In his element, Bill Clinton returns to White House

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Bill Clinton basked in the spotlight again at the White House on Friday, holding court with the press and trying to use his popularity to help the current Democratic president pass a controversial tax deal. Read more

Senator urges U.S. to end funds to Haiti government

PORT-AU-PRINCE (Reuters) – An influential U.S. senator on Friday urged President Barack Obama’s administration to suspend direct aid to Haiti’s government and visas for its top officials until it ensures a fair and democratic outcome to disputed national elections. Read more

U.S. to seek return of gay reference to U.N. measure

UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) – The United States vowed on Friday to seek to restore to a U.N. General Assembly resolution against unjustified executions a reference to killings due to sexual orientation, cut out by Arab and African states. Read more

Obama aide says Iran may face more nuclear sanctions

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – President Barack Obama’s adviser on arms control said on Friday Iran could face fresh international sanctions after talks in Switzerland this week at which Tehran refused to discuss uranium enrichment. Read more

Envoy Holbrooke feels ill, goes to hospital

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Veteran diplomat Richard Holbrooke, the U.S. special representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan, felt ill at the State Department and went to the hospital, the State Department said on Friday. Read more

Defense chief Robert Gates keeps pushing for repeal of gay ban

ABOARD A U.S. MILITARY AIRCRAFT (Reuters) – Defense Secretary Robert Gates urged Congress on Friday to lift a ban on gays serving openly in the military, saying he was disappointed by the Senate’s failure to act this week and fearful of leaving the issue to the uncertainty of the courts. Read more

Obama weighs effort to overhaul tax code

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Democrats and Republicans should begin a conversation next year about a broad overhaul of the U.S. tax code that would involve lowering rates while eliminating tax breaks for favored groups, President Barack Obama said in an interview broadcast on Friday. Read more

Defense secretary sees support for Iran sanctions

ABOARD A U.S. MILITARY AIRCRAFT (Reuters) – Iran’s neighbors are clearly concerned about Tehran’s “aggressive behavior” and support international sanctions aimed at curbing its nuclear ambitions, U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates said on Friday after a week of travel that included stops in two Gulf states. Read more

Obama says regrets Liu can’t attend Nobel ceremony

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – President Barack Obama said on Friday he regretted that neither Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo nor his wife would be allowed to attend the ceremony in Oslo awarding Liu the Nobel Peace Prize and urged China to do more to advance democracy. Read more