Obama jokes with Clooney at star’s gala fundraiser George Clooney played the suave host, Chef Wolfgang Puck whipped up something for dinner and President Barack Obama and about 150 of his Hollywood set donors enjoyed a few laughs at Clooney’s good humoured expense. Obama told the crowd that his famed Hope poster from the 2008 was derived from a photograph of Obama sitting next to Clooney when Obama was a US senator.
Clooney had been in Washington advocating on behalf of Darfur. “This is the first time that George Clooney has ever been photo-shopped out of a picture,” Obama said. “Never happened before, will never happen again.” In fact, the artist who created the poster, Shepard Fairey, used another photograph of Obama but said he relied on the Obama-Clooney picture to avoid a copyright infringement case with The Associated Press. He pleaded guilty in February to criminal contempt for fabricating and destroying evidence.
Poll shows Americans’ pessimism on economy growing
Americans are growing more pessimistic about the economy and handling it remains President Barack Obama’s weak spot and biggest challenge in his bid for a second term, according to a new Associated Press - GfK poll. And the gloomier outlook extends across party lines, including a steep decline in the share of Democrats who call the economy ‘good,’ down from 48 per cent in February to just 31 per cent now. Almost two-thirds of Americans — 65 per cent — disapprove of Obama’s handling of gas prices, up from 58 per cent in February. Nearly half, 44 per cent, ‘strongly disapprove.’ And just 30 per cent said they approve, down from 39 per cent in February.
British played central role in foiled bomb operation: sourcesBritish intelligence played a central role in the undercover operation to foil an underwear bomb plot involving al Qaeda’s Yemeni offshoot, counter-terrorism sources told Reuters. The undercover informant in the plot linked to al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, or AQAP, was a British citizen, possibly of Saudi origin, the sources said on condition of anonymity. The informant was working in cooperation with Britain’s two principal spy agencies. US officials revealed publicly on Monday that AQAP tried to arm a suicide bomber with a non-metallic device that was an upgraded version of an ‘underwear bomb’ that was carried on to a Detroit-bound plane on Christmas Day 2009, but failed to detonate.
Lawyers for China dissident’s nephew say they face threatsChinese authorities have con-fiscated a lawyer’s licence and threatened to do the same to another after they volunteered to defend the nephew of blind Chinese Activist Chen Guangcheng. The moves come as Chen, whose escape from house arrest last month sparked an international furore, said officials were going crazy with reprisals against his family in eastern
Shandong province. Chen’s escape and subsequent refuge in the US embassy caused embarrassment for China and led to a diplomatic crisis in Sino - US relations. The Chinese Communist Party has always been wary of lawyers, who officials suspect could challenge one-party rule through their advocacy of the rule of law.