(Reuters) - Senate Finance Committee Chairman Ron Wyden has asked the Obama administration why the United States failed to stop a tax-avoidance strategy used by hedge funds, including John Paulson's Paulson & Co, Bloomberg reported. Wyden asked the U.S. Treasury Department and the Internal Revenue Service what they had done to challenge funds that channel investments through insurance companies in tax havens as a way to lower fund managers' personal income-tax bills, according to the report.
By Andrea Shalal WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Republican Senator John McCain on Monday said he was concerned by recent revelations of U.S. government-industry "cronyism" in developing Lockheed Martin Corp's F-35 fighter jet, and said the $398.6 billion program still had "major problems." McCain, a key member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, said he had long been troubled by the Pentagon's payment of 85-percent or higher award fees to Lockheed on the F-35 program despite cost increases and schedule delays, adding the background to those decisions was "disturbing." Former Deputy Defense Secretary Ashton Carter last month said the Pentagon's F-35 program manager told him he had kept the fees high because he liked the Lockheed executive in charge, and the company official had said he would be fired if the fees fell below 85 percent. Carter, who was the Pentagon's chief weapons buyer at the time, made the remarks at a university event on May 16 and they were reported by InsideDefense.com on May 30.
WASHINGTON (AP) — The U.S. is urgently deploying several hundred armed troops in and around Iraq and considering sending an additional contingent of special forces soldiers as Baghdad struggles to repel a rampant insurgency, even as the White House insists anew that America will not be dragged into another war.
Curitiba (Brazil) (AFP) - Police fired rubber bullets and arrested 11 people Monday to break up anti-World Cup protesters who trashed banks and blocked traffic in the southeast Brazilian host city of Curitiba. About 200 protesters gathered in the city center and marched toward the stadium where Iran played Nigeria in a World Cup match, but were blocked by police, news website G1 reported. The protesters stopped a bus carrying fans to the stadium and blocked off several streets, setting garbage on fire to prevent cars from getting through, G1 said. The rally then broke up, but a small group of masked protesters returned to the city center and began storming banks until police fired rubber bullets to disperse them.
The United States discussed the crisis in Iraq with Iran on the sidelines of nuclear talks in Vienna, US officials said Monday, warning that no outside countries can fix the country's problems. Jihadists of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) have taken control of a swath of territory north of Baghdad in a drive towards the Iraqi capital launched a week ago, leading to growing fears that the country is sliding towards chaos. "The issue did come up briefly with Iran on the margins of the P5+1 in Vienna today, separate from our trilateral meeting" which had included the EU, a senior State Department official said in a statement, asking not to be named. State Department deputy spokeswoman Marie Harf confirmed to CNN television that there were "brief discussions."
The US urged Myanmar on Monday to allow its people to freely choose the next president amid a row over a law which would ban opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi from running. Since Suu Kyi became a lawmaker two years ago, the former political prisoner-turned-politician has been campaigning to amend the military-drafted constitution that effectively bars her from becoming president of the Southeast Asian nation. Suu Kyi appeared Monday to win implicit backing for her cause from the United States. "We believe constitutional reform should pave the way for the Burmese to freely choose their president in a free and fair 2015 election," the State Department said, referring to the country by its other name.
About 275 US military personnel are being deployed to Iraq to help American personnel and protect the embassy in Baghdad, President Barack Obama said Monday in a letter to Congressional leaders. The force, which began deploying on Sunday, has been sent "for the purpose of protecting US citizens and property, if necessary, and is equipped for combat," Obama wrote. "This force will remain in Iraq until the security situation becomes such that it is no longer needed." The move comes as jihadists of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) battle Iraqi security forces for control of a strategic northern town and Washington weighs possible drone strikes against the militants.