US President Barack Obama told fellow Democrats to stop saying sorry for his health care law Thursday, revealing that eight million people had now signed up for insurance. Obama said it was also time for Republicans to accept that the Affordable Care Act -- the cornerstone of his domestic legacy, which was plagued by a botched rollout and fierce political controversy -- works and is here to stay. "I think that Democrats should forcefully defend and be proud" of helping millions of people, Obama said at a press conference. Republicans have made opposition to Obama's law a centerpiece of their campaign ahead of mid-term elections in November.
WASHINGTON (AP) — Eight million people have signed up for health care through new insurance exchanges and the proportion of younger applicants has increased, President Barack Obama said Thursday. The enrollments exceeded expectations and offered new hope to Democrats who are defending the law ahead of the midterm elections.
US President Barack Obama said a deal Thursday to de-escalate tensions in Ukraine was a "glimmer of hope" but cautioned he could not be sure if Russia would live up to it. I think there is the possibility, the prospect, that the diplomacy may de-escalate the situation," Obama told reporters after four-way crisis talks in Switzerland between the US, Russia, Ukraine and the EU. He called for an end to what he said was interference by Russia in eastern and southern Ukraine, where Washington has accused the Kremlin of backing pro-Moscow separatists who seized government buildings.
President Barack Obama on Thursday called on the Congress to pass comprehensive immigration reform, which he said was being held back by Republican leaders in the House of Representatives. "There is bipartisan support for comprehensive immigration reform," Obama said at a news conference. The Congress should act. "Right now what's holding us back is House Republican leadership not willing to go ahead and let the process move forward." Obama said there were Republicans in both the House and Senate who know immigration reform "is the right thing to do." "I also know it's hard politics for Republicans because there are some in their base that are very opposed to this," he said.
Fort Meade (United States) (AFP) - A military judge at Guantanamo Bay has ordered the US government to turn over information on secret CIA interrogation centers connected to the trial of the alleged mastermind of the 2000 USS Cole bombing. Judge James Pohl instructed the government to reveal names, dates and locations of "black sites" where Saudi suspect Abd Rahim al-Nashiri was held between his arrest in 2002 and his transfer to the notorious Guantanamo detention center in 2006. Nashiri's lawyer Rick Kammen told AFP in an email that the order "directs the government to provide a huge amount of material pertaining to the RDI (Rendition, Detention, Interrogation) program." Speaking about the matter at a press conference related to preliminary hearings of alleged September 11, 2001 plotters, prosecutor Mark Martins said: "The ruling came out on Monday.
Fort Meade (United States) (AFP) - A US military judge at Guantanamo Bay said Thursday that federal investigators had carried out checks on the legal teams of at least two accused September 11 plotters, including alleged mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed. Judge James Pohl halted this week's preliminary hearings at Guantanamo after lawyers for the alleged terror plotters told the court that a member of the defense team had been visited and questioned by Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) agents. David Nevin, representing the self-proclaimed 9/11 mastermind Khaled Sheikh Mohammed, said the FBI probe had had a "chilling effect" on the defense team. After suspending proceedings in order to assess the extent of the claims, Pohl said Thursday it had been established that there had been "some type investigation by the FBI into Mr Mohammed's team."
The United States will send helmets, medical supplies and other non-lethal military assistance to Ukraine amid fears of another Russian incursion there, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said Thursday. Hagel said he had informed Kiev that President Barack Obama "has approved additional non-lethal military assistance for health and welfare items and other supplies." "These supplies include medical supplies, helmets, sleeping mats and water purification units for Ukraine's armed forces, as well as shelters, small power generators and hand fuel pumps for Ukraine's State Border Guard Service," the Pentagon chief said.
US President Barack Obama on Thursday offered "deepest sympathies" to the families of the victims of a ferry sinking in South Korea, from which nearly 300 people, mostly children, are missing. "The bonds of friendship between the American and Korean people are strong and enduring," Obama said in a statement also offering the condolences of his wife Michelle. "South Korea is one of our closest allies, and American Navy personnel and US Marines are already on the scene assisting with the search and rescue efforts." "As I will underscore on my visit to Seoul next week, America's commitment to our ally South Korea is unwavering -— in good times and in bad."