Obama Tackles Jobless Woes, but Warns of Limited Funds
By JACKIE CALMES
Published: December 3, 2009
WASHINGTON – After months of focusing on Afghanistan and health care, President Obama turned his attention on Thursday to the high level of joblessness, but offered no promise that he could do much to bring unemployment down quickly even as he comes under pressure from his own party to do more.
At a White House forum, scheduled for the day before the government releases unemployment and job loss figures for November, Mr. Obama sought new ideas from business executives, labor leaders, economists and others. Confronted with concern that his own ambitious agenda and the uncertain climate it has created among employers have slowed hiring, the president defended his policies.
Mr. Obama said he would entertain “every demonstrably good idea” for creating jobs, but he cautioned that “our resources are limited.”
A city and its team enjoy a magical run
The people of New Orleans revel in the Saints’ 11-0 start
By Mark Maske
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, December 4, 2009
NEW ORLEANS — Audrey Wilson steered her taxi through the heavy traffic on I-10 in New Orleans down the exit ramp toward Poydras Street, running in front of the Superdome. It was early Monday afternoon, still five hours before the hometown Saints were to play the New England Patriots in one of the most eagerly anticipated games of the NFL season.
The cab driver was wearing a black and gold Saints cap and jacket. Beads and a plastic gold model of the Saints’ fleur-de-lis emblem hung from her cab’s rearview mirror. As Wilson’s taxi inched toward the Superdome, she gazed at the thousands of people already tailgating outside the stadium, many of them stationed under the highway overpass to keep dry on the rainy afternoon as they sipped their drinks, grilled their shrimp and ate their jambalaya.
Reid’s recipe for getting health-care deal done
Senate’s point man for bill has been slow to tip his hand as he faces challenges
By Shailagh Murray
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, December 4, 2009
Of the Democratic senators who have set out to transform the nation’s health-care system, one of the least likely is Majority Leader Harry M. Reid, whose legislative priorities typically fall more toward protecting the interests of his native Nevada.
Despite the prospect of a potentially tough 2010 reelection fight, the combative Democratic leader has assumed full ownership of a 2,074-page bill that would cost $848 billion over 10 years and institute the most far-reaching changes to the system in generations. As the Senate debate unfolds on the chamber floor, Reid has remained burrowed in his office, looking past the daily political drama playing out and, as he said recently, “getting my deals done.”
Bank bailouts appear to be paying off
The U.S. gets billions back as Wall Street rebounds. But critics say the TARP fund will still end up in the red.
By Jim Puzzanghera and Walter Hamilton
December 4, 2009
Reporting from Washington and New York – The government’s bailout of the banking system is turning out to be far from the fiscal sinkhole so many had feared.
The $700-billion Troubled Asset Relief Program, known as TARP, was reluctantly created by Congress last fall despite criticism that it was a huge risk that would only encourage the profligate ways of Wall Street. But in recent months, tens of billions of dollars have begun flowing back from banks to the U.S. Treasury.
China closes Yeeyan website that translated Guardian stories
Media commentators believe the latest online crackdown is linked to a number of ‘sensitive’ anniversaries this year
guardian.co.uk, Thursday 3 December 2009 23.44 GMT
A collaborative experiment with the community translation website Yeeyan to publish a selection of Guardian stories in Mandarin has been closed down by the Chinese authorities.
Yeeyan’s main website, which also publishes other material translated by its members, has also been shut down. No reason has been given. The Guardian is seeking an explanation from the Chinese government about why the site was shut, and when it will be allowed to resume publication.
Alan Rusbridger, editor in chief of Guardian News & Media, said: “This is a very disconcerting development. Yeeyan is a wonderful community of mostly volunteer translators who give Chinese web users access to a wide range of content published outside China, including Guardian reporting and commentary.
Yousuf Raza Gilani: we are fighting the Taleban and reviving democracy
From The Times
December 4, 2009
“It is our war that we are fighting, not a proxy war for the US,” Pakistan’s Prime Minister said yesterday, arguing that his country was an ally among equals in the battle against terrorism, not an American or British stooge. Rejecting Gordon Brown’s charge that Osama bin Laden was probably in Pakistan’s wild tribal territories and that the Government should have done more to catch him, Yousuf Raza Gilani said: “Certainly, he’s not there.”
The al-Qaeda leader had not been in Pakistan during his tenure – since March 2008 – he said, in an exclusive interview with The Times, nor had he any intelligence that bin Laden had been on Pakistani soil at any point since the attacks of September 11, 2001.
Putin confides to the nation: I want to be President again
Asked if he wants to spend more time with his family, Russian Prime Minister declares: ‘Don’t hold your breath’
By Shaun Walker in Moscow
Friday, 4 December 2009
Vladimir Putin has given the strongest hint yet that he may return to the Russian presidency in 2012. During a marathon televised question-and answer-session with the Russian public yesterday, the Prime Minister said he’d think about running in three years’ time, and told a questioner who asked if he’d like to retire from politics and devote more time to family life, “don’t hold your breath”.
Mr Putin, who held the presidency from 2000-08, spent over four hours answering questions from carefully selected studio guests, video link-ups with factories across Russia, and also took telephone calls and responded to questions sent in by SMS and email.
Dubai ruler’s ambition sowed seeds of crisis
Extravagant sheik commanded desert state’s meteoric rise, aided its bust
DUBAI, United Arab Emirates – Dubai’s ruler writes poetry, rides horses across the desert in long-distance endurance races and hobnobs with royals like the Queen of England. Mixing extravagance with boundless ambition, he commanded the desert city-state’s meteoric rise – and helped sow the seeds, some observers say, of its debt crisis.
Sheik Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum’s business-over-politics approach turned Dubai into a city-state with the surface trappings of Western liberalism – a thin veneer over the conservatism and strict political boundaries familiar throughout the Arab world.
Iran left out in the cold
By Kaveh L Afrasiabi
A major pillar of United States President Barack Obama’s earlier Afghan policy, articulated in a March speech, was missing from his long-awaited address on Tuesday in which he committed an additional 30,000 US troops to Afghanistan.
Conspicuous by its absence was any reference – apart from Pakistan – of the other stakeholders in the neighborhood, notably Iran.
In his March speech, Obama said, “And finally, together with the United Nations, we will forge a new contact group for Afghanistan and Pakistan that brings together all who should have a stake in the security of the region – our NATO [North Atlantic Treaty Organization] allies and other partners, but also the Central Asian states, the Gulf nations and Iran; Russia, India and China.”
Going home: orphans of the gorilla massacre that shocked the world
Two baby gorillas who survived a vicious attack in a Congo national park have made their first move back to the wild
By Daniel Howden, Africa Correspondent Friday, 4 December 2009
Moving home is often stressful and sometimes positively traumatic. The last time Ndeze and Ndakasi moved it was horrifying. The two mountain gorilla babies had just been orphaned, their parents murdered in a dispute that led to the sacking of the director of Virunga National Park in eastern Congo.
One of the orphan’s fathers, Senkwekwe, became internationally famous as pictures of the silverback’s immense corpse borne aloft on a bamboo trellis by grieving villagers ran in newspapers and magazines around the world. The massacres of 2007 left seven of the critically endangered mammals dead; they also left Ndeze and Ndakasi without a family.
Guinea strongman Camara ‘shot and wounded by aide’
Guinea’s military leader has been fired on by one of his aides in the capital, Conakry, a government spokesman says.
The BBC Friday, 4 December 2009
Officials said Capt Moussa Dadis Camara had been injured in the shooting, but his exact condition is not known.
Communication Minister Idrissa Cherif said Capt Camara was “doing well”. He named aide-de-camp Aboubacar “Toumba” Diakite as being behind the attack.
Meanwhile, neighbouring Senegal has flown a medical team to Guinea to help treat Capt Camara, officials said.
“He is injured. We don’t know the degree and the nature of his injury,” the Senegalese official said, quoted by AFP news agency.