Former Israeli Leader Shimon Peres Dies
Former Israeli President and Prime Minister Shimon Peres, whose life of public service spans the life of the Israeli nation itself, has died at age 93.
Peres suffered a severe stroke two weeks ago and died Wednesday in the hospital in Tel HaShomer.
He held nearly every major Israeli political post during his long career, including prime minister twice, the presidency, defense minister and foreign minister.
He was the longest serving member of parliament in Israeli history, holding a seat in the Knesset for 48 years.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Peres devoted his life to the sovereignty of the Israeli people.
U.S. President Barack Obama said no one did more than Peres to build the alliance between the United States and Israel and described him as someone who forced people to expect more from themselves.
Former President Bill Clinton said that with the death of Peres, the Middle East "has lost a fervent advocate for peace and reconciliation."
His major achievement was as foreign minister with the Oslo Accords -- a deal for Palestinian self-rule for which Peres, then-Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin and the late Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat shared the 1994 Nobel Peace Prize. Rabin was assassinated in 1995.
Obama Appoints Veteran Diplomat as Cuba Ambassador
U.S. President Barack Obama has tapped the highest-ranking U.S. diplomat in Cuba to be the first ambassador to the island in more than 50 years.
But the appointment of Jeffrey DeLaurentis, which still must be confirmed by the Senate, is likely to set up a fierce fight with Republicans opposed to the normalization of relations with the communist nation.
DeLaurentis has been working at the new U.S. Embassy in Havana since it opened in July last year. Obama said there is "no better qualified public servant."
Cuban-American Senators Marco Rubio of Florida and Ted Cruz of Texas, both Republicans, tried to limit funding for the U.S. Embassy in Havana and said they would oppose any ambassador named by Obama.
DeLaurentis, a career diplomat, has served in Havana during the major transition of the one-time Cold War foes to a new relationship that includes re-opening embassies in Washington and Havana, and resuming travel and trade on a limited basis so far.
He would be the first U.S. envoy since Philip Bonsal, an appointee of President Dwight Eisenhower, left the post vacant in late 1960.