Daily News Briefing: Monday, August 27, 2012

Published by: Clark Barrow

Clark Barrow

DAILY BRIEFING - SUMMARY

  • GULF OF MEXICO - U.S. regulators said Sunday that energy producers have shut nearly a quarter of the U.S. Gulf of Mexico's oil production as Tropical Storm Isaac seemed to shift its trajectory westward, heading towards the heart of the region's offshore oil patch.
  • ISAAC - The U.S. National Hurricane Center said Tropical Storm Isaac would mostly bypass the west coast of Florida and the Republican National Convention in Tampa, Florida. By late Monday afternoon or early evening, Isaac's eye is expected to be well west of Tampa.
  • THREAT - A Republican National Convention protestor was arrested on Sunday while he allegedly carried a machete strapped to his leg into an event zone. Meanwhile, other large protests were carried out without incident.
  • REPUBLICAN NATIONAL CONVENTION - Republican officials on Sunday released a revised convention-week schedule. The full revised schedule is included in this briefing.
  • WHITE HOUSE - In his weekly radio and Internet address, President Obama said Saturday the U.S. Medicare program is about keeping promises to millions of seniors who have put in a lifetime of hard work.
  • DEBT - The U.S. federal government’s debt could hit an unprecedented $16 trillion this week while the Republican Party is holding its national convention in Tampa, Fla.—in a hall that will prominently feature a running debt clock.
  • DISABILITY - The U.S. Social Security Administration released its annual statistical report on federal disability insurance last month, revealing that at the end of 2011 there was a then-record of 8,575,544 workers collecting federal disability benefits and among them were 1,304,851 doing so because they suffered from “mood disorders.”

WHAT WE KNOW

ECONOMIC NEWS

  • GULF OF MEXICO - U.S. regulators said Sunday that energy producers have shut nearly a quarter of the U.S. Gulf of Mexico's oil production as Tropical Storm Isaac seemed to shift its trajectory westward, heading towards the heart of the region's offshore oil patch.
    • About 24.2% of the Gulf's oil production, or 333,815 barrels of oil a day, have been shut in as of Sunday as producers hasten evacuations, the U.S. Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement said. About 8.24%, or 371 million cubic feet, of natural gas production was shut in Sunday.
    • In the recent past, hurricanes that passed through the area and shut down production for prolonged amounts of time caused major spikes in energy price. About 19% of the U.S. refining capacity lies in Louisiana and Mississippi.
  • Monday morning futures on the Dow Jones Industrial Average were unchanged at 13,156.
  • Monday morning futures on the S&P 500 Index gained 2.5 points, or 0.2%, to 1,412.30.
  • Monday morning futures on the Nasdaq 100 advanced 12 points, or 0.4%, to 2,787.

COMMODITIES

  • The U.S. national average for a gallon of regular gasoline is $3.75.
    • When President Obama was inaugurated, in January 2009, the U.S. national average for a gallon of regular gasoline was $1.85. Average gasoline prices are currently 103 percent higher than they were when Mr. Obama became president.
  • Crude oil for October delivery advanced 1%, or 97 cents, to $97.13 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange during European trading hours.
  • Gold for December delivery added $4.40 cents, or 0.3%, to $1,677.30 an ounce on the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange.

NEWS TO WATCH

  • ELECTION - As of today, there are 70 days until the November 2012 presidential election.
  • ISAAC - The U.S. National Hurricane Center said Tropical Storm Isaac would mostly bypass the west coast of Florida and the Republican National Convention in Tampa, Florida. By late Monday afternoon or early evening, Isaac's eye is expected to be well west of Tampa.
    • It is expected to make landfall again on Wednesday -- the seventh anniversary of Hurricane Katrina -- somewhere along the Louisiana or Mississippi coast. By then it could be a Category 2 hurricane with winds of at least 96 mph.
    • The agency issued a hurricane warning for the northern Gulf of Mexico coast from Morgan City, Louisiana to Destin, Florida, including the city of New Orleans. Isaac is expected to hit somewhere between southeastern Louisiana and the Florida Panhandle either late Tuesday or early Wednesday.  The governors of Florida, Mississippi, Alabama and Louisiana declared states of emergency over the weekend.
  • THREAT - A Republican National Convention protestor was arrested while he allegedly carried a machete strapped to his leg, according to deputies.
    • Local police said Jason T. Wilson, of Tallahassee, was arrested as he walked in the RNC Event Zone carrying a "full size" machete. When deputies attempted to physically stop him, Wilson allegedly began resisting arrest and was physically restrained. Wilson was arrested and taken to the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office on charges of prohibited items in event zone and resisting arrest with violence.
    • Meanwhile, other large protests were carried out without incident. Two hundred protestors arrived at Gaslight Park in Downtown Tampa just after 12 p.m.  After protesting in the park for a short time, police say the group split up, with approximately 100 protestors marching to the Bank of America building.
    • The second group of approximately 100 protestors, marched through city streets toward the Tampa Bay Times Forum, where the convention will take place.
  • REPUBLICAN NATIONAL CONVENTION - Republican officials on Sunday released a revised convention-week schedule. Changes in the schedule are the result of the convention’s decision postpone the Monday, August 27 sessions due to weather-related concerns.
    • The revised schedule is as follows:
      • Monday, August 27, 2012
        • 2:00 p.m. - Chairman of the RNC Reince Priebus
          • Call to Order/Start Debt Clocks
        • 2:10 p.m. - Announcement of Recess
      • Tuesday, August 28, 2012
        • 2:00 p.m. - Chairman of the RNC Reince Priebus
          • Color Guard Knights of Columbus
          • Pledge of Allegiance by Former Governor Tim Babcock (MT)/Tom Hogan (FL)
          • National Anthem sung by Philip Alongi
          • Invocation by Rabbi Meir Soloveichik
          • Opening procedural steps, appointment of convention committees
          • Welcoming remarks, and U.S. House and U.S. Senate candidates and RNC auxiliaries
          • RNC Chairman Priebus
          • RNC Co-Chairman Sharon Day
          • Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn
          • Convention Chief Executive Officer William Harris
          • Chairman of Tampa Bay Host Committee Al Austin
          • Republican U.S. Congressional Candidates
          • State Delegate Barbara Comstock (VA)
          • Representative Tim Griffin (AR)
          • Republican U.S. Senate Candidates
          • Republican National Committee auxiliaries
          • Consideration of convention committee reports
          • RNC Chairman Reince Priebus
          • Committee on Credentials Chairman Mike Duncan
          • Committee on Permanent Organization Chairwoman Zoraida Fonalledas
          • Convention Permanent Chairman Speaker John Boehner, Presiding
          • Official Convention Photograph
          • Committee on Rules Chairman John Sununu
          • Committee on Resolutions Chairman Governor Bob McDonnell
          • Committee on Resolutions Co-Chairman U.S. Senator John Hoeven
          • Committee on Resolutions Co-Chairman U.S. Rep. Marsha Blackburn
          • Roll Call for Nomination of President of the United States
          • Roll Call for Nomination of Vice President of the United States
        • 6:40 p.m. – Recess
        • 7:00 p.m. – Reconvene
          • Remarks by U.S. House Speaker John Boehner
          • Remarks by RNC Chairman Reince Priebus
          • Video and remarks by Mayor Mia Love (Saratoga Springs, UT), U.S. congressional candidate
          • Remarks by Janine Turner
          • Remarks by former U.S. Senator Rick Santorum
          • Remarks by Host, U.S. Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers
        • 8:00 p.m. - Remarks by U.S. Senator Kelly Ayotte (NH), accompanied by Jack Gilchrist
          • Remarks by Governor John Kasich (OH)
          • Remarks by Governor Mary Fallin (OK)
          • Remarks by Governor Bob McDonnell (VA), accompanied by Bev Gray
          • Remarks by Governor Scott Walker (WI)
        • 9:00 p.m. - Remarks by Governor Brian Sandoval (NV)
          • Remarks by Sher Valenzuela (small business owner, candidate for DE Lt. Governor)
          • Remarks by U.S. Senate Republican Candidate Ted Cruz (TX)
          • Remarks by Artur Davis
          • Remarks by Governor Nikki Haley (SC)
        • 10:00 p.m. - Remarks by Mrs. Luce’ Vela Fortuño
          • Remarks by Mrs. Ann Romney
          • Remarks by Governor Chris Christie (NJ)
          • Benediction by Sammy Rodriguez
          • Adjournment
      • Wednesday, August 29, 2012
        • 7:00 p.m. - Convention convenes
          • Call to order
          • Introduction of Colors by Amputee Veterans of America Support Team (AVAST)
          • Pledge of Allegiance by Brigadier General Patrick E. Rea, U.S. Army (Ret.)
          • National Anthem sung by Ayla Brown
          • Invocation by Ishwar Singh
          • Ron Paul Video
          • Remarks by U.S. Senate Republican Leader and Convention Temporary Chairman Mitch McConnell (KY)
          • Remarks by Senator Rand Paul (KY)
          • Remarks by Christopher Devlin-Young and Jeanine McDonnell
        • 8:00 p.m. - Remarks by Senator John McCain (AZ)
          • Remarks by Attorney General Pam Bondi (FL) and Attorney General Sam Olens (GA)
          • Remarks by Governor Bobby Jindal (LA)
          • Remarks by Senator John Thune (SD)
          • Remarks by Senator Rob Portman (OH)
        • 9:00 p.m. - Remarks by Governor Luis Fortuño (PR)
          • Remarks by Governor Tim Pawlenty (MN)
          • Bush 41, 43 Film
          • Remarks by former Governor Mike Huckabee (AR)
        • 10:00 p.m. - Remarks by Condoleezza Rice
          • Remarks by Governor Susana Martinez (NM)
          • Remarks by vice presidential nominee Rep. Paul Ryan
          • Benediction by Archbishop Demetrios
          • Adjournment
      • Thursday, August 30, 2012
        • 7:00 p.m. - Convention convenes
          • Call to order
          • Introduction of Colors U.S. Central Command Joint Forces Color Guard Team
          • Pledge of Allegiance by Dylan Nonaka
          • National Anthem sung by SEVEN
          • Invocation by Ken and Priscilla Hutchins
          • Remarks by U.S. Rep. Connie Mack (FL)
          • Reagan Legacy Video
          • Remarks by Newt and Callista Gingrich
          • Remarks by Craig Romney
        • 8:00 p.m. - Remarks by Governor former Jeb Bush (FL)
          • Remarks by Bob White, chairman of Romney for President campaign
          • Remarks by Grant Bennett
          • Remarks by Tom Stemberg
        • 9:00 p.m. - Remarks by former Massachusetts Lt. Governor Kerry Healey
          • Remarks by Jane Edmonds, former Massachusetts Secretary of Workforce
          • Remarks by Olympians Michael Eruzione, Derek Parra and Kim Rhode
        • 10:00 p.m. - Remarks by U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (FL)
          • Remarks by presidential nominee Mitt Romney
          • Benediction by Archbishop Timothy M. Dolan
          • Speaker Boehner declares convention adjourned
  • WHITE HOUSE - In his weekly radio and Internet address, President Obama said Saturday the U.S. Medicare program is about keeping promises to millions of seniors who have put in a lifetime of hard work.
    • The president used his weekly address to discuss the surging campaign issue, saying his goal is to strengthen Medicare and preserve the program for future generations. He made no mention of Republican rival Mitt Romney in the address.
    • The new 30-second television ad says Romney “would break that promise” and replace the current Medicare system with a voucher program that wouldn’t keep up with costs.

PRESIDENT’S SCHEDULE

  • President Obama on Monday is scheduled to attend meetings at the White House.

HAPPENING IN THE U.S. CONGRESS

U.S. SENATE

  • The U.S. Senate is not in session today.

U.S. HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

  • The U.S. House is not in session today.

TOPICS OF INTEREST

FEDERAL GOVERNMENT

  • DEBT - The U.S. federal government’s debt could hit an unprecedented $16 trillion this week while the Republican Party is holding its national convention in Tampa, Fla.—in a hall that will prominently feature a running debt clock.
    • At the close of business on Thursday, Aug. 23, according to the U.S. Treasury, the federal government’s debt stood at precisely $15,976,519,029,144.14.
    • Since Obama took office on Jan. 20, 2009, the debt has increased $5,349,641,980,231.06. That is as much as the entire debt accumulated by the United States from the founding of the country in 1776 until Feb. 28, 1997, when President Bill Clinton was in his second term. Thus, under Obama, the debt has increased more than under all presidents from George Washington through George H.W. Bush.
  • DISABILITY - The U.S. Social Security Administration released its annual statistical report on federal disability insurance last month, revealing that at the end of 2011 there was a then-record of 8,575,544 workers collecting federal disability benefits and among them were 1,304,851 doing so because they suffered from “mood disorders.”
    • The incidence of “mood disorders” among disability beneficiaries was not proportionately distributed among the states and territories, according to the official SSA statistics. Some locations had much higher percentages of disability beneficiaries diagnosed with mood disorders than other locations.
    • In each month since December 2011, SSA has reported, the overall number of Americans collecting disability has continued to rise. In August, according to SSA, a record 8,767,941 American workers collected disability. Also, in addition to the 8,767,941 workers collecting disability payments, there were 1,853,651 eligible children of disabled workers collecting additional benefits and 164,651 eligible spouses of disabled workers collecting benefits—bringing the total number of disability beneficiaries in August to 10,786,510.

HEALTH CARE

  • BRITISH SCHEME - High-profile United Kingdom National Health Service hospitals in England are to be encouraged by the government to set up profit-making branches abroad to help fund services in the U.K. Investment would have to be drawn from hospitals' private U.K. work, but with profits ploughed back into the NHS.
    • The U.K. Department of Health (DOH) has said the enterprise scheme would bring in much needed funds for patients and also raise the international profile of the NHS brand. Officials from the DOH and U.K. Trade and Industry will launch the joint scheme this autumn, which aims to build links between hospitals wishing to expand and foreign governments which want access to British health services.
    • The Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) determined that England's NHS will be running annual deficits of £20 billion ($31 billion) by 2020. A total of 21 NHS trusts have admitted they are in financial crisis and have amassed combined debts of nearly £130million.

DOMESTIC ISSUES

STATE ISSUES

  • SOUTH CAROLINA - South Carolina this week will try to convince a United States federal court its new voter identification law doesn't discriminate against black voters, contrary to a finding by the federal government.
    • The trial set to begin on Monday in the District of Columbia marks the Obama administration's latest attempt to block a wave of laws in Republican-controlled states that require voters to show certain forms of photo ID at the polls.
    • As in other states to pass such laws, Republicans in South Carolina's legislature said the measure discourages voter fraud. Republican Governor Nikki Haley signed the requirement into law in May of last year.

FOREIGN POLICY

MIDDLE EAST

  • SYRIA - Hundreds of Syrians were killed during a sweeping offensive by government forces in a suburb of Damascus over the weekend, the bloodiest assault in the vicinity of the Syrian capital since the start of the conflict more than a year and a half ago.
    • The assault on Daraya comes as the government has spent more than a month attempting to roll back rebel gains in many areas. Syrian state television also claimed that government troops had taken control of several rebel-held areas in Aleppo, a city of 2.5 million in the north where fighting has raged for weeks.
    • Meanwhile, the number of Syrian refugees in Turkey has nearly doubled over the past two months to more than 80,000 and cabinet ministers have said the government is struggling to cope. Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu reiterated on Friday that Turkey could run out of space if the number of refugees topped 100,000, and suggested that the United Nations may need to create a "safe zone" inside Syria.
  • IRAN - The Obama administration insisted Friday that “there is time and space” for a diplomatic solution to the Iranian nuclear crisis, despite new evidence, to be released next week by international nuclear inspectors, that Iran is bolstering its ability to produce a type of uranium that can be converted relatively quickly to bomb fuel.
    • In a statement that was notable chiefly for the fact that it was issued before the International Atomic Energy Agency’s report is scheduled to be made public, a White House spokesman, Tommy Vietor, said Iran “is continuing to violate its international obligations” despite the imposition of sanctions that severely restrict the country’s oil revenue.
    • The energy agency’s inspectors found that Iran had installed hundreds of new centrifuges in the deep underground site called Fordow in recent months, but Mr. Vietor said that did not change the White House assessment that diplomatic solutions to the Iranian nuclear issue were still viable.

ASIA

  • RUSSIA - President Vladimir V. Putin said Friday that Russia would be willing to negotiate new reductions in nuclear arms with the United States but that Washington must first change its plans for a missile defense system in Europe strongly opposed by the Kremlin.
    • Mr. Putin’s comments suggested, in theory, a new openness by Russia to going beyond the New Start treaty, which was signed by his predecessor, Dmitry A. Medvedev, and President Obama in April 2010 and ratified by the United States Senate later that year.
    • While the New Start treaty requires Russia and the United States to reduce their arsenals to 1,550 strategic warheads and 700 launchers within seven years, the countries have discussed a follow-up agreement that would cut tactical warheads and stored strategic weapons that are not covered by the existing treaty.
  • CHINA - China is moving ahead with the development of a new and more capable generation of intercontinental ballistic missiles and submarine-launched missiles, increasing its existing ability to deliver nuclear warheads to the United States and to overwhelm missile defense systems, military analysts said this week.
    • Over all, China’s steady strengthening of its military capabilities for conventional and nuclear warfare has long caused concern in Congress and among American allies in East Asia, particularly lately as China has taken a more assertive position regarding territorial claims in the East China and South China Seas.
    • The Global Times, a newspaper directly controlled by the Chinese Communist Party, reported Wednesday that China was developing the capability to put multiple warheads on intercontinental ballistic missiles, or ICBMs. But the newspaper disputed a report in Jane’s Defense Weekly that the latest Chinese ICBM, the Dongfeng-41, had been tested last month.

DAILY BRIEFING - SUMMARY 

·        GULF OF MEXICO - U.S. regulators said Sunday that energy producers have shut nearly a quarter of the U.S. Gulf of Mexico's oil production as Tropical Storm Isaac seemed to shift its trajectory westward, heading towards the heart of the region's offshore oil patch. 

 

·        ISAAC - The U.S. National Hurricane Center said Tropical Storm Isaac would mostly bypass the west coast of Florida and the Republican National Convention in Tampa, Florida. By late Monday afternoon or early evening, Isaac's eye is expected to be well west of Tampa.  

 

·        THREAT - A Republican National Convention protestor was arrested on Sunday while he allegedly carried a machete strapped to his leg into an event zone. Meanwhile, other large protests were carried out without incident. 

 

·        REPUBLICAN NATIONAL CONVENTION - Republican officials on Sunday released a revised convention-week schedule. The full revised schedule is included in this briefing. 

 

·        WHITE HOUSE - In his weekly radio and Internet address, President Obama said Saturday the U.S. Medicare program is about keeping promises to millions of seniors who have put in a lifetime of hard work. 

 

·        DEBT - The U.S. federal government’s debt could hit an unprecedented $16 trillion this week while the Republican Party is holding its national convention in Tampa, Fla.—in a hall that will prominently feature a running debt clock. 

 

·        DISABILITY - The U.S. Social Security Administration released its annual statistical report on federal disability insurance last month, revealing that at the end of 2011 there was a then-record of 8,575,544 workers collecting federal disability benefits and among them were 1,304,851 doing so because they suffered from “mood disorders.” 

 

 

 

WHAT WE KNOW 

ECONOMIC NEWS 

·        GULF OF MEXICO - U.S. regulators said Sunday that energy producers have shut nearly a quarter of the U.S. Gulf of Mexico's oil production as Tropical Storm Isaac seemed to shift its trajectory westward, heading towards the heart of the region's offshore oil patch. 

o   About 24.2% of the Gulf's oil production, or 333,815 barrels of oil a day, have been shut in as of Sunday as producers hasten evacuations, the U.S. Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement said. About 8.24%, or 371 million cubic feet, of natural gas production was shut in Sunday. 

o   In the recent past, hurricanes that passed through the area and shut down production for prolonged amounts of time caused major spikes in energy price. About 19% of the U.S. refining capacity lies in Louisiana and Mississippi. 

 

·        Monday morning futures on the Dow Jones Industrial Average were unchanged at 13,156. 

·        Monday morning futures on the S&P 500 Index gained 2.5 points, or 0.2%, to 1,412.30. 

·        Monday morning futures on the Nasdaq 100 advanced 12 points, or 0.4%, to 2,787. 

 

COMMODITIES 

·        The U.S. national average for a gallon of regular gasoline is $3.75. 

o   When President Obama was inaugurated, in January 2009, the U.S. national average for a gallon of regular gasoline was $1.85. Average gasoline prices are currently 103 percent higher than they were when Mr. Obama became president. 

·        Crude oil for October delivery advanced 1%, or 97 cents, to $97.13 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange during European trading hours. 

·        Gold for December delivery added $4.40 cents, or 0.3%, to $1,677.30 an ounce on the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange. 

 

NEWS TO WATCH 

·        ELECTION - As of today, there are 70 days until the November 2012 presidential election. 

 

·        ISAAC - The U.S. National Hurricane Center said Tropical Storm Isaac would mostly bypass the west coast of Florida and the Republican National Convention in Tampa, Florida. By late Monday afternoon or early evening, Isaac's eye is expected to be well west of Tampa.  

o   It is expected to make landfall again on Wednesday -- the seventh anniversary of Hurricane Katrina -- somewhere along the Louisiana or Mississippi coast. By then it could be a Category 2 hurricane with winds of at least 96 mph. 

o   The agency issued a hurricane warning for the northern Gulf of Mexico coast from Morgan City, Louisiana to Destin, Florida, including the city of New Orleans. Isaac is expected to hit somewhere between southeastern Louisiana and the Florida Panhandle either late Tuesday or early Wednesday.  The governors of Florida, Mississippi, Alabama and Louisiana declared states of emergency over the weekend. 

 

·        THREAT - A Republican National Convention protestor was arrested while he allegedly carried a machete strapped to his leg, according to deputies. 

o   Local police said Jason T. Wilson, of Tallahassee, was arrested as he walked in the RNC Event Zone carrying a "full size" machete. When deputies attempted to physically stop him, Wilson allegedly began resisting arrest and was physically restrained. Wilson was arrested and taken to the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office on charges of prohibited items in event zone and resisting arrest with violence. 

o   Meanwhile, other large protests were carried out without incident. Two hundred protestors arrived at Gaslight Park in Downtown Tampa just after 12 p.m.  After protesting in the park for a short time, police say the group split up, with approximately 100 protestors marching to the Bank of America building.  

o   The second group of approximately 100 protestors, marched through city streets toward the Tampa Bay Times Forum, where the convention will take place. 

 

·        REPUBLICAN NATIONAL CONVENTION - Republican officials on Sunday released a revised convention-week schedule. Changes in the schedule are the result of the convention’s decision postpone the Monday, August 27 sessions due to weather-related concerns. 

o   The revised schedule is as follows: 

§  Monday, August 27, 2012  

·        2:00 p.m. - Chairman of the RNC Reince Priebus 

o   Call to Order/Start Debt Clocks 

·        2:10 p.m. - Announcement of Recess  

§  Tuesday, August 28, 2012  

·        2:00 p.m. - Chairman of the RNC Reince Priebus

o   Color Guard Knights of Columbus

o   Pledge of Allegiance by Former Governor Tim Babcock (MT)/Tom Hogan (FL)

o   National Anthem sung by Philip Alongi

o   Invocation by Rabbi Meir Soloveichik

o   Opening procedural steps, appointment of convention committees

o   Welcoming remarks, and U.S. House and U.S. Senate candidates and RNC auxiliaries

o   RNC Chairman Priebus

o   RNC Co-Chairman Sharon Day

o   Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn

o   Convention Chief Executive Officer William Harris

o   Chairman of Tampa Bay Host Committee Al Austin

o   Republican U.S. Congressional Candidates

o   State Delegate Barbara Comstock (VA)

o   Representative Tim Griffin (AR)

o   Republican U.S. Senate Candidates

o   Republican National Committee auxiliaries

o   Consideration of convention committee reports

o   RNC Chairman Reince Priebus

o   Committee on Credentials Chairman Mike Duncan

o   Committee on Permanent Organization Chairwoman Zoraida Fonalledas

o   Convention Permanent Chairman Speaker John Boehner, Presiding

o   Official Convention Photograph

o   Committee on Rules Chairman John Sununu

o   Committee on Resolutions Chairman Governor Bob McDonnell

o   Committee on Resolutions Co-Chairman U.S. Senator John Hoeven

o   Committee on Resolutions Co-Chairman U.S. Rep. Marsha Blackburn

o   Roll Call for Nomination of President of the United States

o   Roll Call for Nomination of Vice President of the United States

·        6:40 p.m. – Recess

·        7:00 p.m. – Reconvene

o   Remarks by U.S. House Speaker John Boehner

o   Remarks by RNC Chairman Reince Priebus

o   Video and remarks by Mayor Mia Love (Saratoga Springs, UT), U.S. congressional candidate

o   Remarks by Janine Turner

o   Remarks by former U.S. Senator Rick Santorum

o   Remarks by Host, U.S. Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers

·        8:00 p.m. - Remarks by U.S. Senator Kelly Ayotte (NH), accompanied by Jack Gilchrist

o   Remarks by Governor John Kasich (OH)

o   Remarks by Governor Mary Fallin (OK)

o   Remarks by Governor Bob McDonnell (VA), accompanied by Bev Gray

o   Remarks by Governor Scott Walker (WI)

·        9:00 p.m. - Remarks by Governor Brian Sandoval (NV)

o   Remarks by Sher Valenzuela (small business owner, candidate for DE Lt. Governor)

o   Remarks by U.S. Senate Republican Candidate Ted Cruz (TX)

o   Remarks by Artur Davis

o   Remarks by Governor Nikki Haley (SC)

·        10:00 p.m. - Remarks by Mrs. Luce’ Vela Fortuño

o   Remarks by Mrs. Ann Romney

o   Remarks by Governor Chris Christie (NJ)

o   Benediction by Sammy Rodriguez

o   Adjournment

 

§   Wednesday, August 29, 2012

DAILY BRIEFING - SUMMARY

  • GULF OF MEXICO - U.S. regulators said Sunday that energy producers have shut nearly a quarter of the U.S. Gulf of Mexico's oil production as Tropical Storm Isaac seemed to shift its trajectory westward, heading towards the heart of the region's offshore oil patch.

 

  • ISAAC - The U.S. National Hurricane Center said Tropical Storm Isaac would mostly bypass the west coast of Florida and the Republican National Convention in Tampa, Florida. By late Monday afternoon or early evening, Isaac's eye is expected to be well west of Tampa.

 

  • THREAT - A Republican National Convention protestor was arrested on Sunday while he allegedly carried a machete strapped to his leg into an event zone. Meanwhile, other large protests were carried out without incident.

 

  • REPUBLICAN NATIONAL CONVENTION - Republican officials on Sunday released a revised convention-week schedule. The full revised schedule is included in this briefing.

 

  • WHITE HOUSE - In his weekly radio and Internet address, President Obama said Saturday the U.S. Medicare program is about keeping promises to millions of seniors who have put in a lifetime of hard work.

 

  • DEBT - The U.S. federal government’s debt could hit an unprecedented $16 trillion this week while the Republican Party is holding its national convention in Tampa, Fla.—in a hall that will prominently feature a running debt clock.

 

  • DISABILITY - The U.S. Social Security Administration released its annual statistical report on federal disability insurance last month, revealing that at the end of 2011 there was a then-record of 8,575,544 workers collecting federal disability benefits and among them were 1,304,851 doing so because they suffered from “mood disorders.”

 

 

 

WHAT WE KNOW

ECONOMIC NEWS

  • GULF OF MEXICO - U.S. regulators said Sunday that energy producers have shut nearly a quarter of the U.S. Gulf of Mexico's oil production as Tropical Storm Isaac seemed to shift its trajectory westward, heading towards the heart of the region's offshore oil patch.

o   About 24.2% of the Gulf's oil production, or 333,815 barrels of oil a day, have been shut in as of Sunday as producers hasten evacuations, the U.S. Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement said. About 8.24%, or 371 million cubic feet, of natural gas production was shut in Sunday.

o   In the recent past, hurricanes that passed through the area and shut down production for prolonged amounts of time caused major spikes in energy price. About 19% of the U.S. refining capacity lies in Louisiana and Mississippi.

 

  • Monday morning futures on the Dow Jones Industrial Average were unchanged at 13,156.
  • Monday morning futures on the S&P 500 Index gained 2.5 points, or 0.2%, to 1,412.30.
  • Monday morning futures on the Nasdaq 100 advanced 12 points, or 0.4%, to 2,787.

 

COMMODITIES

  • The U.S. national average for a gallon of regular gasoline is $3.75.

o   When President Obama was inaugurated, in January 2009, the U.S. national average for a gallon of regular gasoline was $1.85. Average gasoline prices are currently 103 percent higher than they were when Mr. Obama became president.

  • Crude oil for October delivery advanced 1%, or 97 cents, to $97.13 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange during European trading hours.
  • Gold for December delivery added $4.40 cents, or 0.3%, to $1,677.30 an ounce on the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange.

 

NEWS TO WATCH

  • ELECTION - As of today, there are 70 days until the November 2012 presidential election.

 

  • ISAAC - The U.S. National Hurricane Center said Tropical Storm Isaac would mostly bypass the west coast of Florida and the Republican National Convention in Tampa, Florida. By late Monday afternoon or early evening, Isaac's eye is expected to be well west of Tampa.

o   It is expected to make landfall again on Wednesday -- the seventh anniversary of Hurricane Katrina -- somewhere along the Louisiana or Mississippi coast. By then it could be a Category 2 hurricane with winds of at least 96 mph.

o   The agency issued a hurricane warning for the northern Gulf of Mexico coast from Morgan City, Louisiana to Destin, Florida, including the city of New Orleans. Isaac is expected to hit somewhere between southeastern Louisiana and the Florida Panhandle either late Tuesday or early Wednesday.  The governors of Florida, Mississippi, Alabama and Louisiana declared states of emergency over the weekend.

 

  • THREAT - A Republican National Convention protestor was arrested while he allegedly carried a machete strapped to his leg, according to deputies.

o   Local police said Jason T. Wilson, of Tallahassee, was arrested as he walked in the RNC Event Zone carrying a "full size" machete. When deputies attempted to physically stop him, Wilson allegedly began resisting arrest and was physically restrained. Wilson was arrested and taken to the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office on charges of prohibited items in event zone and resisting arrest with violence.

o   Meanwhile, other large protests were carried out without incident. Two hundred protestors arrived at Gaslight Park in Downtown Tampa just after 12 p.m.  After protesting in the park for a short time, police say the group split up, with approximately 100 protestors marching to the Bank of America building.

o   The second group of approximately 100 protestors, marched through city streets toward the Tampa Bay Times Forum, where the convention will take place.

 

  • REPUBLICAN NATIONAL CONVENTION - Republican officials on Sunday released a revised convention-week schedule. Changes in the schedule are the result of the convention’s decision postpone the Monday, August 27 sessions due to weather-related concerns.

o   The revised schedule is as follows:

§  Monday, August 27, 2012

  • 2:00 p.m. - Chairman of the RNC Reince Priebus

o   Call to Order/Start Debt Clocks

  • 2:10 p.m. - Announcement of Recess

§  Tuesday, August 28, 2012

  • 2:00 p.m. - Chairman of the RNC Reince Priebus

o   Color Guard Knights of Columbus

o   Pledge of Allegiance by Former Governor Tim Babcock (MT)/Tom Hogan (FL)

o   National Anthem sung by Philip Alongi

o   Invocation by Rabbi Meir Soloveichik

o   Opening procedural steps, appointment of convention committees

o   Welcoming remarks, and U.S. House and U.S. Senate candidates and RNC auxiliaries

o   RNC Chairman Priebus

o   RNC Co-Chairman Sharon Day

o   Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn

o   Convention Chief Executive Officer William Harris

o   Chairman of Tampa Bay Host Committee Al Austin

o   Republican U.S. Congressional Candidates

o   State Delegate Barbara Comstock (VA)

o   Representative Tim Griffin (AR)

o   Republican U.S. Senate Candidates

o   Republican National Committee auxiliaries

o   Consideration of convention committee reports

o   RNC Chairman Reince Priebus

o   Committee on Credentials Chairman Mike Duncan

o   Committee on Permanent Organization Chairwoman Zoraida Fonalledas

o   Convention Permanent Chairman Speaker John Boehner, Presiding

o   Official Convention Photograph

o   Committee on Rules Chairman John Sununu

o   Committee on Resolutions Chairman Governor Bob McDonnell

o   Committee on Resolutions Co-Chairman U.S. Senator John Hoeven

o   Committee on Resolutions Co-Chairman U.S. Rep. Marsha Blackburn

o   Roll Call for Nomination of President of the United States

o   Roll Call for Nomination of Vice President of the United States

  • 6:40 p.m. – Recess
  • 7:00 p.m. – Reconvene

o   Remarks by U.S. House Speaker John Boehner

o   Remarks by RNC Chairman Reince Priebus

o   Video and remarks by Mayor Mia Love (Saratoga Springs, UT), U.S. congressional candidate

o   Remarks by Janine Turner

o   Remarks by former U.S. Senator Rick Santorum

o   Remarks by Host, U.S. Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers

  • 8:00 p.m. - Remarks by U.S. Senator Kelly Ayotte (NH), accompanied by Jack Gilchrist

o   Remarks by Governor John Kasich (OH)

o   Remarks by Governor Mary Fallin (OK)

o   Remarks by Governor Bob McDonnell (VA), accompanied by Bev Gray

o   Remarks by Governor Scott Walker (WI)

  • 9:00 p.m. - Remarks by Governor Brian Sandoval (NV)

o   Remarks by Sher Valenzuela (small business owner, candidate for DE Lt. Governor)

o   Remarks by U.S. Senate Republican Candidate Ted Cruz (TX)

o   Remarks by Artur Davis

o   Remarks by Governor Nikki Haley (SC)

  • 10:00 p.m. - Remarks by Mrs. Luce’ Vela Fortuño

o   Remarks by Mrs. Ann Romney

o   Remarks by Governor Chris Christie (NJ)

o   Benediction by Sammy Rodriguez

o   Adjournment

 

§   Wednesday, August 29, 2012

  • 7:00 p.m. - Convention convenes

o   Call to order

o   Introduction of Colors by Amputee Veterans of America Support Team (AVAST)

o   Pledge of Allegiance by Brigadier General Patrick E. Rea, U.S. Army (Ret.)

o   National Anthem sung by Ayla Brown

o   Invocation by Ishwar Singh

o   Ron Paul Video

o   Remarks by U.S. Senate Republican Leader and Convention Temporary Chairman Mitch McConnell (KY)

o   Remarks by Senator Rand Paul (KY)

o   Remarks by Christopher Devlin-Young and Jeanine McDonnell

  • 8:00 p.m. - Remarks by Senator John McCain (AZ)

o   Remarks by Attorney General Pam Bondi (FL) and Attorney General Sam Olens (GA)

o   Remarks by Governor Bobby Jindal (LA)

o   Remarks by Senator John Thune (SD)

o   Remarks by Senator Rob Portman (OH)

  • 9:00 p.m. - Remarks by Governor Luis Fortuño (PR)

o   Remarks by Governor Tim Pawlenty (MN)

o   Bush 41, 43 Film

o   Remarks by former Governor Mike Huckabee (AR)

  • 10:00 p.m. - Remarks by Condoleezza Rice

o   Remarks by Governor Susana Martinez (NM)

o   Remarks by vice presidential nominee Rep. Paul Ryan

o   Benediction by Archbishop Demetrios

o   Adjournment

 

§  Thursday, August 30, 2012

  • 7:00 p.m. - Convention convenes

o   Call to order

o   Introduction of Colors U.S. Central Command Joint Forces Color Guard Team

o   Pledge of Allegiance by Dylan Nonaka

o   National Anthem sung by SEVEN

o   Invocation by Ken and Priscilla Hutchins

o   Remarks by U.S. Rep. Connie Mack (FL)

o   Reagan Legacy Video

o   Remarks by Newt and Callista Gingrich

o   Remarks by Craig Romney

  • 8:00 p.m. - Remarks by Governor former Jeb Bush (FL)

o   Remarks by Bob White, chairman of Romney for President campaign

o   Remarks by Grant Bennett

o   Remarks by Tom Stemberg

  • 9:00 p.m. - Remarks by former Massachusetts Lt. Governor Kerry Healey

o   Remarks by Jane Edmonds, former Massachusetts Secretary of Workforce

o   Remarks by Olympians Michael Eruzione, Derek Parra and Kim Rhode

  • 10:00 p.m. - Remarks by U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (FL)

o   Remarks by presidential nominee Mitt Romney

o   Benediction by Archbishop Timothy M. Dolan

o   Speaker Boehner declares convention adjourned

 

  • WHITE HOUSE - In his weekly radio and Internet address, President Obama said Saturday the U.S. Medicare program is about keeping promises to millions of seniors who have put in a lifetime of hard work.

o   The president used his weekly address to discuss the surging campaign issue, saying his goal is to strengthen Medicare and preserve the program for future generations. He made no mention of Republican rival Mitt Romney in the address.

o   The new 30-second television ad says Romney “would break that promise” and replace the current Medicare system with a voucher program that wouldn’t keep up with costs.

 

PRESIDENT’S SCHEDULE

  • President Obama on Monday is scheduled to attend meetings at the White House.

 

 

 

HAPPENING IN THE U.S. CONGRESS

U.S. SENATE

  • The U.S. Senate is not in session today.

 

U.S. HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

  • The U.S. House is not in session today.

 

 

 

TOPICS OF INTEREST

FEDERAL GOVERNMENT

  • DEBT - The U.S. federal government’s debt could hit an unprecedented $16 trillion this week while the Republican Party is holding its national convention in Tampa, Fla.—in a hall that will prominently feature a running debt clock.

o   At the close of business on Thursday, Aug. 23, according to the U.S. Treasury, the federal government’s debt stood at precisely $15,976,519,029,144.14.

o   Since Obama took office on Jan. 20, 2009, the debt has increased $5,349,641,980,231.06. That is as much as the entire debt accumulated by the United States from the founding of the country in 1776 until Feb. 28, 1997, when President Bill Clinton was in his second term. Thus, under Obama, the debt has increased more than under all presidents from George Washington through George H.W. Bush.

 

  • DISABILITY - The U.S. Social Security Administration released its annual statistical report on federal disability insurance last month, revealing that at the end of 2011 there was a then-record of 8,575,544 workers collecting federal disability benefits and among them were 1,304,851 doing so because they suffered from “mood disorders.”

o   The incidence of “mood disorders” among disability beneficiaries was not proportionately distributed among the states and territories, according to the official SSA statistics. Some locations had much higher percentages of disability beneficiaries diagnosed with mood disorders than other locations.

o   In each month since December 2011, SSA has reported, the overall number of Americans collecting disability has continued to rise. In August, according to SSA, a record 8,767,941 American workers collected disability. Also, in addition to the 8,767,941 workers collecting disability payments, there were 1,853,651 eligible children of disabled workers collecting additional benefits and 164,651 eligible spouses of disabled workers collecting benefits—bringing the total number of disability beneficiaries in August to 10,786,510.

 

HEALTH CARE

  • BRITISH SCHEME - High-profile United Kingdom National Health Service hospitals in England are to be encouraged by the government to set up profit-making branches abroad to help fund services in the U.K. Investment would have to be drawn from hospitals' private U.K. work, but with profits ploughed back into the NHS.

o   The U.K. Department of Health (DOH) has said the enterprise scheme would bring in much needed funds for patients and also raise the international profile of the NHS brand. Officials from the DOH and U.K. Trade and Industry will launch the joint scheme this autumn, which aims to build links between hospitals wishing to expand and foreign governments which want access to British health services.

o   The Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) determined that England's NHS will be running annual deficits of £20 billion ($31 billion) by 2020. A total of 21 NHS trusts have admitted they are in financial crisis and have amassed combined debts of nearly £130million.

 

 

 

DOMESTIC ISSUES

STATE ISSUES

  • SOUTH CAROLINA - South Carolina this week will try to convince a United States federal court its new voter identification law doesn't discriminate against black voters, contrary to a finding by the federal government.

o   The trial set to begin on Monday in the District of Columbia marks the Obama administration's latest attempt to block a wave of laws in Republican-controlled states that require voters to show certain forms of photo ID at the polls.

o   As in other states to pass such laws, Republicans in South Carolina's legislature said the measure discourages voter fraud. Republican Governor Nikki Haley signed the requirement into law in May of last year.

 

 

 

FOREIGN POLICY

MIDDLE EAST

  • SYRIA - Hundreds of Syrians were killed during a sweeping offensive by government forces in a suburb of Damascus over the weekend, the bloodiest assault in the vicinity of the Syrian capital since the start of the conflict more than a year and a half ago.

o   The assault on Daraya comes as the government has spent more than a month attempting to roll back rebel gains in many areas. Syrian state television also claimed that government troops had taken control of several rebel-held areas in Aleppo, a city of 2.5 million in the north where fighting has raged for weeks.

o   Meanwhile, the number of Syrian refugees in Turkey has nearly doubled over the past two months to more than 80,000 and cabinet ministers have said the government is struggling to cope. Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu reiterated on Friday that Turkey could run out of space if the number of refugees topped 100,000, and suggested that the United Nations may need to create a "safe zone" inside Syria.

 

  • IRAN - The Obama administration insisted Friday that “there is time and space” for a diplomatic solution to the Iranian nuclear crisis, despite new evidence, to be released next week by international nuclear inspectors, that Iran is bolstering its ability to produce a type of uranium that can be converted relatively quickly to bomb fuel.

o   In a statement that was notable chiefly for the fact that it was issued before the International Atomic Energy Agency’s report is scheduled to be made public, a White House spokesman, Tommy Vietor, said Iran “is continuing to violate its international obligations” despite the imposition of sanctions that severely restrict the country’s oil revenue.

o   The energy agency’s inspectors found that Iran had installed hundreds of new centrifuges in the deep underground site called Fordow in recent months, but Mr. Vietor said that did not change the White House assessment that diplomatic solutions to the Iranian nuclear issue were still viable.

 

ASIA

  • RUSSIA - President Vladimir V. Putin said Friday that Russia would be willing to negotiate new reductions in nuclear arms with the United States but that Washington must first change its plans for a missile defense system in Europe strongly opposed by the Kremlin.

o   Mr. Putin’s comments suggested, in theory, a new openness by Russia to going beyond the New Start treaty, which was signed by his predecessor, Dmitry A. Medvedev, and President Obama in April 2010 and ratified by the United States Senate later that year.

o   While the New Start treaty requires Russia and the United States to reduce their arsenals to 1,550 strategic warheads and 700 launchers within seven years, the countries have discussed a follow-up agreement that would cut tactical warheads and stored strategic weapons that are not covered by the existing treaty.

 

  • CHINA - China is moving ahead with the development of a new and more capable generation of intercontinental ballistic missiles and submarine-launched missiles, increasing its existing ability to deliver nuclear warheads to the United States and to overwhelm missile defense systems, military analysts said this week.

o   Over all, China’s steady strengthening of its military capabilities for conventional and nuclear warfare has long caused concern in Congress and among American allies in East Asia, particularly lately as China has taken a more assertive position regarding territorial claims in the East China and South China Seas.

o   The Global Times, a newspaper directly controlled by the Chinese Communist Party, reported Wednesday that China was developing the capability to put multiple warheads on intercontinental ballistic missiles, or ICBMs. But the newspaper disputed a report in Jane’s Defense Weekly that the latest Chinese ICBM, the Dongfeng-41, had been tested last month.

·        7:00 p.m. - Convention convenes

o   Call to order

o   Introduction of Colors by Amputee Veterans of America Support Team (AVAST)

o   Pledge of Allegiance by Brigadier General Patrick E. Rea, U.S. Army (Ret.)

o   National Anthem sung by Ayla Brown

o   Invocation by Ishwar Singh

o   Ron Paul Video

o   Remarks by U.S. Senate Republican Leader and Convention Temporary Chairman Mitch McConnell (KY)

o   Remarks by Senator Rand Paul (KY)

o   Remarks by Christopher Devlin-Young and Jeanine McDonnell

·        8:00 p.m. - Remarks by Senator John McCain (AZ)

o   Remarks by Attorney General Pam Bondi (FL) and Attorney General Sam Olens (GA)

o   Remarks by Governor Bobby Jindal (LA)

o   Remarks by Senator John Thune (SD)

o   Remarks by Senator Rob Portman (OH)

·        9:00 p.m. - Remarks by Governor Luis Fortuño (PR)

o   Remarks by Governor Tim Pawlenty (MN)

o   Bush 41, 43 Film

o   Remarks by former Governor Mike Huckabee (AR)

·        10:00 p.m. - Remarks by Condoleezza Rice

o   Remarks by Governor Susana Martinez (NM)

o   Remarks by vice presidential nominee Rep. Paul Ryan

o   Benediction by Archbishop Demetrios

o   Adjournment

 

§  Thursday, August 30, 2012

·        7:00 p.m. - Convention convenes

o   Call to order

o   Introduction of Colors U.S. Central Command Joint Forces Color Guard Team

o   Pledge of Allegiance by Dylan Nonaka

o   National Anthem sung by SEVEN

o   Invocation by Ken and Priscilla Hutchins

o   Remarks by U.S. Rep. Connie Mack (FL)

o   Reagan Legacy Video

o   Remarks by Newt and Callista Gingrich

o   Remarks by Craig Romney

·        8:00 p.m. - Remarks by Governor former Jeb Bush (FL)

o   Remarks by Bob White, chairman of Romney for President campaign

o   Remarks by Grant Bennett

o   Remarks by Tom Stemberg

·        9:00 p.m. - Remarks by former Massachusetts Lt. Governor Kerry Healey

o   Remarks by Jane Edmonds, former Massachusetts Secretary of Workforce

o   Remarks by Olympians Michael Eruzione, Derek Parra and Kim Rhode

·        10:00 p.m. - Remarks by U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (FL)

o   Remarks by presidential nominee Mitt Romney

o   Benediction by Archbishop Timothy M. Dolan

o   Speaker Boehner declares convention adjourned

 

·        WHITE HOUSE - In his weekly radio and Internet address, President Obama said Saturday the U.S. Medicare program is about keeping promises to millions of seniors who have put in a lifetime of hard work.

o   The president used his weekly address to discuss the surging campaign issue, saying his goal is to strengthen Medicare and preserve the program for future generations. He made no mention of Republican rival Mitt Romney in the address.

o   The new 30-second television ad says Romney “would break that promise” and replace the current Medicare system with a voucher program that wouldn’t keep up with costs.

 

PRESIDENT’S SCHEDULE

·        President Obama on Monday is scheduled to attend meetings at the White House.

 

 

 

HAPPENING IN THE U.S. CONGRESS

U.S. SENATE

·        The U.S. Senate is not in session today.

 

U.S. HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

·        The U.S. House is not in session today.

 

 

 

TOPICS OF INTEREST

FEDERAL GOVERNMENT

·        DEBT - The U.S. federal government’s debt could hit an unprecedented $16 trillion this week while the Republican Party is holding its national convention in Tampa, Fla.—in a hall that will prominently feature a running debt clock.

o   At the close of business on Thursday, Aug. 23, according to the U.S. Treasury, the federal government’s debt stood at precisely $15,976,519,029,144.14.

o   Since Obama took office on Jan. 20, 2009, the debt has increased $5,349,641,980,231.06. That is as much as the entire debt accumulated by the United States from the founding of the country in 1776 until Feb. 28, 1997, when President Bill Clinton was in his second term. Thus, under Obama, the debt has increased more than under all presidents from George Washington through George H.W. Bush.

 

·        DISABILITY - The U.S. Social Security Administration released its annual statistical report on federal disability insurance last month, revealing that at the end of 2011 there was a then-record of 8,575,544 workers collecting federal disability benefits and among them were 1,304,851 doing so because they suffered from “mood disorders.”

o   The incidence of “mood disorders” among disability beneficiaries was not proportionately distributed among the states and territories, according to the official SSA statistics. Some locations had much higher percentages of disability beneficiaries diagnosed with mood disorders than other locations.

o   In each month since December 2011, SSA has reported, the overall number of Americans collecting disability has continued to rise. In August, according to SSA, a record 8,767,941 American workers collected disability. Also, in addition to the 8,767,941 workers collecting disability payments, there were 1,853,651 eligible children of disabled workers collecting additional benefits and 164,651 eligible spouses of disabled workers collecting benefits—bringing the total number of disability beneficiaries in August to 10,786,510.

 

HEALTH CARE

·        BRITISH SCHEME - High-profile United Kingdom National Health Service hospitals in England are to be encouraged by the government to set up profit-making branches abroad to help fund services in the U.K. Investment would have to be drawn from hospitals' private U.K. work, but with profits ploughed back into the NHS.

o   The U.K. Department of Health (DOH) has said the enterprise scheme would bring in much needed funds for patients and also raise the international profile of the NHS brand. Officials from the DOH and U.K. Trade and Industry will launch the joint scheme this autumn, which aims to build links between hospitals wishing to expand and foreign governments which want access to British health services.

o   The Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) determined that England's NHS will be running annual deficits of £20 billion ($31 billion) by 2020. A total of 21 NHS trusts have admitted they are in financial crisis and have amassed combined debts of nearly £130million.

 

 

 

DOMESTIC ISSUES

STATE ISSUES

·        SOUTH CAROLINA - South Carolina this week will try to convince a United States federal court its new voter identification law doesn't discriminate against black voters, contrary to a finding by the federal government.

o   The trial set to begin on Monday in the District of Columbia marks the Obama administration's latest attempt to block a wave of laws in Republican-controlled states that require voters to show certain forms of photo ID at the polls.

o   As in other states to pass such laws, Republicans in South Carolina's legislature said the measure discourages voter fraud. Republican Governor Nikki Haley signed the requirement into law in May of last year.

 

 

 

FOREIGN POLICY

MIDDLE EAST

·        SYRIA - Hundreds of Syrians were killed during a sweeping offensive by government forces in a suburb of Damascus over the weekend, the bloodiest assault in the vicinity of the Syrian capital since the start of the conflict more than a year and a half ago.

o   The assault on Daraya comes as the government has spent more than a month attempting to roll back rebel gains in many areas. Syrian state television also claimed that government troops had taken control of several rebel-held areas in Aleppo, a city of 2.5 million in the north where fighting has raged for weeks.

o   Meanwhile, the number of Syrian refugees in Turkey has nearly doubled over the past two months to more than 80,000 and cabinet ministers have said the government is struggling to cope. Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu reiterated on Friday that Turkey could run out of space if the number of refugees topped 100,000, and suggested that the United Nations may need to create a "safe zone" inside Syria.

 

·        IRAN - The Obama administration insisted Friday that “there is time and space” for a diplomatic solution to the Iranian nuclear crisis, despite new evidence, to be released next week by international nuclear inspectors, that Iran is bolstering its ability to produce a type of uranium that can be converted relatively quickly to bomb fuel.

o   In a statement that was notable chiefly for the fact that it was issued before the International Atomic Energy Agency’s report is scheduled to be made public, a White House spokesman, Tommy Vietor, said Iran “is continuing to violate its international obligations” despite the imposition of sanctions that severely restrict the country’s oil revenue.

o   The energy agency’s inspectors found that Iran had installed hundreds of new centrifuges in the deep underground site called Fordow in recent months, but Mr. Vietor said that did not change the White House assessment that diplomatic solutions to the Iranian nuclear issue were still viable.

 

ASIA

·        RUSSIA - President Vladimir V. Putin said Friday that Russia would be willing to negotiate new reductions in nuclear arms with the United States but that Washington must first change its plans for a missile defense system in Europe strongly opposed by the Kremlin.

o   Mr. Putin’s comments suggested, in theory, a new openness by Russia to going beyond the New Start treaty, which was signed by his predecessor, Dmitry A. Medvedev, and President Obama in April 2010 and ratified by the United States Senate later that year.

o   While the New Start treaty requires Russia and the United States to reduce their arsenals to 1,550 strategic warheads and 700 launchers within seven years, the countries have discussed a follow-up agreement that would cut tactical warheads and stored strategic weapons that are not covered by the existing treaty.

 

·        CHINA - China is moving ahead with the development of a new and more capable generation of intercontinental ballistic missiles and submarine-launched missiles, increasing its existing ability to deliver nuclear warheads to the United States and to overwhelm missile defense systems, military analysts said this week.

o   Over all, China’s steady strengthening of its military capabilities for conventional and nuclear warfare has long caused concern in Congress and among American allies in East Asia, particularly lately as China has taken a more assertive position regarding territorial claims in the East China and South China Seas.

o   The Global Times, a newspaper directly controlled by the Chinese Communist Party, reported Wednesday that China was developing the capability to put multiple warheads on intercontinental ballistic missiles, or ICBMs. But the newspaper disputed a report in Jane’s Defense Weekly that the latest Chinese ICBM, the Dongfeng-41, had been tested last month.