Bloomberg Reports: “Unfortunately we’re continuing to see unacceptable levels of violence inside that country,” Obama said today, thanking Abdullah, a U.S. ally, for being the first Arab leader to publicly call on Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad to relinquish power.
“We will continue to consult very closely with Jordan to create the kind of international pressure and environment that encourages the current Syrian regime to step aside,” he said after the two met at the White House.
The meeting comes as Abdullah is attempting to revive Mideast peace talks between the Israelis and Palestinians that have been frozen for more than a year.
David Ignaius Writes: The Chinese cut their imports from Iran roughly in half for January, trimming 285,000 barrels per day from their average last year of about 550,000 barrels per day, according to Nat Kern, the publisher of Foreign Reports, a respected industry newsletter.
Iran’s reduced sales to its biggest oil customer resulted from a dispute over payment terms, Kern explains. But it’s an early sign of what may be significant reductions in Iranian exports to Europe and Asia, as buyers there hedge against the likelihood of tighter sanctions.
Iran exported last year an average of 2.2 BPD.
The Coalition on the Environment and Jewish Life (COEJL) sent out invites today to its fans and members inviting them to participate in a February 6’Th “Jewish Environmental and Energy Imperative Declaration.” Why this event? “The Jewish community will set the community-wide goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions 14% by 2014,” reads the blog post of this Reform Jewish eco group.
The date of this NYC event is “two days before the Jewish celebration of Tu B’shvat, the New Year for trees.”
Capital Tonight Reports: Cuomo’s total cash on hand is $14,382,577.13 surely enough to scare away many potential Republican challengers.
NYPIRG’s Bill Mahoney (Zen master of campaign filings) points out that Cuomo’s campaign numbers far exceed Eliot Spitzer’s at this time, in both money raised and money spent. You will remember that Spitzer used campaign cash to run TV ads against the unions in order to defend his budget, where as Cuomo tempered the health industry by bringing them to the bargaining table, and had some help in defending his budget from the Committee to Save NY.
Contributions: $11,672,277.87 (Cuomo) $6,654,015.73 (Spitzer)
Expenditures $2,200,818.51 (Cuomo) $9,306,019.90 (Spitzer)
$ In Bank, end of year $2,914,522.06 (Spitzer) $14,382,577.13 (Cuomo)
We just started combing through the expenditures. His biggest expenses seem to be tied to his birthday fundraiser on the Intrepid where the campaign spent roughly about $95k.
Wah Post Reports: A homeless New York teen who’s a semifinalist in a prestigious national science contest has been invited to watch President Barack Obama’s State of the Union address.
Brentwood High School senior Samantha Garvey has been invited to the Jan. 24 speech as a guest of Long Island Congressman Steve Israel.
Garvey’s story of academic success despite financial hardships has gained nationwide attention.
Last week, she was named one of 300 semifinalists in the Intel science contest. She’s currently living in a homeless shelter, although Suffolk County officials are renovating a home for the Garvey family.
CNBC: The private event is for the very biggest New York-based fundraisers of Romney and will follow a bigger event earlier in the evening at the Sheraton hotel in New York, the person said.
The main topic of conversation at Schwarzman’s apartment is sure to be how the GOP favorite should counter attacks from President Obama about Romney’s record at the helm of private equity-firm Bain Capital during the 1980s, ironically brought to the fore recently by fellow Republican candidates like Newt Gingrich.
Helping him strategize tonight along with Schwarzman will be a few current partners at Bain Capital, along with Jets owner Woody Johnson, the person said. Schwarzman, who runs the largest private equity firm at work today, has received similar criticism of his practices and pay in the past, although he’s not running for President.
Shark Tank Reports: The Chabad of Naples opened their new Jewish Community Center on Sunday to a crowd of about 500. The inaugural event included invited guests Governor Rick Scott, his wife Ann, Senator Garrett Richter(R), and Congressional candidates Karen Harrington and Trey Radel. Rabbi Fishel was the master of ceremonies and Governor Scott gave the keynote address. Scott later toured the center and its preschool facility.
Haaretz Reports: Israeli hackers brought down the websites of both the Saudi Stock Exchange (Tadawul) and the Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange (ADX) Monday, in the latest episode of a continuing cyber war between hackers in the two countries.
The Israeli hackers, who go by the name IDF-Team, were able to paralyze the Tadawul website, while causing significant delays to the ADX exchange site.
CJNews Reports: The Jewish population of the state is small, just under 13,000 in 2011 according to the Jewish Virtual Library. While their own political views vary, South Carolina Jews are also encapsulated within a traditionally conservative-voting general population. The state even made the list of the top Republican states in a 2009 Gallup poll.
“To a large degree South Carolina is a very critical state for the Republican nomination because it is voting along Republican lines almost every single time. I am sure pollsters are watching South Carolina very closely,” said Rabbi Jonathan Case of the Beth Shalom Synagogue in Columbia.
Nonetheless, South Carolina Jews still have impact and have managed to send several Jewish officials to public office, including Democratic Sen. Joel Lourie and Inez Tenenbaum, currently head of the Consumer Product Safety Commission in Washington, D.C.
Forward Reports: The most recent figure of between 6.4 million and 6.6 million is about 20 percent higher than the previous estimate of 5.2 million proposed by the 2000 National Jewish Population Survey, which was sponsored by the Jewish Federations of North America. That study has since been widely criticized as flawed, an assessment now accepted by the survey’s sponsor.
The first new study places the golden number at 6,588,000. Ira Sheskin, a human geographer at the University of Miami, and Arnold Dashefsky, a sociologist at the University of Connecticut, reported that figure on December 18 in their annual survey of the Jews in America for the North American Jewish Data Bank at the University of Connecticut.
Leonard Saxe, a Brandeis University sociologist, put the number of U.S. Jews at 6.4 million in the final version of his study, released on December 23. Saxe first publicized his results in an interim report in December 2010, at which point he said the American Jewish population was 6.5 million. The final study is “a slightly more conservative adjustment,” he said.
Wash Post Reports: The agreement among six political parties all but guarantees that the Muslim Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice Party will lead Egypt’s first elected parliament since the ouster of Hosni Mubarak in February, with the Islamist party expected to control as many as half the seats.
Under the power-sharing agreement, the ultraconservative Salafist Nour party and the liberal al-Wafd party would also claim top positions, with their representatives serving as deputy speakers, the parties announced during a news conference Monday at the Freedom and Justice Party’s headquarters.
With a week left until the lower house of the parliament meets, the Freedom and Justice Party said its nominee for speaker would be Mohamed Saad Katatny, the party’s secretary general.
Forward Reports: Israel is ready to negotiate with the Palestinians immediately and has given the Palestinians a position paper earlier this month containing 21 points on which there is domestic political consensus, as a prelude to potential talks, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told MKs yesterday.
The document was given to Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat at interim Israeli-Palestinian talks in Amman earlier this month, Netanyahu told the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee.
He said he is ready to begin negotiations at any time but the Palestinians have refused to negotiate without preconditions.
“I’m ready to get into my car at any time and go to Ramallah, even if it’s more than a small headache for my security guards, but Abu Mazen isn’t ready,” said Netanyahu, referring to Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas.
National Post Reports: In recent days, Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Natural Resources Minister Joe Oliver have complained that foreign-financed “radical” opponents of the plan have hijacked the Northern Gateway debate and threaten to slow down the hearings…
Just because certain people in the United States would like to see Canada be one giant national park for the northern half of North America, I don’t think that’s part of what our review process is all about. Our process is there to determine what the needs and desires of Canadians are,” Said Harper.
Harper said he is concerned that the review is now subject to “extraordinary delay, and they’re increasingly vulnerable to foreign money coming in for the sole purpose of delaying the process.
Harper added that he doesn’t object to foreigners expressing their opinion. “But I don’t want them to be able to hijack the process so that we don’t make a decision that’s timely or in the interests of Canadians.”
Late last year, the U.S. government delayed a regulatory decision on the proposed Keystone XL pipeline that would have shipped Alberta oil to the southern U.S.
This development has, in government circles, highlighted the need to diversify in other energy markets, such as Asia.
“I think what’s happened around the Keystone is a wakeup call, the degree to which we are dependent or possibly held hostage to decisions in the United States, and especially decisions that may be made for very bad political reasons,” said Harper. “What I think I’d make clear is that I believe selling our energy products to Asia is in the country’s national interest.”
Tripoli Post Reports: The power cuts in Libya are to end soon according to a well informed source. The maintenance work is being done at a very high speed all over the country and at the same time new power cables are being laid to guarantee continuous supply of power in all regions. It is worth mentioning here that 2 of the GE Company workers were killed lately when they were fired upon in a region west of Tripoli while repairing a faulty electricity transmission tower.
During the South Carolina debate, Rick Perry reminded people of the February 1′st 2002 killing of Wall Street Journal reporter Denial Perl at the hands of terrorists:
“They made a mistake that the military needs to deal with and they need to be punished…when the Secretary of State calls that a despicable act. Let me tell you what’s despicable, cutting Danny Pearl’s head off!”
Michelle Cottle Writes: And how about that Ricky Perry? Finally, finally the Texas governor let his inner cowboy out to play. He conveyed passion and conviction and came across as solidly articulate. Not eloquent, mind you, but fancy talk has never been part of his shtick. Maybe it’s just that Perry has lowered expectations to the point that we expect him to do little more than stutter and drool, but he seemed in the zone and perhaps even to be enjoying himself: You wanna talk “utterly despicable” acts in times of war?! I’ll see you Marines peeing on corpses and raise you civilian hangings and beheadings!