All posts by Tom Jones

Dalai Lama to speak at Lincoln Center- NYC October 21

The Kalmyk Three Jewels Foundation and The Tibetan Community of New York and New Jersey announced that the Fourteenth Dalai Lama will present a teaching in New York City on Sunday, October 21, 2012 from 1:30pm to 3:30pm.

The Dalai Lama will speak on the “Essence of Buddhism” at Avery Fisher Hall, Lincoln Center, 10 Lincoln Center Plaza, New York, NY. The event will be open to the public, and tickets will go on sale later this year.

The Dalai Lama has spread his message of non-violence, tolerance, compassion and wisdom around the world in over 62 countries and across 6 continents. Awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1989, the Dalai Lama has received over 84 humanitarian commendations including the Congressional Medal of Honor in 2007, and most recently the 2012 Templeton prize from the John Templeton Foundation, London, England. He has written more than 72 books.

The Kalmyk Three Jewels Foundation and The Tibetan Community of New York and New Jersey represent two distinct, cultural heritages that share a common spiritual tradition of Tibetan Buddhism, of which the Dalai Lama is considered the supreme head.

The Dalai Lama recognizes both the Kalmyk and Tibetan communities in the United States and celebrates their religious freedoms here and we appreciate the opportunity to pray for the same right for all people in the world.

Kalmyks, whose ancestors come from the Kalmyk Republic in the northwest corner of the Caspian Sea, are largely settled in the New Jersey, Pennsylvania metropolitan areas. The Kalmyk Three Jewels Foundation, a Section 501c3 organization, was founded in 2009 to help maintain and strengthen Kalmyk culture, language and traditions in the United States and around the world.

US officials knew Libya attack was terrorism within 24 hours

U.S. intelligence officials knew within 24 hours of the assault on the U.S. Consulate in Libya that it was a terrorist attack and suspected Al Qaeda-tied elements were involved, sources told Fox News — though it took the administration a week to acknowledge it.

The account sharply conflicts with claims on the Sunday after the attack by U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice that the administration believed the strike was a “spontaneous” event triggered by protests in Egypt over an anti-Islam film.

Two senior U.S. officials said that the Obama administration internally labeled the attack terrorism from the first day in order to unlock and mobilize certain resources to respond, and that officials were looking for one specific suspect. The officials said the intelligence community knew by Sept. 12 that the militant Ansar al-Shariah and Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb were likely behind the strike.
Further, an official said, “No one … believed that the mortars, indirect and direct fire, and the RPGs were just the work of a mob — no one.

Yet a congressional source told Fox News that CIA Director David Petraeus, during a briefing with members of the House Intelligence Committee three days after the attack, espoused the view that Benghazi was an out-of-control demonstration prompted by the YouTube video. According to the source, this was “shocking” to some members who were present and saw the same intelligence pointing toward a terrorist attack.

In addition, sources confirm that FBI agents have not yet arrived in Benghazi in the aftermath of the attack. Four Americans, including U.S. Ambassador Christopher Stevens, were killed in the assault.

The claims that officials initially classified the attack as terrorism is sure to raise serious questions among lawmakers who from the beginning have challenged the narrative the administration put out in the week following the strike. A few Republican lawmakers have gone so far as to suggest the administration withheld key facts about the assault for political reasons.

I think we should have answers right away. … I think they’re reluctant to tell us what this event really was probably because it’s an election year. But the American people deserve to know answers about what happened at our embassy in Libya,” Sen. Kelly Ayotte, R-N.H., told Fox News.

One intelligence official clarified to Fox News that there was not a “definitive” lead on who might have been responsible for the Libya attacks in the immediate aftermath, though officials had an idea of the suspects.

It’s inaccurate to suggest that within the first 24 hours there was a definitive calling card and home address for the perpetrators of the Benghazi attack. Potential suspects and data points emerge early on, but it still takes time to be certain who is responsible,” the official said.

Curiously, Obama referred to “acts of terror” in his first public remarks about the attack. But from there, administration officials went on to blame the anti-Islam film.

Rice was the most explicit in that explanation, insisting on a slew of Sunday shows that the attack was not pre-planned and was tied to the film.

more  US officials knew Libya attack was terrorism within 24 hours, sources confirm | Fox News.

Alec Baldwin thinks Barack Obama would be doing better in the polls if he was white

On Tuesday, Alec Baldwin took to his foundation’s Twitter account to tweet, “If Obama was white, he’d be up by 17 points.” Of course, the polls show that people are far more likely to vote for an African American for President than they are a Mormon.

To start the segment, Glenn reminded listeners that this was a man who had made some pretty horrible comments to loved ones in the past, showing that he is clearly dealing with some issues and is not a very happy person.

“The biggest spiritual leaders always, they weep because you’re missing who you really are.  Don’t you see who you really are?  They can see it.  Because they see it in themselves.  This guy doesn’t see anything but a black hole.  He’s got an abyss in him.  And I feel bad for Alec Baldwin.  I mean, I don’t know him, you know, and I’m sure he doesn’t care about my pity.  But he’s not a happy man,” Glenn said.

“And it’s really not that hard, Alec, when you get out of your own way, it’s really not that hard.  Believe me, I spent most of my life not being a happy man.  It’s not that hard to get out of your own way and be a happy man.  You cannot see what America really is if that’s your vantage point,” he added.

Turning his attention to Baldwin’s tweet, Glenn wondered if Romney would be up an additional ten percent if he wasn’t Mormon.

Stu explained, “We have polling to back this up.  18% of people won’t vote for Mitt Romney because he’s Mormon.  4% of people won’t vote for Barack Obama because he’s black.  18 to 4.  That’s in polling.  That’s not me making it up.  That’s been shown over and over again that there’s a large gap between those two groups.  People don’t want to vote for a Mormon.  At this point in American history, they have no problem voting for an African‑American.  In fact, the polling shows that people are less likely to vote for a Catholic than they are to vote for an African‑American.  So you could sit here and blame race all you want for the terrible, terrible performance of the guy you elected, but that is why he’s having problems here.  He has the most favorable media of any president in American history and he’s still struggling to clear 43% in approval rating.”

more at Alec Baldwin thinks Barack Obama would be doing better in the polls if he was white – Glenn Beck.

Madonna calls President Obama a black Muslim

Madonna asked everyone in the audience of her Washington, DC performance Monday night to vote for President Obama because he is a “black Muslim.””Y’all better vote for fking Obama, OK? For better or for worse, all right?” the shouted from stage while sipping from a bottle of water with a straw. “”We have a black Muslim in the White House! Now that’s some amazing st.” Madonna, 54, also stripped down to her bra to reveal “Obama” stenciled in big letters on her back, before promising or warning?: “When Obama is in the White House for a second term Ill take it all off.” President Obama is not a Muslim. Or is He?

more Madonna calls President Obama a black Muslim, says shell strip onstage if he wins second term | Fox News.

Obama: US will ‘do what we must’ to prevent nuclear Iran

President Obama, speaking to world leaders at the U.N. General Assembly Tuesday, vowed the U.S. “will do what we must” to prevent Iran from gaining a nuclear weapon — calling this a threat to Israel’s existence.

Amid accusations from Republicans including Mitt Romney that Obama’s policies have not slowed Iran’s nuclear march, the president used the U.N. stage to assure the international community that he is serious about preventing that outcome.

“Make no mistake: a nuclear-armed Iran is not a challenge that can be contained,” Obama said. “It would threaten the elimination of Israel, the security of Gulf nations, and the stability of the global economy. It risks triggering a nuclear-arms race in the region, and the unraveling of the non-proliferation treaty. That’s why a coalition of countries is holding the Iranian government accountable. And that’s why the United States will do what we must to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon.”

The president reiterated that he wants to resolve the issue “through diplomacy” but the time for doing so “is not unlimited.”

The reference to Iran came toward the end of a speech otherwise devoted to addressing the recent tumult in the Middle East and North Africa, including the murder of the U.S. ambassador to Libya and three other Americans in Benghazi.

Obama began his address to the U.N. General Assembly Tuesday with a tribute to Ambassador Chris Stevens. Recalling Stevens’ time serving in the Peace Corps as an English instructor in Morocco, he said Stevens “came to love and respect” the people of the region and carried that commitment throughout his life.

“I tell you this story because Chris Stevens embodied the best of America,” Obama said.

The president went on to restate his administration’s support for the Arab Spring, calling it a “season of progress.”

But he said the recent violence and unrest is indicative of the difficulties along the way. “True democracy — real freedom — is hard work,” he said.

Obama said leaders in the region are at a critical juncture, and urged them to choose the forces of hope over the forces of intolerance.

“It is time to leave the call of violence and the politics of division behind,” Obama said. “On so many issues, we face a choice between the promise of the future, or the prisons of the past. And we cannot afford to get it wrong. We must seize this moment. And America stands ready to work with all who are willing to embrace a better future.”

The president called on world leaders to “marginalize” those that stoke hatred of the West in order to further their own politics.

And he continued to address the anti-Islam film that is blamed for many of the recent demonstrations against U.S. diplomatic posts — though that film may not have played much of a role in the attack on the U.S. Consulate in Libya.

Obama stressed that while he condemns the “crude and disgusting” video, America maintains the right to free speech.

“And on this we must agree: there is no speech that justifies mindless violence,” Obama said.

“There are no words that excuse the killing of innocents. There is no video that justifies an attack on an Embassy,” the president said.

Obama said the world now faces a choice “between the forces that would drive us apart, and the hopes that we hold in common.”

The last time Obama addressed the assembly, there was an air of hope surrounding the Arab Spring. U.S. officials remain optimistic, but some also worry that the latest unrest is perhaps the dark side of the revolution.

Obama used his U.N. address to urge leaders in the region not to let their hard-fought gains be undermined by those peddling the politics of hate and division.

The relationship between the Libya attack and the protests against an anti-Islam film elsewhere in the region remains unclear. Obama, in an interview on Monday, said the Libya attack was not just a “mob action.” Other evidence has emerged indicating the attack was pre-planned, though the administration has not yet publicly drawn that conclusion.

The speech Tuesday morning kicked off a day heavy on foreign policy for both the president and his Romney.

Romney addressed the Clinton Global Initiative in New York City in the morning, and Obama is expected to address the initiative later in the day.

more at

‘Time is not unlimited’ on Iran, Obama to tell U.N.

United Nations  — The United States will “do what we must” to prevent Iran from developing a nuclear weapon, President Barack Obama is expected to tell the United Nations General Assembly Tuesday in a speech that will also touch heavily on the death of U.S. Ambassador Christopher Stevens in Libya.

“We respect the right of nations to access peaceful nuclear power, but one of the purposes of the United Nations is to see that we harness that power for peace,” Obama will tell U.N. delegates, according to excerpts of his planned remarks made available by the White House. “Make no mistake: a nuclear-armed Iran is not a challenge that can be contained.”

Obama’s scheduled speech comes on the opening day of the U.N. General Assembly debate session.

During the session, which ends October 1, world leaders will again take up a host of pressing humanitarian issues, including poverty, global warming and the prospect of renewed conflicts in sub-Saharan Africa. But the Middle East and the 18-month civil war in Syria are expected to remain center stage.

In his speech Tuesday morning, Obama is expected to say that while the United States remains committed to a diplomatic solution on Iran’s nuclear program, “time is not unlimited.”

While Iranian leaders say their nuclear program is for peaceful purposes, Western leaders believe Tehran wants to build a nuclear weapon. U.N. inspectors also have expressed doubts about the program’s aims.

The consequences of a nuclear-armed Iran are immense, Obama will tell delegates.

“It would threaten the elimination of Israel, the security of Gulf nations, and the stability of the global economy. It risks triggering a nuclear-arms race in the region, and the unraveling of the non-proliferation treaty,” the president will say.

Obama’s speech comes on the heels of a series of confrontational statements by Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who declared Monday that Israel has “no roots in the Middle East.”

U.S. national security spokesman Thomas Vietor called the comments “disgusting, offensive and outrageous,” and said they “underscore again why America’s commitment to the security of Israel must be unshakeable, and why the world must hold Iran accountable for its utter failure to meet its obligations.”

Later, in an interview on CNN’s “Piers Morgan Tonight” Monday, Ahmadinejad appeared to say he would not be surprised if Israel attacks Iran over its nuclear program.

“Of course, the Zionists are very much — very adventuresome, very much seeking to fabricate things,” Ahmadinejad said, referring to Israel. “And I think they see themselves at the end of the line. And I do firmly believe that they seek to create the opportunities for themselves and their adventurous behaviors.”

In his speech, Obama will also address the recent wave of violence targeting the United States, including the September 11 attack in Benghazi, Libya, that left Stevens, the U.S. ambassador, dead.

“The attacks of the last two weeks are not simply an assault on America. They are also an assault on the very ideals upon which the United Nations was founded,” Obama is expected to say.

“If we are serious about those ideals, we must speak honestly about the deeper causes of this crisis. Because we face a choice between the forces that would drive us apart, and the hopes we hold in common,” the president will say.

Obama also will address the uproar across the Muslim world over “The Innocence of Muslims,” a movie produced in the United States that mocked the Muslim Prophet Mohammed.

“There are no words that excuse the killing of innocents,” Obama will say, according to excerpts. “There is no video that justifies an attack on an embassy. There is no slander that provides an excuse for people to burn a restaurant in Lebanon, or destroy a school in Tunis, or cause death and destruction in Pakistan.”

While Obama is speaking in front of an international crowd, his speech Tuesday will also largely target a domestic audience, which will decide in November whether he gets another chance at the presidency.

Later Tuesday, French President Francois Hollande is scheduled to take the lectern and is expected to address a worsening crisis in the Sahel, where a deadly mix of drought, famine and Islamic militancy have plagued the North Africa region.

more at: 

Defiant Ahmadinejad says Israel will be eliminated

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad on Monday disregarded a UN warning to avoid incendiary rhetoric and declared ahead of the annual General Assembly session that Israel has no roots in the Middle East and would be “eliminated.”

Ahmadinejad also said he did not take seriously the threat that Israel could launch a military strike against Iran’s nuclear facilities, denied sending arms to Syria, and alluded to Iran’s threats to the life of British author Salman Rushdie.

The United States quickly dismissed the Iranian president’s comments as “disgusting, offensive and outrageous.”

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has hinted Israel could strike Iran’s nuclear sites and criticised US President Barack Obama’s position that sanctions and diplomacy should be given more time to stop Tehran from acquiring nuclear weapons.

Iran denies it is seeking nuclear arms and says its atomic work is peaceful and aimed at generating electricity.

“Fundamentally we do not take seriously the threats of the Zionists,” Ahmadinejad, in New York for this week’s UN General Assembly, told reporters. “We have all the defensive means at our disposal and we are ready to defend ourselves.”

On Sunday, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon met with Ahmadinejad and warned him of the dangers of incendiary rhetoric in the Middle East.

Ahmadinejad, who has used previous UN sessions to question the Holocaust and the US account of the 9/11 attacks, did not heed the warning and instead alluded to his previous rejection of Israel’s right to exist.

“Iran has been around for the last seven, 10 thousand years. They (the Israelis) have been occupying those territories for the last 60 to 70 years, with the support and force of the Westerners. They have no roots there in history,” he said, referring to the founding of the modern state of Israel in 1948.

“We do believe that they have found themselves at a dead end and they are seeking new adventures in order to escape this dead end. Iran will not be damaged with foreign bombs,” Ahmadinejad said, speaking through an interpreter at his Manhattan hotel.

“We don’t even count them as any part of any equation for Iran. During a historical phase, they (the Israelis) represent minimal disturbances that come into the picture and are then eliminated,” he added.

In 2005, Ahmadinejad called Israel a “tumor” and echoed the words of the former Iranian Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, by saying that Israel should be wiped off the map.

In Washington, White House spokesman Tommy Vietor reaffirmed the US commitment to Israel’s security.

“President Ahmadinejad’s comments are characteristically disgusting, offensive and outrageous. They underscore again why America’s commitment to the security of Israel must be unshakeable, and why the world must hold Iran accountable for its utter failure to meet its obligations,” Vietor said.


Read more:Defiant Ahmadinejad says Israel will be eliminated.

Anti-American fury over film hits Australia; protesters clash with police


Protesters outside US Embassy in Sydney


As the United States continued to strengthen security at diplomatic stations, fury over an anti-Islam film spread to Australia, where demonstrators clashed Saturday with police outside the American Consulate in Sydney.

Carrying signs that read: “Obama, Obama, we like Osama” and “Behead All Those Who Insult the Prophet,” hundreds of protesters gathered on the steps of the consulate.

The demonstration turned violent after protesters were pushed back from the building.

Authorities used tear gas and police dogs to disperse protesters who threw bottles and shoes — considered a grave insult among Muslims. Six police officers were injured and eight people were arrested, Sydney police said. Seventeen people were treated for the effects of pepper spray used by police.

In his weekly address, U.S. President Barack Obama acknowledged “images on our televisions are disturbing.”

“But let us never forget that for every angry mob, there are millions who yearn for the freedom and dignity and hope that our flag represents,” Obama said.

Obama reiterated that those who killed U.S. Ambassador to Libya Chris Stevens and three other Americans at the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi will be brought to justice.

FBI investigators probing the killings put off a visit until conditions in the volatile region are safer.

Agents had hoped to arrive in Libya on Saturday, federal law enforcement officials said.

Disagreement over how Benghazi attack began

Top Western diplomats warned leaders in countries where the unrest has been most pronounced to ensure the protection of its missions and its people.

“I am following the unfolding events with grave concern and call on national authorities in all countries concerned to swiftly ensure the security of diplomatic missions and protect diplomatic staff,” Catherine Ashton, the European Union foreign affairs chief, said in a statement.

U.S. Marines were dispatched to Libya, Yemen and Sudan to safeguard American diplomatic posts, according to U.S. officials.

Slain ambassador returns Inside the U.S. consulate in Benghazi Egyptians demand apology from Obama

Attack on the U.S. Consulate in Libya

Protest targets German embassy in Sudan America’s mixed message to Egypt The search for the Benghazi attackers Egyptians demand apology from Obama Libya struggling to deal with militants Does U.S. need to up security abroad?

Capital cities and other cities in North Africa and the Middle East where protests against an anti-Islam film have broken out.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton warned that the United States would take action to protect its diplomatic facilities if the countries in question did not stop the violence and seek justice for the attacks.

“Reasonable people and responsible leaders in these countries need to do everything they can to restore security and hold accountable those behind these violent acts,” she said Friday. “And we will … keep taking steps to protect our personnel around the world.”

From Morocco to Malaysia, thousands of Muslims have taken to the streets in recent days — with sometimes deadly results — over the release of a 14-minute trailer, privately produced in the United States, that mocks the Prophet Mohammed as a womanizer, child molester and ruthless killer.

Despite the firm condemnation by U.S. government officials, some in the Muslim world — especially those raised in regimes in which the government must authorize any film production — cannot accept that a movie like “Innocence of Muslims” can be produced without being sanctioned by Washington, said Council of Foreign Relations scholar Ed Husain.

“They’re projecting … their experience, their understanding (that) somehow the U.S. government is responsible for the actions of a right-wing fellow,” said Husain, a senior fellow at the New York think thank

for more see – Anti-American fury over film hits Australia; protesters clash with police –

Premarkets: Stocks to rise on German court ruling – Sep. 12, 2012

Stocks to rise on German court ruling- U.S. stocks were headed for a higher open Wednesday after a German court backed Europe’s latest rescue fund.

Germany’s Constitutional Court dismissed complaints on the legality of the European Stability Mechanism, a permanent bailout fund that’s expected to have a maximum lending capacity of €500 billion.

Markets around the world initially rose on the news, but European stocks turned mixed in afternoon trading. Britain’s FTSE 100 lost 0.1%, while the DAX in Germany jumped 1.9% and France’s CAC 40 rose 1.2%.

Asian markets, which closed ahead of the German court decision, ended higher.

Investors were anxious about how the ruling would impact the European Central Bank’s plans to preserve the euro, which remained at its highest level against the U.S. dollar in four months early Wednesday.

“This is good news for the EU and has certainly been reflected in the value of the euro across the board,” said Chris Towner, director of foreign exchange advisory services at HiFX. “This gives a foundation for the EU leaders to start to put a proper framework in place for further integration.”

As stocks around the globe reacted, investors bailed out of U.S. Treasuries, sending the yield on the benchmark 10-year note up to 1.74% from 1.69% late Tuesday.

In corporate news, Apple (AAPL, Fortune 500) is expected to unveil the iPhone 5 at an event later Wednesday . Shares of the company were higher as investors awaited the announcement.

U.S. stocks advanced Tuesday, rebounding from the previous day’s pullback.

more at Premarkets: Stocks to rise on German court ruling – Sep. 12, 2012.

German Constitutional Court backs European rescue fund

German Constitutional Court backs European rescue fund

updated 8:19 AM EDT, Wed September 12, 2012

Protesters call for the end of the European Stability Mechanism in front of the Constitutional Court in Karlsruhe, Germany


German court dismisses complaint against European rescue fund

37,000 citizens had sought to stop the fund going ahead

Critics said the fund would expose German taxpayers to excessive demands

Supporters say the European Stability Mechanism is vital to saving the euro

The eurozone’s crisis plan passed another milestone Wednesday with the decision from Germany’s Constitutional Court to dismiss a complaint against Europe’s permanent bailout fund, known as the European Stability Mechanism.

The decision eases the pressure on two of the eurozone bloc’s largest economies, Italy and Spain, whose funding costs have been soaring amid a financial crisis that has dragged on for more than two years.

The two countries — the bloc’s third- and fourth-largest economies, respectively — are considered too big to fail, but Spain has already been forced to seek financial aid for its banks and is widely expected to seek further assistance.

Anatoli Annenkov, senior European economist at Societe Generale, said the verdict showed that on paper, “we now have some powerful tools available which combined looks sufficiently large to deal with financing pressures on Spain and Italy, if and when they arise.”

That may “be sufficient to calm markets,” Annenkov said, although he noted that the plans needed to be quickly translated into practice, with full details of conditions and enforcement made clear. “We expect the first real case to be Spain, which is currently studying the conditions for applying for aid,” he added.

The decision, which was months in the making, was expected but clears the way for the introduction of the European Stability Mechanism, which is due to become operational in October and will have a maximum lending capacity of 500 billion euros. The ruling included conditions to limit Germany’s liability to the fund to 190 billion euros.

In Germany’s biggest ever constitutional challenge, about 37,000 citizens had tried to block the fund, saying it violated the country’s right to retain control of its own budget.

The citizens, who backed a legal push from the More Democracy movement, said the mechanism could expose the country to unlimited demands for taxpayer money. They wanted a referendum to decide the issue.

Supporters of the rescue fund, including German Chancellor Angela Merkel, said it was a vital part of measures to prop up ailing European economies and avert the collapse of the euro. Addressing German parliament Wednesday, Merkel said: “It is a good day for Germany, it is a good day for Europe.”

Markets rose on news of the ruling, as investors had been anxious about how it would affect the European Central Bank’s plans to preserve the euro.

It was feared that a negative ruling would throw global markets into chaos and force Europe’s politicians to return to the drawing board to tackle Europe’s debt crisis.

The bailout fund is set to provide financial help to European countries struggling to cope with their debt burdens.

It’s an integral part of a plan announced by European Central Bank President Mario Draghi last week to buy bonds with a duration of between one and three years.

The bond purchases, described as “outright monetary transactions,” would be available to countries that seek outside help and that agree to meet a number of budgetary conditions before approval. There would be no “ex ante limits on the size” of the purchases, Draghi said, repeating his pledge to do “whatever it takes” to save the euro.

The measure is designed to keep a lid on bond yields and borrowing costs.

more at German Constitutional Court backs European rescue fund –

US ambassador to Libya, 3 American staff members killed in attack

The U.S. ambassador to Libya and three other American staff members were killed Tuesday in an attack on the U.S. consulate in the Libyan city of Benghazi, the White House confirmed. President Obama, in a written statement issued Wednesday morning, called the attack “outrageous” and “senseless.”

Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens was killed Tuesday night when he and a group of embassy employees went to the consulate to try to evacuate staff. The protesters, angry over a film that ridiculed Islam’s Prophet Muhammad, were firing gunshots and rocket-propelled grenades.

“I strongly condemn the outrageous attack on our diplomatic facility in Benghazi, which took the lives of four Americans, including Ambassador Chris Stevens,” President Obama said in a statement Wednesday morning. “Right now, the American people have the families of those we lost in our thoughts and prayers. They exemplified America’s commitment to freedom, justice, and partnership with nations and people around the globe, and stand in stark contrast to those who callously took their lives.”

Obama said he’s directed the administration to provide “all necessary resources” to support security for U.S. personnel in Libya and to increase security at diplomatic offices around the world.

“While the United States rejects efforts to denigrate the religious beliefs of others, we must all unequivocally oppose the kind of senseless violence that took the lives of these public servants,” he said.

Obama called Stevens “a courageous and exemplary representative of the United States” who “selflessly served our country and the Libyan people” throughout the Libyan revolution.

“His legacy will endure wherever human beings reach for liberty and justice,” the president said. A White House official said Obama was told Tuesday night that Stevens was unaccounted for, and informed early Wednesday of his death.

Libya’s interim president on Wednesday apologized to the United States for the attack. Mohammed el-Megarif described the attack as “cowardly” and offered his condolences. Speaking to reporters, he vowed to bring the culprits to justice and maintain his country’s close relations with the United States.

Stevens is the first U.S. ambassador killed in an attack since 1979.

The State Department identified one of the other three Americans killed as Foreign Service Information Management Officer Sean Smith, a husband and father of two who had worked for the State Department for 10 years. The U.S. government is still notifying the next of kin for the other two individuals killed, and has not identified them.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton described Stevens as a passionate and dedicated diplomat who had devoted himself to the transition in post-Qaddafi Libya.

“As the conflict in Libya unfolded, Chris was one of the first Americans on the ground in Benghazi.  He risked his own life to lend the Libyan people a helping hand to build the foundation for a new, free nation,” she said.

Stevens was appointed as ambassador to Libya in May 2012.

He served as a special representative to the Libyan Transitional National Council during the revolution in 2011, and as the deputy chief of mission from 2007 to 2009. Originally from California, Stevens was an international trade lawyer before joining the Foreign Service in the early 1990s. He also served as a volunteer in the Peace Corps from 1983 to 1985, teaching English in Morocco.

U.S. officials remain on alert for violence at other diplomatic posts.

Hours before the Benghazi attack, hundreds of mainly ultraconservative Islamist protesters in Egypt marched to the U.S. Embassy in downtown Cairo, gathering outside its walls and chanting against the movie and the U.S. Most of the embassy staff had left the compound earlier because of warnings of the upcoming demonstration.

Dozens of protesters then scaled the embassy walls, and several went into the courtyard and took down the American flag from a pole.

They brought it back to the crowd outside, which tried to burn it, but failing that tore it apart. The protesters on the wall then raised on the flagpole a black flag with a Muslim declaration of faith, “There is no god but God and Muhammad is his prophet.” The flag, similar to the banner used by Al Qaeda, is commonly used by ultraconservatives around the region.

On Wednesday, the U.S. Embassy in Algiers was warning Americans in the country to avoid non-essential travel amid calls for more protests after the Libya attack.

US ambassador to Libya, 3 American staff members killed in attack

via US ambassador to Libya, 3 American staff members killed in attack | Fox News.

Fashion Week Parties Swarm New York City

If you weren’t at a fashion party last night, well, you missed out on all the fun. With New York Fashion Week kicking off today, every stylish guy and gal in the city seemed to be toasting, speechifying, air-kissing and posing for pictures at a slew of fashion fetes last night to inaugurate the big week ahead.

Du Jour, the latest glossy magazine to hit newsstands, feted its debut issue with a party hosted by cover star Christy Turlington and photographer Bruce Weber. Held at Capitale, the party drew the likes of Russell Simmons, Amar’e Stoudemire, Hoda Kotb and model Hilary Rhoda.

New York’s revamped The Cut, which officially debuted August 13, also threw itself a launch party on the rooftop of the NoMad Hotel, attended by Nigel Barker, Coco Rocha, Lindsay Ellingson and Yigal Azrouel.

Farther uptown, shoe designer Brian Atwood — recently reprimanded for his overly sexy shoe ads — threw a party celebrating the opening of his new Madison Avenue store, attended by pals Rachel Zoe, Michelle Trachtenberg, Heidi Klum, Ryan Lochte and Candice Swanepoel (star of the aforementioned ads).

There were also ceremonies honoring some of fashion’s greatest: the Fashion Institute of Technology presented Oscar de la Renta with the 2012 Couture Council Award for Artistry at a luncheon earlier in the day (Sarah Jessica Parker and Anna Wintour were by his side) and the 9th Annual Style Awards crowned Carolina Herrera the Designer Of The Year that evening at Lincoln Center (Katie Holmes did the honors).

And that doesn’t even include SPIN and Refinery29’s party across the river in Brooklyn, the launch of the latest fashion tome, “Antonio Lopez: Fashion, Art, Sex and Disco” (Lopez was a friend of Karl Largerfeld) and the splashy red carpet premiere of “Boardwalk Empire” which drew the Hollywood crowd.

It was hard to be in multiple places at once, but the most seasoned partygoers managed to hit several events each: Iman and Rachel Roy, for example, showed their faces at both the Style Awards and Brian Atwood’s fete and Kim Kardashian wowed in a dramatic cutout dress at both the Brian Atwood store and Du Jour’s launch.

As for us? We headed to Williamsburg for Refinery29’s bash and stayed put.

Check out last night’s party snaps… and just envision the hangovers everyone’s nursing today. Happy first day of Fashion Week, y’all!

via Fashion Week Parties Swarm New York City (PHOTOS)

Kanye West raps about Kim Kardashian’s sex tape

How charming. Kanye West is proud of his “perfect bitch” Kim Kardashian and her sex tape.

TMZ has heard West’s new single “Clique,” in which he references his girlfriend’s infamous sex tape from 2007.

West raps: “Eat breakfast at Gucci. My girl a superstar all from a home movie.”

If there’s any doubt who Yeezy could be rapping about, consider the title of Kardashian’s sex tape: “Kim Kardashian Superstar.”

West is a “self-described porn connoisseur,” according to TMZ, which also notes that Kardashian credits her initial fame to the film.

What a perfect pair.

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Alec Baldwin’s daughter Ireland discusses his infamous “little pig” voicemail

Alec Baldwin’s daughter Ireland has talked for the first time about his infamous 2007 voice mail in which he called her “a rude, thoughtless, little pig” — saying he often speaks like that “because he’s frustrated.”

Ireland, the 16-year-old daughter of Baldwin and Kim Basinger, thinks the incident — which created a viral scandal and prompted Baldwin to temporarily lose visitation rights — was blown wildly out of proportion.

“The only problem with that voice mail was that people made it out to be a way bigger deal than it was,” she tells Page Six Magazine, out today. “He’s said stuff like that before just because he’s frustrated.

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