Turkish court arrests 11 more police in wiretap probe: lawyer
A Turkish court ordered that 11 more police officers be kept in custody pending trial over accusations that they used wiretaps to spy on Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan and his inner circle, a defense lawyer said on Wednesday. The latest arrests step up a battle between Erdogan and U.S.-based Islamic scholar Fethullah Gulen, a former ally, whose followers have taken key posts in the police and judiciary during Erdogan's 11 years in power. "Eleven people were remanded in custody," lawyer Omer Turanli wrote on Twitter shortly after the court announced its ruling around midnight (5.00 p.m. EDT), adding that a former head of the Istanbul anti-terror squad was among those kept in custody. An alliance between the government and the Gulen movement began to crumble in recent years and the rupture between them became clear in December when corruption investigations targeting Erdogan and his inner circle became public.
U.S. nuclear negotiator declines setting deadline on Iran deal
By Patricia Zengerle WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The lead U.S. nuclear negotiator declined to give a final deadline on Tuesday for negotiating a final nuclear agreement with Iran, but said participants mean to finish the international talks at the end of the current four-month extension. Iran and six world powers agreed to extend nuclear talks, and the temporary agreement, by four months after they failed to reach a July 20 deadline for a long-term deal. The deal would gradually lift sanctions, which have crippled Iran's economy, in exchange for curbs on Tehran's atomic program. Many members of the U.S. Congress are skeptical about the talks and say they are concerned that Iran is negotiating only to win lighter sanctions while secretly continuing its pursuit of a nuclear weapon.
U.S. to seize $100 million of Iraqi Kurdish oil in tanker off Texas
By Anna Driver and Julia Payne HOUSTON/LONDON (Reuters) - U.S. authorities were set on Tuesday to seize a cargo of crude worth more than $100 million from Iraqi Kurdistan anchored off the Texas coast after a judge approved a request from Baghdad, raising the stakes in an oil sales dispute between Iraq's central government and the autonomous region. The tanker United Kalavrvta, carrying some 1 million barrels of Iraqi Kurdish crude oil, arrived near Galveston Bay on Saturday, but has yet to unload its disputed cargo. The U.S. judge's overnight approval of the request from Baghdad on Monday deals another blow to the Kurdistan Regional Government's (KRG) attempts to establish its own oil sales, which are seen as a crucial step in the autonomous region's push for independence.
Lawmakers try to seal $225M aid package for Israel
WASHINGTON (AP) — Democratic and Republican members of Congress scrambled Tuesday to seal a $225 million boost to Israel's Iron Dome missile defense system before they break this week for a month-long recess.
US negotiator gives no hard deadline for Iran deal
WASHINGTON (AP) — The Obama administration's chief nuclear negotiator refused Tuesday to provide a hard deadline for a deal with Iran to prevent it from developing nuclear weapons. She vowed to consult with Congress before suspending more economic sanctions on Tehran, but said the administration won't necessarily seek lawmakers' approval.