End of the Age News
By Jim Stigleman
Netanyahu Visits Washington to Talk “Iranian Nukes”
Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, will visit Washington next month to meet with President Obama in an effort to keep the “pressure on” in regards to stopping Iran from developing nuclear weapons. Netanyahu has vocally opposed the interim agreement, which allows Iran to cut back on parts of its nuclear program in exchange for sanction relief, calling it a “historic mistake”.
“Iran continues to object to any dismantling of its (uranium) enrichment capability – not even a single centrifuge,” Netanyahu said to members of his Likud party. Iran has vehemently denied such accusations, stating that such statements have been baselessly made by its adversaries. Netanyahu also demanded Palestine recognize Israel as a Jewish nation state and demanded an end to the ongoing Israeli-Palestinian conflict in his remarks.
President Obama and his administration feel that this interim agreement, signed on November 24th, 2013, is the best plan available to eventually mediate a final settlement laying to rest all concerns about Iran’s nuclear program.
Harder Line for U.S. in Chine Sea Disputes
In other world news…
U.S. Secretary of State, John Kerry, is visiting China this week to discuss the controversy concerning Bejing’s maritime declarations in the South and East China Seas. China has set-up an air defense zone in the East China Sea and claims 90% of the South China Sea and its oil- and gas- rich resources.
Last week, Assistant Secretary of State, Danny Russel issued a hardline stance on the disputes between China and its neighbors condemning China’s actions in the conflict.
A State Department official said, “It (speaking of Russel’s comments) certainly indicates a sharper tack in terms of the concerns we have and the steps we want China to take on maritime disputes…Secretary Kerry will continue to press the Chinese to refrain from provocative actions and rhetoric and caution against the provocative nature of some of China’s actions.”
Healthcare Mandate Delayed Once Again for Employers
In U.S. News…
Once again the Obama administration has delayed the healthcare mandate requiring businesses with 50 or more employees to provide coverage to their full-time workers. This time businesses with 50-99 full-time workers will have until 2016 before being required to offer insurance to full-time employees. Also, larger corporations will be able to phase in their employee coverage by offering 70% of full-time workers insurance next year with a goal of reaching 95% by 2016.
Businesses with less than 50 full-time employees are still not required to provide coverage however, they can gain government subsidies through healthcare marketplaces.
Neil Trautwein of the National Retail Federation, stated, “I am quite pleasantly surprised… This is beginning to look more like something the business community can live with.”
This delay in the mandate has caused another round of opposition from the Republicans. House Republican Majority Leader Eric Cantor has said, “Much like the individual mandate, the business mandate is bad for middle-class families and it will harm economic growth. But the answer to this problem is not random unilateral changes, stoking uncertainty… It’s time to stop creating more chaos and delay Obamacare for all Americans.”
Election analysts predict that the change could help Democrats gain control of Congress in November midterm elections. This point has not been overlooked by Republicans.
I’m Jim Stigleman and this has been today’s ETA News.