Home Tags Posts tagged with "barack obama"
A man has been arrested by the US Secret Service after trying to climb over the White House fence, leading to a security lockdown.
The unidentified would-be intruder was carrying two bags, which are being screened, said the authorities.
A man has been arrested by the US Secret Service after trying to climb over the White House fence, leading to a security lockdown
“[The suspect] did not make it over the fence,” a Secret Service spokesman told Reuters news agency.
President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama were not in the White House at the time.
Both had travelled to Michigan for the signing of agricultural legislation.
[youtube Gat1iUf82IQ 650]
President Barack Obama is taking his campaign for a minimum wage rise to the streets, visiting local businesses after his State of the Union address.
Barack Obama travelled to a Maryland Costco store and a Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, steel plant.
The visits promote a proposed national minimum wage increase to $10.10 per hour over the current $7.25.
The president said on Tuesday he would issue an executive order raising the minimum wage for federal employees.
“If you work hard, you should be able to pay your rent, buy your groceries, look after your kids,” Barack Obama told Costco employees on Wednesday.
Costco workers are said to earn at least $11.50 an hour, far above the current national minimum wage Barack Obama has asked a gridlocked Congress to increase.
President Barack Obama is taking his campaign for a minimum wage rise to the streets, visiting local businesses after his State of the Union address
On Thursday, Barack Obama plans to visit a General Electric facility in Waukesha, Wisconsin, and speak at a high school in Nashville, Tennessee, to promote measures outlined in his national address.
“It’s time to give America a raise,” Barack Obama told members of Congress on Tuesday night, pledging to circumvent their partisan politics through the use of executive orders.
“Wherever and whenever I can take steps without legislation to expand opportunity for more American families, that’s what I’m going to do,” he said, noting that inequality has deepened and upward mobility stalled.
Among his planned proposals is a new savings programme aimed at employees without retirement plans.
The pilot program – involving “starter” accounts which let employees save and withdraw funds without paying additional taxes – will reportedly be available by the end of the year.
Barack Obama was scheduled to visit a US Steel Corporation plant on Wednesday along with Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew to tout the action.
With just three years left in office, Barack Obama faces falling approval ratings and determined opposition from the Republican Party, which controls the House of Representatives and has the numbers in the Senate to block his agenda.
House Speaker John Boehner has warned that increasing the federal minimum wage would cost jobs.
Following Barack Obama’s nationwide speech, Republican Congresswoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers called on him to take action “by empowering people, not making their lives harder with unprecedented spending, higher taxes and fewer jobs”.
[youtube j7a67Gua_6Y 650]
In his annual State of the Union address, President Barack Obama has promised to bypass a fractured Congress to tackle economic inequality.
Barack Obama pledged to “take steps without legislation” wherever possible, announcing a rise in the minimum wage for new federal contract staff.
On Iran, the president said he would veto any new sanctions that risked derailing talks.
Barack Obama is facing some of his lowest approval ratings since first taking office in 2009.
“Let’s make this a year of action,” Barack Obama said.
Noting that inequality has deepened and upward mobility stalled, he would offer “a set of concrete, practical proposals to speed up growth, strengthen the middle class, and build new ladders of opportunity into the middle class”.
“America does not stand still – and neither will I,” he said.
“So wherever and whenever I can take steps without legislation to expand opportunity for more American families, that’s what I’m going to do.”
Just over a year after his re-election, Barack Obama must contend with determined opposition from the Republican Party, which controls the House of Representatives and has the numbers in the Senate to block his agenda.
President Barack Obama has promised to bypass a fractured Congress to tackle economic inequality in his annual State of the Union address
Time is running short before Washington DC turns its attention to the 2016 race to elect his successor, threatening to sideline him even with three years remaining in office.
During his address, Barack Obama appealed to Congress to restore unemployment insurance that recently expired for 1.6 million people, and asked Republicans to stop trying to repeal his signature healthcare overhaul.
The botched rollout of the website on which Americans could sign up for healthcare has dented the president’s popularity.
Barack Obama stressed the importance of early childhood schooling, better value university education, and equal opportunities in the workplace for women.
He also appealed to Congress to approve a rise in the national minimum wage, currently $7.25 per hour. His executive order raising the hourly rate of federal contract workers to $10.10 will only apply to future contracts.
House Speaker John Boehner said the impact would be “close to zero” and warned that such a move would cost jobs. He told reporters his party would watch to ensure the president did not exceed his authority through the use of such executive actions.
Barack Obama also urged the Republican House of Representatives to support a broad overhaul of the US immigration system, saying it would “make our country a more attractive place for businesses to locate and create jobs for everyone”.
Last year, the Senate passed a bill that included a path to citizenship for some of the estimated 11 million undocumented immigrants in the US.
The House has thus far declined to hold a vote on that legislation, although in recent days US media have reported the chamber’s Republican leaders are weighing a series of more limited measures.
On foreign policy, Barack Obama pledged to:
- support a unified Afghanistan as it takes responsibility for its own future
- back the opposition in Syria “that rejects the agenda of terrorist networks”
- make sure any long-term deal on Iran’s nuclear program is “based on verifiable action”.
He also said that, with major US operations in Afghanistan due to end, “this needs to be the year Congress lifts the remaining restrictions on detainee transfers and we close the prison at Guantanamo Bay”.
After Barack Obama’s speech, three Republicans are offering several rebuttals, a departure from the tradition of the opposition choosing a single voice to follow the president.
Congresswoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers of Washington gave the official response on behalf of the Republican Party, calling on Barack Obama to take action “by empowering people, not making their lives harder with unprecedented spending, higher taxes, and fewer jobs”.
Republican Kentucky Senator and presumed 2016 presidential hopeful Rand Paul, a favorite of the party’s libertarian wing, released a taped address.
[youtube hed1nP9X7pI 650]
President Barack Obama will unveil a minimum-wage raise as he delivers his annual State of the Union address later.
The president is expected to bypass a fractured Congress to act on income inequality.
The White House said Barack Obama would unveil an executive order to raise the minimum wage to $10.10 an hour for new federal contract workers.
The president is also expected to announce other executive orders, which do not require congressional approval.
He is facing some of the lowest approval ratings of his presidency.
Barack Obama has called for a “year of action”, though Congress will limit his ability to get much done.
He will speak in the House of Representatives at 21:00 local time on Tuesday.
President Barack Obama will unveil a minimum-wage raise as he delivers his annual State of the Union address
Just over a year after his re-election, Barack Obama must contend with determined opposition from the Republican Party, which controls the House of Representatives and has the numbers in the Senate to block his agenda.
Time is running short before Washington DC turns its attention to the 2016 race to elect his successor, threatening to render him irrelevant even with three years remaining in office.
In the face of a divided Congress, Barack Obama has pledged to use executive action to bypass Congress, and the White House says he will flesh out some of his plans in the State of the Union speech.
Barack Obama is also expected to address long-term joblessness, expansion of early childhood education and infrastructure spending.
He will reiterate his call for a broad rise in the national minimum wage, currently $7.25 per hour, say White House officials.
The president’s executive order raising the hourly rate of federal contract workers prompted a swift response from Republicans.
Barack Obama is also tipped to urge the Republican House of Representatives to support a broad overhaul of the US immigration system.
Last year, the Senate passed a bill that included a path to citizenship for some of the estimated 11 million undocumented immigrants in the US.
[youtube vA2uLBO2KUA 650]
President Barack Obama will visit Pope Francis on a European tour in March, the White House has announced.
The White House said Barack Obama looked forward to discussing their “shared commitment to fighting poverty and growing inequality”.
While in Rome, Barack Obama will meet Italian President Giorgio Napolitano and PM Enrico Letta.
Barack Obama will visit the Netherlands for a nuclear security summit, and will meet NATO and Belgian officials in Belgium.
Barack Obama will visit Pope Francis on a European tour in March
Among those Barack Obama is scheduled to meet is Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen, the White House said.
The president’s visit to Belgium will include his first official trip to two EU institutions – the European Council and the European Commission.
Barack Obama quoted Pope Francis in a speech about income inequality on December. The March visit will be the first meeting between the two men.
During an interview with a German television, President Barack Obama has said he will not let controversial NSA surveillance undermine Washington’s ties with Germany.
Speaking to Germany’s ZDF TV, Barack Obama indicated that US bugging of Chancellor Angela Merkel’s mobile phone had been a mistake and would not happen again.
After the row broke out last year, Angela Merkel accused the US of an unacceptable breach of trust.
On Friday, Barack Obama ordered curbs on how intelligence was being collected.
On Saturday, he told ZDF: “I don’t need and don’t want to harm that (US-German) relationship by a surveillance mechanism that somehow would impede the kind of communication and trust that we have.”
Speaking to Germany’s ZDF TV, Barack Obama indicated that US bugging of Chancellor Angela Merkel’s mobile phone had been a mistake and would not happen again
“As long as I’m president of the United States, the chancellor of Germany will not have to worry about this.”
Barack Obama added the US intelligence services, like all others, would continue to be interested in what world governments’ intentions were.
“There is no point in having an intelligence service if you are restricted to the things that you can read in the New York Times or Der Spiegel,” he said.
“The truth of the matter is that by definition the job of intelligence is to find out: Well, what are folks thinking? What are they doing?”
Barack Obama said he and Chancellor Angela Merkel might not always be of the same opinion but that was not a “reason to wiretap”.
The interview was broadcast a day after Barack Obama ordered restrictions on the use of bulk data collected by US intelligence agencies, saying civil liberties must be respected.
[youtube oT-PMEFg5C8 650]
First Lady Michelle Obama turned 50 on January 17, but the big celebration took place at a White House dance party Saturday night.
The White House has said nothing about the guest list or about who provided the entertainment.
But word has spread that President Barack Obama has told guests to come prepared to dance.
Michelle Obama turned 50 on January 17
White House senior adviser Valerie Jarrett was only saying that “people will move” at the party.
The buzz was that Beyonce, who’s friendly with the Obamas, will sing. Beyonce’s husband, rapper Jay Z, performed in Washington on Thursday night.
Michelle Obama spent her birthday largely out of sight, though there was a Twitter post in which she showed off her new AARP card.
President Barack Obama has announced he has ordered curbs on the use of bulk data collected by all US intelligence agencies, saying civil liberties must be respected.
Barack Obama said such data had prevented terror attacks at home and abroad, but that in tackling threats the government risked over-reaching itself.
However, civil liberties groups have said the changes do not go far enough.
The announcement follows global anger after details of the work of the National Security Agency were leaked.
Edward Snowden, the former NSA contractor who leaked the information, is wanted in the US for espionage and is now living in exile in Russia.
The leaked documents revealed that the US collects massive amounts of electronic data from communications of private individuals around the world, and that it has spied on foreign leaders.
The latest revelations claim that US agencies have collected and stored almost 200 million text messages every day across the globe.
In his much-anticipated speech at the Department of Justice, Barack Obama said he would not apologize for the effectiveness of US intelligence operations, and insisted that nothing he had seen indicated they had sought to break the law.
It was necessary for the US to continue collecting large amounts of data, he said, but acknowledged that doing so allowed for “the potential of abuse”.
President Barack Obama has ordered curbs on the use of bulk data collected by all US intelligence agencies
“The reforms I’m proposing today should give the American people greater confidence that their rights are being protected, even as our intelligence and law enforcement agencies maintain the tools they need to keep us safe,” he said.
Details of the times, numbers and durations of phone calls – known as metadata – are currently collected and held by the NSA. However, Barack Obama said he was ending that system “as it currently exists”.
He has asked the attorney general and the intelligence community to draw up plans for such metadata to be held by a third party, with the NSA required to seek legal permission before it could access them.
A panel of independent privacy advocates would also sit on the secret Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC) which has responsibility for giving permission for mass surveillance programmes.
Barack Obama also offered assurances to non-Americans, saying people around the world “should know that the United States is not spying on ordinary people who don’t threaten our national security”.
“This applies to foreign leaders as well,” he said, promising that from now on the US “will not monitor the communications of heads of state and government of our close friends and allies”.
That announcement follows revelations that the US had spied on friendly foreign leaders, including the personal mobile of German Chancellor Angela Merkel.
Barack Obama was also critical of nations he said “feign surprise” over the leaks but “privately acknowledge that America has special responsibilities as the world’s only superpower” and have used the information gathered for their own purposes.
The president said he would not “dwell on Mr. Snowden’s actions or his motivations”, but warned that the “sensational way” the NSA details had come to light had potentially jeopardized US operations “for years to come”.
Civil liberties groups see Edward Snowden as a hero for exposing what they see as official intrusions into private lives, but many Americans believe he has endangered American lives.
[youtube 6XZLan1VkcY 650]
[youtube p4MKm2uFqVQ 650]
President Barack Obama is to announce changes to NSA’s electronic spy programs after revelations made by Edward Snowden.
The president aims to restore public confidence in the intelligence community.
Barack Obama is expected to create a public advocate at the secretive court that approves intelligence collection.
The president’s proposals come hours after UK media reports that the US has collected and stored almost 200 million text messages per day across the globe.
According to the Guardian newspaper and Channel Four News, the National Security Agency (NSA) program extracted and stored data from the SMS messages to gather location information, contacts and financial data.
The report is the latest in a series of revelations from files leaked by Edward Snowden, a former NSA contractor charged in the US with espionage and currently a fugitive in Russia.
Barack Obama’s speech on Friday at Department of Justice comes after a five-person White House panel given the job of reviewing US electronic spying programs in the wake of Edward Snowden’s disclosures presented their report in December.
President Barack Obama is to announce changes to NSA’s electronic spy programs after revelations made by Edward Snowden
Among their recommendations was the creation of a public advocate position at the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC), where judges have approved the mass spying program. Currently, only the US government is represented in front of FISC judges.
In details leaked to various US media by the White House, Barack Obama is expected to endorse that position, as well as extending some privacy protections for foreigners.
He is also expected to include increased oversight of how the US monitors foreign leaders and to limit how long some data can be stored.
However Barack Obama is not expected to endorse one of the panel’s headline recommendations – shifting the storage of phone records from the NSA to the telecommunications firm or a third party where it can be queried under limited conditions.
He is expected to leave the decision on whether that should be implemented to Congress.
Civil rights and privacy groups were wary ahead of the speech.
The Guardian report describes an NSA program called Dishfire, which analyses SMS messages to extract information including contacts from missed call alerts, location from roaming and travel alerts, financial information from bank alerts and payments and names from electronic business cards,
It also alleges that the NSA’s UK counterpart GCHQ searched the NSA’s database for information regarding people in the UK.
[youtube aIs5nKWCJN0 650]
Former Secretary of Defense Robert Gates has strongly criticized President Barack Obama’s handling of the war in Afghanistan in his new book Duty: Memoirs of a Secretary of War.
In the book, Robert Gates says that the president was skeptical that his administration’s Afghan strategy would succeed.
“I never doubted [his] support for the troops, only his support for their mission,” Robert Gates writes.
Robert Gates was Pentagon chief under Presidents Barack Obama and George W. Bush.
He was the first Pentagon head to serve presidents of different parties before leaving political office in 2011.
Although Robert Gates describes Barack Obama as “a man of personal integrity” who was right in his decisions regarding Afghanistan, he says that the president was uncomfortable with the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, which he inherited from the Bush administration.
Robert Gates also says Barack Obama was distrustful of the military that was providing him options.
Former Secretary of Defense Robert Gates has strongly criticized President Barack Obama’s handling of the war in Afghanistan in his new book
He writes in the memoir that in March 2011 Barack Obama did not trust General David Petraeus – the US military commander in Afghanistan in 2010-11 – and “could not stand” Afghan President Hamid Karzai.
Barack Obama “doesn’t consider the war to be his”, Robert Gates writes of a March 2011 meeting in the White House.
“For him, it’s all about getting out.”
According to The Washington Post, the memoir is “in contrast to his subdued, even-keeled public demeanor as Pentagon chief”, and Robert Gates “strikes an often bitter tone in his memoir”.
In the book, Robert Gates voices frustration at the “controlling nature” of Barack Obama’s White House, which he says constantly interfered in Pentagon affairs, even though civilian aides lacked knowledge of military operations.
The White House national security staff “took micromanagement and operational meddling to a new level,” Robert Gates writes, comparing their approach to that of the Nixon era of the 1970s.
“All too early in the administration,” Robert Gates writes, “suspicion and distrust of senior military officers by senior White House officials – including the president and vice president – became a big problem for me as I tried to manage the relationship between the commander-in-chief and his military leaders.”
However, Robert Gates does give credit to the president for approving the raid on Osama Bin Laden’s compound in Pakistan – which he himself initially opposed – describing it as “one of the most courageous decisions I had ever witnessed in the White House.”
Robert Gates is also effusive in his praise of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
[youtube c94mtYzvcFA 650]
The White House has announced measures aimed at limiting access to firearms for the mentally ill.
The changes clarify ambiguous regulations and allow hospitals to provide more information for background checks, officials said.
The actions come more than one year after the Newtown school shooting, which sparked a national gun debate.
President Barack Obama’s push for stricter gun controls stalled after the incident.
In a statement released on Friday, the White House said the two new actions “will help strengthen the federal background check system and keep guns out of the wrong hands”.
The first proposed regulation, from the Department of Justice, aims to clarify who is prohibited under federal law from possessing a firearm for reasons related to mental health.
That change includes clarifying the term “committed to a mental institution” to include involuntary inpatient as well as outpatient commitments, the White House said.
Barack Obama’s push for stricter gun controls stalled after the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting
The second proposed action, brought by the Department of Health and Human Services, lifts certain privacy provisions preventing states from forwarding relevant information to the background check system.
The change could give medical entities covered by federal health privacy law permission to disclose “limited information necessary to help keep guns out of potentially dangerous hands”, the White House said.
“The proposed rule will not change the fact that seeking help for mental health problems or getting treatment does not make someone legally prohibited from having a firearm,” the White House said.
The proposed changes follow the one-year anniversary of the December 2012 mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary school in Newtown, Connecticut, in which 20 children and six school staff members were killed.
The gunman, Adam Lanza, is believed to have had severe mental health issues at the time of the crime.
Barack Obama proposed several federal gun control measures in the wake of the shooting, including tightening the background check system to make it harder for convicted criminals to buy guns, but Congress declined to act under pressure from the powerful gun lobby.
The president has continued to press Congress for further restrictions, although skeptics note that if the murder of 20 children failed to goad Congress to action, it is unclear what could.
“Passing common-sense gun safety legislation – including expanding background checks and making gun trafficking a federal crime – remains the most important step we can take to reduce gun violence,” the White House statement concluded.
President Barack Obama urged Americans to remember troops serving far from home and embrace the spirit of the season and give back in his annual Christmas message.
“Our extraordinary men and women in uniform are serving so that the rest of us can enjoy the blessings we cherish during the holidays,” Barack Obama said in a pre-recorded message with first lady Michelle Obama by his side.
“But that means many of our troops are far from home and far from family.”
President Barack Obama urged Americans to remember troops serving far from home and embrace the spirit of the season and give back in his annual Christmas message
Barack Obama urged people to celebrate Christmas with service by volunteering at a soup kitchen, buying gifts for kids in need or organizing food and clothing drives.
“For families like ours, that service is a chance to celebrate the birth of Christ and live out what He taught us – to love our neighbors as we would ourselves; to feed the hungry and look after the sick; to be our brother’s keeper and our sister’s keeper,” the president said.
In his weekly radio and Internet address, Barack Obama says the values Jesus taught can spur Americans of all faiths to be better parents, friends, neighbors and citizens.
First Lady Michelle Obama echoed the message, saying: “So as we look to the New Year, let’s pledge ourselves to living out those values by reaching out and lifting up those in our communities who could use a hand up.”
[youtube Cnj0XZGKnG4 650]
President Barack Obama has signed up for health insurance coverage under ObamaCare.
A White House representative said Monday that the president enrolled in a health plan through the Washington, D.C. insurance marketplace over the weekend.
Barack Obama chose one of the cheapest plan – bronze plan – which covers 60% of medical costs.
Barack Obama chose bronze plan which covers 60 percent of medical costs
“The act of the President signing up for insurance coverage through the DC exchange is symbolic since the President’s health care will continue to be provided by the military,” the aide said.
Barack Obama will pay premiums for the plan, though, the aide said. The insurance would cover only the president, not his wife or children, and the premium will be less than $400 per month.
All presidents and their immediate families get coverage through the military. As Commander-in-Chief, any president has a personal physician and he and his family get full care at the White House Medical Unit and the National Naval Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland.
President Barack Obama and his family opened their annual Hawaii vacation on Saturday.
Every year, Barack Obama and his family prepare to return to his birth state on the sun-scorched shores of Oahu. And every year congressional squabbling has forced the Obamas to delay their trip.
This year, Barack Obama was cleared for an on-time departure by Congress, which defied pessimistic expectations last week by passing a bipartisan budget deal, all but ensuring the government won’t shut down over the next two years. It was a far cry from presaging a new era of cooperation, to be sure, but a silver lining for Barack Obama a day earlier as he acknowledged a year of frustrating “ups and downs” in an end-of-year news conference.
President Barack Obama and his family opened their annual Hawaii vacation
President Barack Obama, first lady Michelle Obama, daughters Sasha and Malia, and first dogs Sunny and Bo hopped an overnight flight Friday aboard Air Force One to Honolulu, where they were whisked by motorcade to a beachside home in Kailua, a sleepy suburb with a five-mile stretch of beach popular among windsurfers and tourists.
On Saturday afternoon, Barack Obama headed to the golf course at a nearby Marine Corps base. Joining the president for the round of golf were Sam Kass, the White House chef; Marvin Nicholson, Obama’s trip director; and presidential friend Bobby Titcomb, the White House said.
President Barack Obama has no public events scheduled during his vacation, which is expected to last through January 5.
[youtube tNeQuYEsX_I 650]
President Barack Obama has suggested at his end-of-year news conference there may be a review of surveillance by the National Security Agency (NSA) in the wake of a series of spying revelations.
Barack Obama said in “light of disclosures that have taken place” and public concerns about the programmes “there may be another way of skinning the cat”.
However, the president said ex-NSA contractor Edward Snowden had caused “unnecessary damage” by leaking documents.
He declined to say whether or not Edward Snowden could be offered an amnesty.
Edward Snowden fled the US in late May, taking a huge cache of secret documents with him. He faces espionage charges in the US and has been granted temporary asylum in Russia.
Barack Obama has suggested there may be a review of surveillance by the NSA in the wake of a series of spying revelations
“There are ways we can do it, potentially, that gives people greater assurance that there are checks and balances, that there’s sufficient oversight and sufficient transparency,” Barack Obama said.
He said that programmes like the bulk collection of phone records “could be redesigned in ways that give you the same information when you need it without creating these potentials for abuse”.
Barack Obama said he would make a “definitive statement” in January about recommendations by the White House panel.
“I have confidence in the fact that the NSA is not engaging in domestic surveillance or snooping around,” he added.
“We may have to refine this further to give people more confidence. And I’m going to be working very hard on doing that.”
On the subject of possibly granting Edward Snowden an amnesty, Barack Obama said: “I will leave it up to the courts and the attorney general to weigh in on Mr. Snowden’s case.”
[youtube yDBEUYDU22I 650]
President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama will observe a moment silence Saturday morning on the first anniversary of Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre
President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama will observe a moment silence Saturday morning on the first anniversary of Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre.
At 9:30 a.m., around the time the first of Adam Lanza’s 26 schoolhouse victims died, houses of worship around Connecticut will toll their bells, once for each victim, a request from Gov. Dannel Malloy — repeating a similar gesture made a week after the shooting.
Across the country, people will find their own ways to pay tribute — the personal and the communal, the modest and the grand.
Many of such efforts have been underway for quite a while.
The Sandy Ground Project: Where Angels Play, which built 26 playgrounds in areas leveled by Hurricane Sandy, each named after one of the Sandy Hook victims.
There is the Newtown Documentation Project, which sought to preserve the thousands of letter and handmade gifts that have poured into the town in the past year.
[youtube ziV3_ZXUb04 650]
President Barack Obama was caught smiling and taking a selfie with his seat-mates, Denmark’s PM Helle Thorning-Schmidt and Britain’s David Cameron during Nelson Mandela’s massive memorial service in Johannesburg.
As the three of them smile for the camera, a stern-looking Michelle Obama can be seen staring straight ahead, hands clasped.
Michelle Obama’s reaction – not just to the “selfie” but to her husband’s chatting and joking with the young Danish prime minister – was priceless. In one picture, Michelle Obama could be seen glaring over at Barack Obama while he put his hand on Helle Thorning-Schmidt’s shoulder.
In another, it appeared the first lady and the president switched seats, putting Michelle Obama squarely between him and Helle Thorning-Schmidt.
Barack Obama was caught smiling and taking a selfie with Helle Thorning-Schmidt and David Cameron during Nelson Mandela’s massive memorial service
The photographer behind the “selfie” pic of the three dignitaries, though, later claimed that the first lady herself was “joking with those around her” a few seconds earlier.
“The stern look was captured by chance,” he wrote.
After the images surged through social media, the White House on Wednesday released its own set of photos of Barack Obama’s South Africa visit and among them was a picture of Obama, the first lady and the Danish prime minister.
But in this one, Barack Obama was talking to his wife, while Helle Thorning-Schmidt seemed preoccupied with her phone.
The “selfie” incident was the second unexpected controversy stirred up by the president in South Africa. Earlier, Cuban-American lawmakers publicly objected after Barack Obama – on his way to deliver his tribute to Nelson Mandela – shook the hand of Cuba’s President Raul Castro.
[youtube fPJglCa05f4 650]
The White House said President Barack Obama and Cuba’s President Raul Castro’s handshake at Nelson Mandela’s memorial service was unplanned.
White House aide Ben Rhodes told reporters the two exchanged no words more substantive than a greeting.
The Cuban government said the gesture may show the “beginning of the end of the US aggressions”.
The US broke off diplomatic ties with Cuba in 1961 as Fidel Castro aligned with the Soviet Union in the Cold War.
On Tuesday, after the handshake, a White House official said the Obama administration still had grave concerns about human rights violations in Cuba, Reuters reported.
Republicans on Capitol Hill were quick to condemn the gesture, with one Republican congresswoman chiding the move during a unrelated hearing on Tuesday.
The White House said President Barack Obama and Cuba’s President Raul Castro’s handshake at Nelson Mandela’s memorial service was unplanned
“Sometimes a handshake is just a handshake, but when the leader of the free world shakes the bloody hand of a ruthless dictator like Raul Castro, it becomes a propaganda coup for the tyrant,” Florida Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, who is known for her opposition to the Castro government, told Secretary of State John Kerry.
“Could you please tell the Cuban people living under that repressive regime that, a handshake notwithstanding, the US policy toward the cruel and sadistic Cuban dictatorship has not weakened.”
The last US president to shake a Cuban leader’s hand was President Bill Clinton, who greeted President Fidel Castro, Raul’s brother and predecessor, at a 2000 UN General Assembly meeting.
Under President Barack Obama, the US has eased restrictions on Cuban-Americans travelling to the island and on remittances between family members across the two countries.
But the gradual thaw has been disrupted by the detention in Cuba of a US contractor.
Alan Gross, 64, was arrested four years ago while on a project to provide internet access to Cuba’s small Jewish community.
On the fourth anniversary of his arrest, Alan Gross wrote to Barack Obama to say he feared the US government had “abandoned” him, and asked the US president to intervene personally to help win his release.
[youtube kjAYMqPGyPU 650]
[youtube KAHoHLiy__w 650]
The White House has unveiled this year’s Christmas card featuring Obamas’ dog Bo, as well as the latest addition to the family, Sunny.
“As we gather around this season, may the warmth and joy of the holidays fill your home,” the card read.
The White House has unveiled this year’s Christmas card featuring dogs Bo and Sunny
The White House Christmas card is signed by President Barack Obama, First Lady Michelle Obama, their daughters Sasha and Malia and the two presidential dogs, Sunny and Bo.
Nelson Mandela memorial service is one of the largest gatherings of its kind in generations.
Tens of thousands of mourners and almost 100 foreign leaders attended the event at the FNB stadium in Johannesburg.
World leaders attending Nelson Mandela’s memorial service:
– US President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama as well as former Presidents George W. Bush, Bill Clinton and Jimmy Carter
– UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and his predecessor Kofi Annan.
– UK Prime Minister David Cameron, Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg and Labour Party leader Ed Miliband
– French President Francois Hollande and his predecessor Nicolas Sarkozy
– German President Joachim Gauck
– Zimbabwe’s President Robert Mugabe
– Cuban President Raul Castro
– Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff
– Indian President Pranab Mukherjee
Nelson Mandela memorial service is one of the largest gatherings of its kind in generations
– Namibian President Hifikepunye Pohamba
– Chinese Vice-President Li Yuanchao
– President of the Palestinian Authority Mahmoud Abbas
– Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta
– Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper
– Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy and Prince Felipe
– Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott
– Romanian Prime Minister Victor Ponta
– Afghan President Hamid Karzai
– Pakistan’s President Mamnoon Hussain
– Sri Lanka’s President Mahinda Rajapaksa
– The Netherlands’ King Willem-Alexander and Foreign Minister Frans Timmermans
– Norway’s Crown Prince Haakon and Prime Minister Erna Solberg
– European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso and European Union Council President Herman Van Rompuy
– Top Vatican official Cardinal Peter Turkson of Ghana
– British entrepreneur Richard Branson
– US talk show host Oprah Winfrey
– U2 singer and activist Bono
– Musician Peter Gabriel, who brought the idea of The Elders – a group of former leaders – to Nelson Mandela
– British Model Naomi Campbell
[youtube xrMJ0QSfugo 650]
Barack and Michelle Obama will travel to South Africa to attend the memorial service for Nelson Mandela on Tuesday.
The memorial service on Tuesday, December 10, is part of a week of official observances that will culminate in a state funeral a week from Sunday.
Barack Obama will travel to South Africa to attend the memorial service for Nelson Mandela
The official events honoring Nelson Mandela, who died on Thursday, December 5, at the age of 95, begin on Sunday, when the government will observe a national day of prayer and reflection.
On Sunday, December 15, a funeral service and interment ceremony will take place at Nelson Mandela’s home and final resting place at Qunu in the Eastern Cape.
President Barack Obama has said the US must fix what he described as profound income inequality and a lack of social mobility.
He called for a rise in the minimum wage and for stronger collective bargaining laws, among other measures.
The president also said his embattled healthcare overhaul would ease one part of American families’ financial struggle.
Barack Obama’s approval ratings have plummeted in recent weeks amid that law’s botched rollout.
While acknowledging the political difficulty of passing any such government action with a divided and acrimonious Congress, Barack Obama’s speech in Washington DC gave a broad overview of economic themes for the rest of his term, analysts say.
The president said the country had accepted higher levels of economic inequality than other developed nations because Americans “were convinced that America is a place where even if you’re born with nothing, with a little hard work you can improve your own situation over time”.
But Barack Obama, a Democrat, said rising income inequality had been accompanied in recent decades by diminishing opportunities for social mobility. He faulted tax cuts for wealthy Americans, declining investment in schools and infrastructure, and laws that have weakened labor unions, compounded by broad structural changes in the global economy.
Barack Obama has said the US must fix what he described as profound income inequality and a lack of social mobility
“The combined trends of increased inequality and decreasing mobility pose a fundamental threat to the American Dream, our way of life, and what we stand for around the globe,” Barack Obama said.
“The idea that so many children are born into poverty in the wealthiest nation on Earth is heartbreaking enough. The idea that a child may never be able to escape that poverty because she lacks a decent education or healthcare, or a community that views her future as their own, that should offend all of us and it should compel us to action.”
The US president argued rising inequality was eroding trust in institutions and reducing civic and community involvement. And he said the “growing gap” was as much about class as it was about race.
To remedy the growing income inequality, Barack Obama called for a rise in the national minimum wage, currently $7.25 – as low as it was during the administration of President Harry Truman in the 1950s in terms of spending power, he said.
Several states and cities have raised their own minimum wages, most recently New Jersey and Washington DC.
A proposal is currently being floated in the Senate to increase the national minimum wage to $10.10 in three steps and tie further increases to changes in the cost of living, but its path even through the Democratic-controlled Senate is unclear.
Barack Obama also suggested targeted programmes for cities and regions hardest hit by the 2008 recession and other sea changes in the US economy, universal preschool education for young children, a shoring-up of the US pension and social safety net schemes, and laws to make it easier for workers to organize into labor unions.
He pressed Congress to extend unemployment benefits to 1.3 million people who have been unemployed long-term, set to expire toward the end of December.
Additional weeks of benefits have been approved since 2009, but on Tuesday, a senior Republican congressman, Representative Tom Cole, said his party opposed an extension.
[youtube sSBNxpUe2ks 650]
President Barack Obama is planning to rally support for ObamaCare and stem a wave of bad publicity over his flagship domestic achievement.
The president was joined at the White House by Americans who said they had benefited from the Affordable Care Act.
The new healthcare.gov website, which sells medical insurance, is now working at acceptable levels after its disastrous launch, says the administration.
The act aims to provide health coverage to some 15% of US citizens who lack it.
Barack Obama sought to remind Americans that under his health programme, insurers can no longer deny coverage to those with pre-existing conditions, and young people can now stay on their parents’ coverage until age 26.
He discussed the intensive efforts to repair the healthcare.gov website, which has been a flop since it went online on October 1st.
“Today the website is working well for the vast majority of users,” Barack Obama said.
President Barack Obama is planning to rally support for ObamaCare
“More problems may pop up, as they always do when you’re launching something new. And when they do we’ll fix those, too.”
The White House is also due to hold a youth summit on Wednesday, in the latest attempt to promote the law among the young and healthy, a demographic crucial to the strategy of reducing overall healthcare costs.
It is part of a multi-pronged effort by the administration to counter the Republican argument that the act known on both sides of the political divide as ObamaCare is “a train wreck”.
The law’s problems have sent Barack Obama’s job approval ratings plunging and threaten to damage fellow Democrats in next year’s congressional elections.
Elsewhere in Washington DC on Tuesday, the White House’s chief of staff told a public policy forum that more than one million new visitors had logged on to healthcare.gov a day earlier.
Denis McDonough said the website’s new queuing system, used in times of high traffic, worked “pretty well”.
“No matter what, we’re going to see this thing through,” he said.
He did not provide updated figures for how many people had signed up for insurance plans.
The administration aims to enroll 7 million people in insurance plans before the end of March, when all Americans are required to have coverage or pay a fine.
But problems reportedly persist. Insurers say they are receiving enrolment forms that have errors or are duplicated, while others go missing altogether.
[youtube j7sfgd1FoNs 650]
The deadline to overhaul the website of ObamaCare reform law has passed but it is unclear if all the glitches have been fixed.
Technicians worked around the clock to meet the midnight deadline but the site was due to go offline for maintenance early on Sunday.
The test will probably come as people return from Thanksgiving holidays.
Problems with the website have led to a drop in President Barack Obama’s approval ratings.
White House officials said the HealthCare.gov site was working well on Saturday after overnight hardware upgrades to boost its capacity.
Software fixes to improve speed and reduce errors were planned for overnight Saturday into Sunday morning.
An update on the website’s progress is due to be released later on Sunday by Jeff Zients, the site’s chief troubleshooter.
The deadline to overhaul the website of ObamaCare reform law has passed but it is unclear if all the glitches have been fixed
HealthCare.gov is a key element of Barack Obama’s flagship 2010 Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act – also known as ObamaCare – which aims to provide affordable health insurance to the estimated 15% of US citizens who lack it.
But since its October 1st launch, the site has been plagued by errors, outages and slow speeds.
Despite the setbacks, Barack Obama has described his healthcare reform law as a legacy to be proud of.
In an interview with ABC News, Barack Obama said he still believed his Affordable Care Act would make good on his manifesto promise to deliver affordable health care to Americans.
ObamaCare has been strongly criticized by Republican party politicians and many private health providers, who say it is too expensive and an unwarranted intrusion into the affairs of private businesses and individuals.
Their opposition intensified after the troubled launch of HealthCare.gov in October.
The website, which services 36 states, signed up just 27,000 people in the first month while the 14 states that run their own websites enrolled 79,000.
The total of around 106,000 was far off the administration’s estimate that nearly 500,000 people would enroll within the first month.
The White House promised a “smooth experience” for the “vast majority” of website users by the end of November.
[youtube _NFNX5kRU-E 650]
Kanye West, who vowed during a November 18 radio interview to never mention Barack Obama again, bravely reconsidering his stance on whether or not to discuss the president so that he could declare himself and his fiancée, Kim Kardashian, “most relevant”.
“The reason why Obama mentioned our name is ’cause we most relevant. Case in point! So if I say that, that’s cause it’s the case in point,” Kanye West attempted to explain during a Monday interview on Hot 97.
“He just say that trying to be cool! Obama was supposed to be the coolest person on the planet, now he gotta say our names to be cool. It’s like a feature; we featured in his interviews right now. They need a feature from us to get relevant!”
Kanye West bravely reconsidering his stance on whether or not to discuss Barack Obama so that he could declare himself and Kim Kardashian “most relevant”
Kanye West initially vowed not to discuss the president again while speaking toPhiladelphia radio station Hot 107.9, declaring: “I’m not gonna mention him no more, I’m past that.”
The bad blood between Kanye West and Barack Obama, who once referred to the rapper as a “jackass,” came to a boil when the president lamented that young people these days regard the celebrity couple as “the mark of success.”
“Kids [in the past] weren’t monitoring every day what Kim Kardashian was wearing, or where Kanye West was going on vacation, and thinking that somehow that was the mark of success,” Barack Obama said during an interview with Amazon’s Kindle Singles site.
Kris Jenner defended her daughter and Kanye West on her chat show, saying:“I find it so odd that he’s picking on Kim Kardashian and Kanye West. Well, Kanye West, first of all, doesn’t go on vacation. Ever.”
“And Kim Kardashian is the hardest-working young lady in the world. She never sleeps, she never stops, she never slows down and works so hard for what she’s got.”
[youtube fBPiFadu5T0 650]
[youtube k5kprnY0gN8 650]
Prev1...121314...31Next Page 13 of 31