Posts Tagged ‘Obama’

Prospects for Syria political solution as Russia and Assad Refuse To Stop Bombing — You Can Bet China Is Watching

April 30, 2016

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This is just wild speculation from Peace and Freedom and probably wrong…. But it could be that the very carefully crafted “cessation of hostilities” in Syria, created mostly by Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry was nothing more than more of Vladimir Putin’s artful chicanery. Assad never agreed to lay down his weapons and the Syrian rebels, supposedly supported (albeit very timidly) by  the U.S., always smelled a rat. Rebel chief negotiator Riad Hijab saw right through Putin’a ruse — even as the U.S. Secretary of State probably hoped and prayed that everything would work out for an American happy ending.

What a dreamer. Ever since President Obama set down his now famous chemical weapons “Red Line” for Assad — and then never backed it up, Putin has known that this President of the United States doesn’t have the huevos to fight and win. So Putin is now calling the tune in Syria and much of the rest of the Middle East. Kerry and Obama might be remembered by future generations as the guys that “lost” the Middle East.

And they worked very diligently to do it, too — mostly in the laborious “Iran Nuclear Deal.” The once numero uno “state sponsor of terrorism” remains the toughest terrorism force, with its Revolutionary Guard, ballistic missiles, and who knows what all. But now, as the Obama administration winds down, Iran is again suddenly a super-rich “state sponsor of terrorism” — thanks to President Obama and Secretary Kerry.

Putin still holds Crimea and a big hunk of Ukraine.

Over in Israel they are worried.

The Saudis are worried too and much the poorer due to low fuel prices. Yemen is a wreck.  Libya is a Hillary Clinton catastrophe, and Iraq is about to split open at the seems. Moqtada al-Sadr unleashed his dogs today so they could storm into the Green Zone less than 48 hours after U.S. Vice President Joe Biden was there. That means to me that al-Sadr can pretty much take Baghdad any time he wants…

Plus Putin is having the time of his life buzzing U.S. warships and reconnaissance aircraft.  Poland is scared, Israel needs to re-arm and most of NATO is wondering when and where the next Russian move will come.

In Asia, Xi Jinping has cracked down on virtually every freedom loving person and organization in China and Hong Kong. He’s breathing new life into his military partnership with Putin in Russia and he is building airstrips and military facilities on several South China sand piles his guys made by grinding up nature’s wonderful coral reefs. His state controlled media is starting to signal that China is no longer a follower in Asia. China is now the leader. Xi knows he can brush aside anything Vietnam or the Philippines can throw at him and if he makes any kind of military move while President Obama is still on the front 9, China can work over anyone in the way pretty hard for at least two hours before admitting it was all a terrible mistake.

The good news is China is keeping North Korea from doing anything really bad. After five nuclear tests.

My money is on China. If they give up one airstrip I’ll eat my hat. They’ve been telling us for years that the South China Sea is sovereign territory — and has been for centuries. The Chinese have always known this — it is you Americans and Filipinos that need legal papers to back up your claim. China will not be “contained” — and they’ve stated that about a thousand times over the last five years and all the while building up the sand dunes and pouring concrete.

China’s only headache is this: to make a bold move while the Obama Administration is still in place, and maybe make an even bigger mess of the U.S. election — or just hold fire until the day after inauguration day next January as the new president and his or her team is trying to find out where the bathrooms are — if we can decide by then who goes in what bathroom and how we plan to determine who is female, or male or transgender or whatever else there is.

THIS is not a big problem for China.

They’ll hit us then.

Either option: America doesn’t look very tough to them any more, I’m told.

Can you blame them?

John Francis Carey
Peace and Freedom

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In Syria: “We think that unless the international community does something about it now, the whole prospect for the political solution will be in danger.”

AFP

© AFP/File | People walk amid the rubble of destroyed buildings following a reported air strike on the rebel-held neighbourhood of al-Kalasa in Aleppo, Syria on April 28, 2016

ISTANBUL (AFP) – The prospects of finding a political solution to the Syria conflict are in danger unless the international community acts fast to pressure the regime, the head of the main Syrian opposition group said Saturday, after new air strikes on rebel-held areas of Aleppo.

The assault on Syria’s divided second city by the armed forces of President Bashar al-Assad has put in jeopardy a fragile truce that had given new hope to UN-backed peace talks in Geneva.

“The regime is not really interested in a political solution and they are not really interested in hearing the cessation of the hostilities initiative,” the head of the Syrian National Coalition Anas al-Abdeh told AFP in Istanbul.

“We think that unless the international community does something about that, the whole prospect for the political solution will be in danger,” he added after a general assembly meeting of the main opposition umbrella grouping in the Turkish city.

Terrified residents fled a new wave of air strikes on rebel-held areas of Aleppo Saturday, as key regime backer Russia rejected calls to rein in its ally.

Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Gennady Gatilov said Moscow would not ask Damascus to halt air raids on Aleppo.

“It’s clear that Russia is still supporting the regime, and it’s supporting the regime policy of aggression against the Syrian people,” said Abdeh.

Russia in March had begun withdrawing its main contingent of troops from Syria but the announcement was greeted with suspicion by some observers.

“Russia isn’t doing what it’s supposed to do, which is to put enough pressure on the regime to show the restraint and to stop targeting civilians,” he said.

Abdeh said it was up to Washington — which has engaged in intense diplomacy with Moscow to find a solution in Syria — to salvage the Geneva peace process after the latest fighting.

“I think the Americans know really well they have to do something special in order to revive the political process in Syria and to get the political negotiation back on track.

“I hope the Americans are doing that, otherwise all the good efforts of the past four months would go in vain.”

A new round of UN-backed peace talks is set to start on May 10 in Geneva.

Related:

 (From China State Media, April 30, 2016)

Assad’s Air Force or Russian Jets: No Let Up In Air Strikes on Aleppo — Daily strikes since April 22 have killed 140 people including 19 children

April 30, 2016

World | Sat Apr 30, 2016 5:50am EDT

At least 20 air strikes hit rebel-held areas of Syria’s northern city of Aleppo on Saturday, in the ninth straight day of violence in which bombardments by both sides have killed nearly 250 civilians, a monitoring group said.

The British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights did not immediately say whether Syrian government warplanes or Russian jets, which have been supporting Damascus, carried out the strikes.

Bombing by the government side on rebel-held areas of Aleppo since April 22 have killed 140 people including 19 children, the Observatory said.

Insurgent shelling of government-held areas over the same period have killed 96 people, including 21 children, it said.

(Reporting by John Davison; Editing by Louise Ireland)

Related:

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More than 200 civilians have been killed in just the past week in Aleppo as rebel and regime forces traded blows. Air strikes on flats and medical facilities in rebel-held neighbourhoods have turned homes and hospitals into rubble. Tragedy has become part of daily life, as these powerful images show.

A Syrian boy is comforted as he cries next to the body of a relative who died in an air strike on Wednesday, April 27, 2016, in the rebel-held neighbourhood of al-Soukour in Aleppo. PHOTO: AFP

Obama is First President Ever to Not See Single Year of 3% GDP Growth — But He Told The NYT: “We probably managed this better than any large economy on Earth in modern history.”

April 29, 2016

Obama’s just like Reagan… Except when he isn’t.

obama reagan

The rate of real economic growth is the single greatest determinate of both America’s strength as a nation and the well-being of the American people.

On Thursday the Commerce Department announced that the US economy expanded at the slowest pace in two years. GDP growth rose at an anemic 0.5% rate after a paltry 1.4% fourth quarter advance.

Ronald Reagan brought forth an annual real GDP growth of 3.5%.
Barack Obama will be lucky to average a 1.55% GDP growth rate.

This ranks Obama as the fourth worst presidency on record.

Barack Obama will be the only U.S. president in history who did not deliver a single year of 3.0%+ economic growth.

According to Louis Woodhill, if the economy continues to perform below 2.67% GDP growth rate this year,President Barack Obama will leave office with the fourth worst economic record in US history.

Assuming 2.67% RGDP growth for 2016, Obama will leave office having produced an average of1.55% growth. This would place his presidency fourth from the bottom of the list of 39*, above only those of Herbert Hoover (-5.65%), Andrew Johnson (-0.70%) and Theodore Roosevelt (1.41%)

 

Source: http://www.thegatewaypundit.com/2016/04/simply-worst-obama-first-president-ever-not-see-single-year-3-gdp/

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President Obama Weighs His Economic Legacy

Related:

  (This is from October 2014 but many still feel like they did then)

Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen has described the “stagnant living standards for the majority.”

The ripple effect of the president’s tax hikes is swamping take-home pay

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MIT economist Jonathan Gruber testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, Dec. 9, 2014, before the House Oversight Committee health care hearing. Congressional Democrats charged Tuesday that Republicans are seizing on a health adviser’s self-described “thoughtless” and misleading remarks to attack President Barack Obama’s signature health care law. (AP Photo/Molly Riley)

ACA Architect: ‘The Stupidity Of The American Voter’ Led Us To Hide Obamacare’s True Costs From The Public

http://www.forbes.com/sites/theapothecary/2014/11/10/aca-architect-the-stupidity-of-the-american-voter-led-us-to-hide-obamacares-tax-hikes-and-subsidies-from-the-public/#34e2f6cf779b

Syria: What Happened to the Russia-U.S. Brokered Peace Talks? — At least 202 civilians killed in past seven days of Aleppo violence

April 29, 2016

World | Fri Apr 29, 2016 6:09am EDT

People inspect the damage at a site hit by airstrikes, in the rebel-held area of Aleppo’s Bustan al-Qasr, Syria April 28, 2016.
REUTERS/ABDALRHMAN ISMAIL

Air strikes on rebel-held areas of Aleppo killed 123 civilians including 18 children during the past seven days of intensified violence in the northern Syrian city, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said on Friday.

Seventy-one civilians, including 13 children, were killed by rebel shelling into government-held areas of the city during the same period, the British-based monitoring group said.

Eight more civilians, including three children, were killed by government shelling into areas not under its control in the city, the Observatory said.

(Reporting by Lisa Barrington; editing by John Stonestreet)

President Obama On His Economic Legacy: “We probably managed this better than any large economy on Earth in modern history.”

April 29, 2016

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Eight years after the financial crisis, unemployment is at 5 percent, deficits are down and G.D.P. is growing. Why do so many voters feel left behind? The president has a theory.

APRIL 28, 2016

Two months ago, across an assembly-room table in a factory in Jacksonville, Fla., President Barack Obama was talking to me about the problem of political capital. His efforts to rebuild the U.S. economy from the 2008 financial crisis were being hit from left, right and center. And yet, by his own assessment, those efforts were vastly underappreciated. “I actually compare our economic performance to how, historically, countries that have wrenching financial crises perform,” he said. “By that measure, we probably managed this better than any large economy on Earth in modern history.”

It was a notably grand claim, especially given the tenor in which presidential candidates of both parties had taken to criticizing the state of the American economy — “Many are still barely getting by,” Hillary Clinton said, while Donald Trump said that “we’re a third-world nation.” Asked if he was frustrated by all the criticism, Obama insisted that he wasn’t, at least not personally. “It has frustrated me only insofar as it has shaped the political debate,” he said. “We were moving so fast early on that we couldn’t take victory laps. We couldn’t explain everything we were doing. I mean, one day we’re saving the banks; the next day we’re saving the auto industry; the next day we’re trying to see whether we can have some impact on the housing market.”

Read it all at The New York Times: (we didn’t want them to accuse us of hurting their copyright)

During many U.S. elections, candidates ask the voters if they are better off now after 4/8 years of a particular president’s administration. This year, Russian President Vladimir Putin would certainly say “Yes!” Iran, China and North Korea may also say “Yes.”

Related:

President Obama must think all Americans are stupid….

  (This is from October 2014 but many still feel like they did then)

Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen has described the “stagnant living standards for the majority.”

The ripple effect of the president’s tax hikes is swamping take-home pay

.


MIT economist Jonathan Gruber testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, Dec. 9, 2014, before the House Oversight Committee health care hearing. Congressional Democrats charged Tuesday that Republicans are seizing on a health adviser’s self-described “thoughtless” and misleading remarks to attack President Barack Obama’s signature health care law. (AP Photo/Molly Riley)

ACA Architect: ‘The Stupidity Of The American Voter’ Led Us To Hide Obamacare’s True Costs From The Public

http://www.forbes.com/sites/theapothecary/2014/11/10/aca-architect-the-stupidity-of-the-american-voter-led-us-to-hide-obamacares-tax-hikes-and-subsidies-from-the-public/#34e2f6cf779b

U.S. Corporate Profits on Pace for Third Straight Decline — “The global train is moving slowly”

April 28, 2016

Slow global growth, energy slump weigh on earnings of S&P 500 companies

Harley-Davidson said economic and currency woes in Brazil helped push down sales of its motorcycles in the country. Above, a dealership in Michigan.
Harley-Davidson said economic and currency woes in Brazil helped push down sales of its motorcycles in the country. Above, a dealership in Michigan. PHOTO: BLOOMBERG NEWS
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April 28, 2016 3:37 p.m. ET

U.S. corporate profits are set to decline for the third straight quarter, the longest and broadest slide in earnings since the financial crisis, weighed down by the energy slump and slowing growth around the world.

Weakness was felt across the board, with executives from Apple Inc. to railroad Norfolk Southern Corp. and snack giant Mondelez International Inc. saying the current quarter remains tough. 3M Co., which makes tapes, filters and insulation for consumer electronics, forecast continued weak demand for that industry. Procter & Gamble Co. reported sales declines in its five business categories despite price increases.

“We do continue to operate in a challenging and volatile macro environment,” P&G Chief Financial Officer Jon Moeller said this week. “Market growth rates on both the volume and value basis have decelerated due mainly to slower growth in developing markets.”

The concerns from company executives echo weak economic data released Thursday morning, which showed U.S. gross domestic product rose just 0.5% in the first quarter. Business investment and consumer spending on goods slowed, while consumer spending on services climbed.

“On the one hand, consumer spending continued to be the primary economic driver in the U.S. On the other hand, industrial production has been disappointing,” United Parcel Service Inc. CEO David Abney said Thursday after the delivery company reported a 3.1% revenue increase.

MORE BUSINESS NEWS

Based on the 55% of companies in the S&P 500 index that had already reported results Thursday morning, Thomson Reuters expects overall earnings to decline by 6.1% in the first quarter. Even excluding energy companies, which are expected to have their worst quarter since oil prices began to plunge in 2014, profits are on pace to fall by 0.5%. Revenues are expected to fall 1.4% overall, or rise 1.7% excluding energy, according to Thomson Reuters.

This would mark the S&P 500’s third consecutive quarter of declining earnings—the longest streak since the financial crisis. Revenues will have declined for five quarters in a row, outstripping even the four-quarter slide in 2008 and 2009.

Seven of 10 broad economic sectors including consumer staples and technology companies in the S&P 500 are expected to report flat to falling profits, while six are likely to report flat or declining revenues, according to data from Thomson Reuters. A handful of big companies, including Exxon Mobil Corp. and Pfizer Corp., have yet to report their latest results.

A notable exception: companies selling cars, auto parts, household appliances and other so-called discretionary goods to consumers. Thomson Reuters expects them to report profits up more than 20% over the first quarter of 2015, the fastest growth in more than two years.

Lower gas prices appear to be prompting U.S. car owners to drive more, according to data from the U.S. Federal Highway Administration—raising demand for parts. Cheap financing has helped to stoke demand for cars, as are purchases by lower-margin fleet buyers. That may prove unsustainable, Michael Jackson, chief executive of car-and-truck retailer AutoNation Inc., told investors on April 22.

“It’s not as strong out there as you might necessarily think,” Mr. Jackson said. “I think the economy has had a hesitation or a rough patch. We’ll have to see if it resumes its stride.”

Appliance maker Whirlpool Corp., which gets about half its revenues from North America, reported a 3% rise in sales in the region, and raised its predictions for industrywide sales growth to between 5% and 6% this year, up from an earlier projection of 5%.

“The global train is moving slowly, but the American consumers are powering it,” said Mark Zandi, chief economist of Moody’s Analytics.

But weaker sales in Europe and Latin America, plus the impact of the strong dollar there and in Asia, led Whirlpool to report lower profits and sales overall, pushing its shares down 3.6% on Tuesday.

Similarly, economic and currency woes in Brazil helped push down sales of Harley-Davidson Inc. motorcycles there, and United Technologies Corp. reported continued declines in sales of elevators and other products in China.

Apple, which reported its first decline in quarterly revenue in 13 years, said sales in mainland China, excluding currency effects, fell 7% from strong results a year earlier. Apple shares tumbled 6.3% Wednesday following the results.

Mondelez CEO Irene Rosenfeld said the economies of Brazil and Russia have deteriorated further and consumer demand is being hit by higher prices. “Are we at the bottom?” Ms. Rosenfeld said. “What we’re seeing is certainly worse than what we were seeing last year.”

P&G has trimmed its predictions for overall growth in its markets to about 3% world-wide this fiscal year, down from earlier projections as high as 4%. More than 10% of sales at P&G come from tumultuous regions, like Russia, Ukraine, the Middle East, Turkey, Brazil and other parts of Latin America, Mr. Moeller, its CFO, said in the company’s Tuesday earnings call.

“There are more flashpoints across the globe than at any time in recent memory with significant economic and political instability impacting incomes and consumption in many large and important markets,” he said.

Ultimately, despite the resilience of the U.S. consumer, economic growth is likely to remain sluggish given continuing woes in emerging markets, sizable inventories, a still-strong dollar and still-weak capital investment, says Joseph LaVorgna, chief U.S. economist for Deutsche Bank.

“It’ll be hard to get a whole lot of corporate profit growth,” Mr. LaVorgna said. “It’s hard to get really bullish.”

Write to Theo Francis at theo.francis@wsj.com and Kate Linebaugh at kate.linebaugh@wsj.com

http://www.wsj.com/articles/u-s-corporate-profits-on-pace-for-third-straight-decline-1461872242

Brexit: If Barack Obama’s Threats Were Not Enough, Now The EU Says It is Prepared for An Ugly Divorce With Britain — “Out means out!”

April 28, 2016
World | Thu Apr 28, 2016 10:56am EDT

 Reuters

The European Union would insist on completing a swift divorce with Britain before starting to forge any new relationship if UK voters decide in June to leave the 28-member bloc.

Two EU sources familiar with the bloc’s latest thinking on a possible Brexit told Reuters on Thursday there was no appetite to grant any extension of the two years provided by the EU’s Lisbon Treaty for negotiating a withdrawal, while any new trade partnership would take many more years to conclude.

The stark view from Brussels means Britain could initially be cut adrift without any preferential relationship with its biggest trade partner. It contrasts with suggestions by “Leave” campaigners that London could secure a special status preserving market access before it formally leaves the EU.

Top EU officials say they are still confident that Britons will ultimately vote in a June 23 referendum to stay in the community they joined in 1973, despite opinion polls showing a close race.

However in case of a “Leave” vote, the European Commission has tentative plans to hold a rare Sunday meeting on June 26 to set its strategy, one source told Reuters.

EU leaders would hold a brief summit with Britain two days later, at which London would be expected to give formal notice to quit. The 27 other states would then meet without British representatives to decide how to conduct the withdrawal negotiations and take the union forward, based on proposals from the executive Commission.

“It is in our interest to do the divorce as quickly as possible. There’s no appetite for negotiating new terms in the first two years,” one source said.

Another source said: “The shorter the better. No one wants to go beyond the two years. The show must go on.”

Both sources spoke on condition of anonymity because of the acute political sensitivity of any contingency planning for a British departure.

SPEEDY SEPARATION

The first source said the initial two-year negotiations would cover only issues such as residual EU budget payments to and from Britain, the pensions of British EU civil servants and relocation of EU agencies based in the UK.

The EU treaty says exit talks can be extended by unanimous vote among all the member states, but both sources said London’s partners would want a speedy separation.

Britain would probably leave on July 1, 2018, and become a “third country” in EU parlance. Formal negotiations on some form of trade and partnership agreement could begin only then, the first source said.

In case of a vote to remain, the Commission has kept in place a small UK Task Force which helped to craft a deal negotiated by Prime Minister David Cameron in February to meet British concerns on migrant workers’ welfare rights and relations with the euro single currency zone.

The seven-member team led by British EU official Jonathan Faull would oversee smooth implementation of the agreement.

That deal lapses automatically if Britain votes to leave, and the first source said a completely different team would be appointed, probably led by a German or French official, to handle exit negotiations.

German and French politicians have warned that London would get no special favors and should expect tough talks in case of a Brexit. EU partners would want to discourage other members from trying to renegotiate membership terms or withdraw.

“Out means out!” Volker Kauder, leader of German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s conservative group in parliament said this week.

British Europe minister David Lidington, who supports the “Remain” camp, said on Thursday it was doubtful whether Britain would get any trade agreement with the EU within 10 years.

However, “Leave” supporters have argued that the EU would have to conclude a quick free trade deal with London since the continent has a big trade surplus with the UK and stood to lose exports if tariff barriers were introduced.

(Additional reporting by Alastair Macdonald Editing by Jeremy Gaunt)

Brexit: Latest Poll Finds Leaving The EU Shows a Lead, But Not By Much

April 28, 2016
World | Thu Apr 28, 2016 9:45am EDT

Opponents of Britain’s European Union membership have edged into the lead over the past two weeks, according to a YouGov poll which indicated President Barack Obama’s intervention failed to swing support behind “In” vote in a June 23 referendum.

The online survey for The Times taken on April 25-26 showed support for the Out campaign had risen 3 percentage points to 42 percent since a similar survey on April 12-14, while support for the “In” campaign had risen 1 percentage point to 41 percent.

President Barack Obama on Friday warned Britain would be “in the back of the queue” for a trade deal with the United States if it dropped out of the EU, an unusually strong intervention into British politics that “In” campaigners welcomed.

“Some have portrayed Obama’s intervention as backfiring – I wouldn’t go that far but this poll does suggest that Obama hasn’t given the remain team a boost at all,” Anthony Wells, director of political research at YouGov, said by telephone.

“It hasn’t been a game changer, it hasn’t shifted opinion – it hasn’t really made much difference at all,” said Wells. “We have had a neck and neck for months now and nothing seems to be moving that.”

Beneath the headline figures, the YouGov poll indicated the In campaign was ahead on the economic arguments after a series of warnings about the dangers of leaving from the British Treasury, the Bank of England and even the OECD chief who asked British people to reflect on their own nakedness.

While opinion polls, which failed to predict Prime Minister David Cameron’s victory in Britain’s 2015 national election, have cast the referendum as too close to call, betting odds have indicated a strong probability of a vote to remain.

Betfair odds on Thursday indicated a 71 percent probability of an In vote. After Obama’s intervention, the implied probability of Britain voting to remain, moved over 10 percentage points to as high as 75 percent on Monday.

A British exit would unleash volatility in foreign currency, stock and bond markets, undermine post-World War Two European efforts toward integration and raise questions about the 21st Century fate of the world’s fifth largest economy.

“UP IN THE AIR”

The YouGov poll, of 1,650 people and with a margin of error of about 2-3 percent, comes after three other polls taken during or after Obama’s visit:

* ORB telephone poll, April 20-24: Out on 43 percent versus In on 51 percent, 6 percent don’t know.

* ICM online poll, April 22-24: Out on 46 percent versus In on 44 percent, 10 percent don’t know.

* Survation telephone poll, April 25-26: Out on 38 percent versus In on 45 percent, 17 percent undecided.

After Obama’s warning and similar comments from German politicians this week, German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier cautioned on Thursday against piling pressure on British voters.

“I don’t think we’d be well advised to issue threats from Europe,” Steinmeier said in Berlin.

Martin Sorrell, CEO of the world’s biggest advertising company, said that the referendum looked finely balanced and that some companies, which he did not name, were putting off investment ahead of the referendum.

“The whole situation is up in the air,” Sorrell, the pro-EU chief executive of London-headquartered WPP, told Reuters. Obama’s intervention enthused younger voters who are more pro-European but traditionally less likely to vote, he added.

The YouGov poll also suggested a big boost for the UK Independence Party (UKIP), whose anti-EU leader Nigel Farage was trusted by 23 percent of people on Europe while Prime Minister David Cameron was trusted by just 20 percent.

Though the Out campaign was in the lead, 35 percent of voters said they trusted Obama on Europe.

“The British people like Obama but that is not enough to change their opinion,” said Wells at YouGov, adding that it was unclear if Obama’s comments would add to the overall perception that major leaders all wanted Britain to remain in the block.

(Writing by Guy Faulconbridge; Editing by Dominic Evans)

Deadly air strikes hit MSF-backed hospital in Syria’s Aleppo — Start of UN Peace Talks Was “Just an Empty Gesture”

April 28, 2016

AFP and Reuters

© Ameer Alhalbi, AFP | A man gestures amid the rubble of destroyed buildings following a reported air strike on the rebel-held neighbourhood of al-Kalasa in the Syrian city of Aleppo, on April 28, 2016

Text by NEWS WIRES

Latest update : 2016-04-28

Air strikes hit a hospital in a rebel-held area of Syria’s Aleppo and killed at least 27 people, including three children and the city’s last paediatrician, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said on Thursday.

A new wave of aerial bombing on Thursday on rebel-held districts of the city killed at least 30 more civilians, a rescue worker said. The Observatory put the toll at least 20.

In government-held areas, rebel mortar shelling killed at least 14 people, the Britain-based Observatory and Syria’s state news agency SANA reported.

Escalating violence in Aleppo is pushing people living there to the brink of a humanitarian disaster, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) said in Geneva.

“Wherever you are, you hear explosions of mortars, shelling and planes flying over,” Valter Gros, who heads the ICRC office there, was quoted as saying in the statement.

“There is no neighbourhood of the city that hasn’t been hit. People are living on the edge. Everyone here fears for their lives and nobody knows what is coming next,” he said.

Aleppo has been the epicentre of a military escalation that has helped to undermine U.N.-led peace talks in recent weeks. A cessation of hostilities agreement has unravelled and fighting has resumed on numerous fronts in western Syria.

The bombed al-Quds hospital was supported by international medical charity Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF), which said it was destroyed after being hit by a direct air strike that killed at least three doctors.

The Observatory said air strikes on rebel-held areas of Aleppo had killed 91 citizens in the past six days while rebel shelling of government-held areas had claimed 49 lives.

‘Living on the edge’

The ICRC said the intense battles raging in Aleppo had worsened the humanitarian plight of tens of thousands of residents in the city, which it described as one of the worst affected in five years of conflict.

In the hospital bombing, Bebars Mishal of the Civil Defence in Aleppo told Reuters that 40 people had been killed in a five-storey building next to the hospital.

A Syrian military source said government warplanes had not been used in areas where airstrikes were reported.

The Russian defence ministry, which is also conducting air strikes in Syria in support of President Bashar al-Assad, could not immediately be reached for comment. Russia has previously denied hitting civilian targets in Syria.

U.N. envoy Staffan de Mistura said on Thursday the cessation of hostilities agreement was “barely alive”.

Peace talks he has convened in Geneva were undermined last week when the main opposition alliance walked out, citing ongoing violence and calling for proper implementation of a U.N. resolution requiring full humanitarian access to besieged areas.

(REUTERS)

Related:

Assad’s Air Force or Russians? Air strikes hit Aleppo hospital, at least 27 killed

April 28, 2016

World | Thu Apr 28, 2016 7:44am EDT

Civil defence members carry a casualty after an airstrike at a field hospital in the rebel held area of al-Sukari district of Aleppo, Syria April 27, 2016.
REUTERS/ABDALRHMAN ISMAIL

Air strikes hit a hospital in a rebel-held area of Syria’s Aleppo and killed at least 27 people, including three children and the city’s last pediatrician, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said on Thursday.

A new wave of aerial bombing on Thursday on rebel-held districts of the city killed at least 30 more civilians, a rescue worker said. The Observatory put the toll at least 20.

In government-held areas, rebel mortar shelling killed at least 14 people, the Britain-based Observatory and Syria’s state news agency SANA reported.

Escalating violence in Aleppo is pushing people living there to the brink of a humanitarian disaster, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) said in Geneva.

“Wherever you are, you hear explosions of mortars, shelling and planes flying over,” Valter Gros, who heads the ICRC office there, was quoted as saying in the statement.

Peace and Freedom has a report saying that staff member of “Doctors Without Borders” are among the casualties.

“There is no neighborhood of the city that hasn’t been hit. People are living on the edge. Everyone here fears for their lives and nobody knows what is coming next,” he said.

Aleppo has been the epicenter of a military escalation that has helped to undermine U.N.-led peace talks in recent weeks. A cessation of hostilities agreement has unraveled and fighting has resumed on numerous fronts in western Syria.

The bombed al-Quds hospital was supported by international medical charity Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF), which said it was destroyed after being hit by a direct air strike that killed at least three doctors.

The Observatory said air strikes on rebel-held areas of Aleppo had killed 91 citizens in the past six days while rebel shelling of government-held areas had claimed 49 lives.

‘LIVING ON THE EDGE’

The ICRC said the intense battles raging in Aleppo had worsened the humanitarian plight of tens of thousands of residents in the city, which it described as one of the worst affected in five years of conflict.[L5N17V4IO]

In the hospital bombing, Bebars Mishal of the Civil Defence in Aleppo told Reuters that 40 people had been killed in a five-storey building next to the hospital.

A Syrian military source said government warplanes had not been used in areas where airstrikes were reported.

The Russian defense ministry, which is also conducting air strikes in Syria in support of President Bashar al-Assad, could not immediately be reached for comment. Russia has previously denied hitting civilian targets in Syria.

U.N. envoy Staffan de Mistura said on Thursday the cessation of hostilities agreement was “barely alive”.

Peace talks he has convened in Geneva were undermined last week when the main opposition alliance walked out, citing ongoing violence and calling for proper implementation of a U.N. resolution requiring full humanitarian access to besieged areas.

(Reporting by Lisa Barrington and Tom Perry; additional reporting by Suleiman al-Khalidi and John Davison; Editing by Tom Heneghan)

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