Obama and Netanyahu met in Washington today. Here are the remarks to the press afterwards. Obama acknowledges that there’s “still tensions and issues there that have to be resolved”. Not about much about settlements except in question time, and then the answers are very unsatisfying.
PRESIDENT OBAMA: Well, I just completed an excellent one-on-one discussion with Prime Minister Netanyahu, and I want to welcome him back to the White House. Read More…
I don’t mean romantic teachers. I mean teachers who feel their teaching, those who love teaching. Nevermind all the other education issues, without teachers who care about and love their work we won’t get anywhere with our education system.
Ann Bernstein from the Centre for Development and Enterprise wrote yesterday that teacher quality is the most important lever for improving pupil outcomes. CDE attended a workshop in Washington which examined international experience of educational reform. McKinsey’s review of the best performing reformed school systems shows, wrote Bernstein, that the quality of an education system cannot exceed the quality of its teachers.
I don’t quite know how our state will convince good young men and women out there to become teachers of our children. Treat them well. Train them. Keep them. Seduce them with lots of money. We need to do whatever it takes to train, employ and keep excellent teachers.
Ann Bernstein wrote the piece for the Star yesterday which I can’t find online. Sorry.
Here are the remarks of both presidents after their bilateral meeting in Washington yesterday. Obama used three times the word “extraordinary” to describe the relationship between the United States and Botswana. The two met to discuss regional issues including the spread of HIV/AIDS across Africa.
PRESIDENT OBAMA: Hello, everybody. I just want to welcome President Khama to the Oval Office and to make a brief statement about Botswana and its relationship to the United States.
Although Botswana is not a large country, it is truly one of the extraordinary success stories in Africa. Since the mid-’60s it has moved on a path of good economic management and outstanding political governance. And as a consequence you have seen extraordinary improvements in living standards over the last 40 years in Botswana that really are an envy for much of the rest of the continent. Read More…
A friend in Cape Town has resisted the growing trend in South Africa to celebrate the Halloween holiday. My children were out and about last night eating treats, while her son was with his gran, not minding a bit that he was missing out. I’ve just gone with the flow on this one. I would fail dismally if I tried to discourage my children from getting caught up in the hype of this funny eccentric festival.
Here is Halloween in America:
Trick or treaters are gathered for a Halloween celebrations at the White House, Saturday, in Washington. The first family welcomed more than 2,600 children from Washington, Maryland and Virginia schools, and their families, for the Halloween trick or treating at the North Portico of the White House. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)
Statement from the White House on the visit of Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai of Zimbabwe:
The President looks forward to welcoming Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai of Zimbabwe to the Oval Office on Friday, June 12. The Prime Minister, along with millions of Zimbabweans, has been working against the odds to secure a stable democratic future for the people of Zimbabwe. The two leaders will discuss the difficult road ahead in Zimbabwe, including how the United States can support the forces of reform as they work to bring the rule of law, respect for human rights, and free and fair elections back to Zimbabwe.
Susan Boyle will be singing at the Fourth of July celebrations in Washington. Well that is according to Subo’s brother, John. He said she “has been invited to the celebrations at the White House with the president. So as you can see, her dream is still very much alive. In fact, it’s only just starting.”
About her breakdown he said that “Susan is exhausted, that’s all there is to it. It’s no surprise – she has gone from a small town in West Lothian to being famous around the world. She’s been battered non-stop for the last seven weeks and it has taken its toll. But she’ll be looking forward now to the Fourth of July.”
Not sure what I think about this. But maybe with the correct support she will be OK. Simon Cowell has telephoned Susan at the private clinic, the Priory where she is recovering from her breakdown, to promise he will support her “unconditionally” whatever she decides to do after losing in the final to dance act Diversity.
It seems faith, and no longer war, may unite the Americans and the British. Or so it may have been if Tony Blair were still PM.
Days before parts of the world celebrate Darwin’s bicentenary and the week before god-fearing folk in the UK get their own back at the atheist bus campaign, Tony Blair become the first statesman to shake hands with Barack Obama when he delivered the keynote address at a Washington prayer breakfast today. Breaking with his days in Downing Street where British politicians don’t do God, Blair spoke passionately about his own faith and called for religious faith to be restored “to its rightful place as a guide to our world”.
The Times of London quotes him saying: On one occasion of national crisis, he said, he had wanted to end a televised address with the words “God bless the British people.”
“This caused complete consternation. Emergency meetings were convened. The system was aghast. Finally, as I sat trying to defend my words, a senior civil servant said, with utter disdain, ‘Really, Prime Minister, this is not America, you know’.” Read More…
At a dinner last night in Washington Barack Obama said: “In just the first few weeks, I’ve had to engage in some of the toughest diplomacy of my life. And that was just to keep my Blackberry. I finally agreed to limit the number of people who could email me. It’s a very exclusive list. How exclusive?
Everyone look at the person sitting on your left. Now look at the person sitting on your right.
None of you have my email address.”
The New York Times today is saying that the ultimate status symbol in Washington now is Barck Obama’s new email address:
It is now the ultimate status symbol in a town obsessed by status. Mr. Obama was spotted last week trying out his new BlackBerry — or actually a more sophisticated, encrypted variation — and aides say that he uses a computer in the study next to the Oval Office but that he has agreed to limit the number of people he would exchange e-mail with. In the process, he created a new measure for Washington to judge who really has the ear, or the thumb, of the president.
Malia and Sasha Obama didn’t go to school today. It was too cold in DC apparently.
Obama was in a meeting with business leaders this morning when he spoke about the weather.
‘As my children pointed out, in Chicago where it gets colder than in DC school was never canceled,’ said the President. He added that he’d have ‘to instil some flinty Chicago toughness into Washingtonians…When it comes to weather folks in Washington don’t seem to be able to handle things.’
AP Picture: Ice on a Holly bush in Washington DC today.
It’s been a week of change and the signing of many executive orders in the US. Obama gave his first television interview to Al Arabiya television, on Monday. He has begun to address global warming. And more…
The response so far has been mostly positive. “We’re bound to have disappointments, but the main message is that a new wind is blowing, ” Hisham Melhem of al-Arabiya television told the Atlantic Magazine.
I found these two reactions today particularly interesting. According to a report in Moscow:
Russia held out an olive branch to President Barack Obama today by suspending plans to deploy missiles in Europe.
An official from Russia’s General Staff in Moscow told Interfax news that the move had been made because the new United States leadership was reconsidering plans to establish a missile defence shield in eastern Europe.
And in Iran:
President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad urged Washington on Wednesday to apologize for its actions toward his country for the past 60 years and said it was unclear whether the new American administration was merely shifting tactics or wanted real change. But, in a speech in the western city of Kermanshah, he did not explicitly rebuff the American president’s gesture. “We are waiting patiently,” he said, referring to the policies of the new administration in Washington. “We will listen to the statements closely, we will carefully study their actions and if there are real changes, we will welcome it.”