World Bulletin/News Desk
President Barack Obama accused Republicans on Saturday of a backward approach to education funding that would mean further teacher layoffs, in a veiled swipe at Republican vice presidential hopeful Paul Ryan, who has led a drive for domestic-spending cuts.
Obama used his weekly radio and Internet address to press for increased investment in schools, as a new White House report showed more than 300,000 education jobs have been lost since the 2007-2009 recession and asserted that Republican budget proposals would call for cutting tens of thousands more.
Though Obama did not mention Ryan by name, the Wisconsin congressman - a fiscal hawk picked last week by Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney to be his running mate - authored the Republicans' budget blueprint that passed the House of Representatives last March with no Democratic support.
The Ryan plan subsequently died in the Democratic-controlled Senate, but Obama's campaign wants voters to identify Romney with Ryan's austerity plan, especially with its potential impact on popular programs like Medicare and public education.
"This year, several thousand fewer educators will be going back to school," Obama said. "Since 2009, we've lost more than 300,000 education jobs, in part, because of budget cuts at the state and local level."
"At a time when the rest of the world is racing to out-educate America, these cuts force our kids into crowded classrooms," he said.
Obama earlier this year proposed $25 billion in funding for states to prevent teacher layoffs. But Republicans blocked the initiative because it was part of Obama's broader jobs package that they considered mostly wasteful spending.
"The economic plan that almost every Republican in Congress voted for would make the situation even worse. It would actually cut funding for education," he said. "All to pay for a massive new tax cut for millionaires and billionaires."
"That's backwards. That's wrong," he said.
Obama has focused on education as part of his strategy to paint himself as a champion of the middle class and cast Romney as out-of-touch with ordinary Americans.
The plan crafted by Ryan, chairman of the House budget committee, calls for reductions of about 20 percent in non-defense discretionary spending.
If these cuts were distributed evenly across budget areas, the White House report said, it would mean reductions in federal grants that would eliminate funding for 38,000 teachers and aides and a further 27,000 special-education teachers.
Ryan's budget plan attempts to slow the federal government's deficit spending, largely by cutting social programs and restructuring the Medicare healthcare system for the elderly. At the same time, Ryan proposed expensive income tax cuts, including rate reductions for the wealthy.
Moscow, which denies its troops have a role in the takeover of Crimea, says people there - a small majority of whom are ethnic Russians - should have the right to secede
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry will travel to London to meet with his Russian, as Putin and French President Francois Hollande discussed "possibilities for stepping up international support" for a solution
"Syria is now the biggest humanitarian and peace and security crisis facing the world, with violence reaching unthinkable levels," Ban's press office said
In an interview with the France 24 news channel, Iraqi PM Nouri al-Maliki accused Saudi and Qatar of sponsoring terrorism in his country.
The building is reported to have had gas smells emanating from it for weeks.
His address to the Knesset was staunchly pro-Israeli, and he delighted his hosts by claiming Jewish ancestral roots and talking tough on Iran
The Atomic Energy Organization of Iran has said Russia is to build two new nuclear power plants in the country.
The Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR) rebels have been involved in nearly two decades of conflict that spilled into eastern Congo
Egyptian authorities have tightened their control over the border with the Hamas-run Gaza Strip since last July's ouster of elected president Mohamed Morsi by the Egyptian army.
Edward Dolinsky, head of the Ukrainian Jewish Committee, made a lobbying trip to Jerusalem but not received by officials from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's government.
"Jordan did not bow to these demands because the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) itself has not adopted a unified position on the need to isolate Qatar over its foreign policies," the lawmaker said on condition of anonymity.
Mustafa Jemilev became the first Crimean Tatar leader to meet with a Russian leader in 200 years. The meeting lasted half an hour, after which Jemilev revealed that the two sides had agreed to continue talks.
Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk said "With Chancellor Merkel we both believe that signing of the association agreement with Ukraine as soon as possible would be beneficial"
Belarus would ask Russia to send "no more than 12 to 15 planes", indicating that the request had been made under a clause of a "union treaty"
Police stopped protesters from the RCD and MSP who were showing red signs with the word 'Boycott', saying their demonstration was illegal
The one-day meeting appeared to mirror a series of "Friends of Syria" conferences in which Western and Arab nations pledged political and financial support for the rebels