US ambassador to Japan Caroline Kennedy toured the crippled Fukushima nuclear power plant for the first time Wednesday, pledging continued US help with the clean-up. The 56-year-old envoy, who took up her post last November, was on a tour of Japan's northeast, which was devastated by the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami. Donning a white protective suit, helmet and mask, Kennedy saw the central control room for molten reactors at the plant, which has been releasing radiation since the disaster. Kennedy, accompanied by her 21-year-old son John Schlossberg, was told how workers responded when the tsunami cut power supplies and halted cooling systems for the reactors.
The U.S. military is considering options for the detention of a transgender soldier who is serving 35 years in prison for turning over secret files to WikiLeaks and has requested hormone therapy, including moving the private to a civilian prison, the Pentagon said on Wednesday. The Associated Press on Wednesday reported that defense officials were trying to transfer Chelsea Manning, who seeks to live as a woman, to a civilian prison to facilitate that treatment. \"No decision to transfer Private Manning to a civilian detention facility has been made, and any such decision will, of course, properly balance the soldier's medical needs with our obligation to ensure Private Manning remains behind bars,\" Rear Admiral John Kirby, a Pentagon spokesman, said in a statement. In April, a U.S. judge ruled that Manning, who had gone by the name Bradley, could legally use the name Chelsea.
US Secretary of State John Kerry left Wednesday for a whirlwind day of diplomacy focused on the conflict in Syria and efforts to resolve the crisis in Ukraine. The top US diplomat was also to meet in London with Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas for the first time since peace talks with the Israelis collapsed last month. The focus of his trip though will be a meeting on Thursday of the core group of supporters of the Syrian opposition, and it comes just after UN-Arab League peace envoy Lakhdar Brahimi stepped down after almost two years of fruitless efforts to end the war.
WASHINGTON (AP) — America's roads, bridges and ports are falling apart, and the federal government is running out of money to fix them. So President Barack Obama is heading to a crumbling bridge outside New York City to try to pressure Congress into giving the nation's infrastructure an infusion of cash.
By Roberta Rampton WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. President Barack Obama will take aim at the cumbersome approval process for large infrastructure projects on Wednesday, showing how streamlining reviews slashed the time taken to green-light New York's massive Tappan Zee bridge project, the White House said. Obama is slated to speak at the bridge, about 20 miles north of New York City, at 3:25 p.m. ET (1925 GMT), and will pledge to apply the lessons learned from the permit process for the bridge to a long list of infrastructure projects across the country. Obama will also urge Congress to pass a new transport bill, without which an estimated 112,000 highway projects and 5,600 transit projects could grind to a halt for lack of funding, putting at risk almost 700,000 jobs in the peak summer construction season. \"While a bipartisan group of members in the Senate are working toward a compromise, there has been no progress by House Republicans to date on the issue,\" a White House official said in a statement previewing Obama's speech.
During Facebook’s first few years, Mark Zuckerberg commissioned a street artist named David Choe to bring some life to the office’s walls. Choe accepted, covering them with his rough and tumble, graffiti-imbued figures, and was paid in the form of stock options that were valued at about $200 million when the company went public in 2012. With the Choe commission, so began Facebook’s reputation as a patron of street art, the genre that many in the art world consider youthful, raw, and rebellious. The move was even parodied on a recent episode of the HBO series Silicon Valley. But, just as the company has matured, expanding from its five founders to 4,000 employees at its Menlo Park campus in the past decade alone, so has the art that graces its offices.