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Nov 27, 2013

Turkeys avoid Thanksgiving fate with U.S. presidential pardon

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Taking a break from weighty matters of state and pitched battles with political foes, President Barack Obama exercised the lighter side of his authority Wednesday by sparing two magnificent turkeys the fate of becoming someone’s Thanksgiving dinner.

“The office of the presidency, the most powerful position in the world, brings with it many awesome and solemn responsibilities,” he said as one of the turkeys strutted around the stage next to him. “This is not one of them.”

Nov 27, 2013

U.S. affirms support for Japan in island dispute with China

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The United States pledged support for ally Japan on Wednesday in a growing dispute with China over islands in the East China Sea as senior U.S. administration officials said China’s claim to air space over the islands had unsettled its neighbors.

U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel told his Japanese counterpart in a phone call that the two nations’ defense treaty covers the small island group where China established a new airspace defense zone last week and “commended the Japanese government for exercising appropriate restraint,” a Pentagon spokesman said.

Nov 26, 2013

U.S. says may pull out all troops as Afghan leader holds up deal

KABUL/WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Afghanistan’s President Hamid Karzai has refused to sign a security deal with the United States, the White House said, and Washington may have to resort to the “zero option” of withdrawing all American troops from the strife-torn country next year, as it did in Iraq.

Karzai told U.S. National Security Advisor Susan Rice in Kabul on Monday that the United States must put an immediate end to military raids on Afghan homes and demonstrate its commitment to peace talks before he would sign a bilateral security pact, Karzai’s spokesman said.

Nov 26, 2013

New conditions appear to push U.S., Afghanistan farther from striking security deal

KABUL/WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Afghanistan and the United States appeared even farther from a deal on Tuesday that would allow U.S. troops to remain in Afghanistan after 2014 as a meeting between President Hamid Karzai and a senior U.S. official revealed new differences over the controversial agreement.

Afghan President Hamid Karzai told U.S. National Security Advisor Susan Rice, who met with the Afghan leader on Monday during a visit to Kabul, that the United States must put an immediate end to military raids on Afghan homes and demonstrate its commitment to peace talks before the Afghan leader would sign a bilateral security pact, Karzai’s spokesman said.

Nov 25, 2013

U.S. says Afghanistan’s Karzai seeks new security deal conditions

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Afghan President Hamid Karzai, in a meeting with U.S. National Security Advisor Susan Rice, proposed new terms for a deal governing troop withdrawal from Afghanistan and said he is in no hurry to sign the accord, the White House said on Monday.

“President Karzai outlined new conditions for signing the agreement and indicated he is not prepared to sign the BSA promptly,” the White House said in a readout of the meeting between the two officials.

Nov 21, 2013

Journalists take White House to task over photo access

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Simmering tensions between the Obama administration and the White House press corps spilled into the open on Thursday when news organizations formally protested decisions to bar photojournalists from many presidential events.

The White House Correspondents Association and major news organizations, including Reuters, wrote to White House Press Secretary Jay Carney to complain about being shut out of events that the White House documented with its own photographer.

Nov 20, 2013

White House says rise in health costs slower, Obamacare a factor

WASHINGTON, Nov 20 (Reuters) – President Barack Obama’s
signature health law has helped spur stronger economic growth by
contributing to slower increases in healthcare prices and
spending, the White House said on Wednesday.

The White House’s assertion of the economic benefits of the
law commonly called Obamacare runs counter to the views of many
critics, who say it is raising insurance premiums and chilling
job creation.

Nov 16, 2013

House passes Republican health bill with 39 Democratic votes

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – In the most significant legislative rebuke to President Barack Obama’s healthcare overhaul, 39 members of his Democratic Party voted for a Republican bill in the House of Representatives on Friday aimed at undermining his signature domestic policy.

The measure, which would allow insurance companies to renew and sell inexpensive, limited-coverage policies that have been canceled because they don’t meet the standards of the new healthcare law that took effect on October 1, passed 261-157.

Nov 15, 2013

White House wants to extend unemployment insurance through 2014

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – President Barack Obama will push for an extension of emergency unemployment insurance benefits through the end of 2014, the White House said on Friday, saying the help is still warranted given stubbornly high unemployment.

“While the labor market has been improving, it is not, clearly, at full strength,” spokesman Jay Carney told reporters at a briefing.

Nov 15, 2013

Biden ready to discuss disposal of U.S. chemical arms on Panama trip

WASHINGTON, Nov 15 (Reuters) – Vice President Joe Biden will
be ready to discuss with Panamanian officials next week the
disposal of American chemical weapons left on an island off
Panama’s coast during the 1940s when he visits the Central
American nation, U.S. officials said on Friday.

The issue of the chemical munitions on San Jose island,
located 60 miles (100 km) off Panama’s Pacific coast, has been
an irritant in relations between the two countries.

    • About Mark

      "Mark Felsenthal is a Reuters White House correspondent who covered Barack Obama's re-election in 2012 and the fiscal crisis that immediately followed. Since joining Reuters in 2001, he has written about monetary policy, currency wars, and the housing market meltdown."
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