Receive Breaking News updates as they occur
By Mark Felsenthal WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Seeking to recover from the bungled rollout of his healthcare reforms, President Barack Obama went back to basics on Wednesday with a renewed focus on government policies that benefit the struggling poor and middle classes. With his job approval ratings sinking, Obama sought to promote some of the ideals he has championed throughout his presidency. "We have to relentlessly push a growth agenda," Obama told a supportive crowd at a community center in one of the capital's poorest neighborhoods. "A relentlessly growing deficit of opportunity is a bigger threat to our future than our rapidly shrinking fiscal deficit." He challenged Republicans in Congress to do more than say 'no' to initiatives including raising the minimum wage or expanding health coverage: offer alternatives and set aside a preoccupation with cutting government spending.
Costa do Sauipe (Brazil) (AFP) - Ahead of Friday’s draw and on the eve of a FIFA executive committee meeting, organisers said they were confident the later than expected delivery of as many as half of next year’s World Cup venues will not derail preparations. After a marathon construction program to upgrade facilities at existing venues and build new ones hosts Brazil say all 12 stadiums will be ready in time for test events early next year, although Sports Minister Aldo Rebelo revealed six will not meet FIFA's now redundant December 31 deadline. FIFA conceded on Tuesday that it would afford some leeway to three venues, including Sao Paulo, the scene of a fatal accident last week, as well as Cuiaba and Curitiba, where work is lagging behind schedule. But Rebelo said the stadiums in Porto Alegre, Manaus and Natal would also be handed over after the original December 31 deadline owing, not to construction delays, but to President Dilma Rousseff's diary.
BEIJING (AP) — Giving no ground, Chinese President Xi Jinping and U.S. Vice President Joe Biden traded strong arguments Wednesday over China's contentious new air defense zone, with no indication of progress toward defusing a situation that is raising anxieties across Asia and beyond.