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Oct. 1, 2011 at 9:06 AM   |   Comments

Obama urges public pressure on jobs bill

WASHINGTON, Oct. 1 (UPI) -- U.S. President Barack Obama Saturday urged Americans to pressure Congress to pass the American Jobs Act.

In his weekly radio and Internet address, the president noted it has been almost "three weeks since I sent (Congress) a bill that would put people back to work and put money in people's pockets."

"This jobs bill is fully paid for," he said. "This jobs bill contains the kinds of proposals that Democrats and Republicans have supported in the past. And now I want it back. It is time for Congress to get its act together and pass this jobs bill so I can sign it into law."

Obama noted that some Republicans have said they agree with certain aspects of the bill but if there are any provisions they oppose, "I'd like to know what exactly they're against."

"Are they against putting teachers and police officers and firefighters back on the job? Are they against hiring construction workers to rebuild our roads and bridges and schools? Are they against giving tax cuts to virtually every worker and small business in America?"

Obama said economists "from across the political spectrum" have said the bill would improve the economy and promote hiring.

"This isn't just about what I think is right," he said. "It's not just about what a group of economists think is right. This is about what the American people want."

"If anyone watching feels the same way, don't be shy about letting your congressman know," he said. "It is time for the politics to end. Let's pass this jobs bill."


GOP: Regulations are 'government barriers'

WASHINGTON, Oct. 1 (UPI) -- Excessive government regulation is strangling the U.S. economy, Rep. Morgan Griffith, R-Va., said in the Republican weekly media address Saturday.

The freshman congressman's remarks marked the third consecutive week the party has targeted the Democrats' regulatory policy that Griffith described as "nuisances (that) have become full-blown government barriers to job creation."

He cited two examples of proposed regulations that could have adverse employment effects, one of them being an Environmental Protection Agency ruling on the manufacturing of boilers. Griffith said

"These regulations would impose billions of dollars in new costs, make many goods and services more expensive, and put more than 200,000 jobs at risk," he said.

The congressman also cited other regulations that affect manufacturers of concrete, which he said was responsible for the suspension of construction of a $350 million concrete project in Alabama.

"It was on track to create more than 1,500 construction jobs," he said.

In coming days, the Republican-led House will take up bills that would ease the regulations and Griffith said the president should use his power to support them.

"President Obama, who has said he's willing to consider stopping excessive regulations, should call on the Democrat-led Senate to follow the House in passing these jobs bills," he said.


Death sentence for Pakistani bodyguard

RAWALPINDI, Pakistan, Oct. 1 (UPI) -- A police bodyguard convicted of assassinating a Pakistani regional governor in January was sentenced to death in Rawalpindi Saturday.

Mumtaz Qadri, 26, was convicted and sentenced for gunning down his boss, Punjab Gov. Salman Taseer outside a restaurant Jan. 4 in Islamabad, the BBC reported.

Qadri, a devout Muslim, confessed at the scene and said Taseer deserved to die for his opposition to Pakistan's blasphemy law.

The governor alleged the law was being used by majority Muslims to persecute Christians and Jews.

One of Qadri's defense lawyers told the British broadcaster Qadri saw the death sentence as a path to martyrdom.

"He was very happy with the decision and he accepts it -- as it means he has sacrificed his life for the prophet Mohammed," lawyer Tariq Muhammad Dhamial said. "My client is at peace -- he started reciting verses from the Koran after the verdict was read out."

Qadri has seven days to appeal, officials said.


Official: Awlaki got 'due process in war'

WASHINGTON, Oct. 1 (UPI) -- Anwar al-Awlaki, the U.S.-born Islamic cleric killed in Yemen by a U.S. drone Friday, got "due process in war," an Obama administration official said.

Officials told The Washington Post a Justice Department memo authorized the attack. They said the action was discussed beforehand by senior lawyers in the executive branch who agreed his status as a citizen should not protect him.

"What constitutes due process in this case is a due process in war," said one of the officials, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss closely held deliberations within the administration.

Samir Khan, a young naturalized U.S. citizen who edited Inspire, a magazine aimed at young Muslim men, was traveling with Awlaki and was killed with him.

Intelligence officers were not aware of his presence, but an official said he was considered a legitimate target as a belligerent.

In a statement on the killing Friday, President Barack Obama called Awlaki the head of "external operations" for al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula.


Hurricane Ophelia moves toward Bermuda

MIAMI, Oct. 1 (UPI) -- Hurricane Ophelia, with maximum sustained winds of 120 mph, gained strength Saturday as it rolled across the Atlantic Ocean toward Bermuda, forecasters said.

The National Hurricane Center in Miami reported the Category 3 hurricane was 385 miles south-southeast of Bermuda and moving north at 17 mph early Saturday.

Ophelia was expected to pass east of Bermuda, and tropical storm-force winds were possible on the island by Saturday afternoon, the National Hurricane Center said.

Hazardous surf conditions were possible on south-facing beaches of Bermuda, and rainfall up to 1 inch is expected.

Hurricane-force winds extended outward up to 40 miles and tropical storm-force winds up to 205 miles.

The storm is expected to turn north-northeast on Sunday with an increase in forward speed.

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