Saturday, November 21, 2009

Herman Van Rompuy, new head of the EU

Herman Van Rompuy: quirky exterior conceals sharp operator

London Telegraph — During his candidacy, he was portrayed as the perfect conciliator with valuable experience as Belgium's Prime Minister of bridging the divide between the warring Flemish and Walloon communities and holding his country together.

The "ideal candidate", said Nicolas Sarkozy, the French President, for bring "consensus and cohesion" to a fractious EU of 27 member states.

In reality, and behind his harmless, eccentric and literary persona, Mr Van Rompuy, 62, is a sharp political operator who is not above using dirty tricks to stymie his opponents.
click to read complete article
New EU president wins fans in Japan -- as a poet

Reuters — Herman Van Rompuy, the European Union's new president, may not be very well known around the world but he's already winning fans in Japan -- as a poet rather than a politician.

Belgium's low-key prime minister is fond of writing haiku -- three-line Japanese poems of just 17 syllables -- and is building a reputation with Japanese poets less than 24 hours after he got the newly-created job.
click to read complete article
New EU president raises fears in aspirant Turkey

Reiuters — Herman Van Rompuy's appointment as the first European Union president provoked fears in Turkey that he might hinder Ankara's hopes of joining the bloc, with some media declaring outright that he is anti-Turkish.

Turkish newspapers were quick to dig out past comments attributed to Van Rompuy that the EU's Christian values would lose vigor if Muslim Turkey were let in.
click to read complete article

Monday, November 9, 2009

Health Care - Pelosi - Abortion

Pro-choice advocates furious over abortion amendment in Health care bill

NY Daily News — Pro-choice advocates were furious Sunday after House Democratic leaders allowed a deal to ban insurance coverage for abortions to be part of their health care reform bill.

"It's time that women stopped believing that the Democratic Party is always on their side," said Marcia Pappas, president of New York State"s chapter of the National Organization for Women. "This is a horrific move."
click to read complete article
Pelosi Faces Competing Pressures on Health Care

NY Times — As House Democratic leaders were assembling their health care bill last month, Speaker Nancy Pelosi left Washington on a political fund-raising tour.

Accompanying her on the US Airways flight to her first stop, Cleveland on Oct. 2, was a prominent health care lobbyist, Frederick H. Graefe, who represents hospitals, medical equipment companies, a few drug companies and others in the industry.
click to read complete article
Pelosi Dances on Health Care's Grave

Fox News — What was Speaker Nancy Pelosi thinking as she reveled in the passage of the House’s health care bill? Does she really imagine that this monstrous legislation will improve the lives of most Americans? Does she expect that creating 111 new government bureaucracies and offices will make it easier for most of us to receive medical treatment? Does she think that sharply raising marginal tax rates for our highest-earning citizens and small businesses will spur productivity and hiring?

No, I imagine that she was thrilled by the taste of victory. Somewhere along the way, this push became all about personalities and contest; the original goal of reining in health care costs was abandoned, and the prize at the end became passage of a landmark bill. Nancy Pelosi envisions herself forever sculpted into liberalism’s Mt. Rushmore.
click to read complete article

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Abbas is not seeking a second term

Abbas step-down will help Palestinian cause

Press TV Iran — Hamas says Mahmoud Abbas' departure from his position, as acting Palestinian Authority Chief will help the Palestinian cause.

"There are many Palestinians who are ready to take on the responsibility of leading the Palestinians people," senior Hamas official Mushir al-Masri said in an inclusive interview with Press TV on Friday, adding, "Those replacing Abbas may even elevate the Palestinian cause to the next level."
click to read complete article
Supporters urge Abbas to run again

Aljazeera — Supporters of Fatah, the Palestinian faction led by Mahmoud Abbas, have taken to the streets in the West Bank city of Ramallah in an attempt to force the Palestinian president to reconsider his decision not to seek re-election.

Al Jazeera's Nour Odeh, reporting from Ramallah, said supporters who wanted Abbas to run again rallied on Friday following his announcement a day earlier that he would not stand in presidential elections scheduled for January.
click to read complete article
Mahmoud Abbas gives up his leadership in fresh blow to peace process

Times Online London — Mahmoud Abbas, the increasingly isolated Palestinian President, announced yesterday that he would not stand for re-election in polls due in January, dealing a further blow to the US-sponsored peace process.

The announcement, made as Mr Abbas’s political standing hit an all-time low, exposed Palestinian frustrations at the Obama Administration’s failure to halt Israeli settlement construction in the West Bank.
click to read complete article