The photographs published today by The Telegraph, confirming that Iran’s heavy-water plant at Arak is now fully operational, will be a cause for profound concern for those Western powers that are committed to preventing the Islamic Republic from acquiring nuclear weapons.[Snip]But in common with other states that have successfully developed nuclear weapons, such as India and North Korea, Iran is simultaneously conducting research into building a plutonium device. The heavy-water complex at Arak makes a vital contribution to this programme, as nuclear experts believe it has the potential to produce sufficient quantities of plutonium for an atomic bomb.
Mr Kerry was speaking after meeting his German counterpart Guido Westerwelle in Berlin. He expressed his "hope" that "Iran itself will make its choice to move down the path of a diplomatic solution." The five permanent UN Security Council members and Germany--the so-called P5+1--are meeting the Iranian team headed by top nuclear negotiator Saeed Jalili in Kazakhstan in a bid to break the deadlock over Iran´s programme. Mr Kerry said it "would really be a mistake in the middle of the talks for me to try to talk at any length about what the dynamics of those talks are."
The US Senate has confirmed former Senator Chuck Hagel as the new Pentagon chief, after a bloc of Republicans dropped their opposition to him. The former Republican Nebraska senator was confirmed by 58-41 in a simple majority vote.[Snip] The Senate move comes 12 days after Republicans delayed a vote, questioning his past positions on Israel and Iran and his qualifications for the post. But critics dropped the manoeuvre, the first for a defence secretary confirmation, after a week-long recess. Mr Obama´s Democratic Party holds a 55-45 edge in the chamber, and Mr Hagel ultimately only needed 51 votes to be confirmed.
Washington - The US Senate voted to confirm Chuck Hagel as America´s next secretary of defense in a 58-41 vote Tuesday afternoon. The approval resolves weeks of delay and recrimination over the nomination, which Republicans initially held up over criticisms of Hagel´s record on Iran, Israel and several other Middle East-related issues.(Snip) The vote was held after enough Republican senators agreed to allow the procedure earlier in the day. With Republicans clearing the way for a vote, Hagel was all but assured confirmation on a straight up-or-down tally, as the chamber has a Democratic majority.
GENEVA - Atheists, humanists and freethinkers face widespread discrimination around the world with expression of their views criminalized and subject in some countries to capital punishment, the United Nations was told on Monday. In a document for consideration by the world body´s Human Rights Council, a global organization linking people who reject religion said atheism was banned by law in a number of states where people were forced to officially adopt a faith. "Extensive discrimination by governments against atheists, humanists and the non-religious occurs worldwide," declared the grouping, the International Humanist and Ethical Union (IHEU) which has some 120
A federal appeals court Tuesday agreed to block enforcement of a Florida law that requires people who apply for welfare to submit to drug testing, calling it an unreasonable search. The U.S. Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta unanimously upheld a lower court’s injunction, which stops drug testing for applicants of the state’s Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program. “The simple act of seeking public assistance does not deprive a TANF applicant of the same constitutional protection from unreasonable searches that all other citizens enjoy,” the judges said.
The sequester is officially still three days away, but the Obama administration already is making the first cuts, with officials confirming that the Homeland Security Department already has released several hundred illegal immigrants from detention in order to save money. The move is proving controversial. Immigrant-rights groups say it shows the administration was detaining folks it never should have gone after in the first place, while Republicans questioned the decision-making. U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the agency that runs the detention facilities, said that with both sequesters and the annual spending bills looming,
"You know, the one thing about being president is, after four years, you get pretty humble. You´d think maybe you wouldn´t but actually you become more humble--you realize what you don´t know," Obama said. "You realize all the mistakes you made. But you also realize you can´t do things by yourself. That´s not how our system works. You´ve got to have the help and the goodwill of Congress, and what that means is you´ve got to make sure that constituents of members of Congress are putting some pressure on them, making sure they´re doing the right thing."
RUSH: There´s an interesting cover story at TIME Magazine. "TIME´s long investigation of American health care prices missed one thing: We pay our doctors way too much." In the current issue of TIME there´s a huge cover story by Steve Brill. It´s 24,000 words, and do you know what he concludes? He concludes that health care is very expensive, the prices are very high, and hospitals charge those high prices for the same reason that any other business would. It´s because they can, and Brill concludes in 24,000 words that Obamacare is not only gonna not help,
A new video from the House Republican Conference calls into question President Obama’s recent long distance travel to discuss the sequester instead of staying in Washington to find a solution. “President Obama created the sequester,” the video begins. “Instead of urging Senate Democrats to pass a solution, he’s traveling everywhere but to Harry Reid’s office.” The video maps out the president’s travels to five different destinations in February alone, ending in his trip to Hampton Roads, VA today. During his speech at Newport News shipyard the president promised that he is “not interested in spin or playing the blame game.
RUSH: Hi. Welcome back. Rush Limbaugh and the fastest three hours in media. Time now to add phone calls to the mix. We start in Littleton, Colorado. This is Ann. Welcome. It´s great to have you here. Hi. CALLER: Hey, Rush. It´s great to talk to you. RUSH: Thank you very much. CALLER: Hey, if I understand the way the budgeting works, the last time the US had a budget was in 2009 and it was about $1.8 trillion. RUSH: That´s pretty close. CALLER: Okay. Now, I think we´re spending over $3 trillion annually. RUSH: It´s 3.6 or 3.7 if you add dimes.
I was just sittin’ here in the office listenin’ to the president givin’ a speech when, ya know, it occured to me, that there’s nothin’ more condescending than pretendin’ that, since everyone in America who is not an upper middle-class liberal drops the “g” in “ing” and, in all circumstances, says “ya” insead of “you,” the President of the United States should talk like this. Whadaya think? I’m thinkin’ it’s pretty silly, is what I’m thinkin’.
RUSH: Sequesteria. We are in the midst of sequesteria. We´re counting down the days to the disaster, zero hour. It is this Friday. Everybody is trying to think of ways to put the amount of money we´re talking about here into some sort of understandable context. Even if you say that we have $3,700 billion every year that we spend, i.e., $3.7 trillion, okay, we got $3,700 billion, and we´re gonna cut $25 billion. It´s like, okay, I got $3,700 and I´m not gonna spend a quarter.
She has spoken out against having kids, saying it is “unconscionable to breed” while there are so many starving children in the world. She has criticized the tradition of fathers “giving away” their daughters at weddings, calling that practice “a common vestige of male dominion over a woman’s reproductive status.” She has even compared mountaintop removal mining to the Rwandan genocide, and has criticized Christianity as a religion that “legitimizes and seals male power.” Yet actress Ashley Judd is seriously contemplating a Senate run in Kentucky, a conservative-leaning state where such liberal comments
What´s a duck worth? We last contemplated that question last summer, in connection with the election for Illinois´s Eighth Congressional District. Our answer at the time, "about $20," is what we pay for a whole Long Island duckling, at $3.99 a pound. But it turns out that a lame duck is more expensive than a dead one, and by several orders of magnitude. The New York Times reported Saturday that Barack Obama has converted his campaign--originally known as Obama for America, then (in its incarnation as the 2012 campaign) as Organizing for America--into "a tax-exempt ´social welfare group,´ "
WASHINGTON — A federal judge this week will confront the surprisingly important fallout from former Idaho Republican Sen. Larry Craig’s 2007 bathroom arrest. Craig’s own money may be on the line Wednesday, but that’s not all. Other politicians, too, could have a future stake in what U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson says about how campaign dollars can be spent. The Federal Election Commission says Craig improperly used more than $216,000 in campaign funds to pay attorneys after being charged with disorderly conduct for his behavior in a Minneapolis airport men’s room. Craig’s attorneys insist he was on official business
As you no doubt have heard, the Germans have banned the Nazi party. It wasn’t a decision grounded in some academic principle or an over-abundance of political correctness about hate speech and the like. It’s because the country succumbed to a madness that plunged the world into war and made the German people the authors of staggering genocide. With an abundance of soul-searching, self-awareness, and well-earned shame they opted to ban organizations that profess a desire to return to such horrors. It’s part of their effort to ensure the phrase “never again” has meaning.
More than 50 unpublished poems by Rudyard Kipling have been discovered by a US scholar. Thomas Pinney found the manuscripts in a number of places including a Manhattan House that was being renovated and among the papers of a former head of the Cunard Line. Pinney described it as a "tremendously exciting time for scholars and fans". The poems will be published alongside 1,300 others in the first ever complete edition of Kipling´s verse on 7 March. Kipling, who lived from 1865 to 1936, was best known for his fictional short stories including The Jungle Book and poems Mandalay
VATICAN CITY — Pope Benedict XVI will keep the name Benedict XVI and become the Roman pontiff emeritus or pope emeritus, the Vatican announced on Tuesday, putting an end to days of speculation on how the pope will be addressed once he ceases to be the leader of the world’s 1.1 billion Roman Catholics on Thursday. Benedict, the first pope to resign voluntarily in six centuries, will dress in a simple white cassock, forgoing the mozzetta, the elbow-length cape worn by some Catholic clergymen, the Vatican spokesman, the Rev. Federico Lombardi, told reporters at a news briefing.
The parents of Trayvon Martin are asking people to mark the one year anniversary of the teenager´s death in a controversial case by wearing hoodies during a candlelight vigil tonight. Sybrina Fulton and Tracy Martin, the teenager´s parents, and their lawyers will be hosting a Million Hoodies Candlelight Vigil in New York´s Union Square. They are asking supporters to join them "for a moment of silence in honor of Trayvon Martin and all victims of senseless gun violence." Communities around the country are expected to host similar events tonight. Martin, 17, was shot and killed
The president of the United States should close down his new lobbying, advocacy and fund-raising organization, says a left-wing group that has long sought to reduce the role of donations in politics. “If President Obama is serious about his often-expressed desire to rein in big money in politics, he should shut down Organizing for Action and disavow any plan to schedule regular meetings with its major donors,” said Bob Edgar, president of Common Cause, which helped pass the 2002 campaign finance law. “With its reported promise of quarterly presidential meetings for donors and ‘bundlers’ who raise $500,000,
The leader of Staten Island’s powerful Republican Party abruptly announced his resignation today – a surprise move that could hurt the GOP’s chances to win the mayoralty, sources said. GOP chairman Bob Scamardella cited disagreements with some of the borough’s Republican elected officials – particularly Councilman James Oddo – as reason for his decision to step down. “My resignation occurs because I have been hamstrung in my ability to function and I want to put an end to recent public displays of party discord,” Scamardella said in a letter to GOP County Committee members. “I became chairman to insure
Musicians, athletes and TV personalities are among the new crop of celebrity contestants who will take to the dance floor on season 16 of “Dancing With the Stars.” The new cast of ABC’s hit show was revealed today, exclusively on “Good Morning America,” and the headliners include country music legend Wynonna Judd, former “Idol” finalist Kellie Pickler, reality TV star Lisa Vanderpump and NFL star Jacoby Jones. Jones isn’t the only athlete on the show. Olympic gymnast Aly Raisman, professional boxer Victor Ortiz, and figure skating legend Dorothy Hamill will compete this season. Comedians D.L. Hughley and Andy Dick,
Paterson resident Aswad Ayinde proclaimed he was Christ reincarnated when he deliberately impregnated his underage daughter multiple times in a plan to keep the family’s bloodlines pure, a prosecutor told jurors in state court Tuesday. The defense, meanwhile, said the jury must not convict Ayinde over a "lifestyle choice" of incest – no matter how offensive it might seem – especially if those who engaged in it did so willingly. “To be 15-years-old and pregnant is a difficult situation. To be 15-years-old and pregnant with your father’s child is just sad,” said Passaic County Senior Assistant Prosecutor Lisa Squitieri
After focusing on 20 Of The Most Embarrassing Moments In The History Of The Democrat Party last week, it seems appropriate to point out some of the greatest moments of the Republican Party. 1) Emancipation Proclamation (1863): The first Republican President, Abraham Lincoln, issued an order freeing all slaves in the confederacy. 2) End of the Civil War (1865): Abe Lincoln guides the north to victory in the Civil War and reunites the nation. 3) Women's right to vote (1872): Republicans Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton write the text of the 19th Amendment, which is introduced by Republican Senator Aaron A. Sargent of California. The Amendment was finally ratified in 1920. 4) Victory in the Spanish American War (1898): Republican William McKinley achieves victory in the Spanish American War and forces Spain to give up its claim on Cuba.
Today, a three-judge panel of the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals voted unanimously to bar the state of Florida from forcing welfare applicants to undergo drug testing. As the judges found: “… the State failed to offer any factual support or to present any empirical evidence of a “concrete danger” of illegal drug use within Florida’s TANF population. The evidence in this record does not suggest that the population of TANF recipients engages in illegal drug use or that they misappropriate government funds for drugs at the expense of their own and their children’s basic subsistence. The State has presented