A confrontation over budget led to a partial shutdown of the U.S. government from Oct.

1 to
16, exposing significant political divisions. Ten days after the Congress decided to end the
shutdown, public opinion polls reveal plunging public trust in government.
Here is a Q&A to help you understand what happened and what the current situation is.
Why did they U.S. government shut down?
According the Congressional Budget Office, Washington overspent their projected budget by
$1.1 trillion last fiscal year while the U.S. national debt approached $17 trillion. In response,
the Congress enacted a series of spending cuts known as sequestration. But with the start of
the new fiscal year and the implementation of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) fast
approaching, the Congress needed to either agree to extend their current budget with
allotments for the new healthcare legislation or draft and pass a new one before it expired at
the end of September.
The Democrat-led Senate passed a resolution to the Republican-led House of
Representatives to extend the current U.S. budget, with sequester-level budget cuts and no
other amendments.
The House of Representatives sent the continuing resolution back to the Senate but added
amendments delaying the implementation of the ACA — President Barack Obama’s health
reform overhaul and centerpiece legislation. That version of the budget also appealed taxes
on medical devices and cancelled insurance subsidies Congress members would receive.
The Senate removed the amendments and sent the bill back to the House of
Representatives. The House then again added a delay to the ACA mandate, proposed to
cancel insurance subsidies for members of Congress and added a request to negotiate with
the Senate on the budget. The Senate refused to negotiate, again stripped the amendments
and sent the bill back to be approved.
The back-and forth continued, with the House adding amendments and the Senate refusing
to negotiate. Republican Senator Ted Cruz filibustered for more than 21 hours to rally votes
against proceeding with the proposed budget without a negotiation. The Senate proceeded
to vote, and the same back and forth between the two legislative bodies continued until
October 1st, when without any budget for the new year, the government officially shut down.
What were the consequences of the shutdown?
More than 80,000 federal employees were furloughed, and those workers deemed
“essential” were forced to work without pay. National memorials and parks were shut
down in Washington D.C., including the war memorials on the national mall, the Smithsonian
museums and the national zoo.
Despite the massive shutdown, Obama Care’s $515 million marketplace website,
healthcare.gov, went live as planned but experience technical glitches due to an influx of
traffic.
What was the outcome of the shutdown?
Congress voted to end the U.S. government shutdown by extending the debt ceiling for the
thirteenth time.
What is the debt ceiling?
The debt ceiling is a cap placed on the amount of money that the U.S. federal government
can spend even though it doesn’t actually have that money.
Think of it like a person’s caloric intake. A person can pretend they can eat as much as they
want, but the more someone exceeds their daily intake, the more health problems they will
have, including weight gain, high blood pressure, diabetes and even heart failures. People
limit how much they consume to maintain a healthy body.
Similarly, the government tries to establish limits on the amount of debt the country accrues
to maintain a healthy economy. By raising the debt ceiling, the government can allow itself to
spend more until the ceiling is surpassed again. It must then decide whether to cut their
spending or extend their limit.
What can the U.S. expect if spending exceed the new limit?
When the U.S. exceeds the new debt ceiling, Congress will again be forced to agree on a
new budget or extend the current one, by raising the debt ceiling. If congressional leaders
cannot come to an agreement on the budget by Jan. 15, the government could potentially
shutdown again.

World Bank Pledges $3Bln Loan To Ukraine For Reforms
The World Bank announced on 11 March that it will provide up to $3 billion to support reforms in Ukraine,
which is struggling to put its economy back on track amid political turbulence.The lender explained that
restoring economic stability, strengthening the banking sector, reforming the energy sector, tackling
corruption, enhancing investment and improving social assistance were key priorities for Ukraine.The
pledged assistance comes on top of existing cooperation between Ukraine and the bank.
Sanchez Ceren Elected As El Salvador’s President
Former leftist rebel commander Salvador Sanchez Ceren has won El Salvador’s presidential election by a
razor-thin margin. His conservative opponent, Norman Quijano, has vowed to challenge the official
results.The El Salvador’s Supreme Electoral Tribunal (TSE) on 17 March 2014 officially declared Sanchez
Ceren the winner of the Central American nation’s presidential election by a margin of just 7,000 votes. He
secured 50.1 percent of the ballot compared to 49.9 percent for Quijano.
Russia Recognizes Crimea As A Sovereign State
President Vladimir Putin signed a decree on 17 March recognizing Crimea as a sovereign state after the
Ukrainian region declared itself independent and applied to join Russia following a weekend referendum
.The decree posted on the Kremlin’s website appeared to be a first step toward integrating Crimea as a
part of the Russian Federation.G-8 nations (Group of the eight Countries) on 18 March 2014 suspended
Russia from elite club of world powers. It has been suspended amid heightened tensions over its incursion
in Crimea of Ukraine.
EU signed Landmark Political Deal with Ukraine
The European Union and Ukraine signed the core elements of a political association agreement on 21
March 2014.Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseny Yatseniuk, EU leaders Herman Van Rompuy and Jose
Manuel Barroso, and the leaders of the bloc’s 28 nations signed the core chapters of the Association
Agreement on the sidelines of an EU summit in Brussels.
Libya Destroyed All Chemical Weapons
Libya has completely destroyed the chemical arsenal it inherited from Moamer Kadhafi, 10 years after the
now slain dictator signed the Chemical Weapons Convention, Foreign Minister Mohamed Abdelaziz
announced on 5 February.Now the Libya has become totally free of usable chemical weapons that might
present a potential threat to the security of local communities, the environment and neighbouring areas.
Matteo Renzi Named new Italian Prime Minister
The leader of Italy’s centre-left Democratic Party (PD), Matteo Renzi, was appointed as the country’s new
prime minister on 17 February. Renzi, who at 39 would be the country’s youngest-ever prime minister, was
summoned by Italian President Giorgio Napolitano at Quirinale presidential palace and given a mandate to
try to form a new cabinet after the resignation of Enrico Letta as prime minister on 14 February.
Ugandan President Signed Anti Gay Law
Uganda’s President Yoweri-Museveni has signed a controversial anti-gay bill on 24 February that allows
harsh penalties for homosexual offences, calling them mercenaries and prostitutes.Yoweri Museveni
signed the bill, which holds that homosexuals be jailed for long terms, outlaws the promotion of
homosexuality and requires people to denounce gays.
Arseniy Yatsenyuk Elected As Ukrain Interim PM
The Ukrainian parliament has on 27 February elected former opposition leader Arseniy Yatsenyuk as the
country’s Interim Prime Minister.He was backed by 371 of 417 participating deputies in the Parliament.
Colorado Becomes First US state To Allow Marijuana Sale
Colorado has on 1 January become the first U.S. state to license the sale of the drug for recreational use.
In November 2012, Colorado voters approved the sale of recreational marijuana, as did voters in
Washington state. Under the new state law, residents are now able to buy marijuana like alcohol.
US Senate Passed USD 1.1 Trillion Spending Bill
The US Senate has passed the USD 1.1 trillion omnibus spending bill that eliminates the threat of another
government shutdown at least until October 2014 and puts conditions on Pakistan for continuation of aid.
Passed by the House of Representatives on 16 January, the bill now goes to the White House for President
Barack Obama to sign it into law, thus preventing another shutdown.
Bolivian President Evo Morales Assumes G77 Chairmanship
Bolivian president Evo Morales has assumed the Chairmanship of the Group of 77 nations.Bolivia was
chosen head of the G-77, which actually groups 133 developing nations, by consensus, and Morales was
at the United nations on 8 January to take over the chairmanship from outgoing Fiji. The organization was
created in June 1964 with the purpose of formulating and promoting the new economic interests of
southern countries within the United Nations system.
South Sudan Government and Rebels Signed Ceasefire Agreement
South Sudan’s Government and Rebels have signed a ceasefire agreement .The agreement was signed in
the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa by representatives of South Sudan’s President Salva Kiir and rebel
delegates loyal to ousted vice president Riek Machar on 23 January . As per the deal, the government has
agreed to release 11 officials close to Machar, who were detained after the fighting broke in the country.


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