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Posts tagged ‘Jay Carney’

US Official: Malaysia Flight Likely Crashed in Indian Ocean.


A senior U.S. official tells CNN that missing Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 likely crashed in the Indian Ocean.

The network’s source says “there is probably a significant likelihood” the plane, which disappeared nearly a week ago with 239 people on board, turned west and flew over the Malaysian Peninsula and the Indian Ocean before crashing.

The network says Malaysian authorities have a record of several pings the aircraft’s engines made with satellites orbiting the earth after its transponder turned off. Their pattern indicates the plane turned west, flew across Malaysia, and above the Indian Ocean. Malaysian authorities, CNN’s source says, believe the plane flew for 4-5 hours after it lost contact with radar on the ground.

There were no pings that indicated an impact of any kind on land or in water.

ABC News, meanwhile, has two sources that say U.S. authorities believe the plane’s two communications systems were manually shut down from within the cockpit.  The system that reports data, officials believe, was turned off at 1:07 a.m. The transponder that tracks the plane’s location and altitude was shut down at 1:21 a.m.

Both systems were “systematically shut down,” U.S. investigators told ABC. The Americans, the report says, are “convinced that there was manual intervention” involved.

The USS Kidd, a Navy destroyer, is en route to the Indian Ocean to begin searching for the plane. It had been searching in areas south of the Gulf of Thailand with another destroyer, the USS Pinckney.

CNN’s source says his information is not 100 percent certain at this time. But the source says the United States is concerned that Malaysia is not sharing all the information it has related to the missing jetliner.

The White House said a new search may be started in the Indian Ocean, significantly broadening the potential location of the plane,

Expanding the search area to the Indian Ocean would be consistent with the theory that the Boeing 777 detoured to the west about an hour after take-off from the Malaysian capital Kuala Lumpur en route to Beijing.

“It’s my understanding that based on some new information that’s not necessarily conclusive — but new information — an additional search area may be opened in the Indian Ocean,” White House spokesman Jay Carney told reporters in Washington.

Carney did not specify the nature of the new information and Malaysian officials were not immediately available to comment.

The disappearance is one of the most baffling mysteries in the history of modern aviation. There has been no trace of the plane nor any sign of wreckage despite a search by the navies and military aircraft of more than a dozen countries across Southeast Asia.

Satellites picked up faint electronic pulses from the aircraft after it went missing on Saturday, but the signals gave no information about where the jet was heading and little else about its fate, two sources close to the investigation said on Thursday.

But the “pings” indicated its maintenance troubleshooting systems were switched on and ready to communicate with satellites, showing the aircraft was at least capable of communicating after losing touch with air traffic controllers.

The system transmits such pings about once an hour, according to the sources, who said five or six were heard. However, the pings alone are not proof that the plane was in the air or on the ground, the sources said.

Malaysian authorities have said the last civilian contact occurred as the Boeing 777-200ER flew north into the Gulf of Thailand. They said military radar sightings indicated it may have turned sharply to the west and crossed the Malay Peninsula toward the Andaman Sea.

The new information about signals heard by satellites shed little light on the mystery of what happened to the plane, whether it was a technical failure, a hijacking, or another kind of incident on board.

While the troubleshooting systems were functioning, no data links were opened, the sources said, because the companies involved had not subscribed to that level of service from the satellite operator, the sources said.

Boeing and Rolls-Royce, which supplied the plane’s Trent engines, declined to comment.

Earlier, Malaysian officials denied reports that the aircraft had continued to send technical data and said there was no evidence that it flew for hours after losing contact with air traffic controllers early last Saturday.

“It’s extraordinary that with all the technology that we’ve got that an aircraft can disappear like this,” Tony Tyler, the head of the International Air Transport Association that links over 90 percent of the world’s airlines, told reporters in London.

Ships and aircraft are now combing a vast area that had already been widened to cover both sides of the Malay Peninsula and the Andaman Sea.

The U.S. Navy was sending an advanced P-8A Poseidon plane to help search the Strait of Malacca, separating the Malay Peninsula from the Indonesian island of Sumatra. It had already deployed a Navy P-3 Orion aircraft to those waters.

India’s Defense Ministry has ordered the deployment of ships and  aircraft from the remote Andaman and Nicobar Islands, at the juncture of the Bay of Bengal and the Andaman Sea. An Indian P8I Poseidon surveillance plane was sent to the Andaman islands on Thursday.

China, which had more than 150 citizens on board the missing plane, has deployed four warships, four coast guard vessels, eight aircraft, and trained 10 satellites on a wide search area. Chinese media have described the ship deployment as the largest Chinese rescue fleet ever assembled.

On the sixth day of the search, planes scanned an area of sea where Chinese satellite images had shown what could be debris, but found no sign of the airliner.

Malaysian Transport Minister Hishammuddin Hussein told a news conference the images were provided accidentally, saying the Chinese government neither authorized nor endorsed putting them on a website. “The image is not confirmed to be connected to the plane,” he said.

It was the latest in a series of contradictory reports, adding to the confusion and agony of the relatives of the passengers.

As frustration mounted over the failure to find any trace of the plane, China heaped pressure on Malaysia to improve coordination in the search.

Premier Li Keqiang, speaking at a news conference in Beijing, demanded that the “relevant party” step up coordination while China’s civil aviation chief said he wanted a “smoother” flow of information from Malaysia, which has come under heavy criticism for its handling of the disaster.

Malaysian police have said they were investigating whether any passengers or crew on the plane had personal or psychological problems that might shed light on the mystery, along with the possibility of a hijacking, sabotage, or mechanical failure.

The Boeing 777 has one of the best safety records of any commercial aircraft in service. Its only previous fatal crash came last July 6, when Asiana Airlines Flight 214 struck a seawall with its undercarriage on landing in San Francisco, killing three people.

Reuters contributed to this report.

© 2014 Newsmax. All rights reserved.
By Newsmax Wires

Obama’s New Diplomat for Europe Caught Swearing about EU.


Washington’s new top diplomat for Europe, Victoria Nuland, has been apparently caught being decidedly undiplomatic about her EU allies in a phone call about Ukraine posted Thursday on YouTube.

“F–k the EU,” Nuland apparently says in a recent phone call with US ambassador to Kiev, Geoff Pyatt, as they discuss the next moves to try to resolve the crisis amid weeks of pro-democracy protests which have rocked the country.

The call appears to have been intercepted and released on the social networking video site, accompanied by Russian captions of the private and candid conversation.

Although the State Department did not immediately respond to an AFP request for comment, White House spokesman Jay Carney alleged that the fact that it had been “tweeted out by the Russian government, it says something about Russia’s role.”

It was impossible to immediately verify the undated post, although the woman speaking sounds like Nuland, who served previously as the State Department’s top spokeswoman before becoming assistant secretary for European and Eurasian affairs late last year.

Nuland and Pyatt appear to discuss the upheavals in Ukraine, and President Viktor Yanukovych’s offer last month to make opposition leader Arseniy Yatsenyuk the new prime minister and Vitaly Klitschko deputy prime minister. Both men turned the offer down.

Nuland, who in December went down to Independence Square in Kiev in a sign of support for the demonstrators, adds she has also been told that the UN chief Ban Ki-moon is about to appoint a former Dutch ambassador to Kiev, Robert Serry, as his representative to Ukraine.

“That would be great I think to help glue this thing and have the UN glue it and you know, f–k the EU,” she says, in an apparent reference to differences over their policies.

“We’ve got to do something to make it stick together, because you can be pretty sure that if it does start to gain altitude the Russians will be working behind the scenes to try to torpedo it,” Pyatt replies.

Carney refused to discuss any details of the call, saying “we do not discuss private conversations.”

“Assistant Secretary Nuland has been in contact with her EU counterparts and relations with the EU are stronger than ever,” he added.

Nuland was Thursday in Kiev meeting with Yanukovych, who told her that he wanted to quickly adopt constitutional changes called for by pro-Western demonstrators.

 

 

 

 

© AFP 2014
Source: Newsmax.com

Desperate Senate Democrats Running from Obama, Obamacare.


When President Barack Obama solicits advice Wednesday from his party’s senators, the voices of some Democrats may come through louder than others.

Of the 53 Democratic senators, it’s the nearly two dozen facing re-election this year who are causing jitters for Obama and the party. With control of the Senate at stake, many of those Democrats are actively seeking ways to distance themselves from a president who is deeply unpopular in their home states.

After publicly exhibiting his goals for the year in his State of the Union address last week, Obama is making the pitch in more intimate settings now. A day after hosting House Democrats in the East Room, Obama will travel to the baseball stadium where the Washington Nationals play and where Senate Democrats are holding an annual private summit.

With prospects for capturing the House this year in doubt, Democrats have intensified their focus on the Senate, where their tenuous majority will be toppled in November if they lose more than five seats — out of 21 they are defending. Although Obama has had to rein in aspirations for ambitious second-term legislation due to Republican control of the House, his final years in office would be even more constrained were Democrats to lose the Senate.

Sensitive to the fact that many of Democrats’ toughest races this year are in conservative-leaning states that voted against Obama in 2012, the White House and Democratic leadership so far have given wide latitude to Democrats who have publicized their disagreements with Obama. But the criticism also serves as a nagging reminder that Obama’s ability to aid fellow Democrats this year is limited.

“I want him up in Alaska so I can show him where his policies haven’t worked,” said Sen. Mark Begich of Alaska, whose re-election race is one of the toughest for Democrats this year. “I’ll drag him up there to show him what he needs to be doing. I don’t need him campaigning for me.”

Obama’s session with senators Wednesday will focus not on the election but on his legislative agenda, including an unemployment insurance extension, a minimum wage hike and an expansion of the earned income tax credit, White House officials said.

“It’s part of an overall approach, running up to and in the wake of the State of the Union address, where the president is meeting with Democrats who share his priorities and vision when it comes to taking action to strengthen the middle class and to provide ladders of opportunity into the middle class,” White House spokesman Jay Carney said.

Still, the White House has taken steps to show it is keenly attuned to the midterm dynamic that looms over every decision lawmakers will make this year. On Monday, Obama brought Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., his campaign chairman and the head of the Senate Democrats’ campaign committee to the White House to talk strategy for 2014. And barely a week ago, Obama resurrected the White House political office that he disbanded in 2011, tasking top adviser David Simas with overseeing a team that will look out for the needs of Democratic candidates.

For some Democrats, it’s “Obamacare” that poses the clearest threat as Republicans vow to use the unpopular law as a cudgel in their campaigns against Democrats who voted for it. Speaking to House Democrats on Tuesday, Obama took full responsibility for what didn’t go right with the rollout of the HealthCare.gov enrollment website and said the focus now should be on law’s benefits and the millions getting covered, said Rep. Steven Horsford, D-Nev., who attended the meeting.

For other Democrats, niche issues like energy that acutely affect their states may play an outsize role in their campaigns. Sen. Mary Landrieu of Louisiana was one of five Democrats who joined Republicans on Tuesday at a rare bipartisan news conference to call on Obama to approve the Keystone XL pipeline, which would carry oil on its way from Canada to the Texas Gulf Coast.

Landrieu said in addition to talking to Obama about America’s energy resurgence, she planned to urge Obama to support her push to delay a huge rate hike for flood insurance — a politically potent issue in hurricane-ravaged Louisiana.

“I’m hoping to convince him that if his administration could be a little more enthusiastic, it would be helpful not just to me and Louisiana, but to the whole country,” she said.

 

© Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
Source: Newsmax.com

White House: Young Are Flocking to Obamacare.


The White House insisted Monday that there had been a “surge” in young Obamacare enrollees, disputing doubts from a Democratic Virginia lawmaker that there wouldn’t be enough millennials signing up “to make this bill work,” reports said.

Retiring Rep. Jim Moran told radio station WAMU in an interview Friday that people under 35 “are less likely to sign up.”

Urgent: Is Obamacare Hurting Your Wallet? Vote in Poll 

“I think they feel more independent,” he said. “I think they feel a little more invulnerable than prior generations. But I don’t think we’re going to get enough young people signing up to make this bill work as it was intended to financially.”

“I just don’t know how we’re going to do it, frankly,” he added. “If we had a solution, I’d be telling the president right now.”

White House spokesman Jay Carney, though acknowledging Obamacare’s “shaky rollout,” brushed aside Moran’s concern, The Hill reported.

Carney asserted instead that there had been “a significant surge in the percentage of young Americans under 35 enrolling.”

“Those numbers are consistent with what we saw in Massachusetts,” Carney said.

“And if you ask the Republicans in Massachusetts who supported and, in one case signed, into law the health insurance reform, which is the closest thing to a model for the president’s Affordable Care Act, they would say that that worked and that there the percentage of young people who enrolled was adequate.”

Harvard economics professor David Cutler, one of the ACA’s architects, has warned that if too few young people are covered, Obamacare won’t be able to offset the costs of insuring older and sicker Americans, sending the new law into a “death spiral.”

The Hill reported that the Department of Health and Human Services said 30 percent of Obamacare enrollees were 34 and under, and announced last week that 3 million individuals had purchased coverage.

The administration originally estimated 7 million consumers would enroll, with 39 percent ages 18-34, The Hill reported.

In Virginia, WAMU reported, more than 40,000 Virginians signed up for Obamacare; only 27 percent of those were young adults.

Urgent: Is Obamacare Hurting Your Wallet? Vote in Poll 

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© 2014 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

 

By Cathy Burke

US Begins Easing Economic Sanctions on Iran.


The United States will begin easing economic sanctions on Iran after the latter began shutting down its most sensitive nuclear work on Monday, the White House said.

Iran’s move was part of a landmark deal struck late last year with the United States, five other world powers and the European Union, to ease concerns over Tehran’s nuclear program and provide for the partial removal of some of the economic sanctions that have crippled the Iranian economy. Iran has insisted its nuclear program is for peaceful purposes only.

The U.N. nuclear agency, the International Atomic Energy Agency, confirmed Monday that higher-level uranium enrichment at a facility in central Iran had stopped, an important step among others that together provided officials with the evidence needed to conclude that Iran was holding up its end of the agreement.

The White House, which has vowed to prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons, hailed Iran’s actions as “an important step forward.”

“These actions represent the first time in nearly a decade that Iran has verifiably enacted measures to halt progress on its nuclear program and roll it back in key respects,” White House press secretary Jay Carney said. “Iran has also begun to provide the IAEA with increased transparency into the Iranian nuclear program, through more frequent and intrusive inspections and the expanded provision of information to the IAEA. Taken together, these concrete actions represent an important step forward.”

The European Union announced earlier Monday that it, too, was suspending some of the sanctions it has imposed on Iran.

Carney said the five other world powers — the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Russia and China — also would begin providing relief to Iran.

At the same time, Carney said the group will continue its aggressive enforcement of sanctions that will remain in effect during the next six months, the period that Iran and the world powers will use to negotiate a final deal.

© Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Obamacare Failures Imperil Hopes for Immigration Reform.


Image: Obamacare Failures Imperil Hopes for Immigration Reform

By Melanie Batley

President Barack Obama’s ambitious and once promising plans to pass a comprehensive overhaul of the nation’s immigration system have been sidetracked amid the fallout from the botched implementation of Obamacare, which continues to dog the administration.

According to Politico, the diversion over the troubled healthcare law has enabled House Republicans to avoid divisive debate on the bipartisan immigration bill passed by the Senate in the summer. Doubts, meanwhile, are mounting about the administration’s competence to manage the complexity of a reformed immigration system, given the problems with the healthcare law.

“There’s a loss of confidence in the government’s ability,” former Los Angeles Major Antonio Villaraigosa, a Democrat and proponent of the immigration reform bill, said at an event this month, according to Politico.

“Clearly, the last few months, our experience with [the] Affordable Care Act does not help when you look at other big things like immigration reform.”

Conservatives may be able to mount a credible case in the public eye against the government’s ability to manage major programs by capitalizing on the widespread skepticism of Obamacare, according to Politico.

The Senate immigration bill would create a pathway to citizenship for the nation’s 11 million undocumented immigrants, strengthen border security, and expand the temporary worker program. Those plans are increasingly looking too ambitious to achieve in the current divisive partisan environment.

“It’s going to make it harder to sell big deals” South Carolina Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham, a lead co-sponsor of the Senate immigration bill, told Politico. “People are now saying, ‘So you’re gonna do immigration. You’re gonna let the same people manage the immigration system that’s managed Obamacare?'”

House Speaker John Boehner‘s spokesman, Brendan Buck, echoed those sentiments, saying that the troubled rollout of Obamacare “validated our warnings against jamming one massive bill that few have read and even fewer fully comprehend.”

“If the Obamacare train wreck has any lesson, it’s that big policy challenges should be addressed deliberatively and one step at a time,” he said.

The Obama administration, however, is trying to sever the link between the two issues, even though it acknowledges that the drop in public confidence over Obamacare may have an effect on its other policy initiatives.

“These are different systems,” White House Press secretary Jay Carney said, according to Politico. “I would point to the extraordinary effort that’s gone into fixing the problems on HealthCare.gov, acknowledging the shortcomings — the serious, significant shortcomings, taking ownership and responsibility for them and acting to fix the problem.

“Because in the end — and this would be true of immigration reform as it is of the HealthCare.gov or the ACA — the issue isn’t in the end how the process is; the process is performed in service of the legislation and the goal. And in this case, in immigration reform, it’s in service of a bill that would provide, when implemented, the benefits that we’ve described and that outside analysts have described.”

Other leading Democrats, meanwhile, say they are hopeful the GOP House leadership will move forward on legislation now that it has shown in the most recent round of budget negotiations that it will not be beholden to the policy agenda of tea party groups.

“I think the chances for immigration reform over the last month or two have only gotten better,” New York Democratic Sen. Chuck Schumer told Politico.

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© 2013 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

White House Declines to Discuss Levinson CIA Ties.


The White House is declining to talk about any CIA ties of an American who has been missing since a 2007 trip to Iran.

An Associated Press investigation has found that retired FBI agent Robert Levinson was a contractor for the CIA, though the U.S. government has said he was on private business when he disappeared.

White House press secretary Jay Carney said in response to questions Friday that Levinson was not a U.S. government employee when he went missing, but he wouldn’t comment on whether the man was on contract with the CIA.

He said he was limited in what he could say and criticized the AP report as “highly irresponsible to publish.” He said he wouldn’t say anything that could harm the government’s continued efforts to find Levinson.

“He was not a U.S. government employee when he made that trip,” said Carney, responding to questions about an Associated Press story that said Levinson was working for the Central Intelligence Agency when he disappeared.

“As there is an ongoing investigation into his disappearance, I’m not going to comment further on what he may or may not have been doing in Iran,” Carney said, calling the story “highly irresponsible.”

© 2013 Newsmax. All rights reserved.
By Newsmax Wires

Obamas to Attend Mandela Memorial.


President Barack Obama will travel to South Africa next week to participate in memorial events for Nelson Mandela, the former South African president who died on Thursday.

Obama’s exact schedule was as yet unclear, the White House said. It was not yet known whether Obama would give public remarks while in South Africa.

“President Obama and the first lady will go to South Africa next week to pay their respects to the memory of Nelson Mandela and to participate in memorial events. We’ll have further updates on timing and logistics as they become available,” White House spokesman Jay Carney said in a statement.

Obama, speaking Thursday night shortly after Mandela’s death at age 95 was announced, said he was one of the “countless millions who drew inspiration from Nelson Mandela’s life.”

Obama, America‘s first black president, also said the first political action he ever took as a young man was attending a protest against apartheid.

Carney, at his daily news briefing, said Obama and Mandela last spoke in 2010 or 2011 and that they also spoke when Obama won his first election as president, in 2008.

He had no details on who might be in the U.S. delegation traveling with Obama, including whether former U.S. presidents might go with him.

© AFP 2013
Source: Newsmax.com

Obama Not Yet Enrolled in Namesake Health Law.


Image: Obama Not Yet Enrolled in Namesake Health Law

By Melissa Clyne

Despite promising to enroll in his controversial and problem-plagued signature healthcare legislation, President Obama is still not a customer.

“I don’t have an update for you on that,” White House press secretary Jay Carney said Monday at his daily briefing, USA Today reports. “I know that he will and has said that he will.”

Editor’s NoteObamaCare Is Here. Are You Prepared?

In March 2010 the White House announced that Obama ‘will participate in the exchange,’ the vernacular for the insurance marketplaces.

Carney said he did not have a timetable for when the president would enroll nor did he know if the registration would be open to the press.

Obama and members of Congress are among more than 8 million federal employees, retirees and dependents provided health insurance through the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program, the largest employer-sponsored health insurance program in the country, according to McClatchyDC.com.

Federal workers can choose from dozens of health plans and on average the federal government pays 72 percent of the total premium.

There is no statue explicitly governing the payment of health benefits for former presidents, according to a report by the Congressional Research Service.

Most former federal employees must be enrolled in the Federal Employees Health Benefits program for five years to qualify for health benefits, the report states, and the General Services Administration has historically interpreted similar service requirements for a former President to qualify.

The Former Presidents Act, which became law in 1958, provides many lifetime benefits to former commanders in chief, such as a hefty pension – currently $199,700 annually.

Former presidents also receive funding for an office staff and “suitable office
space, appropriately furnished and equipped,” as well as lifetime Secret Service protection.

Urgent: Do You Approve Or Disapprove of President Obama’s Job Performance? Vote Now in Urgent Poll 

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© 2013 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

Obama Will Hit on Economic Inequality During Speech in Washington, Official Says.


A White House official has confirmed President Barack Obama will talk about the “fundamental threat to the American dream” – economic inequality – during a speech Wednesday in the nation’s capital.

The speech comes one month ahead of the 2014 State of the Union and will be indicative of the themes the president will carry over into the address, according to a story on The Hill.

“The decisions we make over the next few years will determine whether or not our children will grow up in an America where, if you work hard, you can get ahead,” the official said.
Obama’s renewed push for income equality comes at a time when the wealthy are prospering from record stock-market gains, and middle- and lower-class Americans are being hindered by sluggish employment gains. While the president addressed the same issues during the 2013 State of the Union, the proposals he made haven’t leveled the playing field.

During the speech, which will take place in a primarily African-American area of Washington D.C. known as Anacostia, Obama will push Congress to pass a budget, agree on a farm bill and extend unemployment insurance – all by the end of the year.

Obama also will devote part of his speech to rallying interest in the Affordable Care Act.
“Healthcare security is an element of economic security, so they are interrelated,” White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said to reporters Tuesday. The speech is sponsored by the liberal think tank Center for American Progress.
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© 2013 Newsmax. All rights reserved.
By Amy Woods

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