The United States said Monday it will meet next week with allies South Korea and Japan to plan strategy on North Korea amid high tensions after the regime's live-fire drills. The US pointman on North Korea, Glyn Davies, will meet Monday in Washington with his counterparts from Japan and South Korea, Junichi Ihara and Hwang Joon-Kook. North Korea in recent weeks has threatened a new nuclear test, test-fired medium-range ballistic missiles capable of hitting Japan and, on Monday, conducted a live-fire drill along its disputed border with South Korea.
The United States warned Russia Thursday not to use energy costs as an instrument of political coercion, after Moscow scrapped its last gas price discounts for Ukraine. Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev earlier announced the move, effectively raising the price by $100 to $485 for every 1,000 cubic meters of gas. Asked about the decision, White House spokesman Jay Carney warned "markets should determine energy prices." "A country should not use supply and pricing terms as tools of coercion to interfere in Ukraine or anywhere else," he said.
What an honor! Thanks for the #selfie, @BarackObama pic.twitter.com/y5Ww74sEID — David Ortiz (@davidortiz) April 1, 2014 The selfie “Big Papi” took with President Obama on Tuesday ricocheted around social media. It also raised questions about the propriety of profiting off the president. After the picture...
By Crispian Balmer and Lesley Wroughton JERUSALEM (Reuters) - From the moment Middle East peace talks resumed last July, it always looked as if U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry was more eager to strike a deal than either the Israelis or Palestinians. "What they are saying is if we don't get 100 percent of what we want then we don't want it at all.
A frustrated US secretary of state demanded Thursday action from recalcitrant Israeli and Palestinian leaders, saying it was time for them to demonstrate leadership in the crisis-hit peace talks. But John Kerry acknowledged in Algiers that negotiators from the two sides had made "progress" in lengthy overnight talks in Jerusalem, also attended by the Americans. More than a year of intensive Kerry shuttle diplomacy appeared to be on the brink of collapse this week after Israel announced a fresh wave of settlement tenders and the Palestinians resumed moves to seek international recognition for their promised state. Speaking Thursday morning during a visit to Algeria, Kerry threw down the gauntlet to both sides, telling them it was time for compromise at what he called a "critical moment" in the peace talks.
The Obama administration announced on Thursday that same-sex married couples can qualify for Medicare hospital and physician benefits for the first time. The decision, coming after a 2013 U.S. Supreme Court ruling that struck down a federal ban against same-sex marriage, allows the Social Security Administration (SSA) to determine the eligibility of married gay applicants to Medicare, the federal government's healthcare program for the elderly and the disabled. "We are working together with SSA to process these requests in a timely manner to ensure all beneficiaries, regardless of sexual orientation, are treated fairly under the law," U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said in a statement. CMS oversees the $635 billion Medicare program.
By Lesley Wroughton ALGIERS (Reuters) - U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said on Thursday Washington was looking to increase its security assistance to Algeria to help it tackle militancy in the vast Sahel region to its south, home to one of the world's most active branches of al Qaeda. Algeria, a major gas supplier to Europe, is already a key partner in Washington's campaign against Islamist fighters who have tried to spread across the Maghreb after the French military drove them out of Mali last year. Kerry was originally scheduled to visit Algeria late last year but arrived just weeks before President Abdelaziz Bouteflika runs for re-election in a vote in which he is widely expected to win a fourth term. "We really want to work in a cooperative way, and we want to do this so that Algerian security services have the tools and the training needed in order to defeat al Qaeda and other terrorist groups," Kerry told a news conference.