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    Showing posts with label U.s.. Show all posts

    Republicans Heighten Criticism of Obama's Ukraine Response

    Former Vice President Dick Cheney accused President Barack Obama Sunday of appeasing Russian President Vladimir Putin and said there’s “no question” that Putin “believes he is weak.”

    Cheney said in an interview on CBS’s Face the Nation that Obama and his advisers “have created an image around the world, not just to the Russians, of weakness… the Syrian situation is a classic. We got all ready to do something -- a lot of the allies signed on -- and at the last minute, Obama backed off.”

    Cheney said that in responding to Russia’s seizure of Crimea, “there are military options that don’t involve putting troops on the ground in Crimea. We could go back and reinstate the ballistic-missile defense program that was taken out, that was originally going to go in Poland (and) the Czech Republic and Obama took it out to appease Putin.”

    He also suggested that Obama offer military equipment and training to the Ukrainians and do joint training exercises in Poland.
    Cheney did admit that Bush administration’s responses to the 2008 Russian invasion of Georgia “were not effective in terms of driving Putin out.” Some observers see Putin’s successful invasion of Georgia as the template for Russian actions in Crimea.

    Cheney’s comments came as Robert Gates, who served as defense secretary under both President George W. Bush and under Obama, said on Fox News Sunday that Putin’s seizure of Crime appeared to be irreversible. “I do not believe that Crimea will slip out of Russia's hand," he said.

    More Republican criticism of Obama’s handling of the Ukraine crisis came from Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, a potential Republican presidential contender. In an interview on ABC’s This Week, Cruz said Obama’s foreign policy was “to alienate and abandon our friends and to coddle and appease our enemies. You better believe that Putin sees in Benghazi four Americans are murdered and noting happens, there’s no retribution. You better believe that Putin sees in Syria (that) Obama draws a red line and ignores a red line.”

    Trayvon Martin Killing: George Zimmerman's Attorney and Friend Speak Out

    The attorney counseling George Zimmerman, who shot unarmed black teenager Trayvon Martin as he was walking home from the store with a bag of Skittles, says if charges are filed, Zimmerman will argue that he acted in self-defense and that Florida's stand-your-ground law applies.

    Attorney Craig Sonner said the public is only hearing part of the story, and when all the facts come out, it will be clear that Zimmerman acted in self defense. A grand jury is scheduled to begin hearing the case April 10.

    "George Zimmerman suffered a broken nose, and had an injury to the back of his head, he was attacked by Trayvon Martin on that evening," Sonner said. "This was a case of self defense."

    When asked why Zimmerman went after Martin, even though a 911 dispatcher told him not to, Sonner said: "Those are questions that will be answered."

    Trayvon Martin Case: Timeline of Events

    Sonner said the so-called stand-your-ground law, under which a person who feels threatened is not required to retreat and can "meet force with force" if attacked, will be applicable in the case.

    Sonner insisted that Zimmerman is not a racist, pointing out that he and his wife mentored for two black children for free. READ MORE

    28 dead as 'enormous outbreak' of tornadoes tears through U.S.

    A devastating storm system moved across the United States on Friday, spawning a slew of tornadoes that contributed to at least 28 fatalities in Indiana, Kentucky and Ohio.

    National Weather Service meteorologist John Gordon reported Friday afternoon the agency had about "half a dozen reports of tornadoes on the ground," as well as reports of "significant damage" -- making his comments before some of the worst twisters were reported.

    "This is an enormous outbreak that's going on right now across Kentucky and the South," Gordon said. "It's crazy. It's just nuts right here."

    Southern Indiana was particularly hard hit, with Indiana Department of Homeland Security spokesman John Erickson saying three had died in Jefferson County as a result. Sgt. Rod Russell with the Indiana State Police said later that three people also were killed in Scott County.

    In addition, Emergency Management Director Leslie Cavanaugh of Clark County -- which has about 110,000 people -- reported one death. Sheriff's Department Maj. Chuck Adams added that a man was found dead in his car several miles outside Henryville.

    "We've got total devastation in the north-ceindntral part of the county (and) widespread damage from the west to the east," added Adams. "We are inundated with calls."

    At least 15 people were killed across Indiana, authorities said.

    Aerial footage from CNN affiliate WLKY showed structures torn to shreds and large swaths of trees knocked down in Henryville, about 20 miles north of Louisville, Kentucky.

    Other aerial images showed similar devastation in St. Paul, Indiana. Several officials -- including Jeffersonville, Indiana, Mayor Mike Moore, U.S. Sen. Dan Coats and Adams -- indicated that the town of Marysville suffered especially significant damage.

    Cavanaugh also said that the local high school, Henryville Junior-Senior High School, had been "demolished."

    According to Sara Reschar, an administrative assistant for the West Clark Community Schools, "students were already out of the school when the storm hit" -- having been dismissed about 15 minutes earlier. Adams said there were some "scrapes and scratches," but no serious injuries as a result.

    Authorities used thermal imaging equipment, search dogs and other means Friday night to look for a 9-year-old boy in Henryville whose whereabouts was unknown after the tornadoes came through, Adams said.

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