Americas News Agenda for March 13

Duty Editor: Jim Mannion

Tel: +1 202 414 0541

What's happening in the Americas on Thursday:

+ Ukraine PM addresses UN Security Council

UNITED NATIONS: Ukraine's interim prime minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk addresses the UN Security Council, three days before Crimea holds a Moscow-backed referendum on switching over to Russian rule. 1900 GMT. Picture. Video (UKRAINE-RUSSIA-POLITICS-UNREST-UN)


NEW YORK: Monitoring the aftermath of a major gas explosion that flattened two apartment buildings in Manhattan, killing two women and injuring 24 people. Picture (US-BLAST-FIRE-NEWYORK)

RIO DE JANEIRO: Rio authorities deploy a specialist police battalion in a violent slum home to drug gangs as Brazil pursues an ongoing crime crackdown in advance of the World Cup (BRAZIL-CRIME-DRUGS-POLICE-FBL-WC-2014)

UNITED NATIONS: UN-Arab League Syria envoy Lakhdar Brahimi, who acted as a mediator in UN-led Geneva II peace talks that broke down in February, updates the UN Security Council on his mission to help resolve Syria's bloody civil war. 1400 GMT. Picture. (SYRIA-CONFLICT-UN)

WASHINGTON: Secretary of State John Kerry flies to London for Friday talks with his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov on the crisis in Ukraine. Expect coverage. (UKRAINE-POLITICS-UNREST-US)

-- Kerry addresses lawmakers on the 2015 budget request in a second day of hearings, appearing before the House Foreign Affairs Committee. 1730 GMT. Expect coverage. (US-DIPLOMACY-BUDGET)

-- The US Senate Banking Committee will hold a hearing for three nominees selected by President Barack Obama to the Federal Reserve's Board of Governors, including Stanley Fischer, a former head of the Bank of Israel who has also been named to become Fed vice chair. 1400 GMT. Picture. (US-ECONOMY-BANK-CONGRESS)

-- Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel and chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff General Martin Dempsey appear before the House Appropriations Committee's defense subcommittee to discuss the Pentagon's proposed budget. 1400 GMT. Expect coverage. (US-MILITARY)

-- The US Department of Commerce reports data on the nation's February retail sales. 1230 GMT. (US-ECONOMY-RETAIL)

-- The US Department of Labor releases its weekly report on initial claims for unemployment insurance, a sign of the pace of layoffs. 1230 GMT. (US-ECONOMY-UNEMPLOYMENT-CLAIMS)

-- The Senate Subcommittee on Aviation Operations, Safety and Security holds a hearing on the future of US air transportation and competition issues. 1500 GMT. (US-AVIATION-TRANSPORT)

-- The top commander of US and NATO troops in Afghanistan, General Joseph Dunford, speaks to print reporters at the Pentagon. 1900 GMT. Coverage on merit. (AFGHANISTAN-US-UNREST)

-- General John Kelly, the head of US Southern Command, which oversees US forces in South and Central America, holds a news conference at 1700 GMT. Coverage on merit. (US-MILITARY)