Chuck Hagel: U.S. Ready To Strike Syria

Chuck Hagel U.S. Ready To Strike SyriaAmerican forces are “ready” to launch strikes on Syria if President Barack Obama chooses to order an attack, US Defence Secretary Chuck Hagel says.

‘Must be held accountable’

The White House said the US would release intelligence on last week’s suspected attack in the next few days. Prime Minister David Cameron said the world could “not stand idly by” after seeing “appalling scenes of death and suffering” caused by suspected chemical weapons attacks.

The crisis follows last Wednesday’s suspected chemical attack near the Syrian capital, Damascus, which reportedly killed more than 300 people.

US Vice President Joe Biden said there was “no doubt who was responsible for this heinous use of chemical weapons in Syria: The Syrian regime”. In a speech to a veterans’ group in Houston, Mr Biden said that “those who use chemical weapons against defenceless men, women, and children… must be held accountable”.


‘Western intervention’

French President Francois Hollande said France was “ready to punish” whoever was behind the attack, and had decided to increase military support for Syria’s main opposition. Meanwhile the Arab League said it held Syrian President Bashar al-Assad responsible for the attacks and called for UN action. Syrian opposition sources have said they have been told to expect a Western intervention in the conflict imminently.

Russia and China, allies of the Syrian government, have stepped up their warnings against military intervention, with Moscow saying any such action would have “catastrophic consequences” for the region.

Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Muallem has said he rejects “utterly and completely” claims that Syrian forces used chemical weapons, and his government has blamed rebel fighters.

Do you believe the Syrian regime itself is responsible for the said chemical attacks that killed over 300 citizens? Do we see a war with western countries looming over Syria?

Source: BBC News

Image: 23 ABC

White House Creating ‘Nudge Squad’ To Shape Citizens’ Behavior

White House Creating 'Nudge Squad' To Shape Citizens' BehaviorThe federal government is hiring what it calls a “Behavioral Insights Team” that will look for ways to subtly influence people’s behavior, according to a document describing the program obtained by FoxNews.com.

‘Tweaking behavior’

While the program is still in its early stages, the document shows the White House is already working on such projects with almost a dozen federal departments and agencies including the Department of Health and Human Services and the Department of Agriculture.

The document was emailed by Maya Shankar, a White House senior adviser on social and behavioral sciences, to a university professor with the request that it be distributed to people interested in joining the team. The idea is that the team would “experiment” with various techniques, with the goal of tweaking behavior so people do everything from saving more for retirement to saving more in energy costs.


‘Extraordinarily succesfful’

Such policies — which encourage behavior subtly rather than outright require it — have come to be known as “nudges,” after an influential 2008 book titled “Nudge” by former Obama regulatory czar Cass Sunstein and Chicago Booth School of Business professor Richard Thaler popularized the term.

The term “nudge” has already been associated with the new program, as one professor who received Shankar’s email forwarded it to others with the note:

“Anyone interested in working for the White House in a ‘nudge’ squad? The UK has one and it’s been extraordinarily successful.”

Do you think this “nudge” program is a good thing or a bad one? Feel free to discuss your thoughts with us regarding this issue!

Source: Fox News

Image: Weasel Zippers