Friday, May 22, 2015

White House Press Briefing

West Wing Week: 05/22/2015

'Flashback Friday': Iran Hostage Crisis (1979)

Hillary Clinton Emails Released

Flurry of Clinton emails now public; what they reveal about the days after the Benghazi attack.

The President Speaks On National Jewish American Heritage Month

Biden: 'Today, I Lend My Voice to Support the Solidarity Sabbath'


Statement by the Vice President in Support of the Solidarity Sabbath Initiative

My friend and mentor, Congressman Tom Lantos, often said that “the veneer of civilization is paper-thin. We are its guardians, and we can never rest.” Recent attacks targeting Jews in Brussels, Paris, Copenhagen – and even here at home – make clear that the danger of anti-Semitism is very much still with us. In too many places, outright anti-Semitism persists, and the denunciation of Jews has been excused as political critique. Too many leaders have lowered their voices or stood silent – or even chimed in – when confronted with bigotry and violence against Jewish communities in their midst. 

Today, I lend my voice to support the Solidarity Sabbath – an initiative to mobilize leaders around the world to demonstrate their opposition to anti-Semitic bigotry and commitment to the security and survival of Jewish communities. In more than twenty countries, leaders, ambassadors and other government officials are attending services at local synagogues. This simple gesture sends a profound message to Jews around the world: you are not alone. People of all faiths in nations around the world stand united against hatred and in solidarity with you. That was also the message President Obama delivered earlier today at Congregation Adas Israel.  

I learned the viciousness of anti-Semitism from two people, above all others: from my father, and from Tom Lantos, the only Holocaust survivor ever to serve in the United States Congress. I traveled with Tom and his wife, Annette, across their native Hungary. Their chilling stories made personal for me the inhumanity of anti-Semitism and made palpable the violence of its warped perspective. 

History teaches us that, left unchecked, anti-Semitism threatens not only the Jews it targets, but entire societies. “What a sad era,” Albert Einstein said, “when it is easier to smash an atom than a prejudice.” To those observing Solidarity Sabbath in countries around the world: Shabbat Shalom, a peaceful Sabbath to you.

Politics in Action: H.R. 606, H.R. 651, H.R. 1075, H.R. 1191 and S. 1124

 Statement by the Press Secretary

On Friday, May 22, 2015, the President signed into law:

H.R. 606, the “Don’t Tax Our Fallen Public Safety Heroes Act,”which excludes from gross income for Federal income tax purposes certain compensation from Federal or State programs received when a public safety officer has died or become permanently and totally disabled as a result of a personal injury sustained in the line of duty;

H.R. 651, which designates the facility of the United States Postal Service located at 820 Elmwood Avenue in Providence, Rhode Island, as the Sister Ann Keefe Post Office;

H.R. 1075, which designates the United States Customs and Border Protection Port of Entry located at First Street and Pan American Avenue in Douglas, Arizona, as the Raul Hector Castro Port of Entry;

H.R. 1191, the “Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act of 2015,” which  amends the Atomic Energy Act to provide for congressional review and oversight of a potential comprehensive nuclear deal with Iran; and

S. 1124, the “WIOA Technical Amendments Act,” which makes technical corrections to several drafting errors in the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act that prevented aspects of that law from applying as intended.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

The President Speaks Before Meeting with His Cabinet

President Obama delivers remarks before he meets with his Cabinet in the Cabinet Room at the White House. May 21, 2015.

White House Press Briefing

President Obama Meets with the President of Tunisia

President Obama delivers remarks before he meets with his Cabinet in the Cabinet Room at the White House. May 21, 2015.

British Probe into Child Sex Abuse Reveals 1400 Suspects, Politicians and TV Stars Among Them

British police, investigating allegations of historic child sex abuse, say more than 14-hundred people have been named as suspects.

They include dozens of politicians and TV stars.

‘Operation Hydrant’ has been set up to allow detectives to establish an over-arching investigation into historical crimes by those in powerful positions.

Chief Constable Simon Bailey, Head of Child Protection at National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC) is leading ‘Operation Hydrant’:

“It means that victims more so that ever before are having the confidence to come forward and report abuse. And they can be reassured that when they come forward and report their abuse that we are now responding differently in the years gone by.”

Source: Euronews

Netanyahu Supports Call for a Two-State Solution with Palestinians

and the European Union have renewed calls for a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

It came during EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini’s first visit to the region.

The statement contradicts Prime MInister Benjamin Netanyahu’s recent election message of saying he would not permit a Palestinian state to be established on his watch.

Source: Euronews

EU Refusal to Accept Migrant Quotas ‘Unacceptable’

The debate over European Union migrant quotas has become more heated with the Commission deputy chief saying it is ‘unacceptable’ for EU states to reject the system.

Speaking in Strasbourg Frans Timmermans defended the Commission’s proposal to relocate 20,000 asylum seekers across the European Union.

“I know these are challenging proposals. I know they will prompt debates and controversy in member states but it is really not acceptable for people around the EU to say ‘stop the drowning’ and at the same time to say, ‘but don’t bring the people here’,” Timmermans said.

Source: Euronews

ISIL Controls More Than Half of Syria After Seizing Palmyra

By Alexander Aucott

More than 100 pro-Syrian government fighters have been reported killed as ISIL captured all of the historic city of Palmyra, according to the British-based Syrian observatory for Human rights.

Source: Euronews

Burundi: President Pushes Back Election into June

Bujumbura, Burundi (CNN) As protests and sporadic violence continue to roil his country, Burundi's President has pushed back the parliamentary and local council elections by one week, to June 6, a presidential spokesman said Wednesday.

President Pierre Nkurunziza is set to make a formal announcement about the delay later Wednesday at the African nation's State House. Presidential spokesman Willy Nyamitwe told CNN that Nkurunziza made the decision after getting sadvice from Burundi's Electoral Commission and East African leaders.

The President Delivers the US Coast Guard Academy Commencement Address

President Obama congratulates the United States Coast Guard Academy’s Class of 2015 in New London, Connecticut. May 20, 2015.