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Archive for March 22nd, 2010

Report: PM to ask US for bombs against Iran

Sunday Times reports Netanyahu will press Obama administration during upcoming Washington visit to release sophisticated bunker-busting bombs needed for possible strike on nuclear sites

ynet

Published: 03.21.10, Israel News

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will press the American administration during his upcoming visit to Washington to release sophisticated bunker-busting bombs needed for a possible strike on Iran’s nuclear sites, the Sunday Times reported in its website.

Netanyahu will leave for the United States on Sunday evening in order to attend a meeting of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC). He is also expected to meet with senior administration officials.

Before leaving, the prime minister is scheduled to meet with United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon for a discussion on the crisis over the construction in Jerusalem and the indirect talks with the Palestinians.

In Washington, Netanyahu is scheduled to meet with Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. A meeting with President Barack Obama is in the works.

The Scotland Herald reported last week that hundreds of powerful US “bunker-buster” bombs were shipped from California to the British island of Diego Garcia in the Indian Ocean in preparation for a possible attack on Iran.

The newspaper quoted a manifest from the US navy as saying that the shipment included 387 “Blu” bombs used for blasting hardened or underground structures.

Experts told the paper that the ammunition was being put in place for an assault on Iran’s controversial nuclear facilities. Although Diego Garcia is part of the British Indian Ocean Territory, the Herald said, it is used by the US as a military base under an agreement made in 1971.

“They are gearing up totally for the destruction of Iran,” said Dan Plesch, director of the Centre for International Studies and Diplomacy at the University of London, co-author of a recent study on US preparations for an attack on Iran. “US bombers are ready today to destroy 10,000 targets in Iran in a few hours,” he added.

According to the newspaper, the preparations were being made by the US military, but it would be up to President Obama to make the final decision. Plesch argued that Obama may decide that it would be better for the US to act instead of Israel.

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Health Care Bill PASSES

HuffPost- First Posted: 03-21-10 10:59 PM   |   Updated: 03-22-10 09:12 AM

With additional reporting by Sam Stein.

After more than a year of virulent debate, Democrats marched through a throng of jeering protesters, whose slurs recalled a Washington of the 1960s — when the party forced civil rights legislation and Medicare through a fiercely divided Congress. Against unified Republican opposition, they built on that foundation Sunday with the passage of a health care reform bill that extends coverage to 32 million Americans and tightly regulates the insurance industry.

“It is with great humility and with great pride that we tonight will make history for our country and progress for the American people,” said House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) before the vote to a standing ovation on one side of the aisle and silence on the other. “Just think–we will be joining those who established Social Security, Medicare, and now tonight, health care for all Americans.”

Democrats passed two pieces of legislation. The first, a comprehensive reform package passed at the end of December by the Senate, now goes to President Obama for his signature, passing the House 219-212. The second piece, passed through the reconciliation process by a 220-211, makes fixes to that measure and now heads to the Senate for a final vote.

Watch yesterday’s health care debate condensed into 10 minutes:

VIDEO AND MORE HERE

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As soon as health care passes, the American people will see immediate benefits. The legislation will:

  • Prohibit pre-existing condition exclusions for children in all new plans;
  • Provide immediate access to insurance for uninsured Americans who are uninsured because of a pre-existing condition through a temporary high-risk pool;
  • Prohibit dropping people from coverage when they get sick in all individual plans;
  • Lower seniors’ prescription drug prices by beginning to close the donut hole;
  • Offer tax credits to small businesses to purchase coverage;
  • Eliminate lifetime limits and restrictive annual limits on benefits in all plans;
  • Require plans to cover an enrollee’s dependent children until age 26;
  • Require new plans to cover preventive services and immunizations without cost-sharing;
  • Ensure consumers have access to an effective internal and external appeals process to appeal new insurance plan decisions;
  • Require premium rebates to enrollees from insurers with high administrative expenditures and require public disclosure of the percent of premiums applied to overhead costs.

By enacting these provisions right away, and others over time, we will be able to lower costs for everyone and give all Americans and small businesses more control over their health care choices.

Crossposted on the House Democrat’s blog.

SOURCE

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Netanyahu Vows to Continue East Jerusalem Construction

by Jason Ditz, Antiwar.com, March 21, 2010

Last week’s declaration of victory in the ongoing Israel row by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton appears to have been a short-lived win, and media claims that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had “bowed” to US demands appear to be premature.

In his most recent public comments, Prime Minister Netanyahu reiterated that he would like to see the “indirect talks” with the Palestinian Authority resume, but that he absolutely would not ever agree to restrict construction in occupied East Jerusalem, the issue upon which the talks have stalled.

With Netanyahu on his way to the US for AIPAC’s policy conference, and expected to focus his visit on pressing President Obama for more advanced weapons with which to attack Iran, it was widely expected that the Netanyahu government would try to defuse the tensions over the East Jerusalem move, which US officials considered a public insult.

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By MATTHEW BARAKAT (Associated Press Writer)

The Washington Post,  March 21, 2010

WASHINGTON — Thousands of protesters – many directing their anger squarely at President Barack Obama – marched through the nation’s capital Saturday to urge immediate withdrawal of troops from Iraq and Afghanistan.

At least eight people, including activist Cindy Sheehan, were arrested by U.S. Park Police at the end of the march, after laying coffins at a fence outside the White House. Friday marked the seventh anniversary of the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq.

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