China and the United States will hold annual strategic talks in July, US officials said Tuesday as Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew visited Beijing, with economic reform and regional territorial disputes likely to top the agenda. The sixth US-China Strategic and Economic Dialogue will take place in the Chinese capital, with Lew and US Secretary of State John Kerry expected to attend. Chinese Vice Premier Wang Yang and State Councillor Yang Jiechi are also likely to be present. There are a number of contentious economic issues between Washington and Beijing, including intellectual property rights and China's valuation of its currency, the yuan.
By Victoria Cavaliere TRENTON, New Jersey (Reuters) - New Jersey Governor Chris Christie's spokesman testified on Tuesday he was shocked to learn that some of his former colleagues had organized traffic gridlock last year, apparently to retaliate against a political foe of the likely Republican presidential candidate. Michael Drewniak, press secretary for the Christie administration, appeared before a bipartisan legislative panel in Trenton probing who was involved in the plan to jam traffic at the George Washington Bridge and why the apparent abuse of power was able to occur. The shutdown of lanes leading to the bridge in Fort Lee, New Jersey, over four days last September caused massive traffic tie-ups in the borough, delaying school buses, ambulances and commuters trying to get to New York City on the other side of the span - the busiest in the country. The plan was apparently green-lighted by two former Christie appointees in an effort to punish the Democratic mayor of Fort Lee for not endorsing Christie's re-election.
President Barack Obama warned Tuesday a narrow two to three month window remained to pass immigration reform before mid-term elections, seeking to keep alive perhaps his last hope for a major second term domestic achievement. Obama told police chiefs and top law enforcement officers that bitter party politics ahead of November's polls would threaten hopes of moving a reform bill, currently stalled in the US House of Representatives. \"We have got this narrow window -- the closer to the mid-term elections, the harder it is,\" Obama said. \"It is very hard right before an election, we have got a window of two, three months to get the ball rolling in the House of Representatives,\" Obama said.
The commander of US forces in Africa has flown to Nigeria to discuss how Washington can help the government in Abuja trace more than 200 schoolgirls kidnapped by Islamist militants. General David Rodriguez, head of US Africa Command, arrived in Nigeria on Monday, as the United States confirmed it was flying manned surveillance aircraft over the country and sharing commercial satellite imagery to help the hunt for the kidnapped girls. The talks are focused in part on forging an agreement that will enable the United States to share intelligence with Nigeria from spy planes and other sources, officials said Tuesday.
President Barack Obama said on Tuesday there was a small window of opportunity now to pass immigration reform in the House of Representatives, before Washington's attention turned completely to the November midterm congressional elections. The comments signaled White House hope that immigration reform, a top priority for the second-term president, still could be passed this year. Obama has been pushing to revise U.S. immigration laws and create a pathway to citizenship for some 11 million undocumented residents, but a bill that passed the Democratic-controlled Senate has been stalled in the Republican-controlled House. The closer we get to the midterm elections, the harder it is to get things done around here,\" Obama told a meeting of law enforcement leaders.
Hillary Clinton's health is \"100 percent,\" an aide asserted Tuesday after Republican strategist Karl Rove suggested the former secretary of state had suffered a serious brain injury in 2012. Rove made the remarks at a conference last Thursday that he attended with President Barack Obama's former spokesman Robert Gibbs, according to the New York Post's Page Six. \"And when she reappears, she's wearing glasses that are only for people who have traumatic brain injury?\" he added. Clinton, 66 and the presumptive Democratic frontrunner for the 2016 presidential race, was admitted to hospital in New York for three days to treat a concussion and blood clot she suffered in the fall, and which prevented her from testifying at the time about the deadly attack on the US mission in Benghazi, Libya.
US Secretary of State John Kerry is planning to dip his toes into yet another of the world's intractable conflicts, announcing Tuesday he will visit Cyprus in the coming weeks. Meeting with Cypriot Foreign Minister Ioannis Kasoulides at the State Department, Kerry praised the Mediterranean island's current Greek Cypriot leadership for trying to reach a \"long sought-after resolution\" to its four-decade division. \"We have been working on the issue of trying to find a peace for Cyprus, a reunification of the island on a bizonal, bicommunal federation,\" Kerry said. The two sides relaunched peace talks aimed at reunifying Cyprus in February after a two-year hiatus, with the US believed to have played a major behind-the-scenes role in helping kickstart the resumed negotiations.