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That old tax magic

By Simon Johnson WASHINGTON, DC: Tax time in the United States — the dreaded mid-April deadline for filing annual income-tax forms — has come and gone. The system, Americans have been reminded, has become painfully complex, with many a loophole through which one might try to squeeze. The fear of an audit by the Internal …


US, NATO ready plan to hand off Afghanistan combat

By Anne Gearan and Slobodan Lekic / AP BRUSSELS: The United States and its NATO allies are readying plans to pull away from the front lines in Afghanistan next year as President Barack Obama and fellow leaders try to show that the unpopular war is ending. Top military and diplomatic officials from the US and …


Obama’s blunder at the bank

By Jagdish Bhagwati NEW YORK: The selection of a successor to Robert Zoellick as President of the World Bank was supposed to initiate a new era of open meritocratic competition, breaking the traditional hold that the United States has had on the job. Indeed, Zoellick’s own appointment was widely regarded as “illegitimate” from that perspective. But …


‘Terrorists’ at Home

By Naomi Wolf NEW YORK: Last week, I submitted an affidavit to support an important lawsuit brought by reporter Chris Hedges and others, including Daniel Ellsberg and Noam Chomsky, against US President Barack Obama and his defense secretary, Leon Panetta. The lawsuit seeks to stop implementation of the horrific new National Defense Authorization Act, also known …


Obama warns N. Korea, Iran their options are few

By Anne Gearan / AP SEOUL: President Barack Obama is warning North Korea and Iran that their options are few and their friends fewer as those nations refuse to back down from actions the world sees as menacing. “By now it should be clear,” Obama said, addressing North Korea from the South Korean capital only about …


Obama pledges ‘non-lethal’ aid for Syria rebels

By Dmitry Zaks / AFP MOSCOW: US President Barack Obama pledged Sunday to send “non-lethal” aid to the Syrian rebels while peace envoy Kofi Annan piled diplomatic pressure on the regime by seeking the backing of its ally Russia. The announcement was the most overt show of US support for the rebels to date and is …


Obama’s nuclear-free vision faces reality check

By Matt Spetalnick and Alister Bull / Reuters WASHINGTON: Shortly after taking office, US President Barack Obama set the goal of eventually ridding the world of nuclear weapons as a central theme of his presidency and pledged dramatic steps to lead the way. But after plenty of lofty rhetoric and a few steps forward, Obama is …


Pivoting from the military ‘option’ back to diplomacy

By Barbara Slavin WASHINGTON: After months of sabre-rattling rhetoric by Iran, Israel and the United States, there seems to be a collective, and welcome, time out. Since President Barack Obama’s March 4 speech to the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), all sides have been stressing non-military means to try to resolve the crisis over Iran’s …


Lawmaker surge US ‘stick to plan’ in Afghanistan

By Donna Cassata /  AP WASHINGTON: Republicans and Democrats alike insist the United States should stay the course in Afghanistan, sticking to President Barack Obama’s timetable for withdrawing American troops despite the massacre of Afghan civilians and the burning of Qurans — two offenses blamed on the US military that have stoked anti-American anger. Key proponents …


Obama’s Afghanistan problem gets worse

By Anne Faherty and Lolita C. Baldor / AP WASHINGTON: President Barack Obama has a public relations problem when it comes to Afghanistan, to say the least. Once the must-fight war for America, the decade-long mission has spiraled into a series of US missteps and violent outbreaks that have left few ardent political supporters. After NATO …


Obama seeks to calm Israeli fears over nuclear Iran

By Steve Weizman / AFP WASHINGTON: US President Barack Obama and Israeli leader Benjamin Netanyahu go into key talks on the Iranian nuclear stand-off on Monday, with each publicly seeking to stake out some common ground. While Obama in an address to the powerful pro-Israel lobby on Sunday criticized “loose talk of war” he also gave …


Obama, Netanyahu set to confront divisions over Iran

By Matt Spetalnick and Jeffrey Heller / Reuters WASHINGTON/JERUSALEM: Just days before what could be the most consequential meeting of US and Israeli leaders in years, aides to President Barack Obama and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu are scrambling to bridge stark differences over what Washington fears could be an Israeli attack on Iran’s nuclear sites. Further …


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