Tag: State Department

Here are five takeaways from the Biden-Putin call.

President Biden and President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia spoke for roughly two hours by videoconference on Tuesday in an effort to defuse a growing military crisis along Ukraine’s borders, where tens of thousands of Russian troops have massed in what U.S. officials say could be the prelude to an all-out invasion. The meeting was […]

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Inside the U.S. Military Base Where 11,000 Afghans Are Starting Over

JOINT BASE McGUIRE-DIX-LAKEHURST, N.J. — Sana Khairi, an 18-year-old Afghan with wide brown eyes, knew precisely how long she had been living in a temporary encampment on a New Jersey military base: 47 days. After fleeing Afghanistan as the Taliban seized power, she and her mother and four siblings were routed through Germany before arriving […]

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US State Department Employees Targeted with NSO Group Malware

Hacking. Disinformation. Surveillance. CYBER is Motherboard’s podcast and reporting on the dark underbelly of the internet. The controversial spyware maker NSO Group said it terminated access to its products for a customer who allegedly spied on at least nine U.S. State Department employees, in what would be one of the highest-profile cases of abuse of […]

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Pentagon Blames Biden, Newsom for US Inaction in Breakaway Republic Crisis

A boat motors by as the Bidwell Bar Bridge is surrounded by fire in Lake Oroville during the Bear fire in Oroville, California on September 9, 2020. (Photo by JOSH EDELSON/AFP via Getty Images UNITED STATES—As the escalating crisis over the Constitutional Republic City of Oroville enters its second month, U.S. military leaders have refused […]

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In Israel, the New U.S. Ambassador’s Home Lacks a Certain View

WASHINGTON — The official residences of U.S. ambassadors overseas are almost always prime pieces of real estate: stately mansions in desirable neighborhoods where American diplomats entertain dignitaries, hold high-level meetings and occasionally host presidents. In Israel, for more than half a century, the top U.S. envoy lived just outside Tel Aviv in a luxurious five-bedroom […]

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Two of 17 Kidnapped Missionaries in Haiti Are Freed, Group Says

Two people associated with an American missionary group seized in a mass kidnapping in Haiti more than a month ago have been released, the organization said Sunday. The hostages were among 17 people kidnapped by a notorious Haitian gang on Oct. 16 as they paid a visit to an orphanage outside the capital, Port-au-Prince. In […]

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Ahead of Summit, U.S. Deported Chinese Nationals, and China Let an American Leave

Shortly before President Biden and China’s leader, Xi Jinping, met for a virtual summit this week, the United States sent seven Chinese nationals who had been convicted of crimes back to China, and Beijing lifted an exit ban on an American citizen who had been blocked from leaving for four years. One of the Chinese […]

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Russia Acknowledges Antisatellite Missile Test

MOSCOW — Russia’s military acknowledged on Tuesday that it had conducted a test of an antisatellite weapon that obliterated a target in orbit, sending a vast cloud of debris zipping around Earth and forcing astronauts on the International Space Station to seek shelter. The announcement followed a day of silence in Moscow about the sophisticated […]

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Zalmay Khalilzad Battles Critics in U.S. and Afghanistan

The war ended on Mr. Khalilzad’s watch, but not on the terms he had hoped. Instead of the power-sharing government he imagined could restrain the Taliban, the militant group has assumed total control over the country, which is now facing economic collapse and famine. “Zal emerges from this as a quite tragic figure,” said Eric […]

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Blinken Heads to Africa as U.S. Tries to Avert Ethiopia Disaster

WASHINGTON — Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken is scheduled to depart on Monday for a five-day swing to Africa, where he will lend support for democratic principles and seek to advance diplomacy aimed at preventing Ethiopia from descending into a catastrophic civil war. Mr. Blinken plans to begin his trip with a stop in […]

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Qatar to Represent U.S. Interests in Afghanistan, Blinken Says

WASHINGTON — The tiny Middle Eastern nation of Qatar will serve as a diplomatic proxy for the United States in Afghanistan, Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken said on Friday, representing American interests and helping to process visas for thousands of people who are looking to flee Taliban control. Qatar for years has been a […]

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Blinken Warns Russia Against Making a ‘Serious Mistake’ in Ukraine

WASHINGTON — Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken said on Wednesday that Russia’s intentions behind its latest military buildup along Ukraine’s eastern border were unclear, but that Moscow would be making a “serious mistake” by committing new aggression against its embattled neighbor. “We don’t have clarity into Moscow’s intentions, but we do know its playbook,” […]

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State Dept. Report on Missing Gifts Finds Poor Oversight

The State Department’s inspector general has found in a new report that tens of thousands of dollars in gifts purchased with government funds during the Trump administration to give to foreign leaders and others given to senior officials are unaccounted for. The conclusions of the inspector general’s report were in line with previous disclosures about […]

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The Mystery of ‘Havana Syndrome’

Psychosomatic reactions can be very real and just as debilitating as an illness with a traditional medical explanation. There is nothing shameful about it. Though my eye stopped twitching after that initial episode, I never became accustomed in my years in the Soviet Union to being tailed or assuming that everything I said was being […]

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State Department Eases Restrictions for Diplomats Abroad

WASHINGTON — It was known at the State Department as the Benghazi hangover: strict security protocols to protect U.S. officials abroad from terrorism that, in practice, limited their interactions with people in the countries where they served. Nine years after a U.S. ambassador and three other Americans were killed during a riot in Benghazi, Libya, […]

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Israel Advances Plan for New Settlements, in First for Bennett Era

JERUSALEM — The Israeli government advanced plans on Wednesday to build more than 3,000 new settlement units in the occupied West Bank, in the first move of its kind since Prime Minister Naftali Bennett succeeded Benjamin Netanyahu in June. A defense ministry planning committee approved the construction of 3,130 new homes that would be spread […]

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U.S. Issues First Passport With ‘X’ Gender Marker

The United States has issued its first U.S. passport with an “X” gender marker, acknowledging the rights of people who do not identify as male or female, the State Department said on Wednesday. The department said in a statement that it would expand the gender-neutral option to all applicants next year after it updates its […]

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Missing Foreign Workers Add to Hiring Challenges

Neha Mahajan was a television journalist in India before her husband’s job moved her family to the United States in 2008. She spent years locked out of the labor market, confined by what she calls the “gilded cage” of her immigration status — one that the pandemic placed her back into. Ms. Mahajan started working […]

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Colombia Announces Capture of Leader of Major Drug Cartel

Colombian military forces captured the leader of a major drug cartel, considered by the government to be the most wanted man in the country, President Iván Duque announced on Saturday. The arrest of the man, Dairo Antonio Úsuga, widely known as Otoniel, was a victory for Mr. Duque, who has been struggling to contain persistent […]

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Colin Powell Was My Thurgood Marshall

Ten years ago, in a townhouse near the White House, I was a somewhat star-struck young naval officer listening to Colin Powell talk about, of all things, squirrels. He was visiting with my class of White House fellows — Mr. Powell himself was the program’s most notable alum. He recounted an Oval Office meeting with […]

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Rahm Emanuel Addresses the McDonald Killing and China During His Confirmation Hearing

Rahm Emanuel, President Biden’s nominee for ambassador to Japan, told a Senate committee on Wednesday that he would seize the offensive against China if confirmed — even as questions about his conduct as mayor of Chicago have put him on the defensive. The Senate Foreign Affairs Committee took up Mr. Emanuel’s nomination seven years to […]

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Rahm Emanuel, Seeking Senate Nod, Discusses 2014 Police Shooting

Rahm Emanuel, President Biden’s nominee for ambassador to Japan, told a Senate committee on Wednesday that he would seize the offensive against China if confirmed — even as questions about his conduct as mayor of Chicago have put him on the defensive. The Senate Foreign Affairs Committee took up Mr. Emanuel’s nomination seven years to […]

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U.S.-Venezuela Tensions Heat Up Again After Extradition of Maduro Ally

WASHINGTON — Just months ago, the rocky relationship between the United States and Venezuela seemed to be taking a turn for the better. President Biden had eased a pressure campaign started by the Trump administration, dropping threats of ousting President Nicolás Maduro with military power. New negotiations between Mr. Maduro and his political opponents raised […]

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Colin Powell, a Study in America’s Missed Opportunities

Powell is sometimes remembered as the man who could have stopped the invasion of Iraq but lacked the spine or the political infighting skills to do so. This is unfair and historically inaccurate. Easily forgotten now, the idea that Saddam Hussein posed a unique threat to global security was widely shared at the time of […]

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Zalmay Khalilzad, Biden’s Envoy for Afghanistan, Steps Down

WASHINGTON — Zalmay Khalilzad, President Biden’s envoy for Afghanistan and a rare Trump appointee to remain in the new administration, is departing from the government, the State Department said on Monday. Mr. Khalilzad, 70, who was born in Afghanistan and grew up in the capital, Kabul, was a veteran of past Republican administrations when President […]

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Concert Halls Are Back. But Visa Backlogs Are Keeping Musicians Out.

When the Seattle Symphony finally performed before a full audience last month for the first time in a year and half, something was missing: its music director, the Danish conductor Thomas Dausgaard, who could not get a visa to travel to the United States. The New York Philharmonic had to find a last-minute substitute this […]

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Lawmakers Press to Rescue Afghan Relatives of U.S. Troops

WASHINGTON — More than a month after a frenzied U.S. effort to evacuate thousands facing retribution from the Taliban in Afghanistan, members of Congress are still quietly pushing the government to help extract a small group of stranded Afghans who are direct relatives of American military service members. The service members, some of whom have […]

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White Tiger and Cheetah Furs: A Mess of Trump Gift Exchanges

The Saudi royal family showered Donald J. Trump and his entourage on his first trip abroad as president with dozens of presents, including three robes made with white tiger and cheetah fur, and a dagger with a handle that appeared to be ivory. Little that followed went right. A White House lawyer determined that possession […]

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Biden Signs Bill to Compensate ‘Havana Syndrome’ Victims

President Biden signed into law on Friday a new government program to compensate C.I.A. officers, State Department diplomats and other federal officials who have suffered traumatic neurological injuries that the intelligence community has yet to figure out, launched by assailants it cannot yet identify. With no ceremony and little public comment, Mr. Biden signed the […]

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Antony Blinken Has a Delicate Job in Paris After Submarine Row

Not long ago, the thinner French connections of John Kerry, one of Mr. Blinken’s predecessors as secretary of state, drew snickers from conservatives who implied that Mr. Kerry, a decorated Vietnam War veteran, was somehow less than fully American (or “looks French,” as President George W. Bush’s commerce secretary, Donald L. Evans, once quipped). Compared […]

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Ted Cruz Is Blocking Biden Nominees

Mr. Cruz is not the only reason nearly every foreign ambassadorship and many other State Department positions remain unfilled: The Biden White House was notoriously slow to begin offering foreign policy nominations, exasperating even its Democratic allies. But unless Mr. Cruz backs down, it could be months before Mr. Biden has his picks in capitals […]

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