The US State Department recommended Americans in Libya "depart immediately," in its latest travel warning on Tuesday. The warning comes amid worsening unrest in Libya, where militia battles have plunged the country into chaos. "Due to security concerns, the Department of State has limited staffing at Embassy Tripoli and is only able to offer very limited emergency services to US citizens in Libya," the travel warning said. "Because of the presumption that foreigners, especially US citizens, in Libya may be associated with the US government or US NGOs, travelers should be aware that they may be targeted for kidnapping, violent attacks, or death," it added.
The United States expressed skepticism Tuesday that more than 200 schoolgirls held by Boko Haram militants had been located by Nigeria, stating that it had no "independent information" on the matter. The country's highest ranking military officer on Monday said that Nigeria had located the missing teenagers, kidnapped mid-April by the armed militant group. But one day later, US State Department Spokeswoman Jen Psaki told journalists that the there was no "independent information from the United States to support these reports." With 80 US military personnel sent to neighboring Chad for intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance, the United States is the biggest foreign participant in the effort against Boko Haram.
The White House has ordered an investigation into the blunder which saw the CIA's Afghanistan station chief accidentally identified, an official said Tuesday. National Security Council spokeswoman Caitlin Hayden said White House Counsel Neil Eggleston has been asked to examine the circumstances surrounding the gaffe over the weekend. "The Chief of Staff has asked the White House Counsel, Neil Eggleston, to look into what happened and report back to him with recommendations on how the Administration can improve processes and make sure something like this does not happen again," Hayden said. The agent's name was revealed in a pool report sent out by a Washington Post reporter to journalists based on a list of officials provided by the White House who were taking part in a security briefing for President Barack Obama during his surprise weekend visit to Bagram Air Base.
First lady Michelle Obama made a rare but strident foray into political debate Tuesday, slamming a Republican bid to change US school nutrition standards as "unacceptable." Lawmakers in the US House of Representatives, dominated by the conservative opposition to President Barack Obama, have proposed exempting some school districts under budgetary constraints from following nutritional regulations. In 2010, the president, a Democrat, signed a law on the regulations, based on recommendations from the National Academy of Sciences.
President Barack Obama's chief of staff, Denis McDonough, has asked the White House counsel to investigate how the name of the top CIA official in Afghanistan was distributed in a list given to the media, a spokeswoman said on Tuesday. The White House inadvertently included the name among participants in a military briefing with Obama during his trip on Sunday to Bagram Air Base near Kabul. The White House had declined to comment on the incident until Tuesday. "The chief of staff has asked the White House counsel, Neil Eggleston, to look into what happened and report back to him with recommendations on how the administration can improve processes and make sure something like this does not happen again," White House spokeswoman Caitlin Hayden said in a statement.
After yet another US mass shooting, lawmakers return to Washington Wednesday under pressure to curb rampant gun violence, but facing similar hurdles that derailed such efforts following a 2012 school massacre. In the wake of that shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary, which left 20 schoolchildren and six adults dead, President Barack Obama's administration suffered a striking defeat when the Senate failed to pass measures expanding background checks on gun buyers and banning assault weapons and high-capacity magazines. But after a mentally disturbed 22-year-old man armed to the hilt killed six people outside the University of California at Santa Barbara last Friday, and a father of one of the victims scolded Congress over the "insanity" of American gun violence, some lawmakers envision Washington revisiting the contentious issue.
Brasília (AFP) - Police in the Brazilian capital fired tear gas Tuesday to break up a protest by Indian chiefs and groups opposed to the money being spent to host the World Cup. About 1,000 protesters rallying for causes ranging from indigenous rights to housing for the homeless gathered in Brasilia's government square and began marching toward the city's World Cup stadium. The group, which brought together 100 ethnic groups from across Brazil, included Kayapo chief Raoni, an 84-year-old leader famous for fighting to protect the Amazon rainforest alongside pop music star Sting. The Indians soon came down from the roof and rejoined the rest of the protesters along the main avenue where Brazil's government ministries are located.
By Julia Edwards WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. immigrant groups urged President Barack Obama on Tuesday to hold off on making changes to how the United States deports undocumented immigrants so as not to anger members of Congress who they believe could pass a broad immigration bill that could be more effective at protecting immigrant rights. Among the groups issuing the statement were the National Immigration Forum and the Service Employees International Union, which were present at a March meeting at the White House when Obama announced he was looking to take unilateral action to curb the number of undocumented immigrants being deported. At the time, the House of Representatives appeared stalled on passing broad reform over concerns the bill would grant amnesty to those who had broken U.S. immigration law. House Republicans, including House Speaker John Boehner, have indicated in recent weeks that they might be open to working on such a bill.
The US Census Bureau will begin counting gay married couples as families, reflecting changes in American society as more and more states allow such unions, the Washington Post reported. "We're trying to make changes that reflect what's happening with American families," Rose Kreider, head of the bureau's fertility and family statistics, told the Post. Gay married couples had previously been counted as unmarried partners, even when they reported themselves as married. The category is not expected to get much of a bump from the same-sex addition, however, since the Census Bureau's most recent data from 2012 tallied only 182,000 gay married couples.
Somalia's Shebab rebels on Tuesday claimed responsibility for a weekend bomb attack on a Djibouti restaurant packed with Westerners, saying it targeted French "crusaders". "As part of the ongoing Jihad against the Western-led Crusade against Islam, Harakat Al-Shabaab Al Mujahideen forces have on Saturday night carried out a successful operation against the coalition of Western Crusaders based in Djibouti," the group said in a statement. The group said the attack "targeted a restaurant frequented predominantly by French Crusaders and their NATO allies from the US, Germany, Belgium and the Netherlands, resulting in 35 casualties". It said the main targets were "French Crusaders" because of their "complicity in the massacres and persecution of our Muslim brothers in the Central African Republic and for their active role in training and equipping the apostate Djiboutian troops".