President Barack Obama will renominate Republican Kristine Svinicki to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, defying opposition from his own party's Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, the White House said on Thursday.
Republicans want Svinicki, whose term as a commissioner expires in June, to stay on the panel and assert that the process has been held up because she, along with three other commission members, accused current NRC chairman Gregory Jaczko, a Democrat, of bullying women.I actually feel sorry for spineless Harry Reid. He repeatedly has to fight Barack Obama's battles in the Senate only to find how easy it is for President Obama to turn on him when Senator Reid needs the help.
But Majority Leader Reid is the one who established the pattern so it is on him and he cannot brush the crumbs off and litter them on anyone else.
I would love to believe that the senator could learn from this but he never has before and, like me, he is as old as dirt.
This is C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot" for today:
Jane Arraf (Al Jazeera) explains "The blasts were a series of co-ordinated attacks in Baghdad and northern cities but mostly within Shia neighbourhoods." Prensa Latina notes, "An Interior Ministry's spokesman said the first explosion occurred at rush hour this morning, when a car bomb exploded in the Shiite neighborhood of Kazimiyah, in northern Baghdad, killing three and injuring 11." The Belfast Telegraph adds, "Extremists launched 12 attacks in the Iraqi capital and in the cities of Kirkuk, Samarra, Baqouba, Dibis and Taji. Mortars were fired into the northern cities of Beiji and Saddam Hussein's hometown of Tikrit, but no injuries were reported there." UPI counts 35 dead and over seventy-three injured while the Voice of Russia counts 36 dead and over one hundred dead. ITV also goes with 36 killed. Salam Faraj (AFP) counts it out this way, "Twenty-two civilians, eight police, three members of an anti-Qaeda militia and two soldiers were killed in dozens of attacks, including 14 separate car bombings." Alsumaria puts the number injured at over 146. As the day ended, AFP noted the death toll -- per security officials -- had risen to 38 with over one-hundred and sixty people wounded.
BBC News (link is text and video) breaks down today's violence as follows:
In Baghdad, a series of at least five blasts struck in various Shia neighbourhoods
Police say two car bombs went off in Kirkuk, 180 miles (290km) north of Baghdad
A suicide bomber killed a police officer in Baquba, an army officer said
Two car bombs targeted security forces in Samarra
A parked car exploded killing passers-by in Dibis
A roadside device exploded in Taji
Rami Ruhayem declares, "The targets have been varied. Some of them are civilian targets such as shops, Iranian pilgrims in Baghdad and also army and police forces." Richard Spencer (Telegraph of London) observes, "Five members of the Sahwa, or Awakening Council, a Sunni militia formed by the American forces before they left the country to combat Al-Qaeda in their own areas, were killed in a bomb attack on a checkpoint in Samarra." Deutsche Welle adds, "The blasts unfolded closely, over an hour and a quarter." Xinhua notes there were car bombs, roadside bombs, suicide bombs and shootings. Press TV states, "Police officials in the provincial capital city of Mosul in Nineveh said three people sustained injuries in a bomb attack carried out in a restaurant."
ITN quotes a wounded police officer in Kirkuk stating, "I was trying to stop traffic to let a police patrol pass. When it passed, a car bomb exploded and I fell on the ground and police took me to the hospital."
Iraq is in deep crisis and it is nothing new. It is not that Iraq has started moving toward dictatorship and totalitarianism just now. No! And in fact the Americans and Kurds have contributed to the creation of the dictator. The constitution of the "New Iraq" does not stipulate a just power sharing among the country's various components. That is the main reason as to why the situation has ended up where it is now.
The Kurds thought they were able to devolve the powers through the Erbil agreement of 2010, but that agreement only gave legitimacy to the current system. Iraq's constitution was violated the day Ayad Allawi's Iraqiya bloc won the elections and was not allowed to form the government. Instead, it was Maliki's bloc that formed the government. Both then and now, the Kurds were part of creating a new dictator in Iraq.
The Petroleum Contracts and Licensing Directorate (PCLD) at the Ministry of Oil announced Thursday (20/4/2012) that Iraq's Fourth Petroleum Licensing Round will take place as scheduled on May 30-31, 2012. The Final Tender Protocol and the final model Exploration, Development and Production Service Contract (EDPSC) were sent Thursday to all prequalified companies. The final list of prequalified companies includes a total of 47 entities, split between operators and non-operators.
"We are happy to announce that the next bid round is on schedule. The Final Tender Protocol and the definitive model Contract have been issued to all prequalified companies" said Abdul Mahdy Al-Ameedi, director general of the PCLD.
Iraq is offering 12 large exploration blocks of an average size of 6,500 square kilometers for bidding. Winning companies, or consortia of companies, will carry out exploration, appraisal, development and production activities within the 12 Contract Areas.
The aim of the fourth round is primarily to expand Iraq's natural gas production capacity to satisfy the power generation sector and create gas-based industries, as well as increase the country's oil reserves.
"We are looking forward to welcoming all participating companies in Baghdad. The fourth licensing round will be conducted in a transparent and public manner and according to the same procedures as the first three rounds," Al-Ameedi said.
Since launching the first licensing round in 2008, Iraq has awarded 14 service contracts for the development of discovered oil and gas fields in three licensing rounds in addition to the Ahdeb contract. It also signed a major joint venture with a consortium of Royal Dutch Shell and Mitsubishi to capture and monetize associated natural gas produced in southern Iraq.
The press release continues with a list of the 47 companies.
AP speaks with Sabah al-Saidi ("Deputy head of the Oil Ministry's Licensing and Petroleum Contracts Department") who states, "Exxon has been removed from the list of qualified companies because it refused to abandon the deals with the Kurdish region as requested by the Ministry of Oil." Dropping back to yesterday's snapshot:
Reuters reports, "Exxon Mobil has told Baghdad it will not break ground on its oil blocs in the semi-autonomous Kurdish north until the centeral government approves the contracts, Iraq's top energy official said on Wednesday." The official is Deputy Prime Minister for Energy Hussain al-Shahristani. That alone makes the claim questionable -- remember, April 3rd, he was in the news for insisting the Kurds were secretly selling oil to Iran. He's not seen as someone impartial or particularly honest.
And apparently for good reason, he's not seen as someone impartial or particularly honest. So we're pleased with ExxonMobil one day for allegedly promising it won't "break ground" with regards to that contract and the next day we're punishing it?
Iraq better figure out where they stand on ExxonMobil real quick because this isn't about ExxonMobil, this is about how Iraq looks on the world stage. Contracts were signed months ago. Are they valid or not? If they're not valid, then they don't exist. If they don't exist, then why is ExxonMobil being punished?
The punishment phase would indicate that the contracts are valid (the KRG certainly considers them valid). It's petty and indicates the Baghdad-based government has no eral power so they just lash out.
Iraq needs to diversify its economy and it needs to do so quickly. It also keeps insisting it needs international investment. If that's true, they need to stop alienating businesses and looking so ridiculous. A contract's legal or it's not. Clearly for all the bluster, Baghdad can't cancel the contract ExxonMobil signed with the KRG. So they think they'll pick a fight. ExxonMobil's not going to be hurt by any of this. They're a multi-national corporation that managed to survive the Exxon Valdez disaster. Whether Nouri will survive is a political question. But everything he's currently doing on the world stage -- from the power grab to the nonsense on the ExxonMobil contracts, is bad for Iraq and creates the wrong image for the country.
(Washington, D.C.) -- Today, U.S. Senator Patty Murray, Chairman of the Senate Veterans' Affairs Committee, made the following statement after the VA announced that it would be moving to hire 1,600 mental health care professionals. The announcement comes just days before the findings of a major VA Inspector General report that Senator Murray requested on long wait times for VA mental health care are expected to be announced. VA's action is welcome news to Senator Murray who has held multiple hearings over the past year on overcoming barriers to VA mental health care. Murray will hold a third hearing on this subject in order to hear the Inspector General's findings on Wednesday, April 25th.
U.S. Senator Patty Murray
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iraq body count
the telegraph of london