White House

The United States conducted airstrikes in Somalia late Monday, targeting the leadership of the al-Qaida affiliate al-Shabab.

Chion Wolf / WNPR

As the conflict between Ukraine and Russia continues to escalate, Democratic U.S. Senator Chris Murphy wants to call it what it is: a war.

There's been much criticism of the president lately, even within his own party, that he's too detached and withdrawn, not combative enough anymore. This can be explained completely with a sports analogy: We elected a basketball president, but then we ended up with a golf president.

President Obama has authorized surveillance flights over Syria, The Associated Press and The New York Times are reporting this morning, citing unnamed U.S.

President Obama has ordered a review of federal programs that supply local law enforcement agencies with military weapons and equipment after concerns over how the police handled unrest in Ferguson, Mo., in the aftermath of the shooting death of Michael Brown.

A senior Obama administration official says the president "whether state and local law enforcement are provided with the necessary training and guidance; and whether the federal government is sufficiently auditing the use of equipment obtained through federal programs and funding."

The nation's top law enforcement officer traveled to Ferguson, Mo., on Wednesday to wrap his arms around a community in pain.

Attorney General Eric Holder hugged community leaders, a highway patrol captain and the mother of Michael Brown, the unarmed 18-year-old killed by a police officer earlier this month.

From the moment he walked into a soul food restaurant in Ferguson, the attorney general found friends and began getting reports on the community's mood after days of protests and sporadic violence.

Marc Nozell / Creative Commons

Vice President Joe Biden said manufacturing jobs are coming back to the U.S., but workers need the right training to fill those positions. 

Updated at 3:10 p.m. ET:

President Obama is calling the situation in Ferguson, Mo., where violence has broken out in the aftermath of a police shooting of an unarmed black teenager, "heartbreaking and tragic."

Speaking in Edgartown, Mass., on Martha's Vineyard where he is vacationing, Obama said he received a briefing this morning from Attorney General Eric Holder.

Pete Souza / White House

President Barack Obama congratulated Iraq's prime minster-designate in a statement on Martha's Vineyard during his vacation.

The White House went on lockdown Thursday night and it was all for a pint-sized breach.

A toddler apparently got loose from his parents and made a run through the White House fence. If you've ever been to the White House, you know the Secret Service takes any breach very seriously. Plus, there's also guys with powerful guns on the roof.

In a news conference Wednesday that was largely about international relations and trade, President Obama also addressed the limits of his own authority at home.

"I never have a green light," Obama said. "I'm bound by the Constitution; I'm bound by the separation of powers."

James Brady, a former White House press secretary and gun control advocate, died Monday, his family announced. He was 73.

Brady served as spokesman for President Ronald Reagan. He was struck in the head by a bullet intended for the president during an assassination attempt in 1981.

Updated at 9:05 a.m. ET.

The U.S. has temporarily closed its embassy in Libya and evacuated diplomats amid what is being described as a significant deterioration in security, with rival militant factions battling in the capital, Tripoli.

"Due to the ongoing violence resulting from clashes between Libyan militias in the immediate vicinity of the U.S. Embassy in Tripoli, we have temporarily relocated all of our personnel out of Libya," State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf said.

Kerry: Gaza Truce Still In Play

Jul 25, 2014

Updated at 5:20 p.m. ET.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry called reports that Israel's government had rejected a U.S. truce in Gaza "a mischievous leak" and said he's confident a deal can be reached.

Referring to earlier reports by Israeli TV that a seven-day cease-fire had been unanimously rejected, Kerry, speaking at a news conference in Cairo, said Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had assured him that the report is "an error and inaccurate.

A top White House adviser says any cease-fire agreement between Israel and Palestinians must include the demilitarization of Gaza.

In an interview with NPR's Steve Inskeep, Deputy National Security Adviser Tony Blinken said "that needs to be the end result."

"There has to be some way forward that does not involve Hamas having the ability to continue to rain down rockets on Israeli civilians," Blinken said.

Asked if this means the U.S. has endorsed Israel's demand that Hamas give up its weapons, Blinken said:

Pete Souza / White House

President Barack Obama spoke about the downed plane in eastern Ukraine from the White House Monday morning. He called for international investigators to have "immediate and full access" to the site where a passenger jet was shot down last week.

U.S. officials have been seeking to build a case that the plane was shot down by pro-Russian separatists.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry is headed to Egypt today in an effort to broker a cease-fire between Israel and Hamas.

In a statement, State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said Kerry would meet with Egyptian and other senior officials.

Updated at 10:30 p.m. ET.

A spokesman for Hamas claimed Sunday that the group has captured an Israeli soldier. Reuters quotes Israel's ambassador to the U.N., Ron Prosor, as saying that no Israeli soldier has been kidnapped.

It's the latest development in a bloody day of fighting between Israel and Hamas. Israel's military said today that a series of attacks on its forces inside the Gaza Strip has killed 13 soldiers, by far the heaviest single-day toll for its troops since the beginning of the offensive nearly two weeks ago.

Updated at 4:25 p.m. ET.

In the most emphatic U.S. statement to date on culpability for the downing of a Malaysian airliner over Eastern Ukraine that killed 298 people, Secretary of State John Kerry says evidence overwhelmingly points to Russian-backed separatists.

In an interview with CNN, he says that U.S. intelligence, as well as social media put out by the rebels, "obviously points a very clear finger at the separatists.

White House

President Barack Obama said one American was killed on a downed plane in Ukraine on Thursday, and that the airliner was shot down by a surface-to-air missile in an area controlled by Russian-backed separatists. He called for an immediate ceasefire in Ukraine, where he said heavily armed and trained separatists receive Russian support.

President Obama outlined a new package of sanctions against Russian firms and individuals on Wednesday.

"These sanctions are significant but also targeted," Obama said. "Russia will see that its actions in Ukraine have consequences."

The administration targeted large banks, as well as energy and defense firms. The sanctions stopped short of covering entire sectors of the Russian economy.

Obama said they were designed to inflict pain on Russia without harming U.S. companies or the nation's allies.

This post updated at 3:15 p.m. ET.

Calling it a "critical moment" in Afghanistan, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry is pushing for a partial recount in the country's presidential elections amid alleged vote fraud.

"We are in a very, very critical moment for Afghanistan," Kerry told reporters. "Legitimacy hangs in the balance. The future potential of the transition hangs in the balance. So we've a lot of work to do."

Diane Orson / WNPR

A group of Central American migrant children who made the perilous journey through Mexico into the U.S.… are staying now in the New Haven area.  They'’re among the estimated 50,000 unaccompanied youngsters who have inundated the U.S. border since last October.

It's turning into the largest influx of asylum seekers on U.S. soil since the 1980 Mariel boatlift out of Cuba.

Since October, more than 52,000 children — most from Central America and many of them unaccompanied by adults — have been taken into custody. That's nearly double last year's total and 10 times the number from 2009.

Update at 3:33 p.m. ET

The White House said it's asking Congress for $3.7 billion to address the humanitarian crisis along the border with Mexico.

The statement said the funds would cover domestic enforcement, repatriation and reintegration of migrants, transportation costs, additional immigration judges, prosecutors and litigation attorneys to "ensure cases are processed fairly and as quickly as possible."

Chion Wolf / WNPR

A surge in migrants to the U.S. southwest border has prompted President Obama to ask Congress for $2 billion in emergency funding to combat the problem. His request comes one year after a Senate immigration reform bill was passed, and then stalled, in the U.S. House. 

White House Task Force To Save Bees Stirs Hornet's Nest

Jun 27, 2014

When President Obama announced last week that he was creating a federal task force to investigate the nation's vanishing bee colonies, the moment provided newly minted Press Secretary Josh Earnest an opportunity to crack one of his first jokes on the job.

"When I walked out here today, I knew I was going to be handling a range of sensitive issues," he told reporters. "I didn't know I was going to be talking about the birds and the bees."

President Obama has asked Congress for $500 million to train and equip moderate Syrian rebels who are seeking the ouster of Bashar Assad.

If Congress approves the plan, it would supplement a covert training and assistance program already being run by U.S. intelligence agencies, The Associated Press says.

The White House says in a statement that the rebels would be vetted before providing assistance, to ensure that U.S. equipment doesn't fall into the wrong hands.

Remember last week when President Obama said he planned to send up to 300 military advisers to Iraq?

Well, the U.S. couldn't do it until the Iraqi government gave U.S. soldiers immunity from prosecution, through what's called a "diplomatic note." If those U.S. soldiers committed any crimes or had any legal troubles while advising Iraqis, the U.S. wanted to handle any prosecutions.

The United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit has released a long-secret memo in which the Obama administration lays out its legal reasoning for launching a drone attack on an American citizen overseas.

The legal justification concerns the drone strike that killed Anwar al-Awlaki, a U.S. citizen who the United States claims was tied to plots against the U.S. and played a key role in al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula.

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