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U.S. stresses future France role in Afghanistan

WASHINGTON — The United States stressed Thursday that France would still contribute to the NATO operation in Afghanistan, despite new President Francois Hollande’s promise to withdraw combat troops this year. A day before Obama welcomes Hollande to the Oval Office for their first meeting, the White House stressed that the…

Senate approves new Federal Reserve governors

WASHINGTON — The US Senate Thursday confirmed two Obama administration nominees to the board of the Federal Reserve after Republicans kept them on hold since December. The confirmations of economist Jeremy Stein and investment banker Jerome Powell will bring the Fed’s board up to full strength of seven governors for…

U.S. slaps big duties on Chinese solar cells

WASHINGTON — The United States slapped hefty anti-dumping duties on Chinese solar cell makers Thursday in a move likely to heighten trade tensions between the two global economic powers. The Commerce Department said it had found that Chinese solar cell producers and exporters had been selling solar cells into the…

Senate to ask JPMorgan chief to testify

WASHINGTON — JPMorgan Chase’s embattled chief executive Jamie Dimon will be invited to testify before the Senate Banking Committee to discuss the huge trading losses announced by the largest US bank, a lawmaker said Thursday. Banking Committee chairman Senator Tim Johnson expressed his intent to call Dimon as a witness…

Clinton wants Myanmar’s remaining political prisoners freed

WASHINGTON — US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton appealed Thursday for Myanmar’s remaining political prisoners to be freed, following previous releases under reforms in the military-dominated state. “We also would like to see the release of any continued political prisoners,” Clinton told reporters during a press conference with Myanmar Foreign…

Obama to meet Karzai in Chicago on Sunday

WASHINGTON — US President Barack Obama will meet Afghan President Hamid Karzai in Chicago Sunday, as he launches a NATO summit that will mark a “critical milestone” in ending the war, a top official said. Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari will also attend the summit, with a final agreement apparently…

Sri Lanka faces impatience in U.S.

WASHINGTON — Sri Lanka is looking to ease growing friction with the United States, but it faces exasperation from policymakers who see little progress on concerns three years after a bloody civil war ended. Foreign Minister Gamini Lakshman Peiris meets Friday with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton after a week…

U.S. defends visa granted to Raul Castro’s daughter

WASHINGTON — The United States Thursday defended its decision to grant a visa to the daughter of Cuban President Raul Castro, saying there was no blanket ban on visits by officials from the communist state. Mariela Castro, a sexologist who backs gay rights, is due to attend the annual conference…

NASA says competition is key to private space race

WASHINGTON — Competition is vital to the race among private companies to replace the space shuttle, NASA said Thursday, after Congress called for the US space agency to fund a single company. “We believe that competition is key to accelerating this program,” said NASA deputy administrator Lori Garver in a…

U.S. group to send 22 observers to Egypt’s election

WASHINGTON — The Atlanta-based Carter Center has the green light to send 22 observers to monitor Egypt’s presidential election next week, the US State Department said Thursday. “The Carter Center has received accreditation as one of the organizations that will witness the election by Egypt’s Supreme Presidential Election Commission,” State…

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