KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) — U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel is visiting with American forces in Afghanistan amid a stubborn stand-off between the U.S. and Afghan leaders over a security agreement that President Hamid Karzai still refuses to sign despite increasing pressure from diplomatic and defense officials.
By Steve Holland and Susan Cornwell WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Barack Obama, battered by weeks of turmoil over the malfunctioning HealthCare.Gov website, turned to a fresh item on his agenda on Saturday as he pressured Republicans in Congress to extend benefits for jobless Americans. It was a sign Obama may be slowly turning the corner from one of the worst crises of his five years in office, emerging bruised and weakened from the troubled rollout of his signature healthcare law, even as big challenges remain. "For decades, Congress has voted to offer relief to job-seekers - including when the unemployment rate was lower than it is today," Obama said in his weekly address. Attending memorial services in South Africa next week for late South African President Nelson Mandela and then launching into holiday season festivities will also allow for a change of subject from the healthcare controversy.