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Sunday, July 29, 2012

Sunday Morning News and Views

The late Apple chief Steve Jobs vowed before he died to destroy Android and that fight continues after his death. Apple is trying to keep Samsung's Android phones and tablets out of the US -- charging that Samsung is violating Apple's patents. Apple has taken this fight global. It's got cases pending in Germany and Australia.  he claim overseas and here in the US is that Android violated Apple patents in the design of its mobile operating system, interface, phones and key applications and components.Apple is also said to be negotiating to take a stake in and set up strategic partnerships with Twitter after Facebook sold a portion of its stock to Microsoft and entered limited strategic partnerships with MS. Meanwhile both Google and Microsoft are taking traditionally compatible products and shifting to proprietary products that run on only their operating systems.

Nevada Governor Brian Sandovol is being looked upon as one of the rising stars of the Republican Party and a middle of the pack potential for Romney's running mate. As a handsome Hispanic Republican, strong family man and governor of a split party state, he is given the credentials and much of the positive capital that took Romney to his presidential bid position.

Congress is set to leave town for its August holidays later this week. Unlike last year's debt crisis meltdown, though, it will do so not with a bang but a whimper. A constant game of obstructionism and fixed philosophies and policies have left the Congress one of the least effective in recent history. All seem focused on this fall's elections.

Mitt Romney is meeting with top Israeli and Palestinian officials and delivering a speech in Jerusalem. After Israel, he travels to Poland. The fundraising trip is also planned to increase Romney's image in the area of foreign policy and short up his credentials going into the November Presidential Election. A senior adviser says Mitt Romney would back an Israeli military strike against Iran aimed at preventing Tehran from obtaining nuclear capability. Ahead of a Sunday speech in Jerusalem, Romney foreign policy adviser Dan Senor tells reporters that "if Israel has to take action on its own" to prevent Iran from being able to make the materials that could be used for a bomb, Romney "would respect that decision." That's a more aggressive posture than Romney has previously taken. In Sunday's speech, he plans to tell Israelis and watching Americans that he and America "will not look away" from Iran if he is president.

The Israeli government has denied an Israeli newspaper report that the Obama administration's top security official has briefed the Jewish state's prime minister on U.S. plans for a possible attack on Iran. The Haaretz (hah-ah-REHTS') newspaper reports today that U.S. National Security Adviser Tom Donilon laid out the plans before Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. The paper says the U.S. was trying to reassure Israel that Washington is prepared to act militarily should diplomacy and sanctions fail to pressure the Iranians to abandon their nuclear enrichment program.But a senior Israeli official, speaking on condition of anonymity to discuss a confidential meeting, said, "Nothing in the article is correct. Donilon did not meet the prime minister for dinner, he did not meet him one-on-one, nor did he present operational plans to attack Iran."
When control of white house shifted from Republican  to Democrat, the numbers shifted toward toward reelection for Obama. If he loses his bid he will be only the third US President in history to lose the white house after defeating the party holding the White House to take office. The only other president this century to lost under these terms was Jimmy Carter to Ronald Reagan. Statistics support that President Obama winning reelection, despite a predicted second place polling position between now and a few weeks following the Republican Convention. Presidents with near or over 50% ratings in June and in late July tend to win reelection. Currently Obama is at 47% approval and dead even in the polls for November. Of course the economy, events in Afghanistan and other unforeseen events or changes will impact a predicted to be close election.

Train and transition is the NATO mantra in Afghanistan. With the growing number of attacks by IEDs, Afghan forces need more troops able to disarm explosives before they can kill. A school in Northern Afghanistan is racing against the clock to teach troops how to defuse bombs, but it could take years before enough Afghans can pass the high-stakes test. In addition to improvised explosive devices being the new preferred weapon of terrorist and insurgents, there will be a need to find and defuse these, as well as land mines, long after fighting ends (if it ever does).

Germany is benefiting from an increase in job-seekers - especially young people - from Spain, Italy and other recession-battered European countries. Unemployment among people under 25 years of age in Spain is 52 percent. Spanish emigration is up more than 44 percent in the first half of 2012 and a top destination is Germany.

Germany's finance minister says he can't see room for further concessions to Greece and is insisting anew that the country must implement far-reaching reforms and cut its budget deficit. International debt inspectors are scrutinizing Greece's finances and its progress in implementing budget cuts and reforms demanded in exchange for its rescue loan program. Greek officials have called for more time to implement the measures, but patience among creditors is running extremely short. German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble was quoted Sunday as telling the Welt am Sonntag newspaper: "The aid program is already very accommodating. I cannot see that there is still scope for further concessions." If the inspectors' report, expected in September, is damning, Athens could stop receiving rescue loans and face a disorderly bankruptcy and exit from the euro.

 U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta is heading to Tunisia and Egypt to consult with their new Islamist leaders about transitioning to democracy and exploring new footing for military partnerships with the U.S. On his five-day Middle East trip, Panetta also is scheduled to visit two of the U.S.'s closest allies in the region, Israel and Jordan, to discuss the revolt in Syria and developments in Iran. He'll be in Jerusalem just days after a visit by U.S. Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney, who's been highly critical of President Barack Obama's approach to Israel. Panetta is expected to highlight U.S. cooperation with Israel on building more effective missile defenses, including the Iron Dome system that is designed to shoot down short-range rockets and artillery shells. 

Thousands of people are rallying around Japan's parliament complex to demand the government abandon nuclear power after last year's Fukushima crisis. Also Sunday is a closely watched regional election. Voters are choosing a governor in southwestern Yamaguchi Prefecture, where an outspoken anti-nuclear candidate is running. Sunday's rally is the latest in a series of peaceful demonstrations in Japan, including weekly Friday evening protests outside the prime minister's residence. The crowds have not dwindled, and public discontent has grown to levels unseen in decades. Protesters say they are angry that the government restarted two reactors earlier this month, despite safety worries after the multiple meltdowns at Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear plant. All 50 working reactors in Japan went offline in May due to routine checks.

After Barack Obama's historic victory in 2008, most people in the United States believed that race relations would improve. Nearly four years later, has that dream come true?  Americans have no shortage of thoughtful opinions and no consensus.  As the nation moves toward the multiracial future heralded by this son of an African father and white mother, the events of Obama's first term, and what people make of them, help trace the racial arc of his presidency. The president has discussed race in occasional speeches to groups such as the National Urban League or the National Council of La Raza, and in interviews with Hispanic and African-American media outlets. But he usually walks a careful line. 

Health officials in Uganda have confirmed that it's the Ebola virus that has killed 14 people in the western part of the country this month. People in recent weeks have been troubled by a mysterious illness that seemed to have come from nowhere. And Ugandan health officials also had been stumped, spending weeks conducting lab tests that at first were inconclusive. Health officials say the 14 dead were among 20 reported with the disease, and two of the victims were a clinical officer and her 4-month-old baby. Officials are urging Ugandans to be calm, saying a national emergency taskforce has been set up to stop the disease from spreading far and wide. There is no cure or vaccine for Ebola. In 2,000, Ebola killed 224 Ugandans and left hundreds more traumatized. 

Bad weather news for the Olympics: Rain, cooler weather and even hail may be returning to London.  U.K. weather forecaster the Met Office says there will be heavy thunder showers across central and east London on Sunday afternoon, with hailstones also a possibility.  The forecaster predicts that the thunder and showers will clear later Sunday, and that Monday will be mostly dry. More rainclouds, however, are forecast for Tuesday through Thursday. Temperatures, too, will drop this week, hovering at or below 68F. London has enjoyed bright and warm weather of up to 30C in the week leading up to the Olympics, after enduring weeks of rain.

Olympic organizers are investigating why rows of seats at some venues were empty on the first full day of competition at the London Games. Britain's Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt says Saturday's empty seats at venues including the Aquatics Centre were "very disappointing" and stadiums should be full to improve the atmosphere for athletes and spectators. He says London organizers "are doing a full investigation into what happened." Hunt says he believes the empty seats belonged to sponsors. The London Games organizing committee said in a statement emailed to The Associated Press it is looking into "who should have been sitting in the seats, and why they did not attend."

Want to see your Olympic soccer match in time? You might want to travel the night before. Hundreds of fans wanting to see New Zealand, Brazil, Belarus and Egypt were stranded in London or forced to sit on the train floor Sunday as Virgin Trains supplied only two morning London-to-Manchester services in time for the noon kickoff of the New Zealand-Egypt match in Manchester, 200 miles (320 kilometers) northwest of London. Many fans said they were refused entry to the trains at stops north of London, while others successfully begged their way aboard and sat on the floor. Virgin blamed the crush on Brazilian fans who arrived earlier than expected for their team's 3 p.m. kickoff versus Belarus. But the fans noted official Olympic advice urging everyone to arrive early. 

Earlier this week, an author in Louisville, Kentucky, received a cease-and-desist letter from Jack Daniel's. Patrick Wensink's letter, though, didn't have the usual accusatory tone of cease-and-desist requests. Instead, the achingly polite letter wished the author -- "a Louisville 'neighbor'" -- "continued success with [his] writing" and simply requested his response at "earliest convenience."

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