Barack Obama will urge Northern Ireland’s politicians to quicken the pace of progress in the peace process when he arrives in Belfast on Monday. He will use his visit to Northern Ireland for the G8 summit to urge locals to devote more effort to charting a course for a shared future for unionists and nationalists. Tomorrow morning he will address a large audience of young people in Belfast before travelling to Fermanagh for the G8. He is also to meet First Minister Peter Robinson and Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness. He is expected to praise them and other political figures for their achievement in maintaining a cross-community administration. But he is also to urge them to consolidate gains by working harder on community relations.
President Barack Obama greets a little girl following his remarks during the Irish celebration at College Green in Dublin, Ireland, May 23, 2011. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)
BusinessWeek: Tesla Motors Inc. (TSLA), labeled a “loser” by Mitt Romney during the U.S. election, is giving President Barack Obama’s green-energy strategy its biggest win after almost two years of failures pounced upon by Republicans.
The maker of the electric Model S car as early as today will become the first recipient of a U.S. Energy Department vehicle loan to pay off its debt. The Palo Alto, California-based company will do so nine years ahead of schedule, with taxpayers making at least $12 million on the $465 million lent.
People cheer as President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama are introduced during an Irish celebration at College Green in Dublin, Ireland, May 23, 2011. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)
President Obama’s 1979 Prom Photos
TIME Magazine: Tucked away in someone else’s shoe box of adolescent artifacts, there might be a picture of you in garish clothes and with an outdated ‘do, your arm around a high school squeeze. The President of the United States is no different. These previously unpublished photos, obtained exclusively by TIME from Obama’s schoolmate Kelli Allman (née McCormack), show a 17-year-old Barack Obama on the night of his senior prom.
Tom Kludt: President Barack Obama on Thursday will outline his administration’s counterterrorism policy in a major speech to be given at National Defense University in Washington, D.C. Obama will use the speech to announce new restrictions on unmanned drones.
According to the New York Times, the policy changes signed by Obama include a reduction of the “instances when unmanned aircraft can be used to attack in places that are not overt war zones, countries like Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia.” The new rules will also establish “the same standard for strikes on foreign enemies now used only for American citizens deemed to be terrorists,” the Times reported.
President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama greet Henry Healy, the President’s distant cousin, after arriving in Moneygall, Ireland, May 23, 2011. The President and First Lady were also welcomed by Counselor Danny Owens, Chair Offaly County, and Counselor John Kennedy, Chair Tipperary County, center. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)
President Barack Obama participates in a literacy lesson with children while visiting a pre-kindergarten classroom at Moravia Elementary School in Baltimore, Md., May 17, 2013. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)
President Barack Obama sits in the cockpit of a 787 Dreamliner during his tour of the Boeing Plant production facility in Everett, Wash., Feb. 17, 2012. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)
President Barack Obama arrives on the South Lawn of the White House after a three day West coast trip, early February 18
The week ahead:
Monday: No public events.
Tuesday: The President and First Lady will invite music legends and contemporary major artists to the White House for a celebration of Blues music and in recognition of Black History Month as part of their “In Performance at the White House” series.
Wednesday: The President will deliver remarks at the construction site of the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture.
Thursday: The President will travel to Miami, Florida, to participate in an official event.
Friday: The President will host Prime Minister Thorning-Schmidt of Denmark for a meeting in the Oval Office.
John McDonough (Boston.com): I’ve written before about the Obama Administration’s breakthrough efforts to fight health care fraud and abuse. Now there’s more, $4.1 billion more.
Earlier this week, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder and HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius announced that the federal government recovered $4.1 billion in taxpayer dollars from individuals and corporations attempting to steal Medicare and Medicaid payments to which they were not entitled.
What’s $4.1 billion? It is the largest amount of money ever recovered, by far, in the history of the programs since they were established in 1965. Here are the numbers from the most recent years….
Herald Sun: At one of her first face-to-face meetings with Barack Obama soon after becoming PM, Julia Gillard said to the leader of the free world: “Are you nuts?”.
It could have been a monumental diplomatic blunder from the woman who admitted foreign policy was not her passion. But Obama didn’t see it as an insult. He considered her disregard for foreign affairs double-speak refreshing.
The two leaders have discovered they share a similar sense of humour and political outlook, and a surprisingly strong personal relationship has blossomed between the Australian Prime Minister and the President of the United States.
They are like-minded left-of-centre politicians both facing difficult domestic challenges, with Obama battling a hostile Congress and Gillard juggling minority government. And both are trail-blazers – the first black President and first female PM.
… Gillard sent Obama a 50th birthday card in August, purchased from the Parliament House florist, with pictures of a kangaroo, the Parliament building, native flowers and the Captain Cook water-jet on Lake Burley Griffin. Inside she wrote a personal note, including the line, “Your life has been remarkable to date but I’m sure the best is yet to come”.
… Gillard told me about their chat in an interview: “I had a discussion in the margins of one of the summits with President Obama who said, ‘You know your Question Time is a good way of speaking to the nation and getting your message out’, to which I said, “Are you nuts? We have this for an hour and half, four days a week’.
“He did laugh. He was not insulted by the ‘are you nuts?’. He thought I was pretty funny,” Gillard recalled.
News.com: As the Occupy camps in Melbourne and Adelaide rage against the ills of Western capitalism, young Australians have given their backing to the man who leads the world’s biggest economy.
A news.com.au survey can reveal that under-35-year-olds are happiest about Barack Obama’s visit, with more than 50 per cent saying they were happy or ecstatic.
…. The feelings of good-will and warmth for Mr Obama are in stark contrast to those George W. Bush aroused when he visited Australia in 2003 and 2007.
… A Gallup poll shows that approval of US leadership nearly tripled among Australians between 2008 and 2010, jumping from 25 per cent to 69 per cent. It was the biggest increase Gallup measured worldwide pre- and post-Obama.
….. greeted by Australia’s Governor-General Quentin Bryce
… greeting Australia’s Prime Minister Julia Gillard