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Senate approves Obama’s nominee for UN ambassador

August 2, 2013

WASHINGTON (AP) — The U.S. Senate has easily confirmed President Barack Obama’s selection for ambassador to the United Nations, a former Obama foreign policy adviser and outspoken human rights activist.

Ireland-born Samantha Power moves into the job formerly held by Susan Rice, who is now Obama’s national security adviser.

“As a long-time champion of human rights and dignity, she will be a fierce advocate for universal rights, fundamental freedoms and U.S. national interests,” Obama said in a statement.

Power, a one-time journalist who has a Harvard Law School degree, has reported from many of the world’s trouble spots. She won a 2003 Pulitzer Prize for a book on the meek U.S. response to many 20th century atrocities, including those in Rwanda and Bosnia in the 1990s.

She has long backed intervention — including military force — to halt human rights violations.

Power’s past outspokenness has included her 2002 call for a “mammoth protection force” to prevent Middle East violence, from which she has distanced herself.

Two weeks ago, Venezuela said it was calling off efforts to restore normal relations with the U.S. after Power said at her Senate confirmation hearing that the South American country was guilty of a “crackdown on civil society.”

She also called the U.N.’s inaction to end the large-scale killing in Syria’s civil war “a disgrace that history will judge harshly.”

In 2008, she resigned as an adviser to Obama’s presidential campaign after calling then-rival Hillary Rodham Clinton a “monster.”

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Associated Press writer Alan Fram contributed.

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