Friday, July 24, 2009

Obama's Healthcare Reform -- top US domestic priority

President Barack Obama's healthcare reform drive suffered a setback yesterday when Senate leaders said they would not pass it before a month-long August recess, but Obama urged lawmakers to keep working toward approval by the end of the year.

The day after Obama held a prime-time news conference to sell his top domestic priority, congressional leaders struggled to ease doubts about the healthcare plan and Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid said the full chamber would not take it up until September… Read more at Reuters

Supplementary: Obama's healthcare town hall -- the full transcript at Los Angeles Times.


Sunday, July 19, 2009

Munich Summit Results - Angela Merkel and Dmitry Medvedev

The results of the two-day Petersburg Dialogue conference were presented. Around 300 delegates from both countries -- including representatives of the media, politics and civil society -- had been debating how Germany and Russia could tackle the current economic crisis together. Ideas like the creation of a joint German-Russian commission for fighting corruption were discussed. In addition, there were also concrete successes to celebrate, such as the foundation of a German-Russian energy agency and Berlin's commitment to provide guarantees for German exports to Russia as part of a €500 million ($706 million) scheme.

The two sides also agreed to develop a common school textbook together. Work on the project is set to begin later this year. If anything concrete comes out of the efforts, it will be a remarkable success. Russians and Germans currently have a very different view of their shared history. A common school textbook could help to promote mutual understanding between the two nations… Read more at Spiegel

Friday, July 10, 2009

G8 Summit focused on climate and African issues

Further to Barack Obama’s climate emphasis (click)
the G8 Summit of l’Aquila (Italy) ended with a focus on food security which the leaders of the world’s richest countries discussed with their counterparts from Africa.

The U.S. President and other Group of Eight leaders are expected to announce a $15 billion pledge over three years to help poor countries fight hunger and develop their own agricultural sectors.

Barack Obama also held separate talks with South African officials.

The U.S. leader next meets today with Pope Benedict in Vatican City. The White House says he and Pope Benedict will have "frank" talks on issues they disagree on, such as abortion, along issues on which they agree, such as helping the poor… More to read at Voice of America

Saturday, July 4, 2009

About the Guardian’s Media & Technology Conference in London

London Diary: Gordon Brown's Obsessions, The Loyal Opposition's Cuddly Karl Rove, Bad Germs, and the Most Unusual Royal Honeymoon Ever by Arianna Huffington

Hello from London, where I have come to take part in a media and technology conference sponsored by the Guardian.

Any time I'm in London, I always feel a bit nostalgic, having gone to college, started my career, and fallen head over heels in love here -- but never more nostalgic than during my breakfast at the flat of Lord George Weidenfeld, the legendary British publisher. He was the person responsible for turning my career around when he commissioned me to write a biography of Maria Callas. My previous book, After Reason, a rather chewy piece of political analysis I wrote in my mid-20s, was collecting dust on bookstore shelves when George took me aside and said: "If you are going to write books that have an impact, you are going to have to learn to tell a good story. Writing a biography is a way to learn to do that."… More to read at Arianna's Huffpost blog of July 2