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Posts Tagged ‘endorses’

Obama endorses mosque plan near Ground Zero

In Uncategorized on August 14, 2010 at 11:21 am

WASHINGTON (AFP) – US President Barack Obama has waded into a bitter controversy over a plan by Muslims to build a mosque just blocks from Ground Zero, endorsing the project on religious freedom grounds.


“As a citizen, and as president, I believe that Muslims have the same right to practice their religion as anyone else in this country,” Obama said late Friday.


“That includes the right to build a place of worship and a community center on private property in lower Manhattan, in accordance with local laws and ordinances.”


Obama’s remarks, delivered at a White House Iftar meal for Muslims breaking their Ramadan fast, were the president’s first on the controversial project, which has become a test of tolerance for Islam in post-9/11 America and sparked a national debate on freedom of religion.

The proposed site of the Islamic community center is seen after The Landmarks Preservation Commission ruled on August 3 that a 152-year-old building is not a historical site, and can be demolished making way for the construction of the mosque. AFP file

Intended to include a mosque, sports facilities, theater, restaurant and possibly a day care, the multi-story Islamic center would be open to all visitors to demonstrate that Muslims are part of their community, planners say.


But the proposed location, two blocks from the gaping Ground Zero hole, where the Twin Towers were destroyed on September 11, has touched raw nerves.


Obama acknowledged that the site where the World Trade Center towers once stood remains “hallowed ground,” and that 9/11 attacks “were a deeply traumatic event for our country.”


But he said American values required that all religious groups be treated equally and fairly.


“This is America, and our commitment to religious freedom must be unshakeable. The principle that people of all faiths are welcome in this country, and will not be treated differently by their government, is essential to who we are.”


New York City has approved plans for the lower Manhattan building to be turned into a mosque and an interfaith venue called “Cordoba House.”


But hearings on whether the construction should be allowed prompted furious exchanges, with supporters accusing critics of racism and Islamophobia, and opponents warning the plan insulted the memory of the 3,000 victims of the 9/11 attacks.


Applause erupted when a New York city commission unanimously approved the project August 3, but others shouted “shame,” and waved signs reading “Islam builds mosques at the sites of their conquests.”


Obama acknowledged the “pain and suffering experienced by those who lost loved ones is unimaginable,” but he called on Americans to “always remember who we are fighting against, and what we are fighting for.”


“Al-Qaeda’s cause is not Islam — it is a gross distortion of Islam,” the president said. “In fact, Al-Qaeda has killed more Muslims than people of any other religion — and that list of victims includes innocent Muslims who were killed on 9/11.”


Before an audience of prominent Muslim Americans, including administration officials, and Muslim members of Washington’s diplomatic corps, Obama paid tribute to US history of accepting and engaging Muslims.


He cited the example of president Thomas Jefferson, who he said hosted the first White House Iftar, more than 200 years ago.


But the appeal to US history is unlikely to convince those most opposed to the mosque, which has attracted increasingly strident criticism, raising fears among US Muslims of an Islamophobic backlash.


A Florida church has already said it will hold a “Koran-burning” on September 11 this year, and Muslim advocacy groups say they have reached out to law enforcement officials seeking extra vigilance.


But Obama said while America’s diversity contained the seeds of conflict, US values were stronger and would always overcome difference.


“Time and again, the American people have demonstrated that we can work through these issues, stay true to our core values, and emerge stronger for it. So it must be — and will be — today,” he said.

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Source: SGGP

Prime Minister endorses nuanced monetary policy

In Uncategorized on April 21, 2010 at 10:41 am

The State Bank of Vietnam (SBV) should continue its flexible monetary policy to help cut the trade deficit and restrain inflation, Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung has said.


The Prime Minister’s main concern was ensuring that the country reaches its 6.5 percent GDP growth target for the year.

PM Nguyen Tan Dung speaks at a meeting with state bank leaders on April 20, encouraging the bank to maintain its flexible monetary policy (Photo: VNA) 

Working with the SBV leaders in Hanoi on April 20, Mr. Dung said he appreciated the central bank’s contributions to achieving a GDP growth of 5.83 percent in the first quarter.


The central bank’s efforts have helped reduce lending rates, stabilize exchange rates and boost capital mobilization at commercial banks, he said


However, the bank should try to lower the deposit interest rate to about 10 percent and the lending interest rate to 12-13 percent per year in order to boost exports and reduce the trade deficit, he said.


He also asked the bank to ensure credit growth at 25 percent and total means of payment growth at 20 percent while strengthening control over the foreign exchange market and the trade balance.


Cutting the trade deficit would also require banks to coordinate with the finance, and industry and trade ministries to control market prices and restrict the import of non-essential goods like cars, mobile phones and liquor, Mr. Dung said.


The Prime Minister added that the central bank should continue ensuring that credit organizations provide loans at negotiable interest rates. He also asked SBV to keep a close watch on foreign currency loans used for imports.


He instructed small commercial banks to increase their capital to at least VND3 trillion each or be merged.


Mr. Dung also said the bank needs to work harder to provide the public with prompt and official information, especially about financial and monetary policies, and prices.

Source: SGGP

Thailand’s King endorses Somchai’s premiership

In Uncategorized on September 21, 2008 at 4:30 pm

– Thailand’s King on September 18 endorsed the election of Somchai Wongsawat, brother-in-law of ousted PM Thaksin Shinawatra, as the nation’s the new prime minister.

Newly-elected PM Somchai received King Bhumibol Adulyadej’s order in a brief ceremony at his home which was broadcast live on television.

He prostrated himself in front of a portrait of the King and gave a five-minute speech expressing his loyalty to the monarch and calling for national unity amid global financial woes and anti-government street protests.

Somchai, deputy leader of the ruling People Power Party (PPP), was elected in a parliamentary vote on September 17 to replace Samak Sundaravej, who was removed from the post last week when the Constitutional Court found he was illegally paid for hosting TV cooking shows.

His appointment as the Kingdom’s top minister takes place amid warnings by anti-government People’s Alliance for Democracy (PAD) protesters that they would not accept any member of the PPP as Thailand’s premier.

The PAD has accused the PPP-led government of being a proxy for former PM Thaksin, who is now living in Britain. It quickly vowed to press ahead with their campaign to force PM Somchai and his entire People Power Party out of government.

PAD demonstrators have occupied Government House, the Thai prime minister’s offices, since August 26.-