Former president Bill Clinton swatted down Republican suggestions that wife Hillary's health could hamper her potential White House run, insisting Wednesday she is in \"better shape\" than him. \"She works out every week, she is strong, she's doing great,\" Clinton said at a fiscal forum in Washington. But her husband scoffed at Republican strategist Karl Rove's suggestion that Clinton suffered a \"traumatic brain injury\" during a 2012 fall that caused a concussion. \"First they said she faked her concussion,\" Bill Clinton said, alluding to Republican accusations she had exaggerated her injury to delay testifying about a terrorist attack on the US mission in Benghazi, Libya that killed four Americans.
The US military is flying surveillance drones as well as manned aircraft over Nigeria to help in the search for more than 200 schoolgirls kidnapped by Islamist extremists, the Pentagon said Wednesday. The United States has deployed the robotic Global Hawk, which flies at a high altitude, and the manned MC-12, a turboprop plane heavily used in Afghanistan, for the mission, a defense official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, told AFP. The Pentagon had initially declined to say publicly if drones were being used but acknowledged on Wednesday the robotic aircraft were involved in the hunt to find the girls. \"I can confirm that we're using both manned and unmanned aerial ISR (intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance) assets in the search for the kidnapped girls,\" Colonel Steven Warren told reporters, without identifying the plane models.
The United States on Wednesday offered to help its ally Turkey, which was reeling from a mine disaster which killed 245 workers. \"On behalf of the American people, we extend our heartfelt condolences to the families of the victims and our best wishes for the safe exit of the remaining miners,\" said White House spokesman Jay Carney. \"Turkey is a close and long-standing friend and ally of the United States.
The United States called Wednesday for an immediate deployment of African troops to safeguard a fragile peace deal reached last week by warring sides in South Sudan. The ceasefire agreement, signed last week in Addis Ababa, was the fruit of weeks of mounting international pressure and shuttle diplomacy. But fighting broke out again on Sunday, just hours after the accord was signed by President Salva Kiir and rebel chief Riek Machar. Linda Thomas-Greenfield, Assistant Secretary for African Affairs, said troops can help ensure that peace holds this time.
Jeddah (Saudi Arabia) (AFP) - Saudi Arabia's crown prince called Wednesday for stronger military cooperation between the United States and the Arab monarchies of the Gulf whose security he said was under threat. Crown Prince Salman bin Abdulaziz, who also holds the defence portfolio, made the remarks at a meeting in the Saudi city of Jeddah between US Defence Secretary Chuck Hagel and ministers from the six-nation Gulf Cooperation Council. Hagel for his part stressed that Washington remained \"committed\" to the oil-rich region's security and stability.
US ambassador to Japan Caroline Kennedy toured the crippled Fukushima nuclear power plant for the first time Wednesday, pledging continued US help with the clean-up. The 56-year-old envoy, who took up her post last November, was on a tour of Japan's northeast, which was devastated by the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami. Donning a white protective suit, helmet and mask, Kennedy saw the central control room for molten reactors at the plant, which has been releasing radiation since the disaster. Kennedy, accompanied by her 21-year-old son John Schlossberg, was told how workers responded when the tsunami cut power supplies and halted cooling systems for the reactors.
The U.S. military is considering options for the detention of a transgender soldier who is serving 35 years in prison for turning over secret files to WikiLeaks and has requested hormone therapy, including moving the private to a civilian prison, the Pentagon said on Wednesday. The Associated Press on Wednesday reported that defense officials were trying to transfer Chelsea Manning, who seeks to live as a woman, to a civilian prison to facilitate that treatment. \"No decision to transfer Private Manning to a civilian detention facility has been made, and any such decision will, of course, properly balance the soldier's medical needs with our obligation to ensure Private Manning remains behind bars,\" Rear Admiral John Kirby, a Pentagon spokesman, said in a statement. In April, a U.S. judge ruled that Manning, who had gone by the name Bradley, could legally use the name Chelsea.
US Secretary of State John Kerry left Wednesday for a whirlwind day of diplomacy focused on the conflict in Syria and efforts to resolve the crisis in Ukraine. The top US diplomat was also to meet in London with Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas for the first time since peace talks with the Israelis collapsed last month. The focus of his trip though will be a meeting on Thursday of the core group of supporters of the Syrian opposition, and it comes just after UN-Arab League peace envoy Lakhdar Brahimi stepped down after almost two years of fruitless efforts to end the war.
WASHINGTON (AP) — America's roads, bridges and ports are falling apart, and the federal government is running out of money to fix them. So President Barack Obama is heading to a crumbling bridge outside New York City to try to pressure Congress into giving the nation's infrastructure an infusion of cash.