Congressional Republicans criticized the U.S. Internal Revenue Service on Tuesday over its loss of emails possibly linked to last year's controversy about the tax agency's treatment of Tea Party-aligned political groups. Hammering away at the White House and the IRS over the 2013 affair, a handful of Republicans accused the Obama administration of obstructing congressional probes and renewed calls for the naming of an independent prosecutor. "This entire investigation has been slow-walked by the (Obama) administration," Republican Representatives Dave Camp and Charles Boustany said in a joint statement. White House spokesman Josh Earnest told reporters aboard Air Force One on Monday that the IRS' blaming of a computer crash for the loss of the emails was "entirely reasonable because it's the truth and it's a fact." He said, "Speculation otherwise I think is indicative of the kinds of conspiracies that are propagated around this story." The IRS had no immediate comment.
U.S. Senator Mitch McConnell, the top Republican in the Senate, said on Tuesday that President Barack Obama had invited the leaders of the Senate and House of Representatives to the White House on Wednesday for a meeting on Iraq. He told reporters at the Capitol that he, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, House Speaker John Boehner and House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi had been invited.
General Motors is set to begin processing compensation claims from victims of poorly designed ignitions linked to 13 deaths, GM chief executive Mary Barra said Tuesday. Barra, who returns to Congress on Wednesday for another grilling on the faulty ignition recall scandal, said in prepared testimony the US automaker was making swift progress in setting up the compensation fund. Attorney Kenneth Feinberg, the disaster response expert in charge of establishing the fund, was expected to provide the criteria for victims and compensations levels by the end of June, she said. "We also expect to begin processing claims by August 1," Barra said in testimony to be delivered to the House of Representatives oversight panel.
Former Kuwaiti premier Sheikh Nasser Mohammad al-Ahmad al-Sabah said Tuesday he was ready to face a probe over alleged coup plot and corruption that rocked the oil-rich Gulf state. A senior member of the ruling family who left office in November 2011 after nearly six years in office, he and former parliament speaker Jassem al-Khorafi were accused in a lawsuit filed Monday of major corruption and of plotting a coup. "Sheikh Nasser is prepared to answer all the points stated in a lawsuit with complete transparency and clarity," his lawyer, Emad al-Saif, said in a statement. The suit was filed by Sheikh Ahmad Fahad al-Sabah, another senior ruling family member.
JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — Six-term Republican Sen. Thad Cochran is trying to survive an intense tea party challenge in Mississippi by reaching out to union members and black voters — two groups that traditionally support Democrats. But he risks a backlash from conservatives ready to support his opponent, state Sen. Chris McDaniel.
As Iraq's security forces press a counter-offensive against militants who have captured a swathe of territory, doubt remains over whether or not they can retake major cities. Soldiers and police retreated en masse as militants -- including the jihadist Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) -- swept into Iraq's second city of Mosul a week ago, leaving vehicles and even uniforms in their wake. Their departure allowed militants to secure surrounding Nineveh province, before sweeping into neighbouring Kirkuk and Salaheddin provinces, seizing territory there and in Diyala. Iraq's army has been shaped by the United States' decision to disband the forces of now-executed dictator Saddam Hussein following the 2003 invasion.
Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki dismissed several senior security force commanders on Tuesday in the face of a week-old militant offensive that has overrun swathes of the country. Those dismissed included Staff Lieutenant General Mahdi al-Gharawi, the top commander for the northern province of Nineveh, the first to fall in the assault. A major offensive by militants, spearheaded by jihadists from the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant but involving other groups, overran all of Nineveh and chunks of three more provinces in a matter of days.
Britain and China signed trade deals on Tuesday worth more than £14 billion ($28 billion, 17 billion euros), during a visit to London by Premier Li Keqiang aimed at resetting economic and diplomatic ties. Links between Britain and China were strained after British Prime Minister David Cameron met exiled Tibetan spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, in 2012. But Li and Cameron said they were now focused on strengthening British and Chinese economic ties after concluding deals and holding talks at Cameron's Downing Street office. The largest deal was a £12 billion agreement between British energy giant BP and Chinese state-owned peer CNOOC to supply China with 1.5 million tonnes of liquefied natural gas per year over 20 years from 2019.
Relatives of victims of mass shootings in the United States urged fellow citizens Tuesday to fire a volley of postcards at politicians to demand universal background checks for gun buyers. Everytown for Gun Safety said more than 600,000 people have already signed up to send blue "Not One More" cards to state governors as well as senators and congressmen in Washington, many of whom face re-election in November. The campaign follows a rash of highly publicized shootings in recent weeks in the United States, which in 2010 saw 31,672 gun-related deaths, of which 61.2 percent were suicides and 35 percent homicides, according to the Centers for Disease Control. "My son Chris has been dead for 26 days and there's a hole in my heart that nothing can fill," added Richard Martinez, referring to the May 23 shooting spree near the University of California in Santa Barbara that left seven dead, at an emotional press conference in Washington.
United Nations (United States) (AFP) - The ICC's chief prosecutor asked the United Nations Tuesday to investigate allegations that its Darfur mission had been covering up crimes by Sudanese forces against civilians and peacekeepers. Fatou Bensouda, who presented the UN Security Council with her latest report on the situation in the Sudanese region, spoke of allegations that the UN-African Union Mission in Darfur (UNAMID) had "been subject to manipulation."
A series of bombings in Baghdad and shelling in another Iraqi city killed 21 people on Tuesday, while police found the bodies of 18 security personnel north of the capital. The violence came during a major offensive, spearheaded by the jihadist Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant but involving other groups, which overran all of one province and chunks of three more in a matter of days. In the deadliest single attack, a car bomb exploded in a market in the predominantly-Shiite Muslim area of north Baghdad, killing at least 11 people and wounding more than 20, security and medical officials said. In Fallujah, a city west of Baghdad that has been held by anti-government fighters for more than five months, shelling killed four people and wounded three, Dr Ahmed Shami said.
French prosecutors have dropped a corruption investigation into the flamboyant son of former Senegalese president Abdoulaye Wade, his lawyers said Tuesday, weeks before he stands trial in his own country. Karim Wade is suspected of having corruptly acquired a multi-million-dollar fortune while his father was in power and is due to be tried in Senegal next month. Senegalese authorities had also lodged an official complaint in France in 2012 in the belief that part of Wade's alleged $242 million (179 million euro) fortune may have been invested in the country. French prosecutors dropped their probe for lack of sufficient proof, his lawyers said.