WASHINGTON (Reuters) - So much for the $1 trillion platinum coin idea.
The U.S. Treasury Department said on nike free running nike free run Nike Free 3.0 Saturday it will not produce platinum coins as a way of generating $1 trillion in revenue and avoiding a battle in Congress over raising the U.S. debt ceiling.
The idea of creating $1 trillion by minting platinum coins has gained some currency among Democrats in recent days as a way of sidestepping congressional Republicans who are threatening to reject a necessary increase in the debt ceiling unless deep spending cuts are made.
The Treasury Department and the Federal Reserve, both independent of one another, each concluded this was not Discount Tiffany Tiffany jewelry Cheap Tiffany a viable option.
"Neither the Treasury Department nor the Federal Reserve believes that the law can or should be used to facilitate the production of platinum coins for the purpose of avoiding an increase in the debt limit," said Treasury spokesman Anthony Coley in a statement.
Congress' refusal in 2011 to raise the debt ceiling unless the White House agreed to large spending cuts brought the United States close to the brink of a debt default and dealt the weak recovery a setback.
Another crisis is brewing as the United States is expected to reach its authorized debt limit of $16.4 trillion in February.
White House spokesman Jay Carney said that with the platinum coin question resolved, the pressure is on congressional Republicans now to act to raise the debt ceiling.
"Congress can pay its bills or they can fail to act and put the nation into default," he said. "When congressional Republicans played politics with this issue last time, putting us Discount Tiffany Tiffany jewelry Cheap Tiffany at the edge of default, it was a blow to our economic recovery, causing our nation's credit rating to be downgraded."
There was also no change in Obama's opposition to another possible way to get around Congress that some Democrats support - that of invoking a line in the 14th amendment to the U.S. Constitution.
Part of the 14th amendment says the validity of the public debt should not be questioned, which some Democrats take to mean that the president can raise the debt ceiling on his own. The White House says it does not believe that approach would stand up legally.
"Congress needs to do its job," said Carney.
The idea behind the platinum coin was that Treasury would mint a coin or coins from the precious metal and that the value would be placed at $1 trillion.
For the plan to work, the Federal Reserve christian louboutin discount christian louboutin flats christian louboutin boots would have to deposit it in the Treasury account and credit the account $1 trillion that could be used to pay the nation's bills.
But if the Federal Reserve does not believe that the coin is worth $1 trillion and refuses to buy it, then the plan falls apart.
Some liberals, like New York Times columnist Paul Krugman, had supported the idea and a petition submitted to the White House website had thousands of signatures. This kind of momentum prompted both the Fed and the Obama administration to consider the concept, and they ultimately decided it would not work.
(Reporting By Steve Holland; editing by Doina Chiacu and Philip Barbara)WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Barack Obama had a little personal fitness boot camp at the Pentagon on Saturday.
Obama, 51, participated in what the White House described as a fitness evaluation at a Pentagon clinic, part of the periodic medical examination of him that is coordinated by the cheap nike free run nike free run discount nike free president's doctor.
He was at the Fit to Win Clinic inside the Pentagon. The clinic's website says its objective is to enhance "military readiness and civilian wellness through fitness, nutrition, health education and positive lifestyle behavior changes."
The White House provided few details but said "the results of the president's periodic medical exam will be released before the end of the month."
(Reporting By Steve Holland; Editing by Doina Chiacu)INDIANAPOLIS (Reuters) - John Walker Lindh, known as the "American Taliban," and other Muslims housed in an Indiana prison have the right to congregate for daily group prayer sessions, a federal judge ruled on Friday.
The decision by officials at the federal prison in Terre Haute, Indiana, to ban daily group prayers for Muslim inmates violates the Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993, U.S. cheap nike free running nike free nike free run shoes nike free 5.0 District Judge Jane Magnus-Stinson said.
The ruling came in a complaint filed by the American Civil Liberties Union of Indiana on behalf of Lindh, who was captured in Afghanistan and imprisoned in the United States after the September 11, 2001, attacks, and two other Muslim inmates.
The case was argued before Magnus-Stinson last August.
Prison officials cited security reasons for prohibiting inmates from getting together five times a day for unsupervised ritual prayer services.
But the court noted that the prisoners were not otherwise confined to their cells during these times and were permitted to engage in other group activities such as talking, watching videos and playing games.
The judge also said the prison had sophisticated audio and video surveillance equipment in place for monitoring prisoner activities.
Magnus-Stinson gave the prison warden 60 days to come up with a new policy for Muslim prayer.
Lindh, who was born in the United cheap louboutin boots cheap louboutin shoes cheap louboutin States, has been in prison since 2002. He pleaded guilty to supplying services to the Taliban and carrying an explosive during the commission of a felony.
Lindh is currently considered a low-security risk among the prison population, according to court documents. He is allowed to play contact sports and cards, and to watch television and movies, including Muslim videos in Arabic, the ruling said.
(Reporting by Susan Guyett; Editing by Colleen Jenkins and Jackie Frank)MOSCOW/BEIRUT (Reuters) - Russia voiced support on Saturday for international peace envoy Lakhdar Brahimi but insisted Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's exit cannot be a precondition for a deal to end the country's conflict.
Some 60,000 Syrians have been killed during the 21-month-old revolt and world powers are divided over how to stop the escalating bloodshed. Government aircraft bombed outer districts christian louboutin ankle christian louboutin short cheap louboutin heels of Damascus on Saturday after being grounded for a week by stormy weather, opposition activists in the capital said.
A Russian Foreign Ministry statement following talks on Friday in Geneva with the United States and Brahimi reiterated calls for an end to violence in Syria, but there was no sign of a breakthrough.
Brahimi said the issue of Assad, who the United States, European powers and Gulf-led Arab states insist must step down to end the civil war, appeared to be a sticking point.
Russia's Foreign Ministry said: "As before, we firmly uphold the thesis that questions about Syria's future must be decided by the Syrians themselves, without interference from outside or the imposition of prepared recipes for development."
Russia has been Assad's most powerful international backer, joining with China to block three Western- and Arab-backed U.N. Security Council resolutions aimed to pressure him or push him from power. Assad can also rely on regional powerhouse Iran.
Russia called for "a political transition process" based on an agreement by foreign powers last June.
Brahimi, who is trying to build on that Tiffany Bracelets Tiffany Earrings Tiffany Rings agreement, has met three times with senior Russian and U.S. diplomats since early December and met Assad in Damascus.
Russia and the United States disagreed over what the June agreement meant for Assad, with Washington saying it sent a clear signal he must go and Russia contending it did not.
Qatar on Saturday made a fresh call for an Arab force to end bloodshed in Syria if Brahimi's efforts fail, according to the Doha-based al Jazeera television.
"It is not a question of intervention in Syria in favor of one party against the other, but rather a force to Cheap Tiffany Tiffany Bangles preserve security," Qatar's Prime Minister and Foreign Minister, Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim al-Thani, said in an al Jazeera broadcast.
Moscow has been reluctant to endorse the "Arab Spring" popular revolts of the last two years, saying they have increased instability in the Middle East and created a risk of radical Islamists seizing power.
Although Russia sells arms to Syria and rents one of its naval bases, the economic benefit of its support for Assad is minimal. Analysts say President Vladimir Putin wants to prevent the United States from using military force or support from the U.N. Security Council to bring down governments it opposes.
However, as rebels gain ground in the war, Russia has given indications it is preparing for Assad's possible exit, while continuing to insist he must not be forced out by foreign powers.
Opposition activists say a military escalation and the hardship of winter have accelerated the death toll.Tiffany Bracelets Tiffany Earrings Tiffany Rings
Rebel forces have acquired more powerful anti-tank and anti-aircraft weapons during attacks on Assad's military bases.
Assad's forces have employed increasing amounts of military hardware including Scud-type ballistic missiles in the past two months. New York-based Human Rights Watch said they had also used incendiary cluster bombs that are banned by most nations.
STALEMATE IN CITIES
The weeklong respite from aerial strikes has been marred by snow and thunderstorms that affected millions displaced by the conflict, which has now reached every region of Syria.
On Saturday, the skies were clear and jets and helicopters fired missiles and dropped bombs on a line of towns to Cheap Tiffany Tiffany Bangles the east of Damascus, where rebels have pushed out Assad's ground forces, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.
The British-based group, which is linked to the opposition, said it had no immediate information on casualties from the strikes on districts including Maleiha and farmland areas.
Rebels control large swathes of rural land around Syria but are stuck in a stalemate with Assad's forces in cities, where the army has reinforced positions.
State TV said government forces had nike free run Nike Free 3.0 Nike Free 5.0 repelled an attack by terrorists - a term it uses for the armed opposition - on Aleppo's international airport, now used as a helicopter base.
Reuters cannot independently confirm reports due to severe reporting restrictions imposed by the Syrian authorities and security constraints.
On Friday, rebels seized control of one of Syria's largest helicopter bases, Taftanaz in Idlib province, their first capture of a military airfield.
Eight-six people were killed on Friday, including Nike Free Run 2.0 Nike Free Run 3.0 nike free 30 civilians, the Syrian Observatory said.
(Writing by Oliver Holmes; Editing by Tom Pfeiffer and Doina Chiacu)