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- House Benghazi panel says State Deptartment to hand over documents today
The U.S. House of Representatives committee investigating the 2012 attacks on an American diplomatic compound in Benghazi, Libya, said the State Department has pledged to hand over 5,000 new pages of documents related to the incident on Tuesday. "The State Department has informed the Committee it will make a production of approximately 5,000 pages tomorrow - the second largest production the Committee has received and the largest since last summer," Republican Representative Trey Gowdy, the committee's chairman, said in a statement on Monday. The documents are not expected to include emails involving former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who has been embroiled in a controversy over her use of a private email account while she was America's top diplomat.
- Huckabee's gas chamber reference to Iran deal draws Israeli criticism
By Jeffrey Heller JERUSALEM (Reuters) - U.S. Republican presidential candidate Mike Huckabee drew rare criticism from Israel on Tuesday for comments in which he accused President Barack Obama of marching Israelis "to the door of the oven" in a nuclear deal with Iran. Israeli Transport Minister Yisrael Katz said on Facebook the former Arkansas governor was "genuinely concerned" about Israel's future but was wrong to refer to Nazi gas chambers that killed millions of Jews in voicing alarm over the July 14 accord between world powers and Iran. Israel has called the agreement a threat to its survival and has urged U.S. lawmakers to reject the deal, saying it would give Iran a "sure path" to nuclear weapons.
- Top Republican rebuffs Senate transport bill with U.S. Ex-Im bank renewal
By David Lawder WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A congressional standoff over U.S. transportation funding deepened on Monday as the No. 2 House Republican said he would reject the Senate's multi-year road and mass transit bill, leaving the Export-Import Bank's fate uncertain in the balance. The U.S. Senate voted 64-29 to attach a renewal of the Export Import Bank to the $350 billion spending authorization bill, a move that the trade lender's backers had hoped for since Congress allowed its charter to expire on June 30. While the transportation bill is considered a "must pass" legislative vehicle, House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy pushed Congress closer to an August 1 cut-off of federal highway construction money on Monday.
- Obama knocks Huckabee, Trump for slide in Republican rhetoric
By Jeff Mason ADDIS ABABA (Reuters) - U.S. President Barack Obama criticized Republican presidential candidates Mike Huckabee and Donald Trump on Monday for their blunt rhetoric about the Iran nuclear agreement and other issues, saying it was damaging to political debate. Huckabee, one of more than a dozen candidates vying for the Republican presidential nomination, denounced a deal with world powers over Iran's nuclear program by saying Obama was marching Israelis "to the door of the oven," a reference to the Nazi gas chambers that killed millions of Jews in the Holocaust. Trump has suggested that many Mexican illegal migrants were rapists and has mocked Republican Senator John McCain's Vietnam War record.
- As South Carolina debates Confederate flag, controversy spreads to other states that display it
- South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley calls for removal of Confederate flag In a press conference Monday afternoon, South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley joined those calling on state lawmakers to remove the Confederate flag from a war memorial on the state Capitol grounds. The announcement comes days after the massacre of nine members of Charleston's historic Emanuel church by alleged gunman Dylann Roof. Yahoo global news anchor Katie Couric hosted a live stream of Gov. Haley's address and was joined for discussion by Morris Dees, co-founder of Southern Poverty Law Center and Jon Ward, Yahoo Senior Political Correspondent.
- Uniquely Nasty: Original documents and White House recordings
- Uniquely Nasty: The blockbuster novel that haunted gay Washington
- Uniquely Nasty: Washington power broker Robert Gray’s ‘double life’
Despite being one of the most powerful men in DC, Gray confided that there was a time early in his career when he lived in mortal fear that J. Edgar Hoover would discover his biggest secret: that he was gay.
- Bowe Bergdahl Charged With Desertion, Could Face Life
American soldier and former Taliban captive Bowe Bergdahl has been charged with desertion over his disappearance from an Afghan outpost in 2009 and could face life in confinement, the Army announced today. As part of the deal, the Taliban five were relocated to Qatar. After Bergdahl's dramatic return to the U.S., the Army launched an investigation into whether the soldier willfully left his post in Afghanistan before he was taken by the Taliban in 2009, as some Afghan war veterans alleged.
- Lawmakers to Question Top Officials about Controversial Visa Program for Wealthy Foreigners
Republicans in Congress voiced strong objections Tuesday in response to a scathing Homeland Security investigation that found a senior official appeared to give special treatment to politically-connected applicants when he ran a little-known federal program that offers visas to those who invest $500,000 in a job-creating business. U.S. Rep. Michael McCaul, R-Texas, the committee chairman, said he viewed the findings of the Homeland Security Inspector General “extremely concerning” and said he will hold hearings Thursday to determine if further investigation is needed. The Inspector General’s investigation focused on the leadership of Alejandro Mayorkas, who served as director of the immigration program known as EB-5, an obscure but increasingly popular method for obtaining highly-sought-after American Green Cards. In late 2013, Mayorkas was promoted by President Obama to Deputy Secretary of the department over objections from Republicans who had already begun to hear rumblings of problems with his handling of the immigration program.
- Bowe Bergdahl Charged With Desertion, Lawyer Says
- Florida congressional delegation will see upheaval in 2016
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) — Republican Sen. Marco Rubio's presidential ambitions and a court ruling tossing out several congressional district maps will cause upheaval among Florida's representation in Washington, including political complications for a congresswoman considered one of the state's few Democratic stars.
- Federal officials examine probable cause of spaceship crash
WASHINGTON (AP) — The National Transportation Safety Board is considering what caused a Virgin Galactic spaceship to break apart over the Mojave Desert during a test flight 10 months ago, killing the co-pilot and seriously injuring the pilot.
- Cabinet secretaries on Capitol Hill again to sell Iran deal
WASHINGTON (AP) — The Obama administration's vigorous effort to sell the Iran nuclear deal to Congress continues — this time in the House where three Cabinet secretaries will face tough questioning on Tuesday from skeptical Democrats and Republicans.
- 5 things to consider as Trump dangles 3rd party prospect
- Short-term highway extension may be way out for Congress WASHINGTON (AP) — House Republicans are weighing a three-month highway funding extension that could offer Congress a way out of an impasse days ahead of a crucial deadline.
- Audit: Nuclear lab lets safety gaps languish for years Multi-billion-dollar Los Alamos contractor tells investigators it needs more money to meet basic safety expectations
- Rick Perry finance chairman does super PAC two-step Donor walks 'coordination' tightrope with $6 million in contributions to super PACs backing Perry.
- Fatal extraction and speed-dating What the Center's been focused on: mining scandal, donors hedging bets
- UK economy grows 0.7% in second quarter
- US, Turkey join forces to drive Islamic State from Syria
The US and Turkey have agreed to work together to drive Islamic State jihadists from northern Syria, senior US officials said, as Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu vowed to press ahead with parallel strikes against Kurdish militants. The potentially game-changing accord with the US comes with ambassadors from all 28 NATO countries due to meet on Tuesday in Brussels -- at Turkey's request -- to discuss Ankara's campaign against IS and Kurdish militants. Turkey, meanwhile, fuelled the growing anger of its Kurdish minority by shelling a Kurdish-held village in northern Syria while its warplanes continued to pound Kurdish targets in northern Iraq.
- US blasts Thailand, rewards Malaysia on trafficking
Venezuela, Iran, Libya, Syria, Yemen, North Korea, Zimbabwe and others joined Russia and Thailand at the bottom of an annual ranking compiled by the State Department and announced by Secretary of State John Kerry. Countries in "Tier 3," the lowest category, are those whose governments do not respect international norms or laws on trafficking and "are not making significant efforts to do so," according to the 382-page report.
- Jeb Bush would give undocumented a way to stay in US
Republican White House hopeful Jeb Bush vows to launch comprehensive immigration reform, including stronger borders and finding a way for the 11 million undocumented people in the country to make their status legal. Back in 2008, then-candidate Barack Obama pledged to seek a major immigration policy reform that would let the undocumented stay indefinitely. According to former Florida governor Bush, a president is only going to be able to carry off the sometimes controversial issue if the new leader "is committed to protecting the border" and to building people's trust.
- US names new Syria envoy
The United States named a new special envoy to Syria on Monday, the third since the war began four years ago, as Washington seeks a political solution to the conflict. Michael Ratney, an Arabic speaker who served as US consul general in Jerusalem, and as a diplomat in Iraq, Lebanon, Morocco and Qatar, replaces Daniel Rubinstein. Before Rubinstein, who has been tapped as US ambassador to Tunisia, Robert Ford served in the post.
- Swedish wreck divers claim 'Russian mini sub' discovery
Swedish wreck divers said Monday they had found the wreck of a Russian mini-submarine in Swedish territorial waters, nine months after a high-profile hunt in Sweden for a mystery submarine. "It is they who claim it's a submarine," Swedish Armed Forces spokesman Anders Kallin told AFP. According to Stefan Hogeborn, a diver from the Ocean X Team company that made the discovery, the vessel is "completely intact" with "no visible damage to the hull" and the hatches closed.
- Former Indian president A P J Kalam dies aged 83
India's former president and top scientist A. P. J. Kalam, who played a lead role in the country's nuclear weapons tests, died on Monday, a hospital official said. Kalam collapsed during a lecture at a management institute in the northeastern Indian city of Shillong, and was declared dead on arrival by doctors at Bethany hospital. "We tried to revive him but couldn't," John Sailo, the hospital medical superintendent told AFP, without giving further details about the cause of his death.
- US gives Cuba an upgrade in its human trafficking report
The United States recognized Cuba's efforts to combat forced sexual servitude, giving it better marks Monday on its annual report on human trafficking. Cuba, which restored full diplomatic relations with Washington last week, was removed from the US blacklist because of improvements in Havana's response to and investigations of sex trafficking, said Sarah Sewall, under secretary of state for human rights.
- Obama to host Spain's royal couple in September
President Barack Obama will host the Spanish royal couple in September, during the Washington leg of a five-day US trip that will also take them to Florida. Obama will welcome King Felipe VI and Queen Letizia to the White House on September 15, the White House said Monday. The Spanish monarchs will also visit Miami and St. Augustine, Florida during their September 14 to 18 American stay.
- Obama challenges Ethiopia on democracy but praises Shebab fight
US President Barack Obama on Monday praised key African ally Ethiopia for its fight against Shebab militants in Somalia, but also challenged Addis Ababa on its democratic record. Obama is on the first-ever trip by a US president to Africa's second most populous nation, a close strategic partner for Washington credited for beating back the Al-Qaeda-affiliated Islamists but a country also much criticised for its rights record. "Part of the reasons we've seen this shrinkage of Shebab in East Africa is that we've had our regional teams," Obama said, referring to African Union and Somali government troops.
- Obama criticises tone of 2016 US presidential debate
President Barack Obama delivered a withering critique of the vitriolic 2016 US presidential campaign Monday, branding it unworthy of American voters. It is rare for a president to address domestic controversy while on a foreign trip, but Obama was asked about the increasingly hysterical tone of the campaign trail discourse while on a visit to Ethiopia. With at least 16 Republicans vying for their party's candidacy to succeed Obama in 18 months time, his opponents have dramatically upped their rhetoric in a bid to get noticed.
- US envoy on N. Korea says Iran deal proves flexibility
The US envoy on the North Korean nuclear issue said Monday that Washington's recent deal with Tehran amply demonstrated its openness in denuclearisation negotiations. The Iran agreement is "an excellent example of US flexibility and willingness to engage with countries with whom we have had longstanding differences," Sydney Seiler told reporters after meeting his South Korean counterpart in Seoul. It also shows that the "door is open" to North Korea should it choose to break away from its diplomatic and economic isolation, Seiler said.
- China artist Ai Weiwei given German visa
Chinese dissident artist Ai Weiwei has been given a visa to travel to Germany, he told AFP on Monday, just days after police handed him back his passport following a four year confiscation. China's best known contemporary artist abroad, authorities denied Ai a passport after detaining him for 81 days in 2011, apparently attempting to limit his international influence. Police returned the document last week and the bearded conceptualist -- whose six-year-old son currently lives in Germany -- told AFP he had received the visa, without giving details.
- Kyrgyz leader complains of US 'provocation' over rights award
Cholpon-Ata (Kyrgyzstan) (AFP) - Kyrgyz President Almazbek Atambayev on Monday defended his decision to tear up a long-running cooperation deal with the US, calling Washington's decision to give an award to a jailed rights activist "a provocation". Ex-Soviet Kyrgyzstan, which has pursued a strongly pro-Russian foreign policy since Atambayev was elected in 2011, last week nixed a deal with the US dating back to 1993 after Washington awarded a rights prize to a jailed ethnic minority campaigner.
- Dollar edges down ahead of Fed meeting
The dollar was under pressure Monday following weak US housing figures, as traders await the start of the Federal Reserve's latest policy meeting. Currency traders are now focusing on the Fed's two-day policy meeting that starts Tuesday. "The Tokyo market has taken over the dollar's selling sentiment from New York late last week," said Yosuke Hosokawa, head of the forex sales team at Sumitomo Mitsui Trust Bank.
- Obama opens talks in Ethiopia, set to make South Sudan peace push
Barack Obama opened talks in Ethiopia on Monday during the first-ever trip by a US president to Africa's second-most populous nation and the seat of the African Union. Obama, who flew into a rainy Addis Ababa late on Sunday after a landmark trip to Kenya, his father's birthplace, went into bilateral talks with Ethiopian Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn and President Mulatu Teshome, whose position is largely ceremonial. Ethiopia is a key strategic ally of the United States but is much criticised for its record on democracy and human rights.
- Fed policy meeting: is Yellen turning bullish?
Bullishness is not a word much associated with Janet Yellen since she became Federal Reserve chair 18 months ago, but that could change with the Fed's next policy meeting. With a global focus on when the US central bank will begin raising interest rates after nearly seven years locked at zero percent, analysts will be looking for a shift in how the Yellen-led Federal Open Market Committee on Wednesday describes the US economy. No decision to raise rates is expected in the end-July FOMC meeting Tuesday and Wednesday.
- French farmers block routes from Spain, Germany
French farmers blocked roads from Spain and Germany to stop foreign products entering the country, the latest protest against a fall in food prices that has brought them to the brink of bankruptcy. Farmers in the northeastern Alsace region used tractors to obstruct six routes from Germany in a bid to stop trucks crossing the Rhine carrying agricultural goods, in a blockage that is expected to last until at least Monday afternoon. "We let the cars and everything that comes from France pass," Franck Sander, president of the local branch of the powerful FDSEA union told AFP, adding that more than a thousand agricultural workers were taking part in the roadblocks.
- Obama says time for 'breakthrough' in South Sudan peace process
US President Barack Obama said on Monday the situation in civil war-torn South Sudan was deteriorating but that it was now time for a "breakthrough" in peace efforts. The possibilities of renewed conflict in a region that has been torn by conflict for so long and has resulted in so many deaths needs addressing," Obama said in the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa. Obama, making the first-ever visit to Ethiopia by a sitting US president, is to hold talks with regional leaders on the civil war in South Sudan in an attempt to build African support for decisive action against the war-torn country's leaders if they reject an ultimatum to end the carnage by August 17.
- US condemns 'abhorrent' Mogadishu attacks
The White House strongly condemned a spectacular bomb attack Sunday by Somalia's Shebab insurgents that killed at least six people just as President Barack Obama was leaving neighboring Kenya. Kenya and Ethiopia, which Obama visited next, are both key nations contributing troops to the African Union force battling the Al-Qaeda-affiliated group. "The United States strongly condemns today's abhorrent attack in Mogadishu, Somalia, which purposefully and cruelly targeted innocent civilians," National Security Council spokesman Ned Price said in a statement.