Citi near hiring ex-White House budget chief: report

NEW YORK (Reuters) – Citigroup Inc is in advanced talks to hire former U.S. budget director Peter Orszag in its investment banking unit, Bloomberg reported Tuesday night, citing people with knowledge of the matter. Read more

Iran talks must focus on nuclear issue: Clinton

ASTANA (Reuters) – U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on Wednesday said the United States welcomed Iran’s decision to join talks in Geneva, which she said should focus “first and foremost” on Tehran’s nuclear program. Read more

U.S. and Russia to finalize adoption agreement soon

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. government said it expects to finalize an agreement with Russia on Wednesday to regulate adoptions after an American woman rejected her adopted son and sent him back to Russia alone in April. Read more

U.S. condemns Palestinian report on Western Wall

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The State Department condemned on Tuesday an official Palestinian report last week asserting that Jerusalem’s Western Wall, one of Judaism’s holiest sites, is not Jewish. Read more

Judge tosses challenge to Obama healthcare law

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – A federal judge in Virginia on Tuesday dismissed a lawsuit challenging the landmark healthcare law championed by President Barack Obama, upholding key provisions that require health insurance coverage. Read more

Some Republicans say START debate possible this year

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Senate Republicans signaled a willingness on Tuesday to debate the New START nuclear treaty with Russia in the final weeks of the year but indicated it could happen only if Democrats drop other priorities to allow the necessary time. Read more

Military study gives green light to end gay ban

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The Pentagon unveiled a study on Tuesday that predicted little impact if the U.S. military ended its ban on gays, bolstering President Barack Obama’s push to get Congress to repeal “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” by year-end. Read more

Senate passes overhaul of food safety system

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The Senate passed the largest overhaul of the U.S. food safety system in decades on Tuesday, a response to massive recalls such as last summer’s recall of half a billion eggs in a salmonella outbreak. Read more

Obama urges Senate approval of START nuclear pact

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – President Barack Obama on Tuesday reiterated his call for the Senate to ratify a new nuclear arms control treaty with Russia, calling it “absolutely essential” to U.S. national security. Read more