18/12/2015 World News Today


18/12/2015

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This is BBC World News today with me, Alice Baxter.

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President Barak Obama delivers his end of the year presss

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conference - it's expected to deal with a huge range of issues.

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World powers discuss an ambitious plan aimed at ending

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An advisor to President Assad tells the BBC the West must

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I think there is a certain reality that has been created in the heads

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of Western media and people that has no relation to our reality

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whatsoever. Rwandans vote on changes

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to the constitution, which could mean President Paul

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Kagame remaining in power A warm welcome to you. We are

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waiting and expecting President Obama to speak in just a few minutes

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at his end of the year press conference. Now we can go live to

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Washington, DC to speak to our correspondent who is waiting for

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President Obama to take to the podium. What only expecting? There

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is no doubt that he is going to try to trump and what he sees as his

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achievements. I'm sure he will talk about the climate agreement from

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Paris and the Iranians are killer deal and the importance of diplomacy

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and the talks going on in New York right now over Syria. -- nuclear

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deal. He doesn't want to send graduates to Syria or carpet bomb,

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but he will have to refer to the fact that Americans are very anxious

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following the attacks in Paris by Islamic State and an Islamic State

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attack in San Bernardino in California, in fact the president

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before he goes on the occasion will fly to Sam Bernadino to meet some of

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the families of those 14 victims who were killed in that mass shooting a

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couple of weeks ago. There is always a difficulty between the press and

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the president. You can see that the room is packed and reporters are

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eagerly awaiting the president. They will want to ask him about that

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exciting race to be the next occupant of the White House,

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especially the Republican race where the businessman Donald Trump is

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leading the polls. Reporters will want to ask the president what he

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thinks about Donald Trump and people want to tell them. It should be a

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good show. I think it will be indeed, because journalists can ask

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whatever want. You mention some of the topics that are going to make

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the agenda, terrorism, gun control, climate change, immigration reform

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is also something that has frustrated President Obama as he has

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tried to push forward his plans and the Republican-controlled Congress.

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On both gun control and immigration the president has found it very

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difficult to get his plans through and on immigration reform and a path

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to citizenship for people who are in the country illegally, the president

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did want to take action on that by himself but it has become marred in

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the courts. On gun control, in wake of the shooting three years ago when

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all of those tiny children were gunned down with their teachers,

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even in the wake of that, the president couldn't get gun control

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through Congress. The White House has been talking about executive

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action, asking if there is something the president can do independently

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of Congress, is there anything he can do to get background checks on

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people who are buying guns on the Internet or at gun shows, those are

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two areas that are exempt. It will be an extremely interesting about

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and there is always quite a lot of humour in this, and end of time

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feeling, everyone is getting out of time, the president is going to the

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beach in Hawaii and will be playing golf, he still gets security

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briefings on vocation but he does get out of Washington, DC, which is

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not his favourite place in the whole world. -- while on the occasion. The

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White House does get to select who asks the questions, so that gives

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them some control over the agenda. They have called women reporters, in

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previous years, they have tried to play around with the order of what

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is asked and who asks that. This is the President's panel pin it --

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penultimate press statement. In this specimen he will want to tell the

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American people what he thinks his achievements have been in the last

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year and no doubt he will talk about the climate accord and diplomatic

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relations with Cuba, and the importance of diplomacy in trying to

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change the complex and difficult world that we live in. He will not

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be able to escape from what he has called a new phase of terrorism.

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This is the fact that there are apparently Islamic State implied

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spill back inspired attacks, -- Islamic State inspired attacks and

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the president will be trying to reassure people about this. Another

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achievement that has eluded him recently and other has the talk of

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him taking executive action on is the closing down of Guantanamo Bay,

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I wonder if that is good to come up? That has come up at pretty much

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every single press conference and that has been a fight with Congress,

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there is so much detail that has bogged down the White House and

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Congress about closing the facility, how did people that are still there

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will be transported away from the islands to wherever they are going.

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There have been rows about whether they can be transported in US

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military aircraft. This is the level of detail. The president is still a

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lot -- the president is still frustrated by that one. There is a

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lot of concern in America by terrorism. He is now speaking. This

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is not the most important event that is taking place in the White House

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today, there is a screening of Sarwar is -- Star Wars coming up. I

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will try to be this link. Let me say something about the year behind us

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and the year ahead and questions. As I look back on this year, one thing

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I see is that so much of our steady and persistent work is paying off

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for the American people in big and tangible ways. Our early action to

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rescue the economy set the stage for the longest streak of private sector

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job growth in Blackwood, with new jobs being created in that time. The

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unemployment rate has been cut in half, 25%, and most importantly

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wages grew faster than any time since the recovery began, so over

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this year a lot of the decisions that we made early on he paid off.

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Years of steady implementation of the affordable care act helped to

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drive the rate of the uninsured in America below 10% for the first time

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since records were kept on that. Health care prices have grown at the

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lowest level in five decades, 17 million more Americans have, and we

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know that 6 million people have signed up through the website for

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coverage beginning on the 1st of January. 600,000 on Tuesday alone.

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New customers are up one third over the last year and more who sign up

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-- and the more who sign up the stronger the system becomes.

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Americans no longer need to worry about only being one accident away

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from financial hardship. On climate, investment on clean energy ignited a

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clean energy industry boom. Our actions to help reduce our carbon

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emissions brought China to the table and last week in Paris nearly 200

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nations forged a historic agreement that was only possible because of

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American leadership. Around the world, we have been reaching a deal

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to stop Iran developing a nuclear weapon, establishing better

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relationships with Cuba, to concluding a landmark trade

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agreement ensures American businesses are operating on a level

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playing field and that we rather than China by setting the rules for

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global trade. We have shown what is possible when America needs. After

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decades of dedicated advocacy, marriage equality became a reality

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in all 50 states. I want to point out, I said at the beginning of this

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year that interesting things happen in the fourth quarter and we are

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only half way through. I want to help Congress for ending the year on

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a high note. I got to sign an education bill that is going to fix

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some of the challenges that we have but no Child left behind, promises

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to invest more in high-quality early education, and we signed a

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transportation bill, although it is not as robust as I think that we

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need, it allows local governments to plan and get people back to work by

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rebuilding roads and bridges. We have support for American exports

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and they have passed a budget deal. I'm not wild about everything in it

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but it is a budget that, as I insisted, invest in our military and

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middle class without ideological provisions that would have weakened

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Wall Street reform. It is part of an agreement that will extend tax

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credits to 24 million working families. It includes strengthening

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America's leadership at the IMF and because it eliminates the

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possibility of a shotgun for the first time, or for the first nine

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months of next year, we have a long time to get some important things

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than of the American people. There is still a lot of work to do. There

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is still more that Congress can do to promote job growth and increase

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wages in this country. I want to work with Congress, Democrats and

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Republicans, to reform our criminal justice system. Today I committed

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the sentences of 95 men and women who observed a debt to society,

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another step forward in upholding our fundamental ideas of justice and

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fairness. Are most important job is to keep Americans safe. I have had a

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lot to say about that this week but let me reiterate, the United States

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continues to be the global coalition to destroy Islamic State. They have

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already lost about 40% of the popular -- populated areas in Iraq

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and it is losing territory in Syria. We will continue to hit them harder

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than ever, taking out the leaders and forces. We are stepping up our

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support for partners on the ground as they push back. Our men and women

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in uniform are carrying out their mission with the trademark

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professionalism, courage, and this holiday season we are united in our

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gratitude to them for the their service and we are vital to their

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families because they serve along with those two are deployed.

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Squeezing Isil's heart will make it harder for them to spread the

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propaganda to the rest of the world. As we know from San Bernardino, we

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have to remain vigilant at home. Our counter terrorism intelligence are

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working 24-7 to protect our homeland. We can do our part by

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staying vigilant, by saying something if we see something that

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is suspicious, by refusing to be terrorised and staying united as one

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American family. For all the progress that America has made in

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the last seven years, we have some unfinished business and I plan on

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doing everything I can with every minute and David I have left as

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president to deliver on behalf of the American people. -- every minute

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and every day. I am optimistic, more so than I have been before. Let me

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take some questions. Mr President, as you said earlier this week he

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told the nation there is no credible threat of a similar attack, but how

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is it possible to know? Are similar plots not going to be as hard as

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detect beforehand? Some people are saying that the government should

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review the social media of people coming to this country. What do you

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think of that idea? You are right that it is very difficult for us to

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detect plots involving a husband-and-wife because despite the

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incredible vigilance and professionalism of our law

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enforcement, it is not that different from us trying to detect

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the next mass shooting. They are not always communicated publicly and if

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you do not catch what they are saying publicly it is a challenge.

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We are continuing to work at every level to make sure there is no slip

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between information sharing among agencies. We are continuing to

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strengthen our information sharing with foreign countries and because

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of the tragedy in Paris you are seeing much greater cooperation from

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our European partners on these issues. This is a different kind of

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challenge than the sort that we had with an organisation like Al-Qaeda,

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that involved highly trained activists who wrote working

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ourselves or a network. Here you have Isil trying to encourage or

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induce somebody who may be prayed to the sort of propaganda and it

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becomes more difficult to see. It does mean that they are less likely

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to carry out large-scale attacks, but as we saw in San Bernardino

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utensil do enormous damage. The issue of reviewing social media for

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those who are obtaining visas may have got a little bit garbled, it is

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important to distinguish between posts that are public, social media

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on a Facebook page, versus private medication is through various social

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media or apps. Private revocation. Our law enforcement and intelligence

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confessionals are constantly monitoring public posts and that is

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part of the Visa process that people are investigating what individuals

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have said publicly and questioned about any statements they may make.

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If you have private and occasions between two individuals that is

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harder to discern by definition. One of the things that we will be doing

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is engaging with the high-tech community to find out how we can in

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an appropriate way do a better job if we have a lead to be able to

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track a suspected terrorist, but we're going to have to recognise

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that no government is going to have the capacity to read every single

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text and e-mail or social media. If it is not posted publicly then there

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are going to be feasibility issues that are probably insurmountable at

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some level and it raises questions about our values. Keep in mind that

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it was only a couple of years ago when we were having a major debates

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about whether the government was becoming like Big Brother and

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overall I think we have struck the right balance in protecting Civil

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Liberties and making sure that US citizens' privacy is preserved and

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there is oversight of what our intelligence agencies do, but we are

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going to have to continue to balance our needs for security with people's

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legitimate concerns about privacy and because the Internet is global

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application systems are global the values that we apply here are often

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people who are trying to come into the country are benefiting from

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because they're using the same technology. This is why we're

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working very hard to bring law-enforcement intelligence and

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high-tech companies together, because we need to review what we

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can do both technically and consistent with our laws and values

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in order to try and discern more rapidly some of the potential

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threats that may be out there. Congress has made it clear it will

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not let you transfer prisoners to the United States for trial. Do you

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believe you have the authority and are you willing to exercise a? We

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have been working systematically. Another example of persistence. We

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have been reducing the population. We have our review process for those

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eligible for transfer, we located in countries that have accepted some of

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these detainees, they monitor them and it has been determined they can

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be transferred. My expectation is that by early next year we should

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average as their population below 100 and we will continue to steadily

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chipped away at the numbers and Guantanamo Bay. It will come to a

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point where we have an irreducible population, people who pose a

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significant threat but for various reasons it is difficult for us to

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try them in an article three court. Some of them are going through the

:20:56.:20:59.

military commission process, but there is going to be a challenge

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there. At that stage, I am presenting a plan to Congress about

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how we can" animal Bay. I am not going to automatically assume that

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Congress will soon know, I am not being coy, there is going to be

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significant resistance from some quarters to that, but I think we can

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make a strong argument that it makes sense for us to be spending an extra

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100,000,000-$500,000,000 to have a secure setting for 50-70 people. We

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will wait until Congress has definitively said no to a well

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thought out plan with numbers attached to it before we say

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anything definitive about my accepted authority. I think it is

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preferable if I can get things done with Congress. I think you have seen

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me on a bunch of issues like immigration, I'm not going to

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forward leaning on what I can do without Congress before I have

:22:31.:22:33.

tested what I can do with Congress will sometimes they will surprise

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you and this may be one of those places because I think you can make

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a strong argument. Guantanamo Bay continues to be one of the main

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magnets for jihadi recruitment. The question earlier was about how do

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they convince someone in the United States who may not have a criminal

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record or history of terrorist activity to start shooting people.

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This is part of what they feed, this notion of a gross injustice, that

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America is not living up to its professed ideals. We see the

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Internet traffic, we see how Guantanamo Bay has been used to

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create this mythology that America is at war with Islam and for us to

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close it is part of our counterterrorism strategy that is

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supported by our military, diplomatic, and intelligence teams.

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When you combine that with the fact that it is very expensive, that we

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are detaining a handful of people and each person is costing several

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million dollars to detain, when there are more efficient ways of

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doing it. I think we can make a strong argument. I will take your

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points that it will be an uphill battle. Every battle I have had with

:24:08.:24:13.

Congress and the last five years has been uphill, but we keep surprising

:24:14.:24:20.

everyone by getting things done. We try not to get ahead of ourselves. I

:24:21.:24:30.

want to ask you about some of the broader challenges in the Middle

:24:31.:24:38.

East. Some people argue that the Middle East and America would be

:24:39.:24:40.

safer if you had had resumed changes. Considering the experiences

:24:41.:24:45.

of the Arab Spring, I wonder what you think is the American role in

:24:46.:24:52.

the Middle East in terms of pushing dictators out of power. Could you

:24:53.:24:55.

advise future presidents and on Syria, is that your expectation that

:24:56.:25:02.

President Assad's presidency will outlast yours? There has been a lot

:25:03.:25:08.

of revisionist history, sometimes by the same people eating different

:25:09.:25:11.

arguments depending on the situation. Maybe it is useful for us

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to go back over some of these issues. We did not dispose them

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barrack. Projections that because of their dissatisfaction with the

:25:26.:25:33.

corruption and authoritarianism of the regime. We had a working

:25:34.:25:37.

relationship with them. We did not trigger the Arab Spring. The notion

:25:38.:25:42.

that the US was in a position to pull the strings on the largest

:25:43.:25:49.

country in the Arab world is mistaken. For our viewers on BBC

:25:50.:25:57.

Four we're taking you away from Washington DCE for President Obama

:25:58.:26:00.

has been delivering his end of your press conference. For those who want

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to hear what the president has to say, stay with us on BBC World Cup

:26:05.:26:12.

magnets. The first part of the recount will be a continuation of

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what many of us are seen in the past couple of days, it will be cloudy,

:26:16.:26:22.

mild and be some rain. But the whole weekend will not be a

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