Volcano clouds Obama's trip to Indonesia
JAKARTA, Nov. 9 (UPI) -- Promote prosperity, expand partnerships and deepen political and security operations for strong U.S.-Indonesia relations, President Barack Obama said Tuesday.
Nodding to spending several years as a child in the island nation, Obama said his trip as president is "focused not on the past but on the future" and building a comprehensive partnership with Indonesia.
During a joint news conference with Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, Obama said he wanted the partnership to include an expansion of trade, investment and commercial relationships, broadened educational and environment-related partnerships and deeper political and security operations.
"These are the pillars of the new partnership," Obama said. "Our two nations have only begun to forge (these) partnerships."
Obama's visit to his boyhood home of four years likely will be cut short because of the ash cloud from the Mount Merapi volcano, White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said Tuesday during a press briefing.
"(The) modeling for the volcanic ash is likely going to necessitate that we leave Indonesia several hours earlier than the schedule had it laid out (Wednesday)," Gibbs said. "So we are working through a series of different scenarios on what the morning is going to look like."
Gibbs said it wasn't clear whether any events would be canceled, pushed up or shortened, including a speech at the University of Jakarta, part of Obama's continued outreach to Muslims.
"My sense is that -- certainly our hope is that -- while we may have to truncate some of the morning, we can still get the speech in," Gibbs said.
Obama and first lady Michelle Obama attended a state dinner Tuesday in their honor at the Indonesian presidential palace complex.
The next stop of his 10-day Asia tour is Seoul where he will attend the Group of 20 conference.
Oil rig attackers identify themselves
LONDON, Nov. 9 (UPI) -- A militant group known for its kidnapping of oil workers claimed responsibility Tuesday for the takeover of an oil rig off the coast of Nigeria.
Jomo Gbomo, a spokesman for the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta, known as MEND, sent a statement to Next.com saying MEND planned to release the names of the hostages within the next 24 hours, Timbuktu Media reported.
MEND took over the oil rig run by Transocean off the southern coast of Nigeria Sunday, injuring two of the crew members.
A spokesman for the rig's owner, London-based Afren PLC, said the injured workers had been shot in the legs and were reported in stable condition after being airlifted to a shore-based clinic.
The spokesman told CNN the attackers were holding two Indonesians, two Americans, two French citizens and one Canadian.
U.S. State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley said the United States is in contact with Nigerian officials.
Hayward: BP not prepared for spill, media
LONDON, Nov. 9 (UPI) -- Former BP chief Tony Hayward said the company wasn't prepared to handle the media onslaught following the oil disaster in the Gulf of Mexico.
In his first interview since resigning as BP's chief executive officer, Hayward also said he understood why, as the face of BP during the disaster, he was "demonized and vilified," the BBC reported Monday.
"I don't feel like I've been made a scapegoat, I recognized the realities of the world we live in," said Hayward, who resigned as the oil disaster played out. "In some senses it comes with the patch and you simply have to take the rough with the smooth."
The April 20 oil rig explosion killed 11 workers and dumped 185 million gallons of oil into the gulf, causing one of the worst environmental disasters in U.S. history before the well was sealed months later. BP was roundly condemned for its slow response to the leak.
"If we'd been successful in killing the well in the first week of June, then so many things would've been different," Hayward told the BBC. "I'd probably still be the CEO of BP."
BP's contingency plan was inadequate, Hayward said.
"We were making it up day to day," he said. "What was going on was some extraordinary engineering. But when it was played out in the full glare of the media as it was, of course it looked like fumbling and incompetence."
But Hayward's "I want my life back" remark sent Gulf Coast residents and U.S. politicians over the edge. He also drew ire when he was seen on a yacht off the Isle of Wight where his son was participating in a yacht race.
Hayward defended his decision to take some time off, saying he would do it again.
"I have to confess, at the time I was pretty angry actually. I hadn't seen my son for three months, I was on the boat for six hours," he told the BBC. "I'm not certain I'd do anything different."
In memoir, Bush defends waterboarding
WASHINGTON, Nov. 9 (UPI) -- Former U.S. President George W. Bush was back in the spotlight, stirring up interest his memoir, "Decision Points," released Tuesday.
In the book, which he began writing in 2008 soon after leaving office, Bush shares his thoughts on the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks, Hurricane Katrina, waterboarding terror suspects and what he called the "worst moments" of his presidency, CNN reported.
In the book, Bush says the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks gave his administration a clear mission and pumped him with the resolve to find out who was responsible and "kick their ass."
Concerning the use of waterboarding, which simulates drowning, as an interrogation technique, Bush wrote, "CIA experts drew up a list of interrogation techniques. ... At my direction, Department of Justice and CIA lawyers conducted a careful legal review. The enhanced interrogation program complied with the Constitution and all applicable laws, including those that ban torture."
In the book, Bush reviewed the government response to Hurricane Katrina in 2005, saying it was "not only flawed" but "unacceptable."
"As the leader of the federal government, I should have recognized the deficiencies sooner and intervened faster," Bush wrote. "Yet in the days after Katrina, that didn't happen. The problem was not that I made the wrong decisions. It was that I took too long to decide."
He also got personal in his memoir, discussing his past problems with alcohol abuse and his 1986 decision to give up drinking completely. Just days before the 2000 presidential election, news broke that Bush had been arrested for driving under the influence in Maine in 1976.
"Not disclosing the DUI on my terms may have been the single costliest political mistake I ever made," Bush wrote, explaining he decided against revealing the matter because he didn't want to undermine his anti-drinking-and-driving message to his daughters.
During an interview on NBC as part of the media blitz, Bush said his worst moment in the Oval Office came when the rap star Kanye West said the president didn't care about black people, The New York Times reported.
"The suggestion that I was racist because of the response to Katrina represented an all-time low," Bush said. "I didn't appreciate it then; I don't appreciate it now. I resent it, it's not true, and it was one of the most disgusting moments in my presidency."