Black leaders to Haley: You’re a minority, too
COLUMBIA — Civil rights leaders bothered by South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley’s stance on issues such as requiring voters to show their IDs at the polls are reminding the governor she is a minority, too.
The Rev. Jesse Jackson said at several stops around the state that Mrs. Haley wouldn’t have been able to vote before 1965, just as he couldn’t vote.
Both of Mrs. Haley’s parents were born in India, and they came to South Carolina before she was born in 1972.
Mrs. Haley dismisses the criticism from civil rights leaders, saying they see race in every issue. She says her support of voter ID laws is just a common sense measure to protect the voting process.
Boehner: State of Union speech may be ‘pathetic’
Mr. Obama is expected to outline an economic blueprint built around manufacturing, energy and education, and officials have said he’ll propose fresh ideas to try to get the wealthy to pay more in taxes.
Mr. Boehner says it sounds to him like “the same old policies” of more spending, taxes and regulations that have hurt the economy.
The Ohio Republican tells “Fox News Sunday” that if that’s what Mr. Obama is going to talk about, then “I think it’s pathetic.”
Two senators seek sanctions on Syria
ALBANY — The United States would hit Syria with sanctions against trade as long as it continues a violent crackdown on protesters under sanctions proposed by two U.S. senators.
The bill, to be released Sunday by Democratic Sens. Charles E. Schumer and Kirsten E. Gillibrand of New York, would require President Obama to identify violators of human rights and call for reform and protection of pro-democracy demonstrators. It would also block any financial aid and property transactions in the United States involving Syrian leaders tied to the crackdown on protests.
The sanctions measure, to be proposed this week, would also prohibit the sale of high technology and telecommunications to Syria by any companies if the technology could be used for what the senators call censorship or human rights abuse. Visas to the United States would also be denied.
The 10-month uprising against Syrian President Bashar Assad has turned increasingly militarized and chaotic as more frustrated regime opponents and army defectors arm themselves and fight back against government forces. The conflict in Syria has marked the most serious challenge to Mr. Assad, who took over from his father in 2000. There have been three suicide bombings in the capital since late December for which the government blamed terrorists.
“Assad has brutally violated the human rights of his own people while killing thousands of Syrian citizens and fostering terrorism across his borders,” Ms. Gillibrand said in a statement. “This new bill is an important step to end the bloodshed by the Syrian government and provide the Syrian people with tools needed to take back their own country.”
Mr. Schumer said Syria shows no desire to stop the bloodshed.
Yemen’s leader cleared for U.S. medical visit
A senior Obama administration official says Yemen’s outgoing leader has been cleared to come to the U.S. for medical treatment.
The official says the U.S. expects Ali Abdullah Saleh to be in the U.S. for a limited time. The official did not say when Mr. Saleh would arrive.
Earlier Sunday, a presidential spokesman in Yemen said Mr. Saleh had left the capital on a jet headed for the Persian Gulf sultanate of Oman and would be making another stop before going to the U.S.
Mr. Saleh requested a visa so he could travel to the U.S. last month.
The official was not authorized to discuss details about Mr. Saleh and spoke on condition of anonymity.
Obama marks anniversary of Roe v. Wade decision
President Obama is marking the 39th anniversary of the Supreme Court’s landmark Roe v. Wade decision by saying the ruling was more than just about establishing a woman’s right to an abortion.
Mr. Obama says in a statement that the court’s decision also makes clear that the government “should not intrude on private family matters.”
The president says he’s committed to protecting a woman’s right to choose and “this fundamental constitutional right.”
No simple explanation in academy crime data
DENVER — Nine years after a sexual assault scandal shook the Air Force Academy, the Defense Department announced a spike in newly reported assaults at the school.
But experts and school officials say it’s not clear if that means sex crimes are on the rise. It could also reflect the academy’s years long efforts to encourage cadets to report any kind of unwanted sexual contact.
The military said in December the number of sexual assaults at the academy outside Colorado Springs rose to 33 in the 2010-11 school year, up from 20 the previous year.
Days later, the academy announced that three cadets face sex-crime charges in unrelated incidents.
The academy has been working to reduce the number of assaults and encourage victims to report them since the sex-assault scandal in 2003.
Health overhaul lags with unfinalized plans
Here’s a reality check for President Obama’s health overhaul: An Associated Press analysis shows that 3 in 4 uninsured Americans live in states that haven’t finalized a plan for affordable medical care.
This year will make or break the health overhaul. States were supposed to be partners, putting in place the biggest safety net expansion since Medicare and Medicaid.
But the analysis, combined with estimates from the nonpartisan Urban Institute, shows that states are moving in fits and starts.
The 13 states that have adopted a plan are home to only 1 in 4 of the uninsured.
Seventeen other states are making headway, but it’s not clear all will succeed.
The 20 states lagging behind account for the biggest share of the uninsured: 42 percent.
• From wire dispatches and staff reports