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.
Jeddah (Saudi Arabia) (AFP) - US Defence Secretary Chuck Hagel arrived in the Saudi Arabia Tuesday, the first leg of a regional tour focusing on Iran's nuclear programme and Syria's civil war. Hagel will hold talks with Saudi officials and on Wednesday he will meet Gulf Cooperation Council defence ministers in the first US-GCC meeting of its kind since 2008. An AFP photographer said Hagel's plane touched down in the Red Sea city of Jeddah, ahead of a planned tour that US officials said will also take him to Jordan and Israel.
The US-led military presence in Afghanistan will remain \"significant\" despite this year's drawdown, Washington's special envoy for the country said Tuesday, as he predicted that outgoing president Hamid Karzai would continue to wield influence. James Dobbins, the US special representative for Pakistan and Afghanistan, told reporters in Tokyo that Washington was \"still considering\" the details of the withdrawal plan. \"I hope we will decide sometime in the next month or two on the exact size of (the remaining) contingent,\" Dobbins told journalists in the Japanese capital, where he is attending talks on supporting Afghanistan. About 51,000 US-led NATO troops still deployed in Afghanistan are set to withdraw by December, ending a long and costly battle against the Taliban, who launched a fierce insurgency after being ousted from power in 2001.
WASHINGTON/BEIJING (Reuters) - The United States sees China's introduction of an oil rig and several vessels in waters disputed with Vietnam as \"provocative\", U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry told China's foreign minister in a telephone call on Monday. China claims almost the entire South China Sea, rejecting rival claims to parts of it from Vietnam, the Philippines, Taiwan, Malaysia and Brunei. \"He (Kerry) said China's introduction of an oil rig and numerous government vessels in waters disputed with Vietnam was provocative,\" U.S. State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said. \"He urged both sides to de-escalate tensions, ensure safe conduct by their vessels at sea, and resolve the dispute through peaceful means in accordance with international law.\" China's foreign ministry said there certainly had been provocative moves in the South China Sea, but that China was not the guilty party and repeated that it was the United States' fault for encouraging such behavior.
Voters in Newark will pick a new mayor on Tuesday to fill a post held by popular Democrat Cory Booker and steer New Jersey's largest city as it struggles with an uptick in violent crime, unemployment and a possible state takeover of its finances. Booker, who served for seven years as mayor and used his national profile to help attract billions of dollars in investment to Newark, about 12 miles from New York City, is now a U.S. Senator. He won a special election last October to succeed Senator Frank Lautenberg, who died in office. Former City Council President Luis Quintana has held the interim mayorship.