The UN has warned of increasing meat and dairy prices in the wake of extreme weather in the United States and across large parts of Europe and other centres of global food production. According to the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) in Rome, global wheat production is expected to fall 5.2% in 2012 and yields from many other crops grown to feed animals could be 10% down on last year. (Snip) "The decrease in cereal production this year will result in a significant reduction in world reserves by the close of seasons in 2013, even with world demand sliding as
French President François Hollande potentially won the hearts of millions of future voters on Tuesday when he announced plans to abolish homework and reduce the number of pupils forced to repeat school years. The comprehensive reforms will also increase the number of teachers across the country, boost aid to disadvantaged areas and target absenteeism. The school week would return to four and a half days rather than four – a change introduced under the former administration as a cost-cutting measure. “Education is priority,” Hollande said at Paris’s Sorbonne University on Wednesday. “An education programme is, by definition, a societal programme.
Germany plans to abandon nuclear power by 2022, but its government hasn't been doing enough to ensure that the project succeeds. Needed infrastructure and technology is lacking, and coordination is a mess. Meanwhile, weary consumers are paying more for electricity, and the supply is in jeopardy. German Economics Minister Philipp Rösler is standing in the boiler room of a row house in the town of Hönow, near Berlin. (Snip) With the government driving up the price of electricity, Rösler seems to feel an urge to make himself useful by dispensing advice on how to save money and energy.
The Syrian refugee problem in Jordan is getting way worse. More than 180,000 Syrian refugees have spilled into Jordan in recent months, posing an overwhelming humanitarian crisis. One military officer who has seen refugees in many countries and has visited Jordan told Situation Report that the refugee problem there is worse than what anybody had thought. The NYT reported this morning that the Pentagon has sent a task force of approximately 150 planners and other specialists to Jordan to help the country respond to the humanitarian crisis and to prepare for the potential security
At a hearing on Capitol Hill Republicans yesterday sought to eviscerate the Obama administration over its handling of the assault on the US consulate in Benghazi, Libya, that killed four Americans, including Ambassador Christopher Stevens, saying officials failed to heed security warnings and dissembled in their public statements in its aftermath. Opening the politically charged session, Congressman Darrel Issa said warnings from US personnel in Libya about the worsening security situation were ignored. "They repeatedly warned Washington officials about the dangerous situation in
I’ll likely have more to say on this down the road, but it seems to me that the Obama administration has made a huge unforced error in trying to lay off blame for the Benghazi fiasco on the intelligence community. Because, wherever the buck stops when we get to end of this debacle, it’s not going to be in Langley, Va. (the CIA), Fort Meade, Md, (the National Security Agency), or any of the other centers of the American IC. It’s not even going to be shouldered by the State Department’s intel service, the Bureau
A popular Tunisian children’s magazine is to be prosecuted for telling its young readers how to make a petrol bomb. The latest edition of Qaws Quzah, Arabic for “Rainbow”, featured a piece about the history of petrol bombs in its “Knowledge Corner”, including detailed instructions and a diagram. “It is an weapon that is often used in riots and acts of sabotage because it is easy to make and use,” the article reads. The magazine, read for decades by boys and girls aged five to 15, has no political orientation. But the article touched a raw nerve in a country
New York - Cattle farmers struggling with record corn prices are feeding their cows candy instead. That's right, candy. Cows are being fed chocolate bars, gummy worms, ice cream sprinkles, marshmallows, bits of hard candy and even powdered hot chocolate mix, according to cattle farmers, bovine nutritionists and commodities dealers. "It has been a practice going on for decades and is a very good way to for producers to reduce feed cost, and to provide less expensive food for consumers," said Ki Fanning, a livestock nutritionist with Great Plains Livestock Consulting, Inc. in Eagle, Neb.
A Detroit woman and her one-year-old daughter are being forced to live with a squatter in their own home until a housing court decides on eviction proceedings. Homeowner Heidi Peterson claims the squatter, former tenant Missionary-Tracey Elaine Blair, took over the residence while Peterson was away for a year during extensive home repairs. After the necessary repairs were complete, Peterson returned last week only find out that Blair had changed the locks. She had also taken the liberty to decorate the house, rework the plumbing and replace appliances. According to neighbors,
After a day of testimony on Capitol Hill and weeks of conflicting accounts from the Obama administration regarding the deadly Libya attack, the frustration of boots-on-the-ground employees boiled over late Wednesday. Scathing criticism from two former security officers for the U.S. mission in Libya surfaced at the close of an already-tense hearing before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee. (Snip) But the two security officers indicated they were butting heads with higher-ups all along to try to secure more staffing. "We were fighting a losing battle. We couldn't even keep what we
Washington - In 2008, singer will.i.am provided Barack Obama's presidential campaign with music for its signature anthem, "Yes We Can." On Tuesday, at a rally for Obama in Columbus, Ohio, the performer chose to play something new: the theme song for "Sesame Street." For Obama's supporters, already dismayed by the president's halting performance in last week's debate with Republican Mitt Romney, that change in tune is a new source for concern as they fret that a children's TV show has become a new backdrop for their candidate's campaign. (Snip) Conservatives have been crowing that
The mother of State Department official Sean Smith, who was killed September 11, 2012 in the terrorist attack on the American consulate in Benghazi, Libya, appeared on CNN this evening. Here's the computer generated rush transcript: ANDERSON COOPER: Good evening. We begin tonight with a mother who is asking the toughest question a mother can. Why is my son dead? That is all Pat Smith wants to know. Her son, Sean Smith one of the Americans killed in the attack in Benghazi on September 11th, a month after, she watched her son's casket come off a cargo plane,
A flashy Florida billionaire dubbed the "King of Versailles” says he’s willing to step away from his kingdom - a massive timeshare company - if Obama is re-elected, and warned his employees they should fear for their jobs if the president wins in November. In an email sent to all 7,000 of his employees at Westgate Resorts, David Siegel suggested his staff may want to think twice about voting for Obama if they want to keep their jobs. “In spite of all of the challenges we have faced, the good news is this: The economy doesn't currently pose a threat
Much of today’s White House press briefing featured Jay Carney being grilled by a number of reporters on the administration’s muddled response to the attacks on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi last month that led to the death of four Americans, including a U.S. ambassador. ABC’s Jake Tapper asked Carney how President Obama could have fairly criticized Mitt Romney for jumping the gun before seeing the evidence when, as he said, the Obama administration was engaging in the same tactic. (Snip) Tapper brought up concerns that the State Department did not agree to increased security on the
The private equity giants Blackstone Group and Kohlberg Kravis Roberts are longtime rivals that compete for multibillion-dollar deals. But during last decade’s buyout boom, according to newly released e-mails in a civil lawsuit accusing them of collusion, the two firms appeared to be on much cozier terms. In September 2006, for instance, Blackstone and K.K.R. were both circling the technology giant Freescale Semiconductor. After a Blackstone group outbid a K.K.R. consortium to buy Freescale for nearly $18 billion, Hamilton E. James, the president of Blackstone, e-mailed his colleagues
In a one-on-one interview with ABC News’ Diane Sawyer, President Barack Obama sat down for his first post-debate television interview. In a preview of that interview, which will air in its entirety on ABC at 6:30 p.m. ET, President Obama candidly discusses the debate and his electoral prospects after his lackluster showing. Obama said that the “fundamentals of what this race is about” have not changed and still favor him over former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney. The president did not sugar coat his debate performance. When asked about it, Obama said his debate against Romney
On Current TV last night, Rep. Nancy Pelosi D-Calif. admitted to host Jennifer Granholm that from her seat in the debate room, she thought the first debate was pretty even. “I was there, and in the room it was a more even debate,” Pelosi said. “I thought it was OK, I thought he got the ball over the net.” But when Pelosi saw the mood while visiting a debate watching party, she said realized that the TV audience viewed it differently. “I realized that something on TV was different,” she said. “Even on the radio it wasn’t
Don't misunderstand me, there's no question that abortion and other social issues are perfectly valid topics of discussion at a vice presidential debate. But over and over and over again, during the GOP primary debates, we watched the media obsess over divisive social issues that rank somewhere around zero on the list of voter priorities in this election. (Snip) After foolishly running on Big Bird for five days, the Obama campaign made a wicked left-turn this morning with a hastily arranged conference call. You can read about it here. The call was all about pushing the media
U.S. Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood stood on the back of a train and lauded stimulus spending, telling critics, “Baloney! The stimulus worked.” The comment from LaHood followed his remarks about 30 second advertisements “about the fact the stimulus didn’t work.” “That is what this is about today. A good use of stimulus money and I know they’re not running any thirty second ads up here about the fact the stimulus didn’t work, because people here know better. In some places in the country they’re trying to say to people ‘the stimulus didn’t work’ – Baloney!
Eric Nordstrom, the man responsible for U.S. Embassy security in Libya this summer, told Congress today that the Obama Administration decided to “hope everything would” change for the better rather than provide additional security. “So when I requested resources, when I requested assets, instead of supporting those assets, I was criticized,” Nordstrom said during a House Oversight and Government Reform Committee hearing on the security provided to the American personnel in Benghazi. “[T]here was no plan. And it was hope that everything would get better.” Was the refusal to provide more
President Obama likes to be alone. When he speaks at rallies, he doesn’t want the stage cluttered with other officeholders. When he rides in his limo, he isn’t prone to give local pols a lift. He wants to feel that he doesn’t owe his ascension to anyone else — not a rich daddy, not a spouse or father who was president, not even those who helped at pivotal moments. He believes he could do any job in his White House or campaign, from speechwriter to policy director, better than those holding the jobs. So Obama knows that he alone is responsible for his unfathomable retreat into his own head
Camille Paglia, art historian, culture critic, founding Salon columnist and expert provocateur, has a new book out, “Glittering Images: A Journey Through Art from Egypt to Star Wars” that looks closely at 29 wide-ranging works — paintings to sculpture to performance art to digital art — that she sees as defining works of art. And for the voluble and volatile Paglia, the lean precision of the book is a marvel. Each work is paired with a relatively short and compulsively readable essay, a format she writes was inspired by “Catholic breviaries of devotional images, like Mass cards
President Obama is willing to admit he submitted a subpar performance in last week's debate against Mitt Romney -- but he isn't exactly eager to dwell on it, either.In his first sit down interview since Thursday's first debate in Denver, he tells ABC's Diane Sawyer, in an interview taped for tonight's World News, that he "had a bad night." When challenged by Sawyer, he gave a bit more ground, but quickly pivoted to the attack. "Well it's not the first time I've had a bad night," he said.
The Commission on Presidential Debates is downplaying a new report by the conservative website 'The Daily Caller' about President Barack Obama's ties to Martha Raddatz, the moderator of tomorrow night's vice presidential debate. The article, currently atop Drudge Report, notes that Obama worked on the Harvard Law Review with Julius Genachowski, whom Obama would later appoint chair of the Federal Communications Commission, and was a guest at his 1991 wedding to Raddatz -- raising accusations that Raddatz has a conflict of interest heading into tomorrow's debate, despite the fact that Raddatz has long-since divorced Genachowski and remarried.
Mitt Romney now holds a narrow advantage over Barack Obama in the race for the White House -- 46 percent to 45 percent, if the election were held today, according to a Fox News national poll of likely voters released Wednesday. That’s a six-point turnaround and a three-point “debate bounce” for Romney. Before the first presidential debate in Denver last Wednesday, Romney had 43 percent to Obama’s 48 percent (September 24-26, 2012). Romney’s edge comes mainly from independents, white voters and men. Just over half of men (51 percent) back Romney now
Faced with a sudden erosion of female support in recent opinion polls, President Obama sought Wednesday to bolster his standing by blasting Mitt Romney on abortion rights. In an interview with ABC News, Obama accused Romney of trying to “cloud” his views. (Snip) The apparent purpose is to claw back the support of female voters, which plunged in the wake of Obama's weak performance in last week's first presidential debate. “This is another example of Governor Romney hiding positions he's been campaigning on for a year and half,” Obama told host Diane Sawyer.