Review Category : Poltics

US Diplomats Can’t Participate in Ice Bucket Challenge

iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) — With the exception of the U.S. Ambassador to Thailand who didn’t realize the rules, you won’t see U.S. diplomats taking part in the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge.

State Department spokesperson Marie Harf told reporters at Thursday’s briefing that taking part in the challenge violates the restrictions placed on high level U.S. government employees.

“Federal government ethics rules prevent us from using our public offices such as, high public officers such as ambassadors for private gain no matter how worthy the cause is and this is of course a worthy cause,” Harf said.

“For that reason high ranking state department officials are unfortunately unable to participate in the ice bucket challenge,” she noted.

Hard added that the State Department wishes the ALS Foundation success.

“Obviously it’s a very important cause,” she said.

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DEA to Unveil New Restrictions on Popular Painkillers

Photodisc/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) — The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration will officially publish rules on Friday to tighten restrictions on the most common form of painkillers.

The stricter rules are for drugs containing hydrocodone, which is in many of the most widely-used painkillers, including Vicodin and Lortab.

Now with the goal of cutting down on abuse, the drugs are being put into a tougher, more restrictive category. Patients will be limited to one 90-day supply and then will have to see a medical professional to get a refill.

Additionally, in many states, prescribing authority will be limited to doctors only and not nurses or physicians assistants any longer.

The new rules will take effect in about about a month and a half.

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‘Savages’ Who Executed Foley Will Be Nabbed, FBI Chief Vows

Official White House Photo by Pete Souza(WASHINGTON) — FBI director James Comey said Wednesday that the “full force” of the U.S. government will come to bear on the “savages” responsible for the kidnapping and gruesome murder of journalist James Foley.

“I’m very, very, sorry to say that these savages have turned it into a homicide investigation,” Comey said, speaking to reporters in Denver.

“So we’ll stay on it. We’ll work with our law enforcement, our intelligence and our military partners to try to bring justice to the Foley family and bring the full force of the United States to bear on these savages,” he said.

Foley was on assignment in Syria for the GlobalPost news outlet when he was kidnapped in November 2012.

Comey said he is concerned that the masked executioner seen in a video clip carrying out Foley’s murder speaks with a British accent, one of “thousands” of westerners Comey says have joined terror groups like ISIS.

“These people may have western passports. That’s a concern to Europe,” Comey said, adding, “it’s just a hop across The Pond to the United States.”

Comey said he has met with Foley’s family and says he is confident his killers will eventually face justice.

“We are very, very patient and dogged people,” said Comey. “We will never forget.”

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Attorney General Eric Holder in Ferguson Recalls Being ‘Angry’ After Police Encounters

Official White House Photo by Pete Souza(FERGUSON, Mo.) — Attorney General Eric Holder went to the strife torn town of Ferguson on Wednesday where he met with the family of slain teenager Michael Brown and talked about his own run-ins with police that left him “angry and upset.”

The nation’s top law enforcement official, who is the first African-American named to the post, said he hoped his presence and interest in the case would have a, “calming influence on the area.”

Ferguson has been roiled by angry protests, rock and bottle throwing and some looting since Brown, 18, was shot and killed by Police Officer Darren Wilson on Aug. 9. Brown was African-American and Wilson is white.

Holder told people in Ferguson that he understood their mistrust of police.

“I am the attorney general of the United States. But I am also a black man,” Holder said. “I’ve confronted this myself.”

The AG recalled being stopped by police on the way to a movie in Georgetown, a well-to-do suburb of Washington, DC.

“Police car comes driving up, flashes his lights, yells, ‘Where you going? Hold it,’” Holder told residents. “Now my cousin started mouthing off. I’m like, ‘This is not where we want to go. Keep quiet.’”

“At the time that [the police officer] stopped me, I was a federal prosecutor. I wasn’t a kid. I was a federal prosecutor. I worked at the United States Department of Justice,” he said. Holder said the encounter left him “angry and upset.”

The attorney general also described having his car searched during routine traffic stops on the New Jersey Turnpike.

“I remember how humiliating that was and how angry I was,” he said.

Holder, who also met with local FBI agents and justice department personnel, promised a “thorough” federal investigation.

“My hope is that will give people some degree of confidence,” he said.

The AG congratulated Missouri Highway Police Capt. Ron Johnson, who was called in to take charge of policing in Ferguson.

“My man, you are the man,” Holder told Johnson. “You’re making a real difference.”

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US Military Launched Secret Rescue Operation for James Foley, Other Americans

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) — U.S. special operations forces early this summer launched a secret, major rescue operation in Syria to save James Foley and a number of Americans held by the extremist group ISIS, but the mission failed because the hostages weren’t there, senior administration officials told ABC News Wednesday.

President Obama authorized the “substantial and complex” rescue operation after the officials said a “broad collection of intelligence” led the U.S. to believe the hostages were being held in a specific location in the embattled Middle Eastern nation.

When “several dozen” U.S. special operation members landed in Syria, however, they were met with gunfire and “while on site, it became apparent the hostages were not there,” one of the officials said.

The special operators engaged in a firefight in which ISIS suffered “a good number” casualties, the official said, while the American forces suffered only a single minor injury. The American forces were able to get back on helicopters and escape.

“Intelligence is not a perfect science,” the senior official said. As to how the intelligence failed and why the hostages were not there, the official said, “The truth is, we don’t know. And that’s the truth. When we got there, they weren’t there. We don’t know why that is.”

Much about the daring mission itself remains a secret — officials said they did not want to reveal too much about the rescue attempt for fear of spoiling future efforts.

“It was conducted, but was not ultimately successful,” a senior U.S. official told ABC News.

The operation was what senior government officials described as a major undertaking — involving special operations forces from multiple branches of the military, helicopters, fixed-wing airplanes, and surveillance aircraft.

A video showing the brutal murder of James Foley apparently at the hands of an ISIS fighter appeared online Tuesday.

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US Military Launched Secret Rescue Operation for James Foley, Other Americans

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) — U.S. special operations forces early this summer launched a secret, major rescue operation in Syria to save James Foley and a number of Americans held by the extremist group ISIS, but the mission failed because the hostages weren’t there, senior administration officials told ABC News Wednesday.

President Obama authorized the “substantial and complex” rescue operation after the officials said a “broad collection of intelligence” led the U.S. to believe the hostages were being held in a specific location in the embattled Middle Eastern nation.

When “several dozen” U.S. special operation members landed in Syria, however, they were met with gunfire and “while on site, it became apparent the hostages were not there,” one of the officials said.

The special operators engaged in a firefight in which ISIS suffered “a good number” casualties, the official said, while the American forces suffered only a single minor injury. The American forces were able to get back on helicopters and escape.

“Intelligence is not a perfect science,” the senior official said. As to how the intelligence failed and why the hostages were not there, the official said, “The truth is, we don’t know. And that’s the truth. When we got there, they weren’t there. We don’t know why that is.”

Much about the daring mission itself remains a secret — officials said they did not want to reveal too much about the rescue attempt for fear of spoiling future efforts.

“It was conducted, but was not ultimately successful,” a senior U.S. official told ABC News.

The operation was what senior government officials described as a major undertaking — involving special operations forces from multiple branches of the military, helicopters, fixed-wing airplanes, and surveillance aircraft.

A video showing the brutal murder of James Foley apparently at the hands of an ISIS fighter appeared online Tuesday.

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Kerry Condemns Murder of James Foley, Says ISIS Must Be Destroyed

Credit: US Department of State(WASHINGTON) — U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry called the murder of American James Foley at the hands of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, video of which was posted online Tuesday, heartbreaking and unfair.

In a statement released Wednesday, Kerry recalled that in 2012, Foley was captured while on assignment in Syria. Kerry was a senator at that time and had the opportunity to meet Foley’s family. “The sheer unfairness and unlikely odds that this young journalist would again find himself in captivity in another conflict was almost unimaginable,” Kerry said.

“There is evil in this world,” Kerry said in light of Tuesday’s video, “and we all have come face to face with it once again.” Also on Wednesday, Kerry tweeted strong words for ISIS.

ISIL must be destroyed/will be crushed.

— John Kerry (@JohnKerry) August 20, 2014

“The world must know that the United States of America will never back down in the face of such evil,” Kerry said in a statement. “[ISIS] and the wickedness it represents must be destroyed, and those responsible for this heinous, vicious atrocity will be held accountable.”

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Kerry Condemns Murder of James Foley, Says ISIS Must Be Destroyed

Credit: US Department of State(WASHINGTON) — U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry called the murder of American James Foley at the hands of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, video of which was posted online Tuesday, heartbreaking and unfair.

In a statement released Wednesday, Kerry recalled that in 2012, Foley was captured while on assignment in Syria. Kerry was a senator at that time and had the opportunity to meet Foley’s family. “The sheer unfairness and unlikely odds that this young journalist would again find himself in captivity in another conflict was almost unimaginable,” Kerry said.

“There is evil in this world,” Kerry said in light of Tuesday’s video, “and we all have come face to face with it once again.” Also on Wednesday, Kerry tweeted strong words for ISIS.

ISIL must be destroyed/will be crushed.

— John Kerry (@JohnKerry) August 20, 2014

“The world must know that the United States of America will never back down in the face of such evil,” Kerry said in a statement. “[ISIS] and the wickedness it represents must be destroyed, and those responsible for this heinous, vicious atrocity will be held accountable.”

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Supreme Court Blocks Virginia Gay Marriage, for Now

iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) — The Supreme Court on Wednesday blocked same-sex marriages from going forward in Virginia, putting on hold a lower court ruling from last month that struck down the state’s strict ban on gay marriage.

The action by the high court means that gay marriages, which were set to begin Thursday, will not go forward while supporters of the state ban appeal the issue to the Supreme Court.

The Supreme Court acted on an application filed by Michele B. McQuigg, a state clerk who had petitioned for a stay pending appeal.

In an one-page order, with no noted dissents, the Supreme Court granted the request.

Here is the text of the order:

ORDER IN PENDING CASE 14A196 MCQUIGG, MICHELE V. BOSTIC, TIMOTHY B., ET AL. The application for stay presented to The Chief Justice and by him referred to the Court is granted, and the issuance of the mandate of the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit in case No. 14-1167, is stayed pending the timely filing and disposition of a petition for a writ of certiorari. Should the petition for a writ of certiorari be denied, this stay shall terminate automatically. In the event the petition for a writ of certiorari is granted, the stay shall terminate upon the sending down of the judgment of this Court.

While Mark R. Herring, Virginia’s attorney general, has argued that the state ban is unconstitutional, he urged the Supreme Court to grant the stay. In court briefs, Herring said it was “painful to keep Virginia’s same-sex couples and their children waiting,” but that the “balance of hardships” favored a stay.

Herring expressed concern that if gay marriages were allowed to go forward and then the Supreme Court were to ultimately uphold Virginia’s ban, hundreds or thousands of marriages would be “rendered doubtful.”

“Not only might their marriages have to be unwound,” Herring argued, “but all of the legal relationships and transactions of third parties who pass through their orbit would have to be untangled.”

The court granted a similar request regarding Utah’s ban in January.

So far this year, two federal appeals courts have struck state bans on gay marriage.

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Rick Perry Pleads Not Guilty to Felony Charges

Stewart F. House/Getty Images(AUSTIN, Texas) — Texas Gov. Rick Perry on Wednesday pleaded not guilty to two felony charges on which he was indicted relating to a 2013 veto threat.

Perry’s attorneys entered the not guilty plea Wednesday morning and waived his formal arraignment scheduled for Friday morning.

“The waiver of arraignment contains the plea of not guilty,” David Botsford, an attorney for Perry, said.

Perry turned himself in to authorities Tuesday at the Travis County Courthouse, getting his fingerprints taken and smiling for a mug shot.

The two felony counts — abuse of official capacity and coercion of a public official — originate from Perry’s threat to veto $7.5 million in funding for Texas’ public integrity unit after District Attorney Rosemary Lehmberg refused to resign following a 2013 DWI conviction.

Perry will travel to Washington, D.C., Thursday for a speech on the border crisis before heading to New Hampshire, where he has events scheduled for Friday and Saturday.

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