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Jan 13, 2014

Israel honors Sharon at state funeral

JERUSALEM (Reuters) – Israel paid homage to former Prime Minister Ariel Sharon at the first of two funeral services to be held on Monday for a man hailed as a war hero at home but seen by many in the Arab world as a war criminal.

U.S. Vice President Joe Biden joined the somber ceremony in front of the Israeli parliament, Sharon’s coffin draped in the Israel’s blue and white flag, bathed in winter sunshine.

Jan 13, 2014

Israel boosts security for Sharon funeral near Gaza border

JERUSALEM (Reuters) – Israel beefed up security for former Prime Minister Ariel Sharon’s funeral near the Gaza border on Monday and warned the enclave’s Palestinian rulers not to allow rocket fire during the ceremony, which U.S. Vice President Joe Biden will attend.

Sharon died at the age of 85 on Saturday after eight years in a coma caused by a stroke. A memorial service will be held on Monday in parliament in Jerusalem and an afternoon funeral near the Sharon family farm some 10 km (6 miles) from Gaza.

Jan 12, 2014

Biden to meet Israel’s Netanyahu during visit for Sharon funeral

SHANNON, Ireland (Reuters) – Vice President Joe Biden will hold talks with Israeli leaders during a visit to the Jewish state as head of a U.S. delegation to former Prime Minister Ariel Sharon’s funeral on Monday, Biden’s office said.

Biden’s meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will be a chance for the vice president to try to further Middle East peace efforts and ease Israeli concerns about nuclear talks with Iran, according to leading U.S. lawmakers flying with him to Tel Aviv on Sunday.

Dec 20, 2013

Obama sends message by including gay athletes in Sochi delegation

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – President Barack Obama made clear on Friday that his inclusion of three openly gay athletes in the official U.S. delegation to the Winter Olympics in Sochi was intended to send a pointed message to Russia, where anti-gay laws have drawn Western criticism.

Former tennis star Billie Jean King, Olympic figure skating champion Brian Boitano and Olympic ice hockey medalist Caitlin Cahow were among a group of prominent Americans named to represent the United States at the Games’ ceremonies.

Dec 20, 2013

U.S. Senate to ease path for sending more Guantanamo detainees home

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. Senate on Thursday is expected to open the way for President Barack Obama to speed up the transfer of many prisoners from Guantanamo Bay to their home countries, a crucial step toward the long-delayed closure of the military prison.

Tucked inside a defense spending bill awaiting final congressional approval, a bipartisan deal will ease some of the tough restrictions on Obama’s ability to send more of the 158 remaining inmates home after years of detention without trial at the U.S. Naval Base in Cuba.

Dec 16, 2013

U.S. scholars’ group backs call for academic boycott of Israel

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – An association of American scholars has voted for an academic boycott of Israeli colleges and universities in protest against Israeli policies towards the Palestinians, the group said on Monday.

Members of the American Studies Association voted by a 2-to-1 margin to endorse a boycott resolution, which stems from a broader campaign to isolate Israel that has made little headway in the United States but has gained some traction in Europe.

Dec 9, 2013

Netanyahu urges world powers to take tough line on final Iran deal

WASHINGTON/JERUSALEM (Reuters) – Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday pressed world powers to take a hard line with Iran in negotiations for a final nuclear deal, urging them to demand that Tehran abandon all uranium enrichment, halt its ballistic missile program and end a “genocidal” anti-Israel policy.

One day after President Barack Obama deemed it unrealistic to believe Iran could be compelled to dismantle its entire nuclear infrastructure, Netanyahu said Tehran should have to take apart all centrifuges used to refine uranium, despite its insistence it would never agree to do so.

Dec 8, 2013

Netanyahu: World powers must demand Iran change ‘genocidal’ anti-Israel policy

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday urged the United States and other world powers to demand that Iran change what he called its “genocidal” anti-Israel policy as part of negotiations with Tehran on a final nuclear deal.

Cautioning the international community to “beware” of Iran’s intentions, Netanyahu underscored his deep skepticism over an interim deal reached with Iran last month in Geneva and insisted that any long-term accord must bring about the “termination of Iran’s military nuclear capability.”

Dec 5, 2013

U.S. says China air defense zone unacceptable, shouldn’t be implemented

WASHINGTON, Dec 5 (Reuters) – The White House said on
Thursday that China’s new air defense zone over the East China
Sea was “unacceptable” and urged Beijing not to implement it,
but stopped sort of calling for it to rescind its declaration.

Keeping up U.S. criticism, White House spokesman Jay Carney
assailed China for a “dangerous and provocative” move that
increased the risk of stumbling into a crisis, and said that was
not consistent with the behavior of a major power.

Nov 27, 2013

Americans back Iran deal by 2-to-1 margin: Reuters/Ipsos poll

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Americans back a newly brokered nuclear deal with Iran by a 2-to-1 margin and are very wary of the United States resorting to military action against Tehran even if the historic diplomatic effort falls through, a Reuters/Ipsos poll showed on Tuesday.

The findings were rare good news in the polls for President Barack Obama whose approval ratings have dropped in recent weeks because of the botched rollout of his signature healthcare reform law.

    • 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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