Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro on Saturday ordered the United States, whose government he accuses of conspiring against him, to immediately reduce the staff of its Caracas embassy from approximately 100 to a level similar to the 20 that his government has in Washington.
Spain’s King Juan Carlos said Saturday that Uruguay is an example of democratic coexistence, at a ceremony during which he recalled his visit here in 1983 when this South American country struggled to end its dictatorship and support its democratic parties.
A Truth Commission reviewing crimes against human rights during the 1984-1985 Brazilian dictatorship began investigating Volkswagen and other companies for their suspected ties with the repressors.
Mexico launched the second phase of its Round One oil and gas offerings, saying it will put nine shallow-water fields in the Gulf of Mexico up for auction.
Turkish writer Yasar Kemal, considered one of the great literary figures of his country, died Saturday after spending more than a month in hospital, the CNNTurk network reported. He was 92.
Roger Federer captured his seventh Dubai Tennis Championships title on Saturday, using strong serving to defeat top seed and world No. 1 Novak Djokovic of Serbia 6-3, 7-5.
Even some Republicans say party leaders are on a perilous path with a very public ideological struggle only highlighting the GOP’s inability to pass contested legislation and possibly worsening its weak relationship with Hispanic voters.
Environment Department official Rafael Pacchiano said Friday that the $37 million plan will go into effect later in March and will last at least two years, after which it will be evaluated.
Guatemalan pop star Ricardo Arjona kicked off the U.S. swing of his latest tour with a performance in Miami, where he entertained his fans with a mixture of songs off his latest album “Viaje” (Voyage) and a selection of his biggest hits.
The ladies of Twitter talked a lot about orgasms this week. Twitter user Boobston Girl posed an interesting question: “But can I get a Best Actress award for faking orgasms?” (Honestly, we’re not sure, but you definitely should be able to.)
Twitter user Slightly Funny Jew added to the conversation, tweeting, “Dear Women, ‘If you fake it, you will make it’ doesn’t apply to orgasms.” True, but can we still get an award for it?
For more great tweets from women, scroll through the list below. Then visit our Funniest Tweets From Women page for our past collections.
The Girl With the "I Stopped Reading Thinkpieces" Tattoo
— Michelle Dean (@michelledean) February 23, 2015
Sometimes I say stupid shit like, "I do."
— bubble girl (@JessObsess) February 22, 2015
I will take your secret to the grave. Unless I’m drunk and revealing it will make me popular.
— Noodles (@Dawn_M_) February 22, 2015
But can I get a Best Actress award for faking orgasms?
— Boobston Girl (@bgirl314) February 23, 2015
"If you fake it, you will make it" doesn’t apply to orgasms.
— Slightly funny Jew (@Dani_Feld) February 24, 2015
I don’t need to walk a mile in someone else’s shoes to judge them, I can do that comfortably from the couch at home.
— Felix Felicis (@LuckoftheDraw86) February 24, 2015
"I’m raging against the machine," I giggle to myself, nervously placing 13 items on the 12 Items Or Less counter. "Being bad feels so good."
— Sasshole (@RidiculousSheri) February 27, 2015
Sleeping Beauty is so unrealistic, no woman wants to be woken up from a nap
— PaperWash© (@PaperWash) February 25, 2015
Guy in 50 Shades: I’m a psycho are u in or are u out
Most Guys: I’m gonna waste your time til u discover I’m bad
GIMME THAT 50 SHADES GUY
— AmberTozer (@AmberTozer) February 24, 2015
If you say "alright" in the mirror 3 times Matthew McConaughey will appear and hand you a joint.
— OhNoSheTwitnt (@OhNoSheTwitnt) February 24, 2015
sure the Victoria’s Secret models are pretty, but I bet not one of them ever finds a Cheeto in her bra
— Mary Charlene (@IamEnidColeslaw) February 28, 2015
People will stop going to hell when they get rid of hand baskets. Next question.
— Abbi Crutchfield (@curlycomedy) February 27, 2015
Most adult friendships are just figuring out whose turn it is to cancel plans.
— Erica (@SCbchbum) February 23, 2015
I walked under a ladder today because it felt like a reckless thing to do without any real risk.
— Allison Raskin (@Allison620) February 25, 2015
It’s going down. I’m Yellen, Janet.
— Caro (@socarolinesays) February 24, 2015
My problem isn’t that I’m eating too much at night, it’s that I’m not jogging in the shower
— audrey farnsworth (@audipenny) February 24, 2015
*sees a couple wearing matching outfits*
*turns around and goes back inside*
— Victoria Sofia (@Ideal_Victoria) February 24, 2015
Ah, Winter, when you can split your lip just by smiling
— Mara Wilson (@MaraWritesStuff) February 25, 2015
I’d Rather Be Watching Netflix" — a T-shirt I’m making, coming to an etsy store near you
— Taylor Trudon (@taylortrudon) February 24, 2015
My husband and I are very aligned on our thoughts about raising kids, mostly "Holy hell, why did we decide to do this?"
— Hot Breakfast (@amydillon) February 26, 2015
You know you’re old when you start carrying around emergency tweezers, not for splinters, but for chin hairs.
— OneFunnyMummy (@OneFunnyMummy) February 25, 2015
When someone says you’re an emotional black hole, they’re basically comparing you to a star, right?
— Alley Cat (@deardilettante) February 26, 2015
So why would you like to be an astronaut?
[imagines eating all the food and stepping on scale on moon]
"Space and stuff"
— Terry F (@daemonic3) February 25, 2015
Me: Things will get better
— moody monday (@mdob11) February 26, 2015
so i missed the Oscars but i did hit Whole Foods and see several rows of award-winning organic mayonnaise so i think i got the gist
— Alexis Wilkinson (@OhGodItsAlexis) February 23, 2015
Every time I get my period I’m relieved – I don’t really hate all the people!
— Allison Hart (@motherhoodwtf) February 23, 2015
The U.S. government is optimistic about the prospects of reaching agreement with Cuba to re-open embassies before April’s Summit of the Americas in Panama, Washington’s chief negotiator in talks with Havana said.
WASHINGTON — Gene Alday, a Republican member of the Mississippi state legislature, apologized last week for telling a reporter that all the African-Americans in his hometown of Walls, Mississippi, are unemployed and on food stamps.
“I come from a town where all the blacks are getting food stamps and what I call ‘welfare crazy checks,'” Alday said to a reporter for The Clarion-Ledger, a Mississippi newspaper, earlier this month. “They don’t work.”
Nationally, most of the people who receive benefits from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program are white. According to 2013 data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, which administers the program, 40.2 percent of SNAP recipients are white, 25.7 percent are black, 10.3 percent are Hispanic, 2.1 percent are Asian and 1.2 percent are Native American.
In the two congressional districts that overlap Alday’s state legislature district, more African-Americans than whites receive food stamps, according to USDA data.
Twenty-three million households and 47 million Americans received benefits on an average month in 2013; enrollment declined slightly to 22 million households and 46 million individuals in 2014. Three-quarters of those households included a child, an elderly person or someone with a disability. The average monthly benefit per household was $274 in 2013 and $256 last year.
Republicans are conducting a review of nutrition assistance with an eye toward figuring out how to nudge more people into the workforce. In recent years Republicans have lamented that a growing share of recipients are able-bodied adults without children — a group that made up 10.2 percent of beneficiaries in 2011, up from 6.6 percent before the onset of the Great Recession in 2007. (The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities estimates that 1 million people will be kicked off the rolls by next year as states reimpose time limits on childless, non-disabled adults.)
Nearly one-third of food stamp beneficiaries lived in a household where at least one member had some earned income in 2013. Different states have different eligibility rules for the program, but federal law puts the upper income limit at 200 percent of the poverty line, currently $20,090 for a family of three. Many SNAP recipients qualify based on their participation in another means-tested program, such as Medicaid or Temporary Assistance for Needy Families.
So, that happened. This week, the Republican-led House Agriculture Committee began what they termed a “top to bottom” review of the federal food stamp program. In a surprising twist, the committee’s new management struck a soft and empathetic tone toward a government program they’d previously demonized.
Listen to this week’s “So, That Happened” below:
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Some highlights from this week:
“People who resent this will not be happy until the supplemental nutrition assistance program is changed from SNAP into the beans and rice program, or BARP.” — Arthur Delaney
Meanwhile, President Barack Obama and Sen. Elizabeth Warren are teaming up on a plan to bring more security to retirees by making it harder for fly-by-night financial advisers to screw their clients for their own personal gain. But why did dozens of Democrats sign a letter opposing this idea?
“This is the biggest thing Obama has done on financial reform since Dodd-Frank. It’s basically the only thing he’s done, but it’s a pretty big deal.” — Zach Carter
Finally, the 2016 invisible primary continues, and the big winner this week, we are told, is Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker. Of course, this only lasted until the Republican contender compared Wisconsin protesters to Islamic State terrorists. We’ll also remind you that it is February of 2015, because sometimes it seems we forget that.
“He beat down a recall election. He’s taken all sorts of fire and all he’s done is impress donors and become a conservative folk hero. Scott Walker is the one guy who doesn’t have to pretend that he took 2012 seriously. Scott Walker is the ‘Bold As Love’ campaign.” — Jason Linkins
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“So, That Happened” is available on iTunes. We’ve been working to create an eclectic and informative panel show that’s constantly evolving, a show that’s as in touch with the top stories of the week as it is with important stories that go underreported. We’ll be here on a weekly basis, bringing you the goods.
Never miss an episode: Subscribe to “So, That Happened” on iTunes, and if you like what you hear, please leave a review. We also encourage you to check out other HuffPost Podcasts: HuffPost Comedy’s “Too Long; Didn’t Listen,” the HuffPost Weird News Podcast, HuffPost Politics’ “Drinking and Talking,” HuffPost Live’s “Fine Print” and HuffPost Entertainment’s Podcast.
This podcast was edited by Ibrahim Balkhy and engineered by Brad Shannon, with assistance from Christine Conetta and Adriana Usero.
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WASHINGTON — The House of Representatives voted Friday night to avert a shutdown of the Department of Homeland Security, so they can come back and have the same fight in a week.
The vote was the result of a divide between Republicans in the House and Senate over whether to surrender now or hold out for one more week. The GOP had been hoping to use the DHS funding battle to block President Barack Obama’s latest executive actions on immigration. Senate Democrats successfully pushed Republican leaders to allow a full-year DHS bill without immigration riders. That legislation passed the Senate 68 to 31 earlier on Friday, after even the most hardline Republicans said the effort to kill Obama’s plans through the funding bill was futile.
But House Republicans weren’t ready to cave. Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) brought a three-week continuing resolution to a vote Friday afternoon, only to be blocked when 52 Republicans joined the majority of Democrats in opposing it. House GOP leaders had to regroup, apparently reaching a deal with the more conservative members of their caucus to bring up a smaller stopgap measure that would keep operations running at DHS for just one more week.
The Senate first passed the one-week continuing resolution by a voice vote, just hours before DHS was poised to shut down. The House then approved the measure by a roll call vote of 357 to 60. President Barack Obama signed it into law just before midnight. A majority of Democrats joined Republicans to vote for the short-term fix, after House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) told her colleagues that the passage of the one-week resolution would assure a vote on a full funding bill next week.
Democratic leadership aides said they were assured that the House would take up a full-year funding bill next week if they helped pass the one-week continuing resolution on Friday. Boehner spokesman Michael Steel insisted that no such promise had been made.
House Republican leaders had initially hoped a three-week continuing resolution would give them time to convince senators to go to a conference on the DHS budget bill that would add back the immigration riders — something that Senate Democrats have vowed to prevent. A GOP leadership aide said earlier Friday that they also wanted to avoid drawing attention away from next week’s congressional address by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. A one-week continuing resolution won’t do that, but at least it prevents a shutdown for now.
Friday’s events nonetheless proved to be an embarrassment for GOP leaders in the House, who once again made headlines for their inability to control the conservative hardliners within their own caucus. Democrats mocked Republicans for pushing DHS to the brink at a time of high-profile terrorist threats. Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) accused Republicans of being incapable of governing, just months after the GOP swept into control of Congress.
Some House Republicans wanted to bide their time on longer-term funding of DHS to see how a lawsuit against Obama’s executive actions plays out in court. Last week, a federal judge temporarily halted the disputed 2014 immigration programs; the Obama administration is seeking a stay of that order and an appeal. If an appeals court maintains the injunction, Republicans might be less wary of approving a full year of DHS funding without immigration measures.
Some rank-and-file members acknowledged that a short-term funding fix would do little to affect the end game and that they would still face the same choice in one week.
“I don’t think there is any middle ground,” said Rep. Tom Rooney (R-Fla.). “I think you either vote to shut Homeland Security down or you vote to allow the president to continue forward with the executive action.”
The debate, he added, was one of policy versus politics. Noting that he had pledged to fight Obama’s immigration actions tooth and nail, Rooney said it was incumbent on him to deliver on that promise.
“Right now I’m leaning towards standing my ground and [proving] that what I’ve been saying for the past three months hasn’t been political bulls**t,” Rooney said. “The bottom line is you’ve got to be able to explain yourself to your constituents that you are not a total hypocrite.”
Other Republicans considered the entire affair to be bad politics. Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.), who said that he favored any bill that would keep DHS open, had little to say when asked Friday afternoon if the House had spent weeks on what was essentially an exercise in futility.
“You’d be assuming that we don’t waste time normally,” Nunes quipped.
Sen. Mark Kirk (R-Ill.), who is up for re-election in 2016, said Republicans should have never tried to include immigration measures in the DHS bill in the first place.
“Hopefully we’re going to end the attaching bulls**t to essential items of government,” Kirk told reporters.
This article has been updated to note that the president has signed the legislation into law.