US Defense Secretary Robert Gates declared Afghanistan the top US military priority Tuesday, in face of a worsening security situation. Gates said the Pentagon was exploring options for a gradual withdrawal from Iraq.
US author John Updike, famous for his witty portrayal of small-town American life, has died from lung cancer at the age of 76, his publisher said. The Pulitzer Prize-winning writer was best known for his 'Rabbit' series.
Investors have filed a class action suit in a US court against Spanish bank Santander, one of the worst hit by the Madoff fraud scandal, in a bid to recover money lost by the bank's Optimal investment fund.
The US Senate approved the nomination of 47-year-old Timothy Geithner as Treasury secretary by a 60-34 vote. A former New York Fed chairman was the "very best of a very short list of candidates" to tackle the US slowdown, observers said.
Washington's new ambassador to the UN, Susan Rice, has said President Barack Obama's administration is committed to "vigorous...direct diplomacy with Iran", while also warning of increased pressure if Tehran fails to halt uranium enrichment.
General Motors, the world's largest automaker until last week, has announced it will lay off 2,000 workers in two of its factories in the United States. The ailing firm is required to submit a viability plan in order to claim urgent government loans.
President Barack Obama has vowed to reverse US dependence on foreign energy by spurring development of fuel efficient cars and giving US states more room to act. Climate change and energy dependence pose threats to national security, he said.