WASHINGTON (AP) — Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky dispatched his tea party challenger with ease to win nomination to a new term Tuesday night, and nearly a dozen candidates vied for spots on the Georgia ballot for fall elections that will decide control of the U.S. Senate, highlights of primaries in six states.
By Julia Edwards WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. government will disclose its legal justification for the use of drones against U.S. citizens suspected of terrorism, a senior Obama administration official said on Tuesday. The U.S. solicitor general has made the decision not to appeal a federal appeals court's decision in April requiring the release of a redacted memorandum spelling out the justification for the policy, said the official, who was not authorized to speak publicly. While the legal analysis that justifies the use of drones will be disclosed, some facts will still be excluded from the document, the official said. In a case pitting executive power against the public's right to know what its government does, the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals last month reversed a lower-court ruling preserving the secrecy of the legal rationale for the killings, such as the killing of U.S. citizen Anwar al-Awlaki in a 2011 drone strike in Yemen.
By John Whitesides WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Republican Senate leader Mitch McConnell easily dispatched a Tea Party challenger in Kentucky on Tuesday to win nomination to a sixth term, setting up one of November's most expensive and hard-fought Senate races against Democrat Alison Lundergan Grimes. McConnell's decisive victory over conservative businessman Matt Bevin was one of the highlights of the busiest election night of the year so far, as voters in six states picked candidates for November elections that will decide control of Congress. Several states featured Republican primary clashes between establishment-backed conservatives and Tea Party rivals. Tea Party candidates also faced uphill battles in Senate primaries in Georgia and Oregon and a U.S. House contest in Idaho.
By Howard Schneider WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Stanley Fischer's nomination to be vice chairman of the Federal Reserve cleared a key procedural hurdle in the Senate on Tuesday, virtually assuring that the noted economist will join the central bank's board within days. The Senate agreed 62-35 to limit debate on the nomination, allowing for a final vote just after midday on Wednesday. Fischer is widely expected to win Senate approval. ...
Two Russian journalists that Moscow has accused Kiev of holding captive in eastern Ukraine were carrying anti-aircraft missiles, the United States said Tuesday, questioning the status of the pair. Two reporters of Russian website Life News were reportedly arrested by Ukrainian troops near the city of Kramatorsk, prompting a furious reaction from Moscow and demands they be immediately released. The website said reporters Oleg Sidyakin and Marat Saichenko were in the custody of the Ukrainian national guard who were "using violence" against them. But US State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said: "The Ukrainian security services, according to reports, detained a number of individuals who were in possession of fake journalist credentials issued by the nonexistent Donetsk People's Republic.
The US Navy is sending a guided missile cruiser to the Black Sea, the Pentagon said Tuesday, the latest bid by Washington to reassure allies worried over Russia's intervention in Ukraine. "I can confirm the Vella Gulf, a Navy cruiser, will be going in to the Black Sea probably later this week," Pentagon spokesman Rear Admiral John Kirby told reporters. The Vella Gulf will arrive in the Black Sea after the recent departure of the frigate USS Taylor, which left the area on May 12.
France has delayed plans to pull troops out of its former colony Mali after a fresh bout of clashes in a key town. France said earlier this month it was ending its "frontal war phase" in Mali after sending troops there in 2013 to free the country's vast desert north from Islamists and Tuareg rebels who seized control after a coup. It planned to redeploy 2,000 of its 3,000 remaining troops serving in Mali under an operation named Serval to other countries in the Sahel region. Defence Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian had been due to go to Mali and Chad at the weekend for a reorganisation of the deployment, but has cancelled the visit, the source said.
Twin car bombings in central Nigeria killed at least 118 people and brought entire buildings down Tuesday, in the latest affront to the government's internationally-backed security crackdown. Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan swiftly condemned the attack in the central city of Jos, calling it a "tragic assault on human freedom" and condemning the perpetrators as "cruel and evil". But the deadly strike and a suicide car bomb attack that killed four in the northern city of Kano on Sunday, will raise fresh questions about the government's grip on the country's security. Jonathan has already faced calls to quit for failing to ensure the safety of Nigerians and their property as well as come under criticism for his lacklustre response to the kidnapping of more than 200 schoolgirls by Boko Haram militants.
(Reuters) - Detroit's plan to deal with $18 billion of debt so it can exit municipal bankruptcy faces a crucial test on Wednesday, when a panel of Michigan state lawmakers votes on legislation, opposed by some conservatives, to provide state funding for the city. A special Michigan House committee on Detroit's Recovery and Michigan's Future began hearings last week on a package of bills authorizing a $195 million lump sum contribution by the state, and creating of an oversight commission for the city. ...
The United States placed 12 Russians on a blacklist Tuesday for ties to the 2009 death of human rights lawyer Sergei Magnitsky and to murders of two others who exposed official corruption. Ten of the 12 were officials at prisons where Magnitsky was detained, law enforcement and judiciary officials, and participants in the massive tax fraud that Magnitsky exposed and was killed over. One participated in the 2009 Vienna murder of exiled Moscow critic Umar Israilov, and another took part in the 2004 murder of journalist Paul Klebnikov, who had probed Russian corruption, the US Treasury said.
The United Nations has begun talks with African leaders over a levy on oil that could rake in huge sums to fight disease in developing countries, a top official said Tuesday. "This year I will be working with African leaders for a tax on natural resource extraction, a very important development," said Philippe Douste-Blazy, chairman of UNITAID, the UN's drug purchase facility. The former French health and foreign minister said a levy would help African countries help each other. "This idea of South-South solidarity is really interesting in Africa," he said.
Climate change and sea level rise are threatening historic US landmarks, from the Statue of Liberty to NASA's coastal rocket launch sites, and the nation needs to prepare, scientists said Tuesday. "The range and scale of impacts are alarming," said the report by the Union of Concerned Scientists that listed more than two dozen landmarks endangered by wildfires, coastal erosion and flooding -- events scientists say are being made worse by global warming. They include the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island in New York Harbor, which was the entry point for 14 million immigrants from 1886 to 1924. Then came Hurricane Sandy in 2012, which flooded most of Liberty Island and all of Ellis Island, destroying most of their infrastructure and forcing their closure for months.
The United States on Tuesday distanced itself from a renegade general who has vowed to rid Libya of jihadists and said it was watching events in the country closely. Khalifa Haftar led a deadly assault on Islamist militia in Libya's second city Benghazi last week and has been accused by some of attempting a coup, in the latest unrest in the North African country since the 2011 uprising that ousted and killed long-time dictator Moamer Kadhafi. We do not condone or support the actions on the ground, and nor have we assisted with these actions," State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki told reporters in Washington. "So we are continuing to call on all parties to refrain from violence and to seek resolution through peaceful means," added Psaki, declining to say whether Washington viewed Haftar's actions as a coup attempt.