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- Obama includes Republicans in big delegation to meet new Saudi King
NEW DELHI (Reuters) - President Barack Obama will fly a 30-member delegation including top officials and Republican foreign policy veterans to Riyadh on Tuesday to meet new Saudi Arabian King Salman as the crisis in neighboring Yemen continues to boil. Joining Obama in paying respects following the death of King Abdullah will be Republican statesmen James Baker, secretary of state in the George H.W. Bush administration, and Brent Scowcroft, national security adviser to presidents Ford and H.W. Bush, the White House said. Condoleezza Rice, secretary of state for President George W. ...
- Fidel Castro appears to lend support to Cuba talks with U.S.
By Daniel Trotta HAVANA (Reuters) - Retired Cuban leader Fidel Castro on Monday appeared to lend his support to talks with the United States in his first comments about his longtime adversary since both countries agreed last month to restore diplomatic ties. "I don't trust the policy of the United States nor have I had an exchange with them, but this does not mean ... a rejection of a peaceful solution to conflicts or the dangers of war," Fidel Castro, 88, said in a statement published on the website of Cuba's Communist Party newspaper Granma. The United States and Cuba held historic high-level talks last week in Havana that are expected to lead to the re-establishment of diplomatic ties severed by Washington in 1961.
- U.S. to include offshore Atlantic in new drilling plan: WSJ The Obama administration will propose a new five-year plan for offshore oil and gas drilling as soon as Tuesday that will include areas of the Atlantic, the Wall Street Journal reported. The Interior Department's offshore drilling proposal for 2017 to 2022 is expected to include opening up federally-owned waters off Virginia and North and South Carolina, the report said citing people familiar with the plan. A spokeswoman for the Department of Interior would not comment on the timing of the release of the proposal. U.S. supplies have swollen thanks to the six-year fracking boom and demand is weak amid economic slowdown in China and much of Europe, leading many energy companies to cut drilling plans.
- Justice Department spies on millions of cars: WSJ
The Justice Department has been secretly gathering and storing hundreds of millions of records about motorists in an effort to build a national database that tracks the movement of vehicles across the country, the Wall Street Journal reported on Monday. The newspaper said the main aim of the license plate tracking program run by the Drug Enforcement Administration was to seize automobiles, money and other assets to fight drug trafficking, according to one government document. While U.S. officials have said they track vehicles near the Mexican border to combat drug cartels, it had not been previously revealed the DEA had been working to expand the database "throughout the United States," the Journal said, citing an email. The Journal quoted Senator Patrick Leahy, the senior Democrat on the Senate Judiciary Committee, as saying the use of license plate readers "raises significant privacy concerns." A spokesman for the Justice Department, which oversees the DEA, told the paper the program complied with federal law.
- Democrats accuse GOP of breaking promises on Benghazi panel
Democrats on the special House panel investigating the 2012 Benghazi attacks have accused Republicans of conducting the committee’s work without them and withholding information that would undermine the credibility of the panel itself, according to three letters obtained by Yahoo News.
- Jeb Bush speaks up for immigrants as Republicans flock to conservative confab in Iowa
“We’re not going to win votes … unless we can lay out a hopeful optimistic message,” paired with specific policy ideas that voters believe “can actually happen,” Bush said. “Hope and a positive agenda wins out over an angry reaction, every day of the week. And the message should be about what the future looks like, not some nostalgic view back.”
- Middle East roiled by Yemen chaos and Saudi succession Ali Soufan, president of the Soufan Group, an international security firm, was for years one of the FBI’s chief experts on al-Qaida and two of its traditional power bases, Yemen and Saudi Arabia. On Thursday, after Houthi rebels forced the resignation of Yemen’s president, Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi, a close U.S. ally, and Saudi King Abdullah ibn Abdulaziz died, Soufan spoke to Yahoo News’ Michael Isikoff about the mounting chaos in the region and how it could further strengthen al-Qaida.
- Harry Reid speaks out against Obama’s trade plan
Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada on Thursday threw cold water on President Barack Obama’s plans to pursue trade agreements in 2015, one of the few points of bipartisan interest from his State of the Union address earlier this week.
- Obama won't meet with Netanyahu during controversial U.S. visit President Barack Obama will not meet with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu during his controversial March 3 visit to Washington, the White House announced, saying the trip will be too close to the Israeli elections.
- Turkey Court Bans Facebook Pages Insulting Prophet Muhammad
- Rand Paul on Possible Mitt Romney Run: 'No, No, No, No'
Though sources close to Mitt Romney recently announced he’s once again “thinking about” another bid for the White House, at least one of Romney's GOP colleagues thinks Ann Romney had the right idea. “I’m with Ann Romney on this one: No, no, no, no, never,” Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., told ABC News' Jonathan Karl at a forum of three likely 2016 presidential candidates in Palm Springs, California, Sunday night. Romney “would have made a great president,” added Paul, rumored to be considering his own White House bid. Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas, another Republican rumored to be harboring presidential ambitions, said Romney's infamous on-camera gaffe cost Republicans the White House.
- My Bro Modi: President Obama’s Unlikely Friendship With a Right-Wing Hindu
If there’s an Indian equivalent of President Barack Obama, Prime Minister Narenda Modi just might be it. And it comes in spite of the fact that Modi is a right-wing Hindu extremist. They have views about India being a country only for Hindus,” said Milan Vaishnav, a leading India analyst with the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.
- Today in History Today is Tuesday, Jan. 27, the 27th day of 2015. There are 338 days left in the year.
- Obama leading delegation of US dignitaries to Saudi Arabia
NEW DELHI (AP) — President Barack Obama will lead a delegation of lawmakers, senior U.S. officials and two former secretaries of state to Saudi Arabia Tuesday to pay respects to the royal family following King Abdullah's death.
- Ex-CIA officer convicted of leaking secrets to reporter
ALEXANDRIA, Va. (AP) — A former CIA officer was convicted Monday of leaking details of a covert mission to derail Iran's nuclear program in a case that, until the eve of the trial, was as much about the journalist who published the leaks as it was the accused leaker.
- Spokesman: Iowa governor to be hospitalized overnight
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad will spend the night at a hospital "out of an abundance of caution" for what doctors believe is a viral illness and dehydration, after falling ill at an event Monday morning, his office said.
- CBO: Deficit to shrink to lowest level of Obama presidency
WASHINGTON (AP) — Solid economic growth will help the federal budget deficit shrink this year to its lowest level since President Barack Obama took office, according to congressional estimates released Monday.
- Health insurers watch profits soar as they dump small business customers Commentary: profits soar while they dump small business customers.
- Obama's EPA breaks pledge to divorce politics from science on toxic chemicals To the delight of industry, the EPA is completing fewer chemical assessments than ever before.
- Romney's top fundraisers consider bailing As the GOP's 2012 presidential nominee considers another bid, Jeb Bush and other 2016 hopefuls try to poach top fundraisers.
- Inquiry begins into Russian ex-spy's radiation death
The most sensational spy tale since the Cold War lands in a London court on Tuesday as an inquiry begins to examine alleged Russian state involvement in the radiation poisoning death of Alexander Litvinenko. The former agent with Russia's FSB security service, who was doing work for Britain's MI6, was killed with Polonium-210 and the case was referred to at the time as the world's first act of nuclear terrorism. British investigators believe that the hard-to-detect radioactive isotope was stirred into Litvinenko's tea by two acquaintances who were visiting him from Moscow, Andrei Lugovoi and Dmitri Kovtun, at a meeting in a Mayfair hotel on November 1, 2006.
- Argentina to disband intelligence service after prosecutor death
President Cristina Kirchner said that she will disband Argentina's intelligence service after a prosecutor was found dead just hours before he was to make explosive allegations against her. Alberto Nisman, 51, was found in his Buenos Aires home with a gunshot to the head on January 18, the day before he was to go before a congressional hearing to accuse Kirchner of obstructing his investigation into a 1994 bombing at a Jewish charities federation office. She said she would send her intelligence system reform bill to Congress before she leaves for China next week, and swiftly scheduled special congressional sessions for it to be taken up. Kirchner also took aim at Diego Lagomarsino, a Nisman colleague who lent Nisman the pistol with which the prosecutor was killed.
- Fidel Castro: 'I don't trust the US, nor have I spoken with them'
Fidel Castro does not "trust the US, nor have I spoken with them," the revolutionary icon, 88, said in a letter attributed to him and read out on state television Monday. "That does not represent -- far from it -- a rejection of peacefully settling conflicts," said the letter, a week after communist Cuba and the United States held landmark talks in Havana as they attempt to normalize ties. US President Barack Obama and Cuban President Raul Castro announced December 17 that the Cold War rivals would work to normalize relations that broke off in 1961. Many analysts expect that Cuba's president would not have set out on this diplomatic route without his brother's approval and support.
- Attack on Ukraine's Mariupol targeted civilians: UN
The UN said a rocket attack that killed 30 people in a city in eastern Ukraine deliberately targeted civilians, as Russian President Vladimir Putin spurned Western calls to rein in a pro-Moscow insurgency. A senior UN official told an emergency Security Council meeting that the deadly rocket barrage on the port city of Mariupol came from pro-Russian rebel-controlled territory and sought to strike a civilian population, in violation of international humanitarian law. Putin earlier ridiculed the Ukrainian army as NATO's "foreign legion" after the Western alliance's NATO-Ukraine Commission met to discuss a surge in fighting that has led to a spate of civilian deaths and put pressure on Ukraine's troubled military.
- Britain braces for election that could herald EU exit
Britain is revving up for one of the tightest and most unpredictable elections in memory, as Prime Minister David Cameron fights to retain power and call a referendum on European Union membership. A fragmented vote yielding a new coalition is seen as the most likely outcome, thrusting smaller parties into the limelight in a country that is still used to a traditional split between Conservatives and Labour. The campaign so far has been dominated by the rise of the anti-EU UK Independence Party (UKIP), and peppered with debate on immigration, health spending and economic wellbeing during a recovery following years of austerity. If Cameron's Conservatives win outright on May 7, the premier has said he will seek to renegotiate Britain's relationship with the EU before calling an in-or-out referendum on membership by the end of 2017.
- Australian PM faces backlash over royal 'knightmare'
Australia's Prime Minister Tony Abbott was on Tuesday facing a backlash over his surprise move to knight Britain's Prince Philip which has prompted ridicule and questions about his leadership even from conservative supporters. Abbott, whose personal approval rating has plunged in recent opinion polls, said the decision to make the Duke of Edinburgh -- the 93-year-old husband of Queen Elizabeth II -- a knight of Australia was his own initiative for Australia Day on Monday. Another unnamed MP said the move was "a stupid announcement" and "manifestly amazing in the worst possible way", the Australian Broadcasting Corporation reported. Government frontbencher Michaelia Cash defended the call Tuesday, saying Prince Philip was "extremely deserving" for the contributions he had made to Australia over many years.
- Ex-CIA officer in leak case found guilty of espionage
A former CIA officer was convicted of espionage charges for having leaked to a New York Times journalist classified details of a secret operation to thwart Iran's nuclear program. Jurors found Jeffrey Sterling, 47, guilty on all nine counts he faced in federal court in Alexandria, Virginia. The conviction marked a victory of sorts for President Barack Obama's administration in its crackdown on whistleblowers. "This is a just and appropriate outcome," Attorney General Eric Holder said in a statement.
- Greek anti-austerity coalition takes power after bombshell vote
Alexis Tsipras was sworn in as Greece's youngest prime minister in 150 years and was set to lead an anti-austerity coalition after a stunning election win that sent shockwaves through Europe. Tsipras's decisive victory in Sunday's vote set the country on a collision course with international creditors over plans to renegotiate its massive bailout deal. His radical leftwing Syriza took 149 out of the 300 seats in parliament, becoming the first party to take power in Europe that openly rejects spending cuts and austerity measures.
- Kurds defeat Islamic State jihadists in Syria's Kobane
Kurdish militia drove the Islamic State group from the Syrian town of Kobane and raised their flags on Monday, dealing the jihadists an important blow after months of heavy fighting. Across the border in Iraq, meanwhile, a top army officer announced troops had "liberated" Diyala province from IS jihadists. In Syria, the Kurdish advance in Kobane, on the frontier with Turkey, marked the culmination of a battle lasting more than four months in which nearly 1,800 people were killed. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said the Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG) had "expelled all Islamic State fighters from Kobane and have full control of the town".
- Caribbean nations seek US help for energy independence
Caribbean leaders huddled in closed-door talks with top US officials Monday seeking ways to diversify energy supplies as plunging oil prices and political upheavals hit their long-time supplier, Venezuela. Bahamas Prime Minister Perry Christie said the 20 members of the Caribbean Community (Caricom) depend on imported oil and petroleum products for 90 percent of their energy needs. "This makes us extremely vulnerable to the vagaries of the international oil market," he said at the end of a day of talks hosted by US Vice President Joe Biden at the State Department. Great strides have been made in renewable energy in various member states.
- US Democrats block immediate vote on Keystone pipeline
US Senate Democrats blocked immediate consideration of a Republican-favored bill Monday that would permit the construction of the Keystone XL oil pipeline between the United States and Canada. In the latest episode of partisan bickering triggered by the controversial project, Democrats rallied to obstruct a procedural vote that would have shortened the debate on the bill.
- Obama wraps up India visit with town hall meeting
US President Barack Obama will host a town hall-style meeting in India on Tuesday, seeking to stress the shared values of the world's largest democracies as he wraps up a visit aimed at reinvigorating their sometimes tense ties. The speech to around 1,500 young Indians comes at the end of an unprecedented second visit to India by a serving US president, underscoring Obama's determination to reinvent a relationship marred by a bitter diplomatic row in late 2013. Although the trip has been light on substantive policy announcements, Obama and new Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced a breakthrough on a nuclear deal that had stalled under India's previous government and have been at pains to demonstrate their personal rapport. Both sides want a counter-balance to China, with Modi seen as taking a more assertive line on India's powerful neighbour than the previous government.
- Ten killed in fighter jet crash during NATO exercises in Spain
Eight French and two Greek nationals were killed Monday when a fighter jet crashed on takeoff at a military base in Spain housing a NATO training centre for elite pilots. The F-16 jet "lost power" as it took off from the base near the southeastern city of Albacete and crashed into an area where other planes were parked, damaging at least five other aircraft, the defence ministry said in a statement. "It appears that there are two people who died and who have Greek nationality and eight French," Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy said in an interview with private television Telecinco. At least 19 other people were injured in the accident, including five who were moved to a burn unit of Madrid's La Paz hospital, the defence ministry said.
- 516 'Brotherhood elements' arrested on Egypt anniversary
More than 500 backers of Egypt's blacklisted Muslim Brotherhood were arrested as clashes erupted on the anniversary of its 2011 uprising, a minister said Monday, in the biggest police sweep for months. Twenty people, mostly demonstrators, were killed Sunday when protesters clashed with security forces after Islamists called for rallies against President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi's government as Egypt marked the fourth anniversary of the toppling of ex-strongman Hosni Mubarak. Supporters of Mubarak's successor, Islamist Mohamed Morsi, have regularly clashed with security forces since he was ousted by then army chief Sisi in July 2013.
- Amid detente, triathlon brings Americans and Cubans together
Seizing on US-Cuba detente, Americans swam, biked and ran in a triathlon in Havana for the first time, and even heard their national anthem on the communist island. Jim Donaldson and Robert Plant wore "USA" logos on their clothes as they stood in the capital's "anti-imperialist" esplanade, built by Fidel Castro in 2000 to hold rallies in front of the US Interests Section. "It’s a historic race, being the first time Americans have been over here to do this," Donaldson, a 70-year-old retired business products manager from Ohio, said as he waited for the arrival of the middle- and long-distance racers. "At the awards ceremony, a couple of Americans had won the juniors (race), and they played the American national anthem.
- 'Constructive spirit' at Libya peace talks
A new round of peace talks between Libya's warring factions kicked off in Geneva Monday with all parties showing a "constructive spirit", the United Nations said. "I am confident that Libyans participating and those who hopefully will join the talks have a very clear determination to reach an agreement, to pacify the country and to overcome the crisis," said Bernadino Leon, the UN envoy for Libya and mediator in the talks. "There is a very constructive spirit.
- Parliament bid to block fracking in Britain fails
A group of British lawmakers failed Monday to block plans for shale gas fracking in Britain, but the government agreed to tougher regulation and a ban on fracking in national parks. Some 200 protesters including the designer Vivienne Westwood rallied outside parliament as the vote was taking place, holding up placards and shouting slogans. One sign read "Shut the Frack Up" and a colourful knitted banner read "No to Fracking", an extraction process in which water, sand and chemicals are pumped at high pressure underground to access natural gas reserves. A committee of lawmakers had demanded a moratorium on fracking, arguing that it would endanger a pledge to cut climate change emissions.
- Merkel calls threats, attacks against Jews in Germany 'disgrace'
Chancellor Angela Merkel said Monday it was a "disgrace" that Jews in Germany faced insults, threats or violence, as she marked 70 years since the liberation of the Auschwitz death camp. Merkel joined survivors of the former camp, created by Nazi Germany in southern Poland, for a somber event in the German capital ahead of Tuesday's anniversary. Auschwitz is a "warning" of what people can do to each other, Merkel said, adding that the camp -- the site of the largest single number of murders committed during World War II -- had been an "atrocious departure" in the course of history. She said more than 100,000 Jews have today made Germany their home but that it was "unfortunately not without cause" that some feared insult or assault.
- Kurdish forces control 90 percent of Syria's Kobane
Kurdish forces have pushed back the Islamic State group and now control 90 percent of the key Syrian town of Kobane, US Central Command said Monday, confirming claims by the Kurdish militia. The extremist IS group, which has overrun large areas of Syria and Iraq, had poured men and weapons into an offensive to secure Kobane, which is near the Turkish border. "US Central Command confirms that anti-ISIL forces now control approximately 90 percent" of Kobane, a statement said. "While the fight against ISIL (IS) is far from over, ISIL's failure in Kobane has denied them one of their strategic objectives," it said.
Geändert: 10.12.2010 19:40 Uhr