National Press Club

Nigerian Reform Candidate Seeks Economic Changes

February 17, 2011

With elections set for April in Nigeria, Patrick Utomi, the reform coalition candidate for president, called for sweeping changes in the nation's economy and in its educational and highway systems at a Feb. 16 Newsmaker.

"We have one of the least competitive economies in Africa," he said.

Utomi's self-described passion is tackling the high youth unemployment rate by diversifying Nigeria's oil-dependent economy. His idea, which he calls the "Six Dubai Strategy," envisions agricultural, coal, and other resource production organized around Nigeria's six geo-political zones.

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Black Farmers Pursue Claims Against USDA

February 16, 2011

Whether the nation's black farmers share in the $1.5 billion they were promised in the Claims Resolution Act of 2010 rests partly with federal Judge Paul Friedman of Washinigton, D.C., according to John W. Boyd, founder-president of the National Black Farmers Association.

Boyd told a Feb. 15 Newsmaker that Friedman will have to make key decisions related to claims filed under the law. Many farmers missed the Dec. 31, 1996, filing deadline for federal aid.

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Tunisian, Egyptian Uprisings Reverberate Across Arab, Muslim World

February 14, 2011

Anwar Ibrahim, the former deputy prime minister of Malaysia who is now leader of the opposition in parliament, said the recent popular uprisings that led to the overthrow of dictators in Tunisia and Egypt will have serious repercussions across the Arab and Muslim world.

Ibrahim made the remarks on Feb. 11 at an event organized by the National Press Club International Correspondents Committee. The event packed 76 people into the McClendon Room, which normally accommodates 30.

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Author Foresees More Riots in Tibet

February 9, 2011

Protests against the Chinese government that broke out in Tibet in 2008 are a harbinger of worse rioting in the future, according to Tim Johnson, author of Tragedy in Crimson: How the Dalai Lama Conquered the World but Lost the Battle with China.

Lhasa, the capital of Tibet, now has a "Chinese veneer" that upsets many Tibetans who used to know it as the "Holy City" and now refer to it as the "Devil City," Johnson said.

Johnson, former Beijing bureau chief for Knight Ridder and McClatchy, discussed his book at a Book and Author Committee event on Feb. 7.

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Egyptian-style unrest possible if Ukraine fails to expand freedoms, politicians say

February 4, 2011

Two members of the Ukrainian Parliament warned Thursday that Egyptian-style demonstrations could break out in their country if the government continues to limit the freedom of the people.

"It could happen this spring or next spring or later," MP Volodmyr Ariev said. The "level of life in Ukraine is going down and down," he said at a the National Press Club Newsmaker.

MP Andriy Shevchenko, author of a new Freedom of Information law, said to avoid popular unrest, the government needs to give Ukrainians more freedom.

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Bernanke Defends Fed Independence from Short-term Politics

February 3, 2011

Federal Reserve Board Chairman Ben Bernanke answered congressional calls for audits of the Federal Reserve System with a defense of monetary policy independence from short term political considerations at an NPC Luncheon Feb. 3.

All the Fed's financial transactions are reported and available to congressional agencies, Bernanke told a sold-out luncheon audience. The calls for audits, he said, were calls for political oversight of monetary policy decisions.

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N.Y. Times treated WikiLeaks as a source, Editor Keller tells Kalb audience

February 2, 2011

WikiLeaks is a source of information – not a journalistic organization, New York Times executive editor Bill Keller said on Monday's edition of The Kalb Report in the ballroom of the National Press Club.

WikiLeaks, like every source, comes with an agenda and a bias, Keller told Report host Marvin Kalb. Times' job was to determine if the information WikiLeaks provided was true and valid, he said. The information had to be verified, edited and put in context before the Times would publish it.

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From one Prez to another: Virtual Obama greets President Hamrick at fun-filled inaugural

January 31, 2011

National Press Club President Mark Hamrick wants to bring President Barack Obama to the Club for an event in 2011.

During his inaugural dinner on Jan. 29, Hamrick came close to achieving that goal. Obama greeted the packed ballroom through a video message.

“From one president to another, I want to congratulate Mark Hamrick for being chosen to lead the National Press Club this year,” Obama said.

In his brief remarks, Obama said that journalism “is more important than ever” and called the profession “a pillar of democracy.”

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Music by Candlelight: Hungarian Embassy concert delights with Liszt; buffet

January 31, 2011

There was no electricity, and so the first concert that the National Press Club co-sponsored with the city¹s famed Embassy Series went ahead by candlelight.

The more than 50 guests who attended the first of two nights of concerts arranged through the Club¹s International Correspondents Committee on Jan. 26 made it to the Hungarian Embassy despite the severe snow storm that struck the city in late afternoon, snarling traffic, curtailing services on the Metro and knocking out power in many areas.

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Colombia VP urges U.S to ratify trade agreement

January 27, 2011

The U.S. should ratify a free trade agreement with Colombia that was negotiated in 2007, but still awaits congressional approval, Colombian Vice President Angelino Garzon said Wednesday at a Newsmaker event at the National Press Club.

Garzon's statement came a day after President Barack Obama announced that he intends to continue pursuing pending trade negotiations with Colombia and Panama. Obama mentioned the Colombia free trade agreement in his State of the Union message Tuesday, but did not propose a deadline for congressional ratification.

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