Obama To Sign Executive Order On Cyber Security

obamaThe U.S President, Barack Obama, is expected to sign an executive order on Friday which is aimed at encouraging companies to share information about cyber security threats with the government and each other, a response to attacks like that of Sony.

Obama will sign the order at a day-long conference on cybersecurity at Stanford University in the heart of Silicon Valley.

The order of the summit sets the stage for new private-sector led “Information Sharing and Analysis Organizations” (ISAOs) – hubs, where companies share cyber threat data with each other and with the Department of Homeland Security.

Mr Obama, who will be joining at the summit with top US security officials, is planning to call on private tech firms to share more information with law enforcement, potentially placing him at odds with the companies.

A senior member of Britain’s National Crime Agency is also due to appear, along with executives from Microsoft, Facebook and Google.

Mr Obama “wants to build support for efforts to better protect against cuber-threats and share more information about cyber-attacks”, the White House said.

Michael Daniel, Obama’s cyber coordinator, in a conference call with reporters said: “We believe that by clearly defining what makes for a good ISAO, that will make tying liability protection to sectoral organisations easier and more accessible to the public and to privacy and civil liberties advocates”.

Cybersecurity industry veterans said that Obama’s anticipated order would be a modest step in one of the president’s major priorities which is the defense of companies from cyber attacks.

Obama has proposed legislation to require more information-sharing and limit any legal liability for companies that share too much. Only Congress can provide the liability protection through legislation.

In the last summit, Obama said cybersecurity was a “challenge that we can only meet together, adding that ”it’s going to bring everybody together – industry, tech companies, law enforcement, consumer and privacy advocates, law professors who are specialists in the field, as well as students – to make sure that we work through these issues in a public, transparent fashion.”

Other dignitaries are microsoft vice-president Scott Charney and Chief Executives from Visa, MasterCard and American Express.

U.S State of Union: “Middle-class Economics Works” – Obama

Obama State of The NationPresident Barack Obama on Tuesday made a feisty pitch for economic populism in his State of the Nation address.

In a speech which he described as more focused on values than policies, Mr Obama noted that America had turned a page after the worst recession since the Depression.

The President said he planned to build on this growth by providing working families with help in the form of sick and maternity leave and affordable childcare.

“Obama argued that a raft of new policy proposals — which include an ambitious plan to raise taxes on wealthy Americans and financial institutions to pay for progressive priorities — favor the middle class, and that “middle-class economics works.”

Addressing the Republican-led Congress, Obama said both parties should give him the trade authority as a way of protecting American workers, “with strong new trade deals from Asia to Europe that aren’t just free, but fair.”

Mr Obama’s speech included plans to build a competitive economy by improving America’s infrastructure and providing free access to community college.

“This plan is your chance to graduate ready for a new economy, without a load of debt,” he said.

He called for cooperation, reprising the theme that there isn’t a “red America” or “blue America” from the 2004 Democratic National Convention speech that shot Obama into stardom.

He also flashed a renewed confidence, going off-script after touting the improving economy to say, “This is good news, people” — and followed it with a wink.

Taking top billing in Tuesday night’s speech was the tax-and-spend plan Obama has rolled out in recent days.

The benefits would largely go to students and young families: The child care tax credit would triple to $3,000; households in which both spouses work could qualify for a new $500 credit; and college students and those repaying loans could get breaks thanks to Obama’s plan to make two-year community college degrees free.

He urged Congress to give him trade promotion authority, the power to negotiate free trade deals. Democrats have opposed giving him the power, fearing the deals he makes will hurt American labour.

 

600 APC Members In Sambo’s Ward Defect to PDP

Namadi-Sambo-Vice-President-300x198Over 600 members of the All Progressives Congress (APC) have defected to the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Kaduna State.

Receiving the decampees during the PDP ward Congress at his Kabala Doki ward in Kaduna North Local Government area on Saturday, Vice President Namadi Sambo welcomed them with open arms and thanked them for their decision to join the PDP, assuring them that they will be given a level playing ground in their new party.

He stressed that PDP has the interest of the people at heart and assured the decampees that they will work together to ensure that the party gets victory in 2015.

According to Sambo, the successful conduct of the ward congress in the state and other parts of the country is a sign that PDP will emerge victorious in 2015 election.

Party members came out in their large numbers to elect delegates who will represent them in the forthcoming primary. This ward congress signaled the commencement of political activities in preparation for the primaries and the main election next year. At the end of the exercise, three delegates were elected in each of the 255 wards in the state.

Vice President Sambo while describing the exercise as peaceful and orderly, assured Nigerians that good governance will be sustained by the PDP led federal government across the country and also thanked them for their support to the Goodluck Jonathan administration.

On the 2015 election, Sambo urged members of the Peoples Democratic Party and other political parties to ensure that the election is conducted in a peaceful atmosphere devoid of any violence.

The PDP members pledged their support to the PDP led government at both the federal and state.

Obama Warns Divided Congress That He Will Act Alone

President Barack Obama vowed on Tuesday to bypass a divided Congress and take action on his own to bolster America’s middle class in a State of the Union address that he used to try to breathe new life into his second term after a troubled year.

Standing in the House of Representatives chamber before lawmakers, Supreme Court justices and VIP guests, Obama declared his independence from Congress by unveiling a series of executive orders and decisions – moves likely to inflame already tense relations between the Democratic president and Republicans.

While his rhetoric was high flying, Obama’s actions were relatively modest, collectively amounting to an outpouring of frustration at the pace of legislative action with Republicans in control of the House of Representatives and able to slow the president’s agenda.

“I’m eager to work with all of you,” Obama told the lawmakers gathered for the annual speech. “But America does not stand still – and neither will I. So wherever and whenever I can take steps without legislation to expand opportunity for more American families, that’s what I’m going to do.”

Obama’s orders included a wage hike for federal contract workers, creation of a “starter savings account” to help millions of people save for retirement, and plans to establish new fuel efficiency standards for trucks.

He said he was driven to act by the widening gap between rich and poor and the fact that while the stock market has soared, average wages have barely budged.

“Inequality has deepened,” Obama said. “Upward mobility has stalled. The cold, hard fact is that even in the midst of recovery, too many Americans are working more than ever just to get by, let alone get ahead. And too many still aren’t working at all.”

 

Salute To Wounded Soldier

 

In an emotional, flag-waving finish to his speech, Obama drew a standing ovation from people of all political stripes by saluting the heroism of Sergeant First Class Cory Remsburg. The Army Ranger survived a roadside blast in Afghanistan and has recovered to the point where he attended the speech, seated next to first lady Michelle Obama.

“Like the America he serves, Sergeant First Class Cory Remsburg never gives up, and he does not quit,” Obama said.

In a nod to bipartisanship, Obama drew applause with a brief tribute to John Boehner, “the son of a barkeeper” who rose to become speaker of the House of Representatives and the top Republican in Congress. Boehner gave Obama a thumbs-up.

Obama’s political objective in the address was to create a narrative for Democrats to use as they seek to head off Republicans eager to wrest control of the Senate from Democrats in November elections and build on their majority in the House.

The party in control of the White House typically loses seats in these so-called mid-term elections, but Democrats feel they stand a chance of limiting their losses or even making some gains.

To that end, Obama drew loud applause by underscoring in particular the economic plight of women, who he noted make up about half the U.S. workforce but still earn 77 cents for every dollar a man makes. Women voters helped re-elect Obama in 2012.

“This year, let’s all come together – Congress, the White House and businesses from Wall Street to Main Street – to give every woman the opportunity she deserves, because I firmly believe when women succeed, America succeeds,” he said.

Obama’s governing strategy means he has scaled back ambitions for large legislative actions and wants to focus more on smaller-scale initiatives that can reduce income inequality and create more opportunities for middle-class workers.

The wage hike for federal contract workers to $10.10 per hour, for example, will mean a pay raise for only about 560,000 federal contract workers.

That’s only a tiny fraction of the number who would see bigger paychecks under stalled legislation to increase the minimum wage.

Some 3.6 million workers were paid the federal minimum wage in 2012.

Obama spent a sizable part of his speech hammering away at issues that have long been debated but remain stalled, like closing the U.S. military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

He renewed an appeal for Congress to give him the authority to speedily negotiate international trade agreements, a proposal held up by Democratic opposition.

And on one of his biggest priorities, immigration reform, Obama urged Congress to work together on an overhaul. He tempered his criticism of Republicans who have held up the legislation, with signs of possible progress emerging in recent days among House Republicans.

Obama stopped short of taking a step that immigration reform advocates have called on him to take. He did not take executive action to freeze the deportations of parents of children brought to the United States illegally.

“Let’s get immigration reform done this year,” he said.

 

‘Refighting Old Battles’

 

On healthcare, the issue that rocked his presidency and caused many Americans to lose confidence in him, Obama defended the overhaul law he signed in 2010 but did not make it a centerpiece, urging Americans to sign up for medical insurance coverage by a March 31 deadline.

He challenged Republicans to come up with a viable alternative instead of repeating past failed attempts to repeal the law.

“Now, I don’t expect to convince my Republican friends on the merits of this law. But I know that the American people aren’t interested in refighting old battles. So again, if you have specific plans to cut costs, cover more people, and increase choice – tell America what you’d do differently,” he said.

Bill Galston, a Brookings Institution scholar, found Obama’s speech overall to be rather restrained compared to the usual partisan rhetoric in Washington.

“His language was mostly devoid of overt partisan provocation. On policy, he gave little ground to the Republicans, but he did little to confront them either,” said Galston, who had worked for Democratic President Bill Clinton.

Obama said nothing about whether he would approve the long-delayed Keystone XL Canada-to-Texas oil pipeline that environmentalists oppose.

Instead, Obama spoke passionately about the need to tackle climate change, a statement that could foreshadow more executive actions to reduce carbon emissions this year.

Obama said, “The shift to a cleaner energy economy won’t happen overnight, and it will require some tough choices along the way. But the debate is settled. Climate change is a fact.”

Republicans clambered for some of the same rhetorical ground as Obama in pledging to narrow the gap between rich and poor but staked out a different vision for doing so.

U.S. Representative Cathy McMorris Rodgers, chairwoman of the House Republican Caucus, said in her party’s official response to Obama’s speech that Republicans want to rely on free markets and trust people to make their own decisions, not have the government make decisions for them.

“The president talks a lot about income inequality, but the real gap we face today is one of opportunity inequality,” she said, videotaped seated on a couch in a living room setting.

With three years left in office, Obama is trying to recover from a difficult past year in office, when immigration and gun control legislation failed to advance in Congress and the rollout of the key provisions of his healthcare law stumbled.

Polls reflect a dissatisfied and gloomy country. An NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll released on Tuesday showed 68 percent of Americans saying the country is either stagnant or worse off since Obama took office. People used words like “divided,” “troubled” and “deteriorating” to describe the state of the country, the poll showed.

Obama dwelled mostly on domestic issues in his hour-long address, but warned Congress he would veto any effort to increase economic sanctions on Iran as he tries to reach a comprehensive deal with Tehran to ensure it does not obtain a nuclear weapons capability.

A CNN poll found that 44 percent of respondents viewed Obama’s address very positively while 32 percent felt somewhat positively about it and 22 percent were negative toward it.

Obama will talk up the economic themes from the speech in a two-day road trip starting on Wednesday that will include stops in Maryland, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and Tennessee.

SALUTE TO WOUNDED SOLDIER

APGA Conducts Peaceful State Congress

Barely three days after the sack of the Anambra State All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) chairman, the deputy chairman and the assistant secretary the party has successfully held their congress peacefully at the Women Development Center , Awka under the full supervision of all the relevant bodies including the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC.

The State governor, Mr. Peter Obi and his deputy, Mr. Emeka Sibeudu, legislators from both the federal and state levels, party stalwarts and Delegates from the twenty one local government areas of the state all gathered with excitement at the Women Development Center, Awka, to vote and elect for the first time, since the inception of the party, their executive members whose tenure will last for four years.

Accreditation started after eight in the morning after which the congress began by 10:15 am with delegates nominating candidates. Voting commenced at half past eleven. The governor who was also a delegate voted. He spoke alongside other party stalwarts on the essence of the congress.

Voting stopped at 2:20pm and thereafter counting started. Chairman of the congress committee announced the result in which Honorable Egwuoyibo Okoye, a former member of the state house of assembly emerged the winner as he was elected unopposed. The new executive officers were immediately inaugurated into office by the Acting Chairman, APGA Board of Trustee, Dr. Tim Menakaya.

Delegates reacted on the congress.

The party members say they cherish the stability of the party which the congress is one good step towards its achievement, it is therefore hoped that the new executive will also work in line with that vision ahead of the 2014 governorship election.

 

Lagos court refuses to void PDP congress polls

A Federal High Court sitting in Lagos has refused to grant an application by some aggrieved members of the Lagos chapter of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) seeking an order voiding the congress held by the party in the Lagos on Saturday.

The aggrieved members of the party, led by Alhaji Imam Akorede, are before Justice Mohammed Liman and are challenging, among other things, the propriety of said congress despite an order of the court stopping it.

Through their counsel, Olumide Sofowora, the members today asked the court to sanction the defendants for conducting the congress despite Fridays order of the court directing that it be put on hold.

Joined as defendants in the suit are; Ambassador Musiliu Obanikoro, Chief (Mrs) Dupe Sasore, Chief Ayo Waddel, Dr. Lekan Sobowale, Prince Adegboyega Oyebola, Chief Lanre Osundairo, Engineer Tunji Amosu and Hon. Alhaji Wahab Wale Owokoniran.

They were all sued as members of the PDP transition, reconciliation and congress committee.

Other defendants are: Hon. Setonji Koshoedo(Chairman, Lagos PDP), Captain Tunji Shele(Secretary, Lagos PDP), Alhaji Abubakar Baraje (PDP National Chairman), Hon. Secondus (PDP National Organising Secretary), Prof. Attahiru Jega (INEC Chairman), Lagos State INEC Commissioner, Lagos State Commissioner of Police and the Director of State Security Services.

The aggrieved members specifically asked the court to restrain those elected on Saturday from acting in that capacity until the determination of the case.

While the lawyers to some of the defendants have acknowledged service of the court order and promptly stayed away from the polls, Rotimi Ogunjobi, lawyer to the former PDP Lagos Chairman and secretary, Setonji Koshoedo and Tunji Shelle, denied that his clients were served with the court’s order.

After listening to arguments from the lawyers, and the court’s baliff, charged with effecting service of the court order, Justice Liman declined the plaintiffs’ lawyer’s application to either void the result of the congress or restrain officials elected from it from parading themselves in that capacity.

The judge based his ruling on the fact that some of the defendants were not served with the court’s order and processes. The court then granted the plaintiffs’ application for substituted service, via newspaper publication, on the defendants yet to be served before adjourning to the 26th of March for report of service and possible hearing of the substantive suit.

PDP Ward Congress:Elections conducted across the country

In line with the agenda of the ruling political party in the Nigeria the PDP to hold ward congresses,party faithfuls filed out in vaious states in the country to exercise their franchise.