State Department

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State Department Has Exciting News on Passport Renewals

Some can now apply online

(Newser) - There's an easier way to renew your passport—online. The State Department has opened a trial run allowing a limited number of people to apply for their updated travel documents with a few clicks, the AP reports. You can't just start anytime—windows will open at midday Eastern...

US Companies Inadvertently Gave $7M to North Korea

American charged in fraud scheme that saw North Koreans pose as remote US workers

(Newser) - Citizens of North Korea are snagging remote jobs with US companies and funneling earnings into their country's missile program, federal authorities said Thursday in announcing fraud charges against a US woman accused of facilitating such a scheme. Christina Chapman, 49, of Litchfield Park, Arizona, is among five people facing...

LGBTQ+ Travelers Get Special Alert From State Department

There's 'increased potential for foreign terrorist organization-inspired violence' overseas

(Newser) - The State Department renewed a global security warning Friday for Americans overseas, adding to it that LGBTQ people and events in particular face an "increased potential for foreign terrorist organization-inspired violence." The alert is a standard renewal of travel advice telling Americans to exercise increased caution against possible...

US: Israel May Have Broken International Law

Nothing found calls for stopping arms shipments, State Department says

(Newser) - The State Department told Congress on Friday that although it hasn't found violations that would merit withholding military aid from Israel, it is "reasonable to assess" that the US ally's offensive in Gaza has used US weapons in breaking international law. At the same time, the Biden...

Gaetz Alleges 'Massive Cover-Up' by US Over Niger

GOP lawmaker's report says US soldiers aren't getting meds, mail amid confusing situation abroad

(Newser) - US troops in Niger have told GOP Rep. Matt Gaetz that they're "functionally stranded" in the landlocked West African nation, and a new report by the congressman accuses the Biden administration—specifically the State Department—of engaging in a "massive cover-up," per the Intercept . The hubbub...

Feds on Travel to Jamaica: Reconsider That

State Department raises alert level due to high crime rates

(Newser) - Americans considering getaways to Jamaica should reconsider their plans because of crime rates so high that US government personnel are banned from visiting many areas, the State Department warns in a travel advisory . The department has raised the alert level for the Caribbean island country to a Level 3 "...

US Revisits Sanctions Over Venezuelan Candidacy

Top court blocked opposition leader's presidential run

(Newser) - The US government on Saturday condemned the decision of Venezuela's highest court to block the presidential candidacy of opposition leader María Corina Machado. The Biden administration, however, remained noncommittal about reimposing economic sanctions on Venezuela, which it has threatened to do if the government of President Nicolás...

White House: Sorry, Putin, Alaska Isn't Up for Grabs

Decree signed by Russian president on going after property overseas spurs speculation on 49th state

(Newser) - It's clear that Vladimir Putin has his sights set on absorbing Ukraine back into Russia's fold, but he may also be eyeing a prime piece of property in the US: Alaska. Last week, the Tass news agency reported the Russian president signed a decree that will dole out...

Administration Skirts Congress on Tank Ammunition for Israel

Blinken invokes emergency provision for $106M ammunition deal

(Newser) - The Biden administration is selling 13,000 rounds of tank ammunition to Israel for its war against Hamas, invoking an emergency provision to avoid waiting for the usual congressional review to be completed. A Defense Department agency announced the $106.5 million deal on Saturday. Congressional committees were informed at...

Memo Shows US Diplomats Splitting With Biden on Israel

State Department staff members call for making criticism of military strategy public

(Newser) - A dissent memo circulated by State Department staff members includes blunt criticism of President Biden's diplomatic efforts involving the Israel-Hamas war and proposes the administration make changes. Although it's not clear how many people signed the memo, or what it says in its final form, indications are that...

State Department Issues Rare Worldwide Alert

All Americans overseas should 'exercise increased caution'

(Newser) - All Americans overseas should "exercise increased caution," the State Department said in a rare worldwide alert issued Friday. The notice cited "increased tensions in various locations around the world" and "the potential for terrorist attacks, demonstrations or violent actions against US citizens and interests." In...

US: Hundreds of Evacuees Have Reached Port Sudan

Group reportedly met at golf course in Khartoum, took overland route to sea

(Newser) - Hundreds of Americans fleeing two weeks of deadly fighting in Sudan reached the east African nation's port Saturday in the first US-run evacuation, completing a dangerous land journey under escort of armed drones, the State Department reported. American unmanned aircraft, which have been keeping an eye on overland evacuation...

US Bolsters Post on Fentanyl in Pharmacy Pills Sold in Mexico

Victim's family has tried to get agencies to act since overdose in 2019

(Newser) - The State Department has strengthened its cautioning about pharmacies in Mexico selling counterfeit pills laced with fentanyl, warning that the doses can be fatal. The alert was posted Friday, per the AP , mentioning stores for the first time. "Counterfeit pills are readily advertised on social media and can be...

Don't Spend Spring Break in Mexico, Texas Warns

Americans who crossed the border have met with cartel violence recently

(Newser) - After a total of seven Americans have been kidnapped, killed, or gone missing in Mexico in the past few weeks, Texas officials are urging spring breakers to spend their vacation someplace else. "Drug cartel violence and other criminal activity represent a significant safety threat to anyone who crosses into...

For $2.3K, Americans Can Sponsor a Refugee

Welcome Corps initiative allows citizens to help displaced people make a home in the US

(Newser) - Ordinary Americans can apply to sponsor refugees on an expanded basis through a new effort expected to assist with the Biden administration's goal of welcoming 125,000 refugees this fiscal year. Nine federally funded nonprofits have helped settle most refugees in the US since 1980, though recent trials have...

'Havana Syndrome' Victims to Receive Compensation

Biggest amounts could go to those who lost their jobs because of symptoms

(Newser) - After years of investigations and legislative pressure from Congress on their behalf, some victims of "Havana syndrome" are to receive $100,000 to $200,000 each in compensation. The health problems first reported by diplomats and intelligence officials include headaches, vision problems, dizziness, and brain fog. The US has...

After 6 Years Detained in Iran, She's Back Home With Daughter, 7

Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe and Anoosheh Ashoori are released

(Newser) - Update: After years in detention in Iran, two British-Iranian nationals are back in the UK. Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe and Anoosheh Ashoori were released Wednesday and arrived home early Thursday, following months of negotiations between the UK and Iran, the BBC reports. In a photo shared by Ashoori's daughter, Zaghari-Ratcliffe, 43,...

'Serious' Threats on Pompeo Spur Big Government- Paid Security Tab

State Dept. is reportedly paying more than $2M a month to protect ex-secretary of state, former aide

(Newser) - The State Department says it's paying more than $2 million per month to provide 24-hour security to ex-Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and a former top aide, both of whom face "serious and credible" threats from Iran. The department told Congress in a report that the cost of...

Passport Fees Will Jump by $20 Next Week
Big Passport
Fee Hike Is
on the Way

Big Passport Fee Hike Is on the Way

Passport books will cost $20 more starting Monday

(Newser) - American citizens applying for new passports or renewing old ones next week might get sticker shock: The fee is set to jump by 18%, more than double the rate of inflation, starting Dec. 27. The State Department tweeted this week that the cost of a passport book is going up...

Blinken's Own Staffers Warned Him of Quick Afghan Collapse

State Department chief received internal document on July 13

(Newser) - The White House says nobody anticipated that Afghanistan would fall so quickly. But the Wall Street Journal is out with a scoop about an internal State Department cable dated July 13 that warned things were about to get very bad in a hurry:
  • Warning: The cable, signed by 23 staffers,
...

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