US, Cuba Reach Deal to Open Embassies in Washington and Havana
A senior U.S. official says the United States and Cuba have agreed to reopen embassies in each other's capitals for the first time in more than 50 years.
The White House says President Barack Obama plans to make a statement on Cuba Wednesday from the Rose Garden, while Secretary of State John Kerry will speak in Vienna, where he is taking part in nuclear talks with Iran.
Cuba's foreign ministry says the chief of the U.S. interests section in Havana, Jeffrey DeLaurentis, will deliver a note Wednesday from Mr. Obama on reopening embassies.
Mr. Obama and Cuban President Raul Castro announced last December the two countries were ready to restore normal diplomatic relations that were severed at the height of the Cold War, after a several months of secret talks.
Since then, delegations from both sides have held several meetings in each other's capitals to iron out the details of reopening their embassies. Mr. Obama and Mr. Castro held a historic face-to-face meeting back in April on the sidelines of a regional summit in Panama, followed by Cuba's removal from the U.S. list of state sponsors of terrorism.
Mr. Obama's efforts to end the Cold War-era antagonism faces strong opposition in Congress, with many lawmakers accusing the president of ignoring Cuba's poor record on human rights.
The Republican-controlled legislature could deny funding for a new embassy in Cuba, and block Mr. Obama's choice of a new ambassador. It is also unlikely to agree to his request to lift the U.S. economic embargo on Cuba.
US Court: NSA Can Resume Bulk Data Collection
A U.S. court has ruled that the National Security Agency can temporarily resume its bulk collection of Americans' telephone records.
The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court on Monday ruled that the NSA could resume gathering millions of Americans’ phone metadata — call times, dates and durations — to scan for links to foreign terrorists.
The program was suspended after an appeals court in May ruled that the U.S. Patriot Act had never authorized the NSA to collect such data.
A new law, called the Freedom Act, which substantially reformed and narrowed the bulk phone data program, was signed by U.S. President Barack Obama a day after the existing program lapsed on June 1.
The ruling late Monday allows the program to resume for 180 days, in compliance with the new law. The six month period was designed to give the NSA time to set up an alternative system in which the data is stored by the phone companies.