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Showing posts from June 1, 2014

Chief judge on U.S. patent court steps down from lead role

The top U.S. class="mandelbrot_refrag"> patent court's chief judge stepped down from his leadership role on Friday, admitting he had raised questions about his judicial ethics by sending an email praising a lawyer who appears before the court. Judge Randall Rader will remain on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, but he will be replaced as chief judge by Judge Sharon Prost at the end of May, the court said on its website. Rader said in an open letter posted on the court website that he had "engaged in conduct that crossed lines established for the purposes of maintaining a judicial process whose integrity must remain beyond question."   true       On Thursday, The Wall Street Journal first reported on an email Rader sent to Edward Reines, a lawyer at law firm Weil Gotshal & Manges, praising his work. Reines represents class="mandelbrot_refrag"> software company class="mandelbrot_refrag"> Microsoft Corp a

Kerry to testify in June before U.S. House panel on Benghazi

Secretary of State John Kerry has agreed to testify on June 12 before a House committee investigating the 2012 attack on the U.S. diplomatic compound in Benghazi, class="mandelbrot_refrag"> Libya , resolving a contentious dispute with Republicans in Congress. _0"> Kerry had been subpoenaed to testify on May 29, but the State Department said prior commitments would prevent his appearance. Kerry offered two other dates and the House of Representatives Oversight Committee accepted his offer to appear on June 12. In a letter to the committee, the State Department said if Kerry testifies before the Oversight panel, it should remove any need for him to appear before a House Select Committee that was formed recently to look into the Benghazi incident.   true       Four Americans, including U.S. Ambassador Christopher Stevens, were killed in the attack. House Republicans have launched multiple investigations into the Obama administration's handling of diplomatic

U.S. Republicans map campaign attack plan on veterans scandal

Republicans who hope to wrest control of the U.S. Senate from Democrats see medical care delays for veterans as a potent line of attack and are devising ways to keep the issue in the news in the months leading up to the November congressional elections. They are planning a long summer of investigations and hearings on problems at the Veterans Affairs agency to highlight what they say is a pattern of mismanagement in President class="mandelbrot_refrag"> Barack Obama's administration. Republicans have tread lightly so far to avoid appearing callous in exploiting an issue involving allegations that veterans died while waiting for VA care. But lawmakers, aides and campaign strategists in the party say they are now ready to go on the offensive, attacking Obama for his slow response to the scandal.   true       They say the VA care delays and alleged cover-ups are another blunder for Obama, equal to the botched roll out of his class="mandelbrot_refrag">

Behind major U.S. case against shareholder suits, a tale of two professors

For two months last summer, Stanford Law School professor Joseph Grundfest locked himself away in his home office in California's Portola Valley. Grundfest's house overlooks the Santa Cruz Mountains, but his attention was fixed on the piles of paper - mostly U.S. Supreme Court opinions and Congressional reports from the 1930s - stacked on his desk and the surrounding floor. Grundfest researched and wrote for weeks with monastic obsessiveness, speaking to hardly anyone but his research assistants and his wife, who made sure he was eating. When he emerged in August, Grundfest - an influential former Commissioner at the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission who now sits on the board of the private equity firm KKR & Co - had in hand a 78-page paper larded with more than 400 footnotes. His aim was nothing less than to destroy securities fraud class action lawsuits by shareholders, which have been the bane of many businesses in the U.S. since the Supreme Court endorsed the c

More frugal U.S. military forgoes Europe golf course, skeet range

The U.S. military is shedding European real estate including a golf course, skeet range and hotel, as well as facilities like a munitions storage facility, as it looks to save cash during a U.S. budget crunch, officials said on Friday. _0"> Rear Admiral John Kirby stressed the decisions to return the sites to host nations in class="mandelbrot_refrag"> Germany , class="mandelbrot_refrag"> Italy and elsewhere would not affect the U.S. military's ability field personnel in Europe -- a sensitive subject as the class="mandelbrot_refrag"> Ukraine crisis causes the worst stand-off between class="mandelbrot_refrag"> Russia and the West since the Cold War. "I think it's pretty self-evident that it doesn't at all change our military capability on the continent or degrade in any way our readiness to meet our security commitments there in Europe," Kirby told reporters.   true       He said the decision to

U.S. Republican seeks private health care for waiting veterans

The Republican congressman overseeing a U.S. House panel investigation into delays in veterans' treatment demanded on Friday that Veteran Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki allow patients to seek emergency private health care. _0"> The VA's Inspector General's office is also investigating allegations that long waiting times were covered up at some 26 locations across the United States, including claims by VA doctors in Phoenix that 40 veterans died while waiting months for appointments. The controversy spread as lawmakers left Washington for the Memorial Day holiday on Monday, which honors veterans. Republicans began mapping out a campaign strategy for November elections that highlights the scandal as another example of Obama administration mismanagement.   true       Representative Jeff Miller, chairman of the House Veterans Affairs Committee, asked Shinseki in a letter to allow veterans waiting more than 30 days for an appointment to seek care from private pract

With HUD choice, Obama brings Latino Castro on to national stage

President class="mandelbrot_refrag"> Barack Obama elevated fast-rising Latino politician Julian Castro to the national stage on Friday, nominating the San Antonio mayor as the next secretary of housing and urban development. The move automatically puts the 39-year-old Mexican-American in the mix of speculation about who might be the Democrats' vice presidential nominee in 2016. Obama picked Castro to fill the position that will be left by current HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan, who Obama nominated as the next White House budget director.   true       The Castro appointment is tantalizing politically because it brings a youthful Latino with star power to Washington. Castro and his twin brother, Democratic Congressman Joaquin Castro, rose from humble roots. Their grandmother worked as a maid, cook and babysitter to have enough money to help raise a family. "To be your nominee, class="mandelbrot_refrag"> President Obama , is simply a blessing to m

U.S. Judge allows Michigan Rep. Conyers to appear on ballot

A federal judge ruled on Friday that longtime Detroit-area Democratic U.S. Representative John Conyers should appear on an August primary ballot, saying Michigan registration rules that had disqualified him may violate his constitutional rights. Conyers' bid for re-election had suffered a blow on Friday when state officials said errors in his nominating petitions left the 85-year-old politician without enough valid signatures to appear on the primary ballot. He had been required to submit at least 1,000 valid signatures. But he fell short after hundreds of signatures were thrown out because they were gathered by people who were not registered voters in the state.   true       In ordering him onto the ballot, U.S. District Court Judge Matthew Leitman granted a preliminary injunction against a Michigan law requiring that petition circulators be registered state voters, saying the measure burdened Conyers' free speech and assembly rights. "The state's interest in co

U.S. Republican seeks private health care for waiting veterans

The Republican congressman overseeing a U.S. House panel investigation into delays in veterans' treatment demanded on Friday that Veteran Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki allow patients to seek emergency private health care. The VA's Inspector General's office is also investigating allegations that long waiting times were covered up at some 26 locations across the United States, including claims by VA doctors in Phoenix that 40 veterans died while waiting months for appointments. The controversy spread as lawmakers left Washington for the Memorial Day holiday on Monday, which honors veterans. Republicans began mapping out a campaign strategy for November elections that highlights the scandal as another example of Obama administration mismanagement.   true       Representative Jeff Miller, chairman of the House Veterans Affairs Committee, asked Shinseki in a letter to allow veterans waiting more than 30 days for an appointment to seek care from private practitioners paid

Boy Scouts leader Gates won't press gay adult membership issue

Former U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates said Friday he would not press during his term as Boy Scouts of America president for an end to the group's ban on gay adult leaders for fear of causing permanent damage to the century old organization. Gates, who helped end the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy that barred gays from serving openly in the U.S. military while he was defense secretary, said he strongly supported the Boy Scouts vote last year to lift its ban on gay youth members. He also said he personally supported going further, but would oppose efforts to reopen the issue in his two years as president. His selection had fueled speculation that Gates would seek to end the ban on gay adult scout leaders.   true       "Given the strong feelings - the passion - involved on both sides of this matter, I believe strongly that to reopen the membership issue or try to take last year's decision to the next step would irreparably fracture and perhaps even

Republican star Mia Love gets second chance to make political history

Utah's Mia Love, a Republican darling who could become the first conservative black woman elected to U.S. Congress, is getting a second, and likely better, chance to make history after narrowly losing to a popular incumbent Democrat in 2012. Love, 39, is a Mormon mother of three who is upending stereotypes about the state and its predominant faith. She locked up her party's nomination to vie for an open seat in Utah's 4th District at a state convention last month with an overwhelming 78 percent of the vote. The seat became available when Jim Matheson retired after seven terms in Congress as the heavily conservative state's lone Democrat in Washington. Two years ago, the politically savvy son of a beloved Utah governor beat Love by fewer than 800 votes. If Love wins this time, she would become an unlikely champion in Washington of staunchly conservative views - limited government, fiscal discipline and state's rights. The daughter of Haitian immigrants is pro-li

Obama pledges to uphold 'sacred trust' with U.S. veterans

At the end of a week rocked by allegations of mismanagement and cover-ups at the Department of Veterans Affairs, President class="mandelbrot_refrag"> Barack Obama used his weekly address on Saturday to vow again to make sure veterans get the necessary medical care. _0"> "Let's keep working to make sure that our country upholds our sacred trust to all who've served," Obama said in his address, which aired on Memorial Day holiday weekend, when Americans honor their war dead. "In recent weeks, we've seen again how much more our nation has to do to make sure all our veterans get the care they deserve," he said.   true       The VA said on Saturday it is taking steps nationally and locally to ensure veterans receive timely care, including providing access to private facilities when necessary. "Each of our facilities is either enhancing their clinic capacity to help veterans get care sooner, or where we cannot increase capacit

Obama to lay out defense of foreign policy in West Point speech

Stung by criticism, President class="mandelbrot_refrag"> Barack Obama will use a speech on Wednesday to launch a sweeping defense of his approach to foreign policy, one that he will say is reliant on multilateral diplomacy instead of military interventions. Obama is to deliver the commencement address at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, New York, the first in a series of speeches that he and top advisers will use to explain U.S. foreign policy in the aftermath of conflicts in class="mandelbrot_refrag"> Iraq and class="mandelbrot_refrag"> Afghanistan and lay out a broad vision for the rest of his presidency. The president has come under withering fire in recent months for what his critics say is a passive approach to foreign policy, one that has allowed Russian President Vladimir Putin to flex his muscle in class="mandelbrot_refrag"> Ukraine , and left the Syrian civil war to fester and class="mandelbrot_refrag

Senator to renew gun control push after California shooting spree

Senator Richard Blumenthal said on Sunday he wanted to revive gun control legislation rejected by Congress in the wake of the 2012 Newtown, Connecticut, school massacre, saying it could have helped prevent this weekend's deadly California shooting spree. _0"> Blumenthal, a Democrat from Connecticut, said on CBS's "Face the Nation" program the legislation, which failed last year, could be revised to emphasize the mental condition of potential gun buyers. "Obviously, not every kind of gun violence is going to be prevented by laws out of Washington," he said.   true       "But at least we can make a start and I am going to urge that we bring back those bills, maybe reconfigure them, center on mental health, which is a point where we can agree that we need more resources to make the country healthier and to make sure that these kinds of horrific, insane, mad occurrences are stopped. "And the Congress will be complicit if we fail in that,&

Anti-Obama author D'Souza pleads guilty to campaign finance violation

Conservative author and filmmaker Dinesh D'Souza pleaded guilty on Tuesday to a campaign class="mandelbrot_refrag"> finance law violation, avoiding a trial that had been expected to begin the same day in a Manhattan federal court. D'Souza, known for his biting criticism of President class="mandelbrot_refrag"> Barack Obama , pleaded guilty to one criminal count of making illegal contributions in the names of others. A second count concerning the making of false statements is expected to be dismissed once he is sentenced. The plea came four months after Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara charged D'Souza with using "straw donors" to give funds in 2012 to Republican Wendy Long's U.S. Senate campaign in New York. Long, who met D'Souza while they were students in the 1980s, lost to Democratic incumbent Kirsten Gillibrand.   true       "I knew that causing a campaign contribution to be made in the name of another was wron

Two men in plot to kill singer Joss Stone have jail terms cut

Two men found guilty of plotting to murder and rob British singer Joss Stone because they were angered by her links to the British royal family had their jail terms cut on Tuesday by an appeal court. _0"> Kevin Liverpool and Junior Bradshaw were jailed in April 2013 after a court heard of their plan to behead the Grammy Award-winning singer before throwing her body in a river near her rural home in southwest England. The pair had a deep hatred for Stone because she had performed at a charity event organized by Princes William and Harry and she had attended the 2011 wedding of William and the Duchess of Cambridge, formerly Kate Middleton.   true       Liverpool, then 35, was jailed for life with a minimum term of 10 years and eight months but the three Court of Appeal judges reduced his minimum term to 6-1/2 years on Tuesday, a court spokesman said. Bradshaw, then 32, received an 18-year jail sentence which was reduced to 10 years. The two men, both from Manchester in nor

Casey Kasem's daughter wins new rights to care for him: report

A judge on Tuesday ruled a daughter of Casey Kasem can travel to Washington state, where the ailing radio personality is believed to be staying, and make medical decisions on his behalf, City News Service reported. _0"> The decision by Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Daniel Murphy in favor of Kasem's daughter, Kerri Kasem, expands on powers she had been given last week when Murphy named her as the 82-year-old radio DJ's temporary conservator, according to City News Service. Kasem, who is known for his weekly top 40 countdown show and for being the voice of Shaggy on the "Scooby-Doo" cartoons, was located in Kitsap County, Washington state, last week after attorneys for Kerri Kasem reported they did not know where he had been taken.   true       Kasem suffers from a form of dementia called Lewy body disease, and his children have been involved in a legal tussle with their stepmother, Jean Kasem, over visitation and caretaking for the radio personality.

Paul McCartney expected to make full recovery from illness

Former Beatle Paul McCartney, who canceled a series of concerts in class="mandelbrot_refrag"> Japan and class="mandelbrot_refrag"> South Korea , is expected to make a full recovery after being treated in a Tokyo hospital for a viral infection, a spokeswoman for the British musician said on Thursday. _0"> McCartney, 71, postponed two shows in Tokyo earlier this week due to illness, and on Thursday canceled more concerts due to take place in class="mandelbrot_refrag"> Japan this week and class="mandelbrot_refrag"> South Korea next week. "Since contracting a virus last week that led to the postponement of tour dates, Paul received successful medical treatment at a hospital in Tokyo," according to a statement issued by his spokeswoman Perri Cohen.   true       "He will make a complete recovery and has been ordered to take a few days rest. Paul has been extremely moved by all the messages and well wishes

A Minute With: Emma Thompson on comedy, bathing suits and success

For Oscar-winning actress Emma Thompson, donning a bathing suit on the French Riviera alongside Pierce Brosnan in the British romantic comedy "The Love Punch" was too good to pass up. The film, directed by Joel Hopkins and opening on Friday in the United States, follows divorced suburban London couple Kate and Richard as they attempt a diamond heist in class="mandelbrot_refrag"> France after their pension fund goes bust. Thompson, 55, known for roles in period dramas "Howards End" and "Sense and Sensibility," spoke about her work in comedy, her early influences and success.   true       Q: What drew you to "The Love Punch"? A: The opportunity to appear in a bathing costume has been something sadly missing from my CV. I said to my agent, "Please, God, get me something where I can get into a bathing costume." And this is what came up. Also, I've worked with the director before and I like him very much, and the id