Newark City Councilman Ras Baraka declared victory in the race for mayor of New Jersey's largest city on Tuesday - the first citywide election since Cory Booker, Newark's charismatic former mayor, stepped down to join the U.S. Senate. Baraka, 44, the son of the late activist and poet Amiri Baraka, will be tasked with steering Newark, about 12 miles from New York City, as it struggles with an uptick in violent crime, unemployment and a possible state takeover of its finances. Booker, who served for seven years as mayor and used his national profile to help draw billions of dollars in investment to Newark, is now a U.S. senator. He won a special election last October to succeed Senator Frank Lautenberg, who died in office.
President Barack Obama met Syrian opposition leader Ahmad Jarba in a show of support for moderate, embattled foes of President Bashar al-Assad. Obama dropped by a meeting between Jarba, president of the Syrian National Coalition, and his national security advisor Susan Rice. The White House said Obama and Rice condemned \"the Assad regime’s deliberate targeting of Syrian civilians through aerial bombardments -- including the use of barrel bombs -- and the denial of food and humanitarian assistance to civilians located in areas under siege by the regime.\"
French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius defended in Washington the sale of two warships to Russia, despite US opposition -- while leaving open the door to re-examine the contract in October. Per a 2011 agreement worth $1.2 billion, France is to deliver two Mistral warships -- an advanced helicopter assault ship -- to Russia. France has so far resisted pressure to suspend the controversial contract, which has triggered protests from the United States and other NATO allies. \"France needs firmness lessons from absolutely no one,\" insisted Fabius.
US President Barack Obama on Tuesday imposed sanctions against the former Central African Republic leaders Francois Bozize and Michel Djotodia and three other officials, the White House said. The move comes on the heels of UN sanctions announced Friday by the Security Council -- against three of the same five men. The sanctions aim to send \"a powerful message that impunity will not be tolerated, and that those who threaten the stability of the CAR will face consequences,\" the White House said in a statement. In addition to Bozize and Djotodia, Obama's order targets the leader of the anti-Balaka militia, Levy Yakete;
By Steve Holland WASHINGTON (Reuters) - White House spokesman Jay Carney mocked Karl Rove on Tuesday after the Republican strategist was quoted as saying potential Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton might have suffered brain damage from a 2012 blood clot. The New York Post reported that Rove made the suggestion last week at a conference. Rove denied using the phrase, but told the Fox News Channel that Clinton's health would be an issue should she run for the Democratic presidential nomination in 2016. Asked about the brain damage comment at his daily news briefing, Carney noted the Republican's steadfast refusal to admit President Barack Obama had defeated Republican nominee Mitt Romney in the key state of Ohio on election night in 2012.
By Gabriel Debenedetti WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Senator Marco Rubio, a likely Republican candidate for the White House, on Tuesday unveiled plans to give more Americans a way to save for retirement while raising the retirement age for younger workers. The first-term Florida senator's announcement at the National Press Club in Washington is part of a broader set of proposals that are helping Rubio shore up his policy credentials with the Republican Party's conservative wing. Financial security has faded for millions Americans, and with it the hope of a stable and secure retirement.\" Rubio proposed opening up to more Americans the federal Thrift Savings Plan currently offered to federal employees and members of Congress.