Federal unemployment benefits are set to expire by the end of the year. The benefits were extended in the wake of the recession, but they have become a statistically significant driver of the nation's economy, as the more than 14 million jobless Americans use the benefits on items like clothes and groceries. Will the expiration of the benefits have an effect on an already anemic recovery?
Another shot has been fired in the ongoing negotiations between President Obama and Republican Congressional leaders to raise the nation's debt limit before the August 2 deadline. Obama challenged Republicans in a press conference on Monday, saying that it was time for the GOP to back up rhetoric about tackling the country's long-term debt problems. Republicans leaders have said they will seek a smaller deal with more cuts to social program and no tax increases on the wealthy. Lawmakers will return to the White House for more negotiations this afternoon.
U.S. Ambassador Robert Ford's visit to Syria has drawn the condemnation of the Assad regime. Ford visited the city of Hama, a center of anti-Assad sentiment, where pro-democracy activists greeted him with flowers and olive branches. Meanwhile, in Damascus, pro-Assad demonstrators hurled rocks and eggs at the U.S. Embassy, protesting Ford's visit.
Friday produced another round of ugly job numbers as the country's unemployment rate inched up to 9.2 percent. Yet in Washington, the conversation remains fixed squarely on a compromise to raise the country's debt ceiling. Have lawmakers forgotten about the country's unemployed? And what about the "99'ers," the individuals who have exhausted their 99 weeks of unemployment benefits and are left with no government assistance? Where do they fit into the picture?
It was a big weekend for the U.S. Women's Soccer Team, after a dramatic shootout victory against powerhouse Brazil propelled them to the World Cup's semi-final. The victory was yet another triumph for Team U.S.A. in a tournament that the country has traditionally dominated. Ever since the cup’s launch in 1991, the U.S. has either won or finished in the top three of the Women's World Cup.
The latest news out of the ongoing negotiations to raise the country's debt limit is that President Obama is putting entitlement reform on the table. But Nancy Pelosi and other Democrats say they were caught completely off-guard by the president's latest proposal, and said that the Party is opposed to including Social Security cuts in any kind of deal. The president says the two sides remain divided and far from finding reaching an agreement, but House Speaker John Boehner says there's a 50-50 chance that they'll be able to arrive at a decision this week. Will the president's dramatic proposal be the catalyst that moves the debt deal forward?
Yesterday, our partner The New York Times reported that the United States Treasury Department is printing far less cash than it had been in recent years. Production of dollar bills fell to a modern low last year, the number of $5 bills rolling off the presses dropped to its lowest level in 30 years, and the Treasury did not print any $10 bills at all. As the number of places that don't accept cash at all increases — Internet retail sites, in-flight purchases on airlines, and certain New York restaurants fall into that category — it would seem that cash is in decline. With no quantifiable data to support this, however, we can only speculate. Do you find yourself using cash less and less, and opting for credit instead?
Yesterday, President Obama held the first ever White House Twitter Town Hall meeting. The president fielded questions from Twitter users (asked in the site's standard 140 characters or less). But the president's answers were anything but concise. In fact, he responded to participants' questions with the same long-winded, professorial rhetoric he's been criticized for throughout his presidency. Obama's ability to address his base and stimulate audiences was perhaps his greatest strength as a candidate in 2008. This begs the question: Why has President Obama failed to properly get his messages across to the American people since then?
After deliberating for 10 hours yesterday, the jury in the Casey Anthony trial reached a not guilty verdict. The Florida mother was accused of killing her two-year-old daughter Caylee in 2008. Ultimately, jurors rejected the prosecution's allegations that Anthony had suffocated her daughter with duct-tape and dumped her body in a wooded area. The case captivated the nation for three years and the methods news outlets used to cover the trial may have permanently changed they way the media will report on high-profile court cases in the future.
The arrest of fugitive mob boss James "Whitey" Bulger leaves yet another spot open on the top 10 Most Wanted list. Another spot disappeared early this year; Osama bin Laden’s death left a spot that hasn’t yet been filled.
The House of Representatives is set to vote on a resolution to scale back the US military intervention in Libya. House Republicans contend that President Obama violated the War Powers Act, which limits the president's ability to declare war without the consent of Congress. While the proposal will prevent the US military from engaging in direct combat operations in the Libya, it will allow it to continue to supply support and intelligence for our NATO allies.
Large protests are expected in Madison today in response to an upcoming vote on the state's budget bill, which might include the now famous collective bargaining bill. So far, that bill has been tied up in the courts, says Shawn Johnson, State Capitol reporter with Wisconsin Public Radio. However, Republican lawmakers say if the collective bargaining issue isn't resolved in the courts today, they may put the measure in the budget bill. Meanwhile, there are other issues in the budget that have attracted protesters, including major cuts to the state's schools.
The unemployment rate hovers at 9.1 percent. This means that nearly 14 millions are out of work and 2.2 have stopped looking for work, taking themselves out of the market. There is little indication that American companies will begin hiring in significant numbers anytime soon, despite the fact that the economy is producing as much as it was before the recession hit. In fact, many American companies have shifted their focus on growth in emerging markets overseas. Should businesses be doing more to get Americans back to work?
The Wallow Fire in Arizona has forced thousands of residents to flee their homes. Firefighters have thus far been unable to control the blaze, which has been raging across the state for nearly two weeks, and now has spread over 600 square miles and is nearing the New Mexico border. The fire is now threatening the region's electrical grid, which could affect the power supply as far as Texas.
As the unrest in Yemen continues, several different parties are vying to fill a potential power vacuum in the country, including the US. Over the past month, Washington has expanded the number of air and drone attacks in Yemen in an attempt to prevent Al-Qaeda-affiliated militants from establishing a foothold in the country. Meanwhile, American and Saudi spies are reportedly ramping up intelligence collection efforts inside Yemen. Both countries have a strategic interest in preventing Yemen from becoming a failed state.
Over the past few decades, an incredible amount of time and money has been spent trying to remove populations of "non-native" plants. But according to a panel of ecologists, climate change, urbanization and other changes in land use have largely invalidated the theory that foreign plants are inherently harmful to their newly adopted ecosystems.
When Yemen's President Ali Abdullah Saleh fled his country for Saudia Arabia last week due to wounds suffered in a raid on his presidential palace, his supporters said he'd be able to return to the country within a matter of days. But a US official says Saleh's injuries are more serious than initially reported. The President is reportedly in serious condition, with burns covering 40 percent of his body and bleeding inside his skull. His best case scenario for survival puts out of Yemen for several months. What does this mean Yemen's future and regional stability in the Middle East?
More American companies are going public on exchanges outside of the US. The number of IPOs in the US is reaching historically low levels, as more companies choose to sell their shares on exchanges in Hong Kong, Seoul and other foreign markets. This could affect the US's stature as the world's financial capital and possibly cost the country jobs.
Monday was the deadliest day for U.S. troops in Iraq in months as an insurgent attack killed five U.S. soldiers stationed in Baghdad. The country is still a dangerous place to be even as the United States prepares to begin the final withdrawal of American troops from the country. "There are people out there who are trying to kill you," says John Kamin, who was in the Army when he was deployed iwht the Louisiana National Guard in March, 2010. He says "to me it's reminiscent of the earlier days in the war." Kamin is a member and spokesman of Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America.
It's been almost a year after Congress passed the Dodd-Frank financial regulatory law and many of the legislation’s rules are behind schedule. Regulators have extended the comment periods on the rules under pressure from Wall Street and Congress. "You have a lot of people on Wall Street who are concerned that they need lots of time to put rules in effect," says Louise Story, Wall Street and finance reporter for The New York Times. However, "the longer it takes for the regulations to go into effect, the longer the banks have to make money off of the derivatives." She details the need for the bill and the cause of the delays.