National Press Club

UN official urges support for refugee host countries

May 4, 2011 | By Keith M. Hill | khill@bna.com

The contributions of Tunisia, Egypt, and Liberia to refugees fleeing the fighting in Libya and Ivory Coast should not be overlooked and must be supported, Antonio Guterres, the United Nations's high commissioner for refugees, said at a May 3 Newsmaker.

Guterres, a former Portuguese prime minister, has been the top UN official for refugees since 2005. Last year, he was reelected by the General Assembly to a second five-year term.

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Jailed Iranian journalist receives UNESCO Freedom of the Press Award

May 4, 2011 | By Robert Webb | rewebb@aol.com

Iranian journalist Ahmad Zeidabadi became the 2011 UNESCO/Guillermo Cano World Press Freedom Laureate at a ceremony May 3 in the packed National Press Club ballroom in the first such award of the prize in the United States.

NPC President Mark Hamrick called it a high honor and historic day for the Club. The award drew a salute via video from Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. Delegates also adopted "The Washington Declaration," a four-page document aimed at stronger protections globally for freedom of the press. It will go to UNESCO for final approval.

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Atlanta mayor advocates road maintenance, public transportation projects over new highways

May 3, 2011 | By Lorna Aldrich | Lorna2@verizon.net

Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed called for more federal transportation assistance to be delivered directly to cities rather than channeled through state governments at a National Press Club Newsmaker on May 3.

Federal help should target maintenance of existing roadways and public transportation instead of outdated highway projects, he said. He advocates adding lanes or creating hot lanes rather than building more roads in urban areas.

More highways are a low priority for mayors, he added, quoting results from a survey of 176 cities sponsored by the United States Conference of Mayors.

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Author: Muslim Brotherhood takes pragmatic, flexible approach to West

May 2, 2011 | By Keith Hill | khill@bna.com

Even though Muslim Brotherhood organizations around the world are comprised of like-minded individuals acting through informal networks, the Muslim Brotherhood is not monolithic, Lorenzo Vidino said at an April 27 Newsmaker.

Vidino, author of "The New Muslim Brotherhood in the West," spoke about the Muslim Brotherhood globally, focusing mostly on Europe and North America.

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Public media executive urges tripling of federal funds for non-profit broadcasting

April 27, 2011 | By Robert Webb | rewebb@aol.com

Congress needs to triple rather than cut the $450 million non-profit media receive annually, Bill Kling, CEO of American Public Media, said at an April 26 National Press Club event on the future of broadcasting.

Congress received "500,000 letters, e-mails and phone calls opposed to the cuts threatened by the House and supported by some members of the Senate," Kling said. The cuts were not made, but media leaders fear they still might be.

Joyce Slocum, interim president and CEO of NPR, said the public radio network "gets little of its funding from the federal government."

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Center for Public Integrity launches daily investigative news site

April 26, 2011 | By Joan Mooney | jhmooney@verizon.net

The Center for Public Integrity is launching a daily news site, iwatchnews.org, with a plan to sell 25,000 to 50,000 subscriptions in the first year for $50 a year through Center memberships, according to an executive and two journalists who spoke about their initiative at the National Press Club on April 25.

The Center is 20 years old, but iwatch news is just a few weeks old and is still in the testing phase. The goal, the speakers said, is to make money from a digital platform while doing what old media does best – investigative journalism.

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Karzai opponent says corruption a bigger threat to Afghanistan than Taliban

April 25, 2011 | By Peter Hickman | pjhickman@hotmail.com

Former Afghan foreign minister and 2009 presidential candidate Dr. Abdullah Abdullah told an April 21 Newsmaker audience that military success against the Taliban will mean little if Afghanistan's corrupt government cannot win over its own people.

Abdullah, chairman of the Afghan Coalition for Hope and Change, also met with Department of State officials and members of Congress during his visit.

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Airline workers announce global alliance to protect rights

April 20, 2011 | By Robert Webb | rewebb@aol.com

Airline union leaders from five continents announced the birth of One World of Labor Coalition as a response to the globalization of airline operations at an April 20 Newsmaker.

John M. Conley, international administrative vice president of the Transport Workers Union of America, AFL-CIO, was designated the organization's coordinator.

With airlines forming global alliances, unions are increasing their worldwide leverage. "We should not suffer in collective bargaining agreements," Conley said.

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Loverro: 'No way' Redskins get fully government-financed D.C. stadium

April 19, 2011 | By Pat Host | phost@iwpnews.com

ESPN 980 AM personality and Washington Examiner columnist Thom Loverro said there is "no way" the Washington Redskins will get a predominantly government-financed stadium in an effort to move back to the District.

Addressing the Young Members Committee's "Media: On Tap" April 18 in the First Amendment Lounge, Loverro was asked if he could see the Redskins returning to the District in a decade and how the District's financial relationship with the federal government could play a role in that.

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Turner, Pickens urge quick climate action to save nation, planet

April 19, 2011 | By Robert Webb | rewebb@aol.com

Billionaires Ted Turner and T. Boone Pickens called for quick action by Congress and the American people on energy and climate change to help save the nation and planet at an April 19 National Press Club luncheon.

Pickens, a legendary oil man who chairs the hedge fund BP Capital Management, was once skeptical about climate change but said he now believes it to be a real threat.

He has major concerns with "what is going into the atmosphere," he told a packed ballroom.

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