Barack Obama

Briefs, January 22, 2013

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 22 January, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 22 January, 2013, 4:12am


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TV veteran tumbles at inauguration party

NEW YORK – Veteran ABC newswoman Barbara Walters fell at an inauguration party at an ambassador’s home in Washington and was taken to hospital. Walters, 83, stumbled on a step at the residence of Britain’s ambassador to the United States, Peter Westmacott, ABC News spokesman Jeffrey Schneider said. The fall left Walters with a cut on her forehead. She went to hospital to get the wound treated and to have a full examination. It was unclear when Walters might be released. AP


Judge on the run for taking Biden’s oath

WASHINGTON – Sonia Sotomayor had one eye on the door when she administered the oath of office to Vice-President Joe Biden. Apart from officially swearing in Biden for his second term in office, the Supreme Court justice had other business to attend to: namely signing copies of her new autobiography at a bookshop in New York City, scheduled to take place a few hours later. Biden’s office arranged the swearing-in for 8 am in order to allow Sotomayor, the first Hispanic on the nation’s highest court, enough time to catch a train for a three-hour ride to New York. Reuters 


Hispanics to celebrate a victory of their own

WASHINGTON – Celebrities like Desperate Housewife actress Eva Longoria and Puerto Rican salsa star Marc Anthony celebrated President Barack Obama’s reelection – and how Hispanic voters helped him win. Hispanic music, film and television stars as well as Latino lawmakers gathered at the Kennedy Centre for a raucous celebration that included a visit from VicePresident Joe Biden, who pointed out that a record of more than 12 million Hispanics voted – 71per cent of them in favour of Obama. Hispanics are the largest US minority of which the US Census Bureau keeps track – about 13 per cent of the US population. AFP


Four-oaths Obama to join a select few

WASHINGTON – Barack Obama is joining a select political company, as by a quirk of history, he becomes only the second US president, after Franklin Roosevelt, to take the oath of office four times. Roosevelt served four terms before the constitution was changed in 1951, limiting presidents to two elected terms. Obama will join the four oaths club thanks to a slip of the tongue. Swearing in Obama in 2009, Chief Justice John Roberts mixed up the wording of the oath of office so Obama repeated it the following day. Obama did it twice this year as the official 20 January inauguration day fell on a Sunday, so the public ceremony was scheduled for the 21st. AFP


Michelle’s hair-do an inauguration highlight

WASHINGTON – President Barack Obama weighed in on what he facetiously said was the most “significant” event of the weekend: his wife’s new hairstyle. First lady Michelle Obama, a Harvard law graduate known as much for her sharp fashion sense as her fight to curb obesity, revealed a new hairstyle recently that featured bangs – a shaped fringe. The new hairdo has attracted a lot of attention. Speaking at a reception with supporters the night before giving his inaugural address, Obama said that he liked her new look. “She looks good. She always looks good,” he said. Reuters


Strauss-Kahn 'settles sex suit with US$1.5m'

PARIS - Disgraced former International Monetary Fund chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn paid a settlement of US$1.5 million to the New York hotel maid who accused him of sexual assault, a French newspaper reported. Citing sources close to Strauss-Kahn, Le Journal du Dimanche said Nafissatou Diallo received the payment under a deal reached to settle her civil suit against him. It said she went away with about 70 per cent after paying her lawyers. AFP


Hope for Bolshoi chief after acid attack

MOSCOW - A top Russian doctor said the Bolshoi Ballet's artistic director would regain sight in at least one of his eyes following a brutal acid attack that his colleagues blamed on infighting at the theatre. Moscow health service's chief eyesight specialist Larisa Mashetova was hopeful that sight in both of Sergei Filin's eyes would be restored. The 42-year-old suffered third-degree burns to his face when a masked man cornered him near his home in central Moscow. Preliminary findings showed the unknown assailant had used sulphuric acid in the attack. AFP


Ugandan troops kill rebel chief's bodyguard

KAMPALA - Ugandan troops in the Central African Republic have killed the chief bodyguard of Joseph Kony, the fugitive head of the Lord's Resistance Army, an army official said. The bodyguard - a rebel commander known only as Binani - was among a small group of militants when he was killed in a firefight 280 kilometres north of Djema, a base in the Central African Republic where Uganda-led African Union troops are being advised by US special forces. Kony was indicted by the International Criminal Court in 2005 for war crimes and crimes against humanity. AP


8-hour stand-off after Taliban raid police HQ

KABUL - Nato troops joined a fight against a Taliban suicide squad that stormed a police headquarters in the Afghan capital at dawn, killing three officers and triggering a stand-off that lasted more than eight hours. The Taliban claimed the attack, which turned into the longest stand-off between the insurgents and security forces in Kabul since a major co-ordinated raid on the city went on for 18 hours last April. Three attackers were killed in the early part of the assault, while two others wearing suicide vests holed up in the five-storey building and fired on security forces. They were also killed. AFP