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May 8, 2014

Bill ending NSA data collection continues swift path through U.S. Congress

WASHINGTON, May 8 (Reuters) – A bill to end the government’s
bulk collection of telephone records got a unanimous go-ahead on
Thursday from a second U.S. congressional committee, advancing
the first legislative effort at surveillance reform since former
contractor Edward Snowden revealed the program a year ago.

The House of Representatives Intelligence committee voted
unanimously by voice vote for the “USA Freedom Act,” which would
end the National Security Agency’s practice of gathering
information on calls made by millions of Americans and storing
them for at least five years.

Apr 29, 2014

Senior U.S. lawmaker blocks aid for Egyptian military

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. Senator Patrick Leahy, chairman of the Senate subcommittee that oversees foreign aid, said on Tuesday he would not approve sending funds to the Egyptian military, denouncing a “sham trial” in which a court sentenced 683 people to death.

“I’m not prepared to sign off on the delivery of additional aid for the Egyptian military,” the Vermont Democrat said in a speech on the Senate floor, explaining why he would hold up the $650 million. “I’m not prepared to do that until we see convincing evidence the government is committed to the rule of law.”

Apr 28, 2014

U.S. lawmakers say latest Russia sanctions too mild, to seek more

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Senior U.S. Republican lawmakers said on Monday the latest sanctions imposed on Russian individuals and companies are too mild to deter Moscow from further action in Ukraine and promised to offer legislation as soon as this week to pressure the Obama administration to take stronger action.

Tennessee Senator Bob Corker, the top Republican on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, who earlier this month visited Ukraine and neighbouring countries, called the new sanctions “just a slap on the wrist,” and said it was time for measures that would affect the Russian economy.

Apr 28, 2014

U.S. lawmakers say latest Russia sanctions too mild, want more

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Senior U.S. Republican lawmakers said on Monday the latest sanctions imposed on Russian individuals and companies are too mild to deter Moscow from further action in Ukraine and promised legislation to pressure the Obama administration to take stronger action.

Tennessee Senator Bob Corker, the top Republican on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, called the new sanctions “just a slap on the wrist.”

Apr 27, 2014

Analysis – For Washington, Palestinian pact not the end of Middle East peace hopes

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The unity pact between Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and the militant group Hamas dealt a sharp punch to U.S.-driven peace negotiations with Israel, but the Americans insisted it was not a fatal blow to the struggling talks.

Washington was stunned by the deal announced on Wednesday between Fatah, the faction that leads the West Bank, and Hamas, which rules the Gaza Strip and is viewed as a terrorist organization by the United States, the European Union and Israel. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu immediately suspended participation in the peace process brokered by U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry.

Apr 27, 2014

For Washington, Palestinian pact not the end of Middle East peace hopes

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The unity pact between Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and the militant group Hamas dealt a sharp punch to U.S.-driven peace negotiations with Israel, but the Americans insisted it was not a fatal blow to the struggling talks.

Washington was stunned by the deal announced on Wednesday between Fatah, the faction that leads the West Bank, and Hamas, which rules the Gaza Strip and is viewed as a terrorist organization by the United States, the European Union and Israel. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu immediately suspended participation in the peace process brokered by U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry.

Apr 21, 2014

U.S. says will act ‘in days’ if no Russian action in Ukraine

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The United States’ government said on Monday it will decide “in days” on additional sanctions if Russia does not take steps to implement an agreement to ease tensions in Ukraine reached in Geneva last week.

The steps include publicly calling on pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine to vacate occupied buildings and checkpoints, accept an amnesty and address their grievances politically, State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said.

Apr 11, 2014

Iranian official will not get visa for U.N. ambassadorship: White House

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The United States denied a visa to Iran’s proposed U.N. ambassador on Friday, citing the envoy’s links to the 1979-1981 Iranian hostage crisis, in a rare step that raises questions over how much influence the White House can wield over the world body.

President Barack Obama had come under strong pressure not to allow Hamid Abutalebi into the country to take up his position in New York. White House spokesman Jay Carney said the United Nations and Iran had been told “that we will not issue a visa to Mr. Abutalebi.” He gave no further explanation.

Apr 10, 2014

Top U.S. lawmaker: intelligence top priority in defense bill

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The chairman of the U.S. House Armed Services Committee said on Thursday that intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance capabilities would be top priorities as the panel puts together this year’s massive defense policy bill.

“If you don’t know what somebody else is doing, you don’t even know what your risks are,” U.S. Representative Buck McKeon said during a meeting with reporters.

Apr 9, 2014

U.S. expectations low for talks with Russia on Ukraine: diplomat

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. expectations for talks with Russia on the Ukraine crisis next week are not high, the top U.S. diplomat for Europe said on Wednesday, but it is essential to make every effort to ease tensions.

Assistant Secretary of State for Europe Victoria Nuland also reiterated the U.S. accusation that Russia was behind the takeover of government buildings in eastern Ukraine this week.

    • 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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