Michele Kelemen

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The White House says it has another Arab official coming to Washington next week to sign an agreement normalizing ties with Israel - the foreign minister of the tiny Gulf state of Bahrain. NPR's Michele Kelemen has the story.

U.S. presidents have a long history of rewarding wealthy political donors with ambassadorships. Many appointees ably take on the work of diplomacy. Some others cause controversy.

The Trump administration on Monday labeled four more Chinese news organizations as "foreign missions," expanding its restrictions on what it calls Chinese propaganda outlets in a move that's likely to anger Beijing.

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The State Department's ousted inspector general has told congressional Democrats he was given "no valid reason" for his removal and that one of Secretary of State Mike Pompeo's aides tried to bully him.

Democrats are investigating whether Steve Linick was removed in retaliation for carrying out his duties. In an interview with Democratic leaders of the House and Senate last week, Linick confirmed he was looking into the alleged misuse of State Department resources by Pompeo and his wife.

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Updated at 5:36 p.m. ET

President Trump is ousting State Department Inspector General Steve Linick, extending a string of administration firings of government watchdogs.

The president sent notice of Linick's removal, effective in 30 days, to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Friday. A State Department spokesperson offered no reason for the change but issued a statement confirming that Linick will be replaced by Ambassador Stephen Akard, who currently directs the department's Office of Foreign Missions.

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As countries close borders and flights are canceled amid the coronavirus pandemic, the State Department says as many as 50,000 Americans are seeking help to return home.

Peru has been particularly complicated, according to Ian Brownlee, who runs the State Department's repatriation task force. "There were some [COVID-19] infections in the civil aviation authority and on the civilian side of the airport, and they're trying to run it on a bit of a shoestring from the military side of the airport," he said.

The State Department is urging Americans to return home now unless they are ready to ride out the coronavirus pandemic for "an undetermined period of time." Commercial travel is becoming more difficult, though, and thousands are stranded.

State Department officials, who briefed reporters in a conference call Monday and asked not to be named, said they have heard from 13,500 Americans in need of help around the world. Some are in remote areas and the department says there is no guarantee the U.S. can bring them home.

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Four days after the U.S. killed a top Iranian general, here's the state of play. Mourners have flooded the streets of Tehran, Iran's government has vowed revenge. And President Trump said today if Iran retaliates, the U.S. will fight back.

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