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Nov 13, 2013

Kerry warns that new U.S. sanctions could torpedo Iran talks

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – If the Congress imposes new sanctions against Iran, it could scuttle ongoing international negotiations aimed at curbing Tehran’s suspected nuclear weapons work, Secretary of State John Kerry said on Wednesday.

“The risk is that if Congress were to unilaterally move to raise sanctions it could break faith in those negotiations and actually stop them and break them apart,” Kerry told reporters before a meeting with U.S. senators on the matter.

Nov 13, 2013

U.S. designates Nigeria militant groups as terrorists

WASHINGTON, Nov 13 (Reuters) – The United States formally
designated the Nigerian Islamist militant groups Boko Haram and
Ansaru as foreign terrorist organizations on Wednesday, making
it a crime to provide them with material support.

The White House directed U.S. agencies to block financial
transactions with the two groups, which it blamed for thousands
of deaths in northeast and central Nigeria, including attacks on
churches and mosques and a 2011 suicide bombing of the United
Nations building in Abuja.

Nov 11, 2013

U.S. Senate will wait before moving on Iran sanctions: aides

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. lawmakers will wait until after a briefing by Secretary of State John Kerry this week before deciding whether to impose tough new sanctions on Iran because of its nuclear program, Senate aides said on Monday.

Kerry will brief the Senate Banking Committee on Wednesday on the status of negotiations for a deal on the nuclear program, State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki told reporters as Kerry returned from a trip that included a stop at the Iran negotiations in Geneva.

Nov 7, 2013

U.S. sanctions threat hangs over Iran talks in Geneva

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – A threat by the U.S. Congress to slap tough new sanctions on Iran hung over negotiations on Tehran’s nuclear program on Thursday, even as diplomats at talks in Geneva voiced optimism an agreement was close.

A package of tighter sanctions on Iran has been making its way through Congress but was held up after President Barack Obama’s administration asked for a delay to let the delicate diplomatic talks over Tehran’s nuclear program unfold.

Nov 7, 2013

U.S. Senate panel will move ahead on new Iran sanctions

WASHINGTON, Nov 7 (Reuters) – The U.S. Senate Banking
Committee will move ahead with a package of tough new sanctions
on Iran after the negotiating session over its nuclear program
ends in Geneva on Friday, the committee’s chairman said on
Thursday.

Senator Tim Johnson, a Democrat, said Senate Majority Leader
Harry Reid told him to go ahead with the mark-up – or
consideration – of the bill, a step toward bringing it to the
full Senate for a vote.

Nov 6, 2013

Tough road ahead for change in U.S. military sex assault rules

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. lawmakers announced a renewed push on Wednesday to make sweeping changes in the way the military handles complaints of sexual assault, but they face a tough fight attracting the 60 votes they will likely need to get their plan through the Senate.

Democratic Senator Kirsten Gillibrand of New York said 46 senators – 38 Democrats and eight Republicans – support her proposal to remove responsibility for prosecuting cases of unwanted sexual conduct from the military chain of command and put it in the hand of an independent judge.

Nov 6, 2013

Senate panel approves intelligence authorization bill

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – A Senate panel approved its annual authorization of funding for intelligence operations on Tuesday, including measures to increase spy agencies’ ability to prevent leaks of classified information like those by former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden.

The Senate Intelligence Committee voted 13-2 to approve the 2014 Intelligence Authorization Act, which authorizes intelligence funding to counter terrorist threats, prevent proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and conduct covert actions around the world.

Nov 6, 2013

U.S. senators revive bid to ratify U.N. disabilities treaty

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Senior U.S. senators revived a push on Tuesday to ratify a treaty to protect people with disabilities from discrimination, almost a year after Republican lawmakers blocked approval of the international pact.

Democratic Senator Robert Menendez, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, called a hearing to address concerns about the U.N. Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, during which some Republican lawmakers made strong appeals for more support from members of their party.

Nov 1, 2013

Senate panel passes plan to restrict but keep mass surveillance

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The Senate Intelligence Committee approved legislation on Thursday that would tighten controls on the government’s sweeping electronic eavesdropping programs but allow them to continue.

In a classified hearing, the panel voted 11-4 for a measure that puts new limits on what intelligence agencies can do with bulk communications records and imposes a five-year limit on how long they can be retained.

Oct 31, 2013

Senate panel passes plan to restrict, not end, surveillance

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The Senate Intelligence Committee approved legislation on Thursday to tighten controls on the government’s sweeping electronic eavesdropping programs, but allows them to continue.

In a classified hearing, the panel voted 11-4 for a measure that puts new limits on what intelligence agencies can do with bulk communications records and imposes a five-year limit on how long they can be retained.

    • About Patricia

      "Patricia Zengerle covers foreign policy and national security on Capitol Hill for Reuters. She recently covered the 2012 campaign and the White House and had been an editor in Washington, D.C., an editor in London, and a correspondent in Miami, Pittsburgh and New York. You can follow her on Twitter @ReutersZengerle"
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