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.
Council of State says ban was 'serious and manifestly illegal infringement' of personal freedoms
Businessman Rachid Nekkaz says that France's 'burkini ban' is result of leaders covering up political failures
There was no claim of responsibility for the attack
Terror group using encryption to slow down national security investigations
The announcement of a ceasefire comes one day after peace deal reached and will be to a referendum mid-October
MSF has condemned an armed attack on rescue vessel near the coast of Libya
Unaccompanied minors and women, and the elderly, face the risk of violence or sexual abuse, says Filippo Grandi
German chancellor Angela Merkel has begun a tour of EU capitals to map out a new EU vision after the UK’s exit.
A couple with two kids, and three businessmen reportedly approach Greek officials to request asylum
Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan says he will not appear before police
Trump "built his campaign on prejudice" and pushed "race-baiting, anti-Muslim, and anti-immigrant ideas."
The French leader urges 'the earliest possible resumption of negotiations' over Syria
Joe Biden says Turkish people backed democracy bravely against tanks and fighter jets
For the first time, the US Army acknowledges that ISIL leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, spent most of his time under US detention in the infamous Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq, according to a new report.
At least seven people have been killed in a bomb and gun attack on a seaside restaurant in the Somali capital Mogadishu