Politics

Political news from WNPR

During an emotional ceremony and amid popular cheers, the Confederate battle flag was brought down from a 30-foot flagpole that sits on the grounds of the Statehouse in Columbia, S.C.

The historic ceremony marked the end of an era and was conducted by South Carolina state troopers, who marched in formation in front of a cheering crowd of hundreds.

Slowly, the troopers cranked the flag down from the pole, folded it, rolled it up and marched out.

The crowd chanted, "USA! USA! USA!"

Alan Grinberg / Creative Commons

Lawmakers in Congress are debating the Student Success Act, which would replace and update the No Child Left Behind law. The Republican House bill passed without the support of Connecticut lawmakers, or any Democrats at all.

Peter Patau / Flickr Creative Commons

For over a decade now, when we've heard about military drones, we've likely been hearing about the Predator-- that peculiar, pilotless aircraft, patrolling the deserts and preying on its targets below. Indeed the iconic image of this modern day killer and tales of its near-autonomous deeds have been featured in the news, magazines and even Hollywood movies.

c-George/iStock / Thinkstock

Connecticut’s new rules for its Rainy Day Fund could be a model for other states — that according to a new study by the Pew Charitable Trusts. 

Lexcie / Creative Commons

Governor Dannel Malloy said he's in active conversations with U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx and Amtrak about the New Haven-Hartford-Springfield commuter rail line scheduled to begin operation in late 2016.

Chion Wolf / WNPR

Former Connecticut U.S. Senator Chris Dodd's name is being floated as a possible candidate to become the first U.S. ambassador to Cuba in more than half a century.

(This post was last updated at 8:44 a.m. ET.)

Just hours before a self-imposed deadline, Iran and six world powers said they would not extend a deadline but they would keep working toward a deal over Iran's nuclear program for the next few days.

Reporting from Vienna, where the talks are taking place, NPR's Peter Kenyon says both sides — Iran and the so-called P5+1, which consists of the U.K., China, France, Germany, Russia and the United States — are saying they will not be pressured into accepting a bad deal. Peter filed this report for our Newscast unit:

Updated at 5:26 p.m. ET

President Obama has warned that the campaign against the so-called Islamic State "will not be quick" as he cited gains made in Iraq and Syria by the coalition fighting the militant group.

"This will not be quick," Obama said at the Pentagon. "This is a long-term campaign."

Chion Wolf / WNPR

Connecticut's tax commissioner said his agency has unearthed about $85.8 million in uncollected tax revenue. 

Chion Wolf / WNPR

While all the other members of Connecticut's congressional delegation voted against it, Jim Himes has been a strong supporter of "fast track" trade authority, which allows the president to negotiate with 11 other Pacific nations.

Greece and its European Union partners are beginning to sort out what's next after the country voted en masse to reject a German-led bailout plan that would have given the country more credit to pay its debt in exchange for tough austerity measures.

Updated at 2:30 a.m. ET Monday:

Greek Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis has resigned. According to The Associated Press: Varoufakis was told shortly after the Greek referendum result that the some eurozone finance ministers and Greece's other creditors would prefer he not attend the ministers' meetings. He issued an announcement on Monday saying the prime minister had judged that his resignation "might help achieve a deal" and that he was leaving the finance ministry for this reason.

Updated at 8:40 p.m. ET Sunday:

Former U.S. Sen. Jim Webb has become the fifth Democrat to announce he is seeking the party's nomination for president.

"[Our] country needs a fresh approach to solving the problems that confront us and too often unnecessarily divide us," Webb said in a statement. "We need to shake the hold of these shadow elites on our political process."

Webb, 69, joins former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, former Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley and former Rhode Island Gov. Lincoln Chafee in the 2016 contest.

Harriet Jones / WNPR

In the implementer bill passed today, the state legislature updated and expanded upon the legislation, passed last summer, that established the Connecticut Port Authority.

Governor Dannel Malloy signed a bill creating the statewide Port Authority last June. The language in the implementer bill updated and expanded on the previously passed legislation.

ignition_interlock / Creative Commons

Beginning July 1, Connecticut residents convicted for the first time of driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs will not only have their licenses suspended for 45 days -- they’ll also have to install a breathalyzer on the ignition of their car for at least six months.

City of New Haven

State and federal prosecutors in Connecticut have joined law enforcement officials, New Haven's mayor, and members of the city's clergy in issuing what they call a "statement of conscience" decrying racial violence and vowing to help prevent it. 

President Obama on Wednesday announced the formal resumption of diplomatic relations between the U.S. and Cuba after more than half a century of hostilities. The two countries have agreed to reopen embassies in Washington and Havana.

Standing in the White House Rose Garden, Obama called it "a historic step forward in our efforts to normalize relations with the Cuban government and people."

Obama said U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry will visit Havana this summer to "proudly raise the flag over our embassy once more."

At the end of World War II with the continent in ruins, Winston Churchill famously proclaimed, "We must build a United States of Europe." He believed such a union would bring an end to centuries of European wars.

For 70 years Europe has been engaged in a political and economic quest to make that happen. But many in Greece, such as Athens cabdriver Jordan Repanidis, feel this historic reshaping of the Western world has a stranglehold on their country.

California Gov. Jerry Brown has signed off on one of the strictest school vaccination laws in the country a day after the state Legislature gave the measure final approval.

Obama To Expand Overtime Pay For Millions

Jun 30, 2015

President Obama announced this week that the Labor Department will expand overtime pay, in a move the administration estimates would impact 5 million U.S. workers. That would double the income threshold at which employers can avoid paying overtime.

Right now, only salaried employees earning less $23,660 a year are eligible for overtime. This rule would raise that threshold so that employees making up to $50,660 a year would get paid overtime.

CT Senate Democrats / Flickr

The Connecticut General Assembly returned to Hartford for a special session Monday, and while the state Senate spent the afternoon deliberating the two budget bills, the House of Representatives took up the "excessive force bill."

janp013/iStock / Thinkstock

Connecticut lawmakers passed two bills on Monday aimed at reforming the state's criminal justice system. 

Chilli Head / Creative Commons

One man was killed and three others were shot at a basketball tournament at a Hartford school over the weekend. But city school officials now say the event didn't have a permit or the required security. 

Chion Wolf / WNPR

Governor Dannel Malloy has vetoed three pieces of education legislation, including a bill to increase the number of student seats on the University of Connecticut's Board of Trustees.

Michelle Lee / Creative Commons

State lawmakers will consider rolling back some tax increases they approved earlier this month as they return to the Capitol for a special session.

The session is scheduled for Monday.

Jeff Cohen / WNPR

Mayor Pedro Segarra is making his case for reelection this fall. But his fundraising emails still contain some questionable numbers. 

Cliff / Creative Commons

The Connecticut Elections Enforcement Commission is asking the Connecticut attorney general's office to enforce in court the panel's subpoena seeking records from the Democratic State Central Committee.

Jeff Cohen / WNPR

U.S. Senator Chris Murphy applauded today's Supreme Court decision upholding the part of the Affordable Care Act that allows the government to subsidize health care for the poor and middle class. 

Official White House portrait of Thomas Jefferson; James Tooley, Jr. portrait of Andrew Jackson / Creative Commons

Like several other states, Connecticut's Democratic Party hosts its annual Jefferson Jackson Bailey Dinner next week. Like others, the party is also revisiting the name of this fundraiser.

The event is named after national historical figures Thomas Jefferson and Andrew Jackson. State political operative John Moran Bailey's name is added to Connecticut's dinner.

The Confederate battle flag and three other symbols of the Confederacy were taken down Wednesday from the Capitol grounds in Montgomery, Ala., after their removal was ordered by Gov. Robert Bentley amid a growing backlash against the symbols following last week's racially motivated mass shooting at a black church in South Carolina.

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