Washington - The tough new gun restrictions pushed by New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo may have caused a hit to his approval rating, according to a poll released Wednesday, though the Democrat still remains popular with voters in the Empire State. The Quinnipiac University survey indicated that 59% of New York voters approve of the job Cuomo is doing as governor, down from a 74% approval rating in a poll released last month. Republican approval has dropped sharply, from 68% in mid-December to 44% in Wednesday´s poll. But even support among Democrats was down somewhat,
The Obama administration took new steps Wednesday toward implementing the individual mandate in its signature healthcare law, downplaying the scope of the unpopular provision by stressing rules that allow exemptions from the requirement to purchase insurance. The Internal Revenue Service and the Health and Human Services Department emphasized exceptions to the mandate, which were detailed in new regulations that also laid out the process by which the IRS will calculate penalties for going uninsured. The mandate requires most taxpayers to either buy insurance or
Beirut, Lebanon - Syria’s top political opposition leader on Wednesday expressed willingness for the first time to talk with representatives of President Bashar al-Assad, softening what had been an absolute refusal to negotiate with the government in an increasingly chaotic civil war. The opposition leader, Sheik Ahmad Moaz al-Khatib, coupled his offer with two demands: the release of what he described as 160,000 prisoners held by Mr. Assad’s government, and the renewal of all expired passports held by Syrians abroad — a gesture apparently aimed at disaffected expatriates and exiled
Washington — Sen. Robert Menendez´s office says he traveled on a plane owned by a Florida physician who is a friend and political donor, but denied that the senator had engaged with prostitutes in the Dominican Republic. The New Jersey Democrat´s office issued the denial Wednesday. It said he traveled on three occasions on Dr. Salomon Melgen´s airplane. The FBI searched Melgen´s West Palm Beach, Fla., office Tuesday night and early Wednesday, but it was unclear if the raid was related to Menendez. Menendez´s office said the trips were "paid for and reported appropriately."
Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.) is keen on having a skeet shooting contest with President Obama. The White House? Not so much. A reporter at Wednesday’s daily briefing raised Blackburn’s challenge and asked press secretary Jay Carney: “Your reaction?” “I have none,” was the response from Carney, who quickly moved on to the next questioner.
Maj. Gen. Amir Eshel, Commander of the IAF, described the chaotic threat facing Israel from its neighbors Tuesday, just hours before jet fighters under his command reportedly hit a major weapons convoy between Syria and Lebanon. "The example in the north, in Syria, is the most glaring one, of a state that is in a process of disintegration, about which none of us has a clue as to what will be there on the day after," Eshel said. "Add to that a huge weapons arsenal, some of which is state-of-the-art, some of it unconventional, and all of this is happening – I can't call it our back yard, but on our borders.
Beirut - Israeli warplanes attacked a military research center in Damascus province at dawn on Wednesday, Syria´s military command said, denying reports that the planes had struck a convoy carrying weapons from Syria to Lebanon. Two people were killed and five wounded in the attack on the site in Jamraya, which it described as one of a number of "scientific research centers aimed at raising the level of resistance and self-defense".(Snip)Sources told Reuters earlier that Israeli jets had bombed a convoy on Syria´s border with Lebanon on Wednesday, apparently targeting weapons destined for
Israeli jets bombed a convoy on Syria´s border with Lebanon on Wednesday, sources told Reuters, apparently targeting weapons destined for Hezbollah in what some called a warning to Damascus not to arm Israel´s Lebanese enemy. "The target was a truck loaded with weapons, heading from Syria to Lebanon," said one Western diplomat, adding that the consignment may well have included anti-aircraft missiles. The overnight attack, which several sources placed on the Syrian side of the border, followed warnings from Israel that it was ready to act to prevent the revolt against President
White House press secretary Jay Carney laid the blame for a surprise economic contraction squarely at the feet of congressional Republicans Wednesday, saying economic threats during the "fiscal cliff" negotiations had prevented important defense spending. "Our economy is facing a major headwinds, and that´s Republicans in Congress," Carney said. The Commerce Department projected Wednesday that the nation´s gross domestic product (GDP) shrank by 0.1 percent in the fourth quarter of 2012. Carney said that was partially attributable
The PGA Tour´s anti-doping program initiated more than four years ago has been met mostly with a yawn. Just one player -- a journeyman pro who seemingly had good reason for taking a banned substance -- has been suspended, and the notion that the game is devoid of such illicit activity has largely been upheld. That´s why the Sports Illustrated report that Vijay Singh admitted taking a substance that is banned--but not tested for--will be watched with great interest. Singh, who turns 50 next month, has compiled a Hall of Fame career built on hard work and resiliency.
Arbil, Iraq - Behind the closed doors of their offices in the United States, top executives and lawyers for Exxon Mobil are poring over two sets of contracts, weighing a decision that could shift the balance of power in Iraq. Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki last week hastily convened a meeting with Exxon´s chief executive Rex Tillerson in a bid to woo back the U.S. major, (Snip) Industry sources say Maliki has offered Tillerson substantial incentives to stay in Iraq´s southern oilfields as long as the company forfeits its assets in the autonomous Kurdish region. A final decision is due within the next few
My favorite reading genre is the mystery novel and I´m a fan of Ian Rankin´s work which chronicles Inspector John Rebus´ cases in Edinburgh, Scotland. The book I´m reading now, "The Naming of the Dead" was written about the 2005 G8 conference that took place in the Gleneagles Hotel in Aucterarder, Scotland. Rankin describes the arrival of the hundreds of thousands of marchers and protesters holding signs that read "Make Poverty History" and I always marvel at how so many people who have never known poverty think politicians can end it.
The man who hoaxed Manti Te’o has revealed that he is gay and was in love to the college football star during their fake relationship. Ronaiah Tuiasosopo said that he fell ‘deeply, romantically in love’ with the Notre Dame linebacker even though he was playing him for a fool. Tuiasosopo also confirmed that it was him impersonating Te’o’s ‘girlfriend’ Lennay Kekua, even though recordings of their conversations sound high-pitched and feminine.
The unprecedented $100 billion program slated to rebuild war-torn Afghanistan has been ravaged by theft, cost overruns, bribes, unused facilities and "incalculable waste," and now the federal auditor of the reconstruction effort is urging Congress to make sure taxpayers are getting their money´s worth before spending more. But, warned an urgently written quarterly report to Congress from the Special Inspector General for Afghan Reconstruction, even if Congress gives the OK, auditing how Afghanistan spends the largest rebuilding fund in U.S. history will be difficult after American troops leave in October 2013.
Taco Bell has pulled an outrageously offensive Super Bowl ad after a Twitter campaign shamed the fast good chain into doing the right thing. (Except not really.) Taco Bell’s alleged offense? Discouraging people from eating their vegetables. In the ad, the narrator suggests that bringing a tray of raw vegetables to a football party is a really lame decision (which it is). “Veggies on game day is like punting on fourth and one. It’s a cop out,” Taco Bell guy says, and then suggests that people will “secretly hate you” unless you bring a Taco 12 Pack.
Perhaps the most important moment so far in today’s Senate Judiciary hearing on guns came when astronaut Mark Kelly directly confronted NRA head Wayne LaPierre over the shooting of his wife, Gabrielle Giffords. Between that exchange and another one involving Senator Dick Durbin, LaPierre’s argument was completely unmasked for the sham that it is. During the hearing, LaPierre repeatedly voiced the talking point that there’s no need to expand the background check system because criminals don’t cooperate with background checks. Kelly responded: The Tuscon shooter was an admitted drug user. He was rejected from the U.S. Army
White House Press Secretary Jay Carney lamented the murder of a teenage girl who performed in her school band at President Obama’s inauguration last week, adding that her death underscored the need to implement the administration’s proposals to reduce gun violence. “The president and the first lady’s thoughts and prayers are with the family of Hadiya Pendleton,” Carney replied when asked if Obama had heard of the shooting. “If we can save even one child’s life, we have an obligation to try when it comes to the scourge of gun violence . . .
New York - Time Warner Inc is considering selling its iconic New York headquarters and has asked real estate brokers to evaluate the building´s worth, according to sources familiar with the situation. The company is considering a wide range of options, including selling the midtown Manhattan building and leasing it back, or moving more employees into the building and closing other New York offices, or moving out from the building entirely, one of the sources said on Wednesday. Time Warner owns or occupies space in 15 buildings in the New York metropolitan area, of which 10 are in Manhattan,
Michelle Obama promptly tweeted pictures of freshly picked vegetables today, after it was suggested that she had dropped her anti-obesity campaign Let´s Move. The White House Dossier - an unauthorized blog about the U.S. President and his family - posted an article this morning which highlighted that the First Lady had done little to personally publicize the initiative since last September. However several hours later Mrs Obama hit back via her FLOTUS Twitter account with an image of cabbage and broccoli ´harvested´ from her Kitchen Garden. The snap included a link to a soup recipe on the Let´s Move website.
CLARENCE, N.Y. - In Clarence, tempers flared as gun-owners met with state officials to talk about the New York SAFE Act. (*SNIP*) And some questions had complicated answers. "You´re next question is, are you going to be arrested? I can´t answer that. It would be up to the officer you encounter. They would have to decide," said Mike Green of the Division of Criminal Justice Services. Some people got very heated with their questions, complaining that law-abiding people are getting punished. "Now you´re turning them into criminals. You´re making them angry. And when angry people get together they form militias…
Sports Illustrated has published an in-depth examination of a company called Sports with Alternatives to Steroids (S.W.A.T.S.) and its relationship with high-profile athletes, including Baltimore Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis. S.W.A.T.S. is an edgy sports science company run by a gym owner/former stripper. The company specializes in holographic stickers, deer-antler pills, and other, um, progressive means of enhancing a player´s performance. David Epstein and George Dohrmann write that S.W.A.T.S. owner Mitch Ross recorded a phone conversation with Lewis after the linebacker´s injury in October.
Israel conducted an airstrike inside Syria overnight near the border with Lebanon, hitting a convoy of trucks, US and regional officials said Wednesday. The regional officials said Israel had been planning in the days leading up to the airstrike to hit a shipment of weapons bound for Hezbollah in Lebanon. They said the shipment included sophisticated, Russian-made SA-17 anti-aircraft missiles, which would be strategically "game-changing" in the hands of Hezbollah. A US official said the strike hit a convoy of trucks. SA-17 missiles are self-propelled and have the capacity to hit jets at a low
It’s getting easier to get away with shooting people in Chicago. Last year, gunmen who shot and wounded someone got away without criminal charges 94 percent of the time, according to a DNAinfo.com Chicago analysis of police data. That’s even worse than 2011, when 91.5 percent of shooters escaped charges, according to the data. Headline split by staff
FORT HOOD, Texas – A judge has decided a Fort Hood shooting suspect still can face the death penalty if convicted in the worst mass shooting on a U.S. military installation. The judge, Col. Tara Osborn, on Wednesday denied Maj. Nidal Hasan´s request to remove the death penalty as a punishment option. Osborn was expected to rule later on Hasan´s request to plead guilty to 13 counts of premeditated murder in the 2009 attack on the Texas Army post. But Army rules prohibit a judge from accepting a guilty plea in a death penalty case.