29 July 2014

Senate Democrats seek to split GOP on export bank

In this Nov. 28, 2010, photo, the American flag is illuminated by the late afternoon sun as it is displayed at the entrance of the U.S. Export Import Bank in Washington. Familiar with the Export-Import Bank? In all likelihood, most voters in Louisiana and Virginia aren’t either. And yet Democratic Sen. Mark Warner is talking about the bank on the campaign trail, portraying it as a job creator that must be protected against tea party ideologues. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File)WASHINGTON (AP) — Familiar with the Export-Import Bank? In all likelihood, most voters in Louisiana and Virginia aren't either.


29 July 2014

Senate Dems seek to split GOP on export bank

WASHINGTON (AP) — Familiar with the Export-Import Bank? Most voters in Louisiana and Virginia probably aren't either.

29 July 2014

U.S. says Russia violated nuclear treaty, urges immediate talks

By Roberta Rampton WASHINGTON (Reuters) - In another sign of deteriorating relations between the United States and Russia, the U.S. government said on Monday that Moscow had violated the Intermediate Range Nuclear Forces treaty, and urged immediate bilateral talks on the issue. "This is a very serious matter which we have attempted to address with Russia for some time now," an administration official said in a statement. "We encourage Russia to return to compliance with its obligations under the treaty and to eliminate any prohibited items in a verifiable manner," the official said. The official did not describe how Russia violated the treaty.

29 July 2014

Miller faces sales job on $17B VA health care bill

House Veterans’ Affairs Committee Chairman Rep. Jeff Miller, R-Fla., joined by Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee Chairman Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., left, speaks during a news conference on Capitol Hill, in Washington, Monday, July 28, 2014, about a bipartisan deal to improve veterans' health care that would authorize at least $17 billion to fix the health program scandalized by long patient wait times and falsified records covering up delays. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)WASHINGTON (AP) — Before being elected to Congress, Rep. Jeff Miller was a real estate broker. His background in sales will come in handy as the Florida Republican tries to a sell a $17 billion deal to improve veterans health care to a GOP caucus that includes tea party members and other conservatives dead set against raising the deficit.


29 July 2014

Obama going to dinner as clock ticks toward recess

President Barack Obama awards the 2013 National Humanities Medal to Ellen Dunlap of the American Antiquarian Society, Worcester, Mass., during a ceremony in the East Room at the White House in Washington, Monday, July 28, 2014. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama is taking four Kansas City residents out to dinner to chew over the concerns of heartland Americans, with little time remaining for action on pressing issues before Congress begins its August recess.


29 July 2014

Senate to vote on highway money as deadline looms

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Senate is set to take up legislation to keep federal highway money flowing to states, with just three days left before the government plans to start slowing down payments.

29 July 2014

Iran's supreme leader accuses Israel of Gaza 'genocide'

A building within the port of Gaza is seen on fire after several strikes early on July 29, 2014Iran's supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei Tuesday accused Israel of committing "genocide" in Gaza and called on the Islamic world to arm Palestinians fighting "the Zionist regime". In a speech marking the Muslim festival of Eid al-Fitr, Khamenei said Israel was acting like a "rabid dog" and "a wild wolf" in acts that are causing a human catastrophe and which must be resisted. "A people surrounded in a small place with closed borders, unsure of having water and electricity, this population faces an armed enemy," he said of three weeks of fighting in the Gaza Strip that has killed more than 1,100 Palestinians and 53 Israelis. Khamenei dismissed talk of a ceasefire in Gaza, saying it was a ploy by the United States and European states to save Israel and said Hamas should be re-armed, rather than disarmed as otherwise they will be "unable to defend themselves".


29 July 2014

Slovenia resumes privatisation of state-owned companies

Outgoing Slovenian Prime Minister Alenka Bratusek speaks during a TV face-off in Ljubljana, Slovenia on July 10, 2014Slovenia's outgoing government resumed the privatisation of state-owned companies it had suspended earlier this month, Prime Minister Alenka Bratusek's cabinet said in a statement late on Monday. Ahead of the July 13 elections, Bratusek froze the ongoing privatisation of 15 state-owned companies, including telecommunication operator Telekom and Ljubljana's airport, until a new government was elected. Outgoing Finance Minister Uros Cufer had criticised the freeze saying it was "pre-electoral move" by Bratusek, aimed at challenging the main favourite to take over the government, political newcomer Miro Cerar, who opposed the privatisation of infrastructure companies.


28 July 2014

Russia has violated arms treaty by testing cruise missile: US

Russian soldiers parade through Red Square in Moscow, on May 9, 2014The United States has found that Russia violated a 1987 arms control treaty by testing a ground-launched cruise missile, a senior US official said late Monday, calling the matter "very serious." The announcement adds a new dispute at a time of already heightened tensions between Washington and the Kremlin over the crisis in Ukraine, with western countries accusing Russia of arming Ukrainian separatists and destabilizing the country. The US concluded in a 2014 report that Russia had violated the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty, which barred it from possessing, producing or flight-testing such cruise missiles with a range of 500 to 5,500 kilometers, the official told AFP.


28 July 2014

Ex-Philip Morris workers lead Uruguay tobacco crackdown

A passerby walks in front of Philip Morris International's headquarters in Lausanne on August 29, 2007During the two decades Daniel Gomez spent in the cigarette business at Philip Morris in Uruguay, he never imagined he would one day be promoting and enforcing anti-tobacco laws. "It's unusual, but we were left without work from one day to the next, on the street, and it was hard to reinsert ourselves into the labor market," said Gomez, who spent most of his career in cigarette quality control. Their group is called the "October 21 Cooperative," named for the day in 2011 that Philip Morris International shut its Uruguayan factory, complaining that anti-tobacco rules and black-market cigarettes were putting it out of business. It was the first country in Latin America to ban smoking in public spaces, a measure it enacted in 2006 under then president Tabare Vazquez, a cancer doctor who made anti-tobacco legislation a personal crusade.


28 July 2014

Poor, restive French town once housed Nobel prize creator

The laboratory of former Swedish inventor of dynamite Alfred Nobel, is pictured in the Parisian suburb of Sevran on July 3, 2014It's one of the poorest suburb towns in France, riddled with unemployment, drugs and violence. The Swedish inventor of dynamite who is best known for the prizes that bear his name worked in the town northeast of Paris at the end of the 19th century, says Daniel Mougin, a local expert on Sevran's history. At the time, the Seine-Saint-Denis department to which Sevran belongs -- the poorest in France -- did not exist. "Alfred Nobel was based... in a luxury house on Malakoff avenue", an upmarket area in Paris, says Mougin.


28 July 2014

Violence soars in Gaza as world pleads for truce

A relative reacts after seeing the bodies of three Palestinian children, killed in an explosion in a public playground on the beachfront of Shati refugee camp, as they lie in the morgue of al-Shifa hospital in Gaza City on July 28, 2014Bloodshed in and around Gaza surged Tuesday with strikes killing 26 Palestinians, including at least four children, as Israel announced the deaths of five more soldiers, shattering hopes for an end to three weeks of violence. "In the name of humanity, the violence must stop," pleaded UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon after holding long talks with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, urging him to heed international calls for a ceasefire. As he spoke, the military sent messages to thousands of Palestinians in Shejaiya, Zeitun, Jabaliya, Beit Lahiya and Beit Hanun, urging them to flee their homes and seek shelter in central Gaza City as troops prepared to step up their 21-day campaign. Shortly afterwards, the cloudy skies over Gaza lit up with flashes as the army began an intensive wave of air strikes and heavy shelling across the strip that continued early Tuesday and left 26 Palestinians dead, AFP correspondents and medics said.


28 July 2014

EU to impose new Russia sanctions as fighting blocks MH17 probe

A resident of the eastern Ukrainian city of Lisichansk, Lugansk region, on July 28, 2014, walks near an APC burnt during combat between Ukrainian forces and pro-Russian militantsThe EU is set to approve punishing sanctions against Russia Tuesday over its role in the Ukraine crisis, after Kiev seized control of part of the MH17 crash site in fighting that blocked an international effort to recover victims' remains. Kiev said its troops had entered a string of towns around the scene of the July 17 Malaysian airliner disaster in eastern Ukraine, including Shakhtarsk which lies 10 kilometres (six miles) away. "It's absolutely unconscionable that they remain out there," said Michael Bociurkiw, a spokesman for monitors from the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) in rebel-held Donetsk.


28 July 2014

Court flips US state's ban on same-sex marriage

Same-sex marriage supporters hold a rally in front of the 4th US Circuit Court of Appeals, May 13, 2014 in Richmond, VirginiaA federal appeals court has struck down Virginia's ban on same-sex marriage, in a landmark victory for the gay rights movement in the United States. The Fourth US Circuit Court of Appeals in the state capital Richmond said the ban violated the US Constitution's guarantee of equal protection under the law by infringing on the right to wed. "This is a historic ruling ... and its effect will affirm once again that Virginia is a state that is open and welcoming to all," he said in a statement. Virginia effectively banned same-sex marriage when a 2006 amendment to its state constitution -- endorsed by 57 percent of its voters in a referendum -- defined marriage strictly as a union between a man and a woman.


28 July 2014

Mexico, California question Texas border troop plan

US Border Patrol agents look for immigrants crossing the Rio Grande from Mexico (L), to the United States at dusk on July 24, 2014 near Mission, TexasMexico's foreign minister and the visiting governor of California questioned Monday plans by Texas to deploy troops to stem the flow of immigrant children, saying they need humanitarian aid instead. Governor Jerry Brown, on a visit focused on boosting trade with California's southern neighbor, said the Texas plan must be a short-term measure and that he hopes "wiser minds will prevail over the next several months." The Democratic politician was referring to a plan announced last week by Texas Governor Rick Perry, a Republican seen as a potential 2016 presidential election candidate, to send 1,000 National Guard reservists to the enormous and porous border US-Mexico border.


28 July 2014

Russia sanctions may undermine EU's recovery

A pro-Russia militant stands next to a Ukrainian tank destroyed by separatists in the eastern Ukrainian city of Donetsk on July 22, 2014The EU is expected to take the plunge Tuesday and impose tougher sanctions on Russia over Ukraine, but the measures could hit its own struggling economy -- especially should Moscow reply in kind. "It is clear that there is a risk of Russian reprisals," one EU diplomat said, noting that Moscow has repeatedly used trade embargoes to put pressure on former communist states such as Moldova or Georgia seeking closer ties with the European Union. As if on cue, Moscow announced Monday a ban on the import of processed fruit and vegetables from Ukraine, and warned of similar steps against the European Union. The International Monetary Fund last week cut its 2014 global growth forecast to 3.4 percent from 3.7 percent, in part because of the Ukraine crisis, and warned that sanctions against Russia would hurt Europe.


28 July 2014

Ethnic hate speech reveals roots of Kenya violence

Boys play July 28, 2014 in front of a mural that calls for youth to live in peace in the swahili language in Nairobi's sprawling Kibera slum , a hotspot of deadly ethnic violence following the disputed results of the 2007 general electionsKenya takes pride in being a union of "42 tribes", but a string of attacks in towns on its volatile Indian Ocean coast has exposed bitter and explosive ethnic tensions linked to politics. The series of killings in which around 100 people have died in recent weeks have provoked warlike political speeches, alarmist headlines, and offensive and inflammatory messages on social media. "There has been a surge of dangerous speech," said 26-year-old Nanjira Sambuli, a project leader of Umati, an online project monitoring hate speech, based in Nairobi's sleek iHub offices. The gruesome massacres near the tourist island of Lamu in June were claimed by the Shebab, Somalia's Al-Qaeda-linked insurgents, saying the murders were retaliation for Kenya's military role in their country.


28 July 2014

Cameron vows to 'put British first' in battle for vote

British Prime Minister David Cameron leaves 10 Downing Street in London on 18 June, 2014Britain's prime minister announced new measures to cut immigration on Tuesday in a bid to lure voters from eurosceptic rivals 10 months from a general election. "We are making changes to put the British people first," David Cameron wrote in an editorial in The Telegraph newspaper. Cameron's centre-right Conservative party is keen to win back voters who flocked to the eurosceptic, anti-immigration UK Independence Party in European parliament elections in May. The prime minister's editorial listed a series of measures already taken to limit migration to Britain, including a cap on entry from outside the European Union and closing colleges thought to be helping illegal immigration.


28 July 2014

Rocket attack kills girl in Egypt's Sinai: security

File photo taken on February 16, 2014 shows smoke billowing from the site of a bomb explosion in the south Sinai resort town of Taba, EgyptA nine-year-old girl was killed when a rocket hit the ground outside a house in Egypt's Sinai Peninsula, in an apparent attack targeting soldiers, security officials said. Another girl, 10, was wounded in the blast south of the town of Sheikh Zuwaid in northern Sinai on Monday. The rocket was apparently targeting a security patrol that was passing through the area, security officials said. Soldiers and police have been combing the area and the military says it has killed dozens of militants in north Sinai in several operations last week.


28 July 2014

With new default looming, Argentina urges calm

A picture released by the Argentine Ministries Cabinet press service of the head of the Ministries Cabinet, Jorge Capitanich, speaking about the "vulture funds" in Buenos Aires on June 17, 2014Argentina admitted Monday it may default on some of its debts but downplayed the consequences, just two days before time expires in negotiations with hedge funds demanding full payment on their bonds. Argentine officials traveled to New York to take a fresh stab at breaking the impasse with the so-called holdout hedge funds, who refused to join the restructuring plan reached after Buenos Aires stopped paying its more than $100-billion debt in 2001, the largest default in history. A US judge has blocked payments on the restructured debt as long as Argentina refuses to pay the holdouts, which it brands "vultures."