A United Nations Security Council Resolution sanctioned military intervention in Libya to safeguard civilians from attacks led by Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi. But now reports of cluster bombs, sea and land mines, and deaths from aerial bombing has the U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs concerned that the toll on civilians might be too great. The agency has called for a weapons' pause to allow humanitarian supplies and investigators safely into the country.
Government officials from both countries met this week in Washington for the third U.S.-China Strategic and Economic Dialogue. China asked the U.S to lead an international economic recovery, but it may have been a hard sell considering that China's trade statistics, also released this week, show the country's exports hitting record levels, but its imports lagging. China's trade surplus from the first quarter of 2011 is at $11.43 billion — fueling concerns by the U.S. and other countries that China is using its weak currency to claim a large share of global job creation. The U.S. pushed China to appreciate its currency, and support the flow of American imports to China.
President Obama is headed to the border town of El Paso, Texas today and is scheduled to speak on the fate of the 11 million illegal immigrants living in the United States. It has been more than ten months since Obama gave his first big policy speech on immigration at the American University in Washington, where he stressed an administrative policy of border control and easing immigration proceedings for legal immigrants. But the Latino community is waiting to hear whether recent behind-the-scenes meetings have led to a more encompassing framework for federal immigration reform — one of Obama's campaign promises back in 2008.
Memphis, Tennessee is the next place to be hit by the 100-year flood racing south down the Mississippi. About 1,300 households have been evacuated so far, and 500 people have gone to shelters set up around the city in preparation for the 48 foot high crest expected on Tuesday morning before heading further south into Mississippi. Bill Dries, reporter for the Memphis Daily News, who says that Memphis' commerce will take a hit, but that state and local emergency management authorities in Tennessee have been coordinating successfully.
Insurance companies have traditionally set up subsidiaries in off-shore tax havens like Bermuda and the Cayman Islands in part to get around strict state regulations regarding their investment strategies. But according to a report by our partner, The New York Times, a number of states have begun luring insurance giants back by allowing them to establish "captive" subsidiaries — risk management systems that allow companies to invest and reinsure without as much capital backing. Now some state insurance commissioners are warning that captives could put insurance policy holders at risk in the same way that the housing market was endangered by mortgage-backed securities.
President Barack Obama went from comedian at the White House Correspondents Dinner to resolute diplomat scorning the Birther detractors and then comforting provider, bringing solace to the victims of the tornadoes that swept across the south. However, his sober announcement that Osama bin Laden was captured and killed showed the world his ownership over the title of "commander in chief."
All along the Mississippi and Ohio rivers, people are packing up as the flood waters continue to rise, endangering their fields, their homes and their lives. The decision by the Army Corps of Engineers to blast the Birds Point levee in Missouri inundated farmland, but slowed the flooding: water levels in Ohio and further south in Mississippi have dropped considerably. But at the base of the Mississippi Delta, in Vicksburg, Mississippi, people are preparing for the worst — as the water levels are scheduled to crest at 57.5 feet by May 20th.
The ripple effect of Osama bin Laden’s death is already being felt. In Yemen, an al-Qaida stronghold, at least 10 people were killed and more than 20 injured when gunmen believed to be al-Qaida members attacked two security patrols in the southern province of Abyan. But in Afghanistan, analysts believe that Osama bin Laden's death may lead the Taliban to finally sever their ties to al-Qaida — a move the Obama Administration and President Hamid Karzai’s regime have demanded as a condition for opening up negotiations with insurgents.
President Obama is in New York today to pay his respects at Ground Zero and meet with family members of victims of 9/11. Whenever the president is in town, the New York Police Department is on heightened security. But this time, they will be keeping the status quo. The NYPD’s 35,000 officers have been on alert since Sunday night when the White House announced Osama bin Laden’s death. Officers have been working overtime to protect subways during rush hour and have been commanded to be on the lookout for suspicious packages at landmarks. Police officials say there have been no specific threats against the city, but New York is still a prime target for terrorist attacks.
Instead of a full-on military offensive in Pakistan, Osama bin Laden was taken out by an elite troop of Navy SEALs in a covert operation. It comes as little surprise that the House Armed Services subcommittee on emerging threats and capabilities approved $10.5 billion for Special Operations Command and the Navy SEALs in the fiscal year beginning Oct. 1. This is about a 7 percent increase over this year. At the same time, the death of Osama bin Laden, who was the driving force behind al-Qaida's large scale attacks, could force the terrorist group to change strategy as well.
The Space Shuttle Endeavor is schedule to launch at 3:47 PM on today. Big crowds are expected at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida — because this is not any ordinary launch. The 14-day mission will be the Endeavor’s 25th and FINAL voyage and it is the second to last space shuttle launch in the foreseeable future. The program will be ending in June.
Rome is teeming with Catholic tourists this weekend, who have arrived to witness the beatification of the late Pope John Paul II. The beatification is the third of four steps of sainthood — and John Paul II is on the fast track. Pope Benedict XVI vowed to make his friend and mentor a saint and will celebrate the Beatification Mass at St. Peter’s Basilica in Vatican City, sooner than any other blessed person before him. But the decision to rush beatify John Paul II has not been met without controversy.
Followers are mourning the loss of an iconic Indian religious figure today: Shri Sathya Sai Baba died on Sunday in his home town of Puttaparthi in South India. At least a million devotees are expected to pilgrimage to the ashram to pay their respects to the guru and mystic who preached religious unity and ecumenicalism. But Shri Sathya Sai Baba was more than just a preacher – for his millions of followers worldwide he was a divinity incarnate, a “god-man” for more than 50 years.
Supreme Court ruling Citizens United removed financial limitations on how much corporations could give to political campaigns. But a lesser known part of that decision also nullified another law which restricted a corporation’s ability to advocate for certain political candidates and party platforms in the workplace. In essence, your boss can now tell you who he or she is voting for, and why.
In 2007, Governor Deval Patrick became the first black governor of Massachusetts. In his first term, Patrick oversaw the implementation of the state's 2006 health care reform program, defended the legality of same-sex marriages and increased the state's sales tax to 6.5 percent. Now in his second term, the man born into poverty on Chicago's South Side has written a memoir called “A Reason to Believe: Lessons From an Improbable Life.” Governor Deval Patrick joins The Takeaway to talk about his path to the governor's mansion —and the road ahead.
Two years ago, big cleaning product companies like Clorox (greenWorks) and Arm&Hammer (Arm&Hammer Essentials) introduced new ecologically-sound lines to their repertoire, on the heels of high sales by niche market competitors like Seventh Generation and Ecover. But although sales soared initially, the companies have taken a hit in the past year. A number of them are reducing their green product lines or dropping them altogether. Are consumers more concerned with their pocket books than with the planet? Or was "greenwashing" just a fad?
Fifty years ago this weekend, the Central Intelligence Agency launched a covert attack on Cuba in what became known as The Bay of Pigs. The three day assault, which was carried out under the auspices of a Cuban rebel group, was a fiasco. The rebels were captured and killed, along with a handful of CIA intelligence officers. It was just three months after John F. Kennedy took over the White House, and while the plan had been initiated under Dwight D. Eisenhower, it was Kennedy who signed off on the operation.
In the Spring of 1960, the CIA began a covert plan to overthrow the Cuban Prime Minister Fidel Castro. The idea was to invade Cuba in a coup d’etat. There were already counter-revolutionary forces in the Escambray Mountains. But the CIA wanted a home-grown group. In Miami, the CIA began recruiting among the anti-Castro Cuban exiles and turned them into the Brigade 2506. Trained and armed by the CIA, on April 17, 1961 they landed at the Bahia de Cochinos in Cuba — the Bay of Pigs.
Britain has been trying to convince Arab countries to start training the rebels in Libya. They want to hire private security companies, made up of former Special Forces troops, to aid them, arguing that the disorganized rebels are in no condition to take the country on their own without military guidance. But can a small group of CIA agents or Navy Seals really whip such a ragtag group into shape without better weapons?
With less than a day before the current stopgap budget bill runs out, President Obama met with Congressional leaders to try to prevent a government shutdown. But politicians are not just worried about the fallout a shutdown could have for their 2012 campaign. There is also a worry about the economic ramifications, which would ripple down from Capital Hill to Wall Street and, ultimately, Main Street.