The United States indefinitely extended the review process for a controversial Canada-to-US oil pipeline Friday, potentially delaying a final decision on the project until beyond mid-term elections in November. The US State Department said eight federal agencies -- which had been given until the end of May to submit views on the matter -- would now have a longer window to weigh in on the long-delayed Keystone XL pipeline. "This project will create tens of thousands of jobs on both sides of the border, will enhance the energy security of North America, has strong public support and the US State Department has, on multiple occasions, acknowledged it will be environmentally sound," the statement added. Analysts say President Barack Obama, who has the final say on the pipeline, is caught in a classic no-win dilemma -- facing the prospect of losing votes in critical November 4 mid-term elections whatever he decides.
President Barack Obama signed into law Friday a bill designed to bar Iran's pick for UN ambassador from US soil over his links to the 1979 American embassy hostage siege. But Obama also issued a statement saying that he would only regard the legislation as guidance, warning it could infringe upon his executive powers as president. The spat over Hamid Aboutalebi's nomination has blown up amid a cautious thaw in relations between the US and Iran as Tehran's new leadership seeks to negotiate a nuclear treaty with global powers. The United States said earlier this week that it would not issue a visa to Aboutalebi because he was involved in the hostage crisis at the US embassy in Tehran.
The United States said Friday there had been progress but no final deal in talks with Japan that are crucial to advancing the ambitious 12-country Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal. Negotiations failed to achieve a significant breakthrough just days before US President Barack Obama, who has made the TPP a key goal of his administration, arrives in Tokyo on a state visit. Intense negotiations this week narrowed the gap between the two sides, but "considerable differences remain," US Trade Representative Michael Froman said after his meetings with Japanese Minister for Economic and Fiscal Policy Akira Amari. The two sides have been wrestling in particular over Japan's barriers to importing US autos and farm products.
President Barack Obama signed a law on Friday that effectively bars an Iranian diplomat from serving as an envoy at the United Nations because of suspicions he was involved in the 1979-81 Tehran hostage crisis. Obama signed a law passed by the U.S. Congress that blocks any individual from entering the United States who has been found to have been engaged in espionage or terrorist activity against the United States or if that person may pose a threat to U.S. national security. The United States had already said it would not grant a visa to Iran's proposed U.N. ambassador, citing the envoy's links to the 1979-1981 hostage crisis.
By Lawrence Hurley WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts on Friday denied a request by Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd to stay a lower-court ruling in a patent case that favored the developers of generic versions of Teva's top-selling multiple sclerosis drug. The decision could help pave the way for generic competitors of Teva's Copaxone drug to go on the market as soon as next month. Teva had sought to prevent the lower-court ruling from going into effect while the Supreme Court considers its appeal in the patent fight. At issue is a July 2013 ruling by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit in favor of two teams developing cheaper generic forms of Copaxone: one comprising Novartis AG's Sandoz Inc and Momenta Pharmaceuticals Inc, and the other comprising Mylan Inc and Natco Pharma Ltd. In his decision on Friday, Roberts, in a brief opinion, wrote that he was not convinced Teva had shown the "likelihood of irreparable harm" if the application was denied, because if Teva wins the Supreme Court case it can seek damages from the generic companies for past infringement on its patents.
US President Barack Obama made clear his "disgust" at anti-Jewish leaflets handed out in east Ukraine's main city, his top national security aide said Friday. The pamphlets telling Jews to register or be expelled were distributed in the city of Donetsk and sparked global outrage and fears of a Nazi-style pogrom. "The president expressed his disgust quite bluntly," said Obama's national security advisor Susan Rice. Rice said that Secretary of State John Kerry, who condemned the leaflets on Thursday in Geneva, had made US objections clear to Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov.