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   WASHINGTON (AP) - More than a decade ago, then-state Sen. Barack Obama helped pass a racial profiling bill in Illinois. Now that effort is offering clues about how America's first black president feels about an issue still polarizing the U.S. months after Trayvon Martin's death.

   Obama has said little about the acquittal of George Zimmerman, who was charged with killing the black teenager in Florida. Obama says the jury has spoken, but wants the nation to seek ways to prevent future tragedies.

   In 2003, Obama passed a bill requiring police to keep track of the race, age and gender of drivers they pulled over. The records could then be analyzed for bias.

   Obama has written about his own experiences with profiling, including being pulled over, in his words, "for no apparent reason."

 
Published in National News
Saturday, 29 June 2013 07:29

Obama: Mandela a beacon of hope

PRETORIA, South Africa (AP) — President Barack Obama says former South African President Nelson Mandela continues to shine as a beacon of the power of principle and standing up for what's right.

Obama says South Africa's transition from apartheid to a free nation has been a personal inspiration and an inspiration to the world.

He says the recent outpouring of love for the critically ill anti-apartheid icon shows the deep yearning for justice and dignity in the human spirit. He says that yearning transcends class, race and country.

Obama spoke at a joint news conference with South African President Jacob Zuma. The White House says Obama will meet Saturday with Mandela's family but won't visit him in the hospital, in line with the family's wishes.

Published in National News

UNITED NATIONS (AP) — The outgoing U.S. ambassador to the United Nations is downplaying the damage done by Edward Snowden's highly classified leaks.

Susan Rice says in an Associated Press interview that the disclosures of widespread surveillance have not significantly have weakened the Obama presidency or U.S. foreign policy. Rice insists that the U.S. will remain "the most influential, powerful and important country in the world."

Rice's remarks were her only public ones on Snowden and came in an interview as she prepared to leave the U.N. post and start her new job Monday as President Barack Obama's national security adviser.

She says it's too soon to judge the long-term effects. Rice says the U.S. will work through this as it has done with past problems.

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel and Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, say Snowden's leaks damaged national security.

Published in National News

   BELFAST, Northern Ireland (AP) — President Barack Obama will appeal to Northern Ireland's youth to sustain their peace in his first opportunity to highlight the role the United States has played helping bring about reconciliation in the country.

   Obama arrived at Belfast on Monday morning. After his Belfast speech he will attend a two-day summit of the Group of Eight industrial economies.

   Later Monday he was to meet on the sidelines of the summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin. Topics for the two leaders range from Syria to arms control. Russia has criticized Obama's decision to arm Syrian rebels and has dismissed U.S. claims that President Bashar Assad's regime has used chemical weapons against Syrians.

   Russia is a member of the G-8. So are Canada, Japan, Britain, France, Italy and Germany.

Published in National News

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama will tour the damage from the massive tornado that devastated the Oklahoma City area.

Obama plans to meet with affected families and thank first responders during a visit Sunday to Moore, Okla. The White House says Obama wants a firsthand look at the recovery from the tornado that killed 24 and damaged an estimated 12,000 homes Monday afternoon.

The town of Moore is a community of 41,000 people located about 10 miles from Oklahoma City.

Obama offered prayers for the people of Oklahoma from the White House in recent days. He said that "while the road ahead will be long, their country will be with them every single step of the way."

Meanwhile, commencement ceremonies went ahead for high school grads from Moore. They took place in nearby Oklahoma city. Many of the grads say Moore is home and they don't plant to stray too far.

Published in National News

WASHINGTON (AP) — Some call it wishful thinking, but President Barack Obama has all but declared an end to the global war on terror.

Obama isn't claiming final victory over extremists who still seek to kill Americans and other Westerners. Instead, he's steering the United States away from what he calls an equally frightening threat: a country in a state of perpetual war.

He gave a landmark speech Thursday in which he sought to refine and recalibrate his counterterrorism strategy.

The president asserted that al-Qaida is "on the path to defeat," reducing the scale of terrorism to pre-Sept. 11 levels.

That means that with the Afghanistan war winding down, Obama is unlikely to commit troops in large numbers to any conflict unless, as his critics fear, he tragically has underestimated al-Qaida's staying power.

Published in National News
Saturday, 06 April 2013 07:18

Obama: Proposed budget not his ideal plan

WASHINGTON (AP) — Confronting bipartisan criticism, President Barack Obama is conceding that his proposed budget is not his "ideal plan." But he says it offers "tough reforms" to the nation's benefit programs while closing loopholes for the wealthy.

 

Obama argues his approach will provide long-term deficit reduction without harming the economy.

 

In his first comments about a budget he is to release next week, Obama says he intends to reduce deficits while providing new spending for public works projects, early education and job training.

 

Obama says in his weekly radio and Internet address that he's willing to compromise to move beyond what he calls "a cycle of short-term, crisis-driven decision-making."

 

In the Republican address, Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback says that ideas for fixing the federal government are coming from the states.

Published in National News

   WASHINGTON (AP) - President Barack Obama is proposing cuts to Social Security as an attempt to compromise with Republicans on the budget.

   A senior administration official says the budget Obama will offer to Congress next Wednesday would reduce the deficit by $1.8 trillion over 10 years. It includes a revised inflation adjustment called "chained CPI" that would curb cost-of-living increases in Social Security and other benefit programs.

   The senior administration official stressed it is not the president's preferred approach but a compromise proposal to try to reach a long-term budget deal. Obama first made the offer to House Speaker John Boehner last year.

   The official spoke on a condition of anonymity since the budget has yet to be released. Technically, the administration actually would be limiting the growth of Social Security.

 
Published in National News
AMMAN, Jordan (AP) — President Barack Obama says each of his proposed steps to reduce gun violence should get a vote in Congress — even an assault weapons ban that both parties agree stands little chance at passing.

Senate Democrats dropped the ban from the bill they plan to debate next month out of concern it could sink the whole package. But Obama says he's pushing for it.

In his weekly radio and Internet address, Obama says Americans have spoken on gun control. He says they support the ban, plus limits on high-capacity ammunition magazines, school security funding and a crackdown on gun trafficking.

In the Republican address, Sen. Mike Lee of Utah says the Senate Democrats' budget raises taxes by $1.5 trillion without saving entitlements. He says Republicans want a balanced budget.
Published in National News
JERUSALEM (AP) — Israeli police say Gaza militants have fired two rockets at southern Israel on the second day of President Barack Obama's visit to the region.

Spokesman Micky Rosenfeld says one rocket exploded in the courtyard of a house in the border town of Sderot, causing damage but no injuries. The other landed in an open field.

As a presidential candidate in 2008, Obama visited Sderot, which is frequently targeted by rocket attacks from the nearby Gaza Strip. The territory is ruled by the militant Palestinian Hamas group.

No group immediately claimed responsibility for Thursday's attack, which came as Obama was in Jerusalem. He is to visit the West Bank city of Ramallah later in the day.
Published in National News
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