Obama cancels meeting with Russia’s Putin

Putin-Obama
Tensions between Moscow and Washington reached new highs after NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden was granted asylum in Russia. Credit Getty/Reuters

President Barack Obama is canceling his planned meeting Russian President Vladimir Putin scheduled for next month in Moscow, an administration official said on Wednesday.

The Obama administration has repeatedly expressed disappointment after Moscow granted asylum to former U.S. spy agency contractor Edward Snowden, rejecting pleas to hand him over to face espionage charges.

The president is still expected to attend the G20 summit in Russia this fall.

Speaking on NBC’s “The Tonight Show” with host Jay Leno, Obama said Moscow sometimes slipped into a Cold War mentality, despite being cooperative with the United States on some issues, including counterterrorism efforts in the aftermath of the Boston Marathon bombing.

Washington wants Snowden, who was in hiding in Hong Kong before flying to Moscow in June, to be returned to the U.S. to be prosecuted for disclosing secret American Internet and telephone surveillance programs.

“What I say to President Putin is, that’s the past and … we’ve got to think about the future. And there’s no reason why we shouldn’t be able to cooperate more effectively than we do.”

During the interview, Obama also said the recent threat that caused the United States to close its embassies throughout the Middle East was significant.

“It’s significant enough that we’re taking every precaution,” Obama said.

“It’s a reminder that for all the progress we’ve made … this radical, violent extremism is still out there,” Obama said. “We’ve got to stay on top of it.”

The U.S. State Department issued a worldwide travel alert Friday warning Americans that al Qaeda may be planning attacks in August, particularly in the Middle East and North Africa. It initially announced the embassy closures would be only for Sunday, then extended the closures of some by a week.

Asked whether the controversial surveillance programs helped lead to the intelligence that sparked the warnings, Obama said the programs were critical to counterterrorism work. But he said more needed to be done to assure Americans they were not being spied on themselves.

“We don’t have a domestic spying program,” he said. “What we do have are some mechanisms where we can track a phone number or an email address that we know is connected to some sort of terrorist threat.”

The odds of dying in a terrorist attack were less than dying in a car accident, Obama said, and Americans should be careful but did not need to cancel planned vacations to places such as Europe as a result of the recent travel warnings.

Lighter side

In lighter notes, Obama said he had invited his former secretary of state, Hillary Clinton, to her recent lunch at the White House and described her as having a post-administration “glow.”

“We have become genuinely close, and I could not have more respect for her,” Obama said.

Asked by Leno whether the former first lady and potential 2016 presidential candidate had “measured the drapes” while she was there, Obama said no.

“Keep in mind she’s been there before,” he joked. “She doesn’t have to measure them.”

Obama also confirmed — more or less — a budding “bromance” with his former 2008 presidential rival, Republican Sen. John McCain, who has been supportive of Obama’s push to reform U.S. immigration laws.

“That’s how a classic romantic comedy goes, right? Initially you’re not getting along and then you keep on bumping into each other,” Obama joked.

“John McCain and I have, you know, a number of philosophical differences, but he is a person of integrity. He is willing to say things regardless of the politics.”

Leno also poked fun at Obama for having told a group of young people that broccoli was his favorite food.

“Me and broccoli, I don’t know, we’ve got a thing going,” Obama offered.



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
National

Is #JusticeForAvaLynn a case of bullying?

On Saturday, the hashtag #JusticeForAvaLynn became one of the trending topics on Twitter. Users circulated the above photo of 5-year-old AvaLynn, posted by her mother…

International

Terrorism could spread to US and Europe in…

Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah said terrorism would soon spread to Europe and the United States unless it is quickly dealt with in the Middle East,…

National

Ex-Bitcoin official to plead guilty to Silk Road…

Bitcoin entrepreneur Charlie Shrem has reached a plea deal to resolve U.S. charges that he engaged in a scheme to sell over $1 million of…

International

China's army changes tactics to prepare for war…

Chinese President Xi Jinping has said China will spur military innovation and called on the army to create a new strategy for "information warfare" as…

Gossip

Joan Rivers on life support: Report

TMZ reports that comedian Joan Rivers has been placed on life support, "completely reliant on machines to stay alive." Rivers has been hospitalized since she…

Movies

What's new on Netflix in September

September has a supernatural theme for Netflix. UFO "documentaries" and the survivalist reality series "Doomsday Preppers" are among the new series coming to the online…

Going Out

'Friends' coffeehouse Central Perk coming to NYC —…

"Friends" is coming back for a one-off special: "The One with the Free Coffee." Warner Bros. is bringing a pop-up replica of Central Perk, the…

Movies

Interview: 'As Above, So Below' directors: 5 ways…

The fraternal directors of the found footage horror "As Above, So Below" dish on the best ways to frighten the bejesus out of audiences.

NFL

3 things we learned in the Giants preseason…

The final score didn’t matter — a 16-13 win by the Giants — but it would’ve been nice to finally see Big Blue’s new-look offense get on track.

NFL

NFL Power Rankings: Seahawks, Broncos, Patriots, 49ers start…

NFL Power Rankings: Seahawks, Broncos, Patriots start at top

U.S. Soccer

5 facts about new England captain Wayne Rooney

Manchester United striker Wayne Rooney was named as the new England captain by coach Roy Hodgson on Thursday.

NFL

Jets vs. Eagles: 3 things to watch

A win on Thursday night at the Eagles would give the Jets a 3-1 record and just their second winning preseason under head coach Rex Ryan.

Wellbeing

VIDEO: Still not wearing sunscreen? You will after…

Sunscreen is possibly the most often repeated - and ignored - piece of skincare advice. But Thomas Leveritt took a different tactic. With a short…

Food

Twitter used to track down sources of food…

When Chicago health officials saw Twitter users complaining about local food poisoning episodes, they reached out on Twitter to those users and often ended up…

Style

Trend: White hot on the 2014 Emmy's red…

White was one of the big trends on the Emmy's red carpet.

Food

Recipe: Samuel Adams beer-marinated grilled shrimp

Summer calls for two things: a cold beer and light food. Sam Adams' Latitude 48 IPA fairly bursts with citrus notes, making it an ideal marinade…