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New July 2013

Obama delays Keystone decision — again

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Stop me if you think that you’ve heard this one before: The Obama administration is delaying a decision on whether to approve the Keystone XL pipeline. But this is different from all those past delays. This is a brand new delay — and it might push the final determination past the midterm elections. As Politico notes, “A delay past November would spare Obama a politically difficult choice on whether to approve the pipeline, angering his green base and environmentally minded campaign donors — or reject it, endangering pro-pipeline Democrats such as [Sen. Mary] Landrieu, who represents oil-rich Louisiana.” The Washington Post explains the reasoning behind this latest delay: The Obama administration has — again — postponed a decision on the proposed Keystone XL pipeline by giving eight different agencies more time to submit their views on whether the pipeline from Canada’s oil sands to the Texas gulf coast is in the national interest. The 90-day period for interagency comments was supposed to end May 7, but the State Department extended that deadline, citing “uncertainty” created by a Nebraska Supreme Court ruling that could lead to changes in the pipeline route. The State Department, which must make the final decision on the permit because it crosses an international boundary, said it would use the additional time to consider the “unprecedented number” — 2.5 million — of public comments that were submitted by March 7. Queue the predictable outcry from pipeline supporters. That includes not just Republicans (though outcrying is their specialty) but also the 11 Democratic senators from red and swing states who recently wrote Obama a letter calling on him to quickly approve the project. “This decision is irresponsible, unnecessary and unacceptable,” said Landrieu, who organized the letter writers. She vowed to use her new position as chair of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee to force approval. (Good luck with that.) Republican Sen. Lisa Murkowski from the oil-loving state of Alaska called the delay “a stunning act of political cowardice” and said that “the timing of this announcement — waiting until a Friday afternoon during the holy Passover holiday in the hope that most Americans would be too busy with their families to notice — only adds further insult.” Keystone opponents are of two minds. Billionaire climate hawk and campaign funder Tom Steyer called it “good news on Good Friday.” The League of Conservation Voters went further and called it “great news.” The Natural Resources Defense Council seems to agree: The State Department is taking the most prudent course of action possible. … Getting this decision right includes being able to evaluate the yet-to-be determined route through Nebraska and continuing to listen to the many voices that have raised concerns about Keystone XL. The newly extended comment period will show what we already know: the more Americans learn about this project, the more they see that the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline is not in the national interest. But 350.org slammed the administration for its procrastination. “It’s disappointing President Obama doesn’t have the courage to reject Keystone XL right now,” the group said in a release. “It’s as if our leaders simply don’t understand that climate change is happening in real time — that it would require strong, fast action to do anything about it.” Still, the group claimed a partial victory: “this is clearly another win for pipeline opponents.” Anti-Keystoners will, of course, keep fighting the proposal. On Earth Day, April 22, they’ll kick off a Reject and Protect protest on the National Mall. “The encampment will feature 15 tipis and a covered wagon, and begins on Tuesday with a 40-person ceremonial horseback ride from the Capitol down the National Mall,” says 350. “Ranchers from Nebraska, tribal leaders from Nebraska, Minnesota and the Dakotas, actor Daryl Hannah, the Indigo Girls, environmental and social justice leaders, and others will take part at the encampment over the week.” And Steyer has promised to help fund political candidates who oppose the pipeline. Politico reports that he “pledged Thursday to leverage his largely self-funded super PAC to support members of Congress who come under attack for their opposition to the proposed Canada-to-Texas pipeline.”Filed under: Business & Technology, Climate & Energy, Politics

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Musharraf charged in treason case

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A court in Pakistan charges former military ruler Pervez Musharraf with treason, the country’s first army chief to face such a prosecution.

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Pro-Beijing camp woo pan-democrats with ‘exclusive’ talks for Shanghai visit

<!– google_ad_section_start –> Pressure is growing on pan-democrat lawmakers to join a trip to Shanghai after pro-government figures said they would find a way for them to have an exclusive meeting with Beijing officials. <!– google_ad_section_end –>

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Erdogan vows revenge on plotters after victory in Turkish elections

<!– google_ad_section_start –> Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has claimed victory for his Islamic-based party in key regional elections and warned his foes they would “pay the price” for plotting his downfall. <!– google_ad_section_end –>

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Pakistan’s Pervez Musharraf pleads not guilty to 5 counts of treason

<!– google_ad_section_start –> Former president Pervez Musharraf yesterday pleaded not guilty to five counts of treason, in the latest chapter of a long-running drama between the country’s increasingly assertive judiciary and its former military ruler. <!– google_ad_section_end –>

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PM’s Win: Still a Loss in Turkey

Despite possible corruption activity, the Prime Minister’s victory in Sunday’s elections proves his party is still stronger than the opposition.

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Russia sets terms for Ukraine deal as 40,000 troops mass on border

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Lavrov demands that Kiev have only limited powers as Kerry says military moves are obstructing peace dealRussia on Sunday night repeated its demand that the US and its European partners accept its proposal that ethnic Russian regions of eastern and southern Ukraine be given extensive autonomous powers independent of Kiev as a condition for agreeing a diplomatic solution to the crisis over its annexation of Crimea.Sergei Lavrov, Russia’s foreign minister, told reporters Ukraine could not function as a “unified state” and should become a loose federation. He made the remarks after an inconclusive meeting with John Kerry, the US secretary of state, at the Russian ambassador’s residence in Paris following a day in which tensions over Ukraine deepened appreciably. Lavrov called the talks “very, very constructive”.

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Dismal night for Socialists as far-right and conservatives sweep elections

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Front National takes control of 11 town halls in local polls while Hidalgo’s victory in Paris is only bright spot for HollandeParis elected its first female mayor on Sunday night, but the victory for socialist Anne Hidalgo was an isolated piece of good news for President François Hollande’s embattled party as the far-right Front National (FN) appeared on course to win a record number of town halls.”I am the first woman mayor of Paris. I am aware of the challenge,” Hidalgo said in a victory speech after defeating the candidate of the conservative right, former minister Nathalie Kosciusko-Morizet.

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Politics is second to solving people’s problems: New People’s Party’s Judy Chan Ka-pui

<!– google_ad_section_start –> Four months ago, few in Hong Kong – not to mention the political arena – would have heard of the name Judy Chan Ka-pui. Yet, the New People’s Party freshman shot to fame in the small hours of March 24 when she defeated Democratic Party lawmaker Sin Chung-kai and People Power chairwoman Erica Yuen Mi-ming to win a Southern District Council by-election. <!– google_ad_section_end –>

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Republican presidential hopefuls woo billionaire casino tycoon

<!– google_ad_section_start –> Three Republican governors eyeing the White House, including New Jersey’s embattled Chris Christie, have attempted to court Sheldon Adelson, a billionaire casino owner who could give any of their eventual campaigns a major financial boost. <!– google_ad_section_end –>

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Paris Elects Its First-Ever Female Mayor

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Paris has elected its first-ever female mayor, the Spanish-born Socialist Anne Hidalgo, even as elsewhere in the country more right-wing candidates won their races. Hidalgo received 54.5 per cent of the vote.Read more…

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Former George W. Bush aide rips Jeb Bush for ‘kissing the ring’ of billionaires

Matthew Dowd, who was chief strategist for George W. Bush’s 2004 campaign, on Sunday ripped Republican presidential hopefuls for lowering themselves to “kiss the ring” of billionaires like Las Vegas casino tycoon Sheldon Adelson. During a Sunday panel segment on ABC’s This…

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Turkey awaits results of local elections

Counting begins across Turkey as polls test Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan’s popularity after a string of scandals.

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Medical association: Frequent texting can lead to abnormal, painful spinal curvature

By Luisa Dillner Texting is bad for your health. Do it while walking and you can bump into walls or step out into traffic. Studies have linked excessive texting with insomnia, stress and painful tendons (BlackBerry thumb). Now the United Chiropractic Association (UCA) has warned that texting for…

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There’s a gene in your saliva that determines how your body breaks down carbs: scientists

British researchers have discovered a link between a gene that breaks down carbohydrates and obesity, which may pave the way for more effective, individually tailored diets for people wanting to lose weight. Researchers at King’s College London and Imperial College London found that people…

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New July 2013