An annual U.S. State Department report has once again designated Cuba as a state sponsor of terrorism and labeled the country as absurd and manipulative. This is a setback for advocates hoping for a change in Washington's Cuba policy this year. The annual Country Reports on Terrorism issued on Wednesday continued to list Cuba, Iran, Sudan and Syria as countries that have "repeatedly provided support for acts of international terrorism." Cuba has been on the list since 1982.
In an interview with CNN released on Thursday, former President George W. Bush said he wants his brother Jeb to run for president in 2016. Jeb Bush, a former governor of Florida, has said he will make a decision on whether to run after November's congressional elections. His older brother served as president from 2001 to 2009, and his father, George H.W. Bush, served in the White House from 1989 to 1993. He is seen as a favorite of Republican donors who are more moderate than the Tea Party and he performs well in preliminary national polls, which are rarely predictive this far ahead of elections.
Senators from both parties provided a reality check Thursday to the Obama administration's optimism over its trade agenda following some progress in key negotiations with Japan. But Democratic lawmakers, including New York's Sen. Charles Schumer, told the administration's top trade official Thursday that the 12-nation Trans-Pacific Partnership won't win congressional approval anyway, unless it also addresses alleged currency manipulation by Japan. The committee's top-ranking Republican, Sen. Orrin Hatch of Utah, questioned the president's commitment to securing trade promotion authority. He said without it, the administration's ambitious trade agenda "will almost certainly fail."
Ukraine’s acting president has re-instated the military draft to address the deteriorating security situation and threats from Russia along the countries' border. Acting President Oleksandr Turchynov issued a decree on the presidential website Thursday saying Ukraine will conduct a draft for active military service in Ukrainian Armed Forces in order to “to increase the state defense potential.” The decree says: “Ukrainian male citizens who are physically qualified for military service, over 18 years old and older, but who have not reached the age of 25, and who have no right for exemption from military service" will be conscripted.