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Aug 5, 2014

coyotes: The Central American people smugglers who ‘Like’ Facebook

SAN PEDRO SULA Honduras/WASHINGTON (Reuters) – When Alan Villeda began smuggling people from Honduras to the United States in 1998, he could only communicate with customers via patchy phone calls. These days, he is a word-of-mouth success and new clients seek him out on Facebook.

Social media like Facebook and Skype are changing, and in some cases accelerating, the decades-old northward migration of Central Americans, U.S. and Honduran officials said, by providing crowd-sourced information on the risks and rewards of making the journey.

Jul 30, 2014

U.S. turns back Central Americans, welcomes ‘dusty foot’ Cubans

WASHINGTON/MIAMI (Reuters) – Yasel Lopez’s journey to the United States was as harrowing as any endured by the thousands of people rounded up in recent months at the Mexican border – he survived days without food and water and the death of a companion on the three-week trip.

But the end of his ordeal was unlike that awaiting most of the migrants, including nearly 60,000 children traveling alone in the past nine months, who face deportation after fleeing violence and poverty in El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras.

Jul 29, 2014

U.S. Senate panel backs confirmation of new ambassador to Russia

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – President Barack Obama’s nominee to be the new U.S. ambassador to Russia could be on his way to Moscow in days, after U.S. senators put aside partisan differences to hold a quick vote backing his appointment on Tuesday.

The Senate Foreign Relations Committee held an unscheduled evening meeting to unanimously approve the nomination of John Tefft, a career diplomat and former ambassador to Ukraine, Georgia and Lithuania, to be the new envoy to Moscow.

Jul 29, 2014

U.S. accuses Venezuela of using oil to press Aruba on extradition

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The United States accused Venezuela on Tuesday of using economic pressure, including a reported threat to close an oil refinery, to apply pressure on the Netherlands not to extradite an official whom Washington wants on drugs charges.

Instead of being extradited to the United States, retired Venezuelan General Hugo Carvajal flew home on Sunday from the Netherlands’ Caribbean island Aruba after the Dutch government ruled he had diplomatic immunity. He was arrested on Aruba on Wednesday.

Jul 29, 2014

U.S. nuclear negotiator declines setting deadline on Iran deal

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The lead U.S. nuclear negotiator declined to give a final deadline on Tuesday for negotiating a final nuclear agreement with Iran, but said participants mean to finish the international talks at the end of the current four-month extension.

“Our intent is absolutely to end this on Nov. 24 in one direction or another. But what I can say to you is we will consult Congress along the way,” Wendy Sherman, the under secretary of State for political affairs, said at a Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing.

Jul 28, 2014

U.S. ‘disappointed’ Netherlands released Venezuelan wanted over drugs

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The United States is “deeply disappointed” the Netherlands released a former Venezuelan military intelligence chief detained over U.S. drug trafficking allegations, and is “disturbed” at reports indicating Caracas used threats to obtain his freedom, the State Department said on Monday.

Instead of being extradited to the United States, retired Venezuelan General Hugo Carvajal flew home on Sunday from the Netherlands’ Caribbean island of Aruba after the Dutch government ruled he had diplomatic immunity. He had been arrested on Aruba on Wednesday.

Jul 24, 2014

Senior U.S. lawmaker: Myanmar must reform before more sanctions easing

WASHINGTON, July 24 (Reuters) – Jade and rubies from Myanmar
will remain banned from the United States unless the Asian
nation moves to end a provision in its constitution that bars
opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi from running for president, a
senior U.S. senator said on Thursday.

Kentucky Senator Mitch McConnell, the Republican party’s
leader in the Senate, said there is little appetite in the U.S.
Congress to reinstate stiff trade sanctions that were imposed on
Myanmar during its decades of tough military rule.

Jul 23, 2014

U.S. Republican lawmakers seek greater say on Iran nuclear deal

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. Republican lawmakers introduced legislation on Wednesday that would force President Barack Obama to submit quickly to Congress any comprehensive nuclear agreement with Iran and give lawmakers the chance to reject the deal and reimpose sanctions.

The five senators introduced their bill just five days after Iran and six world powers announced they had failed to meet a deadline to end a decade-old dispute over Iran’s nuclear program and agreed to extend an interim agreement for four months, including some further sanctions relief for Tehran.

Jul 23, 2014

U.S. boosts Iraq surveillance flights to 50 daily from one monthly

WASHINGTON, July 23 (Reuters) – The United States has
boosted the number of surveillance flights over Iraq to nearly
50 a day from one a month as it faces Sunni Islamist militants
who control swaths of Iraqi territory, a top State Department
official said on Wednesday.

However, Washington has not yet authorized unmanned drone
strikes, as requested by Baghdad, on the forces now known as
Islamic State, Brett McGurk, deputy assistant secretary for Iraq
and Iran, testified at a House of Representatives hearing.

Jul 22, 2014

U.S. Senate panel advances global disabilities treaty

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – A U.S. Senate committee voted on Tuesday to advance a U.N. treaty to protect people with disabilities from discrimination, but the agreement faces a tough fight winning the two-thirds majority needed for ratification by the full Senate.

Although 146 nations and the European Union have ratified the United Nations convention, it has failed to win approval in the deeply divided Senate, where many conservatives are wary of subjecting American social policies to global laws.

    • 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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