[The Classic Christian Network] TUESDAY is NEWSDAY: "World Mag"

Posted: April 5, 2011 in Uncategorized

The Last Generation Network News Report

“Your Digital News Flash”

“Tuesday is News Day”

Boehner signals compromise in budget talks



House Speaker John Boehner signaled Thursday that a compromise is coming with Democrats on immediate cuts in government spending, as Tea Party supporters rallied near the Capitol demanding House Republicans to fight for bigger spending cuts or else just let the government shut down.

Boehner noted that Republicans are fighting for the biggest spending cuts they can get, given that Democrats are in control of the White House and Senate.

Boehner said there’s no agreement yet on how much he and Democrats are willing to compromise in cutting the day-to-day budgets of federal agencies over the coming six months. The GOP House has voted to cut more than $60 billion from this year’s budget, and Democrats have been moving steadily in his direction.

The Ohio Republican has agreed to discuss a compromise of around $33 billion in spending cuts over the next six months—considerably less than Tea Party activists have demanded.

The tentative split-the-difference plan would end up where GOP leaders started last month as they tried to fulfill a campaign pledge to return spending for agencies’ daily operations to levels in place before President Barack Obama took office. That calculation takes into account the fact that the current budget year, which began Oct. 1, is about half over.

Under Biden’s math, the White House is conceding $73 billion in cuts from Obama’s requests, which contained increases never approved by Congress. Republicans originally wanted $100 billion in cuts using the same gauge.

Some tea party-backed GOP lawmakers want the original $100 billion in cuts, and it’s unclear how many of the 87 freshmen Republicans elected last fall will approve of the arrangement between top Democrats and Boehner, who plans to meet with freshman GOP lawmakers.

Both sides said the figure under consideration is tentative at best and depends on the outcome of numerous policy stands written into the bill.

Freshman Republican Rep. Adam Kinzinger suggested Tea Part activists to save their powder for bigger fights ahead, including next year’s budget and a must-pass bill to allow the government to borrow more money to meet its commitments. Republicans hope to use that measure to force further spending cuts on the president.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.


331issaRepublicans in Congress objected Thursday to the Homeland Security Department’s now-rescinded practice of requiring secretive reviews by political advisers of hundreds of requests for government files under the Freedom of Information Act. Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., the chairman of a House oversight committee, said the process “reeks of a Nixonian enemies list” and was unacceptable.

The senior official in charge of submitting files for the reviews, Mary Ellen Callahan, acknowledged there had been “management challenges” in the program and said the political scrutiny “at times took longer than anticipated.” But Callahan deflected suggestions by Issa that the process injected political considerations into decisions about federal records the government was turning over to journalists, watchdog groups, or even members of Congress.

Democrats vigorously defended the department and, by extension, the Obama administration. The committee’s top Democrat, Rep. Elijah Cummings of Maryland, said that Issa’s accusations are unsubstantiated.

The Homeland Security Department abandoned its practice of requiring approval by political appointees before some information could be released after the Associated Press investigated the program last year. Since July, political advisers have been afforded three business days to object to the release of information that otherwise could be withheld under nine provisions in the law protecting national security, privacy, or confidential decision-making. If there are no objections, the records can be released.

Issa said some information that was censored in government files should have been released, and he said delays resulting from the reviews of up to three months were unacceptable.

Cummings cited results of a one-year inquiry by the Homeland Security inspector general that found no evidence that political advisers prohibited federal records from being disclosed. Although the inspector general called the previous system an “unprecedented involvement in the FOIA process,” the report concluded that the advisers “had little to contribute.”

This week, Callahan reduced the period for political advisers to review government files to one business day. But the inspector general said even the new, speedier process “is not required by FOIA and seems inconsistent” with the Obama administration’s instructions prohibiting unnecessary bureaucratic hurdles under the Freedom of Information Act.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Radiation slows recovery of dead near Japan plant


331japanIn the shadow of Japan’s struggle to stem radioactive leaks from its stricken nuclear complex, police in white moon suits pull bodies of tsunami victims from an evacuated zone in halting work interrupted by radiation alarms.

The crisis at the plant, which has compelled Japanese officials to increasingly turn to international help in stemming the leaks, has sometimes overshadowed the other disaster wrought by a March 11 tsunami: the decimation of hundreds of miles of northeastern coastline, the displacement of tens of thousands, and the deaths of an estimated 19,000 people.

Efforts to recover the bodies from the 12-mile evacuation zone around the Fukushima Dai-ichi plant have been slowed by a wasteland of debris, but also by fears of radiation. Police in that prefecture dressed in full radiation suits retrieved 19 corpses from the rubble Wednesday, the police official said.

Each officer wears a radiation detector and must leave the area whenever an alarm goes off—a frequent occurrence that has often dragged the operation to a halt, the official said.

There also are concerns about the disposal of bodies, because Japanese tend to cremate their dead, and fires can spread radiation. The Health Ministry recommends that the bodies be cleaned and those with even small levels of radiation should be handled only by people wearing suits, gloves, and masks.

Radiation concerns also have complicated efforts to bring the plant itself under control. Radioactive contamination in groundwater underneath a reactor has been measured at 10,000 times the government health standard, restricting where crews can work.

Japanese officials are increasingly seeking outside help, including experts in eliminating contaminated water from French nuclear giant Areva. Experts and a robot from the U.S. have also arrived in Japan.

Because of the radiation leaks a mandatory evacuation zone around the plant has been ordered, and authorities have also recommended people in the 20-mile band might want to leave, too.

There were concerns Wednesday that the evacuation zone might need to be expanded after the International Atomic Energy Agency reported that radiation levels in a village outside the voluntary band registered at twice the threshold the agency recommends for evacuations.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Rebels in Ivory Coast besiege Abidjan


331ouattaraRebels fighting to install Ivory Coast’s democratically elected president began besieging the main city of Abidjan on Thursday after seizing a key seaport overnight, as he vowed to “reestablish democracy and enforce the choice of the people.”

The top military commander of the country’s entrenched ruler fled to the residence of South Africa’s ambassador. But an adviser to longtime President Laurent Gbagbo said he would not step down even in the face of a rebel onslaught on the country’s commercial capital.

The international community declared Alassane Ouattara the winner of the November presidential election, but Gbagbo has clung to power for months. The violence has left at least 462 people dead, and up to 1 million have fled their homes amid the post-election chaos.

United Nations radio announced that the port of San Pedro, 190 miles west of Abidjan, was taken by rebels late Wednesday. Residents said by telephone that soldiers retreated in trucks while firing into the air as the rebels moved in.

Rebels also took Gbagbo’s hometown, the village of Mama, and Yopougon, a district of Abidjan that fervently supports Gbagbo, said a close aide to Ouattara.

Advancing on foot while firing into the air, the rebels set up roadblocks on one of Yopougon’s main thoroughfares and have been battling with police since early Thursday morning, said a local resident.

They have faced almost no resistance but many fear that army troops still loyal to Gbagbo plan to make a final stand in Abidjan, the country’s economic hub and the only place Gbagbo still has power.

Ouattara’s whereabouts were not immediately known. He had been holed up for months in the lagoonside Golf Hotel in Abidjan, protected by United Nations peacekeeping troops.

Ouattara and Gbagbo have vied for the presidency for months, with Ouattara using his considerable international clout to try to financially and diplomatically suffocate Gbagbo. After the final round of diplomatic efforts had failed to remove Gbagbo, the rebels launched a dramatic offensive this week, seizing control of the country from the west, the center and the east.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Libyan foreign minister resigns


331libyaUPDATE: The British government said one of Muammar Qaddafi’s closest confidantes, Foreign Minister Moussa Koussa, has resigned after flying to England from Tunisia Wednesday. His departure could open the door for some hard intelligence, though Britain refused to offer him immunity from prosecution.

Libyan officials, who initially denied Koussa’s defection, said he had resigned because he was sick with diabetes and high blood pressure. Government spokesman Moussa Ibrahim said Koussa was given permission to go to Tunisia, but the regime was surprised to learn he had flown to London.

The opposition blames Koussa for the assassinations of dissidents in western capitals and for orchestrating the 1988 Lockerbie bombing over Scotland and the bombing of another jet over Niger a year later. The links have never been confirmed.

In another blow to the regime, U.S. officials revealed Wednesday that the CIA has sent small teams of operatives into rebel-held eastern Libya while the United States debates whether to arm the opposition.

OUR EARLIER REPORT: The new commander of international military operations in Libya warned Thursday that anyone attacking civilians would be “ill-advised” to continue, and said he would look into a report by a Vatican envoy that air strikes had killed 40 innocent people.

As NATO took over command of all air operations over Libya from the United States, U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates said that President Barack Obama has no additional U.S. military moves in mind, calling it a pick-up ballgame at this point.

Canadian Lt. Gen. Charles Bouchard said the bloc had already deployed more than 100 fighters and support aircraft to monitor the no-fly zone over Libya and prevent attacks on civilians.

The alliance also had a dozen frigates patrolling the Mediterranean Sea off Libya to prevent weapons shipments from reaching the warring sides.

NATO aircraft had already flown more than 90 sorties since the alliance took over command at 2 a.m. EDT, Bouchard said.

Bouchard said NATO would investigate a claim by the Vatican’s envoy in Libya that air strikes in Tripoli during the night had killed 40 civilians—though he noted that the alleged incident was said to have taken place before NATO took command.

The report by the Fides news agency quoted Bishop Giovanni Innocenzo Martinelli, the apostolic vicar of Tripoli, as saying he had learned that a building in the district of Buslim had collapsed during bombing, killing 40 people inside.

Bouchard said the alliance had very strict rules of engagement, and was very careful in going after any targets.

NATO’s assumption of command comes at a sensitive moment in the war between the rebels and loyalist forces.  Muammar Qaddafi’s ground troops have nearly reversed the gains rebels made since the international airstrikes began. The battlefield setbacks have led to increased calls for the international community to supply weapons to the lightly armed rebels.

Speaking in Stockholm, NATO’s Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said on Thursday that the alliance doesn’t support U.S. and British suggestions that the UN mandate for the international military operation in Libya allows arming rebels.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Ohio passes bargaining limits; unions vow fight


331ohioAfter Ohio lawmakers passed a bill limiting collective bargaining rights for 350,000 public workers across the state late Wednesday, unions and Democrats vowed to put it on November’s ballot as a referendum.

The Senate voted 17-16 to pass the bill and then sent it to Republican Gov. John Kasich for his signature, which is expected this week. The vote followed a day filled with Statehouse demonstrations by about 750 people, who raucously chanted and shouted throughout the process.

The measure affects safety workers, teachers, nurses, and a host of other government personnel. It allows unions to negotiate wages and certain working conditions but not healthcare, sick time, or pension benefits. It gets rid of automatic pay increases and replaces them with merit raises or performance pay. Workers would also be banned from striking.


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