GOP Senator: Super Bowl Blackout Could Add Momentum to Energy Policy






The Super Bowl blackout could provide the momentum for energy policy like the Hispanic vote has done for immigration reform, according to Senate Energy and Natural Resources Ranking Member Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska.


RELATED: The Art Market, Trey Parker and Matt Stone’s Enterprise, and the Coen Brothers






“This issue of immigration: Why are we all focused on that? Well, it’s because the Republicans lost the election because in part we did not have the Hispanic community behind us,” Murkowski said Monday. “What is it that brings about that motivation? Maybe it could be something like a gap in the Super Bowl causes the focus on energy that we need to have. I can only hope.”


RELATED: Otters, Ice, and Ye Olde Super Bowl Preview




MORE FROM NATIONAL JOURNAL




Judging by the discourse on Capitol Hill on Monday, it doesn’t appear the blackout is having any substantive impact on momentum for much of anything policy-related—at least not yet.


RELATED: Watch Beyoncé Sing National Anthem, Live, Then Own Up to Lip-Sync Scandal


During Sunday’s Super Bowl game played in New Orleans, the power to the stadium went out for 34 minutes. The outage was reportedly caused by an “abnormality” of the electrical system, operated by Entergy, according to company and stadium officials quoted in articles.


RELATED: A Record 111.3 Million Viewers for the Super Bowl


In unveiling her blueprint for energy policy recommendations Monday, Murkowski said the game’s electricity woes helped her put into context her report.


RELATED: Super Bowl XLVII Might Be the Most Watched Ever


“I really didn’t have an idea when that game first started how 34 minutes was going to help me tell the energy story,” Murkowski said at a press conference. “I know it delayed the game a little bit, but it was sure helpful from the perspective of letting Americans know how important energy is in their daily worlds.”


Energy News Headlines – Yahoo! News





Title Post: GOP Senator: Super Bowl Blackout Could Add Momentum to Energy Policy
Url Post: http://www.news.fluser.com/gop-senator-super-bowl-blackout-could-add-momentum-to-energy-policy/
Link To Post : GOP Senator: Super Bowl Blackout Could Add Momentum to Energy Policy
Rating:
100%

based on 99998 ratings.
5 user reviews.
Author: Fluser SeoLink
Thanks for visiting the blog, If any criticism and suggestions please leave a comment




Read More..

How close is N. Korea to nuclear arms?


























Kim Jong Un and his military


Kim Jong Un and his military


Kim Jong Un and his military


Kim Jong Un and his military


Kim Jong Un and his military


Kim Jong Un and his military


Kim Jong Un and his military


Kim Jong Un and his military


Kim Jong Un and his military


Kim Jong Un and his military


Kim Jong Un and his military


Kim Jong Un and his military


Kim Jong Un and his military


Kim Jong Un and his military


Kim Jong Un and his military


Kim Jong Un and his military


Kim Jong Un and his military


Kim Jong Un and his military


Kim Jong Un and his military





<<


<





1




2




3




4




5




6




7




8




9




10




11




12




13




14




15




16




17




18




19



>


>>







STORY HIGHLIGHTS


  • North Korea has warned that it plans to carry out underground nuclear tests

  • Would be the third nuclear test Pyongyang has carried out since 2006

  • Comes after new U.N. sanctions for North Korea's December satellite launch

  • Experts say its unknown how close the North is to being able to launch a nuclear warhead




(CNN) -- North Korea's intention to carry out a new nuclear test, coming on the heels of December's successful satellite launch, suggests that Pyongyang is moving forward toward developing a nuclear warhead and a deliverable missile system, experts say. The question remains: How close are they?


The answer, like the cloistered "hermit kingdom," remains largely a mystery as does much of its nuclear program.


"It's a question over the delivery system and the reliability of those systems," said Daniel Pinkston, senior analyst for the International Crisis Group covering Northeast Asia. "That is essentially unknown, or known by a few people inside North Korea."


South Korean rocket successfully puts satellite in orbit


A 2009 report by International Crisis Group suspects that North Korea "probably has somewhere between six and twelve nuclear weapons, or at least explosive devices," but notes that experts are divided whether any of these to be now useable as warheads -- small enough to be mounted on missiles and durable enough to withstand the hazards of flight.










"It's pretty clear that these are advanced technologies and the systems present a number of engineering challenges -- and to master these technologies requires a number of tests," Pinkston said.


North Korea on Google Maps: Monuments, nuclear complex, gulags


Last month, on the first anniversary of Kim Jong Il's death, North Korea successfully launched a three-stage rocket that put the satellite, Shining Star-3, into orbit. The launch also signaled that the North's long-range missile program now puts the United States within reach.


Last week, the United Nations Security Council unanimously passed a resolution that strengthened sanctions against the north in response to the December rocket launch. Declaring sanctions to be tantamount to "a declaration of war," North Korea is threatening further missile and nuclear tests which it said are a new phase of confrontation with the United States.


For the U.N. and North Korea: Game on


A new underground nuclear test would be the third, following tests in 2009 and 2006. While seismographs will be able to confirm if North Korea has an underground test, the size of the nuclear blast will be difficult to determine, Pinkston said.


"From what I understand it is virtually impossible to mask a nuclear event in terms of concealing it due to seismographs," Pinkston said. "But as far as the accuracy of the assessment of the yield, that's where the difficulty lies."


Koreas in 2013: Watch the generational politics


Estimates of the size, or "yield," of the 2009 nuclear test range from 2.5 kilotons to 6 kilotons, Pinkston said. By comparison, the atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima had a yield of 16 kilotons.


While the specter of a North Korea able to send nuclear-tipped missiles is worrisome, equally troublesome to the international community is Pyongyang's atomic technology fuelling the black market for weapons.


"If its clandestine uranium-enrichment program has made strides, Pyongyang could demonstrate that it will gain access to a far larger pool of fissile material than simply its limited supply of weapons-grade plutonium," wrote Patrick M. Cronin, an Asian expert at the Center for New American Security, in a CNN op-ed. "A larger pool of fissile material is a dual threat: As a vital part of an expanded nuclear weapon program and as a commodity to be sold on the black market."


Timeline: North Korea's rocket-fueled obsession







Read More..

NFL: Beyonce show had no role in Super Bowl power failure









NEW ORLEANS—





The National Football League was still working with New Orleans officials on Monday to determine what caused the power outage at Sunday's Super Bowl at the Superdome, so far dismissing any connection with the Beyonce halftime show.

With a record U.S. television audience watching along with viewers in 180 countries, about half the stadium lights went dark early in the second half of the game, in which the Baltimore Ravens defeated the San Francisco 49ers, 34-31.






NFL commissioner Roger Goodell told reporters on Monday an investigation was under way to determine the cause of the 35-minute disruption but one possible explanation had already been eliminated.

"There's no indication at all that this was caused by the halftime show," Goodell said. "I know that's out there, that Beyonce's halftime show had something to do with it. That is not the case from anything we have at this point."

Entergy Corp, the utility providing power to the Superdome, said its distribution and transmission feeders were serving the Superdome at all times.

Early indications were that the outage resulted from an abnormality in the Superdome's power system but it was too early to speculate on what went wrong, said Doug Thornton, senior vice president of the Superdome's management company, SMG.

A piece of equipment designed to monitor electrical load sensed an abnormality in the system where the Superdome equipment intersects with Entergy's feed into the building, triggering an automatic cut in power, SMG and Entergy said in a joint statement.

There was never any concern the power could not be restored, but it took time because of the size of the stadium and the complexities of the power system, Thornton said.

"We had people in place that could quickly work to restore power. We had experts on site, as we normally do when we have big events like this, our electrician, our electrical consultants were there and we were able to quickly work on that," Thornton said.

"There were no injuries, people remained calm, we had a pre-programmed announcement that was actually played. These are things that we actually drilled for."

None of the players or coaches said the stoppage had any impact on the game, and Goodell said the power problem would not adversely affect future bids by New Orleans to stage the Super Bowl, the United States' most-watched sports event.

"I fully expect that we will be back here for Super Bowls," Goodell said. "I hope we will be back. We want to be back ... I don't think this will have any impact at all on what I think will be remembered for one of the greatest Super Bowl weeks."

(Editing by Daniel Trotta and Dale Hudson)

Read More..

North Korea nuclear test would face "firm" U.N. action: South Korea


UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) - The U.N. Security Council is united on North Korea's nuclear arms program and will undoubtedly approve tough measures against Pyongyang if it carries out a new atomic test as expected, South Korean U.N. Ambassador Kim Sook said on Monday.


"The North Korean nuclear test seems to be imminent," Kim, who is president of the Security Council this month, told reporters. "Obviously there are very busy activities going on at the (North Korean) nuclear test site, and everybody's watching."


"Everybody is unified and they are firm and resolute," he said. "I would expect very firm and strong measures to be taken ... once they go ahead with such provocation."


(Reporting By Louis Charbonneau; Editing by Sandra Maler)



Read More..

"Great Rotation"- A Wall Street fairy tale?

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Wall Street's current jubilant narrative is that a rush into stocks by small investors has sparked a "great rotation" out of bonds and into equities that will power the bull market to new heights.


That sounds good, but there's a snag: The evidence for this is a few weeks of bullish fund flows that are hardly unusual for January.


Late-stage bull markets are typically marked by an influx of small investors coming late to the party - such as when your waiter starts giving you stock tips. For that to happen you need a good story. The "great rotation," with its monumental tone, is the perfect narrative to make you feel like you're missing out.


Even if something approaching a "great rotation" has begun, it is not necessarily bullish for markets. Those who think they are coming early to the party may actually be arriving late.


Investors pumped $20.7 billion into stocks in the first four weeks of the year, the strongest four-week run since April 2000, according to Lipper. But that pales in comparison with the $410 billion yanked from those funds since the start of 2008.


"I'm not sure you want to take a couple of weeks and extrapolate it into whatever trend you want," said Tobias Levkovich, chief U.S. equity strategist at Citigroup. "We have had instances where equity flows have picked up in the last two, three, four years when markets have picked up. They've generally not been signals of a continuation of that trend."


The S&P 500 rose 5 percent in January, its best month since October 2011 and its best January since 1997, driving speculation that retail investors were flooding back into the stock market.


Heading into another busy week of earnings, the equity market is knocking on the door of all-time highs due to positive sentiment in stocks, and that can't be ignored entirely. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index <.spx> ended the week about 4 percent from an all-time high touched in October 2007.


Next week will bring results from insurers Allstate and The Hartford , as well as from Walt Disney , Coca-Cola Enterprises and Visa .


But a comparison of flows in January, a seasonal strong month for the stock market, shows that this January, while strong, is not that unusual. In January 2011 investors moved $23.9 billion into stock funds and $28.6 billion in 2006, but neither foreshadowed massive inflows the rest of that year. Furthermore, in 2006 the market gained more than 13 percent while in 2011 it was flat.


Strong inflows in January can happen for a number of reasons. There were a lot of special dividends issued in December that need reinvesting, and some of the funds raised in December tax-selling also find their way back into the market.


During the height of the tech bubble in 2000, when retail investors were really embracing stocks, a staggering $42.7 billion flowed into equities in January of that year, double the amount that flowed in this January. That didn't end well, as stocks peaked in March of that year before dropping over the next two-plus years.


MOM AND POP STILL WARY


Arguing against a 'great rotation' is not necessarily a bearish argument against stocks. The stock market has done well since the crisis. Despite the huge outflows, the S&P 500 has risen more than 120 percent since March 2009 on a slowly improving economy and corporate earnings.


This earnings season, a majority of S&P 500 companies are beating earnings forecast. That's also the case for revenue, which is a departure from the previous two reporting periods where less than 50 percent of companies beat revenue expectations, according to Thomson Reuters data.


Meanwhile, those on the front lines say mom and pop investors are still wary of equities after the financial crisis.


"A lot of people I talk to are very reluctant to make an emotional commitment to the stock market and regardless of income activity in January, I think that's still the case," said David Joy, chief market strategist at Columbia Management Advisors in Boston, where he helps oversee $571 billion.


Joy, speaking from a conference in Phoenix, says most of the people asking him about the "great rotation" are fund management industry insiders who are interested in the extra business a flood of stock investors would bring.


He also pointed out that flows into bond funds were positive in the month of January, hardly an indication of a rotation.


Citi's Levkovich also argues that bond investors are unlikely to give up a 30-year rally in bonds so quickly. He said stocks only began to see consistent outflows 26 months after the tech bubble burst in March 2000. By that reading it could be another year before a serious rotation begins.


On top of that, substantial flows continue to make their way into bonds, even if it isn't low-yielding government debt. January 2013 was the second best January on record for the issuance of U.S. high-grade debt, with $111.725 billion issued during the month, according to International Finance Review.


Bill Gross, who runs the $285 billion Pimco Total Return Fund, the world's largest bond fund, commented on Twitter on Thursday that "January flows at Pimco show few signs of bond/stock rotation," adding that cash and money markets may be the source of inflows into stocks.


Indeed, the evidence suggests some of the money that went into stock funds in January came from money markets after a period in December when investors, worried about the budget uncertainty in Washington, started parking money in late 2012.


Data from iMoneyNet shows investors placed $123 billion in money market funds in the last two months of the year. In two weeks in January investors withdrew $31.45 billion of that, the most since March 2012. But later in the month money actually started flowing back.


(Additional reporting by Caroline Valetkevitch; Editing by Kenneth Barry)



Read More..

What comes now for NFL after tumultuous season?


NEW ORLEANS (AP) — The Super Bowl closes a tumultuous year for the NFL.


Suicides by former NFL players. Thousands of others filing concussion lawsuits. New studies linking football to brain disease. Still no testing for human growth hormone. The specter of other purported performance-enhancing products — deer-antler spray, anyone? — being peddled to players.


A pay-for-pain bounty scandal. A lockout of officials resolved only after a ludicrous game-ending call. Zero minority hires for 15 coach or general manager openings.


And yet the league is as popular as ever.


Advertisers paid nearly $4 million per 30-second television commercial for the right to reach the 100 million or so Americans expected to tune in to Sunday's Super Bowl between the AFC champion Baltimore Ravens and NFC champion San Francisco 49ers. Eleven of the 12 most-watched TV programs during the last 2½ years were NFL postseason games, according to the league.


Uncertain, though, is what the future holds for an NFL still coming to grips with the dangers of a brutal sport that makes it tremendously wealthy.


"The game has changed and keeps changing. ... It is such a violent game, and such a collision game, that careers are going to be kind of like not long at all. Because you take those licks — you've only got so many in your body, and at some point that's going to wear it out," said Ravens running backs coach Wilbert Montgomery, who played that position for the Philadelphia Eagles and Detroit Lions from 1977-85.


Montgomery said he got six concussions in one season alone, and others along the way, including one that knocked him out cold a few days before playing for the Eagles in the NFC title game at the end of the 1980 season.


"I know one thing: Back then, it didn't make any difference. They gave you smelling salts and then, after that, you went back in," Montgomery said. "I have headaches all the time. That's why I say my wife is always messing with me when I have outbursts, saying, 'You've been hit too many times upside the head.'"


Montgomery laughed for a moment. Then he rubbed his forehead and continued talking, mentioning former teammate and friend Andre Waters and opponent Dave Duerson. Both committed suicide; researchers studied their brain tissue and found signs of chronic traumatic encephalopathy, or CTE, a degenerative disease also found in boxers and often linked with repeated blows to the head. Former star linebacker Junior Seau, who shot himself in May, also was found to have CTE. Baltimore's starting center on Sunday, Matt Birk, has pledged to donate his brain for study when he dies.


"It's a serious thing," Montgomery said. "It's scary."


When the President of the United States refers to fans perhaps having a guilty conscience when watching a game and parents thinking twice before allowing a child to play — as Barack Obama did in a recent interview with The New Republic — it sends a strong signal about what confronts the NFL today.


"If I was worried about my health," 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick said, "I wouldn't be playing football."


So the league must figure out how to deal with "walking a fine line," as 49ers CEO Jed York described it: The two-sided task of making the game safer, which Commissioner Roger Goodell acknowledges is imperative, while not making it "too safe," thereby diminishing the popularity of an enterprise that is violent by its very nature.


"There's no question that that is a bit of a conundrum. But to me, we've got to place more weight on player safety," New York Giants co-owner John Mara said. "The rules changes that we've implemented over the past five or six years have not made the game any less exciting. If anything, the game is as exciting as ever, and I strongly believe that we can make additional improvements in the rules and we're not going to lose anything in terms of excitement on the field."


Ravens owner Steve Bisciotti is convinced the NFL will strike the proper balance.


"What did they do for boxing when they made them go from 6-ounce, to 8-ounce to 12-ounce gloves or whatever? Did it change boxing? Not really," Bisciotti said. "I believe that with every change, there will be a correction. ... And I believe that we as a league and the (players' union) will agree on things that don't take football out of football."


In a series of moves that began shortly after Goodell was grilled at a congressional hearing, the league has changed concussion return-to-play guidelines, adjusted rules for kickoffs — and floated the idea of eliminating them altogether — stepped up punishment of illegal hits, and stopped arguing against the players' wish for independent neurology specialists on the sidelines during games.


Even if there are some players who in one breath worry about whether their health is imperiled, and in the next say, "We're basically going to be playing two-hand touch in a while" — Baltimore nose tackle Terrence Cody's words this week — the head of their union points out that prudence and popularity do not have to be mutually exclusive.


"The reality of it is, 'football as we know it' has evolved over decades. ... Our job is to have an unqualified commitment to the health and safety of the people who play the game, and then to make those changes where we see necessary," NFL Players Association executive director DeMaurice Smith said.


"I don't think there is this thing of 'football as we know it.' What we have is football that has constantly developed," Smith said. "And even with all of the (recent) rule changes ... my guess is this Super Bowl will be the highest-rated of all time."


Indeed, while the concussion lawsuits mount — a U.S. District Court judge in Philadelphia will hear oral arguments in April on the NFL's effort to dismiss a group of cases — and questions arise about what insurers will charge the league moving forward, the money does keep rolling in. Revenues already topped $9 billion at the time of the last labor deal in 2011, and new TV contracts will only help increase it.


"At $10-to-$12 billion? It ain't going nowhere," said Warren Sapp, a retired defensive tackle elected Saturday to the Pro Football Hall of Fame and who now works for the NFL Network, another piece of the league's marketing machine. "We play a beautiful game. We hit each other. (Players) have to take care of each other better. Then it will be fine."


Meantime, the NFL continues to look for new ways to increase its cash flow.


During his state of the league address two days before the Super Bowl, Goodell did not rule out increasing the regular season from 16 to 18 games, and he reiterated the possibility of expanding the postseason, too. He announced that two 2013 games in London already are sold out, and there could be three in future seasons — down a path that, eventually, could lead to a franchise based in Britain.


"For you to be adding games to the season, are you looking out for player safety? Or are you trying to generate more player revenue?" 49ers receiver Randy Moss said. "If you're trying to look and protect the players, and keep it healthier and better every year, I don't think it's a good idea."


Several players in this year's Super Bowl were incredulous that the league would even consider more games. A handful voiced concern over a disconnect between players and owners.


The president of the NFLPA, former Ravens cornerback Domonique Foxworth, said he wonders how truthful Goodell and other NFL officials are being when they say — as they often do — that players' well-being is a priority.


"The league, their No. 1 focus — at least they say their No. 1 focus — is health and safety. And we say our No. 1 focus is health and safety. How come we have such a hard time moving the ball on some health and safety issues?" Foxworth said. "I believe health and safety is on their list of top five things, but it comes in well behind increasing the bottom line."


___


Follow Howard Fendrich on Twitter at http://twitter.com/HowardFendrich


Read More..

Exxon’s 2012 profit of $44.9B just misses record






Exxon Mobil Corp. nearly set a record for annual profit. The oil giant reported Friday that 2012 net income was $ 44.88 billion, just $ 340 million — less than 1 percent — short of the company’s record set in 2008, when crude oil prices hit an all-time high. Exxon‘s profit for the last 10 years totals $ 343.4 billion.


— $ 44.88 billion in 2012






— $ 41.06 billion in 2011


— $ 30.46 billion in 2010


— $ 19.28 billion in 2009


— $ 45.22 billion in 2008


— $ 40.61 billion in 2007


— $ 39.50 billion in 2006


— $ 36.13 billion in 2005


— $ 25.33 billion in 2004


— $ 20.96 billion in 2003


Source: Exxon Mobil annual reports filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission


Energy News Headlines – Yahoo! News





Title Post: Exxon’s 2012 profit of $44.9B just misses record
Url Post: http://www.news.fluser.com/exxons-2012-profit-of-44-9b-just-misses-record/
Link To Post : Exxon’s 2012 profit of $44.9B just misses record
Rating:
100%

based on 99998 ratings.
5 user reviews.
Author: Fluser SeoLink
Thanks for visiting the blog, If any criticism and suggestions please leave a comment




Read More..

Hillary: Secretary of empowerment




Girls hug U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton during a 2010 tour of a shelter run for sex trafficking victims in Cambodia.




STORY HIGHLIGHTS


  • Donna Brazile: Clinton stepping down as Secretary of State. Maybe she'll run for president

  • She says as secretary she expanded foreign policy to include effect on regular people

  • She says she was first secretary of state to focus on empowering women and girls

  • Brazile: Clinton has fought for education and inclusion in politics for women and girls




Editor's note: Donna Brazile, a CNN contributor and a Democratic strategist, is vice chairwoman for voter registration and participation at the Democratic National Committee. She is a nationally syndicated columnist, an adjunct professor at Georgetown University and author of "Cooking with Grease." She was manager for the Gore-Lieberman presidential campaign in 2000.


(CNN) -- As Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton steps down from her job Friday, many are assuming she will run for president. And she may. In fact, five of the first eight presidents first served their predecessors as secretary of state.


It hasn't happened in more than a century, though that may change should Clinton decide to run. After all, she has been a game changer her entire life.


But before we look ahead, I think we should appreciate what she's done as secretary of state; it's a high profile, high pressure job. You have to deal with the routine as if it is critical and with crisis as if it's routine. You have to manage egos, protocols, customs and Congress. You have to be rhetorical and blunt, diplomatic and direct.



CNN Contributor Donna Brazile

CNN Contributor Donna Brazile



As secretary of state you are dealing with heads of state and with we the people. And the president of the United States has to trust you -- implicitly.


On the road with Hillary Clinton


Of all Clinton's accomplishments -- and I will mention just a few -- this may be the most underappreciated. During the election, pundits were puzzled and amazed not only at how much energy former President Bill Clinton poured into Obama's campaign, but even more at how genuine and close the friendship was.


Obama was given a lot of well-deserved credit for reaching out to the Clintons by appointing then-Sen. Hillary Clinton as his secretary of state in the first place. But trust is a two-way street and has to be earned. We should not underestimate or forget how much Clinton did and how hard she worked. She deserved that trust, as she deserved to be in the war room when Osama bin Laden was killed.


By the way, is there any other leader in the last 50 years whom we routinely refer to by a first name, and do so more out of respect than familiarity? The last person I can think of was Ike -- the elder family member who we revere with affection. Hillary is Hillary.


It's not surprising that we feel we know her. She has been part of our public life for more than 20 years. She's been a model of dignity, diplomacy, empathy and toughness. She also has done something no other secretary of state has done -- including the two women who preceded her in the Cabinet post.


Rothkopf: President Hillary Clinton? If she wants it



Hillary has transformed our understanding -- no, our definition -- of foreign affairs. Diplomacy is no longer just the skill of managing relations with other countries. The big issues -- war and peace, terror, economic stability, etc. -- remain, and she has handled them with firmness and authority, with poise and confidence, and with good will, when appropriate.


But it is not the praise of diplomats or dictators that will be her legacy. She dealt with plenipotentiaries, but her focus was on people. Foreign affairs isn't just about treaties, she taught us, it's about the suffering and aspirations of those affected by the treaties, made or unmade.








Most of all, diplomacy should refocus attention on the powerless.


Of course, Hillary wasn't the first secretary of state to advocate for human rights or use the post to raise awareness of abuses or negotiate humanitarian relief or pressure oppressors. But she was the first to focus on empowerment, particularly of women and girls.


She created the first Office of Global Women's Issues. That office fought to highlight the plight of women around the world. Rape of women has been a weapon of war for centuries. Though civilized countries condemn it, the fight against it has in a sense only really begun.


Ghitis: Hillary Clinton's global legacy on gay rights


The office has worked to hold governments accountable for the systematic oppression of girls and women and fought for their education in emerging countries. As Hillary said when the office was established: "When the Security Council passed Resolution 1325, we tried to make a very clear statement, that women are still largely shut out of the negotiations that seek to end conflicts, even though women and children are the primary victims of 21st century conflict."


Hillary also included the United States in the Trafficking in Person report. Human Trafficking, a form of modern, mainly sexual, slavery, victimizes mostly women and girls. The annual report reviews the state of global efforts to eliminate the practice. "We believe it is important to keep the spotlight on ourselves," she said. "Human trafficking is not someone else's problem. Involuntary servitude is not something we can ignore or hope doesn't exist in our own communities."


She also created the office of Global Partnerships. And there is much more.


She has held her own in palaces and held the hands of hungry children in mud-hut villages, pursuing an agenda that empowers women, children, the poor and helpless.


We shouldn't have been surprised. Her book "It Takes a Village" focused on the impact that those outside the family have, for better or worse, on a child's well-being.


As secretary of state, she did all she could to make sure our impact as a nation would be for the better.


Follow us on Twitter @CNNOpinion


Join us on Facebook/CNNOpinion


The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Donna Brazile.






Read More..

Robbery suspects charged with threatening girls with baseball bat













Photo: Carlos Alvizo (left) and Elias Martinez


Photo: Carlos Alvizo (left) and Elias Martinez
(February 3, 2013)


























































Two Chicago men armed with a baseball bat are accused of trying to rob two 15-year-old girls during an attack  on Friday night that was foiled by two off duty police officers, police said.


Carlos Alvizo, 18, of the 5600 block of South Homan Avenue and Elias Martinez, 21, of the 2300 block of South Trumbull Avenue were both charged with two counts of attempted armed robbery of two 15-year-old girls that happened in the 3600 block South Hoyne Avenue in the city’s McKinley Park neighborhood, police said.


One of the suspects was wielding a baseball bat as they demanded “everything’’ from the girls, according to a police report.





One said: “Give me everything. I don’t want to whack you. Do you have any money? Do you have your cell phone? What do you have in your pocket?”’ according to the report.


Alvizo reached into a pocket of one of victims before but both men fled when they spotted two people – who happened to be off duty police officers from Chicago and Forest Park – who began running after them, the report said.


Both men jumped into a gray Dodge Neon but as Martinez turned on its ignition the officers were able to stop them before they drove away in the car, police said. 


The girls later identified them and they were arrested about 6:15 p.m.


rsobol@tribune.com


Twitter:@RosemarySobol1







Read More..

Iran hedges on nuclear talks with six powers or U.S.


MUNICH (Reuters) - Iran said on Sunday it was open to a U.S. offer of direct talks on its nuclear program and that six world powers had suggested a new round of nuclear negotiations this month, but without committing itself to either proposal.


Diplomatic efforts to resolve a dispute over Iran's nuclear program, which Tehran says is peaceful but the West suspects is intended to give Iran the capability to build a nuclear bomb, have been all but deadlocked for years, while Iran has continued to announce advances in the program.


Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi said a suggestion on Saturday by U.S. Vice President Joe Biden that Washington was ready for direct talks with Iran if Tehran was serious about negotiations was a "step forward".


"We take these statements with positive consideration. I think this is a step forward but ... each time we have come and negotiated it was the other side unfortunately who did not heed ... its commitment," Salehi said at the Munich Security Conference where Biden made his overture a day earlier.


He also complained to Iran's English-language Press TV of "other contradictory signals", pointing to the rhetoric of "keeping all options on the table" used by U.S. officials to indicate they are willing to use force to keep Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon.


"This does not go along with this gesture (of talks) so we will have to wait a little bit longer and see if they are really faithful this time," Salehi said.


Iran is under a tightening web of sanctions. Israel has also hinted it may strike if diplomacy and international sanctions fail to curb Iran's nuclear drive.


In Washington, Army General Martin Dempsey, the top U.S. military officer, said in an interview broadcast on Sunday that the United States has the capability to stop any Iranian effort to build nuclear weapons, but Iranian "intentions have to be influenced through other means."


Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, made his comments on NBC's program "Meet the Press," speaking alongside outgoing Defense Secretary Leon Panetta.


Panetta said current U.S. intelligence indicated that Iranian leaders have not made a decision to proceed with the development of a nuclear weapon.


"But every indication is they want to continue to increase their nuclear capability," he said. "And that's a concern. And that's what we're asking them to stop doing."


The new U.S. secretary of state, John Kerry, has said he will give diplomacy every chance of solving the Iran standoff.


THE BEST CHANCE


With six-power talks making little progress, some experts say talks between Tehran and Washington could be the best chance, perhaps after Iran has elected a new president in June.


Negotiations between Iran and the six powers - Russia, China, the United States, Britain, France and Germany - have been deadlocked since a meeting last June.


EU officials have accused Iran of dragging its feet in weeks of haggling over the date and venue for new talks.


Salehi said he had "good news", having heard that the six powers would meet in Kazakhstan on February 25.


A spokesman for EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton, who coordinates the efforts of the six powers, confirmed that she had proposed talks in the week of February 25 but noted that Iran had not yet accepted.


Kazakhstan said it was ready to host the talks in either Astana or Almaty.


Salehi said Iran had "never pulled back" from the stuttering negotiations with the six powers. "We still are very hopeful. There are two packages, one package from Iran with five steps and the other package from the (six powers) with three steps."


Iran raised international concern last week by announcing plans to install and operate advanced uranium enrichment machines. The EU said the move, potentially shortening the path to weapons-grade material, could deepen doubts about the peaceful nature of Iran's nuclear program.


Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Sunday that Israel's mission to stop its arch-enemy from acquiring nuclear weapons was "becoming more complex, since the Iranians are equipping themselves with cutting-edge centrifuges that shorten the time of (uranium) enrichment".


"We must not accept this process," said Netanyahu, who is trying to form a new government after winning an election last month. Israel is generally believed to be the only country in the Middle East with nuclear weapons.


(Additional reporting by Myra MacDonald and Stephen Brown in Munich, Dmitry Solovyov in Almaty, Yeganeh Torbati in Dubai and Jim Wolf in Washington; Editing by Kevin Liffey and Will Dunham)



Read More..