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U.S. has ‘confidence’ in Afghan assembly

WASHINGTON — The United States on Monday voiced “confidence” in Afghanistan’s upcoming traditional assembly (loya jirga), saying it trusted the meeting would affirm close US-Afghan ties. In Kabul just hours earlier, a suspected suicide bomber carrying a bag of explosives was shot dead near the site of the major meeting…

U.S. diplomat suspended for book, blog with WikiLeaks link

WASHINGTON — The State Department has suspended a veteran diplomat for a book critical of US policy in Iraq and irreverent blog posts that included a link to a WikiLeaks cable, he said Wednesday. Peter Van Buren, a 23 year foreign service officer who worked in human relations, said he…

U.S. warns of ‘imminent’ attack threat in Kenya

The US embassy in Nairobi warned Americans of an “imminent threat” of attacks possibly targeting foreigners, one week after Kenyan forces crossed into Somalia to hunt down Shebab fighters. The embassy cited “credible information of an imminent threat of terrorist attacks directed at prominent Kenyan facilities and areas where foreigners…

U.S. voices ‘concerns’ over some freed Palestinians

WASHINGTON — The United States has voiced “concerns” to Israel over some of the 477 Palestinian prisoners freed by the Jewish state on Tuesday as part of a deal to win the release of a captured Israeli soldier. “We have looked at some of these individuals and we’ve communicated our…

Obama demands ‘plot’ answers from top Iranian leaders

WASHINGTON — US President Barack Obama Thursday demanded answers from the pinnacle of Iran’s government over an alleged plot to kill the Saudi envoy to Washington and said the facts of the plan were not in dispute. But he also declined to say whether US officials believed that the alleged…

U.S. weighs blacklisting Haqqani network

WASHINGTON — The Obama administration is considering placing the Haqqani network on its list of terror groups after blaming the militants for deadly attacks in Afghanistan, a US official said Monday. Seven leaders of the Haqqani network, which operates from safe havens in Pakistan and was founded by former CIA…

U.S. experts eye Cuba oil plans after BP spill

A group of US experts led by a former top environment official has visited Cuba to gather information on the communist country’s Gulf of Mexico oil exploration plans, according to state media. William Reilly, who led the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) under former president George H.W. Bush and led…

CIA rendition might rely on ‘non-existent’ State Dept. official

As the Washington Post and others have reported today, an obscure court case in New York state has led to the disclosure of new details on CIA’s extraordinary rendition program, in which the U.S. captured dozens of alleged terrorists and sent them to secret prisons overseas. About 1,700 pages of…

China jailing Nobel winner broke international law: UN

A United Nations panel has called for the release of jailed Chinese dissident and Nobel Peace prize laureate Liu Xiaobo and his wife, saying their detention breaks international law. The UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention criticised Liu’s pre-trial detention, saying he was held “incommunicado” and denied access to a…

United States ready to give asylum to alleged Libya rape victim

WASHINGTON — The United States is prepared to welcome a Libyan woman who accused soldiers loyal to Libyan leader Moamer Kadhafi of raping her as long as she goes through the normal refugee process, a senior US official said Tuesday. The woman, Iman al-Obeidi, is currently at the emergency transit…

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