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Obama says without a father, hegrew up faster
By Steve Holland (Front Row Washington)
Submitted at 9/8/2009 1:15:21 PM
President Barack Obama openedup to 9th graders at WakefieldHigh School about what it waslike growing up without a father— it forced him to grow up faster,but made him stronger over time.You’ll recall that his Kenyanfather separated from his motherwhen Obamawas 2 years old and living inHawaii. Obama said in his book,“Dreams for My Father,” he triedto figure out what his father waslike.Obama met with a group of 9thgraders before giving a speech atthe Virginia high school and astudent asked him about how hiseducation might have beendifferent if his father had beenaround.In the president’s words:“He was a very, very smart man,but he was sort of arrogant andkind of overbearing, and he hadhis own problems and his ownissues. So my mother always usedto say that if he had been around,I probably would have beenhaving a lot of arguments withhim all the time.”“I think that I was lucky, though,that my mother always — shenever spoke badly about him,which I think since I was a boy,knowing that even if your dadwasn’t around, that you still werehearing good things about him Ithink probably improved my ownself-confidence.”“When I look back on my life, Ithink that — Michelle’s dad wasaround, and Arne I think knewhim. Just a great guy. Wonderful,wonderful man. And he actuallyhad multiple sclerosis, so he hadto walk with canes, but went toevery basketball game that mybrother-in-law played in, wasthere for every dance recitalMichelle was in, was just a greatfamily man. And when I look ather dad, I say to myself, boy, thatwould be nice to have somebodylike that that you could count onwho was always there for you.”“On the other hand, I think thatnot having a dad in some waysforced me to grow up faster. Itmeant that I made more mistakesbecause I didn’t have somebodyto tell me, here’s how you do thisor here’s how you do that. But onthe other hand, I had to, I think,raise myself a little bit more. I hadto be more supportive of mymother because I knew how hardshe was working. And so, in someways, maybe it made me strongerover time, just like it may bemaking you stronger over time.”Click here for more Reuterspolitical coverage
'Leak' led to Canadian'skidnap
(BBC News | Americas | World Edition)
Submitted at 9/9/2009 3:37:14 AM
A former UN special envoy toNiger who was kidnapped by al-Qaeda and held for four monthshas said he believes a high-levelleak led to his abduction.Robert Fowler, now a retiredCanadian diplomat, told Canada'sCBC he felt someone in the Nigergovernment or even the UN"shopped" him to the militants.He said only the Nigergovernment and the UN knew hisitinerary.Mr Fowler and his aide wereseized last December north-westof the capital, Niamey. They werereleased in April.Niger and the UN have so farmade no public comments on MrFowler's interview.It remains unclear what led thekidnappers from al-Qaeda's NorthAfrican wing to free the UNenvoy and his guide Louis Guay,also a Canadian national.The Canadian government hasdenied paying a ransom.President 'offended'"I know somebody shopped me,"Mr Fowler told CBC."Who could it be? It could be bethe government of Niger. Couldhave been an al-Qaedasympathiser in the UN office inNiger. In the UN office in WestAfrica. In the secretariat buildingin New York."Mr Fowler was appointed to hisUN post in 2008 in an attempt tostart a peace process in theconflict between the Nigergovernment and Tuareg rebels.But he said the government of Niger and in particularly PresidentMamadou Tandja "hated mymission"."It was clear from the first time Imet him in August that he [MrTandja] was offended, annoyedand embarrassed by the fact thatthe secretary general of the UN[Ban Ki-moon] had seen fit toappoint a special envoy for hiscountry."Analysts say Mr Tandja has hada fractious relationship with theUN during his 10 years in power.During a food crisis in 2005when 3.5 million people were lefthungry, he accused UN agenciesof exaggerating the country'sproblems in order to get donorfunds.Mr Fowler also defended hisdecision to travel without securityofficials, saying that the area wasdesignated as safe in a UNsecurity report.He was seized by gunmen onthe N1 Highway near the NigerRiver along the border betweenNiger and Mali.Al-Qaeda's North African wingclaimed responsibility for MrFowler's abduction.However, some reportssuggested he was initiallyabducted by Tuareg rebelsoperating in the area.
Wall Street set for sluggish start
(Financial Times - US homepage)
Wall Street stocks were set for asluggish start on Wednesday ascommodity prices stabilised afterfuelling the previous session’srally.Less than an hour before theopening bell, S&P 500 futureswere up 2.7 points at 1,027.80 andwere trading just above fair value.
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