A year after Edward Snowden revealed the vast scope of the US data dragnet, America is still reeling from the fallout, which damaged ties abroad and triggered fears of "Big Brother" government. In the latest twist since Snowden handed over thousands of US intelligence secrets last June, Germany has launched a criminal probe into snooping on Chancellor Angela Merkel's mobile phone. The timing is embarrassing, just as US President Barack Obama is in Europe for Friday's events marking the 70th anniversary of D-Day, also being attended by Merkel. Former intelligence contractor Snowden, 30, remains on the run from US espionage charges, having been given temporary political asylum in Russia.
Russian intervention in Ukraine has set off an anguished debate within NATO over how to deal with a newly assertive Moscow ready to defy the West. For some, President Vladimir Putin's annexation of Crimea in March shows Russia has ditched the post-Cold War rulebook, redrawing borders by intimidation and force. For others, the Ukraine crisis is a one-off in which Russia's legitimate interests must be dealt with to avoid a lasting confrontation which will poison relations and require massive additional defence spending for years. NATO leaders will meet at a September summit in Britain now dominated by events in Ukraine, with the US-led military alliance reviewing options to reassure its nervous east European members that they will not be abandoned if Russia goes for broke.
SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (AP) — South Dakota authorities on Wednesday arrested defeated U.S. Senate candidate Annette Bosworth and charged her with multiple counts of perjury and filing false election documents, saying she fraudulently attested to gathering voter signatures when she was really on a Christian mission trip to the Philippines.
Leaders of the Group of Seven powers are hoping to draw up plans Wednesday on how to guard against the threat of attacks by European jihadists returning home from the Syrian front, diplomats said. In the wake of a fatal shooting at the Jewish Museum in Brussels just days ago, British and French diplomatic sources said the matter would be raised when G7 leaders kick off a two-day summit with talks over dinner. The gunman suspected of the May 24 attack in Brussels, who killed three people outright and left a fourth clinically dead, spent more than a year fighting in Syria. Europe can expect further "small-scale attacks" like the Brussels shooting, the EU's anti-terror chief Gilles de Kerchove said this week.
Leaders of the Group of Seven powers on Wednesday urged Russia to end continued actions to destabilise eastern Ukraine or face stiffer sanctions. "Actions to destabilise eastern Ukraine are unacceptable and must stop," the group said in a statement after talks in Brussels. "We stand ready to intensify targeted sanctions and to implement significant additional restrictive measures to impose further costs on Russia should events so require." The G7 countries urged Moscow to recognise the results of Ukraine's May 25 presidential election, won by Petro Poroshenko.
German concerns over the alleged US tapping of Chancellor Angela Merkel's cellphone are best dealt with through diplomatic channels, a US official said Wednesday. US President Barack Obama had discussed the allegations "in depth" with Merkel when she visited Washington in April, State Department deputy spokeswoman Marie Harf said when asked about the launch of a German criminal probe into the accusations. "We believe it's important to talk about this in the diplomatic channels," Harf told reporters, adding the issue had been raised directly with the German government.
Canada's attorney general unveiled a law Wednesday that makes it legal to sell sex to individuals but illegal to buy it, after the high court struck down an anti-prostitution law. "We're targeting Johns and pimps, those that treat sexual services as a commodity," Justice Minister and Attorney General Peter MacKay. The Supreme Court in December struck down key provisions of the original law that effectively criminalized prostitution, saying that they endangered prostitutes. The legal challenge was brought by three sex workers who argued that Canada's restrictions on prostitution -- criminalizing keeping a brothel, living off prostitution or soliciting sex in public -- put their safety at risk.
Russian President Vladimir Putin waded into US politics Wednesday describing former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton -- and possible 2016 presidential candidate -- as "weak" in some sarcastic comments about women. In an interview with French television, Putin was asked about Clinton's recent remarks that the Russian leader was trying to redraw the boundaries in eastern Europe just like Adolf Hitler did in the 1930s. "It's better not to argue with women," Putin replied, adding: "But Mrs. Clinton has never been too graceful in her statements." Putin remarked that he met Clinton when she was the US top diplomat "and had cordial conversations at various international events.
National Republicans find themselves in a political jam over the looming Senate runoff in Mississippi, with some establishment operatives now wishing that tea party challenger Chris McDaniel had just won outright or that six-term incumbent Thad Cochran hadn’t run at all. The National Republican Senatorial Committee is in the most uncomfortable spot, as the top institutional defender of incumbents. It is pledging its full support to Cochran while also having to grapple with the reality that McDaniel, who may well win the nomination, is a political figure it can’t control, and giving Democrats reason to dream about a seat in Mississippi for the first time since Dixiecrats fell out of vogue.
WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama's goal of closing the Guantanamo Bay prison is facing re-energized opposition from Republicans and increased questioning from fellow Democrats amid widespread anger in Congress over the swap of five Taliban detainees for the last American prisoner of war in Afghanistan.
The US economy has turned to growth across the country, recovering at a "moderate" to "modest" pace after brutal winter weather, the Federal Reserve's "Beige Book" report said Wednesday. "All twelve Federal Reserve Districts report that economic activity expanded, " the report said. The May report covers a survey period from April to May 23 and will be used in the next monetary policy meeting of the Federal Open Market Committee on June 17-18. Consumer spending, the engine of two-thirds of US economic activity, grew across almost all districts, the report said.
The United States on Wednesday accused Rwanda of carrying out arbitrary arrests as it urged President Paul Kagame's government to respect freedom of expression. The United States said it was "deeply concern by the arrest and disappearance of dozens of Rwandan citizens" as well as "credible reports" of threats to journalists. "The United States calls upon the government of Rwanda to account for individuals arrested over the past two months and currently in custody, and to respect the rights under Rwandan law and international human rights law of the individuals detained and arrested," State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf said in a statement. "We also call upon Rwanda to fully respect freedom of expression, including for members of the press so that they can investigate, report and facilitate discussion on issues of public concern," she said.
By Bernie Woodall DETROIT (Reuters) - The United Auto Workers union elected Dennis Williams to a four-year term as its president on Wednesday. Williams, 61, has said he will serve only a single term as president of the 78-year-old union. He faces difficult 2015 contract talks with the three major U.S. automakers, General Motors Co, Ford Motor Co and Chrysler, a unit of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, as UAW members will press for the elimination of a two-tiered wage scale. About a quarter of unionized workers at the U.S. ...
Diyarbakir (Turkey) (AFP) - Five Turkish soldiers were injured on Wednesday during clashes with Kurdish protesters over government plans to build military barracks in the southeast of the country. Soldiers fired tear gas and water cannon to break up a 12-day sit-in by some 400 protesters in the Lice district of Kurdish majority Diyarbakir province. The protesters are against the construction of new army posts in Kurdish-majority areas, which they see as a threat to a peace process launched in 2012 between government and the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK). The local governor's office in Diyarbakir on Monday called for additional security to face what it said was increased activity by the PKK, which is blacklisted as a terrorist organisation by Turkey and much of the international community.