Obama Leaves Golf Abruptly For ‘Personal Matter

BreakingNewsPresident Obama has left a golf course abruptly while vacationing in Hawaii on Monday for a “personal matter,” the Associated Press is reporting, and an ambulance was seen speeding to the first family’s compound.

UpdatedPresident Obama has left a golf course abruptly while vacationing in Hawaii on Monday for a “personal matter,” and an ambulance was seen speeding to the first family’s compound.

CBS 2 (WCBS- TV)has learned that the incident does not involve any member of the first family, and that a family friend traveling with them has suffered a minor injury.

Earlier, the president interrupted his holiday vacation Monday to make a statement on the alleged bomb plot by a Nigerian man accused of attempting to ignite explosives over Michigan while on a U.S. airliner.

The president said the national security team must keep up pressure on those overseas who want to harm the U.S. “We will not rest until we find all who are involved and hold them accountable,” the president said.

Obama also noted that he has ordered a thorough review of the U.S. watchlist system and airport screening procedures.

These were the president’s first public remarks since the Christmas day incident.


Rundown Of President Obama’s Speech

After three months of deliberation, US President Barack Obama has announced he will send 30,000 additional troops to Afghanistan in a speech to cadets, at the West Point military academy in New York.

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Small businesses on front line in Obama’s jobs fight

A chart showing monthly US unemployment since Oct 2008. With unemployment fast becoming one of US President Barack Obama's biggest domestic challenges, focus is shifting from "too-big-to-fail" manufacturing and financial giants to struggling small businesses.

A chart By AFP showing monthly US unemployment since Oct 2008. With unemployment fast becoming one of US President Barack Obama's biggest domestic challenges, focus is shifting from "too-big-to-fail" manufacturing and financial giants to struggling small businesses.

The City & My Life|AFPWith unemployment fast becoming one of US President Barack Obama’s biggest domestic challenges, focus is shifting from “too-big-to-fail” manufacturing and financial giants to struggling small businesses.

After months of high-level intervention to save mega-firms like General Motors and Goldman Sachs, Obama’s economic team is now looking at small firms amid discouraging indicators about their health.

This week the White House received word that the official US unemployment rate passed the symbolic 10 percent mark to 10.2 percent in October, the highest level in 26 years.

Obama called the figure “sobering” and quickly said his administration was considering steps to spark job growth and to “increase the flow of credit to small businesses.”

ADP, a data monitoring firm, this week reported more bad news: that three quarters of jobs lost between September and October in the private sector were in firms with fewer than 500 employees.

Hit with a double whammy of wizened access to bank lending and reduced consumer spending, small business bankruptcies in September increased by 44 percent versus the same month in 2008, according to Equifax, another data monitoring firm.

While it is unclear what form Obama’s small-business assistance might take, some lawmakers have lobbied for a small-business tax credit that would rally firms to hire staff.

The scale of Obama’s task could hardly be larger. According to government figures, in 2003 firms with fewer than 500 employees accounted for 97 percent of US exports.

The US Census Bureau says firms with one to four employees make up the largest section of the country’s 25 million-plus companies.

And the stakes were made clear last week when CIT, a multi-billion-dollar lender to small and medium-sized companies, filed for bankruptcy.

On receiving that news, traders around the world expressed their concern by dumping the dollar, sending the currency plummeting against the euro and yen.

But if the scale of the problem is overwhelming, then so too is the depth.

Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody’s Economy.com, a ratings agency, warned in a blog that small firms were still “struggling to obtain credit,” and were dependent on dysfunctional financial markets.

Hoping that small firms might soon be taking on more hires, Zandi warned that “a more worrisome possibility is that firms are so shell-shocked that they won’t resume hiring.”

But Zandi also offered a glimmer of hope for Obama, stating that a small-firm recovery could spur on the wider economy.

In an article which appeared in The New York Times he pointed out that companies with fewer than 20 employees created 40 percent of new jobs during the last economic boom, between 2003 to 2007.

Obama renews sanctions on Khartoum

REUTERS – President Barack Obama formally renewed U.S. sanctions on Sudan on Tuesday under his new strategy of keeping up pressure while offering incentives to the Khartoum government.

The one-year extension, which Obama made official in a notice to Congress, followed his announcement earlier this month of a new carrot-and-stick policy aimed at ending violence in Sudan’s Darfur region and the semi-autonomous South.

Obama, who during last year’s U.S. presidential campaign urged a tougher line on Khartoum, has justified the shift as necessary to prevent the oil-rich African giant from falling further into chaos.

Unveiling the revised strategy on Oct. 19, the administration set goals to end war crimes in Darfur and ensure implementation of a fraying 2005 peace deal between Khartoum and former southern rebels ahead of national elections next year and a 2011 referendum on southern secession.

Announcement of the new Sudan policy followed months of speculation which saw Obama’s special envoy for Sudan, Scott Gration—a proponent of more engagement with Khartoum—pitted against more skeptical members of the administration. The result, many analysts agreed, was a compromise.

U.S. officials said Washington’s outreach to Khartoum would not include President Omar Hassan al-Bashir, indicted in March by the International Criminal Court for war crimes while fighting mostly non-Arab rebels in Darfur.

The United Nations says more than 2 million people were driven from their homes and some 300,000 people died in the Darfur crisis, although levels of conflict have fallen since the mass killings of 2003 and 2004. Khartoum puts the death toll at 10,000.

In his message to Congress, Obama said the actions and policies of the Sudan government “pose a continuing unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security and foreign policy of the United States.”

“Therefore, I have determined that it is necessary to continue the national emergency declared with respect to Sudan and maintain in force the sanctions against Sudan to respond to this threat,” he wrote.

Sudan has been under U.S. sanctions that have been expanded in stages since the late 1990s. It is on Washington’s list of state sponsors of terrorism and a number Sudanese officials have been targeted for individual asset freezes and travel bans.

Obama Declares H1N1 Flu a National Emergency

Obama Declares H1N1 Flu a National Emergency_0001(Newswires) President Barack Obama has declared the H1N1 (swine) flu outbreak a national emergency.

The White House on Saturday said Obama signed a proclamation that would allow medical officials to bypass certain federal requirements. Officials described the move as similar to a declaration ahead of a hurricane making landfall.

Swine flu is more widespread now than it’s ever been and has resulted in more than 1,000 U.S. deaths so far.

Health authorities say almost 100 children have died from the flu, known as H1N1, and 46 states now have widespread flu activity.

The White House said Obama signed the declaration on Friday evening.

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This  Article Will Be Updated throughout the Day.


The declaration that Obama signed late Friday authorized Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius to bypass federal rules so health officials can respond more quickly to the outbreak, which has killed more than 1,000 people in the United States.

The goal is to remove bureaucratic roadblocks and make it easier for sick people to seek treatment and medical providers to provide it immediately. That could mean fewer hurdles involving Medicare, Medicaid or health privacy regulations.

”As a nation, we have prepared at all levels of government, and as individuals and communities, taking unprecedented steps to counter the emerging pandemic,” Obama wrote in the declaration, which the White House announced Saturday.

He said the pandemic keeps evolving, the rates of illness are rising rapidly in many areas and there’s a potential ”to overburden health care resources.”

Because of vaccine production delays, the government has backed off initial, optimistic estimates that as many as 120 million doses would be available by mid-October. As of Wednesday, only 11 million doses had been shipped to health departments, doctor’s offices and other providers, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention officials said.

The government now hopes to have about 50 million doses of swine flu vaccine out by mid-November and 150 million in December.

The flu virus has to be grown in chicken eggs, and the yield hasn’t been as high as was initially hoped, officials explained.

Swine flu is more widespread now than it’s ever been. Health authorities say almost 100 children have died from the flu, known as H1N1, and 46 states now have widespread fluactivity.

Worldwide, more than 5,000 people have reportedly died from swine flu since it emerged this year and developed into a global epidemic, the World Health Organization said Friday. Since most countries have stopped counting individual swine flu cases, the figure is considered an underestimate.

Congress agrees Guantanamo inmate move

US President Barack Obama’s goal of closing Guantanamo Bay prison has moved a step closer after the US Senate passed a bill allowing inmates to be tried on American soil.

Those acquited will not be permitted to remain in the United States.

Many Republicans have objected to plans to
house terrorism suspects in U.S. prisons, amid concerns that they could invite additional terrorist attacks.

The 79-19 vote removes one of the many obstacles the government faces as it tries to shut down the jail by January.

The measure passed the House of Representatives last week and now heads to the White House for
Obama to sign into law.

Artist of Obama ‘Hope’ Poster Lies About Source Photo

The original photo of Barack Obama and Shepard Fairey's "Hope" poster. (Associated Press)

The original photo of Barack Obama and Shepard Fairey's "Hope" poster. (Associated Press)

NEW YORK, N.Y. (WPIX) – A street artist who designed the famous Obama “HOPE” poster has admitted to lying about the source of the image.

Shepard Fairey said he made the “HOPE” poster from a photo taken of Senator Obama seated next to George Clooney — taken by Mannie Garcia, on assignment for the AP — at the National Press Club in Washington. He now admits the poster was actually based on a solo photograph of Obama taken at the same event.

The AP sought credit and compensation from Fairey earlier this year, setting off a back-and-forth legal battle. The AP claimed the poster was based on one of its photographs and that he needed permission to use it. Fairey filed his own lawsuit in February, seeking protection under “fair use” exceptions to copyright laws. A month later, the AP filed a countersuit, claiming “misappropriation.”

In a statement released Friday, Fairey’s lawyers acknowledged Fairey lied when he claimed he worked off of a different photo than the AP alleged, and have since quit his case.

“In an attempt to conceal my mistake, I submitted false images and deleted other images, I sincerely apologize for my lapse in judgment, and I take full responsibility for my actions, which were mine alone,” Fairey said.

Meanwhile, Fairey argues that despite the fact that he lied about the original source of the poster, he still should not be held accountable for violating copyright laws because of the “fair use” doctrine.

The “HOPE” poster gained international recognition during the presidential campaign