The US State Department Wednesday said it hoped to be able to reach a deal quickly with France to compensate victims of French rail firm SNCF for the deportation of Jews in World War II. Spokeswoman Jen Psaki confirmed the United States and France were in talks on "compensation for victims of deportations by rail from France to Nazi labor and death camps as well as for victims' families." But she hit out at state assemblies such as Maryland and New York which she said had "begun to pose a serious obstacle to achieving this goal." During the occupation of France by Germany and the so-called Vichy regime, SNCF deported some 76,000 Jews to concentration camps in freight cars between 1942 and 1944.
Fort Hood (United States) (AFP) - President Barack Obama vowed to do more to protect US soldiers on Wednesday as he paid a somber tribute to victims of last week's Fort Hood shooting, the second gun rampage at the Texas military base in five years. Speaking before the families of three soldiers killed by a comrade who took his own life during the April 2 shooting, Obama referenced the 2009 massacre at the base which claimed 13 lives. "Part of what makes this so painful is that we've been here before," Obama said. Completely eliminating every security risk from a base the size of Fort Hood may not be possible, Obama said.
Washington on Wednesday denounced as "unfortunate" an order from Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to limit his cabinet's contacts with their Palestinian counterparts. We regard it as unfortunate," State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said, as her boss John Kerry met with Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman. Netanyahu ordered ministers to limit contact with their Palestinian counterparts in response to "the Palestinian violation of their commitments under peace talks," an Israeli official told AFP.