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Aug 3, 2015

Special Report: State Department watered down human trafficking report

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – In the weeks leading up to a critical annual U.S. report on human trafficking that publicly shames the world’s worst offenders, human rights experts at the State Department concluded that trafficking conditions hadn’t improved in Malaysia and Cuba. And in China, they found, things had grown worse.

The State Department’s senior political staff saw it differently — and they prevailed.

Aug 3, 2015

Special Report – U.S. State Department watered down human trafficking report

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – In the weeks leading up to a critical annual U.S. report on human trafficking that publicly shames the world’s worst offenders, human rights experts at the State Department concluded that trafficking conditions hadn’t improved in Malaysia and Cuba. And in China, they found, things had grown worse.

The State Department’s senior political staff saw it differently — and they prevailed.

Jul 28, 2015

U.S. to parole convicted Israeli spy Pollard on Nov. 21

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Jonathan Pollard, a former U.S. Navy intelligence analyst convicted of spying for Israel, will be released on parole on Nov. 21 after 30 years in prison, a federal parole board ruled on Tuesday.

Pollard’s planned release, which was quickly welcomed by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, would remove a longstanding irritant in U.S.-Israel relations at a time of increased friction between the two close allies over President Barack Obama’s landmark nuclear deal with Iran.

Jul 23, 2015

Critics of Iran deal spinning ‘fantasy,’ urges approval – Kerry

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry on Thursday mounted a furious counterattack against critics of the Iran nuclear deal, telling sceptical lawmakers it would be fantasy to think the United States could simply “bomb away” Tehran’s atomic know-how.

Testifying before Congress for the first time since world powers reached the landmark accord with Iran last week, America’s top diplomat was confronted head-on by Republican accusations that Iranian negotiators had “fleeced” and “bamboozled” him.

Jul 23, 2015

U.S. lawmakers seek to change Cuba travel, shipping rules

WASHINGTON, July 23 (Reuters) – A U.S. Senate committee on
Thursday approved amendments that would end restrictions on
Americans’ travel to Cuba and ease some trading barriers,
advancing efforts to implement President Barack Obama’s
rapprochement with the communist island.

The Appropriations Committee voted with bipartisan support
for a measure that would ease travel limits, making it the first
legislation to pass any congressional committee to facilitate
the drive to normalize relations.

Jul 23, 2015

Kerry: critics of Iran deal spinning ‘fantasy,’ urges approval

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry on Thursday mounted a furious counterattack against critics of the Iran nuclear deal, telling skeptical lawmakers it would be fantasy to think the United States could simply “bomb away” Tehran’s atomic know-how.

Testifying before Congress for the first time since world powers reached the landmark accord with Iran last week, America’s top diplomat was confronted head-on by Republican accusations that Iranian negotiators had “fleeced” and “bamboozled” him.

Jul 22, 2015

Republicans, pro-Israel groups step up campaign against Iran deal

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Top Republicans vowed on Wednesday to do their utmost to scrap President Barack Obama’s nuclear deal with Iran as the biggest pro-Israel lobby geared up for an all-out campaign to pressure wary lawmakers into rejecting the agreement.

A bigger push against last week’s historic accord in Vienna was being met with a counter-offensive by senior Obama administration officials, who have already spent hours on in-person and telephone briefings with members of Congress.

Jul 20, 2015

U.S., Cuba quietly open historic new chapter in post-Cold War ties

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The United States and Cuba quietly ushered in a new era of post-Cold War relations on Monday, formally restoring diplomatic ties severed more than five decades ago and re-establishing embassies in each other’s capitals.

Just past the stroke of midnight, the two countries reached a new milestone in the historic thaw that began with a breakthrough announcement by U.S. President Barack Obama and Cuban President Raul Castro on Dec. 17.

Jul 17, 2015

Kerry to host Cuba foreign minister in Washington on Monday

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Secretary of State John Kerry will meet Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez in Washington on Monday, U.S. officials said, to mark the historic restoration of diplomatic ties between former Cold War foes severed more than five decades ago.

Kerry will host Rodriguez at the State Department after the Cuban official leads the formal reopening of the Communist state’s embassy, a hugely symbolic step in the thaw between the countries initiated by President Barack Obama and Cuba’s President Raul Castro in December.

Jul 17, 2015

Kerry to host Cuba foreign minister in Washington on Monday

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Secretary of State John Kerry will meet Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez in Washington on Monday, U.S. officials said, to mark the historic restoration of diplomatic ties between former Cold War foes severed more than five decades ago.

Kerry will host Rodriguez at the State Department after the Cuban official leads the formal reopening of the Communist state’s embassy, a hugely symbolic step in the thaw between the countries initiated by President Barack Obama and Cuba’s President Raul Castro in December.

    • About Matt

      "White House correspondent who has covered news on four continents for Reuters, from Latin American coups and drug wars to the O.J. Simpson murder trial in Los Angeles to the Balkans conflict to the second Palestinian Intifada to the Iraq war. He has covered George W. Bush and is now covering President Barack Obama."
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