World Bulletin/News Desk
President Barack Obama appeared poised on Friday to pick former Republican Senator Chuck Hagel as the next U.S. defense secretary and the announcement may come early next week.
Sources on Capitol Hill and in the national security community said all signs were pointing to Hagel as Obama's choice to replace current Defense Secretary Leon Panetta.
The choice would likely set up a confirmation battle in the Senate over whether Hagel strongly supports key U.S. ally Israel. Gay rights groups have also complained about some of Hagel's past remarks, which were seen as disparaging to them.
However, if Obama were to back down from picking Hagel, it would be the second embarrassment for him, after his preferred candidate for secretary of state, U.S. ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice, withdrew from consideration in the face of determined opposition.
The White House insisted Obama had not yet made a final decision on Hagel, but a source close to the situation said the White House had signaled to Hagel's camp that he remained Obama's leading candidate for the post.
The source said the process was on track for likely nomination announcement on Monday or Tuesday.
It was not known whether Obama had finalized his decision or if Hagel had been directly informed. The source said Hagel's closest advisers had received "messages of reassurance" in recent days in the face of a campaign by Hagel's critics aimed at derailing his nomination.
Hagel has already faced an onslaught over his record on Israel and Iran led by some pro-Israel groups and neo-conservatives.
A Republican operative involved in the opposition to Hagel's nomination predicted he would have trouble getting confirmed by the Senate. "It's going to be a vicious fight," the operative said.
The Pentagon criticized Russia's military drills near the border with Ukraine, while Russia demands U.S. stop Ukraine's military operation
Nine police and poll officials were killed, dozens of people injured in India violence during parliamentary elections.
Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said planes bombed the market in the town of Atareb on Thursday morning, killing 27 people and seriously wounding many others
It is the second time members of parliament have moved against Sheikh Jaber al-Mubarak al-Sabah in less than a year over a shortage of state-funded homes.
Security Council members are considering sanctions on South Sudan's warring parties and U.N. peacekeeping chief demanded "serious consequences" be imposed to force an end to the violence
The four warplanes will be sent to Malbork in northern Poland on April 28 on a double mission
"The partition itself has already been done. Now there only remains the declaration of independence," said Abdel Nasser Mahamat Youssouf, member of a youth group lobbying for the secession
A town councillor from the prime minister's party, Rybak was kidnapped last week and his mutilated body was found in a river near Slaviansk
Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu said "We are forced to react to such a development of the situation."
“Today we commemorate the Meds Yeghern and honor those who perished in one of the worst atrocities of the 20th century” Obama said.
Israeli media reports said that Israel would impose economic sanctions on the Palestinian Authority, which exercises limited self-rule in the Israeli-occupied West Bank.
Lieberman, who has helped to mastermind Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's policy of closer relations with Russia, made no apology for the government's fence-sitting on Ukraine
Mariupol, an industrial port city of nearly half a million people, is one of a series of flashpoints across eastern Ukraine
Wade's impending return has heightened tensions in one of Africa's most stable democracy
Women and children are among the group, some of whom suffer from poor health.
EU leaders consider the takeover as illegal and have asked the EU executive arm, the European Commission, to propose economic, trade and financial restrictions on Crimea for rapid implementation.