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Feb 5, 2014

U.S. eases rules to admit more Syrian refugees, after 31 last year

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – President Barack Obama’s administration announced on Wednesday that it had eased some immigration rules to allow more of the millions of Syrians forced from their homes during the country’s three-year civil war to come to the United States.

Only 31 Syrian refugees – out of an estimated 2.3 million – were admitted in the fiscal year that ended in October, prompting demands for change from rights advocates and many lawmakers.

Feb 4, 2014

Iran nuclear deal ‘not perfect’ but buys time, top U.S. official

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – An initial agreement to curb Iran’s nuclear program was “not perfect” but it bought time to try to secure a comprehensive deal, a top U.S. official said on Tuesday in response to sharp criticism from Congress.

Major world powers struck an agreement with Iran on November 24 to offer Tehran an estimated $7 billion in sanctions relief in return for steps to restrain Iranian atomic activities. The deal called for negotiation of a full agreement within a year.

Jan 30, 2014

Exclusive: U.S. readies financial sanctions against Ukraine: congressional aides

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The Obama administration is preparing financial sanctions that could be imposed on Ukrainian officials and protest leaders if violence escalates in the political crisis gripping Ukraine, congressional aides said on Wednesday.

Congressional aides, who asked not to be identified by name because of the sensitive subject, said they had discussed the sanction preparations with administration officials.

Jan 30, 2014

U.S. readies financial sanctions against Ukraine -congressional aides

WASHINGTON, Jan 29 (Reuters) – The Obama administration is
preparing financial sanctions that could be imposed on Ukrainian
officials and protest leaders if violence escalates in the
political crisis gripping Ukraine, congressional aides said on
Wednesday.

Congressional aides, who asked not to be identified by name
because of the sensitive subject, said they had discussed the
sanction preparations with administration officials.

Jan 29, 2014

U.S. intelligence head wants Snowden, ‘accomplices’ to return documents

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The top U.S. intelligence official called on Wednesday for Edward Snowden and journalists who obtained documents the former contractor took without authorization from the National Security Agency to return the materials to authorities.

At a hearing where the heads of five U.S. intelligence agencies ratcheted up rhetoric calling Snowden a “grave threat” to the nation, U.S. Director of National Intelligence James Clapper made comments that appeared to accuse journalists who wrote stories based on Snowden’s leaks.

Jan 29, 2014

U.S. spy chiefs say number of foreign militants in Syria rises

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – More than 7,000 foreign militants are fighting for the rebels in Syria’s civil war and some are being trained to return home and conduct attacks, U.S. spy chiefs told lawmakers on Wednesday.

The estimate, given at a Senate intelligence hearing, was much higher than earlier figures of 3,000 to 4,000 foreign fighters in Syria, and came after news emerged this week that Congress had secretly approved more funding to send weapons to “moderate” rebels.

Jan 29, 2014

Obama takes tough line against Iran sanctions to Congress

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – President Barack Obama took his hard line against new sanctions over Iran’s nuclear program directly to U.S. lawmakers on Tuesday by pledging in his annual State of the Union address to veto any legislation that threatens talks with Tehran.

Obama said an interim agreement seeking to curb Iran’s nuclear program was already taking effect, as he pressed for time to allow negotiations on a final agreement to go ahead, saying the ongoing diplomacy was important for U.S. safety.

Jan 28, 2014

U.S. senators urge nominee for Beijing ambassador to be tough on China

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. lawmakers expressed concern about China’s territorial ambitions at a confirmation hearing on Tuesday for the next American ambassador to China, and they urged him to take a tough line with Beijing.

Senator Max Baucus, President Barack Obama’s nominee for the ambassador’s post, told a Senate hearing he would do all he could to reduce tensions between China and its neighbors and said he would follow a “cautious” approach with Beijing.

Jan 27, 2014

Iran sanctions push stalls, U.S. lawmakers mull weaker measure

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – An attempt to impose new sanctions on Iran over its nuclear program has stalled in the U.S. Congress and lawmakers are discussing whether to introduce a much weaker measure, congressional aides said on Monday.

Members of the Senate and House of Representatives are considering a non-binding resolution that expresses concern about Iran’s nuclear ambitions and calls for negotiators to set strict conditions in talks between Tehran and world powers.

Jan 17, 2014

Exclusive: Senior U.S. senators push South Sudan leaders on violence

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Senior members of the influential U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee urged South Sudan’s leaders on Friday to stop violence threatening to spiral into civil war in a country that has received billions of dollars in U.S. taxpayer funds.

In letters obtained by Reuters, Democratic Senators Robert Menendez, chairman of the committee, and Chris Coons, chairman of the Africa subcommittee, wrote to South Sudanese President Salva Kiir and former Vice President Riek Machar expressing deep concern about the turmoil.

    • 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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