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WORLD
March 5, 2014 | By Paul Richter
WASHINGTON - The State Department mocked Russian President Vladimir Putin on Wednesday in unusually pointed language, calling his claims about the Ukraine crisis the most "startling Russian fiction" since the novelist Fyodor Dostoevsky wrote that "the formula 'two plus two equals five' is not without its attractions. " Under the heading "President Putin's Fiction," the statement challenged 10 assertions Putin had made in recent days to justify Russian troop incursions into Ukraine's Crimea region.
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WORLD
April 22, 2014 | By Paul Richter
WASHINGTON - Secretary of State John F. Kerry said Tuesday that he is certifying to Congress that Egypt deserves a resumption of some U.S. military aid, even though he couldn't vouch that the military-backed government is moving toward a more democratic system. Kerry told Egyptian Foreign Minister Nabil Fahmy in a phone call that he believes Egypt is entitled to the aid because it is “sustaining the strategic relationship with the United States” and carrying out its obligations under the Egypt-Israel Peace Treaty, State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said in a statement Tuesday evening.
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NATIONAL
November 24, 2012 | By Joseph Serna
A fire erupted at the State Department headquarters in Washington, D.C., on Saturday, seriously injuring three maintenance workers. The fire ignited about 11 a.m. in ductwork on the building's seventh floor, the Associated Press reported. Employees put out the flames before firefighters arrived at the scene. Three maintenance workers were hospitalized. One of them, according to the AP, was listed in critical condition. The other two were reported in serious condition. The fire started during routine maintenance work in a mechanical area of the building, State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland told the AP. Workers temporarily evacuated the building but returned later in the day.   ALSO: Deputy at Texas pileup: "Children bleeding...cars on top of cars" Black Friday melee on video at Georgia Wal-Mart, trampling in Texas Woman who punched Wal-Mart worker, 70, gets 5 years in holiday attack Follow Nation Now on Twitter and Facebook
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
March 23, 2014 | Patrick McGreevy
A cherry farmer from the San Joaquin Valley holds the key to California Republicans' hopes of loosening Democrats' grip on the state Legislature. Andy Vidak, a Republican who owns an orchard in Kings County, stunned both parties last year with an upset victory in a Senate district where Democrats have a 22-point advantage in voter registration. He ran largely on the basics, promising to cure a shortage of both jobs and water in the agricultural district and oppose the costly bullet train proposed to split the Central Valley.
NEWS
January 15, 2014 | By Lisa Mascaro
WASHINGTON -- A Senate investigation has concluded that officials at the State Department and U.S. intelligence agencies ignored “ample warnings” of danger and failed to do enough to prevent an attack by militants on a U.S. mission and CIA base in Benghazi, Libya, in September 2012. The bipartisan report by the Senate Intelligence Committee also found that no U.S. military units or aircraft were close enough to intervene or assist during the overnight attack, which left four Americans dead, including Ambassador Christopher Stevens.
WORLD
December 24, 2013 | By Paul Richter
WASHINGTON -- The State Department on Tuesday cautioned travelers about the risks of visiting Honduras, known as the “murder capital of the world,” saying that killings of Americans are frequent and almost never solved. In a travel warning , the department said American expatriates experience similar levels of crime as other population groups. Police forces are unable to keep up and have solved only two of the 50 killings of Americans since 2008, U.S. officials said. Honduras has had the highest murder rate in the world since 2010, and levels of violence and crime remain "critically high," the warning said.
NEWS
August 1, 2013 | Richard A. Serrano
Ft. MEADE, Md. - A career U.S. diplomat testified Thursday that Army Pfc. Bradley Manning's unauthorized release of classified material horrified officials at the State Department and jeopardized relationships with U.S. allies overseas, even as Julian Assange, founder of WikiLeaks, complained that President Obama has “betrayed” his campaign pledge to protect whistle-blowers. Elizabeth Dibble, principal deputy U.S. assistant secretary of State for Near Eastern affairs, was called to testify about the damage to the State Department after Manning in 2010 gave the anti-secrecy organization WikiLeaks more than 700,000 diplomatic cables, combat reports and other highly classified data.
TRAVEL
December 29, 2013
The U.S. Department of State issued a warning on Dec. 17 recommending that U.S. citizens not travel to the Republic of South Sudan because of "ongoing political and social unrest. " More info at (888) 407-4747 toll-free in the United States or, outside the country, (202) 501-4444. The State Department also has urged Americans to avoid travel to Libya "because of ongoing instability and violence. " Libya reopened for U.S. visitors in February 2004, but periodic upheavals have put it and its Roman ruins off-limits for Americans.
WORLD
February 19, 2014 | By Kathleen Hennessey
WASHINGTON - The State Department on Wednesday banned 20 Ukrainian civilians from obtaining U.S. visas in an effort to ramp up pressure on the Eastern European country's government to de-escalate the bloody confrontations between police and opposition protesters. A senior State Department official would not name those banned from traveling to the U.S., but said the list included the “full chain of command” of those considered responsible for recent deadly clashes. The move was a careful first step as U.S. and European Union officials warned that more punitive sanctions could be forthcoming if a truce announced late Wednesday did not hold.
NEWS
January 13, 1995 | Associated Press
R. Nicholas Burns, a career foreign service officer in charge of Russian affairs at the National Security Council, is to be named the new spokesman at the State Department, a senior U.S. official said Thursday. Secretary of State Warren Christopher will make the announcement soon, said the official, speaking on condition of anonymity. Burns, 39, a 14-year veteran of the foreign service, is responsible for all former Soviet republics at the White House. He has served in Egypt and Israel.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
March 11, 2014 | By Jessica Garrison and Abby Sewell
Los Angeles County supervisors voted Tuesday to create a "strike team" that will target facilities that emit toxic pollutants - the first being the Exide Technologies battery recycling plant in Vernon. The team of public health officials, prosecutors, fire department officials and others will look for ways to close the plant, which has been accused of endangering the health of more than 100,000 people with lead and arsenic emissions. The state Department of Toxic Substances Control and the South Coast Air Quality Management District regulate the plant, but Supervisor Gloria Molina said she has grown frustrated with what she views as a lack of swift action to protect public health.
WORLD
March 6, 2014 | By Kathleen Hennessey and David Lauter
WASHINGTON - Newly levied visa restrictions and an executive order allowing financial sanctions against people or groups “threatening the peace, security, stability, sovereignty, or territorial integrity of Ukraine” will allow the U.S. to “impose costs” on Russia for its actions in Crimea, senior administration officials said Thursday. U.S. officials also rejected the idea of a referendum on whether Crimea should remain part of Ukraine, which Russian-backed officials announced Thursday.
WORLD
March 6, 2014 | By Paul Richter
WASHINGTON - The Ukraine crisis has forced Western leaders to reassess what they thought they knew about Russian President Vladimir Putin, who has shown that he is willing to make far riskier moves to achieve his security goals and that his hostility to the U.S. and its allies runs much deeper than many wanted to believe. That reappraisal has caused U.S. national security officials to take Putin more seriously as a threat. The possibility that he might also send troops into eastern Ukraine, which could spark a war, or that he might use force against other neighboring countries, including the Baltic nations, no longer seems as unlikely as the foreign policy establishment thought.
WORLD
March 5, 2014 | By Paul Richter
WASHINGTON - The State Department mocked Russian President Vladimir Putin on Wednesday in unusually pointed language, calling his claims about the Ukraine crisis the most "startling Russian fiction" since the novelist Fyodor Dostoevsky wrote that "the formula 'two plus two equals five' is not without its attractions. " Under the heading "President Putin's Fiction," the statement challenged 10 assertions Putin had made in recent days to justify Russian troop incursions into Ukraine's Crimea region.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
March 5, 2014 | By Jessica Garrison
Decrying the slow response of state agencies to the public health threat posed by a Vernon battery recycler and other polluting facilities, Los Angeles County Supervisor Gloria Molina on Wednesday called for the creation of a county “toxic threat strike team” that could take action when the state fails to do so. The plan calls for county public health officials, prosecutors, fire department officials and others to identify the most dangerous...
WORLD
February 28, 2014 | Daniel Rothman
With a Syrian chemical weapons attack that killed more than 1,000 civilians, violent crackdowns against protesters in Turkey and Ukraine and a string of anti-gay laws from Russia to Uganda, human rights abuses last year ranked among the worst in years, the State Department concluded Thursday in its annual review of more than 200 countries and territories. "The year 2013 may well be known for some of the most egregious atrocities in recent memory," Uzra Zeya, acting assistant secretary of State for democracy, human rights and labor, said during a briefing Thursday.
TRAVEL
February 18, 1996
The State Department is closing two embassies and 11 consulates as part of budget cuts approved by Congress in July. One of them, the U.S. consulate in Bordeaux in southwest France, was the oldest U.S. diplomatic office in the world. All will be closed by Sept. 30, end of the fiscal year. In some areas, the State Department is replacing the consulates with a one-person consular agency staffed by an American citizen who can help out in emergencies, a spokesman said.
OPINION
May 14, 2000
Fifty years ago Washington was shaken by worries over spies in the State Department. Today the worries are back. In 1998 a man walked into the secretary of State's suite on the department's supposedly secure seventh floor, helped himself to a sheaf of classified documents left atop a desk and strolled away. Neither the man nor the documents have been seen since.
WORLD
February 25, 2014 | By Paul Richter
WASHINGTON - The Obama administration Tuesday expelled three Venezuelan diplomats in retaliation for the expulsion of three U.S. officials a week ago. Two first secretaries and a second secretary from the embassy were given 48 hours to depart, the State Department said. The three expelled American diplomats were accused of fomenting civil unrest that has rocked the government of President Nicolas Maduro. U.S. officials said the expulsions were not justified. The government of Maduro and his predecessor, Hugo Chavez, has often claimed that the United States is to blame for threats to the country.
WORLD
February 19, 2014 | By Kathleen Hennessey
WASHINGTON - The State Department on Wednesday banned 20 Ukrainian civilians from obtaining U.S. visas in an effort to ramp up pressure on the Eastern European country's government to de-escalate the bloody confrontations between police and opposition protesters. A senior State Department official would not name those banned from traveling to the U.S., but said the list included the “full chain of command” of those considered responsible for recent deadly clashes. The move was a careful first step as U.S. and European Union officials warned that more punitive sanctions could be forthcoming if a truce announced late Wednesday did not hold.
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