Monthly Archives: February 2014

Google loses bid to keep anti-Islamic video online during appeal

Cindy Lee Garcia, an actress in an anti-Islam movie that has spawned violent protests across the Muslim world, attends a news conference after a court hearing in Los Angeles in this file photoBy Dan Levine SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) – Google Inc on Friday lost its bid to keep an anti-Islamic film on its YouTube video sharing website while it appealed a federal appeals court order that the company said would have "devastating effects" if allowed to stand. Earlier this week, a panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals voted 2-1 to reject Google's assertion that the removal of the film "Innocence of Muslims," which sparked protests across the Muslim world, amounted to a prior restraint of speech that violated the U.S. Constitution. In a court filing on Thursday, Google argued that the video should remain accessible to the public while it asks that a larger, 11-judge 9th Circuit panel review the issue. Google called this week's opinion "unprecedented" and "sweeping." However, the 9th Circuit on Friday rejected Google's request in a brief order.

Obama preaches unity to Democrats at winter meeting

U.S. President Barack Obama delivers remarks at Organizing for Action's "National Organizing Summit" in WashingtonBy Steve Holland and Jeff Mason WASHINGTON (Reuters) – A fiery President Barack Obama on Friday attempted to rally Democratic activists to overcome stiff headwinds and work hard for the party's congressional candidates this year in an election-year speech that was sharply critical of Republicans. The president addressed the winter meeting of the Democratic National Committee in Washington with the aim of maintaining a spirit of unity among party activists. Democrats are trying to face down emboldened Republicans who see a chance of capturing the Senate and building on their majority in the House of Representatives. Invoking Democratic heroes such as John Kennedy and Bill Clinton, Obama told party faithful that Democrats can win "if we stay focused on what we believe in." All 435 members of the House and a third of the 100-member Senate are up for grabs in November elections.

Documents show 1990s effort to ‘humanize’ Hillary Clinton

By John Whitesides and Will Dunham WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Aides in former President Bill Clinton’s White House crafted a strategy to “humanize” then-first lady Hillary Clinton and work around her “aversion” to the national media, according to documents released on Friday. The documents also detailed the first lady’s struggles in the early 1990s with her healthcare task force, including worries about resistance on Capitol Hill and an aide’s warning the plan could not meet a pledge to allow patients to pick their doctors, a promise that also came back to haunt President Barack Obama. The release of nearly 4,000 pages of previously sealed documents by the Clinton Presidential Library served to revisit Hillary Clinton’s record and early struggles with her image as she gears up for a potential 2016 run for the presidency. An August 31, 1995, memo by Clinton’s press secretary Lisa Caputo suggested she do interviews with “regional media.” “Hillary is comfortable with the local reporters and enjoys speaking with them,” the memo states.

U.S. Senate Democrats do not plan to pass budget this year: Murray

Murray and Ryan hold a news conference to introduce The Bipartisan Budget Act of 2013 at the U.S. Capitol in WashingtonBy David Lawder WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Democrats in the U.S. Senate won't bother passing their own budget this year, arguing that a deal in December has already set spending levels for the 2015 fiscal year and "relitigating" it would create economic uncertainty. Senate Budget Committee Chairwoman Patty Murray said in a statement on Friday she would prefer to focus on promoting longer-term budget priorities for the Democratic Party, including measures to boost economic growth. The move will keep Democrats' election-year fiscal message focused on President Barack Obama's own 2015 budget request, due out on Tuesday, which will lay out his plans to shift spending to education, roads and expanding a tax credit for the working poor. "While this budget year is settled and it wouldn't be productive to relitigate it so soon after our two-year deal, I plan to work with my colleagues on the Budget Committee to lay out our long-term vision for creating jobs, boosting the economy, and tackling our deficits fairly and responsibly," Murray said.

U.S. names Larry Silverman as temporary point man on Syria

U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Larry Silverman will temporarily become the United States’ point man on Syria with the departure of Robert Ford on Friday, a State Department spokeswoman said. Ford, who became U.S. ambassador to Syria in 2011 and is retiring, was instrumental in persuading the Syrian opposition groups to join talks with the government aimed at ending Syria’s nearly three-year-old civil war. State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said Silverman would stand in until a permanent successor to Ford is named.

Sears says investigating possible security breach

Women walk past the Sears department store at Fair Oaks Mall in FairfaxSears Holdings Corp said Friday it has launched an investigation to determine whether it was the victim of a security breach, following Target Corp's revelation at the end of last year that it had suffered an unprecedented cyber attack. "There have been rumors and reports throughout the retail industry of security incidents at various retailers and we are actively reviewing our systems to determine if we have been a victim of a breach," Sears spokesman Howard Riefs said in a statement on Friday. He did not say when the operator of Sears department stores and Kmart discount stores had begun the investigation or provide other information about the probe. Sears Holdings Corp operates nearly 2,500 retail stores in the United States and Canada.

Mt. Gox files for bankruptcy, hit with lawsuit

Mark Karpeles, chief executive of Mt. Gox, attends a news conference at the Tokyo District Court in TokyoBy Yoshifumi Takemoto and Sophie Knight TOKYO (Reuters) – Mt. Gox, once the world's biggest bitcoin exchange, filed for bankruptcy protection in Japan on Friday, saying it may have lost nearly half a billion dollars worth of the virtual coins due to hacking into its faulty computer system. Wearing a suit instead of his customary T-shirt, Mt. Gox's French CEO Mark Karpeles bowed in contrition and apologized in Japanese at a news conference at the Tokyo District Court, blaming his firm's collapse on a "weakness in our system", but predicting that bitcoin would continue to grow. Gregory Greene, who estimated his bitcoin stake at $25,000, filed a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court in Chicago late on Thursday, saying Mt. Gox had failed "to provide its users with the level of security protection for which they paid. Baker & McKenzie, a Chicago-based law firm that represents Mt. Gox, declined to comment.