Archive for January, 2010

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Excerpts from State of the Union Released 7:00PM

January 28, 2010

THE WHITE HOUSE

Office of the Press Secretary

_______________________________________________________________________________________

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

January 27, 2010

EXCERPTS OF THE PRESIDENT’S STATE OF THE UNION ADDRESS

We face big and difficult challenges.  And what the American people hope – what they deserve – is for all of us, Democrats and Republicans, to work through our differences; to overcome the numbing weight of our politics.  For while the people who sent us here have different backgrounds and different stories and different beliefs, the anxieties they face are the same.  The aspirations they hold are shared.  A job that pays the bill.  A chance to get ahead.  Most of all, the ability to give their children a better life.

You know what else they share?  They share a stubborn resilience in the face of adversity.  After one of the most difficult years in our history, they remain busy building cars and teaching kids; starting businesses and going back to school.  They are coaching little league and helping their neighbors.  As one woman wrote to me, “We are strained but hopeful, struggling but encouraged.”

It is because of this spirit – this great decency and great strength – that I have never been more hopeful about America’s future than I am tonight.  Despite our hardships, our union is strong.  We do not give up.  We do not quit.  We don’t allow fear or division to break our spirit.  In this new decade, it’s time the American people get a government that matches their decency; that embodies their strength.   And tonight, I’d like to talk about how together, we can deliver on that promise.

By the time I’m finished speaking tonight, more Americans will have lost their health insurance.  Millions will lose it this year.  Our deficit will grow.  Premiums will go up.  Co-pays will go up.  Patients will be denied the care they need.  Small business owners will continue to drop coverage altogether.  I will not walk away from these Americans.  And neither should the people in this chamber.

Rather than fight the same tired battles that have dominated Washington for decades, it’s time for something new.  Let’s try common sense.  Let’s invest in our people without leaving them a mountain of debt. Let’s meet our responsibility to the people who sent us here.

To do that, we have to recognize that we face more than a deficit of dollars right now. We face a deficit of trust – deep and corrosive doubts about how Washington works that have been growing for years. To close that credibility gap we must take action on both ends of Pennsylvania Avenue to end the outsized influence of lobbyists; to do our work openly; and to give our people the government they deserve.

That’s what I came to Washington to do. That’s why – for the first time in history – my Administration posts our White House visitors online. And that’s why we’ve excluded lobbyists from policy-making jobs or seats on federal boards and commissions.

But we cannot stop there. It’s time to require lobbyists to disclose each contact they make on behalf of a client with my Administration or Congress.  And it’s time to put strict limits on the contributions that lobbyists give to candidates for federal office. Last week, the Supreme Court reversed a century of law to open the floodgates for special interests – including foreign companies – to spend without limit in our elections. Well I don’t think American elections should be bankrolled by America’s most powerful interests, and worse, by foreign entities.  They should be decided by the American people, and that’s why I’m urging Democrats and Republicans to pass a bill that helps to right this wrong.

I’m also calling on Congress to continue down the path of earmark reform. You have trimmed some of this spending and embraced some meaningful change.  But restoring the public trust demands more. For example, some members of Congress post some earmark requests online. Tonight, I’m calling on Congress to publish all earmark requests on a single website before there’s a vote so that the American people can see how their money is being spent.

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Daily International News 01.27.10

January 27, 2010

Daily International News
January 27, 2010

@ London Conference
Clinton Seeks More Pressure on Iran
[NYT]
Nations Meet to Discuss Yemen
[WSJ]
London meeting marks sea-change in Afghan approach
[Reuters]

Japan
Toyota’s Woes in America Raise Concern in Japan
[NYT]

Koreas
N. Korea steps up call for peace treaty amid seething border tension
[Yonhap]
Two Koreas trade fire; North shoots again [Reuters]
North Korea warns South of more artillery firing
[Reuters]

Central Asia
NATO and Kazakhstan Reach Transit Pact for Afghanistan
[NYT]
UN Removes Five Taliban Officials from Blacklist
[Quqnoos]
Holbrooke says US to back Taliban reintegration
[AP]

S/SE Asia
Sri Lanka president wins historic re-election
[Reuters]
>> Fonseka rejects Sri Lanka election win for Rajapaksa [BBC]
Malaysia arrests foreigners on terror charges
[BBC]
American pleads not guilty in Mumbai attack case
[Reuters]

Middle East
U.S. military teams, intelligence deeply involved in aiding Yemen on strikes [WaPo]
Attacker hits Israeli chief justice with sneaker
[AP]
Iran official: German diplomats involved in “riots”
[Reuters]

Europe
Russia: Work on new arms treaty with U.S. nears end [Xinhua]
NATO, Russia boost military ties in Afghan war
[AP]

Africa
Sudan’s ousted Sadiq al-Mahdi enters election race
[BBC]

Americas
Tourists paying $500 for Machu Picchu evacuation
[Times of London]
Haiti Halts Departures of Orphans
[WSJ]
>> Haiti government begins delivering food [Miami Herald]
>> Haiti govt gets only 1 cent of every US aid dollar [AP]
New Honduran leader to take office, ending turmoil
[AP]

Domestic
ACORN “pimp” charged in alleged plot to wiretap Landrieu
[Salon]
TechBytes: Apple’s Big Announcement
[ABC]
Toyota suspends sales of eight US models [BBC]

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Daily International News 01.26.10

January 26, 2010

Daily International News
January 26, 2010

DPRK
Report says NKorea may be preparing missile launch
[AP]
Seoul’s nuclear envoy hints at early start of talks on peace treaty with N. Korea
[Yonhap]
N. Korea proposes inter-Korean event for June 15 Declaration
[Yonhap]

China
Taiwan – Mainland, Taiwan experts conclude first talks on economic pact with common understandings [Xinhua]
HHDL – China, Dalai Lama envoys to meet after stalemate [AP]
Uyghurs – CORRECTED-China sentences four more to death for Urumqi riot [Reuters]
Google.cn – Google case ‘will not derail ties’
China says to handle petitioners more “kindly”
[Reuters]
China renames ‘Avatar’ mountain in honour of film
[BBC]
Hong Kong lawmakers quit in push for democracy
[BBC]

Southeast Asia
Out of war’s shadow, Sri Lankans vote for president
[Reuters]

Middle East
Iraq crime lab car bomber kills many in Baghdad
[BBC]
Iran to inaugurate missile projects in February
[Reuters]
Pilot in Beirut crash didn’t follow tower’s advice
[AP]

UK
UK government lawyer said Iraq war was illegal
[Reuters] and Lawyer’s memo contradicts Jack Straw’s evidence to Chilcot inquiry [Times]
British, Irish hold talks to save NIreland govt
[AP] and Hillary Clinton may step in to break Ulster impasse on policing [Times]
Britain exits longest recession on record – just
[Times]

Europe
German ambassador to Iceland found dead in car
[Reuters]
French report wants limits on Muslim face veil
[AP]

Haiti
World Leaders Plan Haiti Funding Effort
[WSJ]

Domestic
Obama to Call for Three-Year Freeze on Some Federal Spending
[Bloomberg]
Tea Party Disputes Take Toll on Convention
[NYT]

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Daily International News 01.25.10

January 25, 2010

Daily International News
January 25, 2010

DPRK
01.24 North Korea responds angrily to South’s talk of strike [BBC]

Japan
01.24 Mayor-Elect in Okinawan City Opposes U.S. Base [WaPo]
China, S Korea, Japan to hold preliminary meeting on free trade pact
[Xinhua]

China
China Tries to Steer Public Opinion on Web Issue
[WSJ] and Accusation of Chinese government’s participation in cyber attack “groundless”: ministry [Xinhua]
China has ‘open mind’ on cause of climate change
[BBC]
01.23 Taiwan’s Grand Hotel welcome for Chinese visitors [BBC]

Southeast Asia
Myanmar says Suu Kyi to be freed in November – witnesses
[Reuters] and Myanmar party plays down Suu Kyi release report [Reuters]

Middle East
‘Chemical Ali’ executed in Iraq
[BBC]

AfPak
01.24 Afghanistan postpones parliamentary election until fall [CNN]
01.24 McChrystal sees Taliban role [FT]
Afghan, Pakistan leaders in Turkey for security talks
[AFP]

Europe
Prime Ministers due in NI for talks on policing talks
[BBC]
Greek finance minister rejects rumors of quitting eurozone
[DW]
French call for veil ban in public buildings
[AP]

Africa
Sudan sets two-month deadline for deal with rebels
[AFP]
Algerians return from Guantanamo Bay prison
[BBC]
Ethiopian jet crash deaths rise as 34 bodies found
[Reuters]

Haiti
Debate grows in aftermath of quake: Should U.S. let more Haitians immigrate?
[WaPo]
Haiti’s PM in Canada for International Meeting on Earthquake Recovery
[VOA]

Americas
White House, Top Republican Say Bernanke to Keep Job
[Bloomberg]
Bin Laden endorses bomb attempt on US plane
[AP]
U.S. seeks charges against former Guatemalan president
[CNN]

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Daily International News 01.22.10

January 22, 2010

Daily International News
January 22, 2010

Japan
U.N. official says Japan’s aid to Haiti too little
[Reuters]
Support for Japan ruling party erodes amid scandal
[Reuters]

Koreas
N. Korea offers talks with S. Korea on border restrictions
[Yonhap]
N. Korea ranks last in U.S. economic freedom index
[Yonhap]

China
China urges U.S. to stop accusations on so-called Internet freedom
[Xinhua]

South Asia
India warns of hijack threat to national carrier
[Reuters]
Pakistan ‘wants unarmed drones’
[BBC]

Middle East
120 al-Qaida suspects detained in Turkey
[AP]
Iraq election chief: More candidates to be banned
[AP]

Europe
Russia says hopes for prompt U.S. nuclear deal
[Reuters]
Russia, U.S. to resume START talks early next month
[Xinhua]
Russia says to start up Iran nuclear plant this year
[Xinhua]

Africa
Nigeria cabinet told to rule on sick President Yar’Adua
[BBC]

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Why the Google.cn Issue Won’t Ruin Sino-US Relations

January 21, 2010

Among China watchers in Washington, DC , the big news today revolved around Secretary of State Hillary Clinton‘s speech on Internet Freedom. Given at the Newseum in downtown DC, Clinton railed lambasted governments and individuals who use communication networks like the Internet to lessen personal freedoms, human rights, and incite racial and political hatred. While some saw it as especially salient this week as Google decides whether or not it’s “Don’t Be Evil” motto can be upheld in its China operations, the bottom line is that no amount of verbal rhetoric or posturing can ultimately weaken the economic and regional security partnership of China and the United States.

Hillary Clinton has her ear to the ground on internet freedom.

Anticipating the Secretary’s speech today, the Vice Foreign Minister of China, He Yafei, tried to disentangle the Google.cn issue from overall Sino-US Relations. “The Google case should not be linked with relations between the two governments and countries; otherwise, it’s an over-interpretation,” he said, addressing a press conference in Beijing, then adding that “If foreign companies have different viewpoints with this regard, they should also seek solutions according to the law.”

But is this nothing new? Is the Vice FM correct in saying that this won’t hamper future relations? I think so and for a multitude of reasons. Primarily, President Obama has been extremely careful to lay down a good foundation upon which to build better Sino-US ties during his Presidency. I would think his scuttling of the human rights issue in Beijing, gentle refusal to meet the Dalai Lama before he met with Chinese leadership, and lengthy Asia trip extolling the virtues of the, what State Department Spokesman P.J. Crowley characterizes as a “broad, deep, expanding and durable relationship.”

Also, we must consider the implications for a negative turn in Sino-US relations. Even coming from a hippie optimist like myself, a dip in relations would affect our domestic economic situation (China increased its foreign reserves by $453 billion last year alone), regional security situation (China is the chair of the Six-Party Talks, aimed at bringing North Korea back to the table on nuclear weapons talks), and cultural influence (the US benefits just as much from cheap Chinese imports as the Chinese do from McDonald’s, Nike, and knock-off Playboy t-shirts…they’re more popular than you think).

Clinton today made several strong statements. She said “We stand for a single internet, where all of humanity has equal access to knowledge and ideas and we recognize that the world’s information infrastructure will become what we and others make of it.” But, she also said that “the United States and China have different views on this issue and we intend to address those differences candidly and consistently in the context of our positive, cooperative, and comprehensive relationship [italics mine].” Strong statement and Global Internet Initiatives aside, the U.S. is, and will remain, willing to work cooperatively with China on issues as seemingly black-and-white as human rights. The bottom line is that the U.S. has to – considering global and regional power relationships, there is no other choice.

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Daily International News 01.21.10

January 21, 2010

Daily International News
January 21, 2010

Koreas
Koreas end Kaesong estate talks without progress
[BBC]

China
China says Google case should not be linked to ties with U.S.
[Xinhua]
China on Path to Become Second-Largest Economy
[NYT]
Spain could ask EU to lift arms ban on China
[China Daily]
Hackers harass government sites
[China Daily] and Leading websites promise to fend off piracy [China Daily]
SMS returns to Xinjiang
[China Daily]

Middle East
Yemen stops airport visas to hamper militants
[Reuters]
New Israeli demand complicates US peace mission
[AP]
Netanyahu turns fire on Abbas as U.S. envoy flies in
[Reuters]
Iraq leader seeks ruling on committee behind ban
[AP]

Europe
Russia denies Baltic fleet boost over Patriot move
[Reuters]

Americas
Web Access Is New Clinton Doctrine [WSJ]
Dominican Republic offers to host Honduras’ Zelaya
[Reuters]
Conan O’Brien Seals Deal to Exit NBC
[WSJ]