Nearly two years after the killing of Osama bin Laden, the death in Mali of Algerian commander Mokhtar Belmokhtar, if confirmed, would be a serious blow to al Qaeda´s efforts to recover its cohesion as a force for global jihad. Official sources question how far al Qaeda´s leadership is able to influence its branches in far-flung North Africa, arguing that an intensive U.S. drone campaign on its presumed haven in Pakistan´s tribal areas bordering Afghanistan has severely damaged its ability to exercise command and control. But Belmokhtar - whom Chad said its forces had killed in northern Mali on
Germany will prevent Bulgaria and Romania from entering the passport-free Schengen zone when European ministers meet to discuss the issue on Thursday, German Interior Minister Hans-Peter Friedrich said in a magazine interview. "If Romania and Bulgaria insist on a vote, the attempt will fail due to a German veto," Friedrich was quoted as saying in Der Spiegel on Sunday. "Even the idea of a partial approval i.e. for entry by air or seaports is off the table," he added. He said Bulgaria and Romania, which joined the EU in 2007, needed to tackle corruption more decisively
Every American is still trying to figure out how the $85 million of federal budget cuts that President Obama signed on Friday will really affect them. So a hilarious skit from the Saturday Night Live team depicted Obama explaining what the sequester means, including less media appearances by the First Lady, removing glass from astronauts´ helmets and firing monkeys from the zoo. The president, played by Jay Pharoah, admitted he would have to outline the cuts in ´human terms´ rather than financial ones as ´I really have no idea how money works or how budgets work.´ SNL´s Obama said
San Francisco — In the latest James Bond movie, the hero is given a gun that recognizes the palm of his hand. Later, when a bad guy snatches the pistol away in a tussle, it won´t fire, and Agent 007 lives to die another day. It may have felt like Hollywood fantasy, but the basic premise is very real - and very dear - to some lawmakers and gun control advocates. They believe that in the age of smartphones and the aftermath of December´s elementary school massacre in Connecticut, the time has come for a marriage of firearms - which have changed little for decades - and modern technology
Iran´s atomic chief said on Sunday that Tehran planned to install 3,000 new generation centrifuges at one of its nuclear plants, confirming what the UN nuclear watchdog reported in February. "The production line of these centrifuges has been completed," Fereydoon Abbasi Davani was quoted as saying by the ISNA news agency. (Snip) The IAEA report on the new generation machines drew condemnation from the world powers which suspect Tehran seeks to acquire a nuclear weapon. Installing new generation centrifuges would help the Islamic republic´s atomic scientists enrich
San Francisco is months away from launching a program that would allow residents to purchase their energy from renewable sources - at a premium. The hard-fought program, which has been debated for decades, was approved last year, but some worry that before the greener energy grid can even start, it will be derailed. Later this month, the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission may adopt rates for the program, which is called CleanPowerSF. One scenario would have those customers paying twice as much as those who remain with Pacific Gas and Electric Co. The PUC also expects this month to get
An unidentified participant in militant website discussions said in a message posted on several forums that Belmoktar was "alive and well and leading the battles himself", the US-based SITE service reported. The message said Belmokhtar, the presumed mastermind behind a hostage-taking at an Algerian gas plant in January, would soon issue a message confirming the news, SITE reported. The death of Belmokhtar, nicknamed ´the uncatchable´, has been reported several times in the past. On Saturday, Chad said its forces had killed him in the same part of Mali that they had killed
A 911 dispatcher pleaded with a nurse at a Bakersfield, Calif., senior living facility to save the life of an elderly woman by giving her CPR, but the nurse said policy did not allow her to, according to a newly released audiotape of the call. "Is there anybody there that´s willing to help this lady and not let her die?" the dispatcher asked in a recording of the 911 call released by the Bakersfield Fire Department. "Not at this time," the nurse said. The incident unfolded on Tuesday when 87-year-old Lorraine Bayless collapsed at Glenwood Gardens, a senior living facility in Bakersfield.
Newark — Part sermon and part political creed, South Ward Councilman Ras Baraka’s state-of-the-ward speech set the tone for his 2014 mayoral campaign with a slogan Newarkers are likely to see a lot over the next 14 months: Believe in Newark.(Snip) "We want a grassroots campaign and the same alliance that elected the president of the United States for the second time in a row — we need that same force," Baraka said. "That same force of African Americans, Latinos, women, labor and progressives of all nationalities, all religions, and of every language." An October poll showed Baraka
The Israeli prime minister was granted a two-week extension by Shimon Peres, Israel´s president, after missing Saturday´s deadline to reach agreement with rival parties following January´s inconclusive general election. He now has until March 16 to form a government – otherwise Mr Peres will ask another party leader to lead coalition talks. White House officials have said Mr Obama will call off his visit if no government is in place by then. The US president is scheduled to arrive on March 20 for a two-day trip that will also include the West Bank city of Ramallah.
Room 112 is walled off from the rest of a Maplewood public school by an ugly row of concrete blocks. Its wooden entrance was replaced with a steel door, and the carpet and plumbing fixtures removed, all so its sole occupant — an 8-year-old boy prone to attacking teachers and classmates — would have nothing to destroy during his daily outbursts. Even his books and toys were kept on a cart that could be wheeled away at a moment’s notice. Every school day, the boy, who has autism and doesn’t speak, came to the barren cell built only for him.
There is a rule in Politics 2013 that´s evident in the flap about a White House aide´s maybe threatening or not threatening Washington Post veteran reporter Bob Woodward. The rule: The more superficial the brouhaha the bigger its impact.What public figures say is more important than what they do, because cable TV and political blogs can cover a mud fight more cheaply and more easily than they can a real story. Quick synopsis: Woodward has reported doggedly on the White House's role in putting "sequester" cuts -- $85 billion this year -- in the 2011 Budget Control Act.
This past week an episode of Sesame Street set off a firestorm of debate over whether a boy muppet named Telly should be ashamed that his muppet friends caught him playing with dolls. In one corner "traditionalists" who called out the episode as gender and sex confused. In the other "modern feminists" who were offended by almost everything the traditionalists said and believe. In light of these op-eds and arguments I decided to do a bit of personal surveying for myself. I popped the question to my bride and her best friend as the two couples were headed to Gramercy (in Manhattan) for dinner
Brazilian police backed by troops, helicopters and armoured vehicles have moved into shanty-towns near Rio de Janeiro´s international airport. More than 1,300 security personnel were involved in the operation in the Caju and Barreira do Vasco neighbourhoods. It is part of a strategy to take control of Rio´s poor districts from drug-trafficking gangs before next year´s World Cup and the 2016 Olympics. Security forces met no resistance as they moved into the area before dawn. "The operation has been a a success, this important area was taken without firing a shot," military police
Cairo – U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry says the Obama administration is rewarding the Egyptian government with financial aid because of Cairo´s promises of economic and political reforms. Kerry says the U.S. is providing $190 million immediately as part of a larger pledge of $450 million over time. Kerry says the money reflects Egypt´s "extreme needs" and President Mohammed Morsi´s commitment to satisfying conditions to close a $4.8 billion package of International Monetary Fund loans. Kerry also says that a separate $60 million is for a new fund to provide direct support to Egyptian
Cairo — Secretary of State John F. Kerry released $250 million in badly needed economic assistance for Egypt on Sunday, telling the country’s divided political classes that they must make economic and political reforms to qualify for additional U.S. support. The announcement followed a more than two-hour meeting Sunday between Kerry and Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi, which the State Department said covered the crisis in Syria and prospects for Israeli-Palestinian peace, as well as the chaotic domestic situation in Egypt, whose uncertain future is closely tied to American
To commemorate the anniversary of their son’s tragic death, one family decided to celebrate the occasion with three people whose lives their son saved through organ donation. Last year, 18-year-old college freshman Ty Osman was driving to Fort Worth, Texas when he stopped at the scene of a roadside accident to help a stranded woman. According to mother Nancy and father, also named Ty, this was typical behavior for their son.‘He died a noble death,’ said Ty Osman. As he helped the woman, the younger Ty was struck and killed by a passing truck, while the woman
President Obama recently stated assertively, "This is the most transparent administration in history, and I can document how that is the case." Obama made the comment without batting an eye or even causing a lightning strike...in fact his comment was uttered with his usual apparent sincerity. Obama, however, was remiss in not tying the added phrase, "the most ethical administration" in history, to the transparency statement as is often his want. The President did this as his administration simultaneously battled to suppress details of the CIA has secret drone program kill list even if the target is
NBA Hall of Famer Dennis Rodman made news this week when he travelled to North Korea to meet with leader Kim Jong Un. Rodman made more news Sunday telling George Stephanopoulos on ABC´s This Week that the Korean despot wants President Obama to call him (video follows with transcript and commentary):DENNIS RODMAN: What I saw in that country, I saw in that country and I saw people respect him and his family and that´s what I mean about that.(CROSSTALK) GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS, HOST: Aren´t they forced to? RODMAN: Huh?
For Mitt Romney, there will be no next chapter in politics — at least no third run for the presidency. But in his first post-campaign interview, the former Massachusetts governor did not shy away Sunday from his criticism of President Obama and said he hoped to help the Republican Party regain its footing — from a distance. “I recognize that as the guy who lost the election, I´m not in a position to tell everybody else how to win,” Romney told "Fox News Sunday" host Chris Wallace. “They're not going to listen and I don't have the credibility to do that anyway. But I still care.
More than a quarter of a million Bulgarians and Romanians have come to Britain over the past five years – even before the jobs market is fully opened to them. About half that number were allowed in as farm workers on short-term contracts and thousands more got permanent posts. In total, more than 175,000 National Insurance numbers were handed out to workers from the two countries. The remaining 75,000 people settled here with their families. Campaigners fear that when work restrictions are lifted next year, further pressure will be placed on the jobs market, housing and public services.
Did a collective light bulb turn on in the minds of Saturday Night Live´s writing team this week? "You know, this President Obama guy doesn´t really have a firm grasp of economic matters," one writer suggests. The next, growing bolder, says, "and he´s always using human props to make his point instead of accurate facts and figures ..." The third, standing up, declares, "and FLOTUS does seem to appear across the media much more than any of her predecessors. And so we have last night's opening sketch, a chance to see what a political comedy show can do when it puts aside its partisan blinders
Somebody tell Sandra Fluke: a Democrat state rep on Connecticut made a lewd remark to a 17 year old girl in a hearing, and also refuses to accept females as interns on his staff. Political Wire covered both incidents. Connecticut state Rep. Ernest Hewett (D) made an inappropriate remark to a 17 year old girl testifying about a program that helped her overcome her shyness and get over her fear of snakes, the New London Day reports. Said the girl: "I am usually a very shy person, and now I am more outgoing. I was able to teach those children about certain things
As North Carolina legislators move to close public access to firearm permits, some sheriffs are already refusing to hand over the records. Following a public showdown with the sheriff in Cherokee County, a local newspaper editor quit last week after his records request – which was denied – made him the target of death threats. The county has the state’s highest rate of concealed-handgun permits. In Gaston County, Sheriff Alan Cloninger responded Friday to a newspaper’s request for gun-permit records by withholding names and addresses of permit holders.