- - Sunday, April 24, 2011

WHITE HOUSE

Obama pumps renewable energy

President Obama says one answer to high gasoline prices is to spend money developing renewable energy sources.

“That’s the key to helping families at the pump and reducing our dependence on foreign oil” in the long term, he said Saturday in his weekly radio and Internet address.

Mr. Obama raises the issue of rising fuel prices during almost every public appearance and says that he understands the strain the higher costs are putting on some family budgets.

He announced last week during an event in Reno, Nev., that the Justice Department will begin looking for cases of fraud or manipulation in the oil markets, even though Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. suggested a variety of legal reasons may be behind the surging gas prices.

As he has before, Mr. Obama said Saturday there is no “silver bullet” that will slash prices immediately. But he said there are things government can do to help make a difference in the long term. They also include boosting U.S. oil production, rooting out any illegal activity by traders and speculators and ending $4 billion in annual taxpayer subsidies to oil and gas companies.

HOUSE

Giffords standing, focusing on gait

PHOENIX | Doctors say Rep. Gabrielle Giffords can walk a little and is even trying to improve her gait. But the report Sunday in the Arizona Republic adds that the congresswoman herself is planning to “walk a mountain.”

Mrs. Giffords uses her left side and has begun making limited use of her right arm and leg, a common effect of a bullet wound on the left side of the brain, said Dr. Gerard Francisco, chief medical officer at Houston’s TIRR Memorial Hermann who works with Mrs. Giffords daily.

“Her left side is perfect,” said Pia Carusone, her legislative chief of staff. “She can do whatever you can do.”

She said that even in her wheelchair Mrs. Giffords has stringent posture: tall, tight, strong - like always.

Nurse Kristy Poteet said Mrs. Giffords pushes a cart up and down the hospital halls as therapy, focusing on using the correct muscles. More therapy comes from bowling and indoor golf.

The Republic report - containing interviews over the past few days with her husband, doctors and others close to her - gives the latest picture of her recovery 15 weeks after a gunman opened fire in a Tucson parking lot, killing six people and wounding 13 others, including Mrs. Giffords.

NEW YORK

Lawmaker treated for colon cancer

KINGSTON | U.S. Rep. Maurice Hinchey says he is being treated for curable colon cancer.

The Democrat from New York’s Hudson Valley says doctors expect a full recovery. He will continue to work while he undergoes treatment.

Mr. Hinchey’s office said Friday that he is receiving radiation treatment in Kingston. He will have surgery in Albany during the congressional recess in June, followed by a brief course of chemotherapy.

Mr. Hinchey, 72, will work and travel to Washington for votes during his treatment.

His doctor said that the cancer was diagnosed early, and that it isn’t expected to spread beyond the colon.

WHITE HOUSE

Obama avoids word ‘genocide’

President Obama on Saturday marked the anniversary of the massacre of Armenians in Turkey nearly a century ago by calling it a “horrific” slaughter, but for the third straight year stopped short of branding it genocide.

In a written statement, Mr. Obama said the 1915 killings of some 1.5 million Armenians represent “one of the worst atrocities of the 20th century.”

As a candidate for president, Mr. Obama repeatedly vowed to recognize the genocide once in office, vowing “a principled commitment to commemorating and ending genocide.”

But since 2009, Obama has declined to use the word in the face of furious resistance from Turkey, a key NATO ally.

Most historians see the killings as the first genocide of the 20th century, and accept the figure of 1.5 million Armenian deaths. However, Turkish leaders have long rejected the term, contending the figures are inflated and saying there were many deaths on both sides as the Ottoman Empire collapsed during World War I.

In his statement, Mr. Obama said “contested history destabilizes the present and stains the memory of those whose lives were taken.” He said America knows this from the dark chapters in its own history.

He praised efforts in Armenia and Turkey “to foster a dialogue that acknowledges their common history. “

MINNESOTA

GOP’s Pawlenty wants ambassador out

ST. PAUL | Potential GOP presidential contender Tim Pawlenty wants the U.S. to recall its ambassador to Syria and seek economic sanctions to send “a clear and strong signal” opposing the nation’s violent crackdown on demonstrators.

In a written statement Friday, the former Minnesota governor also pressed President Obama to seek a formal condemnation from the United Nations Security Council.

At least 75 people were killed Friday when Syrian security forces fired bullets and tear gas at protesters. It was the bloodiest day of a month-long uprising against Syrian President Bashar Assad.

Mr. Obama is condemning the latest use of force against anti-government demonstrators and says the regime’s “outrageous” use of violence against the protesters must “end now.”

Mr. Pawlenty is among several Republicans considering a bid to challenge Mr. Obama’s re-election next year.

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