Saturday, September 8, 2012

Weekly Address: Coming Together to Remember September 11th

9/11 Museum Controversy Halts Construction

With the eleventh anniversary of the 9/11 attacks only days away, construction of the 9/11 memorial museum at ground zero has ground to a halt due to a funding dispute. Anthony Mason reports, then he and Rebecca Jarvis talk with two people who lost family members in the attack about what needs to be done to end the controversy and finish the museum.

Alzheimer's Could Be Detected Before Symptoms Occur

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Job Numbers and the Economy

Marilyn Geewax spoke about the monthly jobs report that indicated jobe growth of 96,000 jobs and an unemployment rate that had been reduced to 8.1%. She also spoke about the overall state of the economy, and how the economy played as an issue at both the Republican and Democratic conventions. She responded to telephone calls and electronic communications.

New Bill Strengthens Laws Against Internet Access of Child Pornography

Cuomo: "This New Law Stops Criminals Who Have Been Able to Escape Prosecution and Punishment for Too Long"

On September 7, Governor Andrew Cuomo signed legislation that strengthens the laws against internet access of child pornography.

The new law amends New York's Penal Law to prohibit individuals from knowingly accessing with the intent of viewing child pornography on the internet.

Currently, under New York law, an individual who views child pornography on a website where the images become automatically embedded in a computer does not "possess" child pornography. This legislation closes that loophole.

Under the new law if an individual purposefully accesses a website, intending to view child pornography, he or she will be committing a class E felony.

As a result of this new law, child pornography can never be legally possessed in New York State.

“With the strengthening of these laws, we eliminate any loophole to better protect our children from predators,” said Governor Cuomo.

“This new law stops criminals who have been able to escape prosecution and punishment for too long. I applaud Majority Leader Skelos, Speaker Silver and the bill sponsors for their leadership and dedication to keeping our kids safe. By working together, we are ensuring that all New Yorkers, especially children, are kept safe and that justice is rightfully served.”

“Viewing child pornography is a deplorable act. This new law closes a legal loophole that never should have existed in the first place by imposing tough new criminal penalties on people who view or possess child pornography,” said Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos.

“The law will protect innocent children from being exploited and victimized. I applaud Senator Golden for his leadership in sponsoring this measure and Governor Cuomo for signing it into law.”

Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver stated, "In prohibiting Internet access of child pornography, we are placing one more safeguard between our children and heinous predators. The protection of New York’s children has always been a top priority for the Assembly Majority and I thank the Governor and our other partners in government for their support of this legislation.”

“New York and our nation were shocked and offended when they learned of a loophole that prevents the appropriate prosecution of individuals who view child pornography,” added Senator Marty Golden, a former New York City police officer and senate sponsor of the bill.

“Our children, families and all citizens are safer because of this new law that puts in place stricter penalties against this wrongful behavior. New York now conforms to federal regulations and rightly classifies viewing child pornography as a crime."

Assemblyman Joe Lentol, co-sponsor of the bill, said, "This legislation closes a crucial loophole that endangered the safety and protection of our children. The signing of this legislation is something all New Yorkers can applaud.”

In 1996, New York state enacted a law prohibiting the possession of child pornography. However, in a case decided on May 8, 2012, the New York Court of Appeals held that existing law did not prohibit “accessing and viewing” child pornography on the internet.

The Court specifically invited the State to amend the Penal Law to criminalize accessing child pornography with the intent to view it on the internet. The new law addresses that glaring loophole. 

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Today in History: September 8th

Highlights of this day in history: Galveston hurricane kills thousands; President Gerald Ford pardons Richard Nixon; Nazis begin Leningrad siege during World War II; Comedian Sid Caesar born; Original 'Star Trek' premieres on TV. (Sept. 8)

Obama Gets Bounce in Polls, Letdown in Jobless Rate


By Danny Matteson

Anchor: Jim Flink
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Scores Killed in China Earthquakes

Damage from two earthquakes and a spate of aftershocks is hampering rescue teams in southern China. At least 80 people are now thought to have been killed and around a hundred thousand people have been evacuated. Al Jazeera's Marga Ortigas reports from Hong Kong.

Julius Malema Capitalizes on South Africa Mining Situation

Striking miners in South Africa are still refusing to go back to work. The almost month-long stoppage at a platinum mine in Marikana is also hurting the country's President Jacob Zuma politically. His party presidency will be challenged later this year at the African National Congress's national conference. But, expelled ANC youth league leader, Julius Malema is using the current atmosphere of discontent to gain political mileage against Zuma. Al Jazeera's Mike Hanna reports from Johannesburg.

Confusion Over Attack on CIA Agents in Mexico

Differing reports are emerging of an attack on two CIA agents by Mexican federal police. The US initially said their diplomatic vehicle was "ambushed". But high-ranking Mexican officials said the shooting was a mistake, and not a deliberate attack. Al Jazeera's Adam Raney reports from Mexico City.

Sweden Aims to Be Cashless Society

Swedes are among the most technologically savvy people on the planet, based on their high rates of use of mobile phones and internet banking. In fact, only three per cent of all financial transactions in the country are made using cash these days. Even public transport tickets can now be pre-paid using mobile phone technology, and most people use similar services to pay for everything from groceries to major purchases. Al Jazeera's Linda Nyberg reports from Stockholm.

Nepalese Maoist Discusses Fight for Political Freedom

Nepal's ruling Maoist party on Friday welcomed a US decision to remove it from a blacklist of terrorist groups after the end of a bloody insurgency, saying it would boost ties with Washington. An estimated 16,000 people died in a brutal 1996-2006 "people's war" fought by the Maoists against the once absolute monarchy, before the rebels turned to politics and then took power in elections two years later. Krishna KC, a Maoist who narrowly escaped death in his fight for political freedom, tells Al Jazeera his story in his own words.

Friday, September 7, 2012

Clinton's DNC Speech: A Savvy Move for Him

A Special Guest Commentary by Pulitzer Prize-Winning Journalist Les Payne

Clinton's DNC Speech: A Savvy Move for Him
The former president's vouching for President Obama was in Bill Clinton's best interests. Here's why.

As the first former U.S. president to nominate a successive one for re-election, Bill Clinton made history last night. And he put aside his uneasy personal relations in his 49-minute speech to praise his erstwhile Democrat rival in the White House and to steamroll the GOP policy issues laid out at its recent convention.

The brunt of Clinton's statistics-laden attack aimed to eviscerate Romney-Ryan's economic proposals. "In Tampa," Clinton said, "the Republicans' argument against [President Obama's] re-election was pretty simple: We left him a total mess, he hasn't cleaned it up fast enough, so fire him and put us back in."

Clinton was uniquely suited to address the "mess" since both the GOP and Obama credit him for overseeing an expansive U.S. economy. The surplus he left President George W. Bush was squandered on the wrongheaded Iraq War and tax cuts for the wealthy that nearly bankrupted the economy during his final days in office. 

The Republicans, by comparison, dared not showcase their former president at their national convention, not even incognito. 

As president of a global foundation, Clinton treaded lightly with Bush 43rd, since he has fundraised with Bush-the-father and praised the AIDS initiatives of the son. "[President Obama] inherited a deeply damaged economy, put a floor under the crash, began the long, hard road to recovery and laid the foundation for a modern, more well-balanced economy that will produce millions of good new jobs.

"Are we where we want to be? No. Is the president satisfied? No. Are we better off than we were when he took office, with an economy in free fall, losing 750,000 jobs a month? The answer is YES."

Working mightily to hush the raucous crowd during his lengthy speech, Clinton lectured: "No one, not me, not any of my predecessors, could have repaired all of the damage [President Obama] found in just four years." The crowd erupted, "Four more years!"

In making the case for Obama's re-election, Clinton characteristically made no bones about the case being his, and (only) his to make. "What new ideas did we bring to Washington?" he asked in promoting his administration's surplus budget. "Arithmetic!"

Stirring beneath the history-making in the hall was the sociology of the first black president getting nominated by the faux black president. (Writer Toni Morrison proffered the perception once that the white man from Arkansas was the "first black president.")
All week the media were abuzz about the uneasy relations -- some say hatred -- between Clinton and the sitting president, who as junior senator from Illinois defeated the vaunted and highly favored Clinton machine, which featured wife Hillary as presidential candidate but would assure the return of "Big Dog" Clinton to the White House.

The post-nomination-speech photo of the two presidents embracing onstage last night was possible only because of "a carefully orchestrated reconciliation of sorts under way for some time," according to a smart piece in the current New Yorker.

The '08 riff erupted openly when Clinton attacked Obama's promotion of his candidacy as "the biggest fairy tale I have even seen!"

The usually cool Obama publicly construed the remark as racial innuendo about African Americans' chances of -- as well as their qualifications for -- getting elected U.S. president. The New York Times, even cooler and more cautious on such matters, said the "bizarre" statement from the former president stooped toward "injecting racial tension."

The ensuing feud, which split the two camps and sapped away black support from Clinton, was floated on the eve of the Democrats' convention in the Sept. 10 New Yorker. When Clinton attempted to get Sen. Ted Kennedy to endorse Hillary, Ryan Lizza reports that then-TV host Tim Russert told him that "according to his sources," Bill Clinton told Kennedy, "A few years ago, this guy would have been carrying our bags." (Another source reportedly remembered the metaphor as "getting us coffee.")

"We haven't been close friends a long time or anything like that," Clinton told NBC News earlier in the evening of the convention. However, he offered, "I'm actually more enthusiastic about [Obama] than I was four years ago … I've seen him dig in the dirt and fight, I've seen him make things happen, I've seen him criticized, demonized." Also, he's seen the president appoint his wife as U.S. secretary of state.

The suspension for one night at least of whatever discord that exists is a testament to Team Obama's skill at maneuvering -- at whatever price -- this pesky master of the maneuver. After he reportedly failed to persuade Hillary to resign as secretary of state and challenge the "incompetent" Obama this year, some still insist that Clinton is bent on getting her elected in 2016. An Obama second term, as opposed to Mitt Romney in office, would best suit that possibility.

"We're not kids anymore," Clinton told NBC's Brian Williams yesterday. "I have no idea if she'll ever run again; she says she won't. Right now, I want to help [Obama] because I think it will help my country."

And so, last night a slimmed-down Bill Clinton climbed up onstage at the Time Warner Cable Arena, finger wagging, and heartily declared: "We're going to keep President Obama on the job!"

Ryan Blames Obama for 'Tepid' Jobs Report

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West Wing Week: 09/07/12

This week, the President visited Fort Bliss and victims of Hurricane Isaac. Meanwhile, the White House released its top secret beer recipe and the new White House app, and "We the People" got its three millionth signature.

'The Unemployment Rate Declined from 8.3% to 8.1% in August'

(Click on chart to increase its size.) 

Breakdown of the Employment Situation in August

WASHINGTON, DC – Alan B. Krueger, Chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers, issued the following statement today on the employment situation in August.

While there is more work that remains to be done, today’s employment report provides further evidence that the U.S. economy is continuing to recover from the worst downturn since the Great Depression.  It is critical that we continue the policies that are building an economy that works for the middle class as we dig our way out of the deep hole that was caused by the severe recession that began in December 2007.  To create more jobs in particularly hard-hit sectors, President Obama continues to support the elements of the American Jobs Act that have not yet passed, including further investment in infrastructure to rebuild our Nation’s ports, roads and highways, and assistance to State and local governments to prevent layoffs and to enable them to rehire hundreds of thousands of teachers and first responders. To build on the progress of the last few years, President Obama has also proposed an extension of middle class tax cuts that would prevent the typical middle class family from facing a $2,200 tax increase next year.

Today’s report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) shows that private sector establishments added 103,000 jobs last month, and overall non-farm payroll employment rose by 96,000. The economy has now added private sector jobs for 30 straight months, for a total of 4.6 million jobs during that period.

The household survey showed that the unemployment rate declined from 8.3% to 8.1% in August. 

Employment rose notably in leisure and hospitality (+34,000), professional and business services (+28,000), health care and social assistance (+21,700), and wholesale trade (+7,900). Manufacturing lost 15,000 jobs, including a 7,500 drop in motor vehicles and parts; this is partly payback for relatively few seasonal auto plant shutdowns in July.  Over the past 30 months, manufacturers have added more than 500,000 jobs.  Government lost 7,000 jobs, as state government payrolls fell by 6,000 and local governments shed 4,000 jobs. Since February 2010, State and local governments have lost 504,000 jobs.

As the Administration stresses every month, the monthly employment and unemployment figures can be volatile, and employment estimates can be subject to substantial revision. Therefore, it is important not to read too much into any one monthly report and it is informative to consider each report in the context of other data that are becoming available.

NBC's Joe Scarborough on Obama's DNC Speech

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President Obama Accepts Nomination at 2012 DNC

Vice President Joe Biden's Remarks at 2012 DNC

Today in History: September 7th

Highlights of this day in history: Nazi Blitz on Britain begins in World War II; Mobutu Sese Seko dies; Panama Canal Treaties signed; Rapper Tupac Shakur shot; ESPN debuts; Pro Football Hall of Fame dedicated; Rock star Buddy Holly born. (Sept. 7)

Top Newsy Headlines: 3.5 Magnitude Earthquake Hits China


By Charles McKeague

Anchor: Lauren Zima
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Reaction to Obama Acceptance Speech

U.S. President Barack Obama has delivered the speech accepting his party's nomination for a second term of office. Al Jazeera correspondent Patty Culhane speaks with political analysts Bill Schneider and Jason Johnson at the Democratic convention in Charlotte, North Carolina, and Rob Reynolds speaks with locals at an area diner.

U.S. Housing Collapse Weighs on Presidential Election

The collapse of the US housing market has been an enduring problem for the economy and the Obama administration. With US Presidential candidates hard at work on the campaign trail the housing crisis remains one of the main issues that is overlooked. The failure to solve the housing crisis is a major issue in the Presidential campaign. Analysts say one of the Democratic administration's biggest failures has been inaction towards helping homeowners salvage their homes. Rob Reynolds reports from Charlotte, North Carolina.

Obama's Foreign Policy Promise Meets Reality

Barack Obama's victory in 2008 was celebrated around the world by those who saw it as a definitive break with the unpopular Bush legacy of foreign intervention. Obama the candidate promised to close the prison at Guantanamo Bay, improve relations with the Muslim world, and never degrade civil liberties at the expense of national security expediency. Obama the president, however, has earned low marks from activists and watchdogs, who point out that he has failed to close Guantanamo and launched foreign military actions in the shadows, in the process crafting a doctrine that allows for the extrajudicial killing of American citizens. Patty Culhane reports from Washington DC.

AU Forces Battle to Secure Somalia

Somalia is just days away from electing a new President, but the government is not in control of much of the country's territory. African Union peacekeepers, known as AMISOM, have divided the country into four sectors, and they say they are making progress in establishing that control, however. Al Jazeera's Nazanine Moshiri reports from Mogadishu.

Key South African Mine Union Refuses to Sign 'Peace Accord'

South African miners, arrested after the Marikana shooting, have been released by a Pretoria court while key players refused to sign a deal to end a deadly strike. More than a 100 miners were held in a South African jail after being charged last week under an obscure apartheid-era security law with murdering their fellow miners, after video footage indicated that police had fired on the strikers. On Thursday, a key union representing the strikers as well as other non-unionized workers refused to sign a peace accord to resume wage negotiations, saying that it would force them to end their strike. Al Jazeera's Tania Page reports from Marikana, North West province.

Rising Food Prices Hit Nairobi Slums

According to a global survey by the UN, the price of meat, dairy products and some cereals all rose last month. With Africa's slums growing at a rate exponentially faster than most countries, many residents in these areas cannot afford to buy the food needed to keep themselves healthy. The survey also found that an estimated third of Kenyans living in urban areas are chronically malnourished. Al Jazeera's Peter Greste reports from Kibera slum in Kenya's capital Nairobi.

NATO Denounces Taliban 'Propaganda'

Taliban fighters claim they've forced NATO troops to retreat from one of their bases in Afghanistan's Wardak province. But NATO says the claims of success in are Taliban propaganda. Al Jazeera's Jennifer Glasse reports from Kabul.

Free Healthcare for Kids in Thailand

The Thai government says it plans to offer free healthcare for children under six, including vaccinations that can cost more than $30. The proposal applies to children of migrant workers, many of whom struggle to pay for doctors visits. But judging by similar policies in the past, the new healthcare law may take a long time to come into effect. Al Jazeera's Wayne Hay reports from Mahachai, Thailand.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Bill Clinton Speaks at the 2012 DNC

Tammy Duckworth at the 2012 Democratic National Convention

Former Assistant Secretary, U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Tammy Duckworth spoke at the 2012 Democratic National Convention about her family's history in the armed forces, and about her experiences in the military. She also spoke about the significance of President Obama's support for policies that benefit veterans.

Mike Lofgren on Dysfunction in Our Political Parties

Moyers and Company - Air Date: August 31, 2012

Long-time Republican Mike Lofgren describes the modern corruption and dysfunction of both Republican and Democratic parties.

Today in History: September 6th

Highlights of this day in history: President William McKinley shot in Buffalo, N.Y.; Funeral held for Britain's Princess Diana; Mother Teresa mourned in India; Movie director Akira Kurosawa dies; Roger Waters of Pink Floyd fame born. (Sept. 6)

Hackers Claim to Have Romney's Taxes, Holding Them Ransom


By Ferdous Al-Faruque

Anchor: Christina Hartman
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South African Miners Due to Appear in Court

Remaining workers, held over deaths of their colleagues, expected to be released while peace talks hit a stalemate.

Nigerians Head to Court Over Contested Land

Hundreds of thousands of Nigerians living in informal settlements face having their homes demolished. Authorities say the households were built illegally on government land, but the people who live there argue they are the legal owners. Now they are taking their claim to court. Al Jazeera's Yvonne Ndege reports from Mpape, the largest settlement in Abuja, the capital, facing demolition.

Shooting at Quebec Rally Leaves One Dead

The man who opened fire at a political rally in Quebec is due to appear in court later on Thursday. The 62-year-old killed one person and injured another as a separatist party was celebrating its success in local elections. Al Jazeera's Alan Fisher reports.

Deadly Fire in India Kills Dozens

At least 40 people have been killed by a massive blaze in a fireworks factory in southern India. Firefighters have battled for hours to control the flames, which swept through the building in Tamil Nadu state. Al Jazeera's Prerna Suri reports from New Delhi.

Families Remain Victims of Syria Bombardments

Forces loyal to Bashar al-Assad, the Syrian president, have been blamed for using warplanes, tanks and mortars to indiscriminately bombard opposition-controlled areas across the country. The action has left many residential buildings destroyed and thousands of civilians dead. In an Al Jazeera exclusive, Khadija Magardie reports on how one family, a married couple and their four children, died after their home in Aleppo was shelled as they slept. The couple's newborn child was the only survivor of the attack.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Major Earthquake Shakes Costa Rica

Bill Aims to Protect NY Youth from Cigarettes

The New Law Expands the Ban on Smoking on School Grounds  

Governor Andrew Cuomo today signed two bills to protect New York's children and teenagers from the harmful effects of cigarettes. 

The new laws include measures to prohibit smoking within 100 feet of the entrances or exits of any public or private schools (A.10141-B / S.6854-B), as well as prohibit the sale of electronic cigarettes to individuals under the age of 18 (A.9044-B /S.2926-B). 

"Cigarette smoking – as well as exposure to secondhand smoke – is dangerous, particularly for our children," Governor Cuomo said.

"These two new laws will strengthen our state's protections to help our young people avoid nicotine addiction as well as the harmful effects of cigarette smoke. I thank the sponsors of both these bills for their efforts to protect the health of our youth."

Prohibiting Smoking Outside School Entrances

There are tens of thousands of deaths each year in New York related to tobacco use. In addition to smoking, exposure to secondhand smoke may cause various illnesses and is known to be particularly detrimental to the health of children who are in their early years of physical development. 

The new law expands the ban on smoking on school grounds to prohibit smoking within 100 feet of the entrances, exits or outdoor areas of public and private schools. Residences or residential property within the 100 foot perimeter would be excluded from the new law's smoking ban. 

This new law takes effect immediately.

"I want to thank Governor Cuomo for signing this important piece of legislation into law that will make our communities healthier by extending the ban on smoking to within 100 feet of school entrances and exits,” said Senator Gustavo Rivera.

“I worked with Assembly Member Dinowitz to pass this law so that young people in the Bronx and throughout the state can enjoy a smoke-free school year. This is the first in a series of bills to be signed into law that came directly from the Bronx CAN Health Initiative that Borough President Diaz Jr. and I launched last year with community partners."

Assembly Member Jeff Dinowitz added, "The scourge of smoking is a terrible public health issue for all New Yorkers, especially our children. This new law will make sure that hazardous smoke is kept at a reasonable distance from our public or private educational institutions, providing a great relief for many parents who worry about poisonous carcinogens sickening their children. I applaud Governor Cuomo for supporting this measure and signing it into law."

Prohibiting Sale of Electronic Cigarettes to Minors

Research has shown that cigarette smoking delivers toxins and carcinogens to the body, leading to diseases such as lung cancer and emphysema which are often fatal.

Nicotine is the addictive ingredient in cigarettes that makes it very difficult for smokers to quit, despite knowledge of the devastating health effects of cigarette use. 

The majority of Americans who use tobacco products become addicted to the nicotine in those products before reaching the age of 18 years. Electronic cigarettes, often known as “e-cigarettes”, are battery-powered devices that allow users to inhale a vaporized liquid nicotine solution instead of tobacco smoke.

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Latino Voters and the 2012 Elections

Janet Marguia talked about Latino voters and the 2012 elections, and she responded to telephone calls and electronic communications. Ms. Garguia said that some of the reasons Latino voters were tending to be more supportive of President Obama than Mitt Romney were related to immigration issues and Mr. Romney's lack of specifics on issues that are relevant to Latinos in general. She also discussed the different blocs among Latinos, such as Mexican-Americans or Cuban-Americans.

NARAL Pro-Choice New York Endorses Addabbo

Group Cites Senator's Dedication to Protecting Women’s Rights as Key Reason for its Support

New York, NY- Today, NARAL Pro-Choice New York endorsed Senator Joe Addabbo for his third term representing New York Senate’s 15th district, citing his dedication to protect women’s rights.

“On behalf of women and pro-choice New Yorkers across the state, we are proud to endorse Joseph Addabbo for State Senate,” said Andrea Miller, President of NARAL Pro-choice New York. 

Miller highlighted Senator Addabbo’s record both in the Senate and previously in the City Council.  She said, “Joe has fought for every possible piece of legislation that would improve the lives of women and families in Queens and across New York.”

“These are trying times for progressive, pro-woman, pro-choice issues in the State Senate, and we need to ensure that Senator Addabbo, one of the true champions for women’s health and well-being, remains in Albany,” said Miller.

“I am honored to have the support of NARAL Pro-choice New York,” said Addabbo,  

“The protection of women’s rights is incredibly important and I am committed to making sure our laws protect women’s rights at home and in the work place.”

As the extreme Romney/Ryan ticket threatens to roll back women’s rights considerably, women are finding themselves having to defend their most personal rights, which they thought were ensured decades ago.

Ryan has voted against a bill that allows women to challenge unequal pay, and has even called rape a “method of conception.”

As the Romney/Ryan New York Campaign Chairman, Eric Ulrich, who is also running for New York Senate’s 15th district, is actively working to decrease women’s rights and has come out against women’s reproduction rights.

“It is unacceptable that in 2012 women’s rights are still being threatened,” stated Addabbo.

“The women in the 15th district and throughout New York deserve a State Senator who will fight for them. We should be going forwards not backwards.”

Senator Addabbo has made women’s issues a top priority, fighting to help families reduce childcare costs, so women can work outside of the home, increasing women’s participation in small business ownership by fighting for laws in the Senate that support Minority and Women Business Enterprises, and protecting women’s reproduction rights and access to quality healthcare.

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"A Family Affair"

President Barack Obama and his daughters, Malia, left, and Sasha, watch on television as First Lady Michelle Obama takes the stage to deliver her speech at the Democratic National Convention, in the Treaty Room of the White House, Tuesday night, Sept. 4, 2012. 

(Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

Michelle Obama DNC Speech: 'How Hard You Work'

Today in History: September 5th

Highlights of this day in history: A massacre at the Munich Olympics; President Gerald Ford escapes the first of two assassination attempts, weeks apart; Jack Kerouac's 'On the Road' published; Missionary nun Mother Teresa dies. (Sept. 5)

Soldier Suffers Seizure After Alleged Hazing Incident


By Logan Tittle

Anchor: Logan Tittle
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First Lady's Impact on President Obama's Campaign

Following a rousing speech by Michelle Obama, first lady of the United States, at last night's Democratic National Convention, many have asked if Michelle's high favorability and well-received remarks can help her husband's campaign for re-election. Speaking to Al Jazeera, James Boys, a visiting fellow at Kings College specialising in US government, said speeches like those of Ann Romney and Michelle Obama at their respective party's conventions embody the "evolving role for first ladies" in the United States. Contemporary first ladies, Boys said, exhibit the "increasing professionalism of politicians and their wives".

Navy SEAL's Book on Killing of Bin Laden Contradicts U.S. Government Statements

Most of the details of the raid that killed Osama bin Laden in May 2011 are still a secret. After the operation in Abbottabad, Pakistan, the Obama administration released some information about what happened. But details of the planning, how it was carried out, and what happened afterwards are still classified. Now a former Navy SEAL has written a book, called "No Easy Day", about the mission, some of which contradict the public statements made about what happened that day. Al Jazeera's Rosiland Jordan reports from Washington, DC.

Domestic Violence in the West Bank on the Rise

Domestic violence is a growing problem in the occupied West Bank. According to new figures, nearly 40 per cent of married women have experienced some form of abuse in the past year.  Al Jazeera's Cal Perry met some of them in Bethlehem.

New UN Syria Envoy Says Conflict 'Intensifying'

As the situation in Syria goes from bad to worse, Lakhdar Brahimi stepped into the role of UN Special Representative on Syria and picked up where his predecessor left off. He called for a Syrian-led political process, leading to a leadership transition but stopped short of calling for the Syrian president to step aside. Al Jazeera's Kristen Saloomey reports.

South Africa Mining Unrest Threatens Zuma Second Term

It's an election year for the ruling party, the African National Congress. Zuma wants a second term as party leader. Shadrack Gutto, a political analyst says "there have been a lot of bad decisions in his term... he mustn't take it as a given he will win." This latest unrest started in the platinum sector last month and has now spread to the lucrative gold mines. Al Jazeera's Haru Mutasa reports.

In One Town, Afghan Police Make Strides

Mohammed Talib is one of the 235 members of the Afghan National Police working to provide security to the 145,00 people in the Sarobi district of Kabul province. Al Jazeera's Jennifer Glasse reports on the progress his forces have made since French troops left last month.

Continued Clashes in Northern Ireland

Police in Northern Ireland have battled protesters for a third night running. Protestants say a parade held by local area Catholics is a provocation, especially because, they say many of their own planned parades have been cancelled or diverted. The tension comes in a still deeply divided area of Belfast, where Catholic nationalists and Protestant unionists live in close proximity to one another. Al Jazeera's Simon McGregor Wood reports from North Belfast.

UK Declines Probe into Batang Kali Killings

The families of men killed, in what was then known as Malaya, by British soldiers have lost their fight for a full judicial review of the case. The soldiers killed 24 people at Batang Kali nearly 65 years ago, claiming they were communist insurgents. But now London's High Court has upheld the British government's decision not to hold a public inquiry. Al Jazeera's Florence Looi reports from Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

In Memoriam....Spec. Kyle R. Rookey

in Jalalabad, Afghanistan 

Governor Andrew Cuomo has directed that flags on state government buildings be flown at half-staff on Friday, September 7, 2012 in honor of a New York soldier who died in Jalalabad, Afghanistan on September 2, 2012.

Spec. Kyle R. Rookey of Oswego died in a non-combat related incident. He was a member of the 4th Brigade Special Troops Battalion of the 4th Infantry Division's 4th Brigade Combat Team. The division is based at Fort Carson, Colorado.

"On behalf of all New Yorkers, I extend my condolences to the friends, family and fellow soldiers of Specialist Rookey," Governor Cuomo said.

"We will mourn his death, but we will remember his service to our nation with pride."

From The G-Man would like to take this opportunity to honor Spec. Kyle R. Rookey, his love of country, and his service with the following video tribute. May he forever rest in peace.

Video uploaded to YouTube by moderatepopulist

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Colombia, FARC to Conduct Peace Talks

Statement by Press Secretary Jay Carney

President Obama today welcomed the announcement that Colombian President Santos reached a framework for peace negotiations between the Colombian government and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC).

The President noted that the “Santos administration has demonstrated an unwavering commitment to seeking a durable peace and ensuring a better life for all Colombians through its security and social inclusion policies.” 

The Colombian government’s conclusion of this framework for negotiations sets the stage for talks that hold out the promise of ending the 50-year conflict with the FARC, in order to permit all Colombians to live with greater peace, security, and prosperity.

President Obama welcomes President Santos’ deep commitment to working for peace and recognizes the courage and sacrifice of successive Colombian governments – and most especially of the Colombian people – in achieving this milestone. 

The FARC should now take this opportunity to end its decades of terrorism and narcotics trafficking, and allow the Colombian people to continue building a democratic, prosperous, and just society.

As the Santos administration works toward a resolution of the conflict, the United States reaffirms its longstanding defense and security partnership with Colombia and its commitment to work with Colombia to promote citizen security, respect for human rights, and economic prosperity for all its people.

 More information is available in this article by The Christian Science Monitor.