- — Photo Courtesy of Forbes.com —
Many unemployed workers who previously gave up looking for a job over the past few years are now going back into the market to try to find a employment again and some are getting hired. With the U.S. economy showing some signs of improvement and the Federal Reserve continuing to support the economy until unemployment is at a satisfactory rate, the hiring trend is expected to continue thorough 2013.
“We don’t think there will be a further decline in participation” this year, said Mary Daly, a group vice president at the San Francisco Fed. As a result, “we don’t see a lot more progress in reducing the unemployment rate in 2013.” Read more for details.
- — Photo Courtesy of Salon.cm —
Stating that he no longer has the strength to lead the worlds Catholics, Pope Benedict XVI, has given his notice that he will resign from the papacy at the end of the month before his 86th birthday.This is the first such abdication in almost 600 years.
“After having repeatedly examined my conscience before God, I have come to the certainty that my strengths, due to an advanced age, are no longer suited to an adequate exercise of the Petrine ministry,” Pope Benedict, the 265th leader of the Roman Catholic Church said today in an address to senior church officials in Rome. Read more for details.
- — Photo Courtesy of http://www.ce-authorizedrepresentative.eu —
After 25 ½ hours of talks in Brussels, the 2014 – 2020 European Union Budget was agreed upon including deeper cut as pressed by U.K. Prime Minister David Cameron to 960 billion euros down for 1.047 trillion euros less than the current budget.
“We simply could not ignore the extremely difficult economic realities across Europe,” EU President Herman Van Rompuy told reporters. “It’s perhaps nobody’s perfect budget, but there’s a lot of it for everybody. This budget is future- oriented, it is realistic and it is driven by pressing concerns.” Read more for details.
- — Photo Courtesy of politico.com —
The fledging U.S. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and Director Elizabeth Warren continues to be opposed by Republicans as it is independent of Congressional appropriation and reach and its legality is currently questionable based on similiar case rulings.
“A strong independent consumer agency is good for families and lenders that follow the rules and good for the economy as a whole,” Warren said yesterday in an interview. “I will keep fighting for that.” Read more for details.
U.S. regulators have suspended work on oil rigs due to faulty bolts used in deep water drilling discovered after the worst U.S. maritime crude spill. The suspension of operation has been given to oil rigs that use General Electric devices connecting drilling tubes to safety gear at the sea floor. Chevron Corp, Royal Dutch Shell Plc and Transocean Ltd operations have been suspended by regulators.
“This certainly will be costly for the industry,” Craig Pirrong, director of the University of Houston’s Global Energy Management Institute said in a telephone interview yesterday. “This is a result of increasing government scrutiny of deep-water activities. The question is, will the increased costs be so onerous that they discourage some companies” from searching the deep oceans for crude? Read more for details.
- — Chuck Hagel. Photo Courtesy of http://news.yahoo.com —
“Chuck Hagel is the leader that our troops deserve. Chuck bears the scars and the shrapnel from battles he fought in our name,” Obama said today.
Hagel is President Obama’s choice for Secretary of Defense, a former Republican Nebraska senator who has been awarded two purple hearts, would be the first Pentagon chief with enlisted rank, first decorated Viet Nam War veteran and one of the few secretaries wounded in war.
“The horror of it, the pain of it, the suffering of it — people just don’t understand it unless they’ve been through it,” Hagel said in an interview for the Veterans History Project of the American Folklife Center. “There’s no glory, only suffering in war.”
Hagel is outspoken, not afraid to go toe to toe with generals including topics such as budget reductions. And has been in criticizied for opposition of unilateral sanctions against Iran as his relationships in the mideast and methods is focused on bridge building.
“Engagement is not surrender,” Hagel said in a Dec. 10 speech at the council. “It’s not appeasement. Engagement is a bridge-building process. It’s an opportunity to better understand, to share.”
Hagel or any confirmed nomination for the post of Secretary of State will have to develop plans for the hostile Mid East, face the Naval challenges with China over the Asia-Pacific Region and the ever growing threats of cyber warfare. Already opposition have made their opinions known which includes both republicans and democrats and Hagel has been accused as being anti-Israeli.
“It’s a poor choice not only regarding Israel, but it’s a poor choice for national security,” said Morris Amitay, founder of the pro-Israel Washington Political Action Committee and former executive director of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee.
“Chuck Hagel’s knowledge, experience, and relationships in this region, including Israel, outclass his critics. To tag him as ‘anti-Israel’ is simply wrong and a cheap smear.” said Andrew Parasiliti, who served as Hagel’s foreign policy adviser from 2001 to 2005, and calls the criticism unwarranted.
“No one has been more steadfast in supporting America’s commitment to Israel’s security than has Senator Hagel…Our polarized political life is much in need of leaders with the kind of bipartisanship and independence of conscience and mind that Chuck Hagel’s service to our country has exemplified,” wrote a group of six former political and diplomatic officials, including former National Security Advisors Brent Scowcroft and Zbigniew Brzezinski, in a public letter to Obama.
“I will leave the EPA confident the ship is sailing in the right direction, and ready in my own life for new challenges, time with my family and new opportunities to make a difference,” said EPA head Lisa Jackson who gave no exact date for her departure, but will leave after Obama’s State of the Union address in late January.
Announcing her resignation on Thursday, the Environmental Protection Agency Administration head did not specifically say why she is leaving and one report by Buzzfeed comfirmed by a source within the Obama administration say that Jackson may departing because of her disagreement with President Barack Obama’s plan to move forward on the controversial Keystone XL pipeline which was denied by spokespeople for the White House.
The Keystone Pipeline System would be used to transport synthetic crude oil and bitumen from Alberta Canada and further south American Crude to one of the multiple refineries in Illinois, Oklahoma and along the Gulf Coast of Texas which is opposed by environmentalists and some members of the U.S. congress because of potential pollution of drinking water and farm irrigation water in Nebraska.
“It was all about Keystone for the last 16 months,” said the former senior Obama administration official. Jackson had opposed the project and did not win the internal arguments. It was understood among her colleagues that she would leave after the November election because of this.
New York Times had reported earlier last year that sources say Jackson considered resigning but at that time Obama backed off from the EPA Proposed ozone pollution standards but ultimately “abandoned the idea as a futile gesture,”
On March 22, 2012 President Barack Obama made the announcement: “Now, right now, a company called TransCanada has applied to build a new pipeline to speed more oil from Cushing to state-of-the-art refineries down on the Gulf Coast. And today, I’m directing my administration to cut through the red tape, break through the bureaucratic hurdles, and make this project a priority, to go ahead and get it done.”
Obama has directed permits to begin the pipeline in northern part of the pipeline but for the southern part of the pipeline he has asked for further study to protect the environment and drinking water yet on speculation this balance may not have been enough for Jackson.