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December 10, 2013 | By Victoria Butenko and Sergei L. Loiko
KIEV, Ukraine - Ukrainian security forces stormed a tent encampment in central Kiev early Wednesday, converging on Independence Square from three sides to roust sleeping protesters and beat those refusing to clear the streets, witnesses reported. Blaring through loudspeakers, police ordered the demonstrators demanding the ouster of President Viktor Yanukovich and his government to heed a city court order to end their obstruction of traffic and communications. Opposition supporters and others outraged by the president's decision last month to scrap an agreement that would have improved trade and other relations with the European Union in favor of closer ties with Russia have been occupying the historic center of the Ukrainian capital for three weeks.
November 27, 2013 | By Chris Kraul
BOGOTA, Colombia -- Colombia on Wednesday recalled its ambassador to Nicaragua, a day after the Central American nation filed a complaint with an international court alleging Colombia "made threats of force" regarding disputed territory in the Caribbean. Although details of the alleged threats were not available Wednesday, Colombian Defense Minister Juan Carlos Pinzon acknowledged that “three or four” navy ships were patrolling the disputed area, insisting that they were there to combat drug trafficking and to “protect rights of Colombian citizens.” Foreign Minister Maria Angela Holguin said at a news conference that she was recalling ambassador Luz Stella Jara because “it is impossible to have a dialogue with Nicaragua.” In an earlier interview with Caracol Radio of Bogota, she described Nicaragua as “the worst neighbor” for allegedly failing to engage in bilateral talks as called for in September by President Juan Manuel Santos to hammer out a treaty covering access to the disputed territory.
October 28, 2013 | Times wire reports
Tadeusz Mazowiecki, 86, Eastern Europe's first democratic prime minister after communism, a key advisor to Poland's Solidarity freedom movement and U.N. human rights envoy to Bosnia in the 1990s, died Monday in Warsaw after being hospitalized for a high fever, said his personal secretary, Michal Prochwicz. In August 1980, Mazowiecki joined thousands of workers on strike at the Gdansk Shipyard. Within days, their action grew into a massive wave of strikes that gave birth to Solidarity - Eastern Europe's first free trade union and a nationwide freedom movement - led by a charismatic shipyard electrician, Lech Walesa, whose name quickly became known around the globe.
September 19, 2013 | By Carol J. Williams
A massacre this month at an Iranian exile camp in Iraq that killed 52 people under international protection was an act of premeditated slaughter and should be thoroughly investigated by the United Nations, two former foreign ministers told the world body Thursday. Former foreign ministers Bernard Kouchner of France and Sid Ahmed Ghozali of Algeria told a U.N. panel in Geneva that the Sept. 1 raid on the exile refuge known as Camp Ashraf represents "a crime against humanity. " The former top diplomats also said they had grave fear for the safety of seven survivors of the attack who were taken hostage.
September 16, 2013 | By Carol J. Williams
A United Nations report concluding that chemical weapons were used in Syria on Aug. 21 contains evidence pointing to Syrian President Bashar Assad's forces as the perpetrators, the U.S. and British ambassadors to the world body said Monday. U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon declined to say whether rocket fragments and other physical evidence collected from a Damascus suburban area by U.N. investigators made it clear whether it was the Assad regime or the rebels fighting him who launched the sarin gas attacks.
September 8, 2013 | By Batsheva Sobelman
JERUSALEM - When Israelis and Palestinians renewed peace negotiations this summer, they agreed on only one thing: No talking about the talks. Now Israel has complained to the United States of alleged Palestinian leaks it claims violate the agreement and aim to pressure Israel, Israeli media reported Sunday . "The only announcement you will hear about meetings is the one I just made," U.S. Secretary of State John F. Kerry said on July 30th , upon resuming talks in Washington.
August 5, 2013 | By Jeffrey Fleishman and Ingy Hassieb
CAIRO -- International efforts to resolve Egypt's political crisis have intensified, including a prison meeting early Monday between U.S. Deputy Secretary of State William J. Burns and a leader of the Muslim Brotherhood who faces murder charges stemming from weeks of clashes. U.S. attempts to calm Egypt's unrest following a military coup last month that overthrew the Islamist president, Mohamed Morsi, were bolstered by the arrival in Cairo on Monday of Sens. John McCain (R-Ariz.)
July 30, 2013 | By The Times editorial board
Caroline Kennedy, President Obama's nominee to be ambassador to Japan, brings a unique celebrity status - though not much in the way of expertise or relevant experience - to the ranks of U.S. diplomats. But in another sense, Kennedy is typical of many of Obama's ambassadorial appointments: She provided him with important support when he was seeking election to the White House. In Kennedy's case, that support took the form of a timely endorsement during the 2008 campaign from the daughter of a beloved Democratic president.
July 25, 2013 | By Paul Richter
WASHINGTON - Since the beginning of his second term, President Obama has appointed campaign fundraisers, party allies and other political figures as ambassadors at a level that is now almost double what has prevailed in the last few administrations. More than 56% of Obama's 41 second-term ambassadorial nominations have been political, compared with an average of about 30% for recent administrations, according to U.S. government figures compiled by the American Foreign Service Assn.
July 19, 2013 | By Edmund Sanders and Paul Richter
JERUSALEM - In a surprise announcement, U.S. Secretary of State John F. Kerry said Friday night that he would host Israeli and Palestinian negotiators in Washington as early as next week in a possible renewal of long-stalled peace talks. But Kerry's declaration seemed to catch both Israelis and Palestinians off guard. Neither side has yet publicly embraced Kerry's proposal for restarting talks and both have expressed reservations. Skeptics said that Kerry's pressure might bring the parties together in the same room but that chances for success would be slim if either side was a reluctant participant.
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