08252016Thu
Last update: Thu, 25 Aug 2016 07pm

North America

World - North America

US Air Force head 'concerned' about no-first-use nuke idea WASHINGTON: The head of the US Air Force on Thursday said she would be "concerned" if President Barack Obama were to formally declare a "no-first-use" policy for America's arsenal of nuclear weapons.US media reports have in recent weeks said Obama is weighing an overhaul of long-standing nuclear policy, including by pledging to never conduct the first strike in a nuclear conflict."I would be concerned about such a policy," Air Force Secretary Deborah Lee James told the New America think tank in Washington."Having a certain degree of ambiguity is not necessarily a bad thing. You certainly want to communicate certain things to allies and to your potential adversaries around the world, but you don't necessarily want to show all your cards all the time."The US Air Force is responsible for two legs of America's nuclear defense "triad" -- a three-pronged nuclear system comprising long-range bombers, ground-launched missiles and submarines.The Washington Post ...

World - North America

US jobless claims rise marginally, factory orders decline WASHINGTON: The number of Americans filing for unemployment benefits unexpectedly rose last week, while renewed job cuts in the energy sector boosted layoffs announced by US-based employers in July. Despite the increases, the labor market remains healthy and will probably continue to support economic growth for the rest of this year. While other data on Thursday showed orders for factory goods fell for a second straight month in June, largely on weak demand for transportation ...

World - North America

Tropical storm Earl batters buildings in Belize, heads for Mexico BELIZE CITY: Tropical Storm Earl whipped Belize and Mexico's Caribbean coast with wind and heavy rain, battering cars, disrupting transportation and forcing hundreds into shelters as it moved through Guatemala toward southeastern Mexico on Thursday. Some flights to the Mexican seaside resort Chetumal and from the city of Campeche were canceled because of Earl, which smashed car windows and punched holes in the roofs of Belize City's wooden houses, downed trees and flooded parts of ...

World - North America

White House denies Iran ransom payment WASHINGTON: The White House on Wednesday denied renewed accusations that it paid Iran ransom for the release of four American prisoners, parrying a tidal wave of condemnations from Republicans.Amid revelations that the US helped airlift $400 million worth of Swiss francs and euros to Iran after a prisoner release, the White House insisted the two were not linked.In January, five American prisoners were released as Washington granted clemency to seven Iranians and withdrew arrest warrants ...

World - North America

Obama makes mass commutation of 214 offenders WASHINGTON: US President Barack Obama on Wednesday commuted the sentences of 214 drug offenders, the single biggest act of presidential clemency in over a century.The White House said Obama had forgiven a fresh group of prisoners, including 67 who had been serving life sentences.Most were guilty of non-violent crimes, many involving possession or distribution of crack cocaine.The actions "represent the most grants in a single day since at least 1900," said Neil Eggleston, the White ...

World - North America

Second Zika vaccine trial gets under way in US MIAMI: US health authorities Wednesday launched the second human trial of a vaccine against the mosquito-borne Zika virus, which can cause birth defects and is now spreading in the US and Latin America.The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) Zika virus investigational DNA vaccine will be given to 80 healthy volunteers aged 18-35 at three study sites in the United States, said the federal agency.The first dose was delivered Tuesday, the NIAID said ...

World - North America

Governments reject UN plan to resettle refugees UNITED NATIONS: UN member states have rejected a UN proposal to resettle 10 percent of the world's refugees annually as part of a new global effort to tackle the worst refugee crisis since World War II.A document adopted late Tuesday failed to include the resettlement proposal from UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon that would have been the centerpiece of a UN summit on refugees in New York on September 19.Human rights groups voiced disappointment, dismissing the ...