Monday, 26 January 2009

"Obama Orders Higher Auto Fuel Efficiency, Lower CO2 Emissions"

Extract from "Environment News Service", US, 26 January 2008

WASHINGTON, DC, January 26, 2009 (ENS) - "This moment of peril must be turned to one of progress," President Barack Obama said this morning, as he signed his first two Presidential Memoranda, both aimed at getting the United States on the path to energy independence.

In what he called "a down payment on a broader and sustained effort to reduce our dependence on foreign oil," the president directed the Department of Transportation to establish higher fuel efficiency standards for carmakers' 2011 model year.
The standard, known as Corporate Average Fuel Economy, or CAFE, standard, was established in 1975 in the wake of the Arab oil embargo. In model year 1990, the passenger car standard was amended to 27.5 miles per gallon, and it has remained at this level. In 2007, new light truck standards of 22.2 mpg were issued.

The second memo paves the way for California and 18 other states to raise tailpipe emissions standards for the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide above and beyond the national standard.
The states had repeatedly requested a waiver of weaker federal standards, but the Bush administration's Environmental Protection Agency denied the request last year, prompting a lawsuit by the states.

"Instead of serving as a partner, Washington stood in their way," President Obama said. "The days of Washington dragging its heels are over."

Read the article in full here

Thursday, 22 January 2009

Obama orders Guantanamo closure

Extract from BBC News Online, 22 Jan 09

US President Barack Obama has ordered the closure of the Guantanamo Bay prison camp as well as all overseas CIA detention centres for terror suspects.

Signing the orders, Mr Obama said the US would continue to fight terror, but maintain "our values and our ideals".
He also ordered a review of military trials for terror suspects and a ban on harsh interrogation methods.

Continuing a flurry of announcements, he named his envoys to the Middle East, and to Afghanistan and Pakistan. At Mr Obama's request, military judges have suspended several of the trials of suspects at Guantanamo so that the legal process can be reviewed.

'Ongoing struggle'

Mr Obama signed the three executive orders on Thursday, further distancing his new administration from the policies of his predecessor, George W Bush.
He said the Guantanamo prison "will be closed no later than one year from now."
(Click here to read the article in full)

Wednesday, 21 January 2009

"Obama acts on Guantanamo trials"

Extract from BBC News online, 21 Jan 2009

Barack Obama has requested the suspension of all military tribunals at Guantanamo Bay, in his first major act as US president.
The request could halt proceedings in 21 pending cases, including those against five men accused of plotting the 11 September 2001 attacks.

The halt would give Mr Obama time to review the tribunal process.
The new president is beginning his first working day by meeting economic advisers and top military commanders.
Most of his cabinet is in place but several key posts are still to be confirmed.
Mr Obama himself attended inaugural balls late into Tuesday night, as America marked the arrival of its 44th president and first African-American leader.
'Ideals versus safety'
Mr Obama has repeatedly promised to close the Guantanamo Bay detention camp, where some 250 inmates accused of having links to terrorism remain.

(Click here to read the article in full)

Tuesday, 20 January 2009

On First Full Day, Obama Will Dive Into Foreign Policy

Extract from an article by Michael D. Shear and Karen DeYoung, Washington Post (USA) 20 January 2009

President-elect Barack Obama will plunge into foreign policy on his first full day in office tomorrow, finally freed from the constraints of tradition that has forced him and his staff to remain muzzled about world affairs during the 78-day transition.

As one of his first actions, Obama plans to name former senator George J. Mitchell (D-Maine) as his Middle East envoy, aides said, sending a signal that the new administration intends to move quickly to engage warring Israelis and Palestinians in efforts to secure the peace. (continues)

Read the whole article here.

Friday, 9 January 2009

"Obama urges action on economy"

Article by Steve Schifferes, BBC News (UK), 8 January 2009

US President-elect Barack Obama has called for "drastic action" to prevent the US economic situation worsening.
In his first major policy speech since being elected, Mr Obama urged Congress to act quickly to pass his $800bn (£526bn) stimulus plan.
"I don't believe it's too late to change course, but it will be if we don't take dramatic action as soon as possible," he said.
"If nothing is done, this recession could linger for years."
(read the full article here)

Monday, 5 January 2009

Obama's priorities for 2009

Extract from an article by Max Deveson, BBC News online, 5 Jan 2009

Barack Obama enters the White House this month with a wide-ranging agenda for change.
The BBC's Max Deveson considers which issues he is likely to tackle head on - and which he may be tempted to put to one side:

Economic stimulus
Healthcare reform
Climate change
Closing Guantanamo
Engaging with the world
Labour relations
Backburner issues

Read the whole article here.