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President Barack Obama said Monday that Americans must honour the sacrifices of their fighting men and women, particularly at a time when the US combat role in Iraq has ended and the country's involvement in Afghanistan is winding down.
Speaking at Memorial Day ceremonies at Arlington National Cemetery, Obama said he worries that the country's servicemen and women aren't being fully appreciated in an era in which "most Americans are not directly touched by war".
He said he couldn't explain that phenomenon but said it might have something to do with the all-volunteer military force and advanced technology that now permits the United States to accomplish some military missions with far fewer personnel.
But Obama did say that even as "we turn a page" away from Iraq, and Afghanistan by the end of 2014, "let us never forget that the nation is still at war".
He said that some troops and military families "mention to me their concern about whether the country fully appreciates" them.
Every Memorial Day weekend, a ceremony takes place just outside Paris to honor a group of Americans who fought in France. They're not D-Day veterans, but a little known group of pilots who fought for France in World War I, before the U.S. entered the war.
This year's ceremony in the tiny town of Marnes-la-Coquette began with a flyover by two French air force Mirage fighter jets from the Escadrille Lafayette, or Lafayette Squadron, paying tribute to the men who founded the group nearly 100 years ago.
"In April of 1916, seven Americans enlisted in the French military to form the corps of the Lafayette Escadrille," said Major Gen. Mark Barrett, chief of staff of the U.S.-European command, who took part in the ceremony. "The squadron grew to include 38 American pilots, led by a French officer, who's also buried here. These pilots from America and France, who banded together to form the Lafayette Escadrille, were pioneers in a new form of warfare, as aviation brought the battlefield to the skies."
Sixteen million men and women served in uniform during World War II. Today, 1.2 million are still alive, but hundreds of those vets are dying every day. In honor of Memorial Day, NPR's All Things Considered is remembering some of the veterans who have died this year.
The Dirty Dozen was a Hollywood hit, but it was based — loosely — on a true-to-life WWII paratrooper regiment. Jake McNiece led the group, whose exploits inspired the 1967 movie and earned the nickname "The Filthy Thirteen." McNiece died in February at the age of 93.
While the movie took liberties with The Filthy Thirteen, the real-life McNiece was no less colorful than Maj. John Reisman, the character played by actor Lee Marvin. As McNiece recalled in an interview a few years ago, he considered himself "the head troublemaker" of a group of troublemakers.
On the eve of the Normandy invasion in 1944, his men jumped behind German lines. Some called it a suicide mission. For the D-Day jump, McNiece shaved his head and painted his face — and the look caught on with his men.
NY Times (subscription may be required)
WASHINGTON — President Obama paid homage to the nation’s military — especially troops serving in Afghanistan — on Monday, using his traditional Memorial Day address at Arlington National Cemetery to exhort Americans to honor their “sacred obligation” to veterans, and to remind the country that “our nation is still at war.”
Mr. Obama’s remarks, delivered under warm, sunny skies after he participated in a somber wreath-laying ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknowns, came on the heels of his address last week on counterterrorism policy, in which he said he hoped to move the nation off a war footing.
Americans have been marking Memorial Day, which commemorates US soldiers fallen in the Civil War and beyond.
President Barack Obama laid a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknowns at Arlington National Cemetery near Washington DC.
Mr Obama said America must remember its citizens are still serving, even though the war in Iraq is over and troops are withdrawing from Afghanistan.
Americans observe the day - which launches the summer season - with parades, family visits and barbecues.
As many as 35 million Americans were expected to travel this weekend, according to AAA, a motorists' association.
'Please don't forget'
Soldiers returning from war had written to the president to express their concerns that public awareness of the military's current operations were "fading from memory", Mr Obama said on Monday
In recent months Barack Obama has visited victims of the Oklahoma tornado, the Boston bombing and the Newtown school shooting, but his visit on Tuesday to beach communities hit by hurricane Sandy is about more than just consoling another group of families hit by America's run of tragedies.
The president arrives at a crucial moment in the economic recovery of the New Jersey shore, which welcomed 60 million visitors last summer but starts this season worried about how many will come back. It also comes at a potentially opportune moment for Obama and his host, New Jersey governor Chris Christie, both of whom are seeking to gain from some positive coverage of the visit.
Christie has been busy re-opening beach resorts damaged by Sandy in time for the traditional Memorial Day start to the tourist season. But both he and the White House concede there is still work to be done before this storm-ravaged coast is fully back to normal.
"The recovery effort in the aftermath of Sandy is still ongoing and there are still a lot of people in these communities who are hurting and are still struggling to come back from the blow that that storm dealt to them," said White House spokesman Josh Earnest aboard Air Force One during the president's early trip to Oklahoma on Sunday.
The Obama administration has warned British officials that if the UK leaves Europe it will exclude itself from a US-EU trade and investment partnership potentially worth hundreds of billions of pounds a year, and that it was very unlikely that Washington would make a separate deal with Britain.
The warning comes in the wake of David Cameron's visit to Washington, which was primarily intended as a joint promotion of the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) with Barack Obama, which the prime minister said could bring £10bn a year to the UK alone, but which was overshadowed by a cabinet rebellion back in London.
The threat by Cameron's ministers to back a UK exit in a referendum on the EU raised doubts in Washington on whether Britain would still be part of the deal once it had been negotiated. More immediately, Obama administration officials were concerned that the uncertainty over Britain's future would further complicate what is already a hard sell in Congress, threatening a central pledge in the president's State of the Union address in February.
The news of Hostess' return to Emporia, Kan., sparked an ecstatic response in this beleaguered town — even though there will be only half as many jobs.
The new company, formed when investors bought Hostess' snack cake business, has hired longtime snack cake production veterans Pat Chambers and her husband, Bob, to help get the bakery here running again. Pat lost her job at the Hostess plant when it closed last November. Now, she sits beaming on her front porch, wearing a dirty Hostess work shirt.
"We worked today! It's like going home," she says. "I'm so excited. I'm so happy."
When Hostess went bankrupt, the Chamberses almost did, too.
"We don't have the car anymore. We got rid of the boat," Pat Chambers says. "I've gone from a 2012 beautiful, convertible Camaro to an '87 Oldsmobile Cutlass."
Corriere della Sera
ROME – “Judicial activism is an abuse of power and undermines the judges’ claim to be the legitimate final arbiter of the meaning of the law”. Justice Antonin Scalia will make the point this morning in Turin in the Discorso Bruno Leoni, the lecture organised by the Istituto Bruno Leoni for the centenary of the liberal philosopher’s birth. The US supreme court judge and leading light of conservative thought will talk about the relationship of democracy, judicial activism and the free market. He will be pointing the finger, as directly and as explicitly as ever, at the trendy political agendas that lead many judges to underplay constitutional protection of economic rights. Justice Scalia is referring to the United States but his message on the need for judges to take a greater interest in the property rights and economic freedoms enshrined in the US constitution has the ring of a universal appeal.
We spoke on the phone to Antonin (Nino) Scalia, born in 1936 in Trenton, New Jersey, of Sicilian immigrant parents, on the eve of his address in Turin.
A Royal Caribbean International ship was diverted to a Bahamas port Monday after an early morning fire sent guests to the decks with life jackets under the night sky.
The Grandeur of the Seas cruise ship, under its own power but escorted by the U.S. Coast Guard, arrived in Freeport hours after the fire, which the company said began in a mooring area about 2:50 a.m. and was extinguished just before 5 a.m.
The ship, with 2,224 guests and 796 crew members, initially was headed to CocoCay, Bahamas, but was redirected to Freeport for evaluation, Royal Caribbean said.
Two guests were treated after fainting, and medical staff also responded to reports of high blood pressure and an ankle sprain, Royal Caribbean said.
Royal Caribbean spokeswoman Cynthia Martinez said she didn't have further information about the medical reports, "but the ship has told us that there are no medical emergencies onboard."
Video captured by passengers Danielle Miller and Katie Coleman shows guests gathered on a deck, wearing orange life jackets.
Republican Senator John McCain, a former presidential candidate and one of the loudest voices calling for military aid to the Syrian opposition, met with some of the rebels during a surprise visit to the war-torn country on Monday, his spokesman said.
Spokesman Brian Rogers confirmed McCain's meeting with the rebels, but declined to give any details about the visit, which came a week after a U.S. Senate panel voted overwhelmingly to send weapons to forces fighting the Syrian government.
General Salem Idris, who leads the Supreme Military Council of the Free Syrian Army, told the Daily Beast in an interview that McCain's visit came at a critical time for the rebels, who have stepped up their calls for U.S. support, including heavy weapons, creation of a no-fly zone and air strikes.
(Reuters) - Heavy fighting raged around the strategic Syrian border town of Qusair and the capital Damascus on Monday and further reports surfaced of chemical weapons attacks by President Bashar al-Assad's forces on rebel areas.
The Syrian military pounded eastern suburbs of Damascus with air strikes and artillery and loud explosions echoed around al-Nabak, 80 km (50 miles) north of the capital, where fighting has cut the highway running north to the central city of Homs, the pro-opposition Syrian Observatory for Human Rights group said.
Government offensives in recent weeks are widely seen as a campaign to strengthen Assad's negotiating position before a proposed international peace conference sponsored by the United States and Russia and planned for next month.
Opposition activists said Syrian troops backed by Lebanese Hezbollah fighters were pressing a sustained assault on Qusair, a town long used by insurgents as a way station for arms and other supplies from Lebanon.
(Reuters) - A wave of bombs exploded in markets in mainly Shi'ite neighborhoods across Baghdad on Monday, killing more than 50 people in the latest attacks to increase fears Iraq risks sliding back into broad sectarian conflict.
While no group claimed Monday's blasts, Sunni Muslim Islamist insurgents and al-Qaeda' s Iraqi wing have increased attacks since the beginning of the year and often target Shi'ite districts to try to trigger wider confrontation.
At least 11 blasts tore into busy markets and shopping areas in districts across the Iraqi capital, including twin bombs just several hundred meters apart that killed at least 13 people in the Sadr City area, police and hospital officials said.
(Reuters) - Spain's rising political star is a 61-year-old former Socialist whose message of changing the system from within is drawing voters in despair at economic ruin and official corruption in the euro zone's fourth biggest economy.
Lacking the raucous anti-establishment appeal of Italy's Beppe Grillo and Greek leftist hero Alexis Tsipras, Rosa Diez relies on sharp debate to deliver her reform message to a country pushed to the brink by the euro zone debt crisis.
Diez split from the Socialist party six years ago and formed the centrist Union for Democracy and Progress, or UPyD.
Polls show she is Spain's most highly regarded politician at a time when a quarter of workers are out of a job and public disenchantment with the political class is rising, as is the caseload of judges investigating allegations of official graft.
A battery of measures to prevent the radicalisation of British Muslims has been outlined by the home secretary, Theresa May, including tougher pre-emptive censorship of internet sites, a lower threshold for banning extremist groups and renewed pressure on universities and mosques to reject "hate preachers".
May also signalled on Sunday that she was prepared to do battle with Nick Clegg, the deputy prime minister, over his veto of the communications data bill – the so-called snooper's charter.
After four days in which ministers have been praised in some quarters for avoiding a knee-jerk response to the killing of Drummer Lee Rigby outside his Woolwich barracks in south London, Whitehall swung into action.
It has promised a new taskforce, chaired by the prime minister, and a root and branch review of Prevent, the government strategy to combat radicalisation.
However, Labour's former counter-terrorism minister Hazel Blears has criticised the government for failing to tackle radicalisation at a local level.
Berlin is once again in hot water over its arms export policy, having authorized the shipment of armored vehicles that were used to fatally crush peaceful demonstrators in Cairo. Tanks manufactured in Egypt under license by a German contractor have also ended up in war-torn countries.
On the night of Oct. 9, 2011, scenes of wanton brutality played out on the streets of Cairo. Shaky videos captured by mobile phones show images of peaceful demonstrators, including students and Coptic Christians, marching toward the Maspero building, which houses the Egyptian Radio and Television Union.
But then tanks rolled in and the masses panicked as the armored vehicles headed directly toward the crowds. Rather than slowing down, they accelerated and charged straight ahead. In the end, a dozen pro-democracy advocates lay dead, crushed by the tanks' steel armoring or run over by their solid-rubber tires.
With the euro crisis refusing to relent, the German government is backing away from its austerity mandates and planning to spend billions to stimulate ailing economies in Southern European. But can the program succeed?
Wolfgang Schäuble sounded almost like a new convert extolling the wonders of heaven as he raved about his latest conclusions on the subject of saving the euro. "We need more investment, and we need more programs," the German finance minister announced after a meeting with Vitor Gaspar, his Portuguese counterpart.
The role he was slipping into last Wednesday was new for Schäuble. The man who had persistently maintained his image as an austerity commissioner is suddenly a champion of growth. If Germany couldn't manage to trigger an economic recovery, "our success story would not be complete," he said. And as if to convince even the die-hard skeptics, he added: "The German government is always prepared to help."
Patients struggling with obesity can have a tough time finding the right doctor, according to researchers at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.
"Patients often complain that their primary care doctor is too judgmental or harsh with them about their weight," says Dr. Kimberly Gudzune, an internal medicine physician at Johns Hopkins. She sees lots of overweight and obese patients who want to lose weight, but feel that their doctor isn't supporting them in that effort. Because of that, she says, patients want to find another doctor. And they often do.
That prompted Gudzune to do a study to see whether this was a trend. She looked at medical records of more than 20,000 people enrolled in a single health insurance plan. She compared how often patients switched doctors. Switching doctors more than five times over two years was considered "doctor shopping," which correlates with less preventive medicine and continuity of care.
Chilean authorities have ordered a mandatory evacuation of a 25-km radius around the active Copahue volcano, which straddles the border with Argentina.
The volcano, located hundreds of kilometers from capital Santiago in south-central Chile's Bio Bio region, has seen increasing seismic activity in recent weeks, but still has not erupted, authorities said.
According to the National Geological and Mining Service(Sernageomin), the volcano "is now in a process that risks turning into an eruption, for that reason we've issued a red alert," Interior Minister Andres Chadwick said on a nationally televised news conference.
Authorities estimated that some 2,240 people will be evacuated.
In neighbouring Argentina's Neuquen province, authorities declared a "yellow alert," but said evacuations weren't necessary. However, school classes in Argentina's Caviahue-Copahue, home to some 900 people, were suspended.
STANFORD, Calif. – Researchers at the Stanford University School of Medicine have identified mutations in several new genes that might be associated with the development of spontaneously occurring cases of the neurodegenerative disease known as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or ALS. Also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease, the progressive, fatal condition, in which the motor neurons that control movement and breathing gradually cease to function, has no cure.
Although researchers know of some mutations associated with inherited forms of ALS, the majority of patients have no family history of the disease, and there are few clues as to its cause. The Stanford researchers compared the DNA sequences of 47 patients who have the spontaneous form of the disease, known as sporadic ALS, with those of their unaffected parents. The goal was to identify new mutations that were present in the patient but not in either parent that may have contributed to disease development.
The accelerating disappearance of Earth’s species of both wild and domesticated plants and animals constitutes a fundamental threat to the well-being and even the survival of humankind, warns the founding Chair of a new global organization created to narrow the gulf between leading international biodiversity scientists and national policy-makers.
In Norway to address an elite gathering of 450 international officials with government responsibilities in the fields of biodiversity and economic planning, Zakri Abdul Hamid offered his first public remarks since being elected in January to head the new Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) — an independent body modeled on the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.
Scan Twitter, Instagram, or Tumblr. Watch your favorite television show, or even listen to the radio, and you might notice that the biggest social network of them all is disconnected from pop culture -- at least when it comes to hashtags.
Hashtags are a form of expression that Facebook, like your grandparents, just can't understand. The social network appears motivated to change that, although a spokesperson wouldn't share details on when and how it will roll out hashtags.
Today we released research which reduces the range of uncertainty in future global warming. It does not alter the fact we will never be certain about how, exactly, the climate will change.
We always have to make decisions when there are uncertainties about the future: whether to take an umbrella when we go outside, how much to spend on insurance. International action on climate change is just one more decision that has to be made in an environment of uncertainty.
The most recent assessment of climate change made by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change in 2007 looked at what is known with high confidence about climate change, as well as uncertainties. It included projections of future global warming to the end of this century based on simulations from a group of complex climate models.
These models included a range of uncertainties, coming from natural variability of the climate and the representation of important processes in the models. But the models did not consider uncertainty from interactions with the carbon cycle – the way carbon is absorbed and released by oceans, plant life and soil.