The president this year has exercised what the White House calls his “convening powers” to bring together influential groups to focus on the challenges facing young black men, the trials of the long-term unemployed and barriers to a college education that face the disadvantaged, among other things. He’s held a student film student loan forgiveness act Obama festival to spotlight the need to improve technology in public schools. And coming up in June: a White House meeting on working families designed to push businesses to adopt more family-friendly policies and pay female employees on par with men. Obama will pretty much try anything to mobilize support for his agenda: He turned up on the comic website Funny or Die recently to plug his health care law on Zach Galifianakis’ mock interview show “Between Two Ferns.” Within days, the interview had snagged 18 million views, on par with Justin Bieber. The same day as the interview, Obama went sweater shopping at a Gap store in Manhattan, a high-profile reward for a company that has moved voluntarily to boost the minimum wage for its workers.
As Michelle Obama and China’s first lady Peng Liyuan prepare to meet, anticipation is high
Kerry spoke again by phone Thursday about Ukraine. Lavrov, a separate ministry statement said, accused the United States of condoning the activities of ultranationalist and extremist forces that he said were targeting businessmen, journalists, dissenters, Russian speakers and our compatriots. The Pentagon said that Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel also spoke with his Russian counterpart, Sergei Shoigu, who told him that Russian troops along the Ukrainian border were there only to conduct exercises. Defying U.S. and European warnings, Russia moved troops several weeks ago into Crimea, a part of Ukraine with an ethnic-Russian majority population. In short order, it organized a referendum in which Crimea voted to become part of Russia and Putin announced this week that Russia would annex the region. On Thursday, the lower house of the Russian parliament voted 443 to 1 to admit Crimea and the metropolitan region of Sevastopol into the Russian Federation, putting some of the final procedural touches on the takeover.
Obama Hits Russia With More Sanctions Amid ‘Grave Concern’
Still, some say a strong signal of long-term energy support from the White House would benefit Europe, both in the near term and in the future. RECOMMENDED: Get your 2014 Emerging & Frontier Markets Forecast FREE. The U.S. must take a long perspective on what its coming energy-export-superpower status will mean, make sure it is achieved, and make clear the political significance for countries now too dependent on Russian energy,” writes Walter Connor, who directedSoviet and East European Studies at the State Department’s Foreign Service Institute between1976 and 1984.”In the shorter term, all kinds of aid/support for reform and stabilization in mainland Ukraine must be lined up now,” Mr. Connor, who now teaches at Boston University, writes in an e-mail statement. Some in Washington might want to see the US take a page from its Iran playbook and immediately target Russia’s oil and gas sector which accounts for about half of Russia’s federal revenue. Limiting Russia’s energy industry would deal a huge blow to its economy, and might make Putin take a seat at the negotiating table. But Russia does not export any natural gas to the US, and what little oil Russia exports to the US has been largely replaced by increases in domestic US production and imports from Canada and Brazil, according to the US Energy Information Administration.
Obama sanctions more Russians over Crimea, but keeps US energy weapon sheathed
When the news was announced at the UC regents meeting in San Francisco, officials and the audience gave UC Irvine Chancellor Michael V. Drake a round of applause. “We just tried to make a compelling case for why this was the place for him to be this year,” Drake said. UC system President Janet Napolitano , who previously served in the Obama administration as U.S. secretary of Homeland Security, spoke with Obama about the invitation, Drake said.
Obama traveled to India with the President in 2010. The trip included a visit to the University of Mumbai, the Diwali Candle Lighting Celebration, and dinner with Prime Minister Singh Rashtrapati Bhavan. The first lady traveled to Copenhagen to represent the United States at the International Olympic Committee session in October 2009. HIDE CAPTION The U.S. first lady will meet with Chinese first lady Peng Liyuan on Friday The two women have several activities planned Mrs. Obama won’t be talking politics during her week-long visit to three Chinese cities Her mother and her two daughters are also joining the trip (CNN) — First lady Michelle Obama is in China for an official visit to expand Sino-American relations, but she will refrain from talking about political differences.
Pengs decision to be a more conventional, Western-type first lady, shunning overtly political controversies in favor of soft power, is closely matched with Obamas approach to the role though under a more rigid set of circumstances. Because of the traditional gender restrictions and limitations the Chinese government places on women, Pengs political role is purposely narrow, sparking the kind of feminist debate in which Obama has sometimes found herself embroiled, says Feng Yuan, a feminist academic and head of the Anti-Domestic Violence Network in Beijing. It doesnt matter how different Peng is from the past first ladies. They all reflect the gender division of this country, says Feng, noting that Chinas political system remains thoroughly male-dominated. But Peng is quite different from past first ladies, who were neither seen nor heard, have never functioned as diplomats and often kept such a low profile within China that they could not be picked out in a crowd.
Obama to speak at UC Irvine graduation
to penalize key sectors of the Russian economy, including its huge energy business. Officials said Obama could act on that authority if Russian forces press into other areas of Ukraine, an escalation of the crisis in Crimea. The president said the latest penalties were the result of “choices the Russian government has made, choices that have been rejected by the international community.” “Russia must know that further escalation will only isolate it further from the international community,” Obama said, speaking from the South Lawn of the White House. European Union leaders, too, said they would expand the number of people targeted with various sanctions and indicated they would cancel an EU-Russia summit. Chancellor Angela Merkel told the German parliament that if the crisis deepens in Crimea and Ukraine, the EU is prepared to move to economic sanctions on a higher level.