January 17, 2014 |
BEIRUT - With the U.S.-backed opposition mired in disputes, Syria's government on Friday proposed a limited cease-fire, a prisoner swap and measures to speed aid to civilians in a move that appeared aimed at ensuring it is an indispensable part of any effort to end the civil war. The diplomatic initiative outlined in Moscow by Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Moallem and his Russian counterpart, Sergei Lavrov, came just five days before the start of...
January 13, 2014 |
BEIRUT - Diplomats on Monday pushed for a limited cease-fire in Syria, a prisoner exchange and better access for aid efforts before a peace conference scheduled to begin next week in Switzerland. At a news conference in Paris, U.S. Secretary of State John F. Kerry said that he and his Russian counterpart, Sergei Lavrov, had discussed measures to "set the stage for success. " One potential area for a cessation of hostilities, Kerry said, was the embattled northern city of Aleppo, divided for 18 months between government and opposition forces and also the site of recent rebel infighting.
January 7, 2014 |
BEIRUT - The initial consignment of Syria's most toxic chemical weapons material was shipped out of the country Tuesday, international officials said, advancing a cleanup effort widely seen as a success in the midst of a long civil war that has cost more than 100,000 lives. The announcement came as the leader of an Al Qaeda-linked rebel group tried to broker a cease-fire among Syrian opposition factions that have been battling one another. A "first quantity" of so-called priority chemical materials was moved from two sites to the Syrian port of Latakia and loaded onto a Danish commercial vessel, Sigrid Kaag, who heads the international effort to rid the country of its chemical arsenal, said in a statement.
January 3, 2014 |
Once virtually eradicated, polio again stalks the Horn of Africa, the Middle East and South Asia. The innocent victims are mostly young children. The perpetrators are insurgents and indifferent governments. The polio resurgence is preventable and it is time to pull out an old but proven technique to halt its spread: Days of Tranquility. This 30-year-old quaintly named tactic involves a negotiated cease-fire during which insurgents and governments allow humanitarian groups to reach children trapped by fighting and immunize them against infectious diseases, such as polio.
December 20, 2013 |
WASHINGTON - In its last workday of the year, the Democratic-controlled Senate overcame GOP objections Friday to confirm two high-profile Obama nominees to the Department of Homeland Security and the Internal Revenue Service, but put off final approval of Federal Reserve chairwoman candidate Janet L. Yellen until January as part of a late-night cease-fire so lawmakers could adjourn for the holiday recess. After heated debate, the Senate narrowly approved Alejandro Mayorkas, President Obama's controversial pick for the No. 2 job at Homeland Security, in a 54-41 vote.
December 13, 2013 |
WASHINGTON - Senate leaders on Friday called a cease-fire in a weeklong fight over the chamber's new rules that limit filibusters, ending a nearly 48-hour marathon session. In the end, senators' aversion to what would have been a rare weekend session trumped the desire to score political points. Republicans had been dragging out debate over nominations to protest the move by the Democratic majority late last month to all but eliminate the minority's ability to filibuster presidential nominations.