U.S. House of Representatives Republicans are working on how to approach reauthorization of the U.S. Export-Import Bank, which helps finance exports of U.S. goods and services, House Speaker John Boehner said on Tuesday, saying he would listen to all sides on the "thorny" issue. Some House Republicans, including Boehner's newly elected deputy, oppose renewing the bank's funding. "We are going to continue to work with our members" on whether the bank's role should be taken over by the private sector, said Boehner, sidestepping a question about whether he personally backed reauthorizing the bank. Boehner noted the House Financial Services Committee would have a hearing on Wednesday on the Export-Import Bank.
A second bridge investigation linked to New Jersey Governor Chris Christie is underway, this one focusing on possible securities law violations involving the Pulaski Skyway bridge, the New York Times reported on Tuesday. The new inquiry was prompted by an ongoing investigation into "Bridgegate," the George Washington Bridge traffic scandal that has engulfed Christie, a potential 2016 Republican contender for the White House. Now investigators from the Manhattan District Attorney's Office and the Securities and Exchange Commission are focusing on the Christie administration and the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey. In bond documents, the Port Authority said the project was part of "Lincoln Tunnel Access Infrastructure Improvements," although the Skyway is more than 9 miles (14 kilometers) south of the Lincoln Tunnel connecting Weehawken, New Jersey and midtown Manhattan in New York City.
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe unveiled a fresh round of reforms Tuesday, in the latest bid to cement a fragile recovery, his second attempt to fire the "third arrow" of his economic action plan. In a package that has already been heavily trailed, he promised to slash Japan's corporate tax rate -- one of the world's highest at up to 36 percent -- and tackle sectors long sheltered by the state. "The government decided today to make our growth strategy more powerful in a bold manner. "There is neither a taboo nor a sanctuary in the Abe government's growth strategy.
Nearly 500 alleged Islamists will go on trial on July 16 over violence in which 44 people died, state media said Tuesday, the latest in a string of mass trials slammed internationally. The trial is part of a relentless crackdown targeting supporters of deposed Islamist president Mohamed Morsi, ousted by the army in July 2013. Hundreds have already been sentenced to death in speedy mass trials condemned by the United Nations and international rights groups. Since Morsi's ouster, a government crackdown on his supporters has seen 15,000 people jailed and sparked clashes in which more than 1,400 people have died.
WASHINGTON (AP) — Republicans in Congress aren't buying the contention by the head of the Internal Revenue Service that he has seen no evidence anyone committed a crime when the agency lost emails that might shed light on the targeting of tea party and other political groups before the 2010 and 2012 elections.
An overnight suicide blast in Beirut's southern suburbs, Hezbollah's main bastion, killed a security officer who had tried to stop the bomber, a Lebanese security source told AFP on Tuesday. An army statement earlier said a suicide attacker driving a white Mercedes "blew himself up at an army checkpoint at the Tayuneh roundabout (in southern Beirut), wounding several civilians". The official National News Agency reported 12 people wounded in the blast. On Tuesday, a security source told AFP that a high-ranking General Security Agency officer whom the army had reported missing had "been martyred".
Israel's Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman said on Tuesday that military forces loyal to the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad were behind a cross-border attack that killed an Israeli teenager. The 13-year-old Arab Israeli, the son of a defence ministry contractor, was killed on the Golan Heights on Sunday when a missile hit the car he was in with his father. The army said it was a deliberate attack against Israel, but was initially uncertain as to whether regime or opposition forces were behind it. Israel responded immediately with tank fire, and hours later launched air strikes targeting Syrian military headquarters and positions.
Iraqi air strikes killed at least 32 people on Tuesday as security forces held off attacks on a strategic town and an oil refinery, officials and witnesses said. In the town of Baiji, north of Baghdad, air strikes killed at least 19 people and wounded at least 17 others, officials said. The officials said the dead and wounded were civilians, and it was unclear if there were any casualties among the militants who were the target of the strikes. Iraqiya state television said 19 "terrorists" were killed in the Baiji raids.
Britain on Tuesday became the latest nation to formally outlaw the herbal stimulant khat, the bushy leaf chewed by many Somalis, Yemenis, Kenyans and Ethiopians. Under a new law that came into effect on Tuesday, khat is now a "class C drug", making possession punishable by up to two years in jail and supply and production punishable by up to 14 years. British Prime Minister David Cameron said in an article for the Somali website Hiraan Online that the move would protect "vulnerable members of society." "What is most concerning is khat's social impact," he wrote, adding that it had been blamed for "family breakdown, unemployment, debt and crime links to the global illicit drugs trade."
Iraqi air strikes in multiple areas of the strategic oil refinery town of Baiji, north of Baghdad, killed at least 19 people on Tuesday, officials said. The officials said the dead and wounded included civilians, and it was unclear if there were any casualties among the militants who were the target of the strikes. Militants also launched a renewed push to seize Iraq's largest oil refinery, which is located near the town, but the overnight attack was repelled by security forces, officials said. The refinery, which filled some 50 percent of Iraq's demand for refined petroleum products in better days, has been the scene of heavy fighting since militants launched a major offensive on June 9, sending jitters through world oil markets.
Concern about the economic impact of the crises in Ukraine and Iraq pushed business confidence in Germany to a six-month low in June, data showed on Tuesday. The Ifo economic institute's closely watched business climate index fell to 109.7 points in June -- its lowest level since December 2013 -- from 110.4 points in May. "Assessments of the current business situation remained good, but companies were less optimistic about future business developments. The German economy fears the potential impact of the crises in the Ukraine and Iraq," explained Ifo chief Hans-Werner Sinn.