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Deputy Secretary of State Burns to retire in October

By Arshad Mohammed WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Bill Burns, who led secret talks with Iran that led to an agreement to curb its nuclear program and who served as the top U.S. diplomat for the Middle East as well as ambassador to Russia, will retire in October, officials said on Friday.

Diplomats drop threatened lawsuit over US envoys

The professional body for American diplomats has dropped its threat to sue the State Department following a row over whether some ambassador candidates were qualified for their plum overseas postings, an official said Monday. The American Foreign Service Association (AFSA) had called for the US administration to release so-called "certificates of demonstrated competence" amid anger over the number of political nominees and concern over the qualifications of some.

Very undiplomatic row could hit US courts

The professional body for diplomats has given the State Department until Thursday to certify that all nominees for plum US ambassadorships are competent to serve, amid anger over the number of political appointees. Otherwise, the American Foreign Service Association (AFSA) says it will sue the US administration to force it to prove that all the nominees have so-called "certificates of demonstrated competence."

Arsonist strikes Chinese consulate in San Francisco

By Sarah McBride and Adam Rose SAN FRANCISCO/BEIJING (Reuters) - The Chinese consulate in San Francisco sustained fire and smoke damage after an arsonist struck it, the consulate said on Thursday, but there were no injuries and the consulate was open for business.

Factbox: Bill Burns - from junior diplomat to deputy secretary of state

(Reuters) - Below is the trajectory of Deputy Secretary of State Bill Burns 31-year rise from a consular officer at the U.S. embassy in Amman to the State Department's second-ranking official. 1982 Entered Foreign Service 1982-1984 Consular/Political Officer, Amman, Jordan 1984-1985 Staff Assistant, Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs 1985-1986 Special Assistant, Deputy Secretary's office

Factbox: Bill Burns - from junior diplomat to deputy secretary of state

(Reuters) - Below is the trajectory of Deputy Secretary of State Bill Burns 31-year rise from a consular officer at the U.S. embassy in Amman to the State Department's second-ranking official. 1982 Entered Foreign Service 1982-1984 Consular/Political Officer, Amman, Jordan 1984-1985 Staff Assistant, Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs 1985-1986 Special Assistant, Deputy Secretary's office

Canada diplomat strike disrupts visa operations

Striking foreign service officers disrupted visa operations at Canadian embassies and consulates in cities around the world Monday after contract negotiations with the government broke down, their association said. The foreign service officers have been on strike for four months, but this was the most extensive disruption yet of visa services. The action involves Canada's biggest visa processing centers at 15 embassies and consulates around the world.

U.S. lawmakers renew call for putting N. Korea on terror list

By Lee Chi-dong WASHINGTON, June 12 (Yonhap) -- A dozen conservative U.S. lawmakers said Wednesday they have sent a letter to Secretary of State John Kerry calling for the re-designation of North Korea as a state that sponsors terrorism. They cited what they say is the cooperation by Pyongyang with Iran, Syria, Hezbollah and other terrorist organizations, a widespread allegation that has not yet been formally confirmed.

US mulls calls to restore N. Korea to terror list

The United States has not decided whether to put North Korea back on a blacklist of state sponsors of terrorism, but its status is regularly reviewed, a top US official said Friday. The comments came as the US House of Representatives Friday overwhelmingly passed a resolution condemning North Korea's nuclear test earlier this week, and urging the administration to apply all available sanctions to Pyongyang. North Korea will also likely be raised in talks next week in Washington between Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and US President Barack Obama.

UPDATE 2-Some U.S. diplomatic posts violating security standards -report

(Adds State Department comment, paragraphs 6-7) By Susan Cornwell WASHINGTON, Feb 7 (Reuters) - Some U.S. diplomatic posts are violating security standards for overseas buildings and the State Department is not keeping track of the exemptions to the rules it does grant, the department's inspector general's office said in a review released after the attack on the U.S. mission in Benghazi.
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