January 22, 2009

President barack obama"s inaugural address and pictures.

Following is the transcript of President Barack Obama’s Inaugural Address, as transcribed by CQ Transcriptions:

PRESIDENT BARACK Thank you. Thank you.

CROWD: Obama! Obama! Obama! Obama!

My fellow citizens: I stand here today humbled by the task before us, grateful for the trust you have bestowed, mindful of the sacrifices borne by our ancestors.

I thank President Bush for his service to our nation...


... as well as the generosity and cooperation he has shown throughout this transition.

Forty-four Americans have now taken the presidential oath.

The words have been spoken during rising tides of prosperity and the still waters of peace. Yet, every so often the oath is taken amidst gathering clouds and raging storms. At these moments, America has carried on not simply because of the skill or vision of those in high office, but because We the People have remained faithful to the ideals of our forbearers, and true to our founding documents.

So it has been. So it must be with this generation of Americans.

That we are in the midst of crisis is now well understood. Our nation is at war against a far-reaching network of violence and hatred. Our economy is badly weakened, a consequence of greed and irresponsibility on the part of some but also our collective failure to make hard choices and prepare the nation for a new age.

Homes have been lost, jobs shed, businesses shuttered. Our health care is too costly, our schools fail too many, and each day brings further evidence that the ways we use energy strengthen our adversaries and threaten our planet.

These are the indicators of crisis, subject to data and statistics. Less measurable, but no less profound, is a sapping of confidence across our land; a nagging fear that America's decline is inevitable, that the next generation must lower its sights.

Today I say to you that the challenges we face are real, they are serious and they are many. They will not be met easily or in a short span of time. But know this America: They will be met.


On this day, we gather because we have chosen hope over fear, unity of purpose over conflict and discord.

On this day, we come to proclaim an end to the petty grievances and false promises, the recriminations and worn-out dogmas that for far too long have strangled our politics.

We remain a young nation, but in the words of Scripture, the time has come to set aside childish things. The time has come to reaffirm our enduring spirit; to choose our better history; to carry forward that precious gift, that noble idea, passed on from generation to generation: the God-given promise that all are equal, all are free, and all deserve a chance to pursue their full measure of happiness.


In reaffirming the greatness of our nation, we understand that greatness is never a given. It must be earned. Our journey has never been one of shortcuts or settling for less.

It has not been the path for the faint-hearted, for those who prefer leisure over work, or seek only the pleasures of riches and fame.

Rather, it has been the risk-takers, the doers, the makers of things -- some celebrated, but more often men and women obscure in their labor -- who have carried us up the long, rugged path towards prosperity and freedom.

For us, they packed up their few worldly possessions and traveled across oceans in search of a new life. For us, they toiled in sweatshops and settled the West, endured the lash of the whip and plowed the hard earth.

For us, they fought and died in places Concord and Gettysburg; Normandy and Khe Sahn.

Time and again these men and women struggled and sacrificed and worked till their hands were raw so that we might live a better life. They saw America as bigger than the sum of our individual ambitions; greater than all the differences of birth or wealth or faction.

This is the journey we continue today. We remain the most prosperous, powerful nation on Earth. Our workers are no less productive than when this crisis began. Our minds are no less inventive, our goods and services no less needed than they were last week or last month or last year. Our capacity remains undiminished. But our time of standing pat, of protecting narrow interests and putting off unpleasant decisions -- that time has surely passed.

Starting today, we must pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off, and begin again the work of remaking America.


For everywhere we look, there is work to be done.

The state of our economy calls for action: bold and swift. And we will act not only to create new jobs but to lay a new foundation for growth.

We will build the roads and bridges, the electric grids and digital lines that feed our commerce and bind us together.

We will restore science to its rightful place and wield technology's wonders to raise health care's quality...


... and lower its costs.

We will harness the sun and the winds and the soil to fuel our cars and run our factories. And we will transform our schools and colleges and universities to meet the demands of a new age.

All this we can do. All this we will do.

Now, there are some who question the scale of our ambitions, who suggest that our system cannot tolerate too many big plans. Their memories are short, for they have forgotten what this country has already done, what free men and women can achieve when imagination is joined to common purpose and necessity to courage

What the cynics fail to understand is that the ground has shifted beneath them, that the stale political arguments that have consumed us for so long, no longer apply.

MR. The question we ask today is not whether our government is too big or too small, but whether it works, whether it helps families find jobs at a decent wage, care they can afford, a retirement that is dignified.

Where the answer is yes, we intend to move forward. Where the answer is no, programs will end.

And those of us who manage the public's dollars will be held to account, to spend wisely, reform bad habits, and do our business in the light of day, because only then can we restore the vital trust between a people and their government.

Nor is the question before us whether the market is a force for good or ill. Its power to generate wealth and expand freedom is unmatched.

But this crisis has reminded us that without a watchful eye, the market can spin out of control. The nation cannot prosper long when it favors only the prosperous.

The success of our economy has always depended not just on the size of our gross domestic product, but on the reach of our prosperity; on the ability to extend opportunity to every willing heart -- not out of charity, but because it is the surest route to our common good.


As for our common defense, we reject as false the choice between our safety and our ideals.

Our founding fathers faced with perils that we can scarcely imagine, drafted a charter to assure the rule of law and the rights of man, a charter expanded by the blood of generations.

Those ideals still light the world, and we will not give them up for expedience's sake.

And so, to all other peoples and governments who are watching today, from the grandest capitals to the small village where my father was born: know that America is a friend of each nation and every man, woman and child who seeks a future of peace and dignity, and we are ready to lead once more.


Recall that earlier generations faced down fascism and communism not just with missiles and tanks, but with the sturdy alliances and enduring convictions.

They understood that our power alone cannot protect us, nor does it entitle us to do as we please. Instead, they knew that our power grows through its prudent use. Our security emanates from the justness of our cause; the force of our example; the tempering qualities of humility and restraint.

We are the keepers of this legacy, guided by these principles once more, we can meet those new threats that demand even greater effort, even greater cooperation and understanding between nations. We'll begin to responsibly leave Iraq to its people and forge a hard- earned peace in Afghanistan.

With old friends and former foes, we'll work tirelessly to lessen the nuclear threat and roll back the specter of a warming planet.

We will not apologize for our way of life nor will we waver in its defense.

And for those who seek to advance their aims by inducing terror and slaughtering innocents, we say to you now that, "Our spirit is stronger and cannot be broken. You cannot outlast us, and we will defeat you."


For we know that our patchwork heritage is a strength, not a weakness.

We are a nation of Christians and Muslims, Jews and Hindus, and nonbelievers. We are shaped by every language and culture, drawn from every end of this Earth.

And because we have tasted the bitter swill of civil war and segregation and emerged from that dark chapter stronger and more united, we cannot help but believe that the old hatreds shall someday pass; that the lines of tribe shall soon dissolve; that as the world grows smaller, our common humanity shall reveal itself; and that America must play its role in ushering in a new era of peace.

To the Muslim world, we seek a new way forward, based on mutual interest and mutual respect.

To those leaders around the globe who seek to sow conflict or blame their society's ills on the West, know that your people will judge you on what you can build, not what you destroy.

To those...


To those who cling to power through corruption and deceit and the silencing of dissent, know that you are on the wrong side of history, but that we will extend a hand if you are willing to unclench your fist.


To the people of poor nations, we pledge to work alongside you to make your farms flourish and let clean waters flow; to nourish starved bodies and feed hungry minds.

And to those nations like ours that enjoy relative plenty, we say we can no longer afford indifference to the suffering outside our borders, nor can we consume the world's resources without regard to effect. For the world has changed, and we must change with it.

As we consider the road that unfolds before us, we remember with humble gratitude those brave Americans who, at this very hour, patrol far-off deserts and distant mountains. They have something to tell us, just as the fallen heroes who lie in Arlington whisper through the ages.

We honor them not only because they are guardians of our liberty, but because they embody the spirit of service: a willingness to find meaning in something greater than themselves.

And yet, at this moment, a moment that will define a generation, it is precisely this spirit that must inhabit us all.

For as much as government can do and must do, it is ultimately the faith and determination of the American people upon which this nation relies.

It is the kindness to take in a stranger when the levees break; the selflessness of workers who would rather cut their hours than see a friend lose their job which sees us through our darkest hours.

It is the firefighter's courage to storm a stairway filled with smoke, but also a parent's willingness to nurture a child, that finally decides our fate.

Our challenges may be new, the instruments with which we meet them may be new, but those values upon which our success depends, honesty and hard work, courage and fair play, tolerance and curiosity, loyalty and patriotism -- these things are old.

These things are true. They have been the quiet force of progress throughout our history.

What is demanded then is a return to these truths. What is required of us now is a new era of responsibility -- a recognition, on the part of every American, that we have duties to ourselves, our nation and the world, duties that we do not grudgingly accept but rather seize gladly, firm in the knowledge that there is nothing so satisfying to the spirit, so defining of our character than giving our all to a difficult task.

This is the price and the promise of citizenship.

This is the source of our confidence: the knowledge that God calls on us to shape an uncertain destiny.

This is the meaning of our liberty and our creed, why men and women and children of every race and every faith can join in celebration across this magnificent mall. And why a man whose father less than 60 years ago might not have been served at a local restaurant can now stand before you to take a most sacred oath.


So let us mark this day in remembrance of who we are and how far we have traveled.

In the year of America's birth, in the coldest of months, a small band of patriots huddled by dying campfires on the shores of an icy river.

The capital was abandoned. The enemy was advancing. The snow was stained with blood.

At a moment when the outcome of our revolution was most in doubt, the father of our nation ordered these words be read to the people:

"Let it be told to the future world that in the depth of winter, when nothing but hope and virtue could survive, that the city and the country, alarmed at one common danger, came forth to meet it."

America, in the face of our common dangers, in this winter of our hardship, let us remember these timeless words; with hope and virtue, let us brave once more the icy currents, and endure what storms may come; let it be said by our children's children that when we were tested we refused to let this journey end, that we did not turn back nor did we falter; and with eyes fixed on the horizon and God's grace upon us, we carried forth that great gift of freedom and delivered it safely to future generations.

Thank you. God bless you.


And God bless the United States of America.


President barack obama.

January 15, 2009

Manchester United Go Second After Wigan Win A first minute strike by Wayne Rooney was enough for Manchester United to claim victory against Wigan Athl

Manchester United welcomed Wigan Athletic to Old Trafford, hoping for the win that would see them leapfrog Chelsea and close to within just two points of league leaders Liverpool.

Yet the reigning champions had to cope without both Patrice Evra and Rio Ferdinand due to injury, with John O’Shea and Jonny Evans deputising in defence.

Steve Bruce’s Wigan, meanwhile, arrived at Old Trafford in the knowledge they had never beaten the Red Devils, yet on a current hot streak that had seen them win six of their last seven games and move into seventh place in the table.

However, Sir Alex Ferguson’s men began the game in determined mood and it took them less than a minute to open the scoring.

Newly crowned FIFA World Player of the Year, Cristiano Ronaldo crossing from the right for Wayne Rooney to sweep past Chris Kirkland to give the home side the perfect start.

It was to be the striker’s most meaningful contribution of the match as minutes later, he hobbled off to be replaced by Carlos Tevez.

Indeed Tevez almost doubled United’s lead just shy of the half hour mark. A poor kick by Chris Kirkland was headed to the Argentinean by John O’Shea and although he rounded the Wigan goalkeeper he couldn’t capitalise.

Yet the home side couldn’t add to their lead and Wigan looked dangerous at times; Ryan Taylor having their best chance of the first half however he wasted the opportunity by firing over when well-placed.

The visitors grew into the game after the break with Maynor Figueroa, Wigan’s match winner against Tottenham Hotspur on Sunday, sending a warning to the home side with a firm shot that was just too close to Van der Sar to trouble the United keeper.

In stark contrast, United were looking flat and far from the side that cruised past Chelsea at the weekend.

With time running out Steve Bruce replaced Amr Zaki with Henri Camara as the visitors began to pile on the pressure as they sought an equaliser.

Yet with five minutes to remaining, United might have made the game safe. The home side finally got their passing game moving with Ronaldo finding Berbatov whose curling shot flew inches wide of Kirkland’s goal.

Wigan continued to press in the final minutes but the champions who had been well below-par, held on to claim a vital three points that sees them move ominously into second place in the Premier League.

Manchester United: Van der Sar, Rafael, Vidic, Evans, O’Shea, Ronaldo, Carrick, Scholes (Fletcher, 85), Nani (Anderson, 59), Berbatov, Rooney (Tevez, 7)

Wigan Athletic: Kirkland, Melchiot, Scharner, Bramble, Figueroa, Valencia, Palacios, Cattermole (Kapo, 88), Taylor (De Ridder, 80), Heskey, Zaki (Camara, 75)


1-0 Manchester United (Rooney, 1)

Why EFCC, ICPC should probe Obasanjo – Oshiomhole

Edo State Governor, Mr Adams Oshiomhole

The Edo State Governor, Mr. Adams Oshiomhole, on Wednesday said that recent disclosures about the award of oil blocks and the $16bn allegedly spent on the power sector between 1999 and 2007 were enough grounds for the investigation former President Olusegun Obasanjo’s administration.

Oshiomhole, who also alleged that corruption thrived more in the Presidency during Obasanjo’s eight-year in office than in state Government Houses, said the fact that the former President was not under probe indicated that he still enjoyed immunity.

He spoke at the 6th Annual Daily Trust Dialogue in Abuja where a former Secretary of the Commonwealth, Chief Emeka Anyaoku, and an erswhile Speaker of the House of Representatives, Alhaji Aminu Masari, called for electoral process that would guarantee the rights of voters.

The governor, in a veiled call on the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission and the Independent Corrupt Practices and other related Offences Commission to go after Obasanjo, said there was “abundant evidence that some of our rulers ‘ate‘ while in office.”

Oshiomhole, whose paper was titled ”Democracy: Restoring Faith in Politics,” said, ”With the disclosures about large-scale corruption under the last administration such as the $16bn power sector scandal and abuses in the allocation of oil blocks, the former President is still not being investigated to the best of our knowledge, which indicates that even out of office, the system still confers immunity on him.

“The real challenge, therefore, is to strengthen the law enforcement and anti-corruption agencies and encourage them to overcome their apparent self-imposed restraint and official control.”

He lamented the “blatant nature” of corruption and its celebration in Nigeria, saying it was responsible for the erosion of public confidence in politics, democracy and governance.

Oshiomhole said, ”For instance, in a well-publicised confrontation with the late Chief Bola Ige, Chief S.M. Afolabi had said, and I quote, ‘Look at somebody we have called to come and eat, and he is busy abusing the party that rescued him.’

”There is abundant evidence that some of our rulers actually ‘ate‘ while in office at all levels.

“For instance, how else can we explain the transformation of a near-bankrupt proprietor (Obasanjo) of an insolvent farm into the proud owner of a private university and a large expanse of farmlands in all the geo-political zones of the country.

” The same man owns land and real estates in choice locations, other lucrative investments by proxy and a sprawling library complete with a five-star hotel openly funded by agencies of the government and beneficiaries of contracts, waivers, joint venture agreements and other forms of patronage.”

According to Oshiomhole, the damage that corruption has done to the country was responsible for the renewed debate for the removal of immunity clause from the 1999 Constitution.

He, however, argued that the fight against corruption was beyond removing the immunity clause.

The governor said, ”But the most compelling argument, which I am persuaded to adopt in toto, is that a hostile Federal Government, using federal law enforcement agencies, could abuse the removal of the immunity clause by harassing governors who are opposed to him whether they are in opposition parties or, indeed, his own party.

”Many Nigerians, including governors, may be comfortable with the removal of the immunity clause with a more civil, tolerant and broad-minded leader.”

Oshiomhole also said the last administration focused on governors in the fight against corruption whereas the Presidency had a lot to account for.

He said, ”To cap it all, Mallam Nuhu Ribadu, the former EFCC chairman had disclosed, although without providing the evidence, that 24 serving governors had amassed so much at the expense of the people, but could not be prosecuted because of their immunity.

“Yet, Transparency International in a report towards the end of the tenure of the last administration had disclosed that 60 per cent of the corruption in the Nigerian system was domiciled in the Presidency.

”Therefore, if some of the governors were the proverbial 40 thieves, many will readily argue, based on the Transparency International report and other disclosures of corrupt enrichment, that the former President could be regarded as the Ali Baba, who had, skillfully managed to re-direct the focus from himself.”

He submitted that Nigerians would continue to lose faith in the polity because of the gap between what is promised by the rulers and the reality on the ground.

”In contrast to the abject living conditions of the people is the manifest offensive opulence of their rulers, which arises largely from the huge costs expended on office holders at the expense of the people,” he added.

Anyaoku, who was the chairman of the occasion, said that Nigerians could only have faith in the electoral process if there was a guarantee that their votes were important.

He implored politicians to avoid the winner-takes-all syndrome and the government to be transparent in conducting its affairs.

In his presentation, Masari recommended stiff penalties for those who engage in electoral malpractices.

According to him, when those involved in electoral malpractices go unpunished, the cycle of electoral fraud would remain with Nigeria for a long time.

He said, ”The 2007 elections left a terrible taste in the mouth of all Nigerians of conscience and the performance of Independent National Electoral Commission could be classified as the worst since 1923 when we started conducting election in this country following the provisions of the Clifford Constitution of 1922.”

Dignitaries at the occasion included Governor Sule Lamido of Jigawa State; his counterpart in Gombe State , Alhaji Danjuma Goje; and Etsu of Lapai, Alhaji Umaru Bago III.

Milan Set To Accept Manchester City's Kaka Bid - Report It's all up to the Selecao superstar now as the Rossoneri cave in to City's massive spending p

UK tabloid The Daily Mail claims that AC Milan will accept Manchester City's €110 million offer for Brazilian superstar Kaka.

Mark Hughes, the Sky Blues boss, chose to chase to 26-year-old after the club's Arab investors handed him a short-list of January targets that also included Lionel Messi, David Villa and John Terry.

The former FIFA World Player of the Year's agent revealed recently that talks were underway between the two clubs, and that it was "not impossible" that a deal could be completed this month.

However, the player himself has been quoted this week as saying that he wants to remain at the San Siro for many years yet, even though he hopes to experience Premier League football at some stage in his career.

City are prepared to make Kaka the best-paid player on the planet, with reports suggesting that wages of €82 million over five years are on offer.

But while the former Sao Paulo star is uninterested in money - or so he and his agent claim, in any case - he hasn't ruled out the move entirely, according to The Sun.

Britain's top tabloid reports that Kaka could yet sign on at City, provided they agree to insert a series of get-out clauses in his contract.

Under his terms, the Rossoneri hero will only join the Eastlands outfit if the following promises are made: Shiekh Mansour and Abu Dhabi United Group keep control of the club; City qualify for the Champions League within the next two seasons; his representatives retain his image rights; and Robinho is not sold.

Paper talk at best, but it will be interesting to see how this burgeoning saga unfolds. Let's hope it's more entertaining thna the Cristiano Ronaldo-Real Madrid affair...

Gossip Girl Stars Wanted by Office Funnyman!

Chace Crawford, watch out! That goes for you too, Blake Lively!

Office star Rainn Wilson wants to kiss both of you.

After presenting at the Golden Globes with Lively on Sunday, Wilson told me he'd welcome a gig on Gossip Girl—especially a smooched-filled storyline. But with whom? "Either Chace or Blake," said Wilson. "They have really nice names on that show."

Read on for more scoopage straight from the mouths of some of your favorite stars, like which raven-haired beauty is looking to do a Broadway musical with James Marsden and why Kevin Connolly's dispensing love talk.

• Amy Adams has dreams of reuniting with her Enchanted costar James Marsden—in a Broadway musical. "Hopefully," she said, "I could do Pal Joey with Jimmy Marsden!"

• Being one of the stars of the upcoming movie adaptation of self-help bestseller He's Just Not That Into You, Kevin Connolly finds his friends now thinking he's an expert in love. "I am getting a lot of questions about how to handle certain situations," he said. "I always refer them to the book."

• British babe and Oscar winner Rachel Weisz may not be an American citizen, but that doesn't mean she's not going to be watching the Inauguration. "Rachel's very excited," said her Brooklyn-bred hubby, The Wrestler director Darren Aronofsky. "It's weird for her, because this isn't her country and she can't vote, but she thinks it's a victory for every single person on the planet."

• Jessica Capshaw insists Grey's Anatomy bigwigs are paying attention to the recent criticism of the hit ABC doctor drama. "They're very responsive and very excited about their fans," said Capshaw, who joined the series this season as a new doc at Seattle Grace Hospital. "I think they listen to them, and I think that should something not be working out, they hear that."

Let's hope so!

Yar’Adua admits impact of financial meltdown on Nigeria

President Umaru Yar‘Adua on Wednesday admitted that the impact of the global financial meltdown was already noticeable in Nigeria and warned ministers that they must deliver visible results in 2009.

Yar’Adua said this in Abuja while addressing the ministers at the first Federal Executive Council meeting, which also marked the maiden outing by some of the new members of his cabinet.

Declining national revenue, sharp fall in the value of shares, and the continuing crash of the naira against foreign currencies, according to the President, are some of the major indicators that the global crisis is already affecting Nigeria.

The Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Prof. Chukwuma Soludo, had at the 2008 Bankers’ Dinner in Lagos on December 5, 2008 said that Nigeria was insulated from the global financial meltdown.

Soludo had said, “The reason why we will not have a recession is simple, we have enough idle capital waiting to be put into productive use. Our growth rate is still driven essentially by peasant agriculture which was largely decoupled from the global problems.”

But Yar‘Adua said it was time to rise up to the global challenge and to deliver on his administration‘s promises, particularly as 2009 marked the mid-point in the life of his administration.

He told the FEC members that the government needed to double its efforts in the face of the global financial meltdown.

The President noted that “no time” could be more challenging for the government than now.

Admitting the enormity of the problems facing the Federal Government as a result of the global crisis, he said, “This year marks the beginning of our second full year in office and the mid-point of this administration.

“It also coincides with the time of profound economic worries in the world. The world‘s leading economies are in the grip of recession and the fear of a global contagion is becoming real.

“Already, we can feel the impact from falling oil prices, the declining exchange rate of the naira and the cascading prices of shares at the capital market.

“We are thus starting the year amidst persistent push and pull of both local and global realities.”

He went ahead to set agenda for the ministers in line with the challenges posed by the global recession.

Yar’Adua said, “We are saddled with the twin task of maintaining macro-economic stability in an environment of global economic meltdown, thus delivering shared prosperity to our citizens in the face of dwindling national revenues.

“No time can be more challenging but no time can be more auspicious for true leadership.

“The challenges of the moment come with opportunity to prove ourselves, dig deep into ourselves for the best we can offer and give full vent to our creative energies to lay a lasting foundation for the transformation of our country and for the wellbeing of the generality of our people.

“There is no better moment to rededicate ourselves to the urgent task of repositioning our country.

“There is no better time to recommit ourselves to imperative of meeting the mounting aspiration of our people and there is no better point to start redeeming our pledges of delivering good governance on the platform of the seven-point agenda.

“This is the time for action and visible results.

“It is the time for exemplary sacrifices in service; it is the time for unparalleled dedication and innovation. It is the time to make the lasting difference, nothing else will do.

“We must all put our hands to the plough with renewed vigour. This, distinguished ladies and gentlemen, is our sacred call to duty.”

While stressing his confidence in the abilities of the ministers, the President said they must prove themselves to Nigerians, who have been anticipating the dividends of democracy from government.

Hinting that there would be no excuses, Yar‘Adua told the ministers that the challenges of the moment meant that it was not time for an extended learning course.

“As a group carefully chosen to help revitalise the executive team, so much is expected of you. I am personally convinced that you are up to the task but all Nigerians need to be quickly convinced too,” the President said.

“This is not the time for an extended learning course; all of us, both old and new, need to be fully aware of the significance of the moment,” he added.

Welcoming the council members earlier, he had said, “It gives me great pleasure to welcome you all to the first council meeting of the year 2009.

“After the festivities and the break, it is my sincere hope that everyone is rejuvenated for the huge task ahead and to be sure that there is a lot of work to be done.

“For some of you, this is also your first council meeting following your swearing-in. Once again accept my warm welcome and well wishes on your well-deserved appointment.”

$350B bailout: Senate vote looms Reid says senators will vote Thursday on measure, led by Republicans opposed to TARP, seeking to block the second hal

NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- A Senate fight looms Thursday over President-elect Barack Obama's attempt to secure the second half of the $700 billion financial rescue package.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., announced Wednesday night that the Senate would vote on a resolution that seeks to block the release of $350 billion.

A senior Democratic leadership aide told CNN that party leaders are hopeful they have enough votes to kill the resolution but conceded they did not know for sure.

President Bush, acting on behalf of Obama, sent Congress a formal request on Monday to release the second $350 billion of the Troubled Asset Relief Program funds to the Treasury Department.

Eight Republican senators, led by Sen. David Vitter, R-La., said Wednesday they would do all they could to prevent Treasury from getting the remaining TARP funds.

"We should not give another administration a carte-blanche to do anything it wants, which is what TARP has become," Vitter said.

Under the bailout legislation approved by Congress in October, unless Congress passes a joint resolution rejecting the request within 15 days, Treasury can begin tapping the funds. Obama has vowed he would veto a resolution denying him the funds.

Several key Democrats who had earlier stated their displeasure with the handling of the first $350 billion are now changing their tune, saying they will honor the incoming Obama administration's request.

"I agree that the money should be made available under the appropriate condition," House Financial Services Committee Chairman Barney Frank, D-Mass., said Monday. "We should not allow our disappointment at the Bush administration's poor handling of the TARP program to prevent the Obama administration from using the funds in more appropriate ways."

Frank authored a bill, which he hopes will pass the House this week, that sets conditions for the use of the funds, including foreclosure mitigation and improved oversight.

Vitter acknowledged that garnering enough votes may be difficult.

"Clearly our effort is uphill, it's a challenge," he said. "But passing this resolution of disapproval is a prerequisite for any of those [TARP modification] efforts to move forward in a meaningful way."

In the House, Republican congressmen on Wednesday also voiced their opposition to the release of the remaining $350 billion, arguing that the first half had been poorly handled with a lack of oversight.

"Until I know how we spent it, why we spent it and where it is and how it's going to be paid back, I think it'd be irresponsible for me to vote for the next $350 billion," said House Minority Leader John Boehner, R-Ohio.

The matter might not make it to the House, however. This disapproval resolution is not allowed to be filibustered, so it only needs a simple majority, 51 votes, to be defeated.

If the resolution is defeated in the Senate, Obama's request for the money will automatically go through, since the law says both houses of Congress must pass disapproval measures to stop the bailout funds from being released.

January 8, 2009

Chelsea Captain Terry Highlights Bridge's Professionalism Chelsea and England defender John Terry has praised the attitude of his former team-mate Way

After failing to oust Ashley Cole as Chelsea's first choice left-back, despite being one of the first signings of the Abramvich era, Wayne Bridge decided to call the curtain on his Blues career and transfer to nouveau riche side Manchester City.

Chelsea and England captain John Terry has been quick to praise the 28-year old, who says his presence will be missed at Stamford Bridge.

"He'll be missed and I'm still in shock a little bit, because it's a shame to see one of the lads go who you have grown up with and been with a long time," he explained on the club's official website. "I'm disappointed but, for him, it was the right decision.

"We understand he's been here and tried to break in to become a first-team regular but with him and Ash being the two best left-backs around by far, it was difficult for him to break through and get as many games as he liked.

"I think he felt at 28 he had come to an age where he needed to play week in week out. He will definitely get that at Man City and show people he is right up there, as I said, with Ash [Ashley Cole]. Once Bridgey starts playing people will realise how good he is."

Terry went on to note the professionalism that Bridge oozes.

"He was great to have around the place," he said. "A great professional too, coming in at eight some mornings to do an hour on the bike when he wasn't playing, just to keep his fitness there so when he was called upon he did well."

Bridge will long be remembered in Chelsea folklore for being the player responsible for downing Arsenal's Champions League progression at Highbury five years ago.

"It was a great night at Highbury and the fans have a great song about him there," Terry explained. "They loved him as well, and the thing with Bridgey is he could play left-back or left midfield. He is a great crosser of the ball and gets up and down, so we will miss him."

Ghana's new president sworn-in amid fanfare

New elected Ghanaian, President John Atta Mills takes oath of office on Wednesday.

John Atta Mills has been sworn in as Ghana's new president following a cliff-hanger election victory. Mr Atta Mills took his oath of allegiance in front of thousands of people in Independence Square for the inauguration in the capital, Accra. The National Democratic Congress (NDC) candidate beat the ruling party's Nana Akufo-Addo in a hotly contested poll by a margin of less than 0.5% of votes.

President John Kufuor has stood down after serving the maximum two terms. He is the second elected head of state in Ghana's history to hand over to an opposition politician.

Crowds began forming at the stadium before dawn decked out in the national colours of green, yellow, red and black amid an air of intense excitement after one of the closest election races in Africa's recent history. Mr Atta Mills was dressed in a local kente cloth woven in the national colours, Reuters news agency reports.

After he was sworn in, he raised up the State Sword representing government authority to cheers from the crowd, the agency said. A military unit then fired off a booming 21-gun salute. On the eve of the inauguration, President Kufuor showed his successor around his new home, the presidential residence officially known as Jubilee House.

Ghana's new leader, who had lost two previous elections to Mr Kufuor, has pledged to be "a president for all". Mr Akufo-Addo won the first round but not by enough to avoid a run-off in last month's knife-edge polls. Mr Atta Mills was finally declared the winner on Saturday after a re-run of voting in the rural constituency of Tain, which was boycotted by the NPP.

Despite allegations of multiple voting and intimidation from both sides, electoral officials found no evidence of foul play and monitors praised Ghana's poll as a democratic example to others. The stakes were raised further in the election by Ghana's recent discovery of crude oil, with production due to start in late 2010.

Turnout was high for Ghana's fifth set of polls since it embraced multi-party democracy in 1992.
The former British colony was the first African state to gain its independence in 1957. A nation of 22 million people, it is the world's second biggest cocoa grower and Africa's number two gold miner.

Obasanjo graduates

Former Presidents Shehu Shagari(left) and Olusegun Obasanjo congratulating each other at the first convocation of the National Open University of Nigeria (NOUN) in Lagos yesterday.

Former president, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo has graduated from the National Open University of Nigeria (NOUN) at the institution's first convocation ceremony held in Lagos on Wednesday.

Obasanjo who earned a post-graduate diploma in Christian Theology (a programme he started about two years ago) was commended by the Vice Chancellor of the institution, Professor Olugbemiro Jegede for his determination to see to fruition his vision as exemplified by his enrolment at the institution.

Speaking on the former president's commitment to the NOUN dream, Jegede recalled how Obasanjo kept him and his staff on their toes just to ensure that they delivered.

The vice chancellor commended Obasanjo and his fellow 99 graduating students from the various schools of the institution for their determination to complete their studies. He also thanked the graduands for allowing themselves to be used as guinea pigs to test the waters of open education in Nigeria and the robustness of the school's system to handle the task.

Bemoaning the state of the Nigerian educational system as manifested by the illiteracy level, Jegede warned that Nigeria was nowhere near achieving the Education for All (EFA) goal by 2020. He suggested that a crisis management team be put in place to address the situation.
The occasion also featured the award of honourary degrees to three eminent persons, Alhaji Shehu Shagari, former Nigerian president, Senator David Mark, Senate president and Mr. Kochiro Matsuura, director-general, UNESCO.

BUDGET DEFENCE:Unspent allocation: Ojo Maduekwe to account for over N2.8bn

With more revelations of discrepancies in the implementation of the 2008 budget and the inability of the Minister of State [1] in the Ministry of Affairs, Alhaji Jibril Maigari to defend two different budgets for 2009, the House of Representatives Committee on Foreign Affairs has insisted that the senior Minister, Chief Ojo Maduekwe must appear before it next Monday.

Ojo Maduekwe is expected to provide details of N2,805, 631,483 standing as an unspent fund released for execution of projects in the 2008 budget and the sum of N499,908,051, which were not appropriated for in the budget, but were released by the Ministry of Finance.

When coming, chairman of the committee, Hon Umar Bature asked Maduekwe to come with the nominal roll of all staff in the nation’s foreign missions, in addition to written responses to discrepancies spotted in the performances of the 2008 budget.
Bature added that the committee was interested in the status of fees collected on visas issued by the foreign offices, the status of the Nigeria House in New York, the country buildings in Paris, the money given to victims of Tsunami and the status of properties belonging to the country in Washington DC.

Members queried the N1,351,391,240 released for the furnishing of the new headquarters of the ministry when works on the construction of the building was yet to be completed.
Likewise, members fumed that N1,506,009,963 released for installation of new mission/mission/headquarters communication equipment from the 2008 budget was not properly accounted for.

However, the Minister of State explained that the of new mission/mission/headquarters communication equipment contract for which N2.175 billion was appropriated for had been certified by the Bureau of Public Procurement (BPP).
Questions were raised over the sum of N63.5 million earmarked for Conakry/Guinea mission; N159.055 million released for Ouagadougou/Burkina Faso and N63.5 million released for Sao Tome mission.

The Committee expressed disgust over the administration of the ministry that had left most foreign nations in state of disrepair, particularly in New York, where the Nigeria House had been certified as not fit for habitation and had been marked for demolition.
Also in the 2008 budget, the committee wanted an explanation on the sum of N50million paid as school fees for children of only seven staff in one mission and the sum of N175million for the purchase of cars, which could not be found.

Bature warned that the House would not hesitate to invoke its powers to get anybody who should appear before the committee to do so, noting that the Foreign Affairs minister must have concluded assignments related to the crisis in Guinea.
He promised the cartel that had held the ministry down hell, stressing that the report of the committee on the budget defence would expose the rottenness in the ministry.

Lagos doctors suspend strike

The Medical Guild, umbrella body of all Lagos State employed doctors has suspended its strike for 90 days (3 months) to give the government time to fulfill its promise of implementing their demands

The guild had on Monday embarked on an indefinite strike to protest some loopholes in hospital administration in the state, which include welfare of doctors, poor salaries and non-payment of salary arrears since January 2007.

The strike, which lasted three days, brought to a halt clinical services in Lagos State owned hospitals with few consultants and Head of Departments rendering skeletal services.

Speaking with Daily Sun, Secretary of the association, Dr. Maruf Agara, said: “Due to intervention of well meaning Lagosians and Nigerians at large which include the ex-governor of Lagos State, Bola Tinubu, we have decided to suspend the strike for 90 days to watch the government fulfill their promise of implementing our demands.

“At the end of 90 days, we will reconvene. If members of the Guild are not satisfied with the implementation of our demands, whatever they say, will be binding on all of us.

The Governor of Lagos State, Mr. Babatunde Raji Fashola and former governor of the state, had on Tuesday appealed to the striking doctors to embrace dialogue and return to work.

January 6, 2009

Tevez To Ditch Manchester United For Real Madrid? Los Blancos are lining up a summer swoop for 'Apache' as Fergie and co continue to dither over his p

The Sun, that blinding beacon of journalistic integrity, claims that Real Madrid will attempt to take Carlos Tevez from Manchester United at the end of the season.

The Argentine forward is approaching to conclusion of his two-year loan spell at Old Trafford, and yet still no permanent contract has been put on the table.

It was initially hoped that a deal would be signed, sealed and settled last summer, but Sir Alex Ferguson's decision to buy Dimitar Berbatov from Tottenham Hotspur scuppered those plans.

The Red Devils pre-agreed a fee of around €34 million with Media Sports Investment, the firm which owns Tevez's rights, but now the club are reportedly uncomfortable with that evaluation.

And now that the 24-year-old has slipped behind Berbatov in the pecking order, there is a very real possibility that he could leave United once his loan expires.

However, it remains to be seen whether the giants of the Bernabeu are actually interested in Tevez, given they already have Raul, Gonzalo Higuain and Klaas-Jan Huntelaar at their disposal - not to mentioned the injured Ruud van Nistelrooy.

Inter Milan have also been linked with Tevez.

Tim Allen Offers Condolences to Travoltas

As a father himself with another child on the way, Tim Allen can sympathize with John Travolta and Kelly Preston.

Allen, who costarred in the hit biker comedy Wild Hogs with Travolta, today expressed his heartfelt prayers to his friend in the wake of Jett Travolta's unexpected death Friday.

"Jane, Kate and I wanted to extend our condolences to John, Kelly and Ella. We know how much they loved and adored Jett, and words cannot express how sad we were to hear about his passing," Allen said.

On a happier post-holiday note, the 55-year-old Allen also confirmed that he and his 42-year-old wife, actress Jane Hajduk, are going to have the opportunity to do some Home Improvement of their own, as they get a new bedroom ready for the impending arrival of their first baby together.

No word whether it's a boy or a girl, but the little bundle of joy is due in the spring.

Allen has a 19-year-old daughter, Katherine, from his first marriage to high school sweetheart Laura Diebel. The two divorced in 1999. He and Hajduk tied the knot in 2006.

‘Electricity will decide 2011 election’

The Federal Government on Monday said that availability of electricity would be a major electioneering campaign tool in 2011.
It said that because of this, government would adopt a radical approach towards changing the status quo, as records indicated that current generation level vacillated between 2,000 and 3,000 megawatts.

The Minister of State for Power, Mr. Nuhu Wya, stated this in Abuja on Monday when he visited the Rural Electrification Agency.

He said that rural electrification was very vital to poverty reduction in the country, adding that as a member of the ruling Peoples Democratic Party, the government was aware of the role of power availability in tilting the pendulum in the next election.

Wya said, “As a faithful of the PDP, this is a vote- winning agency. We’ll deliver the dividend of democracy to the rural community. This is, therefore, a very fundamental and important agency to the power sector and to the nation.”

According to the minister, the delivery of electricity to the rural communities may turn out a way for the PDP to secure victory at the poll in 2011, since it plans to deliver on its promises on power generation.

He described the REA as a fundamental unit in the power sector and to the nation, adding that government would redouble its support to it.

Nigeria, the minister said, was currently in energy crisis, stressing that operators of the sector needed to generate more electricity to change the current ugly situation.

Wya also charged the REA to increase its efforts in the generation of electricity from non-conventional sources.

He directed the agency to collaborate with the Energy Commission of Nigeria and other relevant agencies in the sector to generate between five and 10 megawatts for the consumption of rural communities.

Earlier, when Wya visited the ECN, he stressed the need to pass the National Energy Policy and National Energy Master Plan into law.

He said that he would soon send a memo to President Umaru Yar’ Adua on the need to pass them into law.

The minister lamented that many discoveries of the commission had not been embraced by the private sector, stressing that there were many advantages in the use of alternative sources of energy.

He however, criticised the ECN for not marketing its discoveries at the various trade fairs in the country.

He said, “I cannot remember seeing your stands at the various trade fairs in Lagos, Kaduna, and Enugu.

“Place emphasis on exhibitions of your findings so that people will be aware of your findings; there is Nigeria Investment Promotion Commission.

“Also, partner with them and give them your findings so that they can help you propagate your findings. Talk to the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria, the National Association of Chambers of Commerce, Industries, Mines and Agriculture and Small and Medium Enterprises Development Agency of Nigeria and other bodies.”

The minister also challenged the agency to improve on its performance so as to assist in the delivery of 6000 mega watts of electricity by the end of the year.

Yar‘Adua had during his inauguration as president instituted a seven-point agenda, with which he hoped to transform Nigeria.

These are power and energy; food security and agriculture; wealth creation and employment; mass transportation; land reform; security; and qualitative and functional education.

He had added the Niger Delta and the disadvantaged groups as two special interest issues also to be focused on.

By making power and energy the first of the seven- point agenda, he said focus in that area would be on infrastructural reforms through the development of sufficient and adequate power supply to ensure Nigeria‘s ability to develop as a modern economy and an industrial nation by the year 2015.

Accordingly, he promised that more than 30,000 mega watts of electricity would be realised in the first five years of the administration, and assured that the ongoing reforms in the power sector would be sustained.

“Our plan is to launch a national emergency programme on the power sector because we believe that there cannot be any meaningful industrial development without steady power supply,” he said.

Yar’Adua had announced at a media chat in December 2007 that he would declare a national emergency on energy and power, to get Nigeria out of economic predicament, since power was the tonic for industrial growth.

The President expressed hope that power supply would rise to 10,000MW before the end of 2008.

He gave the assurance that the proposal was feasible, because the country needed to achieve at least 30,000MW in 2011 and 50,000MW by 2015.

He argued that improvement in power generation capacity would facilitate Nigeria‘s efforts in industrialisation and move the country from a consumer nation to a productive one.

However, more than 18 months afterwards, none of the promises has yielded fruits. If anything, the situation has grown from bad to worse with power generation dropping to less than 2,000MW in August 2008.

Autopsy Confirms Jett Travolta Died of "Seizure," Body to Be Cremated

John Travolta and Kelly Preston's 16-year-old son, Jett, who had a history of health problems, was killed by a "seizure," according to the death certificate issued today.

While the official results of an autopsy today have yet to been publicly announced, mortician Glen Campbell of the Restview Memorial Mortuary in the Bahamas confirmed to E! News that cause of death was a seizure and "there was no sign of head trauma."

"The body was in good condition," Campbell said.

A source close to the proceedings also told E! News that a preliminary report on Jett's death determined "there is no foul play," corroborating what a Travolta family lawyer initially stated last Friday.

"It is not a suspicious death. The body wouldn't already be turned over to the mortuary if there was anything suspicious," the source said. Autopsies are standard procedure in the Bahamas in cases of sudden death.

Bahamian Minister of Health Hubert Minnis did not say when, or if, the autopsy findings would be made public. Bahamian official and close Travolta family friend Obie Wilchcombe tells E! News that the autopsy was completed at 12 p.m. local time.

Mortuary director Keith McSweeney also confirmed that Jett's body is being cremated. "The remains will be turned over to his family tomorrow," he said.
A funeral service was expected Wednesday in Ocala, Fla., where the Travoltas have a home.

Late Monday afternoon, a black hearse—apparently a decoy—traveled from the funeral home to the local airport, where two jets waited. Police in dress uniform blocked access to the tarmac.

The autopsy was conducted by two pathologists this morning. The local coroner in Freeport was joined by a U.S.-certified specialist, who was flown in from Nassau at dawn. The dual reports were intended to ensure accuracy and provide a more thorough analysis of what transpired.

Wilchcombe says the Travolta family doctor was also flown in to observe this morning's autopsy after getting special clearance from the health ministry.

The results confirm Travolta family lawyer Michael Ossi's statement that Jett suffered a fatal seizure. Jett's body was discovered by a caretaker Friday morning, and despite efforts to revive him, including an attempt at CPR by John Travolta, the young man never regained consciousness.

Jett, who suffered from Kawasaki disease, had a history of such attacks, Ossi said.

There is one minor mystery, however. The report that there was no indication of head trauma contradicts initial statements made by local police, who said that Jett had hit his head on the bathtub in his room at the Old Bahama Bay resort, presumably after suffering a seizure.

There's been no immediate comment from authorities on the discrepancy.

Yar’Adua’s govt visionless – CAN President

As Nigerians settle down into the New Year, President of Christian Association of Nigeria [CAN], Rev. John Onaiyekan has launched a scathing criticism on the government of President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua, describing it as visionless.

Speaking exclusively with Daily Sun in Abuja, the CAN president, who is also the Catholic Archbishop of Abuja Diocese said with regret “that it is difficult to know the particular direction, which the present administration is heading to.

“It is not the issue whether one is slow or fast, but the issue is which direction are you facing and where are you going to?
“You can be fast and running the wrong direction, and so the important thing is are we facing the right direction and are we really taking the right steps? Even if it is slow.

“ We rather prefer a slow movement in the right direction than a headlong movement to disaster. It is difficult to say – in the area of the rule of law, we can see from the situation, how often and how much that is being respected. We can see now that it is difficult to take things on their face value, and by their fruits you shall know them,” the clergy stated.

Bishop Onaiyekan berated the Yar’Adua government for not being open to all and sundry, noting that expectations was that the government should by now be ruling beyond party lines.
The CAN president said that it was undemocratic for Yar’Adua’s political party, the Peoples Democratic Party [PDP] to continue to insult the nation that it would rule for 60 years in the face of the mirage of problems that had been left unattended to.

He advised the opposition parties to remain and give the people choice to make in the next election, while decrying the action of politicians who changed political parties because they lost elections.
On the Jos crisis, the Archbishop said the issue of strangers, settlers’ syndrome as raised by some people in the state as the cause of the mayhem was not peculiar to Plateau State but a worldwide problem, stressing that only an amendment to the nations’ constitution could solve the problem.

According to him, “ I don’t believe that the recent Jos crisis was really a religion-induced crisis, and by the way, it is politicians who always make any crisis look like a religious one so as to achieve their objectives. But it is clear to us that we are talking to issue of interest, socially and economically. Strangers \ settler’s syndrome is not only peculiar to Jos but all over the world.

“ When we went to Jos with the Sultan of Sokoto recently, an old Hausa\Fulani asked a pertinent question that his grandfather came to Jos and the father was born in Jos as well as himself. Then, how long are they going to be in Jos before stop being strangers? I said that is a pertinent question, which should be asked not only in Jos.

We should go and ask it too in Kano, Sokoto, Kebbi that how long will an Igbo man live in those places before they stop being treated as strangers or settlers? And how long must a Yoruba man live in Onitsha before he stops being a stranger.

“ The issue of citizenship enshrined in our constitution should be addressed squarely. But no matter what you do, there will still be rivalry over scarce resources, which happens everywhere,” Onayeikan stated.