National Press Club

Nestle executive forecasts growth in bottled water despite environmental concerns

April 4, 2013 | By Marie Wood |

The consumption of bottled water will overtake that of carbonated soft drinks in the next five or six years, according to Kim Jeffery, chairman of Nestle Waters of North America, at a National Press Club Newsmaker April 4.

“The ascendancy of a water-drinking generation is one of the biggest things to happen in this country in the last 50 years, beginning now, ”Jeffery said.

“Over 73 percent of America drinks bottled water.” Jeffery added, “while the percentage of Americans drinking soft drinks continues to decrease."

Read more

Jesuit says new pope shuns pomp, focuses on poverty

April 4, 2013 | By Sean Lyngaas | sean.lyngaas@gmail.com

The election last month of Pope Francis represents a renewed focus from the Vatican on the Gospel’s basic teachings regarding poverty and humility, Father Thomas Reese, a Jesuit priest, said at an April 3 National Press Club Newsmaker.

The spartan life led by Francis as archbishop of Buenos Aires before becoming pope indicates that he will make poverty alleviation a centerpiece of his agenda, Reese said. The then-archbishop, whose birth name is Jorge Mario Bergoglio, reportedly turned down the bishop’s palace for his own apartment and commuted by bus rather than limousine.

Read more

Cummings pushes gun trafficking legislation

April 3, 2013 | By Bob Weiner and Rich Mann | weinerpublic@comcast.net

Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md, the ranking member of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, urged “action” on gun legislation in Congress at an April 2 Newsmaker.

He underlined the current dangers associated with gun trafficking and made the case for tough federal penalties aimed at “straw purchasers.”

Read more

Post editors on Kalb Report: fighting for quality and revenue in the digital age

April 3, 2013 | By Gilbert Klein | gilbert.klein@yahoo.com

Two top Washington Post editors marveled at the new ways that technology allows newspapers to tell stories, but conceded they had little idea of how to deal with the financial pressures that are forcing the paper to make staff reductions.

“We have new, powerful ways of storytelling; we can reach far more people,” Post Executive Editor Marty Baron told host Marvin Kalb on the “The Kalb Report” April 1.

But he said the paper still has not turned the corner toward financial stability that will allow it to begin to rebuild the staff after severe cuts.

Read more

Pakistani calls drone policy 'wrong war with wrong methods against the wrong enemy'

March 29, 2013 | By Audrey E Hoffer | audrey@ahoffer.net

Ambassador Akbar Ahmed, author, professor at American University and former Pakistan High Commissioner to the UK and Ireland said at a March 28 Newsmaker that the US drone program hurts the societies it targets and is the wrong way to fight the war on terror.

Speaking on his book, "The Thistle and the Drone: How American’s War on Terror Became a Global War on Tribal Islam," Ahmed said the US policy of selectively targeting individuals for assassination is not successful and overlooks the fundamental tribal structure of the countries in which the US is fighting.

Read more

African American entrepreneur urges swift action on black unemployment

March 26, 2013 | By Bob Webb | rewebb@aol.com

Billionaire entrepreneur Robert L. Johnson urged the nation to reduce the high unemployment of African Americans at a March 26 National Press Club luncheon.

Citing a Zogby poll on African American attitudes, he said "When polled on why African-Americans believe black unemployment is consistently double that of whites, responses include failure of the education system for minorities, lack of corporate commitment to hiring minorities and a failure of government policies for hiring practices."

"Afrcan-Americans have been the hardest hit" by the nation's economic downturn, he said.

Read more

UN Foundation leader promotes empowering adolescent girls to combat global poverty

March 21, 2013 | By Mary David | marymdavid@gmail.com

Investing in adolescent girls is the key to alleviating global poverty, United Nations Foundation President and chief executive Kathy Calvin told a National Press Club luncheon on March 20.

She said that providing girls with access to education, family planning and technology improves economies as a whole.

"Change always starts with a girl," Calvin said. "We call this the 'girl effect.' It's not rhetoric; it's a fact."

Calvin, who was named one of Newsweek’s 150 Women Who Rocked the World, said “girl power” is among the “most potent weapons” available to raise living standards.

Read more

Syrian opposition leaders outline plans to oust Assad

March 20, 2013 | By Peter Hickman | pjhickman@hotmail.com

Two members of the Syrian opposition to President Bashar al-Assad told a March 19 Newsmaker audience that Assad's enemies should "focus on his power and not his personality" in trying to remove him from office.

Rim Turkmani, an astrophysicist, and physician Haytham Manna said a common goal of Assad's opponents is "to take the power out of his hands and put it in the hands of the collective good."

Read more

GOP chairman cites litany of party's 2012 failures, releases revitalization strategy

March 18, 2013 | By William Miller | williammiller512@aol.com

Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus, in a much-anticipated speech at a National Press Club breakfast March 18, released a searing 98-page report calling for massive changes in party strategy to recover from its 2012 election losses.

Terming the election setback “a wakeup call,” Priebus said the report, is a “frank, thorough and transparent assessment” of the defeat that paves the way for revitalization of the party for the 2014 and 2016 elections.

Read more

NSA whistleblower Thomas Drake criticizes government 'secrecy regime'

March 16, 2013 | By Sean Lyngaas | sean.lyngaas@gmail.com

The government is going to great lengths to shut down leaks, according to Thomas Drake, a former senior executive turned whistleblower at the National Security Agency.

“In our post-9/11 world, the government is increasingly in the ‘First Un-amendment’ business, engaged in a direct assault on free speech and the very foundation of our democracy,” Drake told a National Press Club luncheon audience on March 15.

Read more