Thursday, July 2, 2015

Presidential Delegation to Canada to Attend the Final Match of the FIFA Women’s World Cup 2015

President Barack Obama today announced the designation of a Presidential Delegation to Canada to attend the Final Match of the FIFA Women’s World Cup 2015 in Vancouver on July 5, 2015. 

Vice President Joe Biden will join the delegation, led by Dr. Jill Biden, to Vancouver.

Members of the Presidential Delegation:

The Honorable Bruce Heyman, United States Ambassador to Canada, Department of State

The Honorable Evan Ryan, Assistant Secretary of State for Educational and Cultural Affairs, Department of State

Mr. Cobi Jones, Three-Time U.S. Men’s World Cup Player

Ms. Mia Hamm, Former U.S. Women’s National Team Player
Source: The White House Press Office

'Veep Talk': Vice President Biden Speaks with Prime Ministers Al-Abadi and Yatsenyuk


Vice President Biden spoke with Prime Minister Haider Al-Abadi today to discuss ongoing efforts to defeat ISIL in Iraq. The Vice President reaffirmed full U.S. support for the Iraqi Government’s ongoing efforts to counter ISIL, including the mobilization of local tribal fighters. The Vice President applauded recent battlefield successes by those fighters and the contributions of U.S. military advisors in that effort. The Vice President and Prime Minister discussed the importance of having all Iraqi communities continuing to work together to fight ISIL.

NOTE: The following was added on Jul 2 at 6:20 p.m.

The Vice President also spoke with Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk. The two leaders discussed Ukraine’s reform agenda and the U.S.-Ukraine Business Forum on July 13th in Washington, DC. The Vice President welcomed the advancement of the constitutional reform process in Ukraine as a means to bring about meaningful decentralization of power in keeping with the Minsk agreements. The Vice President and Prime Minister also discussed the situation in the east and deeply regretted the numerous civilian casualties that have resulted from the continued shelling of the coastal city of Shyrokine by combined Russian-separatist forces. In that regard, the two leaders welcomed the renewal of European Union sanctions on Russia until January 31, 2016 to impose costs for Russia’s aggression toward Ukraine and ensure its full compliance with the terms of the Minsk agreements. The Vice President also strongly condemned the announcement by separatist leaders of plans to hold elections on October 18th in direct contravention of the Minsk agreements and Ukrainian law.

Source: The White House Press Office

Gil Noble on Malcolm X

Thank you for your incredible legacy, Mr. Noble. May you forever rest in peace. 

Washington Journal: Larry Pratt on Gun Control in the U.S.

Gun Owners of America Executive Director Larry Pratt discusses calls for stronger gun regulations following the mass shooting at a historically black church in Charleston, South Carolina, in which nine people died.

Alexei Venediktov on Vladimir Putin's Russia

Echo of Moscow Editor-in-Chief Alexei Venediktov discusses changes in the Russian political system and the state of media under President Vladimir Putin’s leadership against the backdrop of the ongoing tensions between Russia and Ukraine.

Source: C-Span

CEA: '5.6 Million Jobs Added Over the Past Two Years'

Statement on the Employment Situation in June

WASHINGTON, DC – Betsey Stevenson, a member of the Council of Economic Advisers, issued the following statement today on the employment situation in June.

The economy added 223,000 jobs in June as the unemployment rate fell to 5.3 percent. Our economy has now added 5.6 million jobs over the past two years, the strongest two-year job growth since 2000. But despite this progress, there is more work to do. We must continue to build on the positive trends underlying our economy by ensuring that Americans working overtime receive a fair day’s pay, opening new markets for U.S. goods and services through expanded trade, increasing investments in infrastructure, providing relief from the sequester, and raising the minimum wage.


Point 1: The private sector has added 12.8 million jobs over 64 straight months of job growth, extending the longest streak on record. Today we learned that total nonfarm employment rose by 223,000 in June—and all those jobs came from the private sector. Although total job growth was revised down somewhat in April and May, much of the revision is attributable to lower government employment than previously estimated. On the whole, our economy has added 2.9 million new jobs over the past twelve months, near the fifteen-year high achieved in February.

Click on all graphs to enlarge them. 
Point 2: The labor force grew more slowly in June than it normally does at this time of year, reducing the seasonally adjusted labor force participation rate. June is normally a seasonally strong monthfor labor force growth, as many new graduates and summer workers enter the labor force. Over the past sixty years, the labor force has grown by 1.8 percent in June on average before seasonal adjustment—more than three times faster than May, the next fastest month. But this June, the labor force only rose 0.4 percent. Accordingly, the labor force contracted on a seasonally adjusted basis, reducing the labor force participation rate.

One contributing factor was the timing of the “reference week”—the week for which households report their labor force status in the Current Population Survey. Each month, the reference week is the Sunday-to-Saturday period that includes the 12th day of the month. Last month, the 12th was a Friday, pushing the reference week earlier in the month than normal. Accordingly, a smaller fraction of June’s labor force gains were likely captured in this year’s survey than in prior Junes. In fact, since 1955, June labor force growth has averaged 2.0 percent when the 12th has been a Sunday, Monday, or Tuesday, but only 1.7 percent when the 12th has been a Thursday, Friday, or Saturday. That 0.3 percentage-point gap alone represents nearly 500,000 members of the labor force.

Point 3: Since the recession, both the number of workers who work overtime and the number of average overtime hours they work have increased. Both the number of people working more than 40 hours a week and the number of average hours worked over 40 reached their low in early 2010, but have since rebounded by 18 and 10 percent respectively, although neither has returned to its pre-recession average. Growth in both measures was faster from May 2014 to May 2015 than the annualized average rate over the previous four years. Both of these factors boost aggregate overtime worker-hours. This increase in both the number of employees who work overtime and the number of average overtime hours worked emphasizes the need to ensure that workers are fairly compensated for the rising importance of overtime in our economy.

Point 4: The share of workers who are unemployed due to job loss, as opposed to new entrants searching for a job, has returned to its pre-crisis level. The distribution of reasons for unemployment shifts with the business cycle. When overall unemployment is higher, more of the unemployed tend to have lost their previous jobs. When overall unemployment is lower, more of the unemployed are labor force entrants, either new or returning, who have begun job searches. (A third category, the fraction of unemployed who voluntarily left their jobs, is also cyclical but accounts for less of the variation.) Over the past year, the fraction of unemployed persons who lost their jobs returned to its average level from 2005 and 2006. Notably, the distribution has stabilized over the past eight months, with the breakdown of unemployed looking much like it did before the crisis struck. However, the fraction accounted for by job losses is still above its level from the height of the late 1990s expansion.   

Point 5: The distribution of job growth across industries generally followed recent trends in June, but some industries saw especially weak or strong months. June was an especially strong month for financial activities (+20,000), retail trade (+33,000), temporary help (+20,000), information (+7,000), and other services (+10,000). June was a weaker than usual month in construction (unchanged), wholesale trade (unchanged), utilities (unchanged), manufacturing (+4,000), and leisure and hospitality (+22,000). Across the 17 industries shown below, the correlation between the most recent one-month percent change and the average percent change over the last twelve months fell to 0.80 from 0.90 last month, remaining well above the average correlation in previous months.

As the Administration stresses every month, the monthly employment and unemployment figures can be volatile, and payroll employment estimates can be subject to substantial revision. Therefore, it is important not to read too much into any one monthly report and it is informative to consider each report in the context of other data as they become available.

Source: The White House Press Office

Today in History: July 2

Martin Dempsey Releases 2015 National Military Strategy for the US

During a briefing at the Pentagon, Defense secretary Ashton Carter joins the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff in answering questions about the nation's current strategic policies and security interests.

Next Batch of Hillary Clinton Emails Already Being Prepared By State Dept.

During a State Department briefing, spokesman John Kirby answers questions related to the phased release of the former secretary of state's emails.

Officials Want Facebook to Alert Them to Suspected Terror Messages

Civil liberties group says new bill would turn social network services into "secret police."

'Britain's Schindler,' Who Saved Over 650 Jewish Children During Holocaust, Dies

Alzheimer's Study Finds Caregiver Link

Research shows caregivers of someone with dementia are at a sixfold higher risk of the same fate. KPLC's Britney Glaser reports.

9/11 First Responder Hits $5 Million Lottery Jackpot

Mercado is pictured with New York Lottery's Yolanda Vega.

An FDNY firefighter who responded to the World Trade Center after the Sept. 11 terror attacks -- then had to retire three years later because of the toll it took on his body -- just hit the lottery.

Carmelo Mercado, a firefighter from Queens who rushed to Ground Zero moments after the second twin tower collapsed and spent two days aiding in search efforts, was presented with a $5 million check Thursday at the New York Lottery's offices in lower Manhattan.

Mercado said that he hit the lottery after buying two tickets earlier this year. He said the first one didn't net him a prize. He said when he saw the first digit of the winning scratcher, he had to do a double-take.

"I said, 'Holy mackerel, that looks like $5 million'," he said. "My mind went blank. I was in shock."

Full article available here: Carmelo Mercado

Source: NBC News

Cuomo Responds to de Blasio Swipes: "I Choose to Seek Compromise"

Governor Andrew Cuomo is responding to Mayor Bill de Blasio's unusually sharp and critical remarks Tuesday that he's been "disappointed" with the governor after pledging in his inaugural address 18 months ago to stand "shoulder to shoulder" with his one-time boss. Brynn Gingras reports. 

Published Wednesday, Jul 1, 2015

Source: NBC News

A Flurry of Diplomatic Activity in Iran Nuclear Talks

Source: Euronews

New Ebola Cases in Liberia Raise Fears of Fresh Outbreak

By Alasdair Sandford | With AFP, AP, REUTERS

Source: Euronews