NYPD detective Ivan Marcano received a shout-out from Obama during the National Association of Police Organizations 2013 TOP COPS recognition ceremony. The president talked about how, while off duty, Marcano helped out a cabbie who was being robbed. He was out that night with his girlfriend, Hilda Miolan, who Obama said deserved ‘a really nice dinner.’
President Obama shakes Detective Ivan Marcano’s hand at ceremony. Marcano was out with his girlfriend when he spotted a cabbie being robbed and hopped into action to save him.
WASHINGTON — An impressed President Obama singled out courageous NYPD cop Ivan Marcano — and his surprised girlfriend — at a White House ceremony Saturday for heroic cops from around the country.
Marcano, one of two of the 43 officers honored Saturday who Obama cited by name, was off duty, driving through the Bronx with his girlfriend, Hilda Miolan, on Oct. 24 when he spotted two armed suspects robbing a 60-year-old cabbie.
When Marcano stopped and identified himself as a police officer, one suspect immediately opened fire, wounding the officer in the arm and chest, inches from his heart.
RELATED: ACTIVIST PLANS NYC GUN GIVEAWAY
As Miolan, who Obama joked was probably “not very happy with” Marcano, drove him to the hospital, he saw the suspects and an accomplice. They had just crashed into a livery cab, jumped a curb on Burnside Ave. and ditched the car. Clutching his chest to keep pressure on his wound, Marcano jumped out of his car and approached them. As one, 18-year-old Prince James, reportedly fired again, Marcano, a righty shooting left-handed, fatally shot James in the head.
“He wasn’t on the clock when any of this happened,” Obama said. “This was his date night. It’s unbelievable.”
The President then asked Miolan to stand for applause.
President Obama today declared that the housing market has reached a point where it is “healing” and reaffirmed the administration’s commitment to promoting initiatives that benefit responsible homeowners, including measures encourage refinancing at low rates.
“Today, seven years after the real estate bubble burst, triggering the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression and costing millions of responsible Americans their jobs and their homes, our housing market is healing,” Obama said in his weekly address. “Sales are up. Foreclosures are down. Construction is expanding. And thanks to rising home prices over the past year, 1.7 million more families have been able to come up for air because they’re no longer underwater on their mortgages.
“But we’ve got more work to do,” he added. “We’ve got more responsible homeowners to help – folks who have never missed a mortgage payment but aren’t allowed to refinance; working families who have done everything right, but still owe more on their homes than they’re worth.”
As he highlighted the administration’s initiatives to boost the housing market, the president called on Congress to confirm Mel Watt, who he recently nominated to head the Federal Housing Finance Agency.
“He’s the right person for the job, and that’s why Congress should do its job and confirm him without delay,” the president said.
Obama also urged Congress to pass additional measures that would allow homeowners to refinance their homes at low rates.
“Our economy and our housing market are poised for progress – but we could do so much more if we work together,” he said. “More good jobs. Greater security for middle-class families. A sense that your hard work is rewarded. That’s what I’m fighting for – and that’s what I’m going to keep fighting for as long as I hold this office.”
While gun control and a battle over government spending has dominated much of the president’s agenda this year, the White House has made an direct push this week to turn attention to the economy. On Thursday, the president held a series of events promoting innovation and job creation in the technology industry as part of his “Middle Class Jobs & Opportunity Tours,” which he will continue next week with events in Baltimore.
With Mother’s Day ahead this weekend, Republicans used their weekly address to promote the “Working Families Flexibility Act,” introduced by Rep. Martha Roby, R-Ala., who delivered the GOP’s weekly address.
“While we may not be able to legislate another hour into the day, we can help working Americans better balance life’s demands by offering more flexibility for time away from work,” Roby said. “This bill provides options for working moms and dads who need more time to take care of family responsibilities. It also demonstrates how applying conservative principles can help working Americans in their everyday lives.”
Thousands of recruits are quitting the newly formed Afghan police and armed forces every month, raising fears over their ability to protect the emerging democracy when coalition troops leave the country in less than two years’ time. For every 10 new soldiers recruited to the Afghan National Army (ANA), at least three are lost because they have been sacked, captured or killed in action, new figures have revealed. British officials admit that current “attrition rates”, with more than 5,000 soldiers quitting every month, threaten the force’s long-term effectiveness.
The Afghan National Security Forces’ (ANSF) failure to hit recruitment and retention targets is particularly troubling for Nato’s International Security Assistance Force (Isaf), as the army and the police are seen as vital to preventing the return of the Taliban.
The latest British Government assessments of Afghanistan’s progress towards the goals of stability and democracy confirm that the rate of recruits leaving is far worse than targets set by coalition leaders, amounting to 63,000 every year, or more than a third of the current size of the army.
The Ministry of Defence (MoD) has warned that the ANA’s attrition rates “continue to represent a risk to the sustainability of the future force”. The figures raise huge questions over the ability of the ANSF to reach the size regarded as necessary to take the reins before thousands of international troops leave Afghanistan by the end of next year.
The Foreign Office (FCO) has also admitted that the number of recruits exiting the ANA, the border police and the national civil order police has caused “a drain on skills”.
The dispiriting details of the failure to develop a “critical mass” of ANSF recruits who can lead the fight against the Taliban come three months after The Independent on Sunday revealed that FCO officials feared the police were still “endemically corrupt” and riven with nepotism and drug abuse.
A series of internal FCO papers laid bare official concerns about the fate of Afghanistan and its chances of holding the Taliban at bay if its leaders fail to “root out corruption” throughout the ranks of the Afghan National Police (ANP).
Critics last night said they feared Isaf was heading for a “face-saving exit” from Afghanistan, leaving an army and police forces that were not yet ready to take over the security of their own country.
Shashank Joshi, of the Royal United Services Institute, said: “There is a long-term problem with attrition that has not been resolved, and I suspect the [coalition’s] priority now is to salvage the mission and leave as quickly as they can. Even where the Foreign Office suggests there is an improvement in the ANSF, they can’t guarantee this will continue after withdrawal because Afghan forces will no longer be able to rely on massive support from the coalition such as intelligence and airlift.”
Coalition governments have spent billions developing the ANSF in an effort to create the fully staffed and trained national security forces seen as crucial if Afghanistan is to thrive as a democratic state.
But the FCO’s monthly progress reports on Afghanistan revealed that the ANA and ANP missed their monthly recruiting targets in both January and February. The strength of the army stands at 175,000 – 12,000 below its projected size – while the ANP is 7,000 short of the 157,000 target set by coalition leaders.
However, the continued leaking away of soldiers and police officers who had already been tempted into the forces was another cause for alarm.
In January, the ANA’s monthly attrition rate was 4.1 per cent, almost three times the target figure, although the Foreign Office maintained it was “artificially high”. The rate of recruits leaving was 2.9 per cent – more than double the target – in February.
“High attrition rates within the ANA continue to represent a risk to the sustainability of the future force,” the January update declared. “High levels of recruitment mean that this is not enough to endanger overall growth targets, [but] it does cause a drain on skills. Isaf, Nato Training Mission-Afghanistan and the Afghan MoD recognise this and are working hard to address it.”
(Reuters) – North Korea said on Saturday it was entering a “state of war” with South Korea, but Seoul and its ally the United States played down the statement as tough talk.
Pyongyang also threatened to close a border industrial zone, the last remaining example of inter-Korean cooperation which gives the impoverished North access to $2 billion in trade a year.
The United States said it took Pyongyang’s threats seriously but cautioned that the North had a history of bellicose rhetoric. Russia, another a permanent U.N. Security Council member, urged all sides to show restraint.
Tensions have been high since the North’s new young leader Kim Jong-un ordered a third nuclear weapons test in February, breaching U.N. sanctions and ignoring warnings from North Korea’s sole major ally, China, not to do so.
“From this time on, the North-South relations will be entering the state of war and all issues raised between the North and the South will be handled accordingly,” a statement carried by the North’s official KCNA news agency said.
KCNA said the statement was issued jointly by the North’s government, ruling party and other organizations.
The Seoul government said there was nothing in the North’s latest statement to cause particular alarm.
“North Korea’s statement today … is not a new threat but is the continuation of provocative threats,” the South’s Unification Ministry, which handles political ties with the North, said in a statement.
On Friday, Kim signed an order putting the North’s missile units on standby to attack U.S. military bases in South Korea and the Pacific, after the United States flew two nuclear-capable stealth bombers over the Korean peninsula in a rare show of force.
U.S. officials described the flight as a diplomatic sortie aimed at reassuring allies South Korea andJapan, and at trying to nudge Pyongyang back to nuclear talks, though there was no guarantee Kim Jong-un would get the message as intended.
The two Koreas have been technically in a state of war since a truce that ended their 1950-53 conflict. Despite its threats, few people see any indication Pyongyang will risk a near-certain defeat by re-starting full-scale war.
There was no sign of unusual activity in the North’s military to suggest an imminent aggression, a South Korean defense ministry official said.
CALLS FOR RESTRAINT
White House National Security Council spokeswoman Caitlin Hayden said North Korea’s announcement followed a “familiar pattern” of rhetoric [ID:nL2N0CM05W].
Russia, which has often balanced criticism of North Korea, a Soviet-era client state, with calls on the United States and South Korea to refrain from belligerent actions, said a recurrence of war was unacceptable.
“We hope that all parties will exercise maximum responsibility and restraint and no-one will cross the point of no return,” Grigory Logvinov, a senior Russian Foreign Ministry official, told Interfax news agency.
France said it was deeply worried about the situation on the Korean peninsula while NATO Deputy Secretary General Alexander Vershbow said the alliance hoped “that this is more posturing than a prelude to any armed hostilities.”
China has repeatedly called for restraint on the peninsula.
The North has been threatening to attack the South and U.S. military bases almost on a daily basis since the beginning of March, when U.S. and South Korean militaries started routine drills that have been conducted for decades without incident.
Many in the South have regarded the North’s willingness to keep open the Kaesong industrial zone, located just a few miles (km) north of the heavily-militarized border, as a sign that Pyongyang will not risk losing a lucrative source of foreign currency by mounting a real act of aggression.
The Kaesong zone is a vital source of hard currency for the North and hundreds of South Korean workers and vehicles enter daily after crossing the armed border.
“If the puppet traitor group continues to mention the Kaesong industrial zone is being kept operating and damages our dignity, it will be mercilessly shut off and shut down,” KCNA quoted an agency that operates Kaesong as saying in a statement.
Closure could also trap hundreds of South Korean workers and managers of the more than 100 firms that have factories there.
The North has previously suspended operations at the factory zone at the height of political tensions with the South, only to let it resume operations later.
North Korea has canceled an armistice agreement with the United States that ended the Korean War and cut all hotlines with U.S. forces, the United Nations and South Korea.
(Additional reporting by Sung-won Shim and Jane Chung; Editing Rosalind Russell and Jon Boyle)
Is your life essentially a never-ending conveyor belt of panic with little sushi bowls of varied and wondrous crises bobbling along every few minutes in a relentless river of pain and worry and hyper-ventilation?
Washington: Prospects for a US law to create a pathway to citizenship for 11 million illegal immigrants brightened on Saturday after major business and labour groups reached an agreement on a guest-worker program, a source familiar with the deal said.
With Bioshock Infinite now on sale after a wealth of glowing reviews, here’s a showcase of the game’s intriguing AI collaborator. The centrepiece of the whole story, Elizabeth is the product of three women: a voice actor, motion-capture actress and cos-player. Here, they all discuss the process of constructing a believable game character
Kenya’s supreme court ruled on Saturday Uhuru Kenyatta was elected president fairly, unanimously rejecting a challenge from defeated candidate Raila Odinga that the vote was marred by rigging and technical problems.