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- U.S., Cuba restore ties after 50 years
By Daniel Trotta and Steve Holland HAVANA/WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The United States and Cuba agreed on Wednesday to restore diplomatic ties that Washington severed more than 50 years ago, and President Barack Obama called for an end to the long economic embargo against its old Cold War enemy. After 18 months of secret talks, Obama and Cuban President Raul Castro agreed in a phone call on Tuesday on a breakthrough prisoner exchange, the opening of embassies in each other's countries, and an easing of some restrictions on commerce. ...
- Iowa and New Hampshire voters will listen before they judge Bush
By Mark Guarino DAVENPORT, Iowa (Reuters) - Life-long Republican Bob Shelley neatly folds his newspaper and uses it as a coaster, placing his coffee mug over a photo of former Florida Governor Jeb Bush, who just announced he will explore a bid for the White House in 2016. In a coffee shop in this riverfront city, Shelley, 63, says he is not certain which Republican presidential candidate he’ll vote for in 2016 But he knows Bush is not his man. ...
- Democratic lawmakers warn against investment rules in trade pacts
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Some Democratic lawmakers have urged the U.S. administration to exclude foreign investment protections from major free trade agreements, warning they might undermine buffers against future financial crises and hurt public support for trade deals. Rules allowing foreign companies to sue host governments for unfair treatment have become contentious after recent high-profile cases, such as tobacco company Phillip Morris's challenge to Australia's plain packaging laws for cigarettes. ...
- Sessions yields to Enzi as U.S. Senate Budget chairman By David Lawder WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Republican Senator Mike Enzi said on Wednesday he will take over as chairman of the Senate Budget Committee next year after the panel's current top Republican, Jeff Sessions, agreed to step aside. The two senators had contested the chairmanship of the committee that will provide a key blueprint for Republican policy priorities as the party takes control of the Senate in January. ...
- Hello, Columbus
The site a party chooses for its convention can say something about the kind of country it wants to build. And when Democrats select where they expect to host Hillary Clinton’s coronation in 2016, they should go to Columbus, Ohio, to show what American cities might yet become. In terms of jobs, urban renewal and a great location at the center of an urbanized state, Columbus has much to recommend it. But it also has other things all too rare in modern American cities: strong leadership and a business community that doesn’t shirk its civic responsibility. It’s a vision of a hopeful future.
- U.S. Cuba Timeline President Obama announced that the United States will start to restore diplomatic ties with Cuba as American Alan Gross is returned to the US after five years as a Cuban prisoner.
- The Cuban spy at the center of the Obama-Castro deal On Wednesday, the ringleader of La Red Avispa — a group of Cuban undercover agents who sneaked into South Florida in the 1990s and were arrested by the FBI for spying for Fidel Castro’s government — and two of his associates were released from U.S. prisons and returned home as national heroes. The release is part of a deal between Cuba and the U.S. that is already provoking a storm of controversy. For some, it is an important step toward what could be a landmark diplomatic agreement. But for anti-Castro hard-liners, the deal is a betrayal and capitulation to communist tyranny.
- After Alan Gross release, Obama seeks to resume full diplomatic ties with Cuba
In a move to wipe away one of the last vestiges of the Cold War, President Barack Obama launches negotiations with Cuba on resuming diplomatic ties five decades after they broke off. Obama's decision comes after Cuba freed US aid contractor Alan Gross.
- Clinton early 2016 front-runner — but 'barely': NBC News/WSJ poll
- Exclusive: Obama Doesn't Rule Out Presidential Visit to Cuba: ‘Let’s See’
Marking an abrupt sea change in U.S. policy toward Cuba, President Obama said today he is open to visiting the communist Caribbean country before he leaves office.“I don’t have any current plans, but let’s see how things evolve,” Obama told ABC “World News Tonight” anchor David Muir in an exclusive interview. ...
- US Plans to Re-Establish Embassy in Havana
In a true mark of the extent of the policy reversal that President Obama announced today, the U.S. will open an embassy in the previously-banned country.Obama announced that the Secretary of State and his department will be tasked with re-establishing an official embassy in Havana. ...
- After Year and a Half, Boston Marathon Suspect to Make Court Appearance Accused Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev is expected to appear in federal court for a final status conference hearing Thursday before his trial is slated to begin on murder and terrorism charges next month – making it the first time he has been seen in more than a year and a half.Tsarnaev, 21, has not been in court since his arraignment on July 10, 2013 on charges that he and his brother Tamerlan detonated two pressure cooker bombs near the finish line of the historic race in April 2013, killing three and wounding more than 260 others, with 16 of those victims losing limbs. ...
- Jeb Bush to step down from Barclays WASHINGTON (AP) — Jeb Bush is stepping down from an advisory role with British banking giant Barclays.
- US delays release of study on 1953 Iran coup WASHINGTON (AP) — The State Department is delaying the release of a volume from its U.S. foreign relations history that deals with the CIA-backed overthrow of an Iranian prime minister in the 1950s out of concern that publication could undermine nuclear diplomacy with the Islamic republic.
- EU leaders meeting about Russia, jumpstarting growth
- Sheriff to halt squad targeting immigrant ID theft PHOENIX (AP) — An Arizona sheriff known for arresting hundreds of immigrants in the country illegally on charges of finding work using fake or stolen identities is planning to close the controversial squad that investigates such cases.
- Paul: Trade with Cuba 'probably a good idea' WASHINGTON (AP) — Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul said Thursday that starting to trade with Cuba "is probably a good idea" and that the lengthy economic embargo against the communist island "just hasn't worked."
- FEC gets modest budget boost The election watchdog's 2015 funding level reverses years of cuts.
- Urban League parrots telecom donors' net-neutrality stance Civil rights group calls for lighter Internet regulation that would benefit telecommunications donors
- Sex, drugs and political money Center reporter Dave Levinthal goes one-on-one with the Democrats' former finance chief on C-SPAN2 show.
- Israel won't accept 'unilateral' Palestine bid: Netanyahu
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Thursday Israel would never accept the "unilateral" recognition of a Palestinian state, after a draft resolution calling for a final peace deal was submitted to the UN. In a statement from his office, Netanyahu accused Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas of "thinking he can threaten us by taking unilateral steps" over statehood. "We will never accept unilateral diktats," Netanyahu said. The Palestinian draft resolution, submitted on Wednesday to the UN in New York, sets a 12-month deadline for wrapping up negotiations on a final settlement and the end of 2017 as the timeframe for completing an Israeli withdrawal from Palestinian territories.
- Boston suspect makes rare court appearance
Shaggy-haired, bearded and attentive, accused Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev on Thursday made his first public appearance in 17 months, attending a brief court hearing before his trial begins January 5. Tsarnaev, who faces the death penalty, is accused of carrying out the April 15, 2013 attacks that killed three people and wounded 264, the worst in the United States since the 9/11 Al-Qaeda hijackings that killed nearly 3,000. Tsarnaev has pled not guilty to 30 charges in connection with the attacks, which plunged Boston and its world-famous sporting event into mourning, and revived domestic fears of terrorism. Tamerlan was killed in a shootout with police as the pair tried to escape the Boston area several days later.
- UN will take time to decide on Palestinian resolution
Negotiations on a draft UN resolution that sets terms for a final Israeli-Palestinian peace deal will take time, Jordan said Thursday, indicating that a Security Council vote was not imminent. Jordan presented the measure on Wednesday to the UN Security Council on behalf of the Palestinians, who said they were open to negotiations on the text. "It will take time," Jordan's UN ambassador Dina Kawar told reporters. Jordan along with Britain and France are hoping to achieve a draft resolution that could be adopted by consensus at the Security Council and will not be vetoed by the United States.
- Dozens dead, wounded in car bomb attacks on Yemen Shiite militia
Twin car bomb attacks in Yemen's western port city of Hodeida targeting Shiite militiamen left dozens of people dead and wounded on Thursday, a security official said. The other bomb went off close to another position of the Shiite militia west of Hodeida University, not far from the site of the first attack. Thursday's attacks came two days after 16 schoolgirls were among 26 people killed in a car bomb attack targeting a Shiite militia leader in the central town of Rada. Yemen has been rocked by worsening instability since the Shiite fighters, who are also known as Huthis, seized control of the capital Sanaa on September 21.
- Kenyan lawmakers approve controversial anti-terror bill: MP
- US-Cuba ties thaw, but Congress may uphold embargo
US President Barack Obama's historic decision to renew ties with Cuba was a diplomatic triumph but he faces a tough battle with Congress over lifting the embargo at the heart of the dispute. Celebrations broke out on the streets of Havana as people in the communist-run island savored the prospect of an end to the five-decade-old US trade embargo and perhaps a brighter future. "This Congress is not going to lift the embargo," Republican Senator Marco Rubio, a Cuban-American seen as a possible presidential candidate in 2016, told reporters. Experts agree that, in addition to government agencies signing off on rolling back the embargo, congressional legislation would be needed to repeal laws like the Helms-Burton Act of 1996, which tightened prohibitions on US trade with Cuba.
- Jihadists claim murders in 2013 of Tunisia secularists
Jihadists who have joined the Islamic State group claimed Thursday the 2013 murder of two secular politicians that plunged Tunisia into crisis, warning of more killings just days before a presidential runoff election. "Yes, tyrants, we're the ones who killed Chokri Belaid and Mohamed Brahmi," Abou Mouqatel, a dual French national wanted for their murders, said in a video released on the Internet. It was not clear where the video was filmed, but Abou Mouqatel claimed they were in an area under the control of IS, which has seized swathes of Syria and Iraq. You will not have a quiet life until Tunisia implements Islamic law," added the militant, whose real name is Boubakr al-Hakim.
- Obama acts boldly on Cuba, with eye on legacy
While campaigning in 2008, Barack Obama said it was time to come up with a new US policy towards Cuba. Now, with two years left in his second term in the White House, he has finally acted. The president has broken with a half century of seeking to isolate Cuba by announcing plans to restore diplomatic relations with the communist-run island after a year-and-a-half of secret negotiations. As he did recently on global warming or immigration reform, Obama launched an unexpected initiative to fulfil an old promise on which even some of his most fervent supporters had just given up.
- Iran to hold major naval drills at end of December
Iran will hold widespread naval drills extending to the Gulf of Aden in December, its navy chief said Thursday, asking foreign forces to "leave the area" to avoid incidents. The week-long exercises -- the first on this scale since the election of reformist President Hassan Rouhani in June last year -- are set to start on December 25 and take place between the Strait of Hormuz and the Gulf of Aden, Rear Admiral Habibollah Sayari was quoted as saying by the official Irna news agency. "The ballistic capacity of Iran will be on display during exercises including missile launches," Sayari said. Sayari called on foreign forces to leave the drill zone for the duration of the exercises.
- 'Boko Haram' kidnaps 185 people in Nigeria
Boko Haram has kidnapped at least 185 people, including women and children, in northeast Nigeria, the latest mass abduction in a region where the military has repeatedly struggled to protect civilians, officials and witnesses said Thursday. It recalled the April kidnappings in Chibok, where more than 200 girls were taken from a school. President Goodluck Jonathan, who is standing for reelection in February 14 polls, had pledged that the Chibok attack would mark the beginning of the end of terrorism in Nigeria, but violence has escalated since. Boko Haram has not claimed the Gumsuri attack, but multiple sources in the village blamed the extremists whose five-year uprising has killed more than 13,000 people and forced more than 1.5 million others from their homes.
- Putin says his grip on power is firm and economy will rebound
President Vladimir Putin vowed on Thursday that Russia would rapidly recover from its financial crisis and said his grip on power was firm, even as new Western sanctions and a run on the ruble pile on the pressure. The Russian leader, who is locked in a confrontation with the West, showed no willingness to change tack on Ukraine and dismissed the possibility of the country's elite turning against him. Sanctions-hit Russia is grappling with a ruble collapse seen as a major test for Putin, whose pact with voters has been based on the relative prosperity brought by years of high oil prices. He said Russia's would adjust to low oil prices, but he gave no recipe for turning the economy around.
- Pakistan court grants bail to alleged Mumbai attacks mastermind
A Pakistani court Thursday granted bail to the alleged mastermind of the 2008 terror attacks in Mumbai, lawyers told AFP, prompting India to demand an appeal. The 60-hour siege on India's economic capital left 166 people dead and was blamed on the banned Pakistani militant group Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT).
- Egypt jails 40 Morsi backers for church fires
An Egyptian court sentenced 40 backers of ousted Islamist president Mohamed Morsi to up to 15 years in jail Thursday for violence including torching churches, a judicial source said. Followers of Morsi have been the target of a relentless crackdown by the authorities since he was deposed in July 2013 by ex-army chief and now President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi. The criminal court in Assiut in southern Egypt sentenced two defendants to 15 years each, while the others were given jail terms ranging from one year to 10, the source said. They were accused of taking part in acts of violence in Assiut last year during which five churches, several police stations and a number of shops were set on fire.
- US jobless claims fall for fourth week in row
New claims for US unemployment insurance benefits fell last week, sticking to a downward trend as the labor market strengthens. Initial jobless claims, a sign of the pace of layoffs, totaled 289,000 in the week ending December 13, down by 6,000 from the previous week, according to government figures released Thursday. The report marked the 13th week out of the past 14 when jobless claims came in below 300,000, and the fourth week in a row of declining claims. "As the Fed said yesterday, labor market conditions improved further," said Jennifer Lee, senior economist at BMO Capital Markets.
- EU approves new sanctions as summit weighs Russia crisis
The EU agreed new sanctions against Russian-annexed Crimea Thursday to show resolve against Moscow as European leaders prepared to discuss Russia's spiralling financial crisis amid fears of the impact on their economies. The leaders meeting at a summit in Brussels will also back a huge 315-billion-euro ($380-billion) investment plan aimed at kickstarting Europe's stalling economy, although pledges of hard cash are expected to be lacking. The first summit led by new European Council president Donald Tusk, Poland's Kremlin-wary former premier, comes against a backdrop of the collapse of the ruble amid western sanctions and a drop in oil prices. German Chancellor Angela Merkel said before heading to Brussels that Western sanctions against Russia remain "unavoidable" until President Vladimir Putin allows a free, united Ukraine.
- At least 28 killed in latest C. Africa violence
At least 28 people have died and dozens have been injured in the latest clashes between rival militias in the Central African Republic, which was ravaged by a months-long sectarian bloodbath, police said Thursday. The fighting in the diamond-rich but dirt poor former French colony pitted the so-called "anti-balaka" militia formed by the Christian majority against mainly Muslim Seleka rebels who led a March 2013 coup, a police official said. "Violent clashes broke out on Tuesday in the centre of Mbres," an official from the armed police told AFP, adding that the death toll had been given by the local Red Cross.
- EU approves new Crimea sanctions
The EU imposed additional sanctions Thursday on Crimea, banning all investment and cruise ships from its ports to force home the message the bloc will not recognise Russia's "illegal annexation" of Ukraine territory. "The annexation is illegal and what we are doing is part of the non-recognition" policy, European Commission spokeswoman Maja Kocijancic said, calling on Russia to help end the Ukraine crisis which has cost more than 4,600 lives since Moscow seized Crimea in March.
- Top EU court rejects British visa rule
Luxembourg (AFP) - The EU's top court on Thursday found Britain at fault for demanding that non-EU citizens with resident permits issued in other member states must obtain a visa before entering the country.
- Kenyan MPs in heated debate on terror law 'that trims freedoms'
Kenyan lawmakers prepared to vote Thursday on controversial security legislation that would give authorities new powers to hold terror suspects and curtail journalists' freedoms if they are deemed to be "undermining" investigations. The bill was proposed after a string of attacks in Kenya by Somalia-based Shebab insurgents that have increased pressure on the government to confront the Islamist militants. It includes proposals boosting the time police can hold terror suspects from the current 90 days to nearly a year, increasing sentences and giving investigators more powers to tap phones. Under the bill, journalists could face up to three years behind bars if their reports "undermine investigations or security operations relating to terrorism," or if they publish images of terror victims without permission from the police.
- Switzerland cuts 2015 growth forecast
Switzerland on Thursday cut its growth forecast for 2015 as a recovery in the eurozone turns out to be more sluggish than earlier thought. The national statistics agency said it still expects Swiss output to expand by 1.8 percent this year. "In the eurozone, ... the economic recovery has been more difficult than hoped for during the year coming to an end, and growth perspectives remain moderate," SECO said in a statement. The agency said that as long as the gradual eurozone recovery continues, Swiss growth prospects for the two years to come "remain relatively favourable", with output growth forecasted to reach 2.4 percent in 2016.
Geändert: 10.12.2010 19:40 Uhr