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Sunday, June 30, 2013

Daily Political Wire

George Wenschhof

Obama Reflects on South Africa's Past and Mandela's Legacy - On a stage at a university in Soweto, Obama recalled the anti-apartheid student protests in the township three decades earlier, when a black youth was killed by police. Then the president hailed the lessons of Nelson Mandela, the anti-apartheid icon who lay seriously ill in a hospital.

“As you go forward, I want you to think about the man in our prayers today,” Obama said. “Think of the 27 years in prison, the hardship and struggles. . . . In your lives, there are times that will test your faith. Don’t lose those qualities of your youth: your imagination, your optimism, your idealism.”  The Washington Post has more here.


RNC Chairman Says GOP has done a "Lousy" Job at Reaching Out to Latinos -The chairman of the Republican National Committee told a gathering of the nation’s Latino public officials Saturday that the GOP has done a “lousy” job reaching out to their community, but pledged that a new outreach campaign shows “we want to earn your trust, and your vote.”
RNC Chairman Reince Priebus also reiterated his belief in the need for “comprehensive” immigration reform but acknowledged he’s not a policy maker who can shape a plan for Republicans who control the House.

Priebus’ appearance before the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials, holding its 30th annual convention at a downtown Chicago hotel, marked another step in the GOP’s outreach efforts following an intensive study in the aftermath of the 2012 elections.  The Chicago Tribune has more here.


Kerry Continues To Press for Israel-Palestine Talks - Secretary of State John F. Kerry prepared to leave the Middle East on Sunday afternoon without achieving an Israeli-Palestinian agreement to return to the negotiating table.

“We have made real progress, but we have a few things we need to work out,” Kerry said as he left a final round of talks with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, his third in as many days, in Ramallah, the seat of Palestinian government on the West Bank.

His three days of intensive, non-stop meetings with Netanyahu, in Jerusalem, and Abbas, first in Amman, Jordan and Sunday in Ramallah, were clearly the centerpiece of the trip. “We have had very positive discussions, very important discussions, for the last few days,” Kerry said as he stood with Abbas outside the Palestinian leader’s residence. “We both feel good about the direction.”  You can read more here.


NSA Bugged European Union Offices - The U.S. bugged European Union embassies and hacked into internal computer networks, according to a report in a German magazine on Saturday, the latest disclosure from National Security Agency leaker Edward Snowden.

Der Spiegel said it had been shown a September 2010 classified document from Snowden detailing the NSA’s surveillance of EU offices in Washington, D.C. and at the United Nations.

The document referred to the EU as a “target” and the report suggests that the surveillance included documents and emails. The report also claims NSA surveillance extended to Justus Lipsius building in Brussels, the office for the European Council. has more here.


Protests Continue in Egypt - Egyptians and their security forces prepared for demonstrations on Sunday that may determine their future, two years after people power toppled a dictator and ushered in a democracy crippled by bitter divisions.

"The longest day," headlined government newspaper Al-Gomhuriya above pictures of two rival camps in Cairo. One was of Islamist supporters of President Mohamed Mursi, the other of protesters in Tahrir Square who said they wanted him out by day's end or they would sit there until he goes, like Hosni Mubarak in 2011. has more here.


Biden Calls Ecaudor About Snowden Asylum Request - President Rafael Correa of Ecuador said Saturday that Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. had asked him in a telephone call not to grant asylum to Edward J. Snowden, the fugitive former security contractor wanted in the United States.

Mr. Correa, speaking on his weekly television broadcast, said that the two had a “cordial” conversation on Friday initiated by Mr. Biden, but said he could not decide on Mr. Snowden’s request until he entered Ecuador. 

The fallout from Mr. Snowden’s disclosures widened Saturday, as the German magazine Der Spiegel reported that the United States had eavesdropped on European Union offices in Washington, Brussels and at the United Nations in New York. The NY Times has more here.


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