Saturday, July 21, 2012

Explosives Defused in Colorado Suspect's Home

US police have defused what they described as a sophisticated and dangerous device at the home of the suspect in the deadly Colorado movie theatre shooting They say the booby-trap could have killed whoever entered James Holmes' apartment. Holmes is suspected of shooting dead 12 people at a cinema. Al Jazeera's John Hendren reports from Aurora in Colorado.

Froman Meets With African Government Officials

Sustaining Economic Growth and Poverty Alleviation in the Region Among the Topics Discussed 

Assistant to the President and Deputy National Security Advisor for International Economic Affairs Michael Froman led a high level delegation consisting of senior Administration officials from the Department of Commerce, the U.S. Agency for International Development, USTR, the Overseas Private Investment Corporation, the Department of State and the National Security Staff to sub-Saharan Africa from July 11 - 20.

The trip included stops in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania; Addis Ababa, Ethiopia; Nairobi, Kenya; and Abuja, Nigeria. At each stop the delegation met with a cross section of government officials, private sector leaders and young entrepreneurs to push forward on a range of issues and initiatives including: the Partnership for Growth, the East African Community trade and investment partnership, the New Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition, the National Export Initiative, the Young African Leaders Initiative as well as energy generation, transmission and distribution and infrastructure development.

This trip comes on the heels of the launch of the U.S. Strategy Toward Sub-Saharan Africa, and was focused on steps to accelerate efforts to enhance U.S. Government collaboration with our African partners to promote increased investment, build the capacity of Africa's economic institutions, and drive sustained economic growth and poverty alleviation in the region.

Top Newsy Headlines: Families Notified in Colorado Shooting


By Nathan Byrne

Anchor: Nathan Byrne
Video courtesy of

Editor's note:
 Other Newsy videos will play following this report.

Oval Office Chat Session: Obama and Oates

Summary of the President’s Call with Police Chief Oates and His Oval Office Briefing with Senior Administration Officials

Yesterday afternoon, the President telephoned Aurora Police Chief Dan Oates from the Oval Office to tell him that his and Michelle’s thoughts and prayers are with the community of Aurora, particularly the local first responders who have performed well under difficult and stressful circumstances. 

The President also told Chief Oates that he should expect the full support of the FBI and other federal law enforcement agencies moving forward, including any resources they need to handle the ongoing situation at the suspect’s apartment.

Earlier in the day, upon his return to the White House from Florida, the President, along with Vice President Biden, received a briefing on the investigation of the Aurora, Colorado, shooting from: FBI Director Robert Mueller, Homeland Security Advisor John Brennan, Deputy Attorney General James Cole, Chief of Staff Jack Lew, Senior Advisor Valerie Jarrett and White House Counsel Kathryn Ruemmler. 

'For Muslims, Ramadan is a Time of Fasting, Prayer and Reflection'

Statement by the President on the Occasion of Ramadan

On behalf of the American people, Michelle and I extend our warmest wishes to Muslim Americans and Muslims around the world at the start of Ramadan.  For Muslims, Ramadan is a time of fasting, prayer, and reflection; a time of joy and celebration. It’s a time to cherish family, friends, and neighbors, and to help those in need.

This year, Ramadan holds special meaning for those citizens in the Middle East and North Africa who are courageously achieving democracy and self-determination and for those who are still struggling to achieve their universal rights.  The United States continues to stand with those who seek the chance to decide their own destiny, to live free from fear and violence, and to practice their faith freely.  Here in the United States, Ramadan reminds us that Islam is part of the fabric of our Nation, and that—from public service to business, from healthcare and science to the arts—Muslim Americans help strengthen our country and enrich our lives.

Even as Ramadan holds profound meaning for the world’s 1.5 billion Muslims, it is also a reminder to people of all faiths of our common humanity and the commitment to justice, equality, and compassion shared by all great faiths.  In that spirit, I wish Muslims across America and around the world a blessed month and I look forward to again hosting an iftar dinner here at the White House.  Ramadan Kareem.   

Barbara Rosene Jazz Concert at Maple Grove

Vocal Specialist of 
1920s/1930s Music Performs 
“New Orleans & Jazzy Things”

Queens, NY -- On Saturday, July 21 at 8pm, The Friends of Maple Grove Cemetery will present acclaimed jazz artist Barbara Rosene.

Rosene’s renowned music set, “New Orleans and Jazzy Things”, will be performed at Celebration Hall at the Center at Maple Grove, 127-15 Kew Gardens Road, Kew Gardens, NY.

Free parking on the premises and on the street will be available. A pre-concert wine and cheese reception is scheduled for 7:30pm. Reservations are required and seating is limited.

This year’s summer jazz concert is a Supernova Production and features Master of Ceremony Andrew Joseph Koslosky.

The performance honors the music and legacy of those interred at Maple Grove Cemetery:  Jimmy Rushing, LaVerne Baker, Vincent Youmans, Tony Sbarbaro, Theresa Merritt, George Washington Johnson and many others. The performance is an hour long and will include a 15-minute intermission.

For more details about the artist, visit  

For pricing information, call the Friends of Maple Grove Cemetery at 718-523-1876.

Image courtesy of

NSA's Donilon to Visit China and Japan

Discussion of Regional and Global Challenges Planned

On July 22, 2012, National Security Advisor Thomas E. Donilon will travel to Beijing, China for meetings with senior Chinese officials, including State Councilor Dai Bingguo.  Mr. Donilon will discuss the current and future state of U.S.-China relations and cooperation on regional and global challenges of mutual concern including nonproliferation, regional security in Asia and the Middle East, and global economic growth. Mr. Donilon will then travel to Tokyo for consultations with senior Japanese officials on U.S.-Japan security cooperation and other bilateral issues, as well as a range of regional and global challenges.

Assad's Military Forces Strike Back

The attack which resulted in the killing of Assad's crucial aids has spurred the Free Syrian Army's current wave of momentum across the country. Though those deaths were a blow to the government, Assad's military is now striking back - in one attack in the Midan area of Damascus, several protesters were killed Friday by government snipers. Al Jazeera's Jane Ferguson reports

Iraq Seals Border Crossings with Syria

Syrian rebels have taken control of one of the country's key border crossings with Iraq, but Syria's neighbour has sealed off its end of the crossing and is not allowing refugees to pass through. Iraq has sent an army division to guard the border post, as the war-weary country grows increasingly concerned about the possibility that Syria's conflict could spill over the border into its territory. Jane Arraf reports from Irbil in northern Iraq.

With Hong Kong Graveyards Full, Burials at Sea Become More Common

With more than seven million people, Hong Kong is one of the world's most densely populated areas. More than 40,000 people die there every year, and the territory is running out of space to bury them. In a departure from traditional Chinese custom, which says a body must be buried so it can return to the earth, many families join government-run maritime burial services to scatter their loved ones' ashes at sea. Al Jazeera's Stephanie Scawen reports

Growing Concerns Over Syria's 'Chemical Weapons'

As the conflict in Syria rages on, there is a growing concern over the government's suspected possession of chemical weapons. Al Jazeera's Patty Culhane takes a look at what US officials are saying and doing about the potential threat.

Libyans Look Forward to Ramadaan Without Gaddafi

Muslims around the world are marking the start Ramadan. It is their first Ramadan since the fall of Muammar Gaddafi, and many are also celebrating their new found freedom. Al Jazeera's Stefanie Dekker reports from Tripoli.

Charcoal Harvesting Killing Off Ivory Coast's Rain Forests

Electricity is a luxury in war torn Ivory Coast but for the poor charcoal is the cheaper alternative. Now environmentalists are warning that one of West Africa's remaining rainforests is disappearing at an alarming rate because of increased industrial logging and people cutting down trees to make charcoal - the only fuel they can afford. Al Jazeera's Haru Mutasa reports from Guiglo.

Friday, July 20, 2012

President Obama Speaks on the Shootings in Aurora

Oval Office Chat Session: Obama and Borrisov

President Offers Condolences to 
Bulgarian Prime Minister  

President Obama spoke with Bulgarian Prime Minister Borissov today to express his condolences for Wednesday’s terrorist attack that killed Israeli tourists and a Bulgarian bus driver in Burgas, Bulgaria.  The President reiterated his condemnation of the barbaric attack. He offered his support for the ongoing investigation, and for the Bulgarian people in this challenging time. The leaders discussed the strong partnership and excellent counter-terrorism cooperation between the United States and Bulgaria, and the President expressed his appreciation for Bulgaria’s important contributions as a NATO member to international peace and security.

President Obama Orders Flags Flown at Half-Staff




As a mark of respect for the victims of the senseless acts of violence perpetrated on July 20, 2012, in Aurora, Colorado, by the authority vested in me as President of the United States by the Constitution and the laws of the United States of America, I hereby order that the flag of the United States shall be flown at half-staff at the White House and upon all public buildings and grounds, at all military posts and naval stations, and on all naval vessels of the Federal Government in the District of Columbia and throughout the  United States and its Territories and possessions until sunset, July 25, 2012.  I also direct that the flag shall be flown at half-staff for the same length of time at all United States embassies, legations, consular offices, and other facilities abroad, including all military facilities and naval vessels and stations.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this twentieth day of July, in the year of our Lord two thousand twelve, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and thirty-seventh.


Image courtesy of

In Memoriam....Sergeant Jose J. Reyes and Sergeant Daniel A. Rodriguez

Sergeant Jose J. Reyes  

Killed by IED in Ghazni City, Afghanistan

Governor Andrew Cuomo has directed that flags on state government buildings be flown at half-staff on Tuesday, July 24 in honor of two Fort Drum soldiers who died on July 18.

Sergeant Jose J. Reyes and Sergeant Daniel A. Rodriguez died when their vehicle was struck by an enemy improvised explosive device in Ghazni City, Afghanistan. 

They were assigned to the 548th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion, 10th Sustainment Brigade, 10th Mountain Division, based at Fort Drum. Sergeant Reyes was from San Lorenzo, Puerto Rico, and Sergeant Rodriguez was from Baltimore, Maryland.

 Sergeant Daniel A. Rodriguez

"I join with all New Yorkers in mourning the loss of Sergeant Reyes and Sergeant Rodriguez," Governor Cuomo said. 

"I send my deepest sympathies to their families, friends, and fellow soldiers. We will honor the service of these two Fort Drum soldiers and we will be forever grateful for their dedication to our nation."

From The G-Man would like to take this opportunity to honor 
Sergeant Jose J. Reyes and Sergeant Daniel A. Rodriguez, their love of country, and their service with the following video tribute. May they forever rest in peace. 

Video uploaded to YouTube by moderatepopulist

Photos courtesy of

Alex Jones, Don't Even Go There!

From The G-Man
Warns Controversial Talk Show Host to Avoid Stating Colorado Shooting May Have Been "False Flag" Operation

I'm going to be extremely direct and brutally honest. In the aftermath of the tragedy in Aurora, Colorado, I expect the controversial and wildly-popular radio host Alex Jones to take to the airwaves and state that the shooting may have been part of a "false flag" operation. Don't do it, Jones!

In addition to this, I expect Jones, whom many in and outside of mainstream media regard as a conspiracy theorist, to say that the entire incident may have been concocted by covert federal government operatives, the "New World Order", and the Obama Administration to attack the Second Amendment. Don't do it, Jones! 

Over the last year, Jones has repeatedly told listeners, which is now estimated to be in the millions, that President Obama is doing everything possible to seize guns from American citizens all over the country. Moreover, Jones, along with numerous guests that have appeared on "The Alex Jones Show", has repeatedly stressed that a false flag event would be launched in effort to introduce legislation to change gun laws in the United States and impose severe restrictions on those wishing to purchases firearms.

Jones and his popularity continue to expand, and that is because there are a good number of people in this country that believe the former preacher is speaking the gospel and defending the rights of "patriots" who believe America is quickly evolving into a cesspool of illegal immigrants, disgusting welfare cheats and "sheeple". 

The First Amendment grants Jones the right to say whatever he wants on his show, and he's shrewd enough to know when to push the envelope and when to pull back. Alex Jones, in terms of what took place in Aurora, I'm telling you to pull back and don't even think about mentioning the killings as a false flag event or how the Obama Administration will seize the shooting as an opportunity to eliminate the Second Amendment.  

Currently, the count stands at 12 dead and 50 seriously wounded. The town of Aurora is reeling and will be for an extremely long time. The horrific event will be covered for the next several days, and possibly longer, in the media. People will be burying and mourning loved ones that were brutally and senselessly gunned down. Alex Jones, I suggest you give the families, as well as the situation, the respect they deserve. If you want to go off on one of your famous rants, have the decency to wait until the blood has been removed from the floor, seats and walls of the Century 16 movie theater. Have the decency to wait until the families and concerned people of this country have sought ways to deal with the tragedy....and the pain.

You and the incomparable Gerald Celente, publisher of the Trends Journal, constantly refer to the national media as "presstitues". Well, if you attempt to use this tragedy to your advantage, what the hell does that make you? 

By the way, if you have a problem with what I've said, you may want to keep this in mind. Texans are tough, Mr. Jones, but New Yorkers are bad-ass. 

This commentary is from the heart and.....from The G-Man. 

Photo source: Alex Jones at Ottawa Bilderberg 2006
Author: Alex Jones

'All of Us Must Have the People of Aurora in Our Thoughts and Prayers...'

Statement by President Obama on the Shooting in Colorado

Michelle and I are shocked and saddened by the horrific and tragic shooting in Colorado. Federal and local law enforcement are still responding, and my Administration will do everything that we can to support the people of Aurora in this extraordinarily difficult time. We are committed to bringing whoever was responsible to justice, ensuring the safety of our people, and caring for those who have been wounded. As we do when confronted by moments of darkness and challenge, we must now come together as one American family. All of us must have the people of Aurora in our thoughts and prayers as they confront the loss of family, friends, and neighbors, and we must stand together with them in the challenging hours and days to come.

Statement by Vice President Biden 

Jill and I were shocked to learn of the tragedy in Aurora, Colorado this morning. The reason this is so deeply felt by all Americans is that, but for the grace of God, the victims could have been any one of our children, in any one of our towns. It is every parent’s worst nightmare to receive ‘that phone call’ and to sit by their child’s bedside, praying. We know what it’s like to wait and wonder and the helplessness a parent feels at this moment. Our hearts go out to each and every person who is suffering right now as a result of this terrible event. The prayers of an entire nation are with the victims and their families. We stand with the city of Aurora and the state of Colorado in mourning.

12 Dead, 50 Wounded at Colorado Theater Shooting


By Kerry Leary

Anchor: Jim Flink
Video courtesy of

Editor's note:
 Other Newsy videos will play following this report.

Nigeria Gold Rush is Killing Children

Hundreds of children in northern Nigeria's Zamfara state have died because of gold mining. More than 400 have perished in the past two years, and thousands of young children are at risk of disability as they are being poisoned by lead, which is used in the mining process. And non-compliance of safe mining options and lack of simple low-tech machinery has not helped the cause. International medical humanitarian group, Doctors Without Borders, believes it is "the worst outbreak in modern history". Al Jazeera's Mohammed Adow reports from Abare in Zamfara state.

Zeina Khodr on the Syria Border Developments

Syrian opposition fighters have taken control of a number of border crossings with Iraq and Turkey.In Masnaa in Lebanon, is Zeina Khodr reports on border developments there.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Sylvia Woods Dead at 86

Creator of the World-Renown "Sylvia's" Restaurant Was Battling Alzheimer's Disease

NBC News is reporting that Sylvia Woods, a beloved member of the Harlem, New York community and creator of the world-famous soul food restaurant "Sylvia's" has died.

According to family members, Woods succumbed to complications resulting from Alzheimer's disease. She died at her home in Westchester.

The news report can be viewed here: "Queen of Soul Food" Passes Away

Image courtesy of

"Bring Jobs Home Act" Blocked

Statement by Press Secretary Jay Carney

The President believes we must attract and keep good jobs in the U.S. by rewarding companies who bring jobs back to America. That’s why he called on Congress to pass legislation that gives companies a tax credit for moving operations back to the United States.  It was paid for by eliminating deductions for expenses associated with moving operations overseas. 

Unfortunately, Republicans in Congress blocked this proposal from moving forward. Rather than encouraging companies to bring jobs back to our shores, they chose to play politics and block measures that will create jobs and strengthen the middle class. We will continue to push Congress to act on proposals like this one and the other remaining portions of the President's American Jobs Act that independent economists say would create a million new American Jobs. It's time for Republicans in Congress to stop obstructing these commonsense proposals and act to create good jobs here at home.

More details are available in The Hill.

Egypt's Former Spy Chief Dies

The former Egyptian intelligence chief and vice President under Hosni Mubarak has died in the United States. Omar Suleiman made headlines last year by announcing Mubarak's resignation. Al Jazeera's Sherine Tadros reports from Cairo.

Aboriginal Youth at a Greater Risk of Suicide

The youth suicide rate amongst the Aboriginal community is among the highest in the world. Many Aboriginal elders believe a disconnect from their culture and land is driving many young people into depression.   But one indigenous group in the country's north is using tradition to help at-risk teenagers.   Al Jazeera's Yaara Bou Melhem reports from Darwin.

Cuomo: 'Make Sure You're Adequately Insured Against Storm Losses'

Homeowners Should Review Their Insurance Coverage, Make Needed Adjustments, and Understand How Deductibles Work

Governor Andrew Cuomo today urged homeowners to take steps now to protect their homes in the event New York is hit by any of the nine to 15 storms the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) predicts for the 2012 Atlantic hurricane season.

The NOAA predicts that as many as three of those storms will strengthen to hurricane force with top winds of 111 miles per hour or higher. Hurricane season extends through November 30.

"New Yorkers need to act now to make sure their homeowners’ policies offer an adequate level of protection against storm losses," said Cuomo.

"As the typical homeowners' policy does not always cover flooding damage, homeowners should also make sure they are protected from flooding. With the possibility of strong storms this summer, I urge homeowners to review their insurance policies, understand what is covered and contact their insurance agent or broker if they have questions or need to update their policies."

"People should never take it for granted that they are covered against all possible losses. Insurance policies contain limitations and exclusions. It’s particularly important that homeowners understand how deductibles work,” stated Superintendent of Financial Services Benjamin M. Lawsky.

“As we continue to study the homeowners’ insurance market in New York's coastal areas, the Department is committed to ensuring homeowners in these areas understand the terms of their policies and take every feasible step to protect their homes.” 

Many coastal homeowners are subject to deductibles for particular kinds of events, including damage caused by windstorms and hurricanes.

These deductibles are often expressed as a percentage of the home’s insured value, which is usually the cost to rebuild a home, not the cost to purchase it. 

For instance, for a home insured for $500,000, a five percent windstorm or hurricane deductible would mean that the homeowner is responsible for $25,000, or five percent of the value, before the insurer will begin payment. Thus, for example, if the home sustains $75,000 in damage, the homeowner would have to pay for the first $25,000 in damages before the insurer would cover the remaining $50,000. 

The amount of the windstorm or hurricane deductible appears on the declarations page of any policy to which it applies.

Homeowners should consider a number of actions to protect themselves in the event of storm losses and make filing claims easier should losses occur:

Keep copies of all insurance policies, insurance cards and the contact information for your insurance agent, broker or company, in a safe place that is easily accessible in the event of an emergency. Remember to take the information with you if you need to evacuate your home.

Document the contents of your home by compiling a home inventory that lists information such as the cost and date of purchase of major items.

A sample inventory form is available on the Department of Financial Services' website.

Buy flood insurance if you do not already have this coverage. Typically, there's a 30-day waiting period from date of purchase before your policy goes into effect.

Take practical steps to minimize potential loss and damage to your home from fire and theft -- as well as windstorms -- by doing such things as trimming dead or overhanging tree branches, installing storm shutters and dead bolt locks, and equipping your home with a fire extinguisher.

Renters should also consider how to protect their possessions because their personal property is not covered by their landlords’ insurance policies. In addition to providing protection for their possessions, many renters’ policies cover the cost of additional living expenses if there is damage to the property and the renter needs to live elsewhere while the property is being repaired. 

Visit the Homeowners’ Insurance Resource Center for additional information.  

Information about the specific deductibles offered by individual companies is available here:  Specific deductibles

Homeowners can also call the Department’s Consumer Assistance Unit at 1-800-342-3736 Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

President Obama Honors the Baylor Lady Bears

Straight, No Chaser! (A Special Edition)

Hardcore Commentary on Professional Sports....from a Die-Hard Fan

Straight, No Chaser!
By Mark Thomas

The Dream Team vs. the Wannabes

Okay, it had to happen sooner or later, and I’ve gotten to the point where I can’t hold my tongue any longer.  Let’s end the nonsense once and for all regarding a debate that should not be taking place: The Dream Team versus the wannabes!

First of all, I want to defend Kobe Bryant. When asked if he thought the 2012 Olympic basketball team could beat the Dream Team of 1992, he stated, "It'd be a tough one, but I think we'd pull it out." People! What was he supposed to say?  He’s on the 2012 team!  Was he supposed to say what we know to be the truth, that there is no way on the planet that the 2012 team could ever beat The Dream Team? The question was posed to Bryant two days later, he stuck to his guns saying, “The fact is, they have [Patrick] Ewing and [David] Robinson and those big guys, it's tough. If you're asking me, 'Can you beat them one game?' Hell yeah, we can beat them in one game. You didn't ask me if we could beat them in a seven-game series. In one game, we can beat them. No question about it.” He said what he should have said, so leave Kobe alone!

Now, to the debate.

It not only saddens me, but it ticks me off that people would even mention these teams in the same breath.  How dare they!  There is no way on the planet that the Dream Team would lose to these thrown-together Olympic basketball teams.

Take a look at the lineups, minus Christian Laettner.

There is no balance to the 2012 roster. You have one center on the team, and he’s not even a post player! The best post-up player on the 2012 roster is Carmelo Anthony. On the 2012 team you have, as I said, one center, six forwards, and five guards. In essence, you have seven to eight players that play the same position. Even the lone power forward (Kevin Love) that they have is a jump shooter! When I watched the US play against Brazil, they were getting killed on the boards! They were out-rebounded 38-32, but Brazil had 32 defensive rebounds versus the USA’s 18.  Yes, I know, they still won the game. If that’s all that matters to you, you might as well stop reading this now. 

In order to compare this team to The Dream Team, there has to be complete domination from start to finish, not a 10-point deficit at the end of the first quarter. Team USA had a great second quarter and won the third and fourth quarter by a combine six points! Sorry, but that’s not domination. The Dream Team set a standard that no team has been able to match or surpass! Team USA is going to run into a team that will be able to exploit their weakness in the middle. The only weakness that has been and continues to be discussed, in relation to The Dream Team, is that their point guards were slow. “They may have a hard time staying in front of quicker guards” was the criticism, but where were they going to go if they beat Magic Johnson or John Stockton off the dribble? You had Patrick Ewing, (6th all-time in blocks), David Robinson (5th all-time in blocks), Karl Malone, Charles Barkley, and help defenders like Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen lying in wait. If slow point guards were the Dream Team’s only weakness, then they had no weakness! This 2012 team is an outside jump-shooting, low percentage shot-taking cluster of unbalanced talent! Will they win?  They should, but they won’t be anywhere near as dominant as the 1992 team. The Dream Team was comprised of 11 players, all of whom have been inducted into the NBA Hall of Fame, which completely destroyed every team it faced! That team would have been absolutely flawless if you replaced Laettner with Isaiah Thomas. 

In other arguments, I hear people making individual comparisons of Team USA and the Dream Team. For example, “What Dream Team player would guard LeBron James?” Well, who on the 2012 team could guard Michael Jordan? Who on the 2012 team could guard Patrick Ewing? Who on the 2012 team could guard Barkley or Malone? Answer: None of these guys could guard the Dream Team players!  With the exception of Kobe, the 2012 players are a bunch of ball-boys compared to the Dream Team!

Sound off, America and those living abroad. Let me hear what you have to say.

Mark Thomas is a former New York City resident now living in North Carolina.

George Zimmerman Interview

SEAN HANNITY, HOST: And tonight in an interview that you will only see right here on "Hannity," George Zimmerman, the man charged with second degree murder of Trayvon Martin, breaks his silence.

Zimmerman Tells His Side of Story in First TV Interview


By Christina Hartman

Anchor: Lauren Zima
Video courtesy of

Editor's note:
 Other Newsy videos will play following this report.

Researcher Michael Stephens on the Syria Crisis

Al Jazeera speaks to Michael Stephens, a researcher with The Royal United Services Institute on developments in Syria.

UN Considers Next Steps in Syria

As violence continues in Syria's streets, the United Nations is working out what to do next.   It's still struggling to find a way of forcing the Assad government to pull its military out of cities.  Al Jazeera's Patty Culhane reports.

Iran Accused in Bulgaria Bus Blast Killing Israelis

A bus carrying Israeli youth has exploded in a Bulgarian resort, killing at least seven people and wounding dozens, police and hospital officials said. Binyamin Netanyahu, the Israeli prime minister, called Wednesday's blast "an Iranian terror attack" and promised a tough response. Al Jazeera's Rory Challands reports.

NATO Trucks Destroyed After Afghan Taliban Attack

A Taliban bomb attack has destroyed 22 fuel tankers carrying supplies for NATO forces in Afghanistan, local officials said, as nine Afghan soldiers and two NATO troops died in escalating attacks. A magnetic bomb stuck to the side of a truck triggered a series of powerful explosions in what were mainly fuel tankers parked overnight at a rest stop in Samangan in northern Afghanistan on Wednesday. Al Jazeera's Bernard Smith reports from Kabul.

Global Impact as Drought Wilts US Crops

At least 29 states in the United States'' Midwest are feeling the heat of the Big Dry as oppressive heat and a worsening drought are pushing grain prices near or past records. Corn is a mega-crop and a bad year drives up the price everything from beef to cereal and auto fuel. As crops continue to wilt and falter, farmers and consumers across the globe are hoping for more rain, despite forecasts of dry days ahead. Al Jazeera's John Hendren reports from Rensselaer, Indiana.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

White House Briefs

Albany News and Views

Oval Office Chat Session: Obama and Netanyahu

President Offers Condolences and Support in the Wake of Bulgaria Terrorist Attack

The President called Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu today to offer his condolences and assistance following the terrorist attack targeting Israeli tourists in Bulgaria. The President strongly condemned this outrageous attack that killed and wounded innocent Israelis and Bulgarians, including Israeli children. The President pledged to stand with Israel in this difficult time, and provide whatever assistance is necessary to identify and bring to justice the perpetrators. The President reaffirmed our unshakeable commitment to Israel’s security and our deep friendship and solidarity with the Israeli people.

This CNN news report provides more detail on the attack.

Politics in Action: S. 3364


S. 3364 – Bring Jobs Home Act

(Sen. Stabenow, D-MI, and 13 cosponsors)

The Administration strongly supports Senate passage of S. 3364, a bill that would encourage companies to invest in the United States and bring jobs back while preventing companies from receiving tax breaks for shipping jobs overseas.

The Nation's tax code does too little to encourage job creation and investment in the United States while allowing firms to benefit from incentives to locate production and jobs overseas.  This bill can help attract and keep jobs in the United States by providing a 20 percent general business tax credit for eligible expenditures associated with bringing jobs back, which is paid for by preventing firms from receiving tax breaks for deducting expenses associated with outsourcing.

Senate passage of this bill is consistent with the Administration's commitment to support economic growth, job creation, and business investment in the United States, and serves to discourage outsourcing in all sectors of the economy, but particularly in our manufacturing sector.  Following a decade in which the United States lost over 5 million manufacturing jobs, the Nation has begun to make progress.  Over the past 28 months, the U.S. manufacturing sector has added roughly 500,000 new jobs, the fastest pace of manufacturing job growth since 1995.  Instead of rewarding firms for shifting production and jobs overseas, the tax code should strengthen the domestic manufacturing sector, support job growth and innovation, and encourage companies from all sectors of the economy to invest in the United States. 

The Administration looks forward to working with the Congress to encourage companies to invest in America and bring jobs home.