Cairo – Al-Qaida’s leader on Friday marked the anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks by calling on Muslims to strike inside the United States, with big attacks or small, using any opportunity they can to “bleed” America financially.
In an audio message released two days after the 12th anniversary of the attacks, Ayman al-Zawahri said America is not a “mythic power” and that the mujahedeen – Islamic holy warriors – can defeat it with attacks “on its own soil.”
Al-Zawahri, the successor to Osama bin Laden, used the anniversary to argue that the United States can be defeated by targeting its economy.
The message’s authenticity could not be independently confirmed. It was posted on a militant website commonly used by al-Qaida.
Al-Zawahri, who is believed to be hiding in the Pakistan-Afghanistan border regions, said al-Qaida sympathizers should stage small attacks or a “big strike” against the United States, similar to the Sept. 11 attacks in New York and Washington, leaving America in “a state of tension” about when and where the next hit would come.
Insurance subsidies out of reach for unions
Washington – Low-income workers on union health plans are not eligible for the same federal subsidies available to those who buy insurance in the new state health care marketplaces, the White House said Friday.
The decision is a disappointment for labor unions, coming shortly after top union officials met for more than an hour with President Barack Obama to press their case that subsidies could be extended to union-sponsored plans.
Labor leaders have complained for months that without the subsidies, the Affordable Care Act would drive up the cost of some union plans, leading employers to drop coverage and jeopardizing health coverage for millions of union members.
The White House cited a Treasury Department letter saying there is no legal way for union members in multiemployer group health plans to receive subsidies. In a statement, the White House said it would work with unions and encourage them to offer their multiemployer plans “through the marketplace, on an equal footing, to create new, high-quality, affordable options for all Americans.”
Bloomberg declines mayor endorsement
New York – Michael Bloomberg said Friday he won’t endorse a candidate for New York City mayor, keeping his power and his wallet on the sidelines of the hotly contested race to succeed him.
That’s a blow to Republican nominee Joe Lhota, an admirer of Bloomberg’s policies who wanted his backing in hopes of thwarting the rise of the mayor’s frequent antagonist, Democratic front-runner Bill de Blasio.
“I don’t want to do anything that complicates it for the next mayor and that’s one of the reasons I won’t make an endorsement in the race,” Bloomberg said during his weekly appearance on John Gambling’s show on WOR Radio.
“I’ll leave campaigning to the campaigners,” the billionaire mayor said. “But whoever the voters elect, I want to make sure that person succeeds.”