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Older News Archivescom0116
NEWS     SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 20, 2014     NEWS

Pelosi: When ‘Obama Won The Election, He Took Us Out Of That [Economic] Brink’
At the Americans United rally “Hands Off Social Security & Medicare” at the Capitol on Thursday, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) blamed Republicans for the economic recession of 2007-09, saying their "lack of regulation and supervision took our country to the brink, and so when President Obama won the election, he took us out of that brink.” “I know you've heard from many members of the House and Senate about the importance of the three pillars of security for America’s seniors: about Social Security, about Medicare and about Medicaid,” she said.  CNS News
VOA VIEW: The biggest Pelosi lie ever.

Alibaba Opens Sharply Higher In Wall Street Debut
Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba (BABA) opened at $92.70 in its Friday debut, a 36% boost, after pricing its initial public offering at the high end of the range at $68 per share. Releasing 320 million shares, Alibaba raised $21.8 billion, surpassing Visa to become the largest U.S. IPO ever. “I feel excited and honored and I also feel very humbled,” Executive Chairman and founder Jack Ma told FOX Business in a televised interview. “It’s a great blessing from the world and we are so excited by the trust we got today.” Ma personally owns 9% of Alibaba, a stake worth about $14 billion at the offering price. A marked change from his salary in his schoolteacher days, Ma says he does not plan to increase his expenditures. “The money I got it’s the trust people of me. They think I can spend money better than most people.” Fox News

Bill Clinton: U.S. Has Proven It Can't Win An Iraq Land War
Former President Bill Clinton voiced support for the U.S. strategy to defeat ISIS and said only the Iraqi people can win a land war in Iraq. Speaking Thursday night on "The Daily Show with Jon Stewart," Clinton said the United States has proven it can't win an Iraq war with boots on the ground, but that moderate Sunni tribal leaders working with an inclusive Iraqi government can. "We can't win a land war in Iraq, but they can and we can help them," Clinton said. Clinton said he thinks President Barack Obama's strategy to combat ISIS, or the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, "has a chance to succeed." CNN

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Protests Planned To Target U.S. Southern Border Entry Ports
American citizens describing themselves as "deeply concerned" with Obama administration immigration policies plan a mass protest on Saturday to press their demand to seal the southern border by blocking traffic at more than a dozen U.S. crossings. Demonstrators will attempt to stop incoming and outgoing traffic at 17 of the 63 locations in Texas, New Mexico, Arizona and California listed on the U.S. Customs and Border Protection website. Rob Chupp, an organizer of the action publicized as "Shut Down All Ports Of Entry," said more than a thousand people are expected to gather across the several states at the same time, 8 a.m. PDT/10 a.m. CDT at targeted checkpoints, park their vehicles in every lane and turn them off. Reuters

Bridge Scandal May Be The Least Of Chris Christie's 2016 Worries
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie received some good news on Thursday: A Justice Department investigation – so far – has found no evidence that the governor was involved in his state’s “Bridge-gate” scandal, according to a report from NBC 4 New York. The bad news is that, with a spate of tough economic news and polling showing him flagging among conservatives, Bridge-gate may be the least of Christie’s worries if he’s considering a presidential run in 2016. Consider these stories over the past few months: MSNBC

Goodell: ‘Same Mistakes Can Never Be Repeated’
NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell gave a public apology Friday afternoon during a press conference to address the league’s handling of several domestic abuse cases, announcing he will soon meet with experts to come up with new policies to better manage personal conduct issues. Goodell said he will establish a conduct committee to review the new rules and hopes to have the committee in place by the Super Bowl. Washington Times

SpaceX Readies Dragon For Launch To Space Station
SpaceX engineers loaded last-minute equipment and research gear aboard a Dragon cargo ship Friday, setting the stage for launch atop a Falcon 9 rocket early Saturday on a two-day flight to the International Space Station. Loaded with more than 5,100 pounds of cargo, including 20 mice in a compact habitat, spacesuit batteries, an experimental 3D printer, IMAX cameras and an instrument to measure ocean wind speeds, the Dragon cargo craft was scheduled for liftoff from pad 40 at the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station at 2:14 a.m. EDT Saturday, roughly the moment Earth's rotation carries the pad into the plane of the space station's orbit. CBS

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At Women’s Event, Biden Praises Ex-Senator Accused Of Abusing Women
Vice President Joseph R. Biden joked Friday that he is “getting old,” and then moments later probably wished he could take back the remark. At a Democratic event for women Friday, Mr. Biden spoke fondly of a former senator who was drummed out of office for sexual misconduct. Mr. Biden was addressing the Democratic National Committee Women’s Leadership Forum and criticizing the Republican Party for its treatment of women when he spoke favorably about former Sen. Bob Packwood of Oregon as someone who worked with Democrats. Washington Times

Obama Rolls Out "It's On Us" Initiative To Combat Sexual Assault
Taking the next step in its effort to root out sexual violence, particularly at college campuses, the Obama administration on Friday launched a public awareness campaign called "It's On Us" to help all Americans feel responsible for preventing sexual assault. "Campus sexual assault is no longer something we as a nation can turn away from and say, 'that's not our problem,'" President Obama said, joined by Vice President Joe Biden in the East Room of the White House. "We've got to have a fundamental shift in our culture." An estimated one in five women has been sexually assaulted during her college years, Mr. Obama noted. Only 12 percent of those assaults are reported, and in those cases, only a fraction of the perpetrators are brought to justice. CBS

Al Jazeera America Sues Former VP Gore
Al Jazeera America is suing former Vice President Al Gore and Joel Hyatt, the former owners of the TV network that became Al Jazeera America. The parties are fighting over money that is being held in escrow. The former vice president and Hyatt, the founder of Hyatt Legal Services, sued the network last month saying that it was improperly withholding tens of millions of dollars placed in escrow when Al Jazeera bought Current TV for $500 million. Al Jazeera America says it is entitled to the money because Gore and Hyatt agreed to indemnify the network for claims made against Current TV, but didn't live up to their promise. It accuses the pair of "misrepresentations" and says they received hundreds of millions of dollars from the sale. ABC

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White House Anti-Assault Campaign Uses Stars, Sports To Reach Campuses
U.S. President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden, who have long talked about the need to curb sexual assault at universities, got some help on Friday from the people many young adults actually listen to: celebrities and athletes. In its latest effort to help college campuses confront the issue, the White House is relying on a combination of the National Collegiate Athletic Association, social media and star power to spread its message aimed at preventing and coping with such assaults.
Television actors Jon Hamm and Kerry Washington, hip-hop artist Common and NBA basketball player Kevin Love are among those promoting the public awareness campaign, called "It's On Us." Reuters

Suspected California Arsonist In Court As Major Wildfire Grows
As the alleged arsonist is set to make his court appearance Friday, the unwieldy wildfire that officials say he deliberately sparked in Northern California is showing no signs of slowing down. The fire in the steep canyons of El Dorado County grew to more than 73,000 acres early Friday — nearly the size of Atlanta — and is only 10 percent contained since it started Saturday, according to the latest figures. “With the return of higher temperatures and lower humidity (Friday) or Saturday, the active fire behavior is expected to return,” officials warned as the blaze continues to burn through parts of Eldorado National Forest, threatening some 12,000 homes. As of late Thursday, no structures had been destroyed in the fire, which is costing $5 million a day to fight. MSNBC

Fitch Keeps 'AAA' Rating On US Credit
Fitch Ratings says that the U.S. still deserves its highest credit rating. Fitch on Friday affirmed its "AAA" rating on U.S. debt. The ratings agency said its outlook on the rating is stable, meaning it does not expect a downgrade in the near future. Fitch said the U.S. can tolerate more debt than other countries because the dollar is the world's pre-eminent reserve currency and fixed-income asset. It also noted the country has the deepest and most liquid capital markets in the world. The federal deficit should decline as a portion of gross domestic product over the next few years, though it should resume growing in fiscal 2016, Fitch said. ABC

Ebola Worst-Case Scenario Has More Than 500,000 Cases
The Ebola outbreak in West Africa could spread to hundreds of thousands more people by the end of January, according to an estimate under development by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that puts one worst-case scenario at 550,000 or more infections. The report, scheduled to be released next week, was described by two people familiar with its contents, who asked to remain anonymous because it isn’t yet public. The projection, which vastly outstrips previous estimates, is under review by researchers and may change. It assumes no additional aid or intervention by governments and relief agencies, which are mobilizing to contain the Ebola outbreak before it spirals further out of control in Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea. Bloomberg

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Anti-War Liberals Join Fiscal Conservatives In Rejecting CR
It's an unusual day when liberal Sens. Elizabeth Warren, Patrick Leahy, and Bernie Sanders join conservatives Ted Cruz, Mike Lee and Rand Paul in voting against a measure to keep the government operating. Thursday was one of those days. Nine Democrats and one independent joined 12 mostly conservative Republicans (see list below) in voting against a continuing resolution (CR) that nevertheless passed (78-22) on Thursday. Some conservatives voted no because they oppose Obamacare, amnesty, and other liberal government programs; but the liberals voted no because they oppose U.S. involvement in Syria's civil war. CNS News

Dollar Has Longest Win Streak Since 1967 On Divergence
The dollar had its longest stretch of gains since Lyndon Johnson was in the White House after the Federal Reserve signaled an end to unprecedented monetary stimulus measures next year. The U.S. Dollar Index advanced for a 10th straight week, the longest since at least March 1967, when Johnson was in the fourth year of his presidency. The yen fell to a six-year low as the Bank of Japan pledged to maintain stimulus to stave off deflation, and the euro reached the weakest in 14 months as the European Central Bank offered a loan program. Sterling rose for the first week this month after Scotland rejected independence. Bloomberg

Washington Memo: Harry Reid Kills Yucca Again, Joe Heck Earns A Promotion
After a tense two weeks in Washington, D.C., Congress wrapped up its business until the Nov. 4 elections. Lawmakers debated the U.S. role to fight terrorism in the Middle East and passed a temporary budget during this brief session squeezed between the August recess and the election break. Nevada’s lawmakers also worked on veterans issues, job discrimination legislation and lands bills. Here’s a wrap-up of their two weeks in Washington: Las Vegas Sun

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2014 Midterms: Two Things Republicans Must Do Before November 4
The president's job approval numbers are lousy, no Democrat in a competitive Senate race polls regularly above 50%, GOP enthusiasm is high, and independents are trending Republican. The midterm environment is terrible for Democrats—yet each passing day provides evidence as to why a GOP Senate majority is still in doubt. On Monday President Obama appeared at a $100,000-a-person fundraiser in D.C. to support his party's efforts to keep the Senate. It was his 84th fundraiser this election cycle. He's certain to have more before Nov. 4. Fox News

Defense Sec. Chuck Hagel Asking For Information About Military Ties To NFL
Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel has asked his staff for detailed information about the U.S. military's relationships with the National Football League in the wake of the scandal over how the league is handling domestic-abuse allegations against players, CNN has learned. News of the Pentagon review comes on the same day a senior Obama administration official decried recent domestic abuse episodes within the NFL and said the league needs to "get a handle on" the situation since so many professional athletes are considered role models to younger players. The Pentagon is increasingly sensitive to any suggestion it is supporting a major sports organization that is perceived to tolerate domestic violence. CNN

Feds Mum On Prosecution Of Illegal Border Crossers
Federal officials who oversee a program that guarantees jail time for immigrants caught crossing the border illegally have refused to provide information about the program's status in Yuma, Arizona. Arizona Sens. Jeff Flake and John McCain have asked the Department of Justice to provide details about whether federal prosecutors in Yuma have scaled back Operation Streamline, the zero-tolerance program that aims to quickly prosecute migrants who have recently crossed the border.
U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder has not responded to the senators, a Flake spokeswoman said. Public affairs officials from the Department of Homeland Security, Department of Justice and the U.S. Customs and Border Protection have also refused to answer questions or confirm any changes. Las Vegas Sun

Obama Refuses To Grant Ukraine Special Non-NATO Ally Status
Thursday was likely a disappointing day for Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko, whose requests for lethal aid and special security status as a non-NATO ally were both denied by U.S. President Barack Obama. Poroshenko delivered an impassioned plea for both at a joint session of the U.S. Congress on Thursday. When asked whether the U.S. would grant the request for special non-NATO ally status, White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest said Thursday, "I'm not familiar with that specific request." Despite receiving applause from lawmakers while describing Ukraine's needs in the face of Russian aggression, Poroshenko was told later by Obama during a meeting in the White House that neither request would be granted in the $53 million aid package. UPI

Army Updates Hair Regulations To Accommodate Women Of Color
The U.S. Army announced Tuesday a new policy regarding hair and tattoo regulations after being criticized for not accommodating the needs of black women. Previously, those who had more than four visible tattoos bigger than the wearer's hand were restricted from requesting a commission as an officer or a warrant officer. The revisons remove that policy by allowing them to request with the endorsement of their commanding officer. Face, eyelid, mouth and ear tattoos are still prohibited as well as racist, extremist, sexist and indecent tattoos. UPI

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Solution To Mideast Conflict To Be Brought Before UN Security Council
President Hollande says a resolution will be presented to the UNSC that will say very clearly what we expect from the peace process and what the solution to the conflict must be. A solution to the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians will be outlined in a UN Security Council resolution, French President Francois Hollande said on Friday evening. "We will have a resolution, to be presented to the Security Council, that will say very clearly what we expect from the (peace) process and what the solution to the conflict must be," Hollande told reporters in a joint news conference with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, AFP reported. Jerusalem Post

US Senate Elevates Israel's Status As 'Major Strategic Partner'
An omnibus bill full of measures improving the relationship between Israel and the United States has passed the US Senate, after delay since May. The bill declares Israel a "major strategic partner" of the US, enhances Israel's trade status to expedite export licensing, increases cooperation on energy, water engineering, research and development, and expands authority for forward-deployed US weapons stockpiles in the Jewish state. But missing from the bill is action on an issue long encouraged by Israeli officials and their advocates on Capitol Hill: inclusion of Israel  in the US visa waiver program, which would allow smooth travel from one country to the other. Jerusalem Post

Islamic State Crisis: Kerry Says Iran Can Help Defeat IS
Despite not being invited to join the US-led military coalition, Iran - Mr Kerry said - could help "take out" IS. Last week, the US said it would be inappropriate for Iran to join the coalition because of its "engagement in Syria and elsewhere". The US and France have both carried out air strikes against IS, who control larges swathes of Iraq and Syria. President Francois Hollande said French jets carried out their first strikes on Friday, hitting an IS depot in north-eastern Iraq. The US has carried out more than 170 air strikes against the jihadist group in Iraq since mid-August. BBC

Turkey Opens Border To Syrian Kurds Fleeing IS
TV footage showed exhausted people, mostly women and children, crossing into the south-eastern border village of Dikmetas under tight security. The move followed clashes with Turkish Kurd protesters who were calling for the refugees to be allowed in. Syrian Kurds have been massing along the Turkish border since Thursday.
They have been fleeing escalating clashes between IS and Kurdish fighters in the area. Turkey - which shares a border with Iraq and Syria - has taken in more than 847,000 Syrian refugees since the uprising against President Bashar al-Assad began in 2011. BBC

Putin Considers Plan To Unplug Russia From The Internet 'In An Emergency'
The Kremlin is considering radical plans to unplug Russia from the global internet in the event of a serious military confrontation or big anti-government protests at home, Russian officials hinted on Friday. President Vladimir Putin will convene a meeting of his security council on Monday. It will discuss what steps Moscow might take to disconnect Russian citizens from the web "in an emergency", the Vedomosti newspaper reported. The goal would be to strengthen Russia's sovereignty in cyberspace. The proposals could also bring the domain .ru under state control, it suggested. Guardian

US Judge Calls Bitcoin Company 'Ponzi Scheme' And Levies $40M Fine
A US federal judge in Texas ordered Bitcoin Savings and Trust and its owner to pay a combined $40.7m after the Securities and Exchange Commission established that the company, which sold investments using the virtual currency, was a Ponzi scheme. In a decision dated Thursday, US magistrate Judge Amos Mazzant said Trendon Shavers “knowingly and intentionally” operated his company “as a sham and a Ponzi scheme”, misleading investors about the use of their bitcoin, how he would generate promised returns and the safety of their investments. Guardian

Nicolas Sarkozy Announces Return To French Politics
Nicolas Sarkozy dramatically lifted the curtain on his bid to regain the presidency on Friday by posting a Facebook message saying he will be a candidate for the leadership of of the centre-right UMP party. The comeback announcement by Mr Sarkozy, who had vowed never to return to politics after losing the last election to François Hollande, signals the start of a long race to succeed Mr Hollande in 2017. It ended months of “will he, won’t he” speculation fostered by Mr Sarkozy himself, who repeatedly dropped hints that he was needed to save France from the “ruinous” policies of Mr Hollande. Few French voters ever believed that he had been serious about retiring from politics for good. Telegraph

US Senate Pledges $10m Bounty On Isil' Murderers Of Foley And Sotloff
The US Senate has unanimously approved a bill providing up to $10 million for information leading to the arrest or conviction of people involved in executing two American journalists murdered by jihadists. "One way we can honor the memories of James Foley and Steven Sotloff is to bring their evil murderers to justice, which this measure will help do," Senator Marco Rubio said Friday. Rubio, from Sotloff's home state of Florida, said it was important to send the message "that the United States will work tirelessly to ensure that the deaths of these beloved journalists do not go unpunished." Telegraph

Iraq: Security Council Urges International Support For Government’s Combat Against Insurgents
The Security Council today strongly condemned attacks by terrorist organizations including the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), and urged Member States to assist the Iraqi Government’s efforts to combat militants and implement its new political agenda, while the United Nations envoy to the country briefed on the latest developments. In the meeting presided over by United States Secretary of State John Kerry, the Council adopted a statement which urged the international community to work closely with the Government of Iraq to identify how best the world can aid implementation of the new Iraqi agenda. UN News

Marking International Day, UN Affirms People's Right To 'Imagine' And Live In Peace
With John Lennon’s iconic song “Imagine” as the backdrop, the United Nations today marked the International Day of Peace underscoring that all people have the right to peace. “We must douse the fires of extremism and tackle the root causes of conflict,” Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said ahead of the official observance of the Day, 21 September, which this year falls on Sunday. As on each year since the Day was created in 1981, the Secretary-General asked combatants to lay down their arms “so all can breathe the air of peace.” He also called on people around the world to observe a minute of silence at noon and reflect on what peace means for the human family. UN News

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