Vatican City - Pope Francis convenes his parallel cabinet on Tuesday for a first round of talks on reforming the Catholic Church, bringing eight cardinals from around the globe together in a novel initiative to get local church leaders involved in helping make decisions for the 1.2-billion strong universal Catholic Church. While the aim is for Francis to get advice, the Argentine Jesuit has already started making a mark on his own, with important Vatican appointments already made and clear-cut indications of the direction he wants to take the church that have elated liberals and alarmed many conservatives. Francis´ recent interview with
WASHINGTON-- Congress plunged the nation into a partial government shutdown Tuesday as a long-running dispute over President Barack Obama´s health care law stalled a temporary funding bill, forcing about 800,000 federal workers off the job and suspending most non-essential federal programs and services. The shutdown, the first since the winter of 1995-96, closed national parks, museums along the Washington Mall and the U.S. Capitol visitors center. Agencies like NASA and the Environmental Protection Agency will be all but shuttered. People classified as essential government employees - such as air traffic controllers, Border Patrol agents and most food inspectors - will continue
The federal government lost its checkbook at midnight, and it may not find it for days or weeks. As the zero-hour drew closer on Monday, with other avenues exhausted, the White House´s Office of Management and Budget told federal agencies that they ´should now execute plans for an orderly shutdown due to the absence of appropriations.´ House Republican leaders on the Rules Committee had discussed the procedures for both parties to appoint ´conferees´--negotiating representatives--for a joint House-Senate conference committee empowered to hash out a compromise of the budget battle that has consumed Washington for days. The House GOP scrambled all
Venezuela has announced it is expelling three US diplomats, whom it accuses of plotting to sabotage the economy. President Nicolas Maduro said the diplomats have 48 hours to leave the country, saying "Yankees, go home!" Mr Maduro says he has evidence that the trio took part in a power-grid sabotage in September and had bribed Venezuelan companies to cut down production. The United States and Venezuela have been without ambassadors in each other´s capitals since 2010. The diplomats expelled have been named as Kelly Keiderling--the charge d´affaires and the most senior US diplomat in Caracas--David Moo and Elizabeth Hoffman.
Immigration Minister Scott Morrison has issued a stern warning the refugees escaping the Syrian crisis - if they try to come to Australia by boat they will not be welcome. Mr Morrison this morning said there would be "no sympathy" given to boat people, regardless of their country of origin. His comments come in the wake of the latest boat tragedy (Snip) "People who are going to try and use the Syrian conflict, which is a dreadful and horrible tragedy that is unfolding before us there, as some sort of cover to come to Australia for economic migration - are just not going to cop it," he told
The ferocious Republican distaste for President Obama, and their hatred of his changes to America´s healthcare system have plunged the United States into crisis. The economy may not suffer that much, it is hard to tell, but the country´s image will be hurt. "Dysfunctional" is merely polite. "Weird" is more like it. For the past two years, the US government has staggered from one funding crisis to the next, reeling away from the cliff at the very last moment. The heart-in-mouth, edge-of-the-seat drama was exciting if unedifying, but they managed to pull back from the brink just in time.
Michelle Obama wants you to drink more water, at least one more glass a day. Frankly, I think it´s great. Sure, the science behind some of her claims is somewhere between iffy and debatable. If you´re not dehydrated, drinking more water won´t give you more energy or cure your headaches, as her office (Snip) "Water is so basic," she explained from Watertown, Wisc., "and because it is so plentiful, sometimes we just forget about it amid all the ads we watch on television and all the messages we receive every day about what to eat and drink," she said. "The truth is, water just gets drowned out."
Okay, so let´s get the mainstream media analysis of the looming shutdown out of the way first. The House Republicans are led by a moderate weakling (Boehner) who is being held hostage by a gaggle of Tea Party crazies determined to destroy a humanitarian law known as Obamacare that is a once-in-a-lifetime chance to rescue us from disease, poverty, global warming and Robin Thicke. Obama (Father of the Nation and possibly Jesus, but he´s too humble to admit it) and the lions of the Senate are standing their ground. And so the Federal Government faces catastrophe because a GOP alliance
With the popularity of Egypt´s armed forces chief General Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi at a peak, speculation is growing about whether the military leader could be the next president. Talk shows and newspaper columns have, for the past month, been advocating the idea of the general running for president in order to fight the terrorist threat that they say the country is facing. El-Sisi became a worldwide name in July when he announced that Islamist president Mohamed Morsi was being removed from power after mass protests against the unpopular elected leader. El-Sisi stressed that the action
Israel has posthumously honoured an Egyptian doctor for his role rescuing Jews during World War II, the first time a citizen of the Arab country has received the award. Yad Vashem, the Holocaust memorial authority in Jerusalem, awarded Dr Mohammed Helmy the honour of "Righteous Among The Nations," which is given to non-Jews who stood up to the Nazi genocide during the war. Helmy, who was living in Berlin, hid a young Jewish woman in a property he owned during the war and also provided medical treatment for three of her relatives, Yad Vashem said Monday.
1. What is Obamacare? “Obamacare” is what we’ve all apparently decided to call the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, a set of health reforms passed by the Congress and signed into law by President Obama in March 2010. The law itself touches on everything from how hospitals are reimbursed for care to whether chain restaurants post calorie counts on their menus. But, generally, by "Obamacare" most people mean the provisions of the law that relate to the efforts to insure about 30 million Americans through subsidized private insurance (Snip) 7. Are there death panels? No.
WASHINGTON - The White House budget office has directed federal agencies to shut down, lacking funding from Congress. The U.S. government began a partial shutdown Monday after the Democratic-led Senate and Republican-controlled House refused to back down in a clash over scaling back President Barack Obama´s landmark health care law as the price for essential federal funding. On a long day and night in the Capitol, the Senate torpedoed one Republican attempt to tie government financing to changes in the law known as "Obamacare." House Republicans countered with a second bill despite unmistakable signs their unity was fraying — and
This heart-wrenching image has captured the incredibly rare moment a mourning elephant says goodbye to her fallen friend. John Chaney, 63, was on a safari trip in Botswana with his wife Diane when they came across the carcass of a dead elephant surrounded by vultures and hyenas. As their guide called park rangers to come and remove the tusks so they wouldn´t fall into the hands of poachers, another elephant charged over to the body. The female elephant scared off the animals surrounding the carcass before tenderly placing her trunk around the tusk of the dead male. Mr Chaney revealed
They’re up for reelection in places where President Barack Obama is deeply unpopular, but red-state Democrats are sticking with their party in the acrimonious fight over Obamacare and shutting down the government. Sens. Mark Pryor of Arkansas, Kay Hagan of North Carolina, Mary Landrieu of Louisiana and Mark Begich of Alaska have consistently voted with their party to reject repeated GOP attempts to chip away at the health care law — reflecting a remarkable level of Democratic unity on the issue. Not a single Democrat crossed party lines Monday in a Senate vote to reject House-passed provisions that would have,
The U.S. government began to shut down for the first time in 17 years early Tuesday, after a Congress bitterly divided over President Obama’s signature health-care initiative failed to reach agreement to fund federal agencies. Hours before a midnight deadline, the Republican House passed its third proposal in two weeks to fund the government for a matter of weeks. Like the previous plans, the new one sought to undermine the Affordable Care Act, this time by delaying enforcement of the “individual mandate,” a cornerstone of the law that requires all Americans to obtain health insurance.
Today, more than three and a half years after the Democrats passed Obamacare into law, the overhaul’s exchanges — its East German–like government marketplaces — will finally, sort of, open for business. The Democrats fully expect their fellow Americans to be so excited about buying government-approved insurance through these government-run exchanges that they’re choosing to shut down the government rather than delay the individual mandate for a year. Better to shut down the government, it would seem, than let Americans freely decide — even for a year — whether or not to buy Obamacare-based insurance. Alas, the individual mandate’s penalties
BERKELEY, Calif. -- An explosion has been reported on the University of California at Berkeley Monday evening and the campus has been ordered to evacuate, emergency officials said. A power outage was reported earlier in the evening and classes were canceled and students were told to suspend lab activity and leave the academic buildings, campus emergency officials said. Then shortly before 7 p.m., an explosion was reported near Sather Tower, Berkeley acting fire Chief Gil Dong said. Four ambulances are responding to the incident but Dong did not have information about how many people had been injured or what the
Senate Majority Leader Harry M. Reid (D-Nev.) late Monday rejected the House’s plan to appoint conferees for House-Senate negotiations on a new short-term spending plan. “We like to resolve issues, but we will not go to conference with a gun to our heads,” Reid said. “I propose that the House passes our clean CR, and we’ll sit down and discuss funding for the balance of the year. That’s it,” he said. House Republicans “want to close government,” he added. “This is all a subterfuge to satisfy the tea party-driven Republicans. And it’s very, very strange, this agenda is so hurtful
PITTSBURGH - L.C. Greenwood, the relentless defensive end who made up one quarter of the Pittsburgh Steelers´ ´´Steel Curtain´´ defense of the 1970s, has died. He was 67. The Allegheny County Medical Examiner´s office said Greenwood died Sunday from undisclosed causes just before noon at UPMC Presbyterian Hospital. A six-time Pro Bowler and two-time All-Pro, Greenwood played for the Steelers from 1969-81, helping Pittsburgh win an unprecedented four Super Bowls in a six-year span. Greenwood, Joe Greene, Ernie Holmes and Dwight White formed the bedrock of the defense that helped turn a perennial loser into a dynasty. ´´L.C. was one
This afternoon I got a voicemail at AEI from someone who’d heard me on NPR earlier in the day. I’m leaving out her phone number and name and just sharing her thoughts. Yes, we’re calling from North Carolina having listened to your comments on NPR in the afternoon. And we were just quite stunned to hear you begin your comments with the comment, ‘I am a friend of Ted Cruz.’ Well, I can tell you in all the years that I have been listening to NPR, I’ve never heard any journalist begin commenting about an issue with the — making
WASHINGTON—Senate Democrats quickly rejected the latest House Republican plan to delay part of the health-care law and keep the government running as Congress edged the U.S. closer to its first partial government shutdown in 17 years. By a 54-46 party-line vote, the Senate killed a proposal that would have kept the federal government operating into the new fiscal year, which begins Tuesday, and delayed the 2010 federal health-care law´s individual insurance mandate. The move extends a partisan standoff between the GOP-led House and the Democratic-controlled Senate. The short-term spending bill, to fund the government until Dec. 15, now heads back
The Office of Personnel Management ruled Monday that members of Congress and their staffs will be able to buy health care plans that pay for abortions, even though the premiums are funded largely by taxpayer money — a move that conservatives say breaks federal law on abortion funding. Under the terms of Obamacare, lawmakers and their aides are required to ditch their government-sponsored plans and buy insurance on state-based health care exchanges, though unlike most people on the exchanges, the staffers and members will have most of the costs of their premiums paid by their employer — in this case,
Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. announced Monday the Justice Department is suing North Carolina over its new voting law, the latest effort by the Obama administration to intervene on behalf of minority voters after the Supreme Court struck down part of the Voting Rights Act. “By restricting access and ease of voter participation, this new law would shrink, rather than expand, access to the franchise,” Mr. Holder said. “Allowing limits on voting rights that disproportionately exclude minority voters would be inconsistent with our ideals as a nation.” Mr. Holder and the assistant U.S. attorneys from North Carolina are asking
Today Republicans won a major victory against the mainstream media. When NBC and CNN announced their plans for pro-Hillary productions, the RNC voted to ban them from presidential primary debates. Conservatives united in calling out their blatant liberal bias and support for Hillary Clinton’s all-but-announced candidacy. Even liberal commentators’ eyes were opened to the network’s partisan actions. After all that pressure and bad publicity, both CNN and NBC announced they were canceling their productions today. The director of the CNN film, in explaining why he canceled the documentary, made it clear that the RNC’s actions made it more difficult to get
With lawmakers seemingly deadlocked and a federal government shutdown just hours away, President Obama on Monday afternoon bluntly laid out the consequences if Congress fails to act — and accused House Republicans of trying to “extract a ransom” to keep Washington up and running. “A shutdown will have a very real economic impact on real people right away. It would throw a wrench into the gears of our economy at a time when those gears have gained some traction,” Mr. Obama said. “Veterans who have sacrificed for their country will find their support centers unstaffed. Tourists will find every one
If you can judge people by the quality of their enemies, one quality shared by many opponents of the tea party is their conservatism. Like many ideological factions, tea-party activists display a special intensity in fighting the “near enemy” — other elements on the right that don’t share their tactics. President Obama may be their ultimate foe, but conservative pragmatists are their rivals. And rivals are the more immediate problem. So the Senate Conservatives Fund runs ads against Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.), Richard Burr (R-N.C.) and other solid Senate conservatives for opposing a counterproductive strategy to defund Obamacare. The circle of