Jerusalem – In a stunning setback, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu´s hard-line bloc fared worse than expected in a parliamentary election Tuesday, exit polls showed, possibly forcing the incumbent Israeli leader to invite surprisingly strong moderate rivals into his government and soften his line toward the Palestinians. TV exit polls showed the hard-liners with about 61 seats in the 120-seat parliament, a bare majority, and the counts could change as actual votes are tallied. The unofficial TV results had Netanyahu winning only 31 seats,
Bashar Assad won Round 1, and there probably won’t be a Round 2. The momentum toward punishing the Syrian regime, payback for what everyone agrees are war crimes and crimes against humanity, has dissipated. Momentum blunted is difficult to recover. Through leaks, winks and nudges, President Obama first did a reasonably persuasive imitation of Sylvester Stallone and the Terminator, as the bold and decisive man of war bubbling with testosterone. He sounded as if he were trying to remind the world of George H.W. Bush who on the eve of the campaign to evict Saddam Hussein from Kuwait, famously cried: “This
Washington -- The Justice Department will not attempt to challenge state laws that allow for the medical and recreational use of marijuana as long as the drug sales do not conflict with eight new federal enforcement priorities. Those include the distribution of marijuana to minors and sales that assist or act as cover for trafficking operations, according to a directive that is being issued today to federal prosecutors across the country. Although the directive issued by Attorney General Eric Holder will apply nationwide, it will largely affect the 20 states and the District of Columbia that allow for medical marijuana use, and
This has the makings of a grave policy error: a repeat of the dramatic events in the autumn of 1998 at best; a full-blown debacle and a slide into a second leg of the Long Slump at worst. Emerging markets are now big enough to drag down the global economy. As Indonesia, India, Ukraine, Brazil, Turkey, Venezuela, South Africa, Russia, Thailand and Kazakhstan try to shore up their currencies, the effect is ricocheting back into the advanced world in higher borrowing costs. Even China felt compelled to sell $20bn of US Treasuries in July. "They are running down reserves by selling US
Greece’s former Finance Minister, who steered the country into the single currency, has chided Angela Merkel after the German Chancellor said the debt-strapped country should have never been allowed to join the euro. “She [Angela Merkel] should be more careful in what she is saying,” Yannos Papantoniou told The Independent. “I don’t really think Ms Merkel really believes what she says – it’s part of the party games played ahead of [German] elections.” Ms Merkel, pictured, has been on the campaign trail for weeks now as she battles to win a third term when Germany holds its general election on 22 September.
New York -- Fast-food customers in search of burgers and fries on Thursday might run into striking workers instead. Organizers say thousands of fast-food workers are set to stage walkouts in dozens of cities around the country, part of a push to get chains such as McDonald´s, Taco Bell and Wendy´s to pay workers higher wages. It´s expected be the largest nationwide strike by fast-food workers, according to organizers. The biggest effort so far was over the summer when about 2,200 of the nation´s millions of fast-food workers staged a one-day strike in seven cities. Thursday´s planned walkouts follow a series of strikes
Sen. Tim Scott, R.-S.C., the only African American serving in the United States Senate, wasn´t invited to the event commemorating the 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King´s march on Washington, though a host of Democratic luminaries spoke on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial. “Senator Scott was not invited to speak at the event,” Greg Blair, a spokesman for the South Carolina lawmaker, said in a statement to the Washington Examiner. “The senator believes today is a day to remember the extraordinary accomplishments and sacrifices of Dr. King, Congressman John Lewis, and an entire generation of black leaders. Today’s anniversary should
While over 100,000 people were expected to show up at today’s ceremonies marking the 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King, Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech, late estimates put the crowd numbers at 20,000. Mike Levine of ABC News reported at 2:10 p.m. ET that unofficial crowd estimates from law enforcement sources put the number at “over 20,000.” The original March on Washington was attended by anywhere from 250,000 to 1 million people. The "I Have a Dream" speech was attended by an estimated 200,000 Americans.
Words just don’t have meanings they once did. We have a gift for abusing and discounting the language. “Hate” was once one of the most powerful words in the language. We’ve reduced it to a footnote on a legal bill of indictment. When some crimes are so awful that even words won’t do, we try to add emphasis, like saying it in italics or capital letters. Eventually, even the italics and capitals are reduced to fine print in the public consciousness. Calling certain acts “hate crimes” is a meaningless sop to public opinion. All murder is a hate crime, whether in Florida
The first legal abortion in an Irish hospital has been carried out in Dublin, it was confirmed on Friday. The termination was carried out on a woman who had an unviable 18-week pregnancy and whose life was risk at the National Maternity hospital. It is the first legal abortion to be carried out since the Protection of Life During Pregnancy Act was passed by both houses of the Irish parliament last month. The National Maternity hospital is one of 25 hospitals in Ireland authorised to carry out terminations under the provisions of the act. It was performed under section 7, which deals with the
An era is ending at Microsoft Corp. The software giant said Chief Executive Steve Ballmer, a central figure at the company for more than three decades, has decided to retire within the next 12 months. The surprise announcement Friday follows a broad reorganization that had appeared to solidify his power at Microsoft as head of a new team of leaders. Mr. Ballmer, who is 57 years old, will depart after a successor has been chosen, the company said. Its board has appointed a special committee—including Chairman Bill Gates—that will consider both external and internal candidates. Microsoft shares jumped after the announcement, recently trading
Notre Dame University announced Thursday it will begin admitting illegal immigrants to the school and will provide them with financial aid, saying the move will “strengthen” the student body. The university had never had an official ban on illegal immigrants but Inside Higher Ed reported the school treated them as international students and required them to have student visas — which effectively served as a bar. “We will strengthen our incoming class and give deserving young people the chance for a Notre Dame education,” Don Bishop, associate vice president for undergraduate enrollment, said in a statement announcing the policy. The university also said
In exchange for his long awaited exit as Mayor, the city of San Diego will pay Bob Filner´s legal fees and his share of damages in a lawsuit according to anonymous sources. An estimate puts that amount around several hundred thousand dollars. The body count is up to 18, possibly more, women who have alleged Filner groped, licked, squeezed and harassed them. Filner refused to leave office, even as women continued to come forward. Obviously, his resignation was the only bargaining chip he had in his pocket. A lawsuit was filed by Gloria Allred on behalf of her client who was
Washington -- Speaking from the Rose Garden of the White House on Saturday, US President Barack Obama said that he has decided to take military action against Syria-- but that he would seek the approval of Congress to do so. "I have decided that the United States should take military action against Syrian regime targets," he said, adding a second decision: "I will seek authorization for the use of force from American representatives in Congress." (Snip) Military leaders, Obama said, gave him the assurance that attack preparations were not "time-sensitive," and could occur "today, tomorrow or next month."
WASHINGTON — Facing faltering support in foreign capitals and Congress for a strike against Syria, the Obama administration on Friday made an aggressive and coordinated push to justify a military intervention on the grounds that American credibility was at stake. One day after the British Parliament voted against an attack on Syria, a stunning blow to White House plans for a broad coalition to punish President Bashar al-Assad of Syria for a mass killing in the suburbs of Damascus last week, President Obama and his top aides gave every indication that they were in final preparations for an attack that
Conservative columnist Charles Krauthammer predicted on Friday that should President Barack Obama make a misstep when dealing with Syria, he could spark a “major regional war.” In his column published in Friday’s Washington Post, Krauthammer alluded to the “guns of August,” a reference to 1914 and the build-up that led to the start of World War I. That reference was a comparison to the current situation in Middle East involving Syria and a pending U.S. strike over the use of chemical weapons, and how those seemingly isolated events could unfold into something bigger.
The Obama administration is today still reeling from Thursday’s enormous setback to the Syria intervention effort, as the UK voted to reject military intervention in the war-torn nation. It is difficult to overestimate just how devastating this is to the President’s foreign policy. Britain has stood side by side with America in almost every post-war conflict. The one major exception was the Vietnam War, arguably America’s biggest ever defeat. Put simply, America wins when it goes in with Britain, it loses when it does not. And Britain almost always stands shoulder to shoulder with its strongest ally. So what happened?
David Cameron’s defeat in the Commons delivered a second serious embarrassment to US-UK relations, with American officials already “livid” with the British, according to Western diplomatic sources at the United Nations. But the White House made clear they would not change course in light of the Commons vote. “The President believes that there are core interests at stake for the United States, and that countries who violate international norms regarding chemical weapons need to be held accountable,” said Caitlin Hayden, a spokesman for Mr Obama’s National Security Council. US officials also said they would not be constrained by the collapse
The secretary of state boiled with moral indignation, American pride and war bluster. The defense secretary huffed that America has “moved assets in place” and is “ready” to punish the strongman. And though the president says he has yet to decide whether to attack, leaked details of the coming military action were all over the newspapers: Within “days,” US Navy ships will launch a barrage of Tomahawks at selected targets. Have George W. Bush and his band of cowboy neo-cons retaken the White House? If only. This time the secretary of state is John Kerry, who launched a political career opposing the
On Thursday, two women ages 32 and 24, were allegedly gang-raped by 10-12 black juveniles at Kosciuszko Park in Wilmington, Deleware. The attack reportedly happened at 6:54 PM when the women were sitting on a bench. The boys, who range in age from 12 to 17-years-old, allegedly assaulted the women and then fled. One woman called 911 and both were taken to Christiana Hospital. From MyFoxPhilly: "Initial investigation suggested the victims were in Kosciuszko Park when they were approached by a group of juveniles. The juveniles assaulted the victims and fled in an unknown direction," police said in a news
After delivering a statement on Syria this afternoon, Barack Obama jumped in the presidential limo and hit the links. Via an NBC reporter: From the pool: Obama and Biden are now playing golf. — Carrie Dann (@CarrieNBCNews) August 31, 2013 UPDATE: Via the pool report: "Potus arrived at fort belvoir at 3pm to pay golf with VP Biden, Marvin Nicholson and Walter Nicholson."
WASHINGTON -- President Barack Obama released a video message congratulating American Muslims on the many achievements and contributions they have made to American society from its early history to present day. The video, which will be aired today at the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA) annual convention, highlights the myriad of ways the American Muslim community, and specifically ISNA leadership, has served as an effective partner in promoting inter-religious initiatives in the U.S. and religious freedom for minorities around the world. DC Mayor Vincent E. Gray, one of the convention´s keynote speakers, also recognized the significance of the American Muslim experience
Having leaked to the world, and thus to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, a detailed briefing of the coming U.S. air attack on Syria — (1) the source (offshore warships and perhaps a bomber or two), (2) the weapon (cruise missiles), (3) the duration (two or three days), (4) the purpose (punishment, not “regime change”) — perhaps we should be publishing the exact time the bombs will fall, lest we disrupt dinner in Damascus. So much for the element of surprise. Into his third year of dithering, two years after declaring Assad had to go, one year after drawing — then erasing
The Chicago Public Schools this year are mandating that the district’s kindergarten classes include sex education, fulfilling a proposal President Barack Obama supported in 2003 when he served in the Illinois state senate and later defended when he ran for president in the 2008 election cycle. At a Planned Parenthood convention at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel in Washington, D.C., on July 17, 2007, a teenage girl who said she worked as a sex-education “peer educator” in the D.C. public schools asked then-U.S. Sen. Obama what he would do to encourage the teaching of “medically accurate, age-appropriate, and responsible sex education.”
First Lady and style icon Michelle Obama has come a long way from her preppy school girl look. The White House tweeted on Thursday a photo of Michelle Obama as a fresh-faced 14-year-old in 1978. The black and white portrait shows her sporting a collared shirt under a sweater and what is perhaps her best fashion accessory: her beaming smile. The tweet was accompanied by a link to a White House blog post about the First Lady´s call to arms for young people to be the "next agents of change" as she hosted a viewing of a new documentary about civil rights