Iraqis say U.S. bombing killed 39 civilians

Monday, October 17, 2005

American helicopters and warplanes bombed 2 villages near Ramadi, Iraq on Sunday. The U.S. military said nearly 70 suspected insurgents were killed, while local witnesses said that at least 39 civilians, including 18 children, were also lost to the attack.

A Ramadi resident, Ahmed Fouad, said that just after 7 p.m. Sunday, U.S. warplanes killed 18 children, including Fouad’s son and 8-year-old daughter. “She was killed with her brother. Her mother had a stroke out of shock.” Fouad said.

Family members of victims gathered at a Ramadi General Hospital where refrigeration space for the dead bodies had been exhausted. In the garden the bodies of a woman and three children lay as relatives sifted through remains.

“[They] were not terrorists…they were only a bunch of civilians whose curiosity prompted them to gather around a destroyed Humvee,” said Dr. Dhiya Fahdawi in reference to the dead and wounded.

The U.S. military neither confirmed nor denied that civilians were killed and issued a statement saying; “All the attacks were timed and executed in a manner to reduce the possibility of collateral damage.”

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Canadian inspectors to test food ingredients from China

Saturday, April 28, 2007

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) has issued border alerts for specific protein ingredients, imported from China, that may be incorporated into products destined for human consumption.

Inspectors from the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) will hold products, such as wheat and corn gluten, as well as soy and rice proteins until they can be tested for melamine, the contaminant found to have sickened pets through its use in pet food. If determined to be free of melamine, the ingredients will be released to the intended recipient. Materials such as glutens and protein powders are used commonly in many forms of food products.

The CFIA said it was not acting on specific information, but rather taking a cautious approach to human protection. “That’s why we have the border lookout for the ingredient, so that we can proactively assess any potential that the product is contaminated,” Paul Mayers of the CFIA told CBC News.

Since the border alert for melamine is a new procedure, the government can’t be sure if the contaminant made it into the food chain previously. The CFIA acknowledged that the same Chinese company under suspicion in the tainted pet food affair had shipped wheat gluten to a Canadian company, which in turn used it in food for fish farms. Although the fish were subsequently eaten by people, the CFIA believes the health risk from such consumption would be low.

In related news, Canadian researchers at the University of Guelph believe they may have determined the mechanism of how melamine caused illness in cats and dogs.

Both cyanuric acid and melamine were found in urine samples from pets that died after consuming contaminated pet food. The two compounds react with one another to form crystals that may block kidney function, researchers at the university said. The researchers observed crystals formed in cat urine by the addition of melamine and cyanuric acid. The composition of these crystals matches those found in the urine of affected pets when compared by infrared spectroscopy (FTIR).

“You wouldn’t normally expect to find those compounds in pet food, and hence nobody was really looking for it,” said John Melichercik, director of analytical laboratory services. “It’s just another piece of the puzzle along the way in this particular pet-food issue.”

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OhmyNews forum discusses experiences in citizen journalism

Thursday, June 30, 2005

Seoul —

The OhmyNews International Citizen Reporters’ Forum (see previous report) concluded on Saturday with several speeches and a visit to sponsoring companies in South Korea’s technology sector. Some invited “citizen reporters” from around the world extended their stay by several days to tour the country. Since the conclusion of the conference, presentations and transcripts have been published on the OhmyNews web site. [1]

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Safety Precautions While Performing Cpr: 7 Points}

Submitted by: Greg Garner

Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) is a technique that saves lives. CPR includes chest compressions as well as mouth-to-mouth resuscitation. As the person performing CPR, you have to be in close contact with the victim, even breathe into his mouth. Thus, it is essential that you take precautionary measures to avoid any contamination by infected saliva, blood or other body fluids.

Here are certain safety precautions you must keep in mind if you are performing CPR.

Shields and masks: When you perform CPR on a patient be sure to wear a face shield or mask to avoid direct contact with the patient. During rescue breathing, it is possible for fluids to be transferred from patient to you and a mask will protect you. Face shields are transparent and contain a one-way valve through which you can provide the rescue breaths. The mask prevents direct contact with saliva and blood of the patient.

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Gloves: If you are a health care worker or a paramedic and administer CPR regularly, you must always wear gloves. This is to avoid direct contact with the patients potentially infected blood, vomit or other body fluids. Your health is important and keeping yourself clean is very necessary to prevent infections. Wash your hands with soap after every CPR administration.

Gowns and Eye gear: In a hospital or clinic setting, it is required that you don gowns and eye gear when you perform CPR in case of blood getting accidentally splattered on your face or eyes.

Disposing dirty equipment: Once you finish CPR, dispose all the dirty equipment like gowns and eye gear, masks and gowns into a bio hazardous bin.

Victims health: The use of protective equipment like masks and face shields not only protects your health but also the victims as the victim has an equal chance of getting an infection.

Lay person: If you are a lay person who happens to perform CPR on a stranger you may not have access to these safety equipment. Therefore, it is advisable that you buy a mask and carry it with you in case you are in a situation and have to perform emergency CPR.

CPR on babies and infants: You must be extra careful when you perform CPR on babies and infants. If the baby is not breathing, perform gentle compressions using maximum three fingers. Perform around hundred chest compressions in one minute. Gently press down with your fingers in the center part of the babys chest below the nipples. When administering rescue breaths, cover the babys nose as well as mouth and breathe twice, each breath being one second long. This is different from an adult as you do not cover the adults mouth while performing rescue breaths. Repeat thirty chest compressions followed by two rescue breaths for as long as it takes for the child to start breathing, or until medical help arrives.

Therefore, you can see that both you and the victim are at risk of contracting infections of any kind from each other. Since the victim is usually unresponsive, it is your responsibility to take safety precautions while performing CPR.

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United Airlines flight makes emergency landing at Newark Airport

Monday, January 11, 2010

United Airlines Flight 634 made an emergency landing yesterday morning when only two of the three landing wheels on the Airbus A319 deployed as the plane was making its final approach into Newark, New Jersey’s Newark Liberty International Airport. After multiple attempts to fix the problem failed, the pilot decided that an emergency landing was the only remaining choice.

Only the plane’s nose gear and left landing gear had descended. The right landing gear would not release. The airliner made a go-around as the crew attempted to fix the problem. Passenger Jim Falk knew something was wrong saying, “Normally a big plane like that doesn’t do a bypass, so we knew something was wrong.”

However, the pilot decided that nothing could be done to bring the gear down, and an emergency landing was declared. “We are going to have an unusual landing,” the pilot calmly announced to the 53 passengers seated on the plane, according to passenger Moritz Loew. Another passenger, Paul Lasiuk said he was more shocked than scared, telling himself, “You have no choice. You’re going to go through this.”

“Brace! Brace! Brace!”, the pilot announced over the plane’s public address system, calling for passengers to enter the brace position as the plane made a touchdown on the runway at Newark. The plane touched down on the nose wheel and left rear wheel before lurching to the right causing sparks to fly as the right engine skidded along the runway. Eventually, the plane came to stop at 9:27 A.M. EDT.

Afterward, passengers and crew evacuated the plane by sliding down the evacuation slides and moving quickly away from the plane. They were then taken by bus to the airline’s lounge where they told their stories to investigators and waited for their luggage. Three passengers reported minor injuries but refused treatment.

The emergency landing caused the airport to shut down for 20 minutes, but service quickly resumed on two of the airports three runways. The plane remained on the runway throughout the afternoon as investigators determined the cause of the landing gear failure.

This is in contrast to last week, when the airport was shutdown for six hours after a young man named Haisong Jiang breached security by passing through an exit to kiss his girlfriend goodbye.

According to passengers, the crew remained calm during the ordeal. Jim Falk said, “They did a great job. There was no yelling, screaming, panicking or anything.” Falk said he wanted to buy a bottle of champagne for the currently unnamed pilot. Falk added, “The pilot did a beautiful job. He didn’t put it in the water like the other pilot did, but he should be commended.”

What’s a great landing? One that you walk away from.

Martin Trebino, a spokesperson for United Airlines said they would not release the pilot’s name on Sunday, but did not indicate when his name would be made available either.

Paul Lasiuk said, “I’ve had a lot of worse landings at Newark before. It was unbelievably smooth.”

Moritz Loew joked with himself afterward saying, “What’s a great landing? One that you walk away from.”

The flight, which left Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport early Sunday morning around 6 A.M. reported no other problems during the flight up until the incident. According to United Airlines spokesperson Robin Urbanski, it remains unclear why the landing gear failed to deploy. Urbanski added that passengers’ tickets would be refunded and that they would receive vouchers and credit towards any future flight.

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Wikinews wanders the Referendum-year Edinburgh Festival Fringe

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

With many venues reporting sell-out shows, the 68th year of the Edinburgh Festival attracted visitors from around the globe. Wikinews’ Brian McNeil roamed the city for the four weeks of the event, capturing the colour, spectacle, and comedy, in photos.

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Several large explosions reported in Xinjiang, China

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Authorities say that “violent terrorists” attempted to blow up sites in the Xinjiang province of the country. Police say at least 11 people were killed, all except one were reported to be the attackers responsible for the blasts. Police say three more were arrested and another three are “still at large.”

Monsters and Critics.com quote Deutsche Presse-Agentur as saying witnesses on scene reported a plane flying over the town of Kuqa which was followed by 20 large “flashes”, but “no fire or smoke” which was then followed by “sporadic” gunfire. According to Xinhua the explosions occurred at about 3:20 local time (19:20 GMT) and 4:00 (20:00 GMT).

Despite the claims by police, Xinhua stated that authorities sealed off the town where the attacks have occurred and exchanged gunfire with the terrorists killing at least one while another, strapped with explosives, detonated himself. One other terrorist was injured and one was arrested. Military personnel were also reported to have been dispatched to the area. One early report stated that the government offices in Kuqa are unaware of any bombings.

The explosions, which witnesses report as home-made, were directed toward shopping centers, government buildings, hotels and military offices. At least two police cars were also destroyed by the blasts. Xinhua reports that the bombs were “bent pipes, gas canisters and liquid gas tanks.” One attacker drove a three-wheeled bike packed with explosives into the public safety building in Kuqa, which killed one security official and injured two civilians. Hours later, while police were hunting for more suspects, several terrorists began to throw bombs at them. Police killed two, while three others who were strapped with explosives detonated themselves.

Police and government officials refuse to confirm or deny the reports by Xinhua.

The Xinjiang region has a strong independence movement, largely in the form of 8 million Muslim Uyghurs. The East Turkestan Islamic Movement wishes to create an independent Islamic state out of part of what is currently Xinjiang. China has stated that the Uyghur separatists are the biggest potential terrorist threat to the 2008 Olympics in Beijing.

No one has claimed to be responsible for the blasts.

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Port Blair The Gateway To Andaman And Nicobar Islands Tour}

Port Blair The Gateway to Andaman and Nicobar Islands Tour

by

SoumyaThere are many Port Blair tour packages available for Indians and foreign tourists at the affordable cost when you book them online. The Port Blair is the gateway to Andaman and Nicobar Islands due to the presence of International Airport and Seaport. It is a tourist friendly place and tops first in clean and neat sea beaches.

Best Season to Visit Port Blair

The (December – May) is the favorable months to see silent and clear seawater. During these months, the sky will be clear, and you can have an amazing night sky view during the nighttime. However, it is an all season international tourist place. If you wish to enjoy the Monsoon rain and see the tropical rain forest the June to November is the best time to visit. During these months, you can see the dark cloudy skies and less sunlight. The Port Blair Packages are available for all seasons. Book online now and get discounts.

Water Sports Activities available in Port Blair

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Waterskiing Jet skiing Parasailing & Fishing Scuba Kayaking Canoeing surfing sailing water scootersAdventure Sports Activities available in Port Blair Paragliding Speed Boat Camping Rain Forest Trekking Shallow Sea Water Walk

How to Reach Port Blair

By Air

There are daily flights from New Delhi, Chennai, Bhubaneswar, Vizag and Kolkata to Port Blair. It barely takes (2 – 3) hours after the flight. There are seaplanes available in Port Blair to travel within Andaman and Nicobar Islands tourist places.

By Sea-

There are passenger ships operate by Government of India and private cruise ships from Chennai, Vizag and Kolkata Seaports. It takes (56 – 60) hours to travel from Sea.

Important Tourist Attraction Places of Port Blair

When you plan your fascinating Island tour to Andaman and Nicobar, it is advisable to look for the below-mentioned attractions available in Port Blair holiday packages

. on their website.

Exotic Islands in Port Blair

Ross Island North Bay Island Jolly Buoy Island Red Skin Island Viper IslandSilent Beaches to Visit in Port Blair Collinpur Beach Wandoor Beach Ferar BeachImportant Government Museums to Visit in Port Blair Anthropological Museum Fishery Museum Samudrika Marine Museum Marina Park and Aquarium Forest Museum Zoological Survey of India Museum Zsi MuseumZoo and Parks in Port Blair Mini Zoo Gandhi Park Jogger’s Park Chidiya TapuOther Important Attractions of Port Blair Makruzz Phoenix Bay Jetty Japanese Bunkers Science Centre Sippighat Farm Andaman Water Sports Complex Cellular Jail Corbyn’s Cove Chatham Saw MillImportant Places of Worship in Port Blair Roman Catholic Church Vetrimalai Murugan Temple Sri Karpaga Vinayakar Temple Rajasthan Temple

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McCain and Obama face off in U.S. presidential candidate debate

Sunday, September 28, 2008

The two major party presidential candidates in the US, Democrat Barack Obama and Republican John McCain, faced each other yesterday in the first TV debate. Despite that McCain had asked to postpone the debate, both were present at the University of Mississippi. The debate, which was moderated by PBSJim Lehrer, was planned to be focused on foreign policy, however due to concerns about the US financial crisis, the debate began focused on economy.

McCain repeatedly referred to his experience, drawing on stories from the past. Often, he joked of his age and at one point seemed to mock his opponent. Obama spoke of mistakes and repeatedly laid out detailed plans.

The debate was widely seen as a draw. A CBS poll conducted after the debate on independent voters found that 38% felt it was a draw, 40% felt Obama had won, and 22% thought that McCain had won. Voters and analysts agreed that Obama had won on the economy, but that McCain had done better on foreign policy issues, which were the focus of the debate. However, Obama had a more substantial lead on the economy than McCain did on foreign policy.

The McCain campaign faced some ridicule prior to the debate, after airing an internet ad declaring McCain had won the debate hours before it had started.

The candidates were asked where they stood on the country’s financial plans.

Obama put forward four proposals for helping the economy. First, to “make sure that we’ve got oversight over this whole [bailout] process”. Second, to “make sure that taxpayers, when they are putting their money at risk, have the possibility of getting that money back and gains”. Third, to “make sure that none of that money is going to pad CEO bank accounts or to promote golden parachutes”. And lastly, “make sure that we’re helping homeowners, because the root problem here has to do with the foreclosures that are taking place all across the country”.

He then went on to say, “we also have to recognize that this is a final verdict on eight years of failed economic policies promoted by George Bush, supported by Senator McCain, a theory that basically says that we can shred regulations and consumer protections and give more and more to the most, and somehow prosperity will trickle down”.Lehrer then turned to McCain, giving him two minutes as well.

McCain, on the other hand, stressed the urgency of the crisis and the partisanship present in Washington before going on. “This package has transparency in it. It has to have accountability and oversight. It has to have options for loans to failing businesses, rather than the government taking over those loans. We have to — it has to have a package with a number of other essential elements to it,” he told viewers, pausing to briefly mention energy and jobs before Lehrer stopped him.

Lehrer asked the two to come back to his question and urging them to speak to each other, first turning to Senator Obama.

“We haven’t seen the language yet,” Obama began, speaking to Lehrer and not McCain. “And I do think that there’s constructive work being done out there”, he said, before noting he was optimistic a plan would come together. “The question, I think, that we have to ask ourselves is, how did we get into this situation in the first place?”

He continued, stressing his foresight on the issues two years ago, before Lehrer turned to McCain, asking if he planned to vote for the bailout plan.

McCain stammered that he hoped so. Lehrer asked again, and McCain replied, “Sure. But — but let me — let me point out, I also warned about Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and warned about corporate greed and excess, and CEO pay, and all that. A lot of us saw this train wreck coming.”

McCain then continued, giving a story about former US President Dwight Eisenhower, who “on the night before the Normandy invasion, went into his room, and he wrote out two letter”. Eisenhower, he said, had taken accountability for his actions.

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“As president of the United States, people are going to be held accountable in my administration. And I promise you that that will happen.”

Obama then agreed with McCain, adding that more accountability was needed but not just when there’s a panic. “There are folks out there who’ve been struggling before this crisis took place,” Obama continued, “and that’s why it’s so important, as we solve this short-term problem, that we look at some of the underlying issues that have led to wages and incomes for ordinary Americans to go down, the — a health care system that is broken, energy policies that are not working, because, you know, 10 days ago, John said that the fundamentals of the economy are sound”.

Obama was asked to say it to McCain. Obama replied, “I do not think that they are”. Lehrer asked him to say it more directly to McCain, and Obama laughed, repeating himself to McCain.

McCain joked about his age, saying, “Are you afraid I couldn’t hear him?”

Obama said that he and McCain disagreed fundamentally and that he wanted accountability “not just when there’s a crisis for folks who have power and influence and can hire lobbyists, but for the nurse, the teacher, the police officer, who, frankly, at the end of each month, they’ve got a little financial crisis going on. They’re having to take out extra debt just to make their mortgage payments”. Tax policies, he said, were a good example.

McCain disagreed. “No, I — look, we’ve got to fix the system. We’ve got fundamental problems in the system. And Main Street is paying a penalty for the excesses and greed in Washington, D.C., and on Wall Street. So there’s no doubt that we have a long way to go. And, obviously, stricter interpretation and consolidation of the various regulatory agencies that weren’t doing their job, that has brought on this crisis”.

Lehrer went on to the next question, asking if there were fundamental differences between the approaches of the two.

McCain began by saying he wanted to lower “completely out of control” spending. He promised as president to “veto every single spending bill” He then attacked Senator Obama’s use of earmarks, citing it as a fundamental difference.

Senator Obama agreed that earmarks were being abused, but not that it was a large problem. “Earmarks account for $18 billion in last year’s budget. Senator McCain is proposing — and this is a fundamental difference between us — $300 billion in tax cuts to some of the wealthiest corporations and individuals in the country, $300 billion. Now, $18 billion is important; $300 billion is really important.” He then attacked McCain’s tax plans, saying, “you would have CEOs of Fortune 500 companies getting an average of $700,000 in reduced taxes, while leaving 100 million Americans out”.

He then stressed his focus on the middle class, saying, “We’ve got to grow the economy from the bottom up. What I’ve called for is a tax cut for 95 percent of working families, 95 percent”.

McCain was called on.

“Now, Senator Obama didn’t mention that, along with his tax cuts, he is also proposing some $800 billion in new spending on new programs,” McCain said, attacking his opponent. He also said that Obama had only suspended pork barrel spending after he started running for president.

“What I do is I close corporate loopholes,” Obama objected, “stop providing tax cuts to corporations that are shipping jobs overseas so that we’re giving tax breaks to companies that are investing here in the United States. I make sure that we have a health care system that allows for everyone to have basic coverage”.

He then turned to McCain, asking him to look at his tax policies, which he said were ignoring the middle class and a continuation of Bush policies.

Lehrer asked McCain to respond directly to Obama’s attack on his tax policies.

“Well — well, let me give you an example of what Senator Obama finds objectionable, the business tax,” McCain began. He then explained the reasoning behind his business tax cuts, saying that companies would want to start in countries where they would pay less taxes. “I want to cut that business tax. I want to cut it so that businesses will remain in — in the United States of America and create jobs”.

Obama explained that his tax cuts would affect 95% of taxpayers, then replied, “Now, John mentioned the fact that business taxes on paper are high in this country, and he’s absolutely right. Here’s the problem: There are so many loopholes that have been written into the tax code, oftentimes with support of Senator McCain, that we actually see our businesses pay effectively one of the lowest tax rates in the world”.

McCain, he said, opposed closing loopholes but just wanted to add more tax breaks on top of that.

This was a clear victory for Barack Obama on John McCain’s home turf. Senator McCain offered nothing but more of the same failed Bush policies, and Barack Obama made a forceful case for change in our economy and our foreign policy.

He went on, attacking McCain’s health credit idea, saying that McCain wanted to tax health credits. “Your employer now has to pay taxes on the health care that you’re getting from your employer. And if you end up losing your health care from your employer, you’ve got to go out on the open market and try to buy it”.

McCain responded with an example of Obama voting for tax breaks of oil companies.

Obama cut in, “John, you want to give oil companies another $4 billion”, he pointed out.

McCain shot back, attacking Obama’s earmark spending and tax policies. “Who’s the person who has believed that the best thing for America is — is to have a tax system that is fundamentally fair?”, he said, referring to himself. “And I’ve fought to simplify it, and I have proposals to simplify it”.

He then accused Obama of voting “to increase taxes on people who make as low as $42,000 a year”. Obama repeated several times that McCain’s accusations were untrue.

McCain then accused him of giving tax cuts to oil companies, which Obama once again said was untrue. “The fact of the matter is, is that I was opposed to those tax breaks, tried to strip them out,”he said. “We’ve got an emergency bill on the Senate floor right now that contains some good stuff, some stuff you want, including drilling off-shore, but you’re opposed to it because it would strip away those tax breaks that have gone to oil companies.”

Lehrer then broke in, stopping the argument. He switched to a new question, asking what priorities and goals for the country the candidates would give up as a result of the financial crisis.

He allowed Obama to answer the question first, who said many things would have to be delayed but not forgotten. He then began to list what he felt the country had to have to continue to compete.

“We have to have energy independence,” he said, “so I’ve put forward a plan to make sure that, in 10 years’ time, we have freed ourselves from dependence on Middle Eastern oil by increasing production at home, but most importantly by starting to invest in alternative energy, solar, wind, biodiesel”.

He continued, saying that the health care system had to be fixed because it was bankrupting families.

“We’ve got to make sure that we’re competing in education,” he continued. “We’ve got to make sure that our children are keeping pace in math and in science.” He also mentioned making sure college was still affordable.

He also stressed making sure the country was still stable structurally, “to make sure that we can compete in this global economy”.

Lehrer then turned to McCain, asking him to present his ideas.

“Look, we, no matter what, we’ve got to cut spending”, McCain began and reminded the audience that he “saved the taxpayers $6.8 billion by fighting a contract that was negotiated between Boeing and DOD that was completely wrong”.

Lehrer broke in, asking if it was correct that neither of them had any major changes to implement after the financial crisis.

Obama replied that many things would have to be delayed and put aside, and that investments had to be made. He then agreed with McCain that cuts had to be made. “We right now give $15 billion every year as subsidies to private insurers under the Medicare system. Doesn’t work any better through the private insurers. They just skim off $15 billion. That was a give away and part of the reason is because lobbyists are able to shape how Medicare work”.

McCain then made a suggestion. “How about a spending freeze on everything but defense, veteran affairs and entitlement programs”. Lehrer repeated “spending freeze?” and McCain went on, “I think we ought to seriously consider with the exceptions the caring of veterans, national defense and several other vital issues”.

Obama disagreed with McCain’s idea, saying it was “using a hatchet”. Some vital programs, he said, were seriously underfunded. “I went to increase early childhood education and the notion that we should freeze that when there may be, for example, this Medicare subsidy doesn’t make sense”.

The two candidates began to argue more directly.

“We have to have,” McCain argued, “wind, tide, solar, natural gas, flex fuel cars and all that but we also have to have offshore drilling and we also have to have nuclear power”.

He accused Obama of opposing storing nuclear fuel.

Lehrer interrupted the two with another question, asking how the financial crisis would affect how they ran the country.

Obama replied first. “There’s no doubt it will affect our budgets. There is no doubt about it”. He went on to stress that it was a critical time and the country’s long term priorities had to be sorted out.

There was one man who was presidential tonight, that man was John McCain. There was another who was political, that was Barack Obama. John McCain won this debate and controlled the dialogue throughout, whether it was the economy, taxes, spending, Iraq or Iran.

McCain replied by criticizing Obama’s health care plans. “I want the families to make decisions between themselves and their doctors. Not the federal government,” he said, then called for lower spending.

He went on to speak about the national debt and stressing the importance of low taxes.

Obama went on the offensive, attacking McCain’s record of voting. “John, it’s been your president who you said you agreed with 90 percent of the time who presided over this increase in spending”, he said, accusing him of voting for an “orgy of spending”.

McCain countered that he had opposed Bush “on spending, on climate change, on torture of prisoner, on – on Guantanamo Bay. On a — on the way that the Iraq War was conducted”. He called himself a maverick, and referred to his running mate as a maverick as well.

Lehrer asked the two what the lessons of Iraq were.

McCain answered first, stressing that the war in Iraq was going well. “I think the lessons of Iraq are very clear,” he answered, “that you cannot have a failed strategy that will then cause you to nearly lose a conflict”.

He went on to praise the efforts in Iraq, saying the strategy was successful and the US was winning. “And we will come home with victory and with honor. And that withdrawal is the result of every counterinsurgency that succeeds”, and continued that Iraq would make a stable ally.

Lehrer asked Obama how he saw the lessons of Iraq, who began by questioning the fundamentals of the war and whether the US should have gone in the first place.

“We took our eye off [bin Laden]. And not to mention that we are still spending $10 billion a month, when they have a $79 billion surplus, at a time when we are in great distress here at home, and we just talked about the fact that our budget is way overstretched and we are borrowing money from overseas to try to finance just some of the basic functions of our government”.

The lesson, he said, was to “never hesitate to use military force”, but to use it wisely.

McCain was asked if he agreed on the lesson, though he did not comment on a lesson learned. Obama, he said, had been wrong about the surge.

The two opponents then began arguing, as Lehrman tried to mediate them.

McCain felt it was remarkable that “Senator Obama is the chairperson of a committee that oversights NATO that’s in Afghanistan. To this day, he has never had a hearing”.

“The issues of Afghanistan,” Obama responded, “the issues of Iraq, critical issues like that, don’t go through my subcommittee because they’re done as a committee as a whole”.

He then began to attack McCain’s optimism. “You said that we were going to be greeted as liberators. You were wrong. You said that there was no history of violence between Shiite and Sunni. And you were wrong”.

McCain responded to the criticism by telling a story of when he spoke to troops who were re-enlisting. “And you know what they said to us? They said, let us win. They said, let us win. We don’t want our kids coming back here. And this strategy, and this general, they are winning. Senator Obama refuses to acknowledge that we are winning in Iraq”.

McCain repeatedly accused Obama of opposing funding to troops.

Obama responded by speaking to Lehrer, to explain why he had voted against funding troops. “Senator McCain opposed funding for troops in legislation that had a timetable, because he didn’t believe in a timetable. I opposed funding a mission that had no timetable, and was open- ended, giving a blank check to George Bush. We had a difference on the timetable”.

“Admiral Mullen suggests that Senator Obama’s plan is dangerous for America,” McCain cut in once Obama had finished.

Obama said it was not the case, that the wording was “a precipitous withdrawal would be dangerous”.

McCain then argued that Iraq, and not Afghanistan, was the central battle ground against terrorism. He also attacked Obama’s surprise that the surge had worked.

Lehrer switched to a new question. “Do you think more troops — more U.S. troops should be sent to Afghanistan, how many, and when?”

Obama mentioned he had been saying more troops in Afghanistan were needed for over a year. He argued that no Al-Qaeda were present in Iraq before the invasion, and the people there had nothing to do with 9/11.

He then went on to list a three part plan beginning with pressuring the Afghani government to work for it’s people and control it’s poppy trade. He also pressed the need to stop giving money to Pakistan.

To be frank, I’m surprised McCain didn’t play the POW card more tonight, consider how frequently he and his campaign have used it earlier in the campaign.

McCain responded by saying Iraq had to be stabilized and that he would not make the mistake of leaving Iraq the way it is.

“If you’re going to aim a gun at somebody,” he said, “you’d better be prepared to pull the trigger”.

Obama responded by arguing that if the Pakistani government would not take care of terrorists in it’s borders, action had to be taken. He then commented on past US policies with Pakistan, saying that the US support of Musharraf had alienated the Pakistani people.

“And as a consequence, we lost legitimacy in Pakistan. We spent $10 billion. And in the meantime, they weren’t going after al Qaeda, and they are more powerful now than at any time since we began the war in Afghanistan. That’s going to change when I’m president of the United States”, he finished.

McCain quickly replied that Pakistan was a failed state at the time. He then went on to talk about his voting record. “I have a record of being involved in these national security issues, which involve the highest responsibility and the toughest decisions that any president can make, and that is to send our young men and women into harm’s way”.

Obama argued that Afghanistan could not be muddled through, and that problems were being caused by not focusing on Al-Qaeda. As he finished, Lehrer attempted to announce a new question, but McCain quickly attacked Obama, saying his plans would have a “calamitous effect” on national security and the region.

Lehrer directed his next question towards McCain, asking about his thoughts on Iran and it’s threat to the US.

McCain’s reading of the threat in Iran was “if Iran acquires nuclear weapons, it is an existential threat to the State of Israel and to other countries in the region”. He stressed the need to avoid another Holocaust, and the need for a league of democracies

Anybody hearing a snicker from McCain while Obama is talking?

to battle Iran. “I am convinced that together, we can, with the French, with the British, with the Germans and other countries, democracies around the world, we can affect Iranian behavior”.

Obama went next, focusing on the Iraq war’s effect on Iran. Iraq, he said, was Iran’s “mortal enemy” and had kept Iran from becoming a threat. “That was cleared away. And what we’ve seen over the last several years is Iran’s influence grow. They have funded Hezbollah, they have funded Hamas, they have gone from zero centrifuges to 4,000 centrifuges to develop a nuclear weapon”.

He then went on to say that refusing to use diplomacy with hostile nations has only made matters worse and isolated the US.

Lehrer turned to McCain, asking him how he felt about diplomacy as a solution.

McCain hurried through his response, attacking Obama on his willingness to meet with hostile leaders without preconditions. People like Ahmadinejad, he said, would have their ideas legitimized if a President met with them.

Obama responded by pointing out that Ahmadinejad was only a minor leader. Meeting leaders without preconditions, he said, “doesn’t mean that you invite them over for tea one day”. He then turned to attacking McCain, who he said “would not meet potentially with the prime minister of Spain, because he — you know, he wasn’t sure whether they were aligned with us. I mean, Spain? Spain is a NATO ally”.

McCain retorted that he was not yet President so it would be out of place. The two then began to argue over the comments of Dr. Kissinger’s stance on meeting foreign leaders.

McCain argued that meeting with and legitimizing ideas was dangerous and naive, and said it was a fundamental difference of opinion.

Obama accused McCain of misrepresentation, stressing that he would not speak without low level talks and preparations.

McCain responded by mocking Obama. “So let me get this right. We sit down with Ahmadinejad, and he says, ‘We’re going to wipe Israel off the face of the Earth,’ and we say, ‘No, you’re not’? Oh, please”.

The two started arguing among each other, as Lehrer attempted to interject, finally succeeding with a new question. He turned to Obama, asking how he saw the relationship with Russia and it’s potential.

Obama began spelling out his opinion, stating that he felt the US approach to Russia had to be evaluated. He then continued that the US has to press for a unified alliance and for Russia to remove itself from other nations, adding that the US had to “explain to the Russians that you cannot be a 21st-century superpower, or power, and act like a 20th-century dictatorship”.

He went on, stressing the importance of diplomacy and affirming relationships, and inviting Russian-influenced countries into NATO. “Now, we also can’t return to a Cold War posture with respect to Russia. It’s important that we recognize there are going to be some areas of common interest. One is nuclear proliferation”.

McCain responded by attacking Obama’s reaction to the Russian-Georgian conflict, criticizing his initial comment that both sides should show restraint, calling it naive. “He doesn’t understand that Russia committed serious aggression against Georgia. And Russia has now become a nation fueled by petro-dollars that is basically a KGB apparatchik-run government”.

Lehrer asked Obama if there were any major differences between the two’s opinion on Russia, who answered that he and McCain had similar opinions on Russia. He then stressed foresight in dealing with Russia, as well as reducing dependence on foreign oil through alternative energy.

“Over 26 years, Senator McCain voted 23 times against alternative energy, like solar, and wind, and biodiesel,” he mentioned.

The two began to argue over alternative energy. As Lehrer began announcing the next question, McCain interjected. “No one from Arizona is against solar. And Senator Obama says he’s for nuclear, but he’s against reprocessing and he’s against storing So,” he continued, as Obama objected, “it’s hard to get there from here. And off-shore drilling is also something that is very important and it is a bridge”.

McCain continued, as Obama interrupted to correct him, saying that he had voted for storing nuclear waste safely.

The two began interrupting each other, each trying to get a word in, before Lehrer stopped them and moved on.

“What do you think the likelihood is that there would be another 9/11-type attack on the continental United States?” asked Lehrer.

McCain said that America was far safer since 9/11, which he claimed a hand in. He went on to stress better intelligence and technology in keeping America safe, but that he felt the US was far safer.

Lehrer then turned to Obama.

Obama disagreed slightly, saying America was safer in some ways, but “we still have a long way to go”. He also felt that the US was not focusing enough on Al-Qaeda and fighting in Iraq was not making the US safer.

McCain accused Senator Obama of not understanding that “if we fail in Iraq, it encourages al Qaeda. They would establish a base in Iraq”.

Lehrer asked if Obama agreed.

Obama argued that the sole focus was currently Iraq, but that “in the meantime, bin Laden is still out there. He is not captured. He is not killed”. He noted that $10 billion was spent in Iraq every month, instead of going to healthcare. He argued that veterans were not getting the benefits they deserved, and that the next president’s strategies had to be broader.

McCain responded by attacking Obama saying he didn’t think Obama had the knowledge or experience to be President.

Obama then said that the job of the next President would be to repair America’s image and economy.

McCain concluded by citing his POW experience. “Jim, when I came home from prison, I saw our veterans being very badly treated, and it made me sad. And I embarked on an effort to resolve the POW-MIA issue, which we did in a bipartisan fashion, and then I worked on normalization of relations between our two countries so that our veterans could come all the way home”.

“And that ends this debate tonight,” finished Jim Lehrer.

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Protesters dance for gay rights, health care at Philadelphia ‘Queer Rager’

Friday, January 27, 2017

On Wednesday night more than 1,000 protesters, most of them part of the LGBT community, staged a dance protest they called the “Queer Rager” outside the Leows Hotel in Philadelphia’s Center City, where the U.S. Republican Party has arranged a retreat. Gay rights and health care featured amongst the issues raised.

Protesters expressed concerns about traditional gay issues, but Republican U.S. President Donald Trump’s impending repeal of the Affordable Care Act, law enforcement, climate change and other issues were also visible. Signs included “Health Care Is a Human Right,” “BROWN BLACK LGBTQ LIVES MATTER,” and “Trans Bodies Are Beautiful.”

Titled “Queer Rage(r): Guerrilla Dance Party,” participants were invited to dance and carry signs. Like the Women’s March last Saturday, this protest was organized partially through Facebook.

The focus for tonight is to call attention to the ways in which queer and trans, especially queer and trans black and brown people, do not have access to a lot of healthcare

Event organizer Hanako Franz told ABC Channel 6, “The focus for tonight is to call attention to the ways in which queer and trans, especially queer and trans black and brown people, do not have access to a lot of healthcare.”

“Get ready to WERK it out,” reads the event’s official Facebook page. “As they try to take away our health care, to police Black, Brown, Trans and Queer bodies, to regulate our bodies, we’re here to say #WeAreQueer #WeAreHere #WeWillDance.”

This is part of several events, including a rally by health care professionals, expected to continue until today, when the retreat ends. One event, which has been given the go-ahead by the city of Philadelphia, is expected to draw 3,000 participants.

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