Southern Louisiana witnesses heavy rainfall due to tropical storm lee on Saturday. The storm continues hanging off the Gulf of Mexico with strong winds of 60 mph. Weather experts predict there is a possibility of heavy flooding in southern Alabama as well as Mississippi and Louisiana. The region is expected to receive a rainfall of around 20 inches due to storm lee.
According to the National Weather Service, center of the storm might hit the Louisiana coast on Saturday afternoon and probably slow down as moving toward southern Louisiana.
Local officials have alarmed the residents and declared states of emergency in Mississippi and Louisiana and people have been taken away to safer places. Pictures of the areas prone to floods have been put online in order to keep people aware.
Though the officials are prepared to tackle any emergency with swift-water rescue teams, they did not want to be a failure as during Katrina hurricane that occurred in 2005.The officials further revealed that Scenario in the New Orleans sea were also very much similar to other areas that are flooded and it would take few days to clear water from the streets.
United States of America is pilling pressure on Pakistan to allow its security agencies interview the widows of late terror leader Osama Bin Laden. The national security adviser made the request. The killing of Bin Laden in Pakistan has sparked off a cold relationship between the two countries.
In their taped interviews president Obama and national security adviser Thomas Donilon were very selective in their choice of words not to openly accuse Pakistan of hiding Osama Bin Laden. The Americans believe since Osama is living in Islamabad it is difficult for Pakistan to exonerate itself of the knowledge of where about of Bin Laden.
The national security adviser is believed to have a tape which the naval seal has recovered from the premises of Osama Bin Laden. The content of the tape is believed to have some sensitive information which might link the authorities of Pakistan of having deals and discussions with Osama Bin Laden.
The government of the United States is seeking to know to what extent the political and security authorities in Pakistan are privy of the stay of Osama Bin Laden in the country for almost 10 years of his manhunt. The relationship between America and Pakistan has never being all that straight since 9-11 attack. America has always believed that Pakistan is not doing enough in the fight against global terror. The killing of Bin Laden inside Pakistan seemed to have reinforced that assumption.
Hillary Rodham Clinton, US Secretary of State finalizes deal with Sergey Lavrov, Russia’s Foreign Minister on Security Policy in Munich, Germany on Feb. 5.
The two nations will implement the new treaty– new Strategic arms reduction treaty (START) to restrict the number of nuclear weapons they can possess.
Hillary Clinton and Sergei Lavrov traded authorization documents with each other in Germany during a ceremony to enact the treaty.
Clinton stated that the treaty would serve as a “clear-eyed cooperation” for everybody’s interest. The Russian diplomat called it a mean to enhance global stability.
US president Barack Obama signed START treaty in last April with Dmitry Medvedev, Russian President substituting the older arms control pact. The earlier deal was signed during cold war in 1991.
The new deal states that both the nations signing the treaty would limit their nuclear warheads to 1550—reducing 30 percent from the level set in 2002.
Ban Ki-Moon, U.N. chief welcomed the United States and Russia for the step and appreciated the two leaders for taking lead on the issue of reduction of nuclear weapons. The new nuclear weapons reduction deal or START treaty had been approved by the United States Senate earlier in December. Russian Parliament too passed the bill to go ahead with the treaty in the previous month.
US President Barack Obama reached Hawaii for celebrating Christmas with his family. While staying at Kailua Bay, the first family made a surprise visit to Marines on Saturday.
Obama had spent Christmas vacation on the same base in 2008 and 2009. The president’s family is staying in a rented vacation home in Hawaii which is also Obama’s home state. The first family took many group photographs with locals and shook hands with them. Hundreds of local Marines and their families enjoyed dining with the first family on Christmas. Each dinner hall accommodated around 300 people there.
The president and his family also chatted with locals and presented Christmas gifts to them. Children were very keen to talk with Obama. The dinner included a variety of special dishes including prime rib, turkey, potatoes, pie and vegetables. Desserts were also served in the dinner.
The family delayed its vacation trip to Hawaii due to lame-duck session. A lame duck session is a session of US Congress held every time a successive candidate is elected in elections.
At present, any meeting organized by the Congress after poll day but before January 3 is called as a lame duck session.
The first family will stay on vacation till January 2 and then return back to Washington.
Tension between N Korea and S Korea is increasing
North Korea has blamed the United States and South Korea for setting the peninsula region on a path to a nuclear war by launching military drills. The South Korean administration has stated that the North Korea is all set to go for another nuclear test next year.
In a report published in a major North Korean daily stated that the military drill on Yeonpyeong Island near the disputed marine border was an act of intentional provocation and Pyongyang had been closely watching the irresponsible activities of warmongers inviting an atomic war. The report further said that if North Korea is forced into a war then it has every right to protect itself using best possible means. Pyongyang could go for another nuclear test sometime next year as it needs to refine plutonium bomb, South Korea’s Institute of Foreign Affairs and National Security said in a report published on its website.
North Korea has shown apprehensions regarding the military drills by South Korea and the US and said these kinds of activities are indicating toward a full-fledged invasion.
South Korean Defense Minister Kim Kwan Jin said that retaliation of any kind to further attack by the North Korea would include aerial attacks.
Korean Peninsula has been witnessing serious tensions since Pyongyang fired missiles on Yeonpyeong Island in November, leaving two soldiers and two civilians dead. Thereafter, South Korea conducted first live-firing drills on December 20 on the island.
London: WikiLeaks chief fears that he would be killed if extradited to US on spying charges, according to a published report. He is currently staying in Britain after being released on bail last week.
Julian Assange is on bail in UK resisting Sweden’s effort to extradite him over rape charges, but US administration is also mulling ways to prosecute him on the charges of disclosing thousands of secret documents, which have tarnished US image worldwide.
The Australian has said in an interview that the UK can not extradite him for political crimes against the United States, but it remains at the will of the Britain government whether to take a call on US request or follow its own extradition policy.
Assange further said that the US authorities were ‘trying hard to finalize a plea pact’ with Bradley Manning, the US soldier suspected of providing WikiLeaks with secret documents.
WikiLeaks chief went on to state that if the US finally succeeded in its aim of extradition
from the UK, then there was a high probability of him being killed in the US prison.
The Australian has earlier said that several WikiLeaks staff have been threatened since the day the website started to publish a cache of around 250,000 secret US State Department documents in November.
Assange has been living at a friend’s residence in Britain since his bail last week on conditions that he will report to police on a daily basis and wear an electronic tag.
WikiLeaks chief’s case hearing would be starting again from February 7, 2011, on the extradition plea made by Sweden.
Obama signs on START Treaty in Prague
Washington: The New START treaty between the United States and Russia is poised for ratification in the Senate giving a victory to the Obama administration and the White House campaign that tried hard for the approval of the treaty.
Even Republicans who are opposing the treaty are divided. The schism in the Republican Party got pronounced as eleven members of the party joined the Democrats on the issue and the party’s third most important leader, Sen. Lamar Alexander of Tennessee declared his support for the treaty.
The Obama administration has worked hard to see the treaty ratified. Efforts included the firming up of commitment to secure $80 billions for nuclear modernization in the USA.
The treaty restricts the signatory countries to limit their long-range nuclear missiles to 1550 from 2200 in seven years of signing it. Countries that ratify the treaty will limit the number of nuclear launchers to 700.
The treaty will have modes effects on the nuclear capabilities of the USA and Russia. But it can strengthen security relations with Russia and help in persuading other countries to reduce their nuclear arsenal.
Sen. John F. Kerry (D-Mass.), chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said after the 67-28 vote, “We are on the brink of writing the next chapter in the 40-year history of wrestling with the threat of nuclear weapons.”
Alexander, rendered his support because he felt that the pact “leaves our country with enough nuclear warheads to blow any attacker to kingdom come. I’m convinced that Americans are safer and more secure with the New START treaty than without it.”
Unemployemnet remains high in US
The United Sates is still recovering from the aftermath of economic recession with high rates of unemployment. Despite the increasing number of jobs in the state of Colorado, unemployment rate were still on the rise in the state in November.
The southern west state of the US has registered a rise in number of jobless people to 8.6%, that is higher than its previous level in October. Colorado’s Labor and Employment Office stated on Friday that the unemployment rate has grown 8.6 percent within a short span of one month.
There were 3,800 jobs in Colorado in November. However the number of people seeking for jobs also increased by 6,900, to about 230,000 in the state. Thus, despite an increase in the total number of jobs the rate of increase in number of unemployed youth remained higher than that of job creation.
In previous year, national unemployment rate raised to 10 percent whereas for Colorado it was 9.8 percent this year in November.
Colorado’s chief economist Alexandra Hall commented on this situation as very confusing as people do not know what to do. Despite the increase in jobs in last three months the employment situations have not changed much in Colorado, he added.
Hall further added that it would not be easy for all people to recover from the job loss during recession. Many professionals were found opting for babysitting or other short term jobs after losing their work.
A US intelligence official has been asked to return back from Pakistan after being identified by ISI. The top CIA official has been accused of spying by the Pakistan intelligence agency in reaction to the law suit against a Pakistani secret agent in New York reportedly. Ahmed Shuja Pasha, ISI chief has been accused of being involved in the Mumbai terrorist attacks by a New York court.
The CIA official has been called off in hurry following the US president’s warning to Pakistani diplomats against safeguarding terrorists in the country.
The US security official was continuously receiving life threats on phone after his identity was revealed in Islamabad.
Officials also revealed that they suspected Pakistani intelligence being operated in the United States. They added that the ISI– Directorate for Inter—Services Intelligence—Pakistan’s intelligence agency had played a great role in identifying the CIA official in Islamabad probably in reaction to the case filed against the ISI chief over Mumbai attacks in Nov 2008.
This is likely to affect the diplomatic relations between the United States and Pakistan adversely. CIA’s decision to call back its official also indicates the increasing conflict between the two countries which have been regarded as allies so far. There may be further increase in tension between the two nations in future as the United States is expected to pressurize Pakistan over safeguarding terrorists in its territory.
Middle East Peace Process
Jerusalem: Despite the past failures of the US government to resolve the Middle East issue, President Obama has made one more attempt bringing Israel and Palestine to re-initiate peace talks. In this direction, the United States has sent its special envoy George J. Mitchelle to the region to create a congenial atmosphere in which a progress can be made over the core issues.
The US administration has given up on its efforts to convince Israel to move on settlement building in the West bank to put forth a signal to direct talks. The United States will not consider over the direct talk option for now. Instead, the US envoy will ask the Israeli and Palestinian authorities to come up with their negotiating points separately and then only the US administration will find a solution to the problem.
US special envoy Mitchell had a detail discussion with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday over the latest development, and he would be meeting Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in the West bank the very next day. Mr. Mitchelle would then head toward Cairo to meet the Arab League foreign ministers on Wednesday.
Most of the Palestinians opined that the US envoy would be unable to come up with any new methods to resolve the prolonged issue between Israel and Palestine. In the past too, Palestinian people have had raised question over US leadership and dexterity to play a successful role. Meanwhile, the Fatah Central Committee members have said that they were not in favor of any talks with Israel direct or indirect, in the absence of a settlement freeze. They reiterated that the talks must be referred to 1967 announcement based on a two-state theory.