By Anna Driver and Kristen Hays HOUSTON (Reuters) - A high-stakes dispute over a tanker carrying $100 million in Iraqi Kurdish crude took a surprising turn on Tuesday when a U.S. judge said she lacked jurisdiction given the ship's distance from the Texas shore and urged that the case be settled in Iraq. Federal magistrate Nancy K. Johnson said that because the tanker was some 60 miles (100 km) offshore, and outside territorial waters, an order she issued late on Monday for U.S. Marshals to seize the cargo could not be enforced. She said the dispute between Iraq's central government and the autonomous region of Kurdistan should be resolved in Iraq. Overnight Johnson signed an order directing the marshals to seize the 1 million barrels of crude from the United Kalavrvta tanker anchored in the Gulf of Mexico.
NEW YORK (AP) Ã¢Â€Â” Argentina's finance secretary arrived Tuesday for talks aimed at avoiding that country's second default in 13 years, though it was unclear whether meetings with a mediator offered any real chance at a deal.
By Steve Holland and Anna Yukhananov WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Barack Obama escalated U.S. economic sanctions against Russia on Tuesday for its aggression against Ukraine but dismissed suggestions the growing chill in U.S.-Russian relations marked the start of a new Cold War. The United States and the European Union, in a carefully coordinated action, announced targeted new sanctions against Russian banks, energy and defense firms. It was the West's most serious response yet to what it calls Russian instigation of and continuing support for the separatist uprising in the east and the shootdown of a Malaysian passenger jet on July 17 over eastern Ukraine. Obama, speaking at the White House, said the sanctions will have a "greater impact on the Russian economy than we've seen so far" in a drive to force Moscow to stop backing the separatists.
By Doina Chiacu and Richard Cowan WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. border security will probably suffer if Congress fails to act on President Barack Obama's $3.7 billion request to cope with the explosion of child migrants into the U.S. Southwest, lawmakers and congressional aides warned on Tuesday. Those concerns came amid signs that a Republican bill in the House of Representatives and a Democratic measure in the Senate, both of which were more modest than Obama's request, faced challenges. The Democratic-controlled Senate has scheduled a procedural vote for Wednesday on a $2.7 billion border funding bill. Senator John Cornyn of Texas told reporters he did not know of any fellow Republicans who will support it, indicating it likely will fall short of the 60 votes needed to advance in the 100-member Senate.
NEW YORK (AP) Ã¢Â€Â” ESPN has suspended outspoken sportscaster Stephen A. Smith for a week because of his comments about domestic abuse suggesting women should make sure that they don't do anything to provoke an attack.
By Edwin Chan SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Twitter Inc halted a slowdown in user-growth in the second quarter with the help of product tweaks and services built around the summer's World Cup, assuaging concerns for now that the online messaging service had peaked. Shares of the company soared 35 percent on Tuesday after it reported monthly active users had risen a better-than-expected 24 percent, chalking up what would be its largest gain in a single day and adding almost $7 billion to its market value. ...
WASHINGTON (AP) Ã¢Â€Â” Spurred to action by the downing of the Malaysian airliner, the European Union approved dramatically tougher economic sanctions Tuesday against Russia, including an arms embargo and restrictions on state-owned banks. President Barack Obama swiftly followed with an expansion of U.S. penalties targeting key sectors of the Russian economy.
The U.S. Senate on Tuesday unanimously confirmed Bob McDonald as the next Veterans Affairs secretary, pinning Washington's hopes on the former Procter & Gamble Co chief executive to launch a massive turnaround effort at the troubled agency. McDonald, 61, replaces retired Army general Eric Shinseki, who resigned in late May amid a scandal over cover-ups of long waiting times for health-care appointments at VA hospitals and clinics across the country. The 97-0 vote to confirm McDonald comes a week after he pledged to bring corporate-style discipline and accountability to the agency, refocusing its 341,000 employees on serving veterans. "In the wake of the biggest scandal in the history of the Department of Veterans Affairs, Bob McDonald certainly has his work cut out for him," House Veterans Affairs Committee Chairman Jeff Miller said after the Senate vote.