MILAN - Italian police arrested the head of Italian state-controlled defense group Finmeccanica SpA on Tuesday in a corruption probe centered on the sale of helicopters to the Indian government, a judicial source said. Finmeccanica Chief Executive and Chairman Giuseppe Orsi was arrested for alleged bribes paid to secure the sale of 12 AgustaWestland executive aircraft when he was head of the Finmeccanica helicopter unit, the source said. Police were searching the defense contractor´s offices in Italy´s financial capital Milan, police sources said. Highlighting the political sensitivity of the case less than two weeks before elections
Leaders of the nation’s biggest technology firms warned President Obama during a lengthy meeting at the White House on Tuesday that National Security Agency spying programs are damaging their reputations and could harm the broader economy. Cisco Systems has said it is seeing customers, especially overseas, back away from American-branded technology after documents revealed that the NSA enlisted tech firms and also secretly tapped into their data hubs around the world as the agency pursued terrorism suspects. Companies such as IBM, AT&T and Verizon Communications are facing angry shareholders, some of whom have filed
The Kaiser Family Foundation said Tuesday that roughly 5 million Americans will earn too much money to qualify for a government health-insurance program and too little to qualify for subsidized coverage under Obamacare next year. These Americans are in this “coverage gap” because they live in states that opted not to expand Medicaid under President Obama’s overhaul. The nonpartisan organization said the people that fall into this coverage gap are concentrated in states with the largest uninsured populations. More than a fifth of them live in Texas, 16 percent live in Florida, 8 percent in Georgia, 7 percent in North Carolina
The U.S. Army is sending roughly 19,000 active-duty captains and majors to a screening board for early separation this spring, the Army Times reported. Up to 20 percent of those screened — approximately 3,800 officers — could be scheduled to leave the service by the Officer Separation Board and Enhanced Selective Early Retirement Board. Officers with fewer than 18 years of federal active service will have their screening process done by OSB, and those with more than 18 years of service will see the E-SERB, according to the Army Times. “The Army’s drawdown plan is a balanced approach while maintaining
John Fonte’s excellent piece on the home page adds to the case made by Yuval Levin, Tim Carney, Douthat & Salam, and others for the GOP adopting what Senator Jeff Sessions calls “a humble and honest populism” as the antidote to the perception of conservatism and the Republican party as favoring big business at the expense of working people. Corporate support for big government cronyism, racial preferences, the sovereignty-undermining Law of the Sea treaty, and unlimited immigration (not to mention appeasement of the Soviet Union back in the day) highlight the anti-conservative and post-American nature of today’s big
President Obama is ending his fifth year in office matching the worst public approval ratings of his presidency, with record numbers of Americans saying they disapprove of his job performance and his once-hefty advantages over Republicans in Congress eroded in many areas, according to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll. His position is all the more striking when compared with his standing a year ago, as he was preparing for his second inauguration after a solid reelection victory. That high note proved fleeting as the president faced a series of setbacks, culminating in the botched rollout of his Affordable Care
The bipartisan budget compromise that passed the House by a wide margin last week has inspired House Speaker John A. Boehner (R-Ohio) to blast outside conservative groups that he said were using Republican members of Congress for their own gain. It has inspired kind words between the two legislators — Senate Budget Committee Chairman Patty Murray (D-Wash.) and House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) — who hammered out the deal. And it has inspired hope that, after years of governing by crisis, Congress may begin returning to something resembling regular order. But that hope masks a deeply divided Senate,
Lobbyists and the GOP political establishment applauded Speaker John Boehner´s strident attacks against the Tea Party and conservatives as the House prepared to approve the Ryan-Murray budget deal. Boehner hadsaid that conservative groups had "lost all credibility" for opposing a budget deal that increases the national debt. While business groups may get a tingle hearing Boehner´s harsh words, one wonders how alienating the grass roots will help them curtail the next government overreach. “You didn´t hear all the applause across downtown?” Dirk Van Dongen, a top GOP lobbyist with the National Association of Wholesaler-Distributors (NAW) said about Boehner´s remarks. “Folks
A&E broke its silence on Duck Dynasty star Phil Robertson’s anti-gay comments late Wednesday. The cable network announced Robertson is off the hit show for the time being. The network issued the following statement to EW: “We are extremely disappointed to have read Phil Robertson’s comments in GQ, which are based on his own personal beliefs and are not reflected in the series Duck Dynasty. His personal views in no way reflect those of A+E Networks, who have always been strong supporters and champions of the LGBT community. The network has placed Phil under hiatus from filming indefinitely.”
President Barack Obama sent Russia a clear message about its treatment of gays and lesbians with who he is — and isn’t — sending to represent the United States at the Sochi Olympics. Billie Jean King will be one of two openly gay athletes in the U.S. delegation for the opening and closing ceremonies, Obama announced Tuesday. For the first time since 2000, however, the U.S. will not send a president, former president, first lady or vice president to the Games. Russia has come under fierce criticism for passing national laws banning “gay propaganda.” Though the White House did not specifically address
The gay and lesbian rights group GLAAD is slamming ´Duck Dynasty´ patriarch Phil Robertson for comments he made about homosexuality to GQ magazine, and challenging the show´s network, A&E, to take action against its most popular star. In a wide-ranging interview, Robertson shared his thoughts on homosexuality and religion. After stating in very graphic terms his preference for heterosexual sex over homosexual sex, Robertson launched into more thoughts about homosexuality and sinning. “Everything is blurred on what’s right and what’s wrong... Sin becomes fine,” he said.
Yes, she really said it. On CNN’s Piers Morgan Live Tuesday, in a brief discussion about President Obama, Barbara Walters actually said, “We thought that he was going to be - I shouldn´t say this at Christmastime, but - the next messiah” (video follows with transcript and commentary): PIERS MORGAN, HOST: You have interviewed every president of my lifetime. Why is Obama facing so much opposition now? Why is he struggling so much to really fulfill the great flame of ambition and excitement that he was elected on originally in 2009?
Reportage of last week´s Nelson Mandela funeral reveals clearly enough that President Obama has reached the point in his tenure where everything ceases to go right -- when even the most serious and determined efforts deteriorate into a hash, or worse, a joke. This happens to everyone in public life eventually, politicians above all. The original attraction wears thin, flaws appear more prominently, styles and opinions change. There is little the individual can do to avoid this.(snip)The Mandela funeral shows that Obama is deep into this phase of his career, and has landed on his head.
Everyone is doing thoughtful year-end pieces on President Obama. Writers and reporters agree he’s had his worst year ever. I infer from most of their essays an unstated but broadly held sense of foreboding: There’s no particular reason to believe next year will be better, and in fact signs and indications point to continued trouble. I would add that in recent weeks I have begun to worry about the basic competency of the administration, its ability to perform the most fundamental duties of executive management. One reason I worry is that I frequently speak with people who interact with the White
London – Large tapestry portraits of President Barack Obama were unveiled for guests at the U.S. Embassy in London over the weekend. The recently-installed, large-scale tapestry portraits were created by National Medal of Arts winner and renowned American painter, photographer Chuck Close. Close created the portraits by compiling and interweaving Polaroids of the president from an hour-long photo shoot done the summer before, the Washington Post reports. The portraits are nearly 8 feet tall and more than 6 feet wide, with the final piece looking like photos but feeling like textiles. Close used one photo of Obama smiling and another