U.S. and Russia hit roadblock trying to start Crimea talks
WASHINGTON — The Obama administration’s effort to solicit Russia’s help to defuse the crisis in Ukraine appeared to hit a dead end on Monday when Secretary of State John Kerry delayed an anticipated trip to Russia and the two sides issued dueling accounts of their recent diplomacy.
Putin intends to cripple Ukraine
MOSCOW — President Vladimir Putin has left little doubt he intends to cripple Ukraine’s new government, forcing it to make concessions or face the de facto partition of areas populated predominantly by ethnic Russians, from the Crimea to Odessa to the industrial heartland in the east.
European Union imposes sanctions in Ukraine crisis
BRUSSELS — Brushing aside Russian criticism, the European Union agreed Thursday to go ahead with sanctions that include travel bans and asset freezes imposed on those deemed responsible for the fatal escalation of violence in Ukraine.
U.S. prepares economic aid to bolster democracy in Egypt
WASHINGTON — Nearly 16 months after first pledging to help Egypt’s failing economy, the Obama administration is nearing an agreement with the country’s new government to relieve $1 billion of its debt as part of a U.S. and international assistance package intended to bolster its transition to democracy, administration officials said.
After Clinton visit, US to relax some curbs on aid to Myanmar
YANGON, Myanmar — Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said Thursday that the United States would loosen some restrictions on international financial assistance and development programs in Myanmar, in response to a nascent political and economic opening in the country.
US budget crisis forcing big cuts in foreign aid
WASHINGTON — America’s budget crisis at home is forcing the first significant cuts in overseas aid in nearly two decades, a retrenchment that officials and advocates say reflects the country’s diminishing ability to influence the world.
$1 billion in aid pledged to Libyan rebels
ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates — The nations intervening in Libya pledged as much as $1 billion in support for the opposition there on Thursday as senior officials continued to predict that the collapse of Moammar Gadhafi’s government could be imminent.
Clinton meets with Libyan opposition leader Mahmoud Jibril
PARIS — Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton met late Monday with a leader of Libya’s increasingly beleaguered opposition, but did so privately and without a public statement.
Dangerous quartet of Iraqi prisoners escapes U.S. custody
BAGHDAD — Four of the most dangerous prisoners in Iraq escaped overnight on Wednesday from American custody in a heavily fortified prison on the edge of Baghdad, an embarrassing security breach that led to an intensive manhunt, American and Iraqi officials said Thursday.
After polls, Iraqi court begins to disqualify candidates
BAGHDAD – Seven weeks after Iraqis went to the polls, a special elections court disqualified a winning parliamentary candidate, most likely reversing the narrow defeat of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki’s coalition and possibly allowing him the first chance to form a new coalition government.
Deadly attacks on soldiers at polls mar early voting in Iraq
BAGHDAD — Iraq opened its polls early on Thursday for hundreds of thousands of soldiers and police officers responsible for protecting the country’s electorate, and they came under assault themselves.
Iraq Museum That Was Looted Reopens, Far from Whole
Well over half the exhibition halls in Iraq’s National Museum are closed, darkened and in disrepair. And yet, the museum whose looting in 2003 became a symbol of the chaos that followed the U.S. invasion officially reopened on Monday.
The Environmental Protection Agency rejected on Thursday a request to cut the federal government’s quota for the use of ethanol in cars, concluding, at least for now, that the national goal of reducing oil use trumps any effect on food prices from making fuel from corn.
Success Allows Limited Troop Cuts, Bush Says in Nat’l Address
President Bush contended on Thursday night that his plan to begin withdrawing some troops from Iraq gradually was based on a principle he called “return on success,” saying that progress made so far could be squandered by the deeper and speedier reductions that the war’s opponents have demanded.
Bush Decides to Keep Guantanamo Bay Facility Open
Despite his stated desire to close the American prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, President Bush has decided not to do so, and never considered proposals drafted in the State Department and the Pentagon that outlined options for transferring the detainees elsewhere, according to senior administration officials.
NATO Endorses Missile System, More Troops for Afghanistan
NATO leaders agreed Thursday to endorse a U.S. missile defense system based in Europe and to provide more troops for Afghanistan, but they refused to back President Bush’s proposal to bring Ukraine and Georgia closer to NATO membership.
Trial of Guantanamo Prisoners Appears Politically Motivated
Harsh interrogations and Guantanamo Bay, secret prisons and warrantless eavesdropping, the war against al-Qaida and the one in Iraq. On issue after issue, President Bush has showed little indication that he will shrink from the most controversial decisions of his tenure.
Bush Proposes U.S. Spend More On Food Aid Programs for Poor Nations
President Bush on Thursday proposed spending an additional $770 million in emergency food assistance for poor countries, responding to rising food prices that have resulted in social unrest in several nations.
Bush Signals No Early Troop Reductions for Iraq Forces
President Bush said Thursday that the senior U.S. commander in Iraq could “have all the time he needs” before reducing U.S. forces there any further, but he promised shorter tours for troops and longer breaks for them at home.
Bush Supports Fed’s Actions, But Critics Quickly Find Fault
President Bush on Monday welcomed the Federal Reserve’s sweeping intervention in the nation’s financial markets as his administration faced accusations that it had supported the bailout of a prestigious investment bank while doing little to address the hardships of Americans facing foreclosures on their homes.
Bush Tells Saudi Leaders That High Cost of Oil Hurts American Economy
President Bush on Tuesday urged Saudi Arabia and other members of OPEC to consider the strain the high cost of oil was having on the American economy, addressing an issue that has begun to color the last year of his presidency and dominate the presidential election campaign.
Hoping to Continue Funding the War, Bush Asks Congress for $196 Billion
President Bush asked Congress on Monday to approve $196 billion to pay for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and other national security programs, setting the stage for a new confrontation with Democrats over the administration’s handling of Iraq.
Bush Defends Iraq Occupation Despite Its Low Public Approval
President Bush’s Iraq strategy faces a crisis of faith these days — from the American public. And he is confronting it the way he has previous crises: with a relentless campaign to persuade people to see things his way.