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Apr 9, 2015

Obama says concerned China uses size to bully others in region

By Emily Stephenson

(Reuters) – President Barack Obama said on Thursday the United States is concerned China uses its “sheer size and muscle” to push around smaller countries in the South China Sea.

His comments come after China defended its construction of artificial islands in the South China Sea, saying it is needed to safeguard its sovereignty in the mineral-rich waters where China’s territorial claims overlap those of Vietnam, the Philippines, Malaysia, Brunei and Taiwan.

Apr 9, 2015

Senate seen waiting for Obama until Fed nominee hearing called: sources

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The Senate Banking Committee is expected to wait to hold a hearing for the nomination of a community banker to the Federal Reserve until the White House moves to fill the central bank’s other open seat, according to people familiar with the matter.

Waiting gives committee Chairman Richard Shelby more time and options to put his stamp on the central bank, as the Fed still has a seventh empty board seat to fill. Another vacancy at the Fed board is the vice chairman for Supervision, a position created by the 2010 financial reform law known as Dodd-Frank that the White House has yet to fill.

Apr 2, 2015

U.S. Dept. of Justice announces settlement with online course provider edX

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. Justice Department on
Thursday announced a settlement with online course provider edX
Inc over allegations its platform was not accessible to would-be
students who were blind, deaf or had other physical
disabilities.

The DOJ said its four-year agreement requires edX to modify
its website, platform and mobile applications to meet industry
accessibility guidelines. It also required edX to work on that
issue with entities that create and post courses.

Apr 2, 2015

Airbnb opens rental listings for U.S. travelers to Cuba

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Online home-rental marketplace Airbnb Inc now offers properties in Cuba, the company said on Thursday, as it looks to capitalize on an expected travel boom resulting from the normalizing of relations between the United States and the Communist-run nation.

President Barack Obama has loosened some Cold War-era travel restrictions, allowing Americans to visit the Caribbean island for a range of reasons, such as family visits or education.

Mar 31, 2015

U.S. charges against Sen. Menendez could come Wednesday: source

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Democratic U.S. Senator Robert Menendez of New Jersey has been advised by federal officials that he is likely to face corruption-related criminal charges, perhaps as soon as Wednesday, according to a source familiar with the matter.

Menendez is the top Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. A second source familiar with the matter said any criminal charges would be brought by federal prosecutors in Florida.

Mar 30, 2015

U.S. Justice Dept sues Oklahoma university over transgender professor

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. Justice Department filed a
lawsuit on Monday against Southeastern Oklahoma State
University, alleging the school discriminated against a
transgender assistant professor.

The DOJ said it also sued the Regional University System of
Oklahoma. The department said Rachel Tudor was denied a
promotion because of her gender identity and retaliated against
after she complained.

Mar 30, 2015

Illinois Democrat Duckworth to run for U.S. Senate in 2016

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. Representative Tammy Duckworth, an Illinois Democrat, will run for the U.S. Senate in 2016, saying in a video posted to her website on Monday that she would “fight my heart out” for constituents.

Duckworth, an Iraq war veteran who lost both legs in a helicopter crash, was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 2012 and previously was an assistant secretary at the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.

Mar 26, 2015

U.S. consumer watchdog unveils plans to regulate payday loans

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. consumer financial watchdog
on Thursday outlined its plans for cracking down on the payday
lending industry and ensuring that borrowers can repay their
loans.

The framework unveiled by the U.S. Consumer Financial
Protection Bureau was a key step toward new rules for various
types of loans that regulators say trap borrowers in debt.

Feb 27, 2015

U.S. investigators recover 32,744 emails in IRS targeting probe

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The discovery of a trove of thousands of emails reinvigorated a long-running inquiry by U.S. House of Representatives Republicans into the Internal Revenue Service’s handling of tax-exempt conservative political groups.

U.S. officials told lawmakers late on Thursday that investigators had found 32,774 emails linked to former IRS official Lois Lerner, a key figure in a scandal that broke in 2013. But the emails’ importance was still unclear.

Feb 24, 2015

White House defends Veterans Affairs head after false statement

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The White House on Tuesday defended U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Secretary Robert McDonald after he apologized for falsely saying he served in the U.S. special forces, but a top Republican said the incident could hurt trust in the department.

McDonald said he recently met a homeless man in Los Angeles who said he served in the special forces. McDonald said he incorrectly responded that he had also served there. The exchange aired on the CBS Evening News.