Europe Observes ‘Moment of Silence’ for Victims of France Terrorist Attacks

first_imgThe continent of Europe is expected today to observe a minute silence at 11:00 a.m. GMT as a mark of solidarity with the government and people of France, following terrorist attacks against innocent civilians on Friday night in Paris, the nation’s capital. The barbaric attacks, which killed at least 129 persons, injured more than 350 others with 99 on critical list, occurred on the night of Friday, November 13, in Paris.According to French security, eight gunmen carried out the attacks in a series of suicide bomb explosions and shootings at six locations around Paris. The Bataclan Theatre, the venue of a concert that evening, had the most casualties – nearly 90 – among the locations attacked. The terrorist group Islamic State (IS) claimed responsibility the following morning for the attacks, as retaliation for air strikes carried in IS strongholds in Syria by French forces. However, French President François Hollande has vowed to “ruthlessly deal with” those responsible. The French Embassy in Liberia is flying its national flag at half mast. In a message to her French counterpart on behalf of Liberia, President Sirleaf extended deepest condolences to Mr. Hollande, and through him, to the government and people of France, particularly the bereaved families, for the irreparable loss sustained as a result of the tragic attacks. “During this difficult period, I wish to, on behalf of the government and people of Liberia and in my own name, convey deepest condolences to you personally, the people of France, particularly, families of the victims,” she said.The President noted that the people of Liberia are very saddened by the outrageously gruesome events leading to the deaths of dozens of peaceful French residents and other nationals.She further assured her French counterpart of her fullest support and solidarity as he and the people of France go through this period of national mourning.President Sirleaf then prayed that the Almighty God will grant President Hollande strength and courage as he leads the French people through this difficult period of national tragedy. Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more

Report warns against delay in Social Security reforms

first_imgWASHINGTON – The Bush administration said in a new report Monday that Social Security is facing a $13.6 trillion shortfall and that delaying needed reforms is not fair to younger workers. A report issued by the Treasury Department said that some combination of benefit cuts and tax increases will need to be considered to permanently fix the funding shortfall. But White House officials stressed that President George W. Bush remains opposed to raising taxes. The Treasury report put the cost of the gap between what Social Security is expected to need to pay out in benefits and what it will raise in payroll taxes in coming years at $13.6 trillion. It said delaying necessary changes reduces the number of people available to share in the burden of those changes and is unfair to younger workers. “Not taking action is thus unfair to future generations. This is a significant cost of delay,” the report said. Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson, Bush’s point person on Social Security reform, said he has had a number of discussions with members of Congress from both parties over the issue of fixing the problems in Social Security with the looming retirement of 78 million baby boomers. “While differences over personal accounts and taxes dominate the public debate over this issue, in my conversations I found that there are many other things on which people agree,” Paulson said in a statement accompanying the issues report. Bush had hoped to make Social Security reform the top domestic priority of his second term.. While Democrats have fought to protect current benefit levels, Republicans have been adamant that taxes should not be raised to cover the Social Security shortfall. 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! In another key finding, the report said: “Social Security can be made permanently solvent only by reducing the present value of scheduled benefits and/or increasing the present value of scheduled tax increases.” The paper went on to say: “Other changes to the program might be desirable, but only these changes can restore solvency permanently.” While the language of the Treasury report seemed to indicate that the administration would consider raising taxes along with reducing benefits as a way to deal with the funding shortfall, the White House was quick to reject that possibility. “The president is not advocating for tax increases or benefit cuts,” said White House spokesman Tony Fratto. “Everyone understands that the choices available in the current structure of Social Security, that absent reform, tax increases and benefit cuts are inevitable,” Fratto said. “That’s why the president believes it makes more sense to reform the program sooner than later.” last_img read more