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Older News Archivescom0116

Mary Landrieu Blames Racism For Obama's Unpopularity In Louisiana
Asked Thursday why President Barack Obama has a hard time in Louisiana -- where his approval rating hovers around 40% -- Democratic Sen. Mary Landrieu said a big reason has to do with his race. "I'll be very, very honest with you. The South has not always been the friendliest place for African-Americans," Landrieu told NBC News' Chuck Todd. "It's been a difficult time for the president to present himself in a very positive light as a leader." The three-term senator, who's fighting for her political survival in a tough contest this fall, said the South can also be hard for women "to present themselves." CNN
VOA VIEW: If all else fails - play the race  card.

Nissan Recalls Infiniti SUVs To Fix Air Bags
Nissan says it's recalling more than 1,800 Infiniti SUVs in the U.S. for an air bag problem that could send shrapnel into the passenger compartment. The recall covers some QX56 SUVs from 2013 and the QX80s from 2014. The company says inflators made by Takata Corp. were built with an incorrect outer baffle part. That can cause pressure to build up, and the inflators can rupture if driver's side air bags are deployed. Nissan has no reports of injuries from the problem. It was discovered after General Motors recalled 33,000 Cruze compact cars for the same problem in June. The Infiniti recall is part of a larger global recall of 260,000 Nissans announced last week. CNS News

Obama Puts Spotlight On Women In Quest For Midterm Votes
President Barack Obama, hoping for a strong turnout from female voters for Democratic candidates in congressional and gubernatorial elections next week, put women in the spotlight on Friday at an economic-focused event in Rhode Island. Obama has made only a handful of appearances on the campaign trail for the mid-term elections in addition to a series of fundraising swings, but his limited public stops have been aimed at shoring up support among key Democratic constituents including African Americans. Friday's event was focused on women, whose support helped elect him to the White House in 2012 and whose votes he needs to help Democrats hold on to control of the U.S. Senate and a handful of governors' mansions across the country. Reuters


U.S. Condemns Islamic State For ‘Brutal’ Executions In Iraq
The State Department strongly condemned “brutal actions” of the Islamic State Friday, following reports that group carried out a mass execution of moderate Sunni Muslim tribesmen who had fought back against the extremists in Iraq’s western Anbar province. The “depravity of the reported executions,” State Department spokeswoman Jennifer Psaki said, is among the latest evidence of the “campaign of terror” being carried out in Iraq by the Islamic State, the al Qaeda-inspired Sunni extremist group also known as ISIL and ISIS. Washington Times

What Changing The Clocks Back Does To Your Health
Millions of Americans will welcome an extra hour of sleep this weekend as they turn back their clocks for the end of Daylight Saving Time. But the time change may take a toll on health in a number of ways. A study out of Britain finds that with the time change and the days getting shorter, children get less exercise. Researchers at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine studied 23,000 children, ages five to 16, from 9 countries including the U.S. The kids wore an electronic monitoring device to track their body movement. The researchers determined that every lost hour of daylight corresponded to a 5 percent decline in kids' activity level. CBS

If You Thought The Legal Challenges To The Affordable Care Act Were Over, You'd Be Wrong
You thought the battles over Obamacare were over after the nail-biting 2012 decision by the Supreme Court upholding a core provision of the law, right? Wrong. In fact, the justices are meeting behind closed doors Friday to discuss a different challenge to the law that could, ultimately, be fatal to the future of the Affordable Care Act. This challenge targets tax subsidies granted to those who seek to obtain insurance from the American Health Benefit Exchanges, often referred to simply as exchanges. The ACA grants the credits to qualifying individuals in order to defray the cost of insurance. ABC

U.S. Gasoline Average Below $3 For First Time Since 2010
For the first time in almost four years, U.S. drivers are paying less than $3 a gallon at the pump. U.S. retail gasoline prices are averaging less than $3 today, AAA said in a statement. The Heathrow, Florida-based motoring group will post the price on its website tomorrow. That’s down from this year’s peak of $3.696 in April, and the first time the average has dipped below $3 since December 2010. Sliding prices are seen saving the typical consumer $500 a year and are coming just in time to boost spending during the holiday shopping season, according to analysts including IHS Inc. (IHS) The bonus at the pumps represents the biggest benefit to consumers to date from a record boom in domestic oil production that has contributed to a global crude glut and helped bring down international prices. Bloomberg


'Butterfly' Seating Design A Boon To Long-Haul Flights
A new in-flight seat design for long-haul carriers could have passengers in premium economy and business class spreading their wings, so to speak. Hong Kong designer James SH Lee's "Butterfly Seating Solution" recently took top prize at the International Air Transport Association (IATA)’s 2014 Passenger Innovation Awards for providing flexible cabin configurations to suit the changing demands for seats from flight to flight. With a fixed configuration there are bound to be lost opportunities or inefficiencies,” Lee said in a statement. "Flexible seating configuration helps airlines battle uncertainties. Demand is never constant and predictable — it differs seasonally, across different days of a week, across different markets, across different phases of economy cycle." ABC

Gold Miners Plunge To 12-Year Low As Metal Drops
Gold producers including industry leader Barrick Gold Corp. (ABX) declined to multiyear lows as the precious metal plunged. The 40-company Standard& Poor’s/TSX Global Gold Sector Index fell 4 percent to its lowest level since December 2001. Barrick, the world’s largest producer by sales, dropped 2.6 percent to C$13.39, the lowest closing price since October 1991 in Toronto, where the company is based. Kinross Gold Corp. (KGC), Canada’s third-largest producer, tumbled 12 percent, while Yamana Gold Inc. declined 10 percent. Gold futures fell as the U.S. dollar strengthened after the Bank of Japan unexpectedly boosted stimulus and the Federal Reserve ended asset purchases this week. Bloomberg

Medicare Weighs Paying For End-Of-Life Counseling
Medicare is asking for public comment on whether it should pay doctors for counseling patients about their options for end-of-life care. Friday's announcement came in a voluminous regulation on physician payment. Spokesman Aaron Albright says it will "give the public ample opportunity to weigh in on the topic." Five years after a similar proposal triggered a political backlash against President Barack Obama's health care legislation, the administration is dipping its toe in the water. Such counseling would be voluntary, aiming to make patients aware of their end-of-life options so they can determine the type of care they want. Las Vegas Sun

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Mitch McConnell: Obama Should "Move To The Middle" To Work With The GOP
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Kentucky -- potentially the majority leader if the GOP wins control of the Senate -- tells CBS News that Republicans are ready to work with President Obama if he's ready to "move to the middle" and work with them. "The main goal is to see whether we can make progress for the country," McConnell told CBS News correspondent Nancy Cordes about his priorities for the next two years. "But obviously the president is the only person who can sign something into law. So whether we can make much progress the next few years depends on him. I'd like to see him move to the middle." CBS

Early Votes: Already Over 15 Million In 31 States
Early votes have now soared past 15 million across 31 states. That's enough to give hopeful Republicans as well as nervous Democrats cause for optimism heading into the final weekend of a campaign with control of the Senate, the U.S. House of Representatives and 36 governorships at stake. Republicans say a strong early vote in Iowa is evidence that Joni Ernst is a step ahead in her bid to capture a Senate seat. Iowa GOP Gov. Terry Branstad says he feels good about the totals, too, especially since Democrats had a big early-vote margin four years ago and he won anyway. Democrats said a strong early turnout by African-Americans around Atlanta was a good sign for Michelle Nunn, seeking a Georgia seat that has been out of the party's reach. Las Vegas Sun

Pakistan Seeks Coastal Patrol Cutters From U.S.
Pakistan is seeking to buy eight Global Response Cutters from the United States through the Foreign Military Sales program to safeguard its coastal areas. The U.S. Defense and Security Cooperation Agency, in its required FMS notification to Congress, said the $350 million package deal for the GRC43M cutters would include associated equipment and support. Among those items are eight 25mm or 30mm naval gun Systems, 32 M2-HB .50 caliber machine guns, 32 7.62mm guns, rigid inflatable boats, ballistic/armor protection of critical spaces, command-and-control equipment, communication equipment and navigation gear. UPI


Obama Adviser Likened Iran Nuclear Deal To ObamaCare
Deputy National Security Adviser and MFA in creative writing Ben Rhodes likened an Iranian nuclear deal to ObamaCare in a talk to progressive activists last January, according to audio obtained by the Washington Free Beacon. The remarks, made at a since-discontinued regular meeting of White House personnel and representatives of liberal interest groups, reveal the importance of a rapprochement with Iran to President Obama, who is looking to establish his legacy as his presidency enters its lame-duck phase. Fox News

Judge Rejects Ebola Quarantine For Maine Nurse
A Maine judge has rejected a request by state officials to quarantine and restrict the movements of nurse Kaci Hickox, who after returning from treating Ebola patients in West Africa defied the state's quarantine. Judge Charles LaVerdiere initially put out a temporary order imposing some restrictions on Hickox. But on Friday, he issued a new order saying she should only continue daily monitoring and coordinate travel with state officials. But, because she's not showing symptoms, the judge said she's not infectious -- and would not approve the limits on her movements sought by Maine health officials. "The State has not met its burden at this time to prove by clear and convincing evidence that limiting [Hickox's] movements to the degree requested" is necessary, the judge wrote. He did order the nurse to immediately notify health officials if any symptoms appear. Fox News

Governor On Heckler Reaction: Just Another Day At 'Rancho Christie'
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie defended his verbal beat down of a heckler from earlier this week, saying he's not the kind of person to sit back and let people "be rude." "I don't look forward to doing that stuff but I won't shrink away from it either," the Republican told reporters Thursday in New Mexico. "So, it's just another day at the ranch -- Rancho Christie." Christie was in the Southwest campaigning for Gov. Susana Martinez as part of his 19-state, five-day blitz as head of the Republican Governors Association. The governor, known for his aggressive style when met with confrontation, frequently warns audiences at his town halls that if they try to mess with him, he's going to fight back. CNN

Medicare Paid For Meds After Patients Were Dead
Call it drugs for the departed: A quirky bureaucratic rule led Medicare's prescription drug program to pay for costly medications even after the patients were dead. That head-scratching policy is now getting a second look. A report released Friday by the Health and Human Services Department's inspector general said the Medicare rule allows payment for prescriptions filled up to 32 days after a patient's death — at odds with the program's basic principles, not to mention common sense. "Drugs for deceased beneficiaries are clearly not medically indicated, which is a requirement for (Medicare) coverage," the IG report said. It urged immediate changes to eliminate or restrict the payment policy. CNS News

Ex-Navy SEAL Probed Over Bin Laden Revelations
Just as one former Navy SEAL is about to reveal himself as Osama bin Laden's killer in an interview on Fox News, another is being investigated for possibly spilling classified secrets. Former Navy SEAL Matt Bissonnette not only wrote a best-sellling book about the raid that killed bin Laden, but he also speaks at corporate events about his role on the elite Navy SEAL Team 6 that tracked down the master terrorist. In one event at an Atlanta gold club, everyone was first asked to turn in their cell phones while Bissonnette spoke so nothing could be recorded. Bissonnette says he has been hounded since he first told his story in 2011 on "60 Minutes." His attorney claims he thought a settlement had been reached over the issue with the Pentagon and Justice Department when Bissonnette forfeited some of his millions of dollars in royalties from the book. UPI

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Republicans Question Preparedness Spending After Ebola Missteps
Texas Republicans, including Tea Party-backed U.S. Senator Ted Cruz, sought to ratchet up the pressure on the Obama administration's Ebola response on Friday, by questioning its use of federal tax dollars for emergency preparedness. In a letter to Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Burwell, the lawmakers said they were concerned about missteps in the Dallas Ebola case of Thomas Eric Duncan, which they said occurred after large sums of federal money were spent to help U.S. cities prepare for infectious diseases. Burwell's Department of Health and Human Services had no immediate comment. Reuters

Michael Jordan Takes Shot At Obama's Golf Game
Michael Jordan took a shot at President Barack Obama’s golf game in a recent interview. When Back 9 Network’s Ahmad Rashad asked Jordan who he would want to play golf with, Jordan said he would like to play with Obama. He then changed his mind. "He’s a hack," he said. "It would be all day playing with him." "I never said he wasn't a great politician. I'm just saying he's a s----- golfer," Jordan said in the interview. The president has been known to take time out of his schedule for the occasional golf game. He’s even played a round of golf with Tiger Woods before. MSNBC

Lead Poisoning: A Hidden Danger At Shooting Ranges
Lead poisoning, which can cause serious neurological problems and even death, is most often associated with peeling paint chips in old houses, not recreational shooting. But with more women and youth joining the 40 million Americans who enjoy gun sports, experts say the use of lead ammunition can pose deadly risks. In 2010, 20 children and teens at a Vancouver, Washington, indoor shooting club tested positive for lead poisoning, according to a recent year-long investigation by The Seattle Times. A study in Alaska revealed that the single largest source of lead exposure in children aged 6 to 17 was firing ranges. Lead dust can enter the body in two ways, inhalation and ingestion. Unsafe exposure can cause nausea and fatigue, organ damage and mental impairment. MSNBC

Hillary Clinton, Michelle Obama Hit By Hecklers At Separate Speeches
First Hillary Clinton, then Michelle Obama. Both of the Democratic Party’s leading ladies were heckled while giving speeches at separate campaign events this week — not a good sign in the lead-up to an Election Day that’s already expected to go Republican. The former secretary of state was repeatedly interrupted while campaigning for Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown in Maryland on Thursday, MSNBC reported. She was speaking in favor of Mr. Brown’s candidacy when apparently, several in the crowd identified by MSNBC as immigration activists just couldn’t take any more of her talk. They repeatedly cut in to her remarks, trying to force her to explain her views of the DREAM Act, an amnesty program being pushed by Democrats. “Immigration is an important issue,” Mrs. Clinton said in reply to the hecklers, the media outlet reported. “If you had just given me a minute, I would have gotten to the DREAM Act.” Washington Times

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Kerry, Iran's Foreign Minister, EU's Ashton To Discuss Nuclear Issue
US Secretary of State John Kerry will meet Iran's foreign minister and the European Union foreign policy chief in Oman on Nov. 9-10 to discuss the Iranian nuclear issue, the State Department said on Friday. Kerry's talks in Muscat, Oman with Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Jawad Zarif and the EU's Catherine Ashton are due to take place two weeks before a Nov. 24 deadline to complete an agreement on Iran's nuclear program. Jerusalem Post

Iran: West Should Look Into Capital Punishment
Iran defended its human rights record on Friday, striking back at the West for its criticism about a woman hanged for murder in an alleged rape case. Mohammad Javad Larijani, secretary general of Iran's High Council for Human Rights, was responding to calls from Western powers, including the United States, at a UN debate to allow freedoms of expression and religion, as well as their concerns at a rise in executions. Reyhaneh Jabbari was hanged at dawn on Saturday in Tehran's Evin prison for the murder of man she said had trid to rape her. The dead man's relatives refused to grant a reprieve within the 10-day deadline set by sharia law in force since the 1979 Islamic Revolution. Jerusalem Post

Jerusalem Holy Site Is Reopened Amid Tension
Israeli police have reopened a key Jerusalem holy site after its closure amid tensions following the shooting of a prominent right-wing Jewish activist. The Temple Mount/al-Haram al-Sharif was reopened ahead of Muslim Friday prayers, but with restrictions on worshippers as a security measure. Sporadic violence broke out in East Jerusalem and the West Bank but there have been no major clashes so far. There has been an escalation of tension in the city in recent weeks. On Thursday, a spokesman for Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas described Israel's temporary closure of the holy site as a "declaration of war". BBC

Russia Raises Interest Rates To 9.5%
Russia's central bank has raised its key interest rate to 9.5% from 8% as it seeks to tackle inflation. The 1.5 percentage point increase was higher than expected, with analysts having forecast a rise of 0.5 percentage points. The bank has already raised rates from 5.5% at the start of the year but the moves have failed to combat inflation. A weak rouble and a ban on western food imports has kept inflation stubbornly high. "If external conditions improve, and a persistent trend for lowering inflation and inflation expectations emerges, the Bank of Russia will be ready to start to ease its monetary policy," the central bank said. BBC

White House Insists Syria Strategy Working Amid Reports Of Critical Hagel Memo
The White House and Pentagon sought to portray a unified stance on Syria on Friday after reports that a memo from Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel criticized US strategy as fuzzy on Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. White House spokesman Josh Earnest said US strategy against Islamic State (Isis) militants in Syria and Iraq was working. He denied Washington was focused on weakening the militants at the expense of its parallel goal of pushing Assad out of power. “The policy that we have for Assad is really clear: We believe that he’s lost the legitimacy to lead,” Earnest said in an interview on CNN. Guardian

Obama Fixates On Economic Growth To Boost Democrats' Midterm Chances
Barack Obama has seized on better-than-expected US economic news to try to turn around Democratic party fortunes in the last few days of campaigning before Tuesday’s midterm elections. Low personal approval ratings have kept the president away from the most competitive swing states this election but, in a series of last-minute speeches to more sympathetic audiences in Maine and Rhode Island, Obama is attempting to build a more positive narrative by focusing on buoyant GDP figures. “We’re better off than we were,” he told students at Rhode Island College in Providence on Friday. “The progress has been hard; it’s sometimes been challenging but it’s been steady, it’s been real.” Guardian

Jihadists From Around The World Flock To Fight With Isil
Foreign fighters are continuing to pour into Syria and Iraq at the rate of 1,000 a month in a global movement of jihadists that exceeds even that into Afghanistan in the 1980s, new assessments from the United Nations and US intelligence have shown. As the Islamic State continues to make advances in Syria and Iraq despite more than 600 coalition air strikes, the total number of foreign fighters is now thought to have topped 15,000, according to a UN Security Council estimate. Although the majority of fighters still come from the Middle East and North Africa , more than 2,000 have come from European countries, including 500 from the Britain alone since 2011, carrying passports that would allow them to return freely to their home countries. Telegraph

Marijuana Expected To Become Legal In Washington DC
The fresh air of the White House’s rose garden may soon be fragrant with the smell of cannabis. On November 4 - while other Americans are voting for their senators and congressman - residents of Washington DC are expected to vote overwhelmingly to legalise marijuana. The referendum would go beyond decriminalisation and give the drug full legal status, meaning it may one day be possible to set up a dope shop across the street from the halls of Congress. A yes vote in the US capital would be a hugely symbolic ripple in the wave of marijuana liberalisation sweeping America. Recreational cannabis is already on sale in Colorado and Washington state - where the laws are more relaxed than Amsterdam - and may soon be legal in Alaska and Oregon. Telegraph

Why Facebook Just Launched Its Own ‘Dark Web’ Site
Facebook has never had much of a reputation for letting users hide their identities online. But now the world’s least anonymous website has just joined the Web’s most anonymous network. In a first-of-its-kind move for a Silicon Valley giant, Facebook on Friday launched a Tor hidden service, a version of its website that runs the anonymity software Tor. That new site, which can only be accessed by users running the Tor software, bounces users’ connections through three extra encrypted hops to random computers around the Internet, making it far harder for any network spy observing that traffic to trace their origin. Inviting users to connect to Facebook over Tor may seem like a strange move; given that Facebook still requires you to log in and doesn’t allow pseudonyms (in most cases), even Tor users on the site are hardly anonymous to Facebook itself. Wired

Ebola: UN Envoy Says Response Must Be Sustained ‘Until Every Last Case Is Contained And Treated’
The Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for Ebola, David Nabarro, appealed today for the global response to the deadly virus to be sustained “until every last case is contained and treated,” as the United Nations health agency recommended more protective measures for health workers battling the disease on the frontlines of the outbreak. The UN World Health Organization (WHO) announced it is updating its guidelines of the so-called personal protective equipment (PPE) for healthcare workers to ensure protection of the mouth, nose and eyes from contaminated droplets and fluids. UN News

Wrapping Of Kenya Visit, UN Chief Says Technology Can Change Future Of Africa
Technology can help fuel Africa’s development, facilitate peace and secure the continent’s future, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said today, as he wrapped up his trip to Kenya with a visit to a technology hub in the country’s capital of Nairobi. In remarks made during his visit to the iHub/Ushahidi technology incubator in Kenya’s ‘Silicon Savannah’, the Secretary-General praised the work done there by young creatives and developers, telling them that the technology and ideas they were developing would promote “a great transformation for our society” in the same way that steam power revolutionized the 19th century. UN News

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