President Obama Latin America Travel 2011

The President and First Lady will travel to Brazil, Chile and El Salvador March 19-23, where the President will meet with the leaders and speak to the peoples of these countries to discuss a broad range of issues including economic prosperity and job creation through increased trade and partnerships, energy and security cooperation, shared values and other issues of regional and global concern.

US – Brazil Trade

US – Chile Trade

US – El Salvador Trade


President Obama’s Latin America Travel Itinerary
Brazil, March 19-20
Chile, March 21
El Salvador, March 22-23

Obama Biden


261 thoughts on “President Obama Latin America Travel 2011

  1. WH

    Saturday Mar. 19, 2011

    All Times Eastern

    Pres Obama receives the presidential daily briefing

    7:00 AM
    8:00 AM
    8:35 AM

    The first family arrives in Brasilia, Brazil.
    9:00 AM
    10:00 AM
    11:00 AM

    Pres Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama participate in an arrival ceremony.
    11:25 AM

    Pres Obama holds a bilateral meeting with Pres Dilma vana Rousseff of Brazil.
    11:55 AM

    Pres Obama holds an expanded bilateral meeting with Pres Rousseff.
    12:00 PM
    12:40 PM

    Pres Obama and Pres Rousseff deliver remarks to the media.
    1:00 PM

    Pres Obama arrives at Palácio do Itamaraty.
    1:35 PM

    Pres Obama and PresRousseff meet with the U.S.-Brazil CEO Forum.
    2:00 PM
    2:25 PM

    Pres Barack and First Lady Michelle Obama attend an official lunch with Pres Rousseff.
    3:00 PM
    3:55 PM

    Pres Obama attends U.S. Embassy meet and greet.
    4:00 PM
    4:30 PM

    Pres Obama delivers remarks at the U.S.-Brazil business summit.
    5:00 PM
    6:00 PM
    6:15 PM

    Pres Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama attend reception hosted by Pres Rousseff.
    7:00 PM
    7:25 PM

    The first family departs Brasilia, Brazil en route Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
    8:00 PM
    8:55 PM

    The first family arrives in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
    9:00 PM

  2. POTUS Latin America

    Obama: Jobs at top of Latin America agenda

    3/18/11 By President Obama –

    In recent weeks, we’ve seen how turmoil and tragedy around the globe can affect our own prosperity and security; how events abroad often have implications for everything from markets on Wall Street to families’ wallets on Main Street. And as a nation, we will continue to do everything we can both to promote stability and democracy in the Middle East and help the people of Japan recover from the devastating earthquake and tsunami.

    But in this increasingly interconnected and fiercely competitive world, our top priority has to be creating and sustaining new jobs and new opportunities for our people.

    Lately, we’ve seen signs that we’re moving in the right direction. Our economy added nearly a quarter of a million new private sector jobs last month, and the unemployment rate is at its lowest level in nearly two years. And to keep that progress going, we’ve got to keep competing for every new job, every new industry, and every new market in the 21st century.

    That’s one of the reasons I will travel to Latin America this week — to strengthen our economic relationship with neighbors who are playing a growing role in our economic future.

    For the entire article:

    • Obama heads to Latin America

      March 18, 2011 By Dan Grech-

      President Obama gets set to talk trade with counterparts in Brazil, Chile and El Salvador.

      Jeremy Hobson: Today, President Obama kicks off a five-day trip to South and Central America. First stop: Brazil, South America’s largest economy which has been growing like gangbusters despite the weak global economy.

      Dan Grech reports.

      Dan Grech: When Barack Obama was elected president in 2008, the U.S. was Brazil’s top trading partner. Today, China is number one.

      Peter Hakim is with the Inter American Dialogue. He says China has a voracious appetite for Brazilian raw materials, such as iron, soy beans and oil.

      Peter Hakim: Trade with China has risen something like five times in the last 10 years. It’s really pulled Brazil through the economic crisis without much damage.

      Exports to China helped Brazil’s economy grow more than 7 percent last year. But Brazil, like the U.S., has a love-hate relationship with China.

      Susan Siegel runs the Americas Society and Council of the Americas.

      Susan Siegel: Brazil is very worried about the competitiveness of the Brazilian currency vis-a-vis the Chinese currency, just as we are worried about exactly the same issue, dollar Chinese currency.

      Critics say a weak yuan makes it nearly impossible for manufactured products from the U.S. and Brazil to compete. Obama is traveling to Brazil with nearly his entire economic team. That includes the Secretaries of the Treasury, Energy and Commerce.

      Syndicated columnist Andres Oppenheimer says the goal of the trip is for the U.S. to team up economically with Brazil.

      For the entire article and audio interview:

    • Obama’s trip seeks to engage with Latin America

      3/18/11 AP

      BRASILIA, Brazil – It lacks the urgency of a nuclear crisis in Japan, or fighting in Libya or the threat of a government shutdown at home. But President Barack Obama embarks Friday on a trip to Latin America that many in the hemisphere consider long overdue and that the White House believes will help restore U.S. influence in the region.

      Over the next five days, Obama is to visit Brazil, Chile and El Salvador in what his aides cast as a mission to build job-creating opportunities for the United States and to address regional security concerns.

      The trip is also an effort to solidify relationships that have slipped two years after Obama declared “a new chapter of engagement” with the region.

      In that time, China has expanded its economic footprint in the region and has surpassed the United States as Brazil’s top trade partner.

      Despite the competing, pressing demands on the president, the White House has been determined to proceed with the trip, emphasizing the potential of the burgeoning region for U.S. economic growth.

      “In this increasingly interconnected and fiercely competitive world, our top priority has to be creating and sustaining new jobs and new opportunities for our people,” Obama wrote in an opinion piece in USA Today. “We’ve got to keep competing for every new job, every new industry and every new market in the 21st century.”

      For the entire article:

    • President Barack Obama to Deliver Speech to the Brazilian People at the historic Municipal Theatre in Rio de Janeiro

      Brasília, March 18, 2011

      President Obama and the First Lady will travel to Brazil, Chile and El Salvador March 19-23, where the President will meet with the leaders and speak to the peoples of these countries to discuss a broad range of issues including economic prosperity and job creation through increased trade and partnerships, energy and security cooperation, shared values and other issues of regional and global concern.

      In Rio de Janeiro, President Obama will deliver a speech to the Brazilian people inside the Teatro Muncipal, on Cinelândia Square, on the afternoon of Sunday, March 20.

      Due to a number of concerns about staging the event outdoors, the most practical course is to hold the President’s speech inside. We regret the limitations that this places on the number of attendees, but President Obama intends to speak broadly to the people of Rio and Brazil about our shared interests and shared values. We appreciate the cooperation from the government of Rio and Brazil, and the warm welcome extended by the Brazilian people to the President.

      We will release additional information on the event as soon as it becomes available.

      For additional information regarding the visit of President Obama to Brazil, please see: and

      • Get The Latest News on Mobile

        Follow President Obama’s travels on your mobile phone with our new mobile site, where you can view up to the minute news, photos, and videos. Follow Obama’s schedule and get the latest information via social media posts from Washington and the U.S. embassies in Brasilia, Santiago and San Salvador.

        Visit the site here:

    • Obama Goes to Rio: A Nod to Brazil’s Growing Power

      3/18/11 By TIM PADGETT – TIME

      In March 1961, Fidel Castro’s Cuban revolution was a three-alarm reminder that CIA-engineered coups weren’t enough to keep communism out of the western hemisphere. Living standards had to be raised in Latin America, then as now the world’s most inegalitarian region. So U.S. President John F. Kennedy announced the Alliance for Progress to help America’s distant neighbors get their societal acts together: democratize, build stronger economies, pull people out of poverty.

      The alliance delivered little of that, as evidenced by the military dictatorships and civil wars that plagued the region soon after. Still, it was a laudable departure from Washington’s indifference to Latin America, which is why President Obama, who so far has seemed largely indifferent to Latin America himself, chose the alliance’s 50th anniversary as the theme of his five-day visit to South and Central America, which starts March 19. And not coincidentally, it kicks off in Brazil, the nation that has done the most (along with Chile, Obama’s second stop) to realize Kennedy’s vision. In January, Brazil swore in its first female President, Dilma Rousseff; and this month officials announced that its economy, which in recent years has brought millions of poor people into the middle class, grew a roaring 7.5% in 2010 and is now the world’s seventh largest.

      For the entire article:

      • *In January, Brazil swore in its first female President, Dilma Rousseff; and this month officials announced that its economy, which in recent years has brought millions of poor people into the middle class, grew a roaring 7.5% in 2010 and is now the world’s seventh largest.*

        I had no idea of this world standing! Good for Brazil!

    • Biofuels

      Ethanol fuel in Brazil

      Due to its ethanol fuel production, Brazil has sometimes been described as a bio-energy superpower. Ethanol fuel is produced from sugar cane. Brazil has the largest sugar cane crop in the world, and is the largest exporter of ethanol in the world. With the 1973 oil crisis, the Brazilian government initiated in 1975 the Pró-Álcool program. The Pró-Álcool or Programa Nacional do Álcool (National Alcohol Program) was a nation-wide program financed by the government to phase out all automobile fuels derived from fossil fuels in favour of ethanol. The program successfully reduced by 10 million the number of cars running on gasoline in Brazil, thereby reducing the country’s dependence on oil imports.

      The production and consumption of biodiesel is expected to reach to 2% of diesel fuel in 2008 and 5% in 2013.

      Brazil’s peat reserves are estimated at 25 billion tonnes, which is the most in South America. However, no production of peat for fuel has yet been developed. Brazil produces 65 million tonnes of fuelwood per year. The annual production of charcoal is about 6 million tonnes, which is used in the steel industry. The cogeneration potential of agricultural and livestock residues varies from 4 GW to 47 GW by 2025.



      Brazil Fuels Growth of Sugar-Based Ethanol

      From: VOAvideo | Aug 14, 2008

      As the price of fuel rises, many nations are developing alternatives to petroleum-based products like gasoline. In the United States, much of the gasoline sold is blended with around ten percent ethanol, a fuel made from crops such as corn and sugar. But elsewhere, ethanol plays a much larger role. Brazil is the world’s largest exporter of ethanol and most of its cars run entirely on it. But environmental groups say ethanol may not be a viable alternative to gasoline. Steve Mort reports for VOA from Sao Paulo, Brazil.

    • Chile: Obama’s visit to boost country’s global standing

      Energy, education and regional issues mark Obama’s agenda for visit to Chile.

      15/02/2010 By Vicente Fuentealba for

      SANTIAGO, Chile – U.S. President Barack Obama said he scheduled visits to El Salvador, Brazil and Chile in March to “forge new alliances for progress in the Americas.”

      In Chile, the government has started to prepare for Obama’s visit, which has been scheduled for the week of March 21, according to the country’s foreign minister Alfredo Moreno.

      During the visit, Obama will discuss with President Sebastián Piñera “renewable and nuclear energy, English-language education and postgraduate education, science, technology, astronomy and issues of interest to Latin America and the world,” Moreno said.

      “As a powerful player in the energy sector, the United States must see something good in Chile,” said Ana Palma

      For the entire article:

    • Obama to visit human rights activist’s tomb

      3/18/11 MARCOS ALEMAN, AP

      SAN SALVADOR, El Salvador – President Barack Obama will visit the tomb of slain Roman Catholic Archbishop Oscar Arnulfo Romero during his visit to El Salvador next week, a gesture that some say is U.S. recognition of the slain human rights activist’s cause.

      Romero spoke out against repression by the U.S.-backed Salvadoran army during the Central American country’s 12-year civil war in which at least 75,000 people died. He was gunned down March 24, 1980, as he celebrated Mass in a hospital chapel. The government and leftist guerrillas reached a peace treaty in 1992.

      “It’s historic,” said Congresswoman Lorena Pena, a former guerrilla fighter with the Farabundo Marti National Liberation Front, a rebel group-turned-political party. “It’s a recognition of our pastor who was killed for fighting for justice, for democracy and human rights.”

      Robert White, who was the U.S. ambassador to El Salvador in the early 1980s, said that the visit by Obama to Romero’s tomb “is like a U.S. stamp of approval on the positive influence Romero’s life and death have had on Latin America and the world.”

      For the entire article:

      • I could never qualify to call myself a “human rights activist” (although my heart is there), but as a Catholic, I deeply appreciate the fact the President will visit Archbishop Romero’s resting place.

    • Obama Aims to Recognize Democracies, Economic, Social Progress

      3/18/11 Dan Robinson –

      President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama are scheduled to arrive Saturday in Brazil on Saturday, on the president’s first trip to South and Central America that will also take him to Chile and El Salvador. Obama will recognize the consolidation of democracies in the region, and reassure Latin America that the U.S. intends to step up its economic engagement.

      The president has described the trip as an effort to forge “new alliances” across the Americas, and White House officials say agreements can be expected at each stop in areas such as energy, economic growth and security.

      The Obamas first stop is Brazil, the world’s 7th largest economy with a growing middle class, but which like other countries in the region continues to grapple with legacies of social injustice and poverty.

      For the entire article:–118275329.html

    • Secretary Locke Advances U.S.-Brazil Trade Relationship During Presidential Trip

      March 18, 2011

      Secretary Locke chats with Fernando Pimentel, the Brazilian Minister of Development Industry and Foreign Trade

      U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke arrived today in Brazil, where he will accompany President Obama on his first trip to South America. Locke participated in number of meetings with key ministers leading up to the U.S.-Brazil CEO Forum tomorrow.

      Locke met with Fernando Pimentel, the Brazilian Minister of Development Industry and Foreign Trade to discuss ongoing cooperation on key commercial relationship issues and the short- and long-term priorities of the U.S.-Brazil CEO Forum.

      For the entire article:

  3. Helping Japan Now Pacific Command’s Top Priority

    March 17, 2011 By Cheryl Pellerin
    American Forces Press Service

    WASHINGTON, – U.S. forces in Japan are engaged in one of the biggest natural and manmade disasters of a lifetime, Navy Adm. Robert F. Willard said here tonight.

    Willard, commander of the U.S. Pacific Command, spoke over the phone from Hawaii to the Pentagon press corps about what the U.S. military is doing to help the Japanese Self-Defense Force respond to the disaster caused by the March 11 earthquake, tsunami and subsequent nuclear emergency.

    “At U.S. Pacific Command we’re all very saddened by the tremendous losses that the Japanese have experienced,” Willard said, adding that he has served twice in Japan during his Navy career.

    In an effort Pacom is calling Operation Tomodachi — the Japanese word for friendship — “we are placing our very highest priority on our operations in support of our ally Japan,” the admiral said.

    Willard’s command has Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, Army and Special Operations Command troops in Japan, Willard said, performing functions ranging from bringing food, water and other supplies to the more than 500,000 displaced citizens of northeast Honshu, Japan’s main island.

    For the entire article:

    • Japan relief effort remains logistical nightmare

      March 18, 2011 Mary Kay Magistad- The World

      Japan has raised the alert level at its quake-damaged nuclear plant from four to five on a seven-point international scale of atomic incidents. The crisis at the Fukushima Daiichi site, previously rated as a local problem, is now regarded as having “wider consequences”. Also, getting enough relief aid to the half million displaced persons in Japan has proven a logistical nightmare, due to gasoline shortages and damaged roads. The World’s Mary Kay Magistad reports from Japan.

      [Chia Matsumoto has started an information clearing house on which shelter needs what kind of aid…and she posts this on her Twitter account…]

      For the audio interview:

    • Former comfort women in S Korea express condolences to quake victims in Japan

      March 16, 2011

      In the wake of Japan’s catastrophic earthquake and tsunami, a group of South Korean elderly women organized a silent demonstration on Wednesday to commemorate victims of the earthquake, putting aside lingering animosity from the past.

      The group, composed of the “comfort women” forced into prostitution for Japanese troops in World War II, gathered outside of the Japanese Embassy in Seoul, despite cold weather.

      They have been protesting at the same location every Wednesdsay for 19 years, demanding an apology and compensation from the Japanese goverment for the war crime.

      However, instead of their usual demonstrations, they stood in silent tribute to the victims of the earthquake in Japan.

      “Hate the sin but not the people. We’re holding a silent demonstration for that reason,” said Lee Yong-su, a former comfort woman in attendance.

      They called off demonstration in 1995 after a 6.9-magnitude earthquake hit Kobe, western Japan, killing more than 6,000 people.

      “I express my condolences to the victims and hope for a swift recovery,” said Yun Mi-hyang, director of the Korean Council for the Women Drafted for Military Sexual Slavery by Japan.

      Also in attendance were other civic groups, such as the Institute for Research in Collaborationist Activities and the Korea Atomic Bomb Casualties Association, which all came to offer their sympathy for the victims of the disaster.

      • This is another amazing story, of people trying to come together in peace and with empathy toward each other – no matter the past.

        Thanks for finding this, CR.

      • December 28, 2015

        Statement by National Security Advisor Susan E. Rice on the Republic of Korea-Japan Agreement on “Comfort Women”

        The United States congratulates the Governments of Japan and the Republic of Korea on reaching an agreement, which they have made clear “finally and irreversibly” addresses the tragic treatment of “comfort women” during World War II. We support this agreement and its full implementation, and believe this comprehensive resolution is an important gesture of healing and reconciliation that should be welcomed by the international community.

        The United States applauds the leaders of the ROK and Japan, two of our most important allies, for having the courage and vision to forge a lasting settlement to this difficult issue. We look forward to deepening our work with both nations on a wide range of regional and global issues, on the basis of mutual interests and shared values, as well as to advancing trilateral security cooperation.

    • Japan lays power cable in race to stop radiation

      3/18/11 Kiyoshi Takenaka and Kevin Krolicki – Reuters

      TOKYO (Reuters) – Exhausted engineers attached a power cable to the outside of Japan’s tsunami-crippled nuclear plant on Saturday in a desperate attempt to get water pumps going that would cool down overheated fuel rods and prevent the deadly spread of radiation.

      Hopes were dashed of miracle survivors when it turned out that a story was wrong that a young man had being pulled alive from the rubble eight days after the quake and tsunami ripped through northeast Japan, triggering the nuclear crisis.

      It said he had been in an evacuation center and had just returned to his ruined home, where he lay down in a blanket.

      Beleaguered Prime Minister Naoto Kan sounded out the opposition, which only hours before the quake struck had been trying to oust him from office, about establishing a government of national unity to deal with a crisis that has shattered Japan.

      For the entire article:

    • U.S. Government Response to the Earthquake and Tsunami in Japan


      Immediately after the March 11 earthquake struck Japan, President Obama expressed America’s condolences, “The United States stands ready to help the Japanese people in this time of great trial. The friendship and alliance between our two nations is unshakeable, and only strengthens our resolve to stand with the people of Japan as they overcome this tragedy.” He most recently reiterated America’s commitment to Japan in a statement he delivered in the Rose Garden.

      The U.S. Government is working aggressively in a whole of government approach: the Departments of State, Defense and Energy, the U.S. Agency for International Development, and the Nuclear Regulatory Commission are working around the clock to provide necessary assistance to our great friend and ally, Japan.

      Below, please find some key facts and examples of government actions as of March 18:

      Humanitarian Assistance

      Aid pledged:

      * USAID – $8 million
      * Department of Defense – $35 million

      For the entire article:

  4. Radiation Emergencies

    BRIDGING THE GAPS: Public Health and Radiation Emergency PreparednessCDC has a key role in protecting the public’s health in an emergency involving the release of radiation that could harm people’s health. This site provides information to help people protect themselves during and after such an event. It also provides information for professionals involved in planning for and responding to this type of emergency.

    2011 Japan Earthquake and Tsunami
    Current Situation

    * Nuclear Regulatory Commission
    * Department of Homeland Security
    * Environmental Protection Agency
    * What is CDC’s Role in Emergencies?

    Radiation and Health

    * Radioisotope Brief: Iodine-131 (I-131)
    * Acute Radiation Syndrome (ARS)

    Radiation and Treatment

    * Potassium Iodide (KI)
    * Prussian Blue

    Information for Specific Groups

    * Travelers
    * Clinicians
    * More groups…

    • Calif. Radiation Levels Not Elevating

      3/18/11 By RJ MIDDLETON –

      Residents in the San Francisco Bay Area, who are concerned about radiation from Japan’s nuclear emergency can call 211 for updated information.

      Currently, the Bay Area’s departments of public health are emphasizing that there is no danger to Bay Area residents from Japan’s nuclear emergency. They also discourage taking potassium iodide, which can have serious side effects and should not be taken unless recommended.

      Residents are discouraged from calling 911 unless they are experiencing a life-threatening emergency. During times of disaster, the 211 helplines provide critical information to local residents, relieving 911 operators from answering non-emergency calls.

      For the entire article:–118241044.html

    • Hawaii to get 2 more radiation monitors as EPA seeks to ease worries

      Mar 16, 2011 By Associated Press and Star-Advertiser staff

      SAN FRANCISCO >> Hawaii will get more two more radiation monitors as the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency seeks to mollify public concern in the western United States and Pacific territories over exposure from damaged nuclear plants in Japan, federal environmental regulators said.

      The EPA is adding two more stations in Hawaii, one in Guam, and one in the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands. In Alaska, officials are setting up three new monitors in Dutch Harbor, Nome and Juneau.

      Hawaii currently has two radiation monitoring stations, one each on Oahu and the Big Island. State health officials told the Star-Advertiser yesterday that they will put the two new monitors on Oahu’s North Shore and Kauai.

      “The agency decided out of an abundance of caution to send these deployable monitors in order to get some monitors on the ground closer to Japan,” said Jonathan Edwards, director of EPA’s radiation protection division. The idea is to get a better geographic spread of monitoring equipment than currently exists, he said.

      EPA already monitors radiation throughout the area as part of its RadNet system, which measures levels in air, drinking water, milk and rain.

      The additional monitors are being deployed in response to the ongoing nuclear crisis in Japan, where emergency workers are attempting to cool overheated reactors damaged by last week’s magnitude-9.0 earthquake and tsunami.

      Officials with the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission said they do not expect harmful radiation levels to reach the U.S. from Japan.

      For the entire article:

  5. National Guard to leave Mexico border in June

    3/18/11 Tim Gaynor -Reuters

    PHOENIX, Arizona (Reuters) – More than a thousand National Guard troops brought in last year to shore security on the U.S.-Mexico border will go home in June, authorities said on Friday.

    President Barack Obama’s administration provided 1,200 National Guard troops to back up Border Patrol agents while the government hired more federal border and immigration police and bought additional equipment.

    The troops have helped agents gather intelligence as well as providing surveillance and reconnaissance support since they began their deployment last August, U.S. Customs and Border Protection spokesman Mark Qualia said.

    The Guard have helped seize over 14,000 pounds of drugs and contributed to the apprehension of 7,000 illegal immigrants, U.S. Department of Homeland Security spokesman Matthew Chandler said.

    Shortly after the first troops began their deployment last August, Obama signed a bill with $600 million in funding to beef up border security.

    It provided funds to hire 1,500 additional federal border police, customs inspectors and investigators, as well as two additional unmanned surveillance drones and improved tactical communications systems, Chandler said.

    For the entire article;

  6. France gathers world leaders to plan military action against Qaddafi

    3/18/11 Robert Marquand -ChristianScienceMonitor

    Paris – President Obama is sending his secretary of state to Paris tomorrow for a key meeting of European and Arab leaders that will seek to define the terms of military engagement in Libya against Muammar Qaddafi’s military.

    Secretary Hillary Clinton has been a strong advocate for a no-fly zone, and during a trip to Arab states this week she called for attacks on Libyan military sites and for Colonel Qaddafi’s departure.

    The Paris meeting will come two days after the United Nations Security Council passed a resolution allowing “all necessary measures” against Qaddafi’s forces, which have been making gains on the rebel fighters and approaching the de-facto opposition capital Benghazi. On Friday, Qaddafi’s government declared a cease-fire even as its attacks continued on rebel holdouts.

    For the entire article:

  7. Remarks of President Barack Obama
    Weekly Address on Latin America
    Saturday, March 19, 2011
    Washington, DC

    In recent days, we’ve seen turmoil and tragedy around the world, from change in the Middle East and North Africa to the earthquake and tsunami in Japan. As I said on Friday, we will work with our partners in the region to protect innocent civilians in Libya and hold the Gaddafi regime accountable. And we will continue to stand with the people of Japan in their greatest hour of need.

    As we respond to these immediate crises abroad, we also will not let up in our efforts to tackle the pressing, ongoing challenges facing our country, including accelerating economic growth. That’s why, over the weekend, I’ll be in Latin America. One of the main reasons for my trip is to strengthen economic partnerships abroad so that we create good jobs at home.

    Latin America is a part of the world where the economy is growing very quickly. And as these markets grow, so does their demand for goods and services. The question is, Where are those goods and services going to come from? As President, I want to make sure these products are made in America. I want to open more markets around the world so that American companies can do more business and hire more of our people.

    Here’s a statistic to explain why this is important. Every $1 billion of goods and services we export supports more than 5,000 jobs in the United States. So, the more we sell overseas, the more jobs we create on our shores. That’s why, last year, I set a goal for this country: to double our exports by 2014. And it’s a goal we’re on track to meet.

    For the entire article:

  8. March 18, 2011

    Presidential Proclamation–National Poison Prevention Week

    A Proclamation

    Each day, emergency rooms treat nearly 2,000 Americans for accidental poisonings, and dozens die as a result of ingesting, inhaling, or otherwise exposing themselves to poisonous substances. In many cases, these tragic incidents are preventable. During National Poison Prevention Week, I encourage all Americans to identify possible dangers in the home, take action to address poisoning hazards, and learn how to respond if a poison emergency should occur.

    Children are particularly susceptible to unintentional poisoning. More than half of all reported poison exposures involve children under the age of six, and many occur when unsupervised children find and consume medicines or harmful chemicals. Unintentional poisonings among young people often occur when misusing or abusing prescription medications such as pain killers, sedatives, and stimulants taken from a home medicine cabinet. Parents and caregivers can help prevent these injuries by taking simple steps to secure medications and other dangerous materials including resealing child‑resistant containers, placing drugs and toxic chemicals out of reach of children, and storing all these products in locked or childproof cabinets.

    For the entire article:

  9. Japan sees some stabilization in nuclear crisis

    3/19/11 Kazunori Takada and Elaine Lies – Reuters

    TOKYO (Reuters) – One of six tsunami-crippled nuclear reactors appeared to stabilize Saturday as Japan raced to restore power to the stricken power plant to cool it and prevent a catastrophic release of radiation.

    Engineers reported some rare success after fire trucks sprayed water for several hours on reactor No.3, widely considered the most dangerous at the ravaged Fukushima Daiichi nuclear complex because of its use of highly toxic plutonium.

    “The situation there is stabilizing somewhat,” Chief Cabinet Secretary Yukio Edano told a news conference.

    Japan also reported its first contamination of food since the powerful March 11 earthquake and tsunami that has left nearly 18,000 people dead or missing, turned entire towns into debris-strewn wastelands and triggered a nuclear emergency.

    For the entire article:

  10. Obama arrives in Brazil, begins Latin America tour

    3/19/11 AP

    BRASILIA, Brazil – President Barack Obama has landed in Brasilia, the highland capital of Brazil, for the start of a three-country, five-day tour of Latin America to promote greater economic ties and improved regional security.

    The trip comes despite urgent issues back in the United States, including the possibility of U.S. military action against the regime of Libya’s Moammar Gadhafi.

    Obama has singled out the economic benefits of the trip, noting the rapid growth of Brazil and Chile, another country on his itinerary. In his Saturday radio and internet address Obama noted that the United States exports more than three times as much to Latin America than to China.

    Obama will also visit El Salvador. His family is accompanying him.

    • BOM DIA

      3/19/11 POLITICO44

      President Obama and family began a five-day Latin America tour Saturday morning, arriving in Brasilia at 6:31 ET, according to local press reports.

      Obama exited Air Force One in dark suit holding hands with daughter Malia, who was wearing a green and white dress

      Behind them were Sasha wearing a pink dress holding hands with the First Lady, who wore a patterned red dress.

      The president will spend the day in meetings and official events in Brasilia before departing tonight for Rio de Janeiro.

      Obama arrived at the Palacio do Planato in Brasilia. He reviewed troops in a driveway, then he was greeted by First Lady Michelle Obama and Brazilian President Dilma Vana Rousseff and Foreign Minister Antonio Patriota.

      The president and first lady then stood with hands over hearts as the Star Spangled Banner was played.

      The president is scheduled to meet with Rousseff, then the two leaders will make a statement to the press. The afternoon agenda includes a meeting with the U.S.-Brazil CEO Forum.

    • Brazilians Welcome Obama As Their Own

      3/19/11 by Juan Forero – NPR

      When President Obama arrives in Brazil this weekend, there’ll be talk of trade and geopolitics with the new president, Dilma Rousseff. There’ll also be plenty of excitement, Brazilians say, about the arrival of the black man who became leader of the world’s superpower.

      When Obama comes to Brazil, he’ll see wonders like the world-famous Sugarloaf Mountain in Rio. The sights are beguiling, but Brazil’s people are hoping to catch their own glimpse of the very important visitor.

      People like Dilci Aguiar de Paula, who sells t-shirts to tourists at the base of Sugarloaf Mountain. She’s black, like half of Brazil’s nearly 200 million people, and says she’s excited about Obama’s arrival.

      “Everyone likes him as president — a black president,” she says. “He looks more Brazilian than American.”

      A Multicultural Country

      Many Brazilians see a bit of themselves in the American president. Brazil was settled by waves of European immigrants and millions of African slaves brought there in chains. Their descendants make up the second-largest black population in the world after Nigeria.

      For Brazil’s blacks, Obama’s story offers important lessons, says Hedio Silva Jr., a black activist and law professor.

      “We identify with him, with his message, with his family,” Silva says, a combination of things that generate hope for people in Brazil.

      For the entire article and audio interview:

    • Raw Video: Obama Arrives in Brazil

      Uploaded by AssociatedPress on Mar 19, 2011

      President Barack Obama arrived in Brazil on Saturday for the start of a three-country, five-day tour of Latin America to promote greater economic ties and improved regional security. (March 19)

      • I cried when he reviewed the troops! I am so proud of our President.

  11. Biden: GOP plays ‘blame the victim’

    03/18/11 By MJ LEE -POLITICO

    Vice President Biden on Friday accused Republicans of hurting the country’s most financially vulnerable, and used quite the analogy to make his point.

    “When a woman got raped, blame her because she was wearing a skirt too short, she looked the wrong way or she wasn’t home in time to make the dinner,” he said at a Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee luncheon in Philadelphia, according to a pool report.

    “It’s amazing how these Republicans, the right wing of this party — whose philosophy threw us into this god awful hole we’re in, gave us the tremendous deficit we’ve inherited — that they’re now using, now attempting to use, the very economic condition they have created to blame the victim,” he said. Biden, for the record, co-wrote the Violence Against Women Act in 1994 when he was still in the Senate.

    These “victims,” Biden said, include ordinary Americans like members of organized labor and middle-class working men and women. This “blame the victim” phenomenon is simply “bizarre,” the vice president said.

    For the entire article:

  12. Reid Statement On The Economic Impact Of The Recovery Act

    March 18, 2011

    Washington, DC—Nevada Senator Harry Reid released the following statement today regarding the announcement by the Council of Economic Advisers that the Recovery Act contributed as much as 3.2 percent to fourth quarter GDP and raised employment by as much as 3.6 million jobs:

    “The Recovery Act brought our economy back from the brink and put millions of Americans back to work. Since we passed it, the economy has grown for six straight quarters and we have added 1.5 million private sector jobs in the last year. But there is still more work to be done and many Nevadans are still struggling to make ends meet. That’s why Democrats are focused on creating jobs by investing in clean energy, rebuilding our nation’s infrastructure and educating our work force to compete in a global economy.”

    • March 19, 2011

      Remarks by President Obama and President Rousseff of Brazil in Brasilia, Brazil

      Palacio do Planalto
      Brasilia, Brazil

      12:54 P.M. BRT

      PRESIDENT ROUSSEFF: (As translated.) Your Excellency Barack Obama, President of the United States of America; ladies and gentlemen; members of the delegation of the U.S. and of Brazil; ladies and gentlemen journalists; ladies and gentlemen.

      Mr. President Obama, your visit to my country makes me very happy and arouses the best feelings of our people and honors the historic relationship between Brazil and the U.S. It bears also a very strong symbolic value.

      The peoples of our countries have built the largest democracies of the Americas. They also dared to take at the highest level an Afro descent and a woman, demonstrating that the basis of democracy allows to overcome the largest barriers to build societies that will be more generous and live more in harmony.

      Here, Mr. President, I am the successor of a man that came from the people — my dear friend Luiz Inácio Lula de Silva, with whom I had the honor to work with. His legacy, most noble legacy, Mr. President, was to bring to the political scene and social scene millions of men and women that lived marginalized and were disenfranchised of their rights as citizens.

      For the entire article:

  13. Egyptians vote in major test of shift to democracy


    CAIRO – Eager for their first taste of a free vote in decades, Egyptians lined up by the hundreds Saturday to vote on constitutional amendments sponsored by the ruling military that critics fear could propel the country’s largest Islamist group to become Egypt’s most dominant political force.

    The nationwide referendum is the first major test of the country’s transition to democracy after a popular uprising forced longtime leader Hosni Mubarak to step down five weeks ago, handing the reins of power to the military.

    Early signs show an unusually big turnout, with lines forming in the hours before polls opened. They snaked along the streets in Cairo and other Egyptian cities, with men and women standing in separate lines as is customary in the conservative and mainly Muslim nation.

    The vote promises to be the freest in Egypt since the 1952 ouster of the monarchy and the end of a multiparty democracy that functioned under British colonial rule. Egypt has since been ruled by men of military background, with fraud and extremely low turnout defining every nationwide vote.

    For the entire article:

  14. “Amtrak Joe” Biden Gets His Own Train Station

    March 16, 2011 Karen Travers- ABC

    Vice President Biden, perhaps the nation’s most famous Amtrak passenger, will soon have his own personal train station.

    Amtrak announced last week that the newly renovated Wilmington train station will now be known as the Joseph R. Biden, Jr. Railroad Station. There will be a dedication ceremony on Saturday that is open to the public.

    The Wilmington Amtrak station, the 12th busiest in the country, just wrapped up a two-year $37.7 million renovation project, which included $20 million in federal stimulus money. Until last month, Biden was the Obama Administration’s point person overseeing the disbursement and management of the stimulus funds.

    Biden often boasts that he took over 7,000 round trips on Amtrak between Delaware and Washington, D.C. during his 36 years in the Senate. Instead of moving full-time to the nation’s capital, Biden would make the daily 1 hour, 15 minute commute in order to be home with his young children in Delaware.

    Even after his move to the vice presidency, which comes with the flashy motorcades, Air Force planes and Marine helicopters, Biden continued to advocate for his beloved rail system. In 2009, the vice president announced that Amtrak would receive $1.3 billion in federal stimulus money to expand passenger rail capacity, calling the system “an absolute national treasure and necessity.”

  15. March 19, 2011

    Statement by the President on the Passing of Warren Christopher

    Michelle and I were saddened to hear that Warren Christopher has passed away. Deeply dedicated to serving his country, Warren’s career ranged from the naval reserve in World War II to a clerkship at the Supreme Court to the practice of law and politics in California and Washington. And as President Clinton’s Secretary of State, he was a resolute pursuer of peace, leading negotiations with regard to the Middle East and the Balkans, including the Dayton Agreement, which ended the war in Bosnia. Warren Christopher was a skillful diplomat, a steadfast public servant, and a faithful American. We send our thoughts and prayers to his wife, Marie, and their children.

    • Press Availability at Chief of Mission Residence

      Hillary Rodham Clinton -Secretary of State
      Paris, France

      March 19, 2011

      SECRETARY CLINTON: Before we begin, I want to say a few words about Warren Christopher. He was a friend, a mentor, and truly a diplomat’s diplomat. He served our country with such great distinction in so many capacities over his long and very productive life. There are a lot of days in this job when I ask myself, “What would Warren do?” From the Balkans to the Middle East, to China and Vietnam, he helped guide the United States through difficult challenges with tremendous grace and wisdom. My thoughts and prayers are with his family and with his many, many friends and colleagues throughout our country and around the world.

      Now, this has been a quick but productive trip, and I want to give you a brief update and then answer your questions. First, let’s remember how we got here. As you know, Americans and people around the world watched with growing concern as Libyan civilians were gunned down by a government that has lost all legitimacy. The people of Libya appealed for help. The Arab League and the Gulf Cooperation Council called for action.

      For the entire article:

  16. International jets take action as Gadhafi strikes


    BENGHAZI, Libya – Jets from an international force launched missions over Libya on Saturday, hours after Moammar Gadhafi dispatched troops, tanks and warplanes to the heart of the 5-week-old uprising against his rule in a decisive strike on the first city seized by rebels.

    Crashing shells shook buildings, and the sounds of battle drew closer to the center of Benghazi, where a doctor said 27 bodies were brought to the hospital by midday. By late in the day, warplanes could be heard overhead.

    French President Nicolas Sarkozy said after an emergency summit in Paris that French jets were already targeting Gadhafi’s forces. The 22 participants in Saturday’s summit “agreed to put in place all the means necessary, in particular military” to make Gadhafi respect a U.N. Security Council resolution Thursday demanding a cease-fire, Sarkozy said.

    “Our planes are blocking the air attacks on the city” of Benghazi, he said, without elaborating. French planes have been readying for an attack in recent days.

    For the entire article:

  17. March 18, 2011

    Remarks by the President on the Situation in Libya
    East Room

    2:22 P.M. EDT

    THE PRESIDENT: Good afternoon, everybody. I want to take this opportunity to update the American people about the situation in Libya. Over the last several weeks, the world has watched events unfold in Libya with hope and alarm. Last month, protesters took to the streets across the country to demand their universal rights, and a government that is accountable to them and responsive to their aspirations. But they were met with an iron fist.

    Within days, whole parts of the country declared their independence from a brutal regime, and members of the government serving in Libya and abroad chose to align themselves with the forces of change. Moammar Qaddafi clearly lost the confidence of his own people and the legitimacy to lead.

    Instead of respecting the rights of his own people, Qaddafi chose the path of brutal suppression. Innocent civilians were beaten, imprisoned, and in some cases killed. Peaceful protests were forcefully put down. Hospitals were attacked and patients disappeared. A campaign of intimidation and repression began.

    In the face of this injustice, the United States and the international community moved swiftly. Sanctions were put in place by the United States and our allies and partners. The U.N. Security Council imposed further sanctions, an arms embargo, and the specter of international accountability for Qaddafi and those around him. Humanitarian assistance was positioned on Libya’s borders, and those displaced by the violence received our help. Ample warning was given that Qaddafi needed to stop his campaign of repression, or be held accountable. The Arab League and the European Union joined us in calling for an end to violence.

    For the entire article;

    • Libya: Ban welcomes Security Council authorization of measures to protect civilians


      18 March 2011 – Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has called for “immediate action” on the Security Council’s authorization of the use of “all necessary measures” to protect civilians in Libya, terming it a “historic” affirmation of the global community’s responsibility to protect people from their own government’s violence.

      The Council yesterday passed a resolution permitting the use of all necessary measures, including the imposition of a no-fly zone, to prevent further attacks and the loss of innocent lives in Libya, where the regime of Muammar al-Qadhafi has conducted a military offensive against citizens seeking his removal from power.

      Following the adoption of the resolution, media reports stated that Libyan authorities had declared a ceasefire. Libyan Foreign Minister Musa Kusa was quoted as saying that the truce was intended to “to protect civilians.”

      For the entire article:

    • U.S., Allies to Enforce U.N. Security Resolution on Libya

      March 18, 2011 By Jim Garamone -American Forces Press Service

      WASHINGTON – The United States military will work with NATO and Arab League allies to stop Libyan ruler Moammar Gadhafi from killing his own people, President Barack Obama said here today.

      Yesterday, the U.N. Security Council passed a resolution that demands an end to the violence against Libya’s citizens.

      The resolution “authorizes the use of force, with an explicit commitment to pursue all necessary measures to stop the killing, to include the enforcement of a no-fly zone over Libya,” Obama said at the White House.

      U.N. Security Council Resolution 1973
      lays out clear conditions that Gadhafi must meet if he wants to avoid military consequences, the president said.

      “The United States, the United Kingdom, France and Arab states agree that a cease-fire must be implemented immediately,” Obama said. “That means all attacks against civilians must stop.”

      For the entire article:

    • Remarks by Ambassador Susan E. Rice, U.S. Permanent Representative to the United Nations, in an Explanation of Vote on UN Security Council Resolution 1973, March 17, 2011

      Susan E. Rice
      U.S. Permanent Representative to the United Nations
      U.S. Mission to the United Nations
      New York, NY

      March 17, 2011


      Thank you, Mr. President. Today the Security Council has responded to the Libyan people’s cry for help. This Council’s purpose is clear: to protect innocent civilians.

      On February 26, acting under Chapter VII, the Security Council demanded a halt to the violence in Libya and enabled genuine accountability for war crimes and crimes against humanity by referring the situation to the International Criminal Court. We adopted strong sanctions that target Libya’s leadership. We have also strongly supported all aspects of UN Special Envoy al-Khatib’s mandate. But Colonel Qadhafi and those who still stand by him continue to grossly and systematically abuse the most fundamental human rights of Libya’s people. On March 12, the League of Arab States called on the Security Council to establish a no-fly zone and take other measures to protect civilians. Today’s resolution is a powerful response to that call—and to the urgent needs on the ground.

      This resolution demands an immediate cease fire and a complete end to violence and attacks against civilians. Responding to the Libyan people and to the League of Arab States, the Security Council has authorized the use of force, including enforcement of a no-fly zone, to protect civilians and civilian areas targeted by Colonel Qadhafi, his intelligence and security forces, and his mercenaries. The resolution also strengthens enforcement of the arms embargo and bans all international flights by Libyan-owned or -operated aircraft. The resolution freezes the assets of seven more individuals and five entities—including key state-owned Libyan companies. The resolution empowers the newly established Libyan Sanctions Committee to impose sanctions on those who violate the arms embargo, including by providing Qadhafi with mercenaries. Finally, the Council established a panel of experts to monitor and enhance short- and long-term implementation of the sanctions on Libya.

      For the entire article:

    • Officials: US not involved in initial Libya action

      3/19/11 By ROBERT BURNS, AP National Security Writer
      WASHINGTON – Two U.S. officials say American ships and aircraft are poised for military action against Libya, but they aren’t participating in the initial French air missions over the North African nation.

      One U.S. official says the Navy is planning a sea-launched missile attack from the Mediterranean against elements of Libya’s coastal air defenses.

      Both officials spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of military operations.

      One official says the U.S. intends to limit its involvement — at least in the initial stages — to helping protect French and other air missions by taking out Libyan air defenses.

      The official says that depending on how Libyan forces respond, the U.S. could launch additional attacks in support of allied forces.

  18. March 19, 2011
    Remarks by the First Lady at Brazilian Youth Cultural Event

    Oca da Tribo Restaurant
    Brasilia, Brazil

    11:40 A.M. Brazil Time

    MRS. OBAMA: Well, thank you. Very good. (Laughter.)

    Well, hello, everybody. Bom Dia. (Laughter.) Is that it? (Applause.) That’s all I have, unfortunately. (Laughter.)

    But thank you so much for the warm welcome. And I want to thank Racquel for that wonderful introduction. I mean, she is just a point of pride for young people, for this country, for the world. Let’s give her another round of applause. (Applause.)

    I also want to thank and recognize Tania Cooper Patriota, who is here with us, as well as Guisela Shannon for being here today and for serving as our MC.

    I’m not going to talk long because I want to see all that you have to offer, and I want my girls, my family, my mom and the girls’ godmother to see all that this country has to offer.

    But President Obama and I, we are honored to be here in Brazil and to re-affirm the friendship and the partnership between our two nations. And we’re especially thrilled to have our family with us. It is a very rare opportunity that we get to travel together. Usually when the President and I travel, these two are in school — where they need to be. (Laughter.) But they’re on break now, so they get to come, and they’ve been very excited. So it’s a real honor and a privilege for us to have them and for you all to welcome them.

    Over the last couple of years, my husband and I have been fortunate enough to travel all around the world and to meet some pretty amazing people along the way. And wherever we go, one of our favorite things to do is to visit with young people like all of you. Both of us make it a point to put that in our busy schedules.

    For the entire article:

    • March 19, 2011

      Remarks by President Obama and President Rousseff of Brazil in Exchange of Toasts at Official Lunch in Brasilia, Brazil

      Palácio do Itamaraty
      Brasilia, Brazil

      2:13 P.M. BRT

      PRESIDENT ROUSSEFF: (As translated.) President of the United States; Madam Michelle Obama; Mr. Vice President of the Republic Michel Temer of Brazil; José Sarney, who is the Speaker of the House of the Senate; Deputy House Representative Marco Maia; Speaker of the House of Representatives; former President Fernando Henrique Cardoso; Ambassador Patriota, State Minister for Foreign Affairs, and Mrs. Tania Cooper Patriota; members, distinguished members of the American delegation; ladies and gentlemen ministers; ladies and gentlemen governors; senators; house representatives; business community representatives; ladies and gentlemen from the Trade Union National Labor Federations; dear ladies and gentlemen journalists; ladies and gentlemen — on behalf of the Brazilian people, I would like to reiterate the welcome to President Barack Obama.

      This visit is a great opportunity for us to open one more chapter of our partnership allying it to the realities and the challenges of the 21st century. This is a reason of great honor for me that this meeting should happen in the very first months of my administration, and even more within the context of the first official visit of President Obama to South America.

      The presence amongst us of Michelle Obama, Malia and Sasha, and of an important delegation with the authorities of the Cabinet, politicians and businessmen and women reinforce the spirit of friendship that we gather here.

      For the entire article:

  19. March 19, 2011

    Joint Statement by President Rousseff and President Obama

    At the invitation of President Dilma Rousseff, the President of the United States of America, Barack Obama, paid a State Visit to Brazil on March 19, 20 and 21, 2011.


    Noting the interdependence among peace, security and development, President Rousseff and President Obama reaffirmed their desire to build a just and inclusive world order, which promotes democracy, human rights and social justice.

    Recognizing the need of reforming international institutions to reflect the current political and economic realities, the two leaders welcomed the designation of the G20 as the premier forum for coordinating economic policy, and efforts to reform the governance of international financial institutions. The Presidents agreed that just as other international organizations have had to change to be more responsive to the challenges of the 21st century, the United Nations Security Council also needs to reform, and expressed their support for a modest expansion of the Security Council that improves its effectiveness and efficiency, as well as its representation. President Obama expressed appreciation for Brazil’s aspiration to become a permanent member of the Security Council, and acknowledged its assumption of global responsibilities. The two leaders agreed to continued consultation and cooperation between the two countries to achieve the vision outlined in the UN Charter of a more peaceful and secure world.

    They highlighted the maturity and depth of the relationship between Brazil and the United States, which is based on shared values and principles and characterized by the ties of friendship that have brought their multicultural nations closer throughout their histories as independent States.

    They decided to elevate to the Presidential level the major dialogues between the two countries, including the Global Partnership Dialogue, the Economic and Finance Dialogue, and the Strategic Energy Dialogue. The leaders directed the ministers involved to convene and report to them regularly.

    For the entire article:

    • March 19, 2011

      Remarks by the President during U.S.-Brazil CEO Forum Discussion in Brasilia, Brazil

      Palácio do Itamaraty
      Brasilia, Brazil

      1:33 P.M. BRT

      THE PRESIDENT: I just want to begin by thanking President Rousseff for her extraordinary hospitality, to the Brazilian companies who are here, many of whom have investments in the United States. We’re grateful for the dialogue with our colleagues from the north.

      As I stated in the statement that I just made before coming here, Brazil is on the rise. And the United States is excited and fully supportive of Brazil’s rapid expansion, its extraordinary talent, its resources, its enormous potential that’s now being realized in part because of the outstanding leadership of President Rousseff.

      And I think the goal today — so I’m not going to speak long — but essentially to make sure that we work to facilitate an effective dialogue. I know that there are a couple of areas where we’re going to be announcing agreements — an agreement on trade and economic cooperation, an open skies agreement. I know those are two issues that everybody was advocating. We’re going to announce them today, so we’re pleased to do that. I know there’s been some work done on extending visas for both countries, and although we haven’t gotten all that worked through, we are making progress, and we will continue to do so.

      Brazil is going to be hosting several important sporting events over the next few years. I mentioned that it pains me to say this when it comes to the Olympics — (laughter) — Lula beat me on that one. (Laughter.) But we want to make sure that through this forum, economies that have both the expertise on security and infrastructure, that they will potentially participate.

      On energy, obviously, Brazil is a major player on the world stage. (Press is ushered out.)

      1:35 P.M. BRT

    • March 19, 2011

      Remarks by the President at CEO Business Summit in Brasilia, Brazil

      Tryp Convention Brasil 21 Center
      Brasilia, Brazil

      4:04 P.M. BRT

      THE PRESIDENT: Thank you. (Applause.) Boa tarde. Thank you very much. Please, please, everybody be seated. It is a great joy to be here in Brazil, and on behalf of Michelle and myself, I want to thank the people of Brasilia for the incredibly warm welcome that you’ve shown us since we arrived.

      I want to make a few acknowledgements. First of all, I want to thank the Brazil-U.S. Business Council for the outstanding work that they’re doing. The National Conference of Industry and the American Chamber of Commerce for Brazil, thank you all for the great job in hosting this conference.

      I want to acknowledge a number of my Cabinet who are here: The Secretary of the Treasury, Timothy Geithner, is here. Gary Locke, the Secretary of Commerce; Ron Kirk, our U.S. Trade Representative — (applause) — Lisa Jackson, our EPA Administrator; Fred Hochberg, President of the Export/Import Bank; Michael Froman, my Deputy National Security Advisor for International Economic Affairs. (Applause.) And to all the government officials of Brazil, thank you for your hospitality.

      My only regret is that we missed the party by coming a few weeks after Carnival. (Laughter.) Maybe that’s the best — since I’m not sure I would have had the same level of productivity from my staff. (Laughter.)

      I also want to thank all the business and government officials who have traveled from the U.S. and all over Brazil to be here today. After spending the morning discussing a range of economic issues with President Rousseff and talking with some Brazilian and American CEOs, I want to speak with you today about how we can work together to create new jobs and new opportunities in both our countries.

      For the entire article:

    • March 19, 2011

      Remarks by the President on Libya

      Tryp Convention Brasil 21 Center
      Brasilia, Brazil

      5:07 P.M. BRT

      THE PRESIDENT: Good afternoon, everybody. Today I authorized the Armed Forces of the United States to begin a limited military action in Libya in support of an international effort to protect Libyan civilians. That action has now begun.

      In this effort, the United States is acting with a broad coalition that is committed to enforcing United Nations Security Council Resolution 1973, which calls for the protection of the Libyan people. That coalition met in Paris today to send a unified message, and it brings together many of our European and Arab partners.

      This is not an outcome that the United States or any of our partners sought. Even yesterday, the international community offered Muammar Qaddafi the opportunity to pursue an immediate cease-fire, one that stopped the violence against civilians and the advances of Qaddafi’s forces. But despite the hollow words of his government, he has ignored that opportunity. His attacks on his own people have continued. His forces have been on the move. And the danger faced by the people of Libya has grown.

      For the entire article:

  20. Coalition Launches ‘Odyssey Dawn’ to Implement No-fly Zone

    March 19, 2011 By Jim Garamone
    American Forces Press Service

    WASHINGTON – Coalition forces launched “Operation Odyssey Dawn” today to enforce U.N. Security Council Resolution 1973 to protect the Libyan people from the country’s ruler.

    The goal of the military coalition is to prevent further attacks by regime forces on Libyan citizens, officials said, adding that the coalition also wants to degrade the ability of Moammar Gadhafi’s regime to resist a no-fly zone being implemented.

    U.S. military forces are on the leading edge of the coalition operation, taking out Libya’s integrated air and missile defense system, Defense Department officials said. The ordnance is aimed at radars and anti-aircraft sites around the capital of Tripoli and other facilities along the Mediterranean coast.

    Operation Odyssey Dawn is commanded by U.S. Navy Adm. Samuel J. Locklear aboard the command ship USS Mount Whitney. The Mount Whitney joins 24 other ships from Italy, Canada, the United Kingdom and France in launching the operation.

    Cruise missiles from U.S. submarines and frigates began the attack on the anti-aircraft system. A senior defense official speaking on background said the attacks will “open up the environment so we could enforce the no-fly zone from east to west throughout Libya.”

    In addition to the cruise missiles, the United States will provide command and control and logistics. American airmen and sailors also will launch electronic attacks against the systems.

    The United Kingdom, France, Italy and Canada already have announced that they are part of the coalition. Officials expect Arab countries will publicly announce their participation soon.

    • French jets hit Qaddafi forces as civilians flee Libya’s rebel capital, Benghazi

      3/19/11 By Dan Murphy Dan Murphy – The Christian Science Monitor

      Benghazi, Libya – An assault by forces loyal to Muammar Qaddafi in the heart of Benghazi, the capital of the rebellion against the Libyan strongman’s 41-year reign, led to a panicked flight of thousands of residents and tougher action from the international community today.

      Mr. Qaddafi’s regime had promised a cease-fire repeatedly in recent days. Just yesterday, the country’s Deputy Foreign Minister Khaled Kaaim said the government would comply with the United Nations Security Council resolution demanding an immediate halt of the march toward Benghazi, Libya’s second largest city.

      But the reality this morning in Benghazi was one of tank shelling, rocket fire, and the first attack by Qaddafi loyalists inside the city since a popular uprising drove most of his soldiers out last month. Civilian homes were hit in the process.

      For the entire article:

    • U.S. Support for Odyssey Dawn

      From: DODvClips | Mar 20, 2011

      President Barack Obama says the U.S. military will offer its unique capabilities at the front end of Operation Odyssey Dawn, the international effort to protect the citizens of Libya.

  21. Pelosi and Delegation Arrive in Afghanistan

    March 19, 2011

    Kabul, Afghanistan – Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi and a bipartisan Congressional Delegation arrived in Afghanistan today, where they are visiting with U.S. troops and receiving briefings from U.S. Ambassador Karl Eikenberry, and other senior military and civilian officials.

    The delegation also met with President Hamid Karzai to discuss the political and security situation in Afghanistan, including the transition of responsibility for security to the Afghans.

    In addition to Democratic Leader Pelosi, the members of the delegation are:
    • Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro (D-CT)
    • Congressman John Mica (R-FL)
    • Congressman Leonard Boswell (D-IA)
    • Congressman Bill Pascrell (D-NJ)

  22. Good afternoon CR and O friends. Thanks for all of the good posts today CR and special thanks for the raw video of the arrival in Brazil.

    • Hi Tigerfists!

      Here is a video of FLOTUS watching the drummers (sorry that it is all in Portugese!)


      Michelle Obama – In Brazil 2011 Part 4 (barack obama Family in Brazil)

      Uploaded by ClownBrazil on Mar 19, 2011

      Presidente Barack Obama no Brasil – Creditos – Tv Rede Globo

      • 19 March 2011

        Remarks by Michelle Obama at Brazilian Youth Cultural Event

        Office of the First Lady
        March 19, 2011


        Oca da Tribo Restaurant
        Brasilia, Brazil

        11:40 A.M. Brazil Time

        MRS. OBAMA: Well, thank you. Very good. (Laughter.)

        Well, hello, everybody. Bom Dia. (Laughter.) Is that it? (Applause.) That’s all I have, unfortunately. (Laughter.)

        But thank you so much for the warm welcome. And I want to thank Racquel for that wonderful introduction. I mean, she is just a point of pride for young people, for this country, for the world. Let’s give her another round of applause. (Applause.)

        I also want to thank and recognize Tania Cooper Patriota, who is here with us, as well as Guisela Shannon for being here today and for serving as our MC.

        I’m not going to talk long because I want to see all that you have to offer, and I want my girls, my family, my mom and the girls’ godmother to see all that this country has to offer.

        Read more:

  23. March 19, 2011
    Readout of Vice President Biden’s Call to President Karzai

    Earlier today, Vice President Biden called President Karzai to get an update on the situation in Afghanistan and to underscore our ongoing commitment to Afghanistan, including our efforts to protect Afghan civilians. President Karzai was appreciative of the call, reiterating the need to prevent harm to Afghan civilians and to continue to build our strategic relationship.

  24. Nice collection of interesting stories and statements and videos (especially the videos), CR!

    G’night to you and all the ships at sea. Keeping the Obama family in my prayers, and will be glad when they are back on our shores once again.

  25. WH

    Sunday, March 20, 2011

    All Times Eastern

    Pres Obama receives the presidential daily briefing

    9:50 am
    The First Family visits Ciudad de Deus Favela
    Local Event Time:
    10:50 AM BRT
    Brazil, Ciudad de Deus Favela, Rio de Janiero
    Travel Pool Coverage

    1:40 pm
    The President delivers a speech
    Local Event Time:
    2:40 PM BRT
    Brazil, Rio de Janiero, Theatro Municipal
    Pooled TV, Open to Correspondents

    8:00 pm
    The First Family tours Christ the Redeemer Statue
    Local Event Time:
    9:00 PM BRT
    Brazil, Corcovado Mountain, Rio de Janiero
    Travel Pool Coverage

  26. National Mall and Memorial Parks Cherry Blossom Festival Page. Festival dates: March 26 – April 10, 2011.

    In 1912, over 3,000 cherry trees were donated in the name of the City of Tokyo to our Nation’s Capital(Washington, D.C.). In the spirit of this grand gesture, the Trust for the National Mall invites citizens and public-spirited organizations to donate funds for the replacement and maintenance of the cherry tree grove that surrounds the Tidal Basin and adjacent areas in East and West Potomac Parks.

    • Cherry Blossom Festival

      The plantings of cherry trees originated in 1912 as a gift of friendship to the People of the United States from the People of Japan. In Japan, the flowering cherry tree, or “Sakura,” is an exalted flowering plant. The beauty of the cherry blossom is a potent symbol equated with the evanescence of human life and epitomizes the transformation of Japanese culture throughout the ages.

      For the entire article:

      • Symbolism

        In Japan cherry blossoms also symbolize clouds due to their nature of blooming en masse, besides being an enduring metaphor for the ephemeral nature of life, an aspect of Japanese cultural tradition that is often associated with Buddhistic influence, and which is embodied in the concept of mono no aware. The association of the cherry blossom with mono no aware dates back to 18th-century scholar Motoori Norinaga. The transience of the blossoms, the extreme beauty and quick death, has often been associated with mortality. There is at least one popular folk song, originally meant for the shakuhachi (bamboo flute), titled “Sakura”, and several pop songs.

        Cherry blossom is an omen of good fortune and is also an emblem of love, affection and represents spring. Cherry blossoms are an enduring metaphor for the fleeting nature of life, and as such are frequently depicted in art.


    • Festival Invites Public to Stand With Japan

      The Festival invites you to Stand With Japan at the Washington Monument, followed by a walk around the Tidal Basin in the spirit of hope and rebuilding.

      Beginning at 6:30pm on March 24, people will gather at Sylvan Theater (15th Street and Independence Avenue, SW) before walking the Tidal Basin. All donations received throughout the fundraising effort will go directly to the National Cherry Blossom Festival Red Cross Online Donation Site, directly benefiting the Japan Earthquake and Pacific Tsunami fund.

      For the entire article:

    • Cherry Blossom Festival Bonus Feature – Washington DC DVD

      Uploaded by finleyholiday on Feb 4, 2009

  27. Japan sees some progress in race to cool nuclear

    3/20/11 Taiga Uranaka and Yoko Nishikawa – Reuters

    TOKYO (Reuters) – Japan restored power to a crippled nuclear reactor on Sunday in its race to avert disaster at a plant wrecked by an earthquake and tsunami that are estimated to have killed more than 15,000 people in one prefecture alone.

    Three hundred engineers have been struggling inside the danger zone to salvage the six-reactor Fukushima plant in the world’s worst nuclear crisis since Chernobyl 25 years ago.

    “I think the situation is improving step by step,” Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary Tetsuro Fukuyama told a news conference.

    In one remarkable story of survival, an 80-year-old woman and 16-year-old youth were found alive under the rubble in the devastated city of Ishinomaki, nine days after the killer earthquake and tsunami, NHK public TV said, quoting police.

    For the entire article:

  28. Stability at stake in close Haiti run-off vote

    3/20/11 By Joseph Guyler Delva and Pascal Fletcher – Reuters

    PORT-AU-PRINCE (Reuters) – Haitians vote in a presidential run-off on Sunday that international donors hope can cement in place the stability needed to rebuild the crippled nation after last year’s huge earthquake.

    The election presents Haiti’s 4.7 million voters with a choice between a political newcomer, energetic entertainer and singer Michel Martelly, 50, and former first lady Mirlande Manigat, 70, a law professor and opposition matriarch.

    It follows a chaotic first round vote on November 28 that dissolved into fraud allegations and unrest. The United Nations, which is supporting the election, says voting improvements have been made that should better ensure a clear, credible outcome in one of the world’s poorest and most disaster-prone states.

    For the entire article:

  29. Bahrain’s main opposition groups ease demands

    3/20/11 By Lin Noueihed and Rania El Gamal – Reuters

    MANAMA (Reuters) – Bahrain’s main opposition groups have eased conditions for talks to end a crisis that has drawn in neighboring Gulf armies and raised tensions in the oil-exporting region.

    Led by the largest Shi’ite opposition party Wefaq, they called late on Saturday on security forces to free all those detained in the wake of a month of protests, end their crackdown and ask Gulf Arab troops to leave so talks could begin.

    “Prepare a healthy atmosphere for the start of political dialogue between the opposition and the government on a basis that can put our country on the track to real democracy and away from the abyss,” their statement said.

    For the entire article:

  30. West hits Libyan defenses, Gaddafi hurls defiance

    3/20/11 By Maria Golovnina and Michael Georgy – Reuters

    TRIPOLI (Reuters) – European and U.S. forces unleashed warplanes and cruise missiles against Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi’s forces in the biggest Western military intervention in the Arab world since the 2003 invasion of Iraq.

    The strikes halted the advance of Gaddafi’s troops on the rebel stronghold of Benghazi and a no-fly zone was now in place over Libya with government air defenses “taken out” and no sign of Libyan aircraft in flight, the U.S. Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Admiral Mike Mullen, told NBC.

    Gaddafi said the raids amounted to terrorism and Libyan state television said 48 people had been killed and 150 wounded in the Western air strikes. It also said there had been a fresh wave of strikes on Tripoli early on Sunday.

    There was no way to independently verify the reports.

    French planes fired the first shots on Saturday, destroying tanks and armored vehicles near Benghazi in a United Nations-endorsed intervention to force Gaddafi’s troops to cease fire and end attacks on civilians who launched an uprising last month against his 41-year rule.

    For the entire article:

    • Initial part of Libya operation ‘successful’: Mullen

      3/20/11 AFP

      WASHINGTON (AFP) – The initial part of an international operation to enforce a no-fly zone over Libya “has been successful” and the government’s offensive on Benghazi has been stopped, top US military commander Michael Mullen said Sunday.

      The initial part of an international operation to enforce a no-fly zone over Libya “has been successful,” Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told ABC’s “This Week” program.

      “They are no longer marching on Benghazi,” Mullen added.

      For the entire article:

      • Meet The Press Mullen No fly zone effectively in place in Libya

        Uploaded by knaan870 on Mar 20, 2011

    • Department of Defense senior leaders
      Latest Twitter @DeptofDefense/dodleaders

      stavridisj Sunday in the command center working to support #AFRICOM for Libyan strikes. Many #NATO nations in the mix, as well as other partners.

    • Britain hails ‘very successful’ Libya attacks

      3/20/11 Alice Ritchie -AFP

      LONDON (AFP) – Britain said on Sunday its air and sea strikes on Libya had been “very successful” and stressed it was doing everything it could to avoid civilian casualties as it enforces a UN-sanctioned no-fly zone.

      British fighter planes and a submarine joined US and French military in attacking Libya overnight, after they agreed with Arab allies at crisis talks in Paris to take action to stop Moamer Kadhafi’s offensive on rebels.

      Defence Secretary Liam Fox told the BBC that early reports suggested the bombing raids were “very successful”.

      Air Vice Marshal Phil Osborn, the second in command of the Royal Air Force, added in a briefing to reporters in London: “We’re entirely comfortable with the way the operations went last night in terms of success.”

      A Libyan official told AFP that at least 48 people had died in the assaults, which began with a strike at 1645 GMT Saturday by a French warplane on a vehicle the French military said belonged to pro-Kadhafi forces.

      For the entire article:

  31. Arab unrest spreads to Syria as thousands march

    3/20/11 DAMASCUS (Reuters) – Thousands of Syrians demanded an end to 48 years of emergency law on Saturday, a third straight day of protests emerging as the biggest challenge to Syria’s rulers since unrest swept the Arab world this year.

    “No. No to emergency law. We are a people infatuated with freedom,” marchers chanted as a government delegation arrived in the southern town of Deraa to pay condolences for victims killed by security forces in demonstrations there this week.

    Syria has been ruled under emergency law since the Baath Party, which is headed by president Bashar al-Assad, took power in a 1963 coup and banned all opposition.

    The government sought to appease popular discontent in Deraa by promising to release 15 schoolchildren whose arrests for scrawling protest graffiti had helped fuel the demonstrations.

    An official statement said the children, who had written slogans inspired by uprisings in Tunisia and Egypt on walls, would be released immediately. The statement was a rare instance of Syria’s ruling hierarchy responding to popular pressure.

    For the entire article:

  32. Sunday’s talk show lineup: Nuclear crisis and the no-fly zone

    03/19/11 By Jamie Klatell –

    Update: After U.S. and international forces began military strikes on Libya, Admiral Mike Mullen, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, has been added to the top of the guest list on ABC, CBS, CNN, Fox and NBC.

    Steven Chu will be the lead guest on all five major Sunday talk shows this week. The secretary of energy and Nobel Prize winning scientist will talk about the nuclear crisis in Japan and will likely be asked about the future of nuclear power in the United States.

    A former energy secretary will be on ABC’s “This Week,” as well. Bill Richardson, who served in that position in the Clinton administration, will join former Secretary of Homeland Security Michael Chertoff.

    Rep. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) follows Chu on CBS’ “Face the Nation.” Markey has long been a critic of domestic nuclear power and has been sounding alarm bells over safety since the earthquake and tsunami struck Japan.

    On CNN, NBC and Fox, the fighting in Libya – and the proper stance for the U.S. to take – will also be a topic of discussion. Each show will have a pair of senators on to give their opinions.

    John McCain (R-Ariz.) and Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.) will talk on CNN’s “State of the Union.”

    Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) and Jack Reed (D-R.I.) are scheduled for “Fox News Sunday.”

    Carl Levin (D-Mich.) and Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) will be on “Meet the Press.”

  33. Obama takes in Rio with Libya on his mind

    3/20/11 JIM KUHNHENN, AP

    RIO DE JANEIRO – President Barack Obama, slipping from economic pitchman to grand tourist, is immersing himself in the sights and sounds of boisterous Rio de Janeiro even as he juggles the demands of U.S. military action in faraway Libya.

    A day after authorizing missile strikes to help enforce an internationally backed no-fly zone over Libya, Obama travels the next leg of his Latin American tour to this vibrant city, where he intends to use his popularity to declare a cultural kinship between the U.S. and Brazil.

    The five day Latin American trip — with Chile and El Salvador also on the itinerary — aims to cast Obama and the United States as attentive neighbors from the North, eager to capitalize on the region’s economic successes while addressing common security concerns. From the start, however, Obama’s attention has been divided. He’s been forced to shuttle from meetings with his host, President Dilma Rousseff, and with Brazilian and U.S. executives to briefings and secure calls with his national security team

    For the entire aricle:

    • Obama to visit ‘City of God’

      Uploaded by CNN on Mar 19, 2011

      President Obama plans to visit one of Rio’s “pacified” favelas. Shasta Darlington talks to police and residents.

  34. The White House Beehive Is Ready For Spring
    Seasonal repairs: The Presidential Bees will soon be abuzz…

    Saturday, March 19, 2011

    Beekeeper in Chief Charlie Brandts did some repair work on the White House Beehive this week. It’s located on the South Lawn, right next to First Lady Michelle Obama’s Kitchen Garden.

    Mrs. Obama planted the garden for Spring on Wednesday, and the bees will have plenty of work as the new veggies start to grow. Brandts did simple fixes, tightening screws and hammering in loose nails, and he also cleaned out some of the screens.

    The Obama beehive is the first to ever grace the White House grounds, and last season produced 160 pounds of honey. It is strapped to its base, so it won’t blow over from the wind created when President Obama flies in on Marine One. Brandts has worked at the White House as a carpenter for more than three decades, and he brought his home beekeping hobby to the White House at the behest of Mrs. Obama.

    For the entire article:

  35. It Won’t Be Pretty
    Clyde Wadsworth says defending the Defense of Marriage Act will prove awkward for House Republicans.

    Mar 16, 2011 By Clyde Wadsworth-

    When the Justice Department recently announced that it will stop defending part of the Defense of Marriage Act — the part that bars the federal government from recognizing the legal marriages of same-sex couples in states like Massachusetts and Iowa — House Republican leaders jumped at the chance to defend the government’s discrimination.

    So much for their pledge to focus on jobs and the economy, or their vow to keep the federal government out of the states’ business. It’s time to stroke their demanding mistress, the religious right.

    This may be a harder seduction than Republicans imagine, and an ugly one to watch. First, they’ll have to push into a New York federal court and tell the judge why Edith Windsor and Thea Spyer, who were together for 40 years when Thea died of multiple sclerosis two years ago — and who were legally married in Canada — why they should be treated as strangers under federal law. They’ll have to explain why, even though the Empire State recognizes the couple’s marriage, Thea’s 81-year-old widow should have to pay a $350,000 federal tax bill that she would not have faced if Thea had been a man.

    For the entire article and audio commentary:

    • Obama thrills Brazil slum residents with visit

      3/20/11 JULIANA BARBASSA, AP

      RIO DE JANEIRO – President Barack Obama didn’t just take in Rio’s famous tourist sites during his visit Sunday, instead making his first stop a notorious slum where police recently wrested control from a violent drug gang.

      Residents crowded sidewalks, rooftops and balconies to wave as Obama’s shining black limousine rolled through the narrow streets. The luxurious vehicle contrasted sharply with the poverty in Cidade de Deus, or City of God, made famous by an Oscar-nominated movie of the same name.

      At a community center, the president shed his coat and tie, rolled up his sleeves and dribbled a soccer ball one-on-one with a delighted boy. Michelle Obama and daughters Sasha and Malia also kicked a ball around with the kids.

      Obama then walked out to the street and waved to throngs of cheering residents. Dozens of young children pressed up against a chain-link fence trying to get a glimpse of the U.S. president, as armed guards stood watch on the metal roofs of jumbled shacks.

      In this nation of 190 million where half the population is black, Obama’s election is an inspiration for many, said Ana Luiza Paradiso, a 40-year-old housewife.

      For the entire article:

    • Raw Video: Obama Plays Soccer

      ploaded by AssociatedPress on Mar 20, 2011

      During a visit to a Rio de Janeiro slum, President Barack Obama joined a group of children as they kicked around soccer balls. (March 20)

      • Obama cheered at Brazil’s ‘City of God’ favela

        Uploaded by AFP on Mar 20, 2011

        US President Barack Obama held up emerging powerhouse Brazil on Sunday as a model of economic and democratic transformation. Barack Obama also visited Brazil’s infamous “City of God” favela, where residents thronged the streets, eager for a glimpse of the president.

  36. Egypt: partial results show referendum passing

    3/20/11 MAGGIE MICHAEL – AP

    CAIRO – Partial results from a third of Egypt’s provinces Sunday showed massive turnout and a vote overwhelmingly in favor of constitutional changes that eliminate restrictions on political rights and civil liberties.

    The count from most of the country, including Cairo, was still to be released.

    But according to results issued by judges at their respective polling centers, 11 of 29 provinces showed 65 to 90 percent of voters saying “yes” to the changes, which would allow parliament and presidential vote no later than September.

    Opponents feared the referendum’s passage would allow the highly organized Muslim Brotherhood to dominate Egypt’s dozens of new political parties in the presidential and parliamentary vote.

    The partial, preliminary results also showed 70 percent turnout at many polling centers, a massive showing after decades of political apathy in response to repression.

    For the entire article:

    • March 20, 2011

      Remarks by the President to the People of Brazil in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

      Teatro Municipal
      Rio de Janeiro

      2:56 P.M. BRT

      THE PRESIDENT: Hello, Rio de Janeiro!

      AUDIENCE: Hello!

      AUDIENCE MEMBER: Many welcomes!

      THE PRESIDENT: Alo! Cidade! Maravilhoso! (Applause.) Boa tarde, todo o povo brasileiro. (Applause.)

      Since the moment we arrived, the people of this nation have graciously shown my family the warmth and generosity of the Brazilian spirit. Obrigado. Thank you. (Applause.) And I want to give a special thanks to all of you for being here, because I’ve been told that there’s a Vasco football game coming. (Cheers and boos.) Botafogo –- (laughter.) So I know that — I realize Brazilians don’t give up their soccer very easily. (Laughter.)

      Now, one of my earliest impressions of Brazil was a movie I saw with my mother as a very young child, a movie called Black Orpheus, that is set in the favelas of Rio during Carnival. And my mother loved that movie, with its singing and dancing against the backdrop of the beautiful green hills. And it first premiered as a play right here in Teatro Municipal. That’s my understanding.

      For the entire transcript:


      Uploaded by marcuspitter on Mar 21, 2011


  37. Hello everyone. Missed the President’s speech. I hope to see it later. It was no doubt excellent. I certainly appears that Brazil loves our President as we do. I am pleased to no end.

  38. President Obama’s Nowruz Message

    From: whitehouse | Mar 20, 2011

    President Obama sends an important message to those celebrating the holiday of Nowruz.

  39. US General: Security Transition in Afghanistan Will Start Soon, But Will be Gradual


    The American commander of all coalition forces in Afghanistan, Army General David Petraeus, says security responsibility will begin to be transferred to Afghan forces in the coming months and that U.S. troops will begin to withdraw in July as planned. But he told the Senate Armed Services Committee on Tuesday that the process will be gradual to ensure that Afghan troops and government officials can sustain the areas where they take responsibility.

    General Petraeus said the increased numbers of foreign and Afghan troops and civilian officials have made significant progress against Taliban influence during the past year. And he repeated his view that the insurgents’ momentum has been stopped in much of Afghanistan and reversed in several important areas, including Kandahar and Helmand Provinces.

    For the entire article:

  40. No-fly Zone in Place, But Danger Remains, Admiral Says

    March 20, 2011 By Jim Garamone
    American Forces Press Service

    WASHINGTON – While the attacks on Libya’s integrated air and missile defense system have been successful, thousands of anti-aircraft artillery emplacements and portable missile launchers still pose threats to coalition air crews, the director of the Joint Staff said today.

    On the second day of Operation Odyssey Dawn, Navy Vice Adm. William E. Gortney said the coalition cruise missile strikes against selected air defense systems and facilities were successful, and that coalition ships and submarines launched 124 Tomahawk missiles against these targets.

    “We judge these strikes to have been very effective in degrading the regime’s air defense capability, to include their ability to launch many of their SA-5s – their long range missiles – their SA-3s and SA-2s,” Gortney said during a Pentagon news conference.

    Moammar Gadhafi’s regime has not launched aircraft, and the coalition has not detected any radar emissions from the air defense sites targeted, the admiral said.

    For the entire article:

    • Gates: US expects to hand off Libya lead in ‘days’

      3/20/11 LOLITA C. BALDOR -AP

      ON BOARD A MILITARY AIRCRAFT – U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates said Sunday that the U.S. expects to turn control of the Libya military mission over to a coalition — probably headed either by the French and British or by NATO — “in a matter of days.”

      In his first public remarks since the start of the bombings, Gates said President Barack Obama felt very strongly about limiting America’s role in the operation, adding that the president is “more aware than almost anybody of the stress on the military.”

      “We agreed to use our unique capabilities and the breadth of those capabilities at the front of this process, and then we expected in a matter of days to be able to turn over the primary responsibility to others,” Gates told reporters traveling with him to Russia. “We will continue to support the coalition, we will be a member of the coalition, we will have a military role in the coalition, but we will not have the preeminent role.”

      The two key possibilities, he said, are a combined British-French command or the use of a NATO command. He acknowledged there is “some sensitivity on the part of the Arab League to being seen to be operating under a NATO umbrella.”

      For the entire article:

  41. WH

    Monday, March 21, 2011

    All Times Eastern

    Vice President Biden and Secretary of Education Arne Duncan visit Howard High School of Technology in Delaware.

    Senior Director for Western Hemisphere Affairs Dan Restrepo, Deputy National Security Advisor for Strategic Communications Ben Rhodes and Press Secretary Jay Carney gaggle aboard Air Force One.

    7:00 AM
    8:00 AM
    8:15 AM

    The first family departs Rio de Janeiro, Brazil en route Santiago, Chile.
    9:00 AM
    10:00 AM
    11:00 AM
    12:00 PM
    12:20 PM

    The first family arrives in Santiago, Chile.

    12:30 PM
    V.P. Biden Speaks on Winning the Future through Education – Howard High School of Technology, Wilmington, Delaware

    12:50 PM

    President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama participate in an arrival ceremony.
    1:00 PM

    President Obama and President Sebastian Piñera of Chile take official photo.
    1:05 PM

    President Obama holds a bilateral meeting with President Piñera.
    1:25 PM

    President Obama holds an expanded bilateral meeting with President Piñera.
    2:00 PM
    2:05 PM

    President Obama and President Piñera hold a joint press conference.
    3:00 PM
    3:30 PM

    President Obama speaks in Santiago, Chile
    4:00 PM

    Vice President Biden makes an appearance at a Democratic National Committee event in Boston
    4:30 PM

    President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama attend U.S. Embassy meet and greet.
    5:00 PM
    6:00 PM
    7:00 PM
    7:15 PM

    President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama arrive at La Moneda Palace.
    7:25 PM

    President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama attend an official dinner hosted by President Piñera.
    8:00 PM

  42. .POTUS in Chile

    On Monday, March 21, VOA will have a special edition of El Mundo al Dia that will provide coverage of President Obama’s speech in Santiago, Chile. This will be a one-hour program, airing live from 3:30-4:30pm (EDT). President’s speech is scheduled for 3:30 – 4:00pm (EDT). VOA will broadcast the speech with simultaneous translation.

    The broadcast will be transmitted live via radio, television and webcast. WEBSITE will include live WEBCAST:

    For access to El Mundo al Dia, the link is:

    • Presidente Obama Chile

      From: santiagopress | Mar 15, 2011

      Mensaje del embajador de los Estados Unidos en Chile, Alejandro Wolff, con motivo de la visita del Presidente Barack Obama a Chile, el 21-22 de marzo de 2011.

    • Bienvenido a Chile Presidente Obama

      From: santiagopress | Mar 10, 2011

      Chilenos y estadounidenses le dan la bienvenida al presidente de los Estados Unidos Barack Obama en su próxima visita al país. ¡¡Bienvenido a Chile Presidente Obama!!

    • Gadhafi’s Troops Retreat From Benghazi

      March 21, 2011 By Jim Garamone
      American Forces Press Service

      WASHINGTON – Forces loyal to Moammar Gadhafi are retreating from the opposition stronghold of Benghazi following coalition attacks to protect Libyan civilians over the weekend, Army Gen. Carter F. Ham said today.

      Ham commands U.S. Africa Command and leads the coalition designed to enforce U.N. Security Council Resolution 1973, which calls for the protection of Libyan civilians from Gadhafi’s forces and authorizes a no-fly zone over Libya.

      The first days of Operation Odyssey Dawn have been successful, Ham said during a news conference with Pentagon reporters from his headquarters in Stuttgart, Germany.

      “I assess that our actions to date are generally achieving the intended objectives,” Ham said. “We have not observed Libyan military aircraft operating since the beginning of coalition operations.”

      Coalition air attacks have succeeded in stopping regime forces from advancing on Benghazi, “and we are now seeing regime forces moving southward from Benghazi,” Ham said. “Through a variety of reports, we know that regime ground forces that were in the vicinity of Benghazi now possess little will or capability to resume offensive operations,” he added.

      For the entire article:

    • In North Africa, Ban urges world community to ‘speak with one voice’ on Libya

      21 March 2011

      The international community must “continue to speak with one voice” on the unfolding developments in Libya, or the humanitarian situation in the North African country will only worsen, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon warned today during his visit to the region.

      Speaking to journalists in Egypt, Mr. Ban urged the full implementation of last week’s Security Council resolution on Libya, which authorized United Nations Member States to take “all necessary measures” to protect civilians.

      “It is imperative that the international community continue to speak with one voice to fully implement the Security Council resolutions,” he told journalists in Cairo after a meeting with Amr Moussa, the Secretary-General of the League of Arab States. “Thousands of lives are at stake. We could well see a further humanitarian emergency.”

      North Africa and the Middle East have been swept this year by popular protests and calls for wide-ranging reform and greater democracy. The long-standing leaders in Tunisia and Egypt were toppled while in Libya the regime of Muammar al-Qadhafi has waged a fierce military offensive against the opposition movement.

      For the entire article:

  43. Better Benefits, Better Health for Small Businesses

    Posted by Richard Sorian on March 21, 2011

    This week, we will be marking the one year anniversary of enactment of the Affordable Care Act and kicking off the Better Benefits, Better Health Initiative. This initiative will highlight the important information consumers, families and businesses need to get the benefits of reform.

    We’re kicking off the initiative by highlighting some important information for small business owners. Small business owners and their employees have always gotten the short end of the stick, paying an average of 18% more for insurance that often covers less than the policies sold to their larger competitors. And small businesses lack the purchasing power that larger employers have. That’s changing thanks to the health care law signed by President Obama one year ago.

    Thankfully, the Affordable Care Act is helping small business owners get quality affordable coverage for their families and their employees.

    For the entire article:

  44. New York Times journalists released from Libyan custody

    3/21/11 Tulay Karadeniz and Jennifer Saba- Reuters

    NEW YORK (Reuters) – Libya released four New York Times journalists on Monday, nearly a week after they had been captured by Libyan forces while covering the conflict there, the Times said, although three journalists for other outlets remain missing.

    The four were at the Turkish embassy in Tripoli and would be sent home within hours, Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu told reporters in Ankara.

    The Times journalists are two-time Pulitzer Prize winner and Beirut bureau chief Anthony Shadid, reporter and videographer Stephen Farrell and photographers Tyler Hicks and Lynsey Addario.

    “We are grateful that our journalists have been released, and we are working to reunite them with their families,” the Times said in a statement.

    “We have been told they are in good health and are in the process of confirming that. We thank the Turkish, British, and U.S. governments for their assistance in the release. We also appreciate the efforts of those in the Libyan government who helped secure the release this morning,” the statement said.

    For the entire article:

  45. March 21, 2011

    Background on the Vice President’s Trip to Howard High School to Celebrate One-Year Anniversary of Race to the Top Awards in Delaware

    Today, Vice President Joe Biden and Secretary of Education Arne Duncan will be in Wilmington, Delaware to celebrate the first year anniversary of the first Race to the Top Awards, which marked the beginning of a transformative and highly successful investment in education. Nearly a year after being awarded $100 million in Race to the Top funding, Delaware’s grant has significantly helped the state make progress toward improving its education system. In remarks at Howard High School of Technology, the Vice President and Secretary Duncan will discuss the success of teacher collaboration in Delaware, as well as how winning the future in education will continue to require investments that promote a shared responsibility among everyone involved; reform at the state and local levels; and a focus on achieving results. They will be joined in Wilmington by Governor Jack Markell, Senator Chris Coons, Representative John Carney and President of the Delaware State Education Association Diane Donohue

    For the entire article:

    • March 21, 2011

      Vice President Biden Celebrates One-Year Anniversary of Race to the Top Awards in Delaware

      Teacher collaboration critical to early success in Delaware

      WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Vice President Joe Biden and Secretary of Education Arne Duncan were in Wilmington, Delaware to celebrate the first year anniversary of the first Race to the Top awards, which marked the beginning of a transformative and highly successful investment in education. Nearly a year after being awarded over $100 million in Race to the Top funding, Delaware’s grant has significantly helped the state make progress toward improving its education system. Speaking at Howard High School of Technology, the Vice President and Secretary Duncan discussed the success of teacher collaboration in Delaware, as well as how winning the future in education will continue to require investments that promote a shared responsibility among everyone involved; reform at the state and local levels; and a focus on achieving results. They were joined in Wilmington by Governor Jack Markell, Senator Chris Coons, Representative John Carney and President of the Delaware State Education Association Diane Donohue.

      “For less than one percent of what America spends on education each year, we were able to help jump-start some of the farthest reaching education reforms in history,” said Vice President Biden. “All across the country, Race to the Top is inspiring the same kind of change we’re seeing here in Delaware.”

      “Nearly one year ago, Delaware won a Race to the Top award because it submitted an application that promised to reach into every corner of the state and had the full support of its teacher’s union,” said Secretary Duncan. “Today, we are here to celebrate the fact that Delaware has made good on its promise and is beginning to implement changes that are transforming the state of education for children throughout the state.”

      For the entire article:

  46. U.S. makes potassium iodide available in Japan

    3/21/11 Arshad Mohammed -Reuters

    WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The United States is making potassium iodide available to U.S. personnel and their dependents living in Tokyo and other parts of Japan, as a precaution against radiation exposure, the State Department said in a travel warning on Monday.

    “The (potassium iodide) should only be consumed after specific instruction from the United States government,” the travel warning said.

    “While there is no indication that it will become advisable to take (potassium iodide), out of an abundance of caution the United States Government is making it available to its personnel and family members to be used only upon direction.”

    “No one should take (potassium iodide) at this time. In the event of a radiological release, sheltering in place or departing the affected area remain the primary means of protection,” it said.

    The move is consistent with U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission guidelines that would apply to a similar situation in the United States, the State Department said.

    Potassium iodide can saturate the thyroid gland and prevent the absorption of radioactive iodine. That can reduce the risk of cancer in the long term, if given before or shortly after exposure to radiation.

    The treatment is being made available to the personnel and their families living in certain areas of Japan including Tokyo, Yokohama and the prefectures of Akita, Aomori, Chiba, Fukushima, Gunma, Ibaraki, Iwate, Miyagi, Nagano, Niigata, Saitama, Shizouka, Tochigi, Yamagata, and Yamanashi.

  47. Obama’s dueling foreign policy: friendship, might

    3/21/11 By JIM KUHNHENN, AP

    SANTIAGO, Chile – Seeking to set an example for the Middle East, President Barack Obama will tout the successful transitions to democracy across much of Latin America during a speech in Chile Monday.

    Air Force One touched down in Santiago early Monday afternoon. Obama, traveling with wife Michelle Obama and their two daughters, will spend less than 24 hours in Chile, the second country they’ve visited on the president’s three-nation, five-day tour of Latin America.

    Much of Obama’s public diplomacy here has been overshadowed by the use of military power in Libya. During his first stop, a two-day visit to Brazil, he balanced outreach to an increasingly influential Latin American neighbor with meetings and secure phone calls to approve missile attacks on Libya’s air defenses. En route to Chile, Obama was briefed on the operation in Libya during an hour-long conference call with top U.S. officials.

    For the entire article:

  48. Happy Monday, CR and all friends!


    Here is an email I just received from our Governor Chris Gregoire, a great ally of President Obama and advocate for the citizens of Washington State:

    Dear Friend,

    It’s a busy time in our state. We are in the middle of a legislative session and facing extremely difficult budget challenges. While there is much news to share, I wanted to take a few minutes to bring you up to date on a few recent developments.

    First, I hope you’ll join me in congratulating the Boeing Company and its workers for winning the bid to build the next generation of Air Force refueling tankers! We worked alongside our federal delegation, business and community leaders, and the International Association of Machinists to make our case that Boeing has the best workers and builds the best airplanes in the world. The Defense Department obviously agreed! This news is great for our state, for Boeing and for the 11,000 Washington workers who will build the new air refueling tankers.

    Second, I’m taking a stand and fighting to ensure that affordable health care is available to Washingtonians. I hope you’ll join me.

    Last year, Washington Attorney General Rob McKenna joined a lawsuit filed in Florida requesting that a Florida court declare the national health care reform law unconstitutional. Attorney General McKenna did not consult me or legislative leaders before joining this lawsuit. We don’t agree with his decision to file this lawsuit on behalf of our state.

    I filed a brief telling the court that the Attorney General does not represent my administration or legislative leadership. In other words, we intend to implement health care reform in our state. If the Attorney General was successful in his request to declare the entire law unconstitutional or if Congress repealed the law, it could have a dramatic impact on Washington citizens. Do we have to stop what we’ve already started implementing? Will we have to stop allowing parents to carry insurance for their children up to the age of 26? What's going to happen to those senior citizens who have gotten a $250 check to help with prescription drug costs? What about those with pre-existing conditions? Or the small businesses who are benefitting from the new law? Do we stop implementation of the $82.9 million in grants that Washington State has received? Do we have to give that money back?

    Fortunately, the Florida court has now refused to stop implementation of health reform. The Court cited our brief in rejecting the request of the Attorney General. But the legal and political fight is far from over. At some point the U.S. Supreme Court will hear and rule on this issue. And while the President and the Senate are standing steadfastly in support of the reforms, the House is trying to repeal the Affordable Care Act. Please know that I won’t stop my work to ensure that our citizens have access to affordable quality health coverage.

    And in the midst of the worst budget problem we’ve faced in decades, the U.S. House of Representatives passed a budget bill that would actually make our problems worse. A few weeks ago, the House passed a bill that Mark Zandi of Moody’s has said would cost 700,000 jobs across the country. But that’s not all, the House legislation significantly reduces Head Start funding for kids needing early childhood education, eliminates family planning funding for Planned Parenthood, reduces Pell Grant funds available to college students, and guts money for vital transportation projects in our state that would create jobs and keep traffic moving. As Chair of the National Governor’s Association, I have been working hard to make sure Congress understands the impact of their proposals in our states and local communities. Thankfully the Senate has rejected their proposal but we must be vigilant in our efforts.

    We have very tough budget choices ahead of us in our state. I’ll keep you updated on our progress and the challenges ahead. But in the meantime, I wanted you to know that I’m fighting to make sure that actions in Congress or by courts in other states don’t negatively impact the lives of people here in Washington.

    Thank you for your continued support.


    Chris Gregoire

    P.S. As Chair of the National Governors’ Association, I had the privilege of giving the toast (with Washington wine!) at a dinner with our nation’s Governors and President Obama. I wanted to share this proud moment for me and our state with you (

  49. Gates: Common Challenges Deepen U.S.-Russian Ties

    Russia, March 21, 2011 By Cheryl Pellerin
    American Forces Press Service

    ST. PETERSBURG – Common security challenges, a deepening military-to-military relationship and the will to expand cooperation have drawn the United States and Russia together to face emerging issues of the 21st century, Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates said here today.

    Speaking at the new State Russian Naval Museum to mid-level naval officers from the Kuznetsov Naval Academy, Gates said the last time he visited St. Petersburg was as director of the Central Intelligence Agency in 1992.

    “The broader purpose of my 1992 visit … was to explore with my Russian counterpart, head of the Russian Foreign Intelligence Service Evgeniy Primakov, opportunities for the American and Russian intelligence services to begin to work together,” Gates said.

    At the time, he said, they addressed common threats in the post-Cold-War world, including terrorism, the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, global organized crime, narcotics trafficking and others.

    For the entire article:

  50. Yemen’s Saleh on the brink as generals join protesters

    3/21/11 By Laura Rozen-

    Yemen’s embattled three-decade ruler, President Ali Abdullah Saleh, a key ally in the U.S. war against Al Qaeda militants in that country, is clinging to power amid a wave of high-level official defections to protesters demanding his immediate ouster.

    Five top army commanders joined Yemeni diplomats who have defected to the side of protesters, even as Yemen’s defense minister said Monday the army stands with Saleh, and will support him against what he called an attempted coup.

    The wave of defections came after Saleh fired his cabinet Sunday night, following the killing of 45 protesters in recent days, the New York Times’ Laurie Kasinof reports from Sana:

    The shift in support by the tribal leader and senior military commanders came amid a stream of resignations by Yemeni officials on Monday, including the mayor of the restive southern city of Aden, a provincial governor and at least one of the country’s ambassadors, according to a diplomat at the Yemeni Embassy in Washington who asked not to be identified.

    Yemen’s ambassadors to Syria and Saudi Arabia also resigned on Monday, according to Al Jazeera, and the ambassador to Japan was reported to have quit as well.

    “This is a replicate of the changes that have happened in Egypt,” said a high-ranking Yemeni diplomat in Europe who spoke on condition of anonymity. But, he added, “It is too early to see where the shift would lead to.”

    For the entire article:

  51. POLITICO44 WhiteBoard

    3/21/11 POLITICO

    The White House says President Obama talked for an hour on the phone about Libya with Hillary Clinton, Robert Gates, Adm. Mike Mullen, Gen. Carter Ham, Tom Donilon and Bill Daley on Monday. Obama then spoke on the phone with John Brennan and others about Japan, White House officials told reporters on Air Force One.

    Ben Rhodes, a national security aide, said a transition of control to the coalition in Libya will happen “in a matter of days, not weeks.” He also said allies aren’t trying to take out Muammar Qadhafi, and that the mission is “not about regime change.”

    MORE: POLITICO’s Josh Gerstein reports that upon landing in Chile, Obama came briskly down the Air Force One stairs at 12:28 p.m. holding hands with his daughter Malia. The first lady followed with Sasha. Obama and Chilean Foreign Minister Alfredo Moreno briefly walked on a red carpet, reviewing troops carrying rifles and clad in blue uniforms. Obama is now headed for a formal arrival ceremony downtown at La Moneda Palace.

  52. Boston boost
    DNC shines spotlight on Biden

    03/21/11 By MATT NEGRIN – POLITICO

    Democrats must be responding well to Joe Biden’s campaign pitch: The vice president plans to make an appearance at a Democratic National Committee event in Boston on Monday.

    Biden made a pitch on Friday for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee in Philadelphia.

    The White House didn’t say whether Biden’s 4 p.m. speech would be open to the press.

  53. National Quality Strategy will promote better health, quality care for Americans

    Monday, March 21, 2011

    Created under the Affordable Care Act, first-ever strategy will guide local, state and
    national efforts to improve quality of care

    The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) today released the National Strategy for Quality Improvement in Health Care (National Quality Strategy). The strategy was called for under the Affordable Care Act and is the first effort to create national aims and priorities to guide local, state, and national efforts to improve the quality of health care in the United States.

    “The Affordable Care Act sets America on a path toward a higher quality health care system so we stop doing things that don’t work for patients and start doing more of the things that do work,” said HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius. “American hospitals, doctors, nurses and other health care providers are among the best in the world. With this ground-breaking strategy, we are working with local communities and health care providers to help patients and improve the health of all Americans.”

    For the entire article:

  54. Contact Group on Piracy off the Coast of Somalia Meets in New York

    Office of the Spokesman for State Department
    Washington, DC

    March 21, 2011

    The United States will join partners from 60 countries and international organizations at the United Nations in New York March 21, for a plenary meeting of the Contact Group on Piracy off the Coast of Somalia, a growing diplomatic effort to confront criminal activity that threatening commerce and humanitarian aid deliveries along one of the world’s busiest shipping corridors.

    The plenary, hosted by Turkey, will be the eighth gathering of this outstanding international partnership, which was established following the adoption of U.N. Security Council Resolution 1851 to coordinate an effective international response to piracy in the Somali Basin and surrounding waters. Since its initial meeting in January 2009, the Contact Group has nearly doubled in size − a testament to the global consensus that piracy poses a shared security challenge to maritime safety and that the current situation requires further concerted and coordinated international action.

    For the entire article:

    • March 21, 2011

      Remarks by President Obama and President Sebastian Pinera of Chile at Join Press Conference
      La Moneda Palace, Santiago, Chile

      3:18 P.M. CT

      PRESIDENT PINERA: (As translated.) Good afternoon, everyone. Firstly, I would like to cordially and heartily welcome a friend of Chile and a personal friend, President Obama. I think that your visit, President, is very important and has enormous significance for Chile. It’s the first time in more than 20 years that a President of the United States visits our country.

      Of course, we’ve had several multilateral summits of world leaders, and this visit coincides with the celebration of 50 years of the Alliance for Progress that was announced by President Kennedy at the beginning of the ‘60s.

      We have had with President Obama a very open, frank, and fruitful conversation, and we have been able to subscribe many agreements of different nature, but they do have something in common. They all contribute to a better life and better quality of life for our peoples — like trade promotion and to accelerate and perfect the free trade agreement we have with the United States; cooperation in the field of education and English teaching in order to make of Chile bilingual country; collaboration in the developments and efficient use of energies, and cleaner energies in particular — renewable energies, where Chile has numerous potential; and also collaboration in research technologies and training of our engineers and technicians in nuclear energy.

      For the entire article:

    • March 21, 2011

      The United States and Chile: The Fact Sheets

      President Obama and President Piñera enjoyed meaningful and productive meetings during the President’s visit to Santiago. They highlighted the strong and natural ties between the United States and Chile and sought to build on their relationship on issues of regional and global importance. In the spirit of enhanced partnership, the two Heads of State agreed to broaden cooperation in several areas. These include:

      Strengthening the U.S.-Chile Economic Relationship

      The United States and Chile are strong partners in trade and investment as well as energy,climate change, and environmental cooperation. This relationship is based on a common commitment to an open market economy as the key determinant of economic growth, development, and job creation. Bilateral trade has more than doubled since the U.S.-Chile Free Trade Agreement (FTA) entered into force in 2004. During 2011, the United States and Chile will eliminate tariffs on 134 products, further promoting trade between our two countries. We are cooperating on a number of other issues, including active negotiations for the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a 21st century high-standard trade agreement embracing dynamic economies across the Asia Pacific region. In addition, the two Presidents agreed to continue to work together bilaterally and regionally to protect the environment, combat climate change, and enhance clean energy development and deployment.

      For the entire article:

    • March 21, 2011

      Partnerships for Progress: The Fact Sheets

      “I believe that in the Americas today, there are no senior partners and there are no junior partners, there are equal partners. But equal partnerships, in turn, demand a sense of shared responsibility. We have obligations to each other, and today, the United States is working with the nations of this hemisphere to meet our responsibilities in several key areas.”

      President Barack Obama
      March 21, 2011 Santiago, Chile

      Economic, Trade and Commerce

      President Obama is committed to enhancing U.S. leadership in Latin America, and at the same time, recognizing the region’s emerging markets as key players in the global economy. Latin America’s rapid pace of growth – around 6 percent in 2010 – is creating new opportunities for mutually beneficial trade that creates prosperity abroad and new jobs at home. The United States and Latin America are connected together not just by a common geography, but by common interests and values.

      The President set a goal of doubling our exports by 2015, and with nearly 20 percent growth since 2009, we are on pace to meet this challenge. But as the United States competes globally, strengthening our partnerships for progress with our American neighbors is crucial to winning the future. U.S. trade agreements with Latin American already cover nine countries and $471 billion in total goods trade with more set to be added when the outstanding issues with Panama and Colombia are resolved and those FTA’s are put forward for Congressional approval.

      For the entire article:

    • March 21, 2011

      Remarks by President Obama on Latin America in Santiago, Chile
      Palacio de La Moneda Cultural Center, Santiago, Chile

      4:27 P.M. CT

      PRESIDENT OBAMA: Muchas gracias. Thank you so much. (Applause.) Thank you. Thank you so much. Thank you. Thank you. Please, please, everyone be seated.

      Thank you. Buenas tardes. It is a wonderful honor to be here in Santiago, Chile. And I want to, first of all, thank your President, President Pinera, for his outstanding leadership and the hospitality that he’s extended not only to me but also to my wife, my daughters, and, most importantly, my mother-in-law. (Laughter.)

      To the people of Santiago, to the people of Chile, thank you so much for your wonderful welcome. And on behalf of the people of the United States, let me thank you for your friendship and the strong bonds between our people.

      There are several people that I just want to acknowledge very briefly. We have the President of the Inter-American Development Bank, Luis Alberto Moreno, who is here. (Applause.) We also have Alicia Bárcena, who is the Executive Secretary of the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean. (Applause.)

      Throughout our history, this land has been called “el fin de la tierra” — the end of the world. But I’ve come here today because in the 21st century this nation is a vital part of our interconnected world. In an age when peoples are intertwined like never before, Chile shows that we need not be divided by race or religion or ethnic conflict. You’ve welcomed immigrants from every corner of the globe, even as you celebrate a proud indigenous heritage.

      For the entire article:

  55. March 21, 2011

    2011 White House Easter Egg Roll Poster Design Contest

    WASHINGTON – Today, the White House is announcing an Easter Egg Roll Poster Contest for local school children. The First Lady will be selecting the winning design, which will serve as the official 2011 White House Easter Egg Roll poster. The White House invites all elementary and middle school students in the District of Columbia, Maryland, and Virginia to submit poster designs by Monday, April 4th at 11:59pm EST for consideration. The poster design selected by the First Lady will be used as part of the White House 2011 Easter Egg Roll program. The winning student artist will be invited to attend the event, along with his or her class.

    Students from the Washington, D.C. area have had a special relationship with the White House Easter Egg Roll for generations. In the early 1800s, local children rolled eggs on the Capitol Steps the day after Easter. In 1878, President Rutherford B. Hayes invited D.C. area children to roll their Easter eggs on the White House lawn and a tradition was born, growing into the national event that it is today. The Easter Egg Roll was the largest public event held at the White House in 2009 (and 2010). Close to 30,000 people from the DC area and across the country gathered on the South Lawn to enjoy the festivities.

    For the entire article:

    • I’m glad they’re keeping the contest local – or they’d have a gazillion entries!

  56. Next Up…

    Department of State

    4:00 P.M. EDT
    Global Water Issues
    Under Secretary of State Maria Otero and Harriet Babbitt, Global Water Challenge Co-Chair, discuss global water issues in a live webcast.

    • Remarks on World Water Day

      Hillary Rodham Clinton -Secretary of State
      The World Bank, Washington, DC

      March 22, 2011

      SECRETARY CLINTON: Thank you. Good afternoon in this absolutely glorious fora with so many people who do the work every day that makes the World Bank such a respected institution. It is my pleasure to commemorate World Water Day with you.

      And I want to thank Bob Zoellick for his commitment to this issue and his leadership of the Bank; vice president Inger Andersen, American executive director Ian Solomon, and in particular, some of my team who are here – Maria Otero, Under Secretary for Global Affairs and Democracy at the State Department, and Don Steinberg, Deputy at USAID, and Jane Lubchenco, the NOAA Administrator. And we want to send a special greeting to everyone in South Africa, especially to His Royal Highness, the Prince of Orange of the Netherlands, for making this water issue one of international significance.

      For the entire article:

  57. Attention Entrepreneurs: Send Us Your Thoughts, We’re Listening

    Posted by Sarah Bernard on March 21, 2011

    Earlier this year, the White House launched the Startup America initiative to celebrate, inspire and accelerate high-growth entrepreneurship around the country. As part of the effort, senior Administration officials are travelling across the country this month to hear directly from entrepreneurs about what processes and regulations we need to change or improve in order to foster a more nurturing environment for entrepreneurship and innovation.

    For those of you who don’t live near one of the Startup America: Reducing Barriers Roundtable cities, we’re holding an online panel here at the White House to take and respond to your questions and suggestions, too. Submit your ideas for reducing burdens to entrepreneurship and innovation here at or on twitter with the hashtag #startupamerica, and Fast Company editors will select as many as they can to pose to National Economic Council Director Gene Sperling and SBA Administrator Karen Mills on Wednesday at 12:00pm ET on

    So that means…

    Submit your questions for Gene Sperling and Karen Mills here.

    Watch for the answers at 12 noon ET on, and add to conversation on facebook or on twitter with the hashtag #startupamerica.

  58. Commerce Secretary Locke Delivers Keynote Address on U.S.-Brazil Relations at the American Chamber of Commerce in Brazil and Visits Cummins Production Facility

    March 21, 2011

    Secretary Locke Tours Cummins’s Brazilian Production and Research Facility

    Commerce Secretary Gary Locke delivered the keynote address at the American Chamber of Commerce in São Paulo today where he discussed how Brazil and the United States can partner to expand trade and investment, and strengthen each other’s ability to compete in the global economy.

    Earlier, Locke met with Federação das Indústrias do Estado de São Paulo (FIESP), a prominent trade association comprised of local businesses, as well as Brazilian and American executives at a American Chamber of Commerce board meeting.

    Later in the day, Locke toured the Brazilian production and research facilities of Cummins Inc., which produces engines and related components, and emissions solutions technology. Locke was joined by Tim Solso, Chairman and CEO.

    For the entire article:

  59. March 21, 2011

    Remarks by the First Lady to Renca School
    Renca School, Santiago, Chile

    2:45 P.M. Santiago Time

    MRS. OBAMA: Thank you. Hola. Hello, everybody. Es un placer estar aquí con ustedes. (Applause.) Gracias. (Applause.)

    Before I begin today, I just want to say that our thoughts and prayers continue to be with the people of Japan as they begin to rebuild after the devastating earthquake and tsunami over a week ago.

    Here in Chile, you know the kind of damage these disasters can cause. You’ve experienced it many times yourselves. You know how difficult a time this is for so many families. And so my heart goes out to all those in Japan, here in Chile, in the United States and around the world for those who have lost loved ones.

    But even with everything that’s going on in the world, it is a pleasure and an honor to be in this beautiful country, at this wonderful school, with all of you.

    I want to start by thanking Camila for that very, very kind introduction.

    We are honored today to be joined by the First Lady of Chile, Cecilia Morel.

    I also want to recognize the Minister of Education, Joaquin Lavín, and the mayor here, Vicky Barahona, and your principal, Palmira Cosgrove.

    And my husband and I, we are so grateful to everyone who has made us feel so welcome here.

    For the entire article:

  60. hehe..TOO MUCH..!! 😀

    From my twitter timeline:

    RT @WestWingReport: Santiago pool says locals got out of their cars to watch president’s motorcade tonight; big crowds gathered on city bridges.

    • Hey CR and tigerfist, I have not posted much but I have been checking all of the good posts and links everyday. Working on my Obama scrapbook has been keeping me busy. They are doing a lot of stuff. I am getting a real kick out of the Obama girls and FLOTUS’ Latin American fashion. They are looking so beautiful. I just wanted to pop in and say hello. I am glad that you posted the link to Rachel’s show tonight. I was going to suggest the same. I hope Kucinich and the other naysayers watched her show.

  61. March 21, 2011

    Toast Remarks by the President at Official Dinner in Santiago, Chile
    La Moneda Palace, Santiago, Chile

    9:06 P.M. CT

    THE PRESIDENT: Buenas noches. (Applause.) President Pinera, First Lady, former Presidents Aylwin, Frei, Lagos; to all the distinguished guests here tonight, especially the Secretary General of the Organization of American States, Jose Miguel Insulza. It is wonderful to be here. I have to say that because I’ve already given one speech tonight, I’ve already made remarks at the press — I’m going to keep my remarks tonight very brief, because otherwise you won’t invite me back. (Laughter.)

    But on our flight into Chile today, we were all struck by the incredible beauty of the Andes. We looked out the window, Michelle and my daughters and my staff, and we marveled at the awesome ranges and the snow-capped peaks. It was truly spectacular.

    And it called to mind something once said by a beloved daughter of both our countries, the novelist Isabel Allende. She said, “I come from a land of mountains, where friendship is a blood pact…hospitality is sacred, [and] bonds unbreakable.”

    President Pinera, First Lady, to you and the people of Santiago and of Chile, thank you for the extraordinary hospitality that you have shown both me, Michelle and our daughters. And thank you for the friendship and the strong bonds between our people, which indeed are unbreakable.

    Given the events that are unfolding half a world away, in Middle East and North Africa, I hope you’ll give me a brief moment to reflect on the broader meaning of the times that we live in.

    We gather in a palace that tells the story of a nation, and its relationship with my own. For many years, this was a symbol of how Chile lost its democracy. But today, it stands as a testament to how Chile regained and rebuilt your democracy -— an achievement for which I know all Chileans are extraordinarily proud.

    For the entire article:

  62. WH

    Tuesday Mar. 22, 2011

    All Times Eastern

    Vice Presdient Biden meets with senior advisers in the afternoon.
    7:00 AM
    7:45 AM

    Vice Presdient Biden hosts a breakfast meeting with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
    8:00 AM

    The first family departs Santiago, Chile en route San Salvador, El Salvador.
    9:00 AM
    10:00 AM

    Vice Presdient Biden delivers remarks at the Building a Grad Nation Summit.
    11:00 AM
    12:00 PM
    1:00 PM
    2:00 PM
    2:45 PM

    The first family arrives in San Salvador, El Salvador.
    3:00 PM
    3:30 PM

    Presdient Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama participate in an arrival ceremony.
    3:50 PM

    Presdient Obama holds a bilateral meeting with President Funes.
    4:00 PM
    4:20 PM

    Presdient Obama holds an expanded bilateral meeting with President Funes.
    4:55 PM

    Presdient Obama and President Funes hold a joint press conference.
    5:00 PM
    6:00 PM
    7:00 PM
    8:00 PM
    9:00 PM
    10:00 PM
    10:10 PM

    Presdient Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama attend an official dinner hosted by President Funes.

    • POTUS podium

      Mar 22, 2011

      10:00 AM EDT
      V.P. Biden speaks on the Importance of Investing in Education -Washington, DC (Audio Only)

      4:55 PM EDT
      Presdient Obama and President Funes hold a joint press conference. (Audio Only)


      8:00 AM EDT
      The first family departs Santiago, Chile en route San Salvador, El Salvador.

      12:00 PM EDT
      Pentagon briefing on Libya
      Pentagon officials brief reporters on the latest developments in the coalition strikes in Libya.

      1:15 PM EDT
      State Department briefing
      The State Department holds its daily briefing with reporters. Topics expected to be discussed include the conflict in Libya and the nuclear crisis in Japan.

      2:00 PM EDT
      World Water Day event
      Secretary of State Hillary Clinton signs a memorandum of understanding with the World Bank to strengthen support to developing countries seeking a water secure future. Clinton may also discuss the situations in Libya and Japan.

      2:45 PM EDT
      The first family arrives in San Salvador, El Salvador.

      3:30 PM EDT
      Presdient Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama participate in an arrival ceremony.

      4:55 PM EDT
      Presdient Obama and President Funes hold a joint press conference.

      10:10 PM EDT
      Presdient Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama attend an official dinner hosted by President Funes.


      8:30 AM EDT
      Department of the Treasury
      Access to Capital for Small Companies

      10:00 AM EDT
      Vice President Biden Remarks At Buidling A Grad Nation Summit

      12:00 PM EDT
      Pentagon briefing on Libya
      Pentagon officials brief reporters on the latest developments in the coalition strikes in Libya.

      1:15 PM EDT
      State Department briefing
      The State Department holds its daily briefing with reporters. Topics expected to be discussed include the conflict in Libya and the nuclear crisis in Japan.

      2:10 PM EDT
      Treasury Department Sec. Tim Geithner Closing Remarks on Small Business Capital

      4:55 PM EDT
      Presdient Obama and President Funes hold a joint press conference.

      Department of Defense

      11:30 AM EST
      U.S. Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates speaks with reporters in Moscow, March 22, 2011, on his trip to Russia and his meetings with officials there.

      Department of State

      2:00 PM EDT
      World Water Day event
      Secretary of State Hillary Clinton signs a memorandum of understanding with the World Bank to strengthen support to developing countries seeking a water secure future. Clinton may also discuss the situations in Libya and Japan.


      Japan Broadcasting Corporation


      Middle East Protest

      Al Jazeera – English

      Middle East and North Africa unrest- BBC

  63. Fostering Innovation Across America

    Posted by Don Graves on March 17, 2011

    In February, I traveled with Secretary Geithner and the President to Cleveland, Ohio to meet local business owners and discuss the challenges that they face each day. It was exciting to see the ingenuity and determination of so many entrepreneurs; the American spirit of entrepreneurial innovation remains strong, not just in Silicon Valley, but in all parts of the country. That innovation continues to be at the heart of the American economy and it has helped drive six quarters of economic growth.

    However, the challenges that these business owners face cannot be ignored. In the wake of the recent financial crisis, it is difficult for so many entrepreneurs to access the capital necessary for their companies to grow. Across the Administration, as we encourage innovation and promote entrepreneurship, we are grappling with this question: How can we make sure that the next Facebook has the capital it needs to grow and succeed?

    Next Tuesday, March 22, Treasury will be hosting a conference titled Access to Capital: Fostering Innovation and Growth for Small Companies. We will bring together policymakers, entrepreneurs, investors, academics, and other market participants to explore how both the public and private sectors can help promote access to capital at each phase in the lifecycle of a small company. We are committed to fostering an open dialogue about where the public sector should step in and where we should move out of the way.

    For the entire article:

  64. El Salvador: Obama visit dispels fears over ties

    3/19/11 MARCOS ALEMAN, AP

    SAN SALVADOR, El Salvador – President Mauricio Funes said Saturday he is gratified that Barack Obama is including his small country in a tour of Latin America, saying the visit dispels fears relations would suffer under El Salvador’s first leftist government.

    Funes was elected in 2009 with the support of a party of former Marxist guerrillas that fought to overthrow U.S.-backed governments in the 1980s. His rise to power unseated two decades of conservative governments that made El Salvador among the staunchest U.S. allies in Latin America.

    Opponents had warned those ties would decline, but Funes said Obama’s planned visit Tuesday proves them wrong.

    “We have won the battle against disinformation,” Funes said at a news conference with foreign reporters. “We have dispelled the fear that relations would deteriorate.”

    Funes has charted a moderate course in El Salvador, restoring diplomatic relations with Cuba but also making ties with Washington a priority. His policies have at times caused friction with hard-liners in his party, known as the FMLN.

    For the entire article:

  65. Why Obama is Placing His Hopes on El Salvador

    3/21/11 DAVID KAUFMAN – TIME

    Of all the politicians President Barack Obama encounters during his current Latin American tour, none is likely to be more welcoming than Salvadoran president Mauricio Funes. Elected in 2009 as El Salvador’s first leftist leader since the end of its bloody civil war in 1992, Funes – much like Obama himself – is a youthful populist who campaigned as a progressive but governs as a pragmatist. A political neophyte, Funes’ pro-business and anti-crime policies have transformed the former CNN en Espanol correspondent into the great Gringo hope of Central America.

    As El Salvador struggles with a stagnant economy, rising drug-trafficking trade and one of the world’s highest murder rates, the Obama visit on March 22 is a high-profile effort to ensure Funes’ hope is not merely hype. Unlike Chile and Brazil – Obama’s other Latin American destinations – El Salvador offers little in terms of natural resources or geopolitical might. Instead, El Salvador’s success is as much symbolic as strategic – a Cold War-era battleground that’s traded civil war for civil society while neighboring governments still deal with coups, corruption and communism.

    For the entire article:

    • Sounds as though the two Presidents will be trying to forge a good relationship. Good to be reminded of the different political landscapes in all of the South American countries.

    • Hi CR,
      Thanks for this info on El Salvador,,,didn’t know these facts.
      So much to learn-know about our world and its’ myriad populations…

  66. Thanks for my “late night” fix of information, CR. See you tomorrow.

  67. Goal For Libya Is Have Gadhafi To Step Down

    3/22/11 Steve Inskeep -NPR

    The mission in Libya is multi-pronged: protect civilians and utlimately, have Moammar Gadhafi step down. Former ambassador John Negroponte talks to Steve Inskeep about why intervening in Libya is a good idea. Negropnte is a former career ambassador, and is currently a lecturer in international affairs at Yale University.

    For the audio interview:

  68. Karzai Announces Areas to Transition to Afghan Control

    March 22, 2011 – By Jim Garamone
    American Forces Press Service

    WASHINGTON- Afghan President Hamid Karzai announced the first seven areas of his country that will transition to full Afghan security control.

    The announcement marks the beginning of the process that will see Afghan forces responsible for security across the whole country by the end of 2014.

    In a speech in the Afghan capital of Kabul, Karzai announced that the area around Kabul -– except the Sarobi district –- will transition. Afghan forces already are in charge of security for most of the area.

    Officials in Afghanistan and the United States stressed this was an Afghan decision.

    “This heralds the beginning of the transition process for those areas,” said Army Lt. Col. Beth Robbins, a Pentagon spokeswoman.

    Other areas that will transition are Panjshi and Bamiyan provinces, the city of Herat in western Afghanistan and the city of Lashkar Gah in Helmand province.

    For the entire article:

    • Karzai: Afghan forces to take control in 7 areas

      3/22/11 DEB RIECHMANN, AP

      KABUL, Afghanistan – President Hamid Karzai said Tuesday that his security forces will soon take charge of securing seven areas around Afghanistan — the first step toward his goal of having Afghan police and soldiers protecting the entire nation by the end of 2014.

      In a speech peppered with criticism of the international effort, Karzai said the provincial capitals of Lashkar Gah in southern Afghanistan, Herat in the west, Mazer-e-Sharif in the north and Mehterlam in the east are slated for transition from NATO-led forces to Afghan soldiers and police beginning in July.

      In addition, all of Bamiyan and Panjshir provinces, which have seen little to no fighting, are on the transition list. Also slated for transition is Kabul province except for the restive Surobi district, which is along a main route to the Pakistan border and in proximity to dangerous areas of neighboring provinces, he said.

      “The Afghan nation doesn’t want the defense of this country to be in the hands of others anymore. … This is our responsibility to raise our flag with honor and pride,” Karzai told hundreds of dignitaries and Afghan police and soldiers at the National Military Academy of Afghanistan in the capital.

      For the entire article:

  69. Power lines up in progress at Japan nuclear plant


    FUKUSHIMA, Japan – Workers reconnected power lines to all six reactor units at Japan’s radiation-leaking nuclear plant Tuesday, its operator said, marking a significant step in bringing the overheated complex under control.

    In making an announcement after days of anxious waiting by the public, Tokyo Electric Power Co. cautioned that much work needed to be done before the electricity can be turned on. Workers are checking all additional equipment for damage to make sure cooling systems can be safely operated, Tokyo Electric said.

    In another advance, emergency crews dumped 18 tons of seawater into nearly boiling storage pool holding spent nuclear fuel, cooling it to 105 degrees Fahrenheit (50 degrees Celsius), Japan’s nuclear safety agency said. Steam, possibly carrying radioactive elements, had been rising for two days, and the move lessens the chances that more radiation will seep into the air.

    For the entire article:

    • March 22, 2011

      Vice President Biden Issues Call to Action to Boost College Graduation Rates Nationwide

      Vice President Releases College Completion Tool Kit to Help Chart the Path

      WASHINGTON, D.C. – Vice President Joe Biden today issued a call to action to boost college graduation rates across the country and help the nation meet President Obama’s goal for the United States to have the best-educated workforce and the highest proportion of college graduates in the world by 2020. Speaking at the first annual Building a Grad Nation Summit, Vice President Biden – who has made college affordability and accessibility a key priority in his role as chairman of the Middle Class Task Force – called on each Governor to host a state college completion summit, released a new college completion tool kit for states and Governors to draw ideas from, and announced a new grant competition focused on helping institutions of higher education boost completion rates.

      “Right now we’ve got an education system that works like a funnel when we need it to work like a pipeline,” said Vice President Biden. “We have to make the same commitment to getting folks across the graduation stage that we did to getting them into the registrar’s office. The dreams and skills of our college graduates will pave the way to a bright economic future for our nation.”

      To meet the President’s 2020 goal, the United States will have to increase the number of college graduates by 50 percent – turning out at least 8 million additional graduates by the end of the decade.

      “America once led the world in the number of college graduates it produces, and now we’ve fallen to ninth,” said U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, who delivered opening remarks at the Summit on Monday evening. “While our educational advancement stalled, other countries have passed us by. We need to educate our way to a better economy, and governors must help lead the way.

      For the entire article:

      • Good morning, all!

        Love how Vice President Biden is “keeping up” the education theme, while the President is out of the country. These two are totally in sync.

  70. Good morning CR, Jackie, Professor & PrObama family 😀

    I wanted to share this from my twitter timeline:

    RT @WestWingReport: RCP: Obama 5.1% over Romney, 5.8% over Huckabee, 9% over Paul, 10.7% over Daniels, 14.5% over Gingrich,15.6% over Palin, 16.0% over Pawlenty

  71. March 22, 2011

    Readout of President Obama’s Call with Prime Minister Erdogan of Turkey

    The President spoke yesterday evening with Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey to continue the two leaders’ consultations on the situation in Libya. The President expressed appreciation for Turkey’s ongoing humanitarian efforts in Libya, including its assistance in facilitating the release and safe passage to Tunisia of four New York Times journalists who had been detained in Libyan custody. The President and the Prime Minister reaffirmed their support for the full implementation of United Nations Security Council Resolutions 1970 and 1973, in order to protect the Libyan people. The leaders agreed that this will require a broad-based international effort, including Arab states, to implement and enforce the UN resolutions, based on national contributions and enabled by NATO’s unique multinational command and control capabilities to ensure maximum effectiveness. They underscored their shared commitment to the goal of helping provide the Libyan people an opportunity to transform their country, by installing a democratic system that respects the people’s will.

    • President Obama does not miss a beat. Immediately after other countries intervened toward the release of the NYT journalists by the Libyans, he calls the PM of Turkey to thank him …

      … even if PBO is out of the country and far away from the Oval Office.

      We have come to expect no less from him. 🙂

  72. Office of the Middle East Partnership Initiative Launches New Initiatives to Support Tunisia’s Democratic Transition

    Office of the Spokesman
    State Department , Washington, DC

    March 22, 2011

    The State Department’s Office of the Middle East Partnership Initiative (MEPI) is pleased to announce its plan to support the Tunisian people as they build the stronger democratic foundations needed for long-term stability and broad-based economic growth. The initiatives outlined below reflect MEPI’s determination and ability to respond rapidly to Tunisia’s strategic needs during this historic time of transition.

    For the entire article:

  73. Secretary Clinton to Sign Memorandum of Understanding with the World Bank on World Water Day

    Office of the Spokesman
    Department of State, Washington, DC

    March 18, 2011

    Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton will sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the World Bank on World Water Day at World Bank headquarters in Washington D.C. on Tuesday, March 22 at 2 p.m. The MOU will strengthen support to developing countries seeking a water secure future. Secretary Clinton and World Bank President Robert Zoellick will deliver brief remarks.

    Before the MOU signing ceremony, non-government organizations (NGO) will highlight new commitments by NGOs and the private sector to address water and sanitation challenges in developing countries. Speakers will include NOAA Administrator Jane Lubchenco, USAID Deputy Administrator Donald Steinberg, Under Secretary of State for Democracy and Global Affairs Maria Otero, Hilton Foundation CEO Steven Hilton, and a representative from The Coca-Cola Company. HRH Willem-Alexander, the Prince of Orange, will join via live video conference from World Water Day events in South Africa. Senior government officials, NGOs, and private sector representatives will be available for pull-aside interviews after the signing.

    A live video conference with UN-HABITAT will occur from 12:30 p.m. to 2 p.m. Formal remarks by Secretary Clinton and President Zoellick, followed by a signing ceremony, will occur at 2 p.m. The entire event will be live-streamed at:

    For the entire article:

    • Gates Cites Efforts to Avoid Civilian Casualties in Libya

      March 22, 2011 By Cheryl Pellerin
      American Forces Press Service

      MOSCOW – Coalition forces enforcing a no-fly zone in Libya to halt the slaughter of citizens by Moammar Gadhafi “have gone to great lengths to avoid civilian casualties,” Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates said here today.

      Gates and Russian Defense Minister Anatoliy Serdyukov met to discuss a range of issues that also included the new Strategic Arms Limitation Treaty, missile defense, cooperation in Afghanistan, defense reform, and a new defense relations working group.

      Amid praise for great strides made over the past year in military-to-military cooperation between the nations, Gates said, Serdyukov told him that Russia “supports the agreement of international powers that violence against Libyans should be stopped.” But he then called for “an immediate ceasefire” of hostilities he said were “destroying civilian facilities and killing civilians,” the secretary added.

      “I assured him that the actions of the coalition are completely consistent with the U.N. Security Council Resolution calling for the imposition of a no-fly zone and protecting civilian lives,” Gates said.

      The resolution of the Arab League and the Gulf Cooperation Council that led to U.N. Security Council Resolution 1973 “were, in fact, a recognition that Colonel Gadhafi was killing large numbers of his own people,” the secretary said.

      For the entire article:

    • Task Force Commander Provides Libya Update

      March 22, 2011 By Karen Parrish
      American Forces Press Service

      WASHINGTON – The two-man crew of a U.S. fighter jet that crashed in Libya is safe, while the coalition has established a no-fly zone and grounded Moammar Gadhafi’s forces, the commander of Joint Task Force Odyssey Dawn said today.

      Two airmen ejected from their F-15E Strike Eagle warplane late yesterday after the plane suffered an equipment malfunction and crashed in eastern Libya, Navy Adm. Samuel J. Locklear III said.

      Coalition forces recovered one crew member, and Libyans found the other, he added, noting that both men are now safe and with U.S. forces.

      Locklear, commander of U.S. naval forces in Europe and Africa, spoke with Pentagon reporters by phone today from the USS Mount Whitney in the Mediterranean Sea.

      Operation Odyssey Dawn was established to enforce U.N. Security Council Resolution 1973, which calls for the protection of Libyan civilians from Gadhafi’s forces and authorizes a no-fly zone over Libya.

      “On March 18, the coalition began a graduated, sequenced campaign against the government of Libya … to protect innocent civilians,” the admiral said. “Cruise missile attacks accompanied by significant coalition airstrikes rendered Gadhafi’s long-range air defenses and his air force largely ineffective.”

      For the entire article:

  74. If Republicans believe we can afford tax cuts and wars, but not immunizations for the low-income children, that pretty twisted.

    Mon Mar 21, 2011 8:14 PM EDT

    That’s the inimitable Steve Benen on House Republicans’s plan to cut $156 million from the immunization and respiratory diseases program at the Centers for Disease control.

    I spent the morning at the doctor with a nine-year-old who was in for strep and who asked, while we were there, what small pox was. Thanks to immunizations for everyone, long before his time small pox faded into history, certainly in his part of the world. So had childhood diseases like whooping cough, but that doesn’t mean we can drop our guards. From Suzy Khimm at Mother Jones:

    In the past year, California has experienced the worst whopping cough outbreak in more than 50 years, an epidemic that has killed 10 infants and resulted in 6,400 reported cases. But even as the state’s public health officials have struggled to curb the disease, Republicans in Congress have proposed slashing millions in federal funding for immunization programs. Public health advocates warn that these cuts threaten efforts across the country to prevent and contain infectious and sometimes fatal diseases. And they add that lower vaccination rates could eventually result in more outbreaks that endanger public health at a major cost to taxpayers.

    Short-term vs. long-term vision has become a key distinction between conservative and liberal approaches, right up there with concern for the individual over the group.

  75. Continuing Resolutions Hinder Efficiency, Official Says

    March 22, 2011 – By Karen Parrish
    American Forces Press Service

    WASHINGTON- Funding the government through a series of continuing resolutions rather than approving a budget is “miserably inefficient,” the Pentagon’s acquisition executive said yesterday.

    Congress has approved a series of short-term continuing resolutions since Sept. 29 that prohibit new contracts and limit spending to previous authorized levels. The most recent three-week extension took effect March 18 and funds the government through April 8.

    Ashton B. Carter, undersecretary of defense for acquisition, technology and logistics, told attendees at a missile defense conference here that the resolutions have the worst effect on the department’s best-managed programs.

    “They were already on a razor’s edge –- that’s where you want them,” he said. “You knew exactly what you were doing, exactly when you were going to do it and exactly how you were going to do it.”

    Defense programs planned for maximum efficiency under the proposed 2011 budget have instead been subject to delays and slowdowns, Carter said.

    “It wastes money,” he said. “Billions of dollars will be the cost of having to slow down something now, only to accelerate it later because the funding wasn’t available.”

    For the entire article:

  76. President Obama Meets the SAVE Award Winner: “A Million Here, a Million There – It Adds Up”

    Posted by Jesse Lee on March 22, 2011

    “If you want ideas on how to save money, ask the people who spend it. That’s what President Obama did when he began the SAVE Awards two years ago.” That’s the opening of Joe Davidson’s Washington Post write-up of the SAVE Award, the collaborative process in which all federal employees were invited to submitted their ideas on how to save taxpayer dollars and strwamline government, as well as vote and comment on others’. After a tough-but-fair crack about government acronyms, Trudy Givens gets her due recognition:

    Trudy Givens, a Bureau of Prisons employee from Portage, Wis., submitted the winning suggestion. Like many of the other ideas, Givens’s suggestion is so simple, yet so effective, you wonder why [Uncle] Sam didn’t think of it earlier.

    Her idea: Send the Federal Register — a daily compendium of government regulations and notices — to federal employees online, rather than by snail mail,
    with an estimated savings of $16 million through 2015.

    For the entire article:

  77. Reviewing Reorg

    Posted by Jeffrey Zients on March 22, 2011

    The world has changed a lot since the 1950s, the last time a major reorganization of the federal government occurred. Our lives today are totally different from those of our grandparents and the era of black and white TV has given way to the information age – but while the times have changed, in many ways, our government hasn’t.

    For example, following the 2000 Census, the Census Bureau decided to invest in developing handheld technologies to help workers do their counts. But after spending tens of millions of dollars, they ran into timing and development problems. So in 2010, in an era of smart phones and high-speed wireless, our census-takers were pounding the pavement with pens and paper.

    Starting with his earliest days in office, the President has called for us to modernize government and make sure we are rooting out waste and operating as effectively and efficiently as possible. Today I spoke at the Brookings Institution’s Alfred Taubman Forum on Improving Government Performance about the steps we have taken since the beginning of the Obama Administration to make the Federal government work better. We have made significant progress, from improving government technology and developing a plan to sell off excess real estate that has remained on the books for years, to finally cutting contracting costs after more than a decade of escalating costs on the backs of American taxpayers.

    For the entire article:

  78. The 2011 White House Easter Egg is now on sale! Pre-order today at or by calling 866.401.5079. Orders will begin shipping on Monday, April 4, so order now to ensure delivery before Easter.

    The souvenir egg, which commemorates the annual White House Easter Egg Roll, is available in four unique colors and includes the stamped signatures of President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama. And to help complete your collection, we’re also offering the 2010 White House Easter Egg at a special discount price while supplies last.

    The National Park Foundation produces and sells the White House Easter Egg to help support the annual Easter Egg Roll on the White House South Lawn, which is one of our country’s 394 national parks.

    Click here to visit the White House Easter Egg online store. For questions, please visit our FAQ page or call 866.401.5079.

  79. Fed officials see U.S. recovery taking hold

    3/22/11 Kim Palmer and Sakari Suoninen – Reuters

    AKRON, Ohio/FRANKFURT (Reuters) – The U.S. recovery is gaining traction, two top Federal Reserve officials said on Tuesday, though they differed on the risks of inflation in the U.S. economy.

    Cleveland Fed President Sandra Pianalto said she expects the U.S. recovery to continue at a moderate pace, with rising commodity and energy prices only temporarily putting pressure on broader consumer prices.

    “The recovery seems to have established a firmer footing. I am seeing clearer signs of a virtuous cycle of growth,” Pianalto said in a speech at the University of Akron.

    Dallas Fed President Richard Fisher, speaking in Frankfurt, Germany, said the U.S. recovery was gathering momentum and needs no further Fed support.

    “The Fed has done enough, if not too much, and we should do no more. In my opinion no further accommodation is necessary after June,” Fisher said.

    The Fed last week kept its easy money policy unchanged, voting unanimously to forge ahead with its $600 billion bond-buying program announced in November to support a fragile recovery. The bond purchase program is scheduled to be completed by the end of June.

    For the entire article:

  80. Kat’s Obama Administration Report, 3/22/11, Part 2

    Part 2 features a selection of the President’s and First Lady’s remarks in Chile:

    – Remarks by President Obama on Latin America in Santiago, Chile

    – Remarks by President Obama and President Sebastian Pinera of Chile at Joint Press Conference

    – Toast Remarks by the President at Official Dinner in Santiago, Chile,-3-22-11,-Part-2

    – Remarks by the First Lady to Renca School

  81. Health Reform: A Phone Call from the President

    Posted by Kalpen Modi on March 22, 2011

    One year ago tomorrow, President Obama signed the Affordable Care Act into law. It was a historic day, and the law is already making a difference in the lives of millions of Americans like Erick Moberg.

    Erick is currently a senior at Michigan State University and his dream is to attend medical school at his grandfather’s alma mater in Missouri. Erick was always interested in medicine, but he was inspired after speaking to the doctors who treated his mother when she had quadruple bypass surgery.

    After he graduates this spring, Erick will be taking a year to enhance his skills and prepare his application. Under the old insurance rules, he would have been forced off his parent’s health insurance plan. But now, thanks to the Affordable Care Act, Erick will be able to stay on his mother’s plan.

    We interviewed Erick, and as he told his story, he received a surprise phone call from President Obama.

    For the entire article:

  82. Transparency Gone Global

    Posted by Samantha Power on March 22, 2011

    Ed. Note: Last week, we celebrated Sunshine Week here in America. It goes without saying that technology has fundamentally impacted how government works around the world. Samantha Power, Senior Director and Special Assistant for Multilateral Affairs and Human Rights, highlights similar good government efforts underway in countries around the world.

    While “Sunshine Week” may be an American invention, the momentum for greater transparency and accountability in government is a global phenomenon. In countries around the world, governments and civil society groups are taking new and creative steps to ensure that government delivers for citizens and to strengthen democratic accountability.

    President Obama witnessed this extraordinary innovation first-hand during his trip to India in November. He attended the first-ever “Expo on Democracy and Open Government” and sampled the ways in which technology was being used by Indian citizens and civil society groups to expose corruption. One group showed him the way Indians could use a simple SMS code to obtain background knowledge on political candidates – their financial assets, any criminal backgrounds, etc. He also saw a ground-breaking website,, where Indians posted their tales of having been forced to pay a bribe, in refusing to pay a bribe, and in “not having to pay a bribe” – stories celebrating Indian public servants’ refusal to succumb to corruption.

    For the entire article:

  83. Half or more of U.S. public supports Obama on Libya

    3/22/11 David Morgan -Reuters

    WASHINGTON (Reuters) – At least half the U.S. public approves of President Barack Obama’s military action in Libya, despite growing criticism from Republicans and some Democrats in Congress, recent polling finds.

    A CBS News poll released on Tuesday said just 29 percent of Americans disapprove of Obama’s handling of the situation in Libya, where a U.S.-led air and naval force has established a no-fly zone over much of the country.

    Exactly half of the 1,022 adults polled by CBS approved of Obama’s actions while 1-in-5 Americans had no opinion.

    That compares with 70 percent approval for U.S. military action in a recent CNN/Opinion Research Corp poll that put the opposition at 27 percent.

    CBS said Obama’s overall approval rating was at 49 percent, with 41 disapproval, similar to last month. His approval margins have hovered in the mid-to-high 40s for the past year.

    For the entire article:

    • March 22, 2011

      Remarks by President Obama and President Funes of El Salvador in Joint Press Conference
      National Palace, San Salvador, El Salvador

      3:00 P.M. CST

      PRESIDENT FUNES: (As translated.) Thank you so much for your presence. Thank you to all the friends of the press, both domestic and international.

      First of all, I would like to thank President Obama for his visit, and also to his family and his delegation that accompanied this morning. And on behalf of my wife, Vanda, and all the people of El Salvador, I really thank you, Mr. President, for the support that you have given to the people of El Salvador and to the process of transition and building of democracy that we’re going through. It is a great honor to have your presence in El Salvador. So welcome, once again, Mr. President, and I hope that you enjoy, the few hours that you’re going to be here, the hospitality of our people.

      President Obama asked me if this is the weather characteristic of this time of the year, and I was saying that, yes, and that it is a pity because if he had stayed a little bit longer we could have invited you to get to see the beaches of our country that are one of the best in the region.

      Dear friends of the press, this visit of President Obama is historical. This encounter is produced when our country is immersed in a process of deep changes that started with the political — a transition that took place in a very orderly and peaceful manner that has meant a transcendental step forward for the consolidation of our democracy and of our institutions in the fight for transparency.

      For the entire article:

  84. U.S.-El Salvador Citizen Security: A Shared Responsibility

    Fact Sheet
    Office of the Spokesman -Washington, DC

    March 22, 2011

    As a key component of the larger Central America Citizen Security Partnership, and through the Central America Regional Security Initiative (CARSI), we are continuing to support El Salvador’s efforts to address its most pressing citizen safety challenges. The United States is working closely with El Salvador to disrupt the activities of transnational gangs, interdict the northward flow of narcotics trafficked to the United States, and prevent the flow of weapons and illicit proceeds from the United States to criminal organizations in El Salvador and the region. U.S. programs in Central America support efforts to increase the flow and sharing of information, assisting El Salvador in its efforts to more effectively coordinate its activities and transnational criminal investigations with its neighbors.

    For the entire article:

  85. Office of the Middle East Partnership Initiative Launches New Initiatives to Support Tunisia’s Democratic Transition

    Fact Sheet
    Office of the Spokesman- Washington, DC

    March 22, 2011

    The State Department’s Office of the Middle East Partnership Initiative (MEPI) is pleased to announce its plan to support the Tunisian people as they build the stronger democratic foundations needed for long-term stability and broad-based economic growth. The initiatives outlined below reflect MEPI’s determination and ability to respond rapidly to Tunisia’s strategic needs during this historic time of transition.

    MEPI’s Tunisia Transition Support

    MEPI intends to provide $20 million to Tunisia Transition Support that will help consolidate Tunisia’s gains in the post-Ben Ali era and assist Tunisians as they progress toward sustainable democratic development and economic prosperity. MEPI plans to partner with local and international organizations to support the transition effort. Specifically, the $20 million in new proposed assistance will strengthen efforts to:

    * Establish an independent, professional, and pluralistic media sector that provides information transparently and constructively;
    * Form an independent civil society that can play a critical role supporting effective advocacy and civic education;
    * Strengthen and develop political parties;
    * Develop a sound framework for elections; and
    * Encourage economic reforms.

    For the entire article:

  86. Gov. Brown makes YouTube appeal for budget plan

    3/21/2011 By Karen de Sá –

    With social media fueling revolution worldwide, Gov. Jerry Brown is making a YouTube appeal to stir up the people of California.

    The three-minute video is Brown’s first direct YouTube speech since he took office and his latest attempt to reach out to Californians to break a stalemate with Republicans over his plan for a tax measure to help balance the state’s $26 billion budget deficit.

    “Let me know. Let your legislators know. Would you like the chance to cast this vote, or would you feel it’s appropriate to shut out the people of California?” Brown asks in the video….

    Behind the scenes, little bipartisanship is apparent. Last week, the Legislature voted on strict party lines to slash the budget for the working poor, mentally ill and disabled, eliminating $14 billion in social spending. To avoid deeper cuts, the governor proposes eliminating redevelopment agencies and extending for five years vehicle, sales and income taxes passed two years ago.

    Despite weeks of closed-door negotiations, Republicans continue to oppose the plan.

    “Governor Brown wants to let the people vote on $50 billion in new taxes, but he refuses to let the people vote on long-term reforms needed to fix the problem once and for all,” Senate Minority Leader Bob Dutton, R-Rancho Cucamonga, said in a statement Monday.

    Yet Brown’s plea seemed to get some support.

    “I’m not sure how I’d vote, but I do think it should go to the people,” said Gale Dimick of Hollister. The retired grocer said he voted for Brown’s challenger, Meg Whitman, and he’s been a registered Republican for 57 years. But he now believes his party has gone too far by blocking the special election.

    “It almost seems like they’re afraid of what the people will decide,” he said, “and I don’t like that.”

    For the entire article:

  87. Federal Reserve reports record profit

    03/22/11 By Peter Schroeder –

    The Federal Reserve turned a record $81.7 billion profit in 2010, up 53 percent from 2009, the central bank reported Tuesday.

    The vast majority of the Fed’s profit — $79.3 billion — will be turned over to the Treasury Department, with the rest being paid out to member banks in dividends.

    A substantial chunk of that profit came from increased interest income from the $1 trillion in mortgage-backed securities the Fed purchased during the financial crisis to help stabilize the housing market. The Fed made $24.4 billion more in interest on those holdings in 2010. The central bank also made $3.5 billion in interest from its increased holdings in Treasury bonds, as it buys up Treasury debt in an effort to boost private lending.

    For the entire article:

  88. Ending Violence Based on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity

    Posted by Jesse Lee on March 22, 2011

    Amidst so many crises and tragedies around the world, there was one unequivocal step forward for the human rights of all people today. The UN gave a pivotal recognition to the rights of LGBT persons around the world, a move the US pushed hard to build the consensus for as Press Secretary Jay Carney said in a statement just out:

    President Obama believes that advancing the human rights of minorities and the marginalized is a fundamental American value. The President was pleased to announce during his trip to Brazil that he and President Rousseff agreed to promote respect for the human rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender individuals through the establishment of a special rapporteur on LGBT issues at the Organization of American States. This special rapporteur will be the first of its kind in the international system.

    Over the past months our diplomats have been engaged in frank, and at times difficult, conversations about the human rights of LGBT persons with governments from around world. This morning, at the United Nations Human Rights Council, some 85 countries joined the United States in reaffirming our joint commitment to end acts of violence and human rights abuses on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity. The President is proud of the work we have done to build international consensus on this critical issue and is committed to continuing our determined efforts to advance the human rights of all people, regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity.

  89. Interview With Diane Sawyer of ABC News

    Hillary Rodham Clinton -Secretary of State
    Washington, DC

    March 22, 2011

    QUESTION: Thank you again, Madam Secretary, and we hear repeatedly it will be days, not weeks, before the U.S. turns over the lead; it will be one week on Saturday. Will it happen by Saturday?

    SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, it will be days. Whether it’s by Saturday or not depends upon the evaluation made by our military commanders along with our allies and partners. But the President was very clear that the United States had unique capabilities that we would bring to bear in the enforcement of the UN Security Council resolution, and that is exactly what we’re doing.

    QUESTION: So it might go into next week?

    SECRETARY CLINTON: I think we’re making real progress, so I think that it will be days, and the days, I hope, will be sooner instead of later.

    QUESTION: Sounds as if you don’t think it will be next week. You might even think this weekend?

    SECRETARY CLINTON: I think it’s moving well. From our assessment – and we do a call every day to check in, plus during the day getting updates – the work that the United States and our allies have been doing to take out the air defense systems; to clear the field to enable a no-fly zone to be effectively implemented; to help level the playing field, because there have also been strikes on some of the other assets that the Qadhafi forces have, will enable the United States to do what we said we would do, which is to fulfill this initial phase and then to transition to the no-fly zone and the work that will be led by our partners.

    For the entire article:

  90. Turkey Agrees To Be U.S. Protecting Power
    State Department Daily Briefing

    Mark C. Toner – Acting Deputy Department Spokesman
    Daily Press Briefing Washington, DC

    March 22, 2011


    1:45 p.m. EDT

    MR. TONER: Good afternoon, everyone. It’s a pretty nice spring day out there. Welcome to the State Department. I got a yes from Kirit on that. Just briefly before starting and moving to your questions, today is World Water Day. The United Nations has identified this year’s World Water Day theme as Water for the Cities: Responding to the Urban Challenge. And the U.S. Government is marking this day by highlighting global water challenges at a World Bank event in Washington, D.C. And that starts at 1:00 p.m. Secretary Clinton will deliver remarks at the event and sign a U.S.-World Bank memorandum of understanding on water cooperation with World Bank President Robert Zoellick.

    Joining her at this event will be Under Secretary of State for Democracy and Global Affairs Maria Otero as well as USAID’s – U.S. Agency for International Development’s Deputy Director Don Steinberg, and NOAA Director Jane Lubchenco, and senior representatives from more than 15 other U.S. Government partner agencies. The Hilton Foundation, Coca Cola, and numerous nonprofit organizations will also participate. Together, they’ll underscore the United States’s commitment to sharing our nation’s scientific, technological, and human resources with the world’s poor – water poor, rather. That’s all I have for the top. So I’ll go into your questions.

    QUESTION: Mark, on Libya and the diplomatic – the diplomatic side of it. One, I understand that the agreement with the Turks was signed late yesterday for the protecting power. And two, can you bring us up to date on what’s going on at NATO, and why it is that the French seem to want to create some new board to oversee the coalition’s activities?

    For the entire article:

  91. March 22, 2011

    Remarks by the First Lady during Superate Health Clinic Tour
    Superate Health Clinic, San Salvador, El Salvador

    4:30 P.M. San Salvador Time

    MRS. OBAMA: Thank you. You guys, you know, I can’t thank you enough for spending this — letting us spend this time with you. You all were —

    STUDENTS: Thank you!

    MRS. OBAMA: I mean, we are so proud of you. I mean, truly. And I was just telling these guys that you all remind me of me and my brother because we benefited from programs like these for gifted students. And as a result of it he went to Princeton and I went on to Harvard. So I expect the same thing — and I don’t even speak another language. (Laughter.) You all are well ahead of the game. So keep it up. And the fact that you’re giving back already — that you’re tutoring younger people, that you’re helping your families —

    STUDENTS: Yes.

    MRS. OBAMA: The goal is to keep doing that because when you get in this position, that’s the only way we continue. We pull, we bring people up along the way. So as you get higher and higher, you’re always reaching back, always giving back. And you all are starting it off really well.

    And thank you for being so kind to my mom and to my girls. (Laughter.)

    STUDENTS: Thank you for coming.

    END 4:31 P.M. San Salvador Time

  92. March 22, 2011

    Readout of Vice President Biden’s Call with UAE Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayid al Nahyan

    Vice President Biden spoke with United Arab Emirates Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayid al Nahyan today about developments in Libya and the region. The Vice President expressed his strong appreciation for the UAE’s significant humanitarian contribution to the international effort on Libya. The Vice President and Crown Prince also discussed the importance of the unified international effort underway to enforce the measures called for in United Nations Security Council Resolution 1973 and agreed to continue close coordination between the United States and UAE on this issue.

  93. March 22, 2011

    Toast Remarks by President Obama at Official Dinner in San Salvador, El Salvador
    National Palace, San Salvador, El Salvador

    8:25 P.M. CDT

    PRESIDENT OBAMA: Buenas noches. President Funes, First Lady, former Presidents Christiani and Saca, distinguished guests — on behalf of Michelle and our daughters, thank you for the wonderful hospitality that’s been shown to us here in San Salvador.

    As many of you know, this has been my first trip through Latin America as President, and this is our final night. We are closer to home. I mean this in more than just a geographical sense. El Salvador is one of those places where the bonds between the United States and Latin America are strongest.

    Just about every Salvadoran has a loved one or a friend in the United States — husbands and sons, mothers and daughters — working hard, sacrificing every day. They strengthen my country, and they mean so much to El Salvador. And they’re very much in our thoughts tonight.

    In my speech in Santiago yesterday, I said that Latin America is not the stereotype of a region in perpetual conflict or trapped in an endless cycle of poverty. I repeat that tonight because many look at a country like El Salvador and only see the struggles. I’m proud to work with President Funes, a courageous leader, to meet those challenges together, as partners.

    For the entire article:

  94. March 25, 2011

    Readout of President Obama’s calls with Brazilian President Rousseff, Chilean President Piñera, and El Salvadoran President Funes

    President Obama called Brazilian President Rousseff, Chilean President Piñera, and El Salvadoran President Funes today to express his appreciation for their hosting of the First Family during a successful trip to Latin America this past week. President Obama highlighted the productive conversations carried out with the three leaders and followed up on several initiatives launched during the trip. With President Rousseff, he underscored the importance of the new bilateral Economic and Financial Dialogue and the Strategic Energy Dialogue; with President Piñera, he thanked Chile for its leadership in co-sponsoring UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) Resolution on Iran that was approved on March 24; and with President Funes, he agreed with the Salvadoran leader on the importance of our partnership on Citizen Security in Central America and reaffirmed El Salvador’s participation in the Partnership for Growth initiative.

  95. *********************

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    titled: “HIRE Act of 2010 ”

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