact that, for whatever reason, the administration was incapable of persuading people that that was a first-class operation, that they were not torturing people, that they were not hurting people,” he said.
Rumsfeld described it as “a fine operation,” and said US military personnel working there have “taken a lot of the heat unfairly” and “deserve a lot of credit” for their work.
France’s prime minister acknowledged Tuesday that he took a family vacation in Egypt partly paid for by Egyptian authorities shortly before the uprising erupted last month against President Hosni Mubarak.
Prime Minister Francois Fillon is the second French Cabinet minister in recent weeks to draw fire over a possible conflict of interest generated by contacts with a beleaguered Arab government.
Foreign Minister Michele Alliot-Marie has faced calls to resign over a vacation in Tunisia during that North African nation’s uprising and for using a private jet belonging to a businessman believed to have links to Tunisia’s president, who was later ousted from power.
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Fillon’s office issued the statement "in the interests of transparency" shortly before the satirical investigative paper Le Canard Enchaine, which broke the Alliot-Marie story, was to reveal potentially embarrassing details of his post-Christmas trip.
Funny how those “interests of transparency” only work when somebody leaks it to the press.