By Steve Holland WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Barack Obama has chosen former Procter & Gamble Chief Executive Bob McDonald, an Army veteran, as his nominee to be the next secretary of veterans affairs, a senior Obama administration official said on Sunday. Obama's announcement of McDonald, 61, will be made on Monday. If confirmed by the Senate, McDonald would be tasked with repairing the Veterans Administration after widespread evidence of delays in military veterans getting healthcare at VA facilities.
Courts in China's ethnically-divided Xinjiang, home to mainly Muslim Uighurs, have sentenced 113 people to jail on mostly terrorism-related offences, state-run media said, as authorities press a crackdown following several deadly attacks. Four suspects were sentenced to life in prison, while 109 others were given sentences for crimes ranging from "organising and leading terrorist groups" to "bigamy and drug dealing", Xinjiang's government web portal Tianshan said late Sunday. Beijing has vowed a year-long nationwide crackdown on terrorism after attackers killed 39 people in the Xinjiang capital Urumqi last month, one of several high-profile attacks blamed on militants from the far-western region. In recent months they have spread beyond Xinjiang, and targeted ordinary citizens rather than government or security personnel.
US tax evaders will find it harder to hide money abroad from Tuesday, when a law comes into effect requiring foreign banks to report their offshore accounts. Banking centers like Switzerland and Luxembourg that agreed to the US Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA) will have to begin turning over account names and other data to US financial authorities so that they can tax unreported income. The US Treasury has spent much of the past several years pressing the issue on some of the world's most powerful and secret banking centers with threats of punitive action if they do not join in. "It is the earthquake that has collapsed the dam," said Pascal Saint-Amans, who heads the unit fighting tax havens at the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development.
About 30 bodies have been found in a migrant boat stopped between Sicily and the North African coast, Italian news agencies reported Monday, citing the navy and coastguard. The rescuers made the gruesome discovery when they boarded a fishing boat carrying around 590 refugees and migrants to evacuate those in most distress, including two pregnant women. It is not the first time Italian rescuers have found migrants dead on the overcrowded boats but never before in such large numbers. Over the past weekend more than 1,600 migrants were rescued by Italian authorities, bringing the total number of migrants so far this year to above 60,000.
WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama plans to nominate former Procter & Gamble executive Robert McDonald as the next Veterans Affairs secretary, as the White House seeks to shore up an agency beset by treatment delays and struggling to deal with an influx of new veterans returning from wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
South Africa's newest party has suspended its leader, anti-apartheid veteran Mamphela Ramphele, a year after she founded the group which failed to make inroads in elections and has lurched from crisis to crisis. The Times newspaper reported Sunday the former World Bank managing director had been suspended by her own party, baring divisions that have dogged Agang SA since its formation in June 2013. A respected academic and successful business executive, she had been seen briefly as the best candidate to lure voters away from the dominant African National Congress (ANC) in May elections. Agang SA, which had struggled to gather funds and support in a crowded field, went on to contest the May 7 elections but won only two seats.
President Barack Obama plans to nominate Monday former Procter & Gamble chief executive Bob McDonald to serve as the next secretary of the beleaguered Veterans Affairs Department, White House officials said. Obama is tasking McDonald, a West Point graduate, with turning around an agency plagued by allegations of mismanagement and a coverup of long wait lists for treatment, with several patients dying in the process. The political scandal last month led to the resignation of Eric Shinseki as Veterans Affairs secretary after a stellar military career. While praising McDonald as a "strong leader," Republican House Speaker John Boehner stressed that "the next VA secretary can only succeed in implementing that type of change if his boss, the president, first commits to doing whatever it takes to give our veterans the world class health care system they deserve by articulating a vision for sweeping reform."
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu asked the international community on Sunday to support Jordan in the fight against "Islamic extremism" and to back the independence of Iraq's Kurds. "We need to support efforts by the international community to strengthen Jordan and support the aspirations of the Kurds for independence," Netanyahu said in a speech to the Institute of National Security Studies think-tank in Tel Aviv.
Google executive chairman Eric Schmidt visited Cuba this week along with three other top executives to promote "a free Internet," Cuban independent online newspaper "14yMedio" reported Sunday. The four executives "met with officials," spoke "with youth at polytechnical schools" and, on Saturday, visited the University of Computer Sciences in western Havana, wrote the newspaper, run by dissident blogger Yoani Sanchez.
British Prime Minister David Cameron called Jean-Claude Juncker on Sunday to congratulate the man he tried to block from becoming European Commission president, Downing Street said in a statement. Cameron's failure to prevent Juncker getting the job after a bitter campaign was seen as a blow to the premier that could increase the likelihood of Britain leaving the European Union. A spokesman for the prime minister said Cameron had phoned to congratulate Juncker on his successful campaign, and on securing the nomination. "The PM welcomed Mr Juncker's commitment of finding a fair deal for Britain and Mr Juncker said that he was fully committed to finding solutions for the political concerns of the UK."
An Israeli drone strike Sunday killed a Palestinian militant in Gaza, Palestinian security officials said, in the latest air raid on the coastal enclave. An army spokesman said the raid targeted "terrorists" who had been preparing to fire rockets at Israel. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said earlier that Israel was ready to expand operations in Gaza in response to a surge in militant rocket fire, and after the air force struck a dozen targets overnight.