Jordan on Tuesday downplayed the expulsion of Syria's ambassador to Amman, Bahjat Suleiman, saying relations with Damascus will not be severed and its embassy will remain open. "The government's decision to consider Bahjat Suleiman persona non grata and ask him to leave within 24 hours over his insults to Jordan does not at all mean that Jordanian-Syrian ties will be severed," Information Minister Mohammad Momani told government-owned Al-Rai daily.
Senator Richard Blumenthal said on Sunday he wanted to revive gun control legislation rejected by Congress in the wake of the 2012 Newtown, Connecticut, school massacre, saying it could have helped prevent this weekend's deadly California shooting spree. Blumenthal, a Democrat from Connecticut, said on CBS's "Face the Nation" program the legislation, which failed last year, could be revised to emphasize the mental condition of potential gun buyers. "Obviously, not every kind of gun violence is going to be prevented by laws out of Washington," he said. On Friday night a 22-year-old college student identified as Elliot Rodger allegedly stabbed three people to death in his apartment in Santa Barbara, California, and then drove through the city and fatally shot three others with handguns he had legally bought.
The White House inadvertently included the name of the top CIA official in Afghanistan on a list of participants in a military briefing with President Barack Obama that was distributed to reporters on Sunday, the Washington Post reported. The newspaper said the official, identified as "Chief of Station" in Kabul, was named as being among those at a briefing with Obama during the president's trip to Bagram Air Base near the Afghan capital. The list of names was sent by email to reporters traveling with Obama on his surprise Afghanistan visit and included in a "pool report" shared with correspondents and others not on the trip. The Post said the White House issued a revised list deleting the CIA official's name after it recognized the mistake. The newspaper said its White House bureau chief, Scott Wilson, who was on the trip, copied the original list from the email provided by White House press officials and included it in a report sent to a distribution list with over 6,000 recipients. After he spotted the reference to the station chief, Wilson asked White House press officials in Afghanistan if they had intended to include that name, the Post said. "Initially, the press office raised no objection, apparently because military officials had provided the list to distribute to news organizations," the Post added.
WASHINGTON (AP) — Aiming to diversify and strengthen the nation's technological workforce, President Barack Obama is hosting the White House's annual science fair with an emphasis on the achievements of girls and women and with new initiatives to improve science, technology, engineering and math education.
By Marice Richter DALLAS TX (Reuters) - Texas conservatives are hoping to win two major Republican run-off elections on Tuesday, for lieutenant governor and attorney general, underscoring the Tea Party’s enduring influence in the state. Those two races were left undecided after no single candidate crossed the 50 percent threshold in the March 4 Republican primary, setting the stage for what has been a bruising run-off election between establishment candidates and conservative challengers who have the backing of both the Tea Party movement and its Texas star, U.S. Senator Ted Cruz. In the race for Lieutenant Governor, Tea Party favorite State Senator Dan Patrick took 41.5 percent of the vote in the four-candidate March primary, and is favored to win on Tuesday. The three-term incumbent, David Dewhurst, finished with 28 percent.
By Jeff Mason WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Barack Obama paid tribute on Monday to fallen U.S. military men and women during a Memorial Day ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery that highlighted a veterans' care scandal that has engulfed his presidency in recent weeks. Just hours earlier, Obama returned from a surprise trip to Afghanistan, where he thanked troops for a mission that will conclude formally at the end of this year.
People-smugglers are looking to target New Zealand now that Australia's tough border protection policies have effectively "closed down" that country to asylum-seeker boats, Prime Minister John Key said Tuesday. While the voyage to New Zealand from places such as Indonesia and Sri Lanka is potentially far more perilous than trying to reach Australia, Key said people-smugglers and asylum-seekers were willing to take the risk in the wake of Canberra's clampdown. "We take this very seriously ... we know it's very hard to come to New Zealand, no one's arguing it's an easy distance or journey," he told TV3. "But the reality is that as Australia closes down as a destination for asylum-seekers, they are trying to open up new frontiers and one of those is New Zealand."