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Special Report: How the U.S. made its Putin problem worse

By David Rohde and Arshad Mohammed WASHINGTON AND NEW YORK (Reuters) - In September 2001, as the U.S. reeled from the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, Vladimir Putin supported Washington's imminent invasion of Afghanistan in ways that would have been inconceivable during the Cold War.

Special Report: How the U.S. made its Putin problem worse

By David Rohde and Arshad Mohammed WASHINGTON AND NEW YORK (Reuters) - In September 2001, as the U.S. reeled from the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, Vladimir Putin supported Washington's imminent invasion of Afghanistan in ways that would have been inconceivable during the Cold War.

Obama budget would boost U.S. tax revenue, cut deficits: CBO

By David Lawder WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Barack Obama's fiscal 2015 budget request would boost U.S. tax revenue by nearly $1.4 trillion over 10 years if fully enacted, cutting deficits by $1.05 trillion while funding new spending, the Congressional Budget Office said on Thursday.

Obama argues healthcare law is working, rejects Republican criticism

By Steve Holland WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Barack Obama mounted a vigorous effort on Thursday to show his signature healthcare law is working and dismissed Republican critics who are using flaws in Obamacare to campaign for ousting Democrats from the U.S. Congress in November. Appearing in the White House briefing room days before leaving the national stage for a week-long trip to Asia, Obama used a news conference to make the case that the Affordable Care Act had mended nicely from its disastrous October rollout.

Obama : stop saying sorry for Obamacare

US President Barack Obama told fellow Democrats to stop saying sorry for his health care law Thursday, revealing that eight million people had now signed up for insurance. Obama said it was also time for Republicans to accept that the Affordable Care Act -- the cornerstone of his domestic legacy, which was plagued by a botched rollout and fierce political controversy -- works and is here to stay. "I think that Democrats should forcefully defend and be proud" of helping millions of people, Obama said at a press conference.

GM could benefit, too, from an ignition-switch victims fund

By Jessica Dye (Reuters) - If General Motors Co creates a fund to compensate victims of its faulty ignition switches, an option that a top legal adviser suggested it is exploring, the company could give up strong defenses to a wave of lawsuits. But it could stand to gain even more. By setting up a fund, GM could avert years of civil litigation and limit its financial and reputational harm.

China says one-fifth of its farmland polluted, mostly with toxins from industrialization

BEIJING, China - Faced with growing public anger about a poisonous environment, China's government released a yearslong study that shows nearly one-fifth of the country's farmland is contaminated with toxic metals, a stunning indictment of unfettered industrialization under the Communist Party's authoritarian rule. The report, previously deemed so sensitive it was classified as a state secret, names the heavy metals cadmium, nickel and arsenic as the top contaminants.

Japan, U.S. trade talks in stalemate, ministers to meet again: Japan

By Krista Hughes and Kaori Kaneko WASHINGTON/TOKYO (Reuters) - U.S.-Japan talks aimed at a trade deal seen as vital to a broader regional pact are in stalemate, Japan's economy minister said, as negotiators struggle to narrow gaps ahead of a summit between the countries' leaders. A U.S.-Japan agreement is critical to the U.S.-led Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), a 12-nation grouping that would stretch from Asia to Latin America. The TPP is central to U.S. President Barack Obama's policy of expanding America's presence in Asia.

Chinese dream trumps environment as cars sales boom

When accountant Ariel Wang bought a new car a few weeks ago, environmental protection was far from her mind even though smog has reached crisis levels in China's commercial hub Shanghai. She settled on a sturdy sport utility vehicle, the Audi Q5, as the ideal family car for her husband's daily commute to work and transport for her young daughter at the weekends. "We didn't really think about environmental protection, as long as the car's emissions aren't too high," she said. "Look at it this way -- whether we use a car or a taxi, it's the same effect."

Obama: Ukraine diplomacy holds hope but sanctions ready

By Mark Felsenthal WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Barack Obama said on Thursday that talks between Russia and Western powers aimed at ending tensions in Ukraine have potential but warned that the United States and its allies are prepared to impose more sanctions on Russia if the situation fails to improve. "I don't think we can be sure of anything at this point," he told reporters at a news conference. "There is the possibility, the prospect, that diplomacy may de-escalate the situation."
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