President Barack Obama has picked a major Democratic fundraiser as ambassador to Britain, a theology professor to represent the United States at the Vatican and a former member of the 9/11 Commission to be the top U.S. diplomat in India.
The White House on Wednesday announced a slate of top diplomats. The group fills many of the highest-profile jobs in the Foreign Service.
For the plum London appointment, Obama turned to Louis Susman, a retired vice chairman of Citigroup Corporate and Investment Banking.
The White House also announced it plans to nominate Miguel H. Diaz, an associate professor of theology at the College of Saint Benedict and Saint John’s University in Collegeville, Minn., for the top job at the Vatican.
And Obama nominated former U.S. Rep. Tim Roemer of Indiana to be his ambassador to New Delhi.
The posts all require Senate confirmation.
Astronauts will call space station home
A Russian space capsule blasted off Wednesday into the searing hot afternoon skies of Central Asia on a landmark mission to expand the permanent human presence in space.
The Soyuz craft carrying Canadian Bob Thirsk, Russian Roman Romanenko and Belgian Frank De Winne soared above Kazakhstan’s southern steppe to begin a two-day journey to the international space station – the largest man-made object in the earth’s orbit.
Hundreds of journalists, relatives, visiting space enthusiasts and dignitaries, including Crown Prince Philippe of Belgium, thronged in and around two rickety wooden viewing stands a mile away, taking pictures and applauding as the rocket’s propulsion system shook the earth.
The capsule is expected to dock with the space station Friday.
The three astronauts on the Soyuz will join the three crew members already on the station, forming a six-member permanent crew for the first time.
Castro chides Cheney on torture
Fidel Castro criticized former U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney for defending American interrogation methods against terror suspects, saying in comments published Wednesday that torture should never be used to extract information.
The former Cuban president accused the United States of engaging in terrorism against Cuba after the 1959 revolution he led, citing U.S.-backed plans to overthrow his government in its early years, including the 1961 Bay of Pigs invasion.
Castro’s comments, which appeared in an essay posted on a government Web site Wednesday evening, were aimed at Cheney’s speech last week in which he defended the counterterrorism policies of the administration of former President George W. Bush.
Cuba itself has been criticized for its human rights record.
From wire reports
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