President Barack Obama singled out New Jersey's embattled Republican Governor Chris Christie for criticism for balking at a push to raise the minimum wage, a move favored by most Americans. During a meeting with top advisors and a group of 14 Democratic governors at the White House, Obama said Republican governors were out of touch with their constituents on the issue. The CBO said it would lead to the loss of about half a million jobs by late 2016, even as it lifts almost a million people out of poverty.
Ukraine's parliament has voted to call early presidential elections for May 25. The decision comes just hours after embattled President Viktor Yanukovych said he wouldn't respect any decisions made by parliament. Under an agreement reached Friday between Yanukovych and leaders of the opposition protests that have brought Ukraine into crisis, early elections were to be held no later than December. But the possibility that he could remain in office for the rest of the year angered protesters who want his immediate departure.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel has said she will lobby on behalf of Israeli-Palestinian peace efforts led by U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry when she visits Israel on Monday. Kerry says he is still seeking an overall accord to end the decades-old conflict, whose main issues include borders, security, the fate of Palestinian refugees and the status of Jerusalem. "We need a stable two-state solution as soon as possible, with a Jewish state of Israel as well as a state for the Palestinians," Merkel said.