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PHNO HEADLINE NEWS THIS PAST WEEK
(Mini Reads followed by Full Reports below)

175 STATES SIGN LANDMARK PARIS DEAL ON CLIMATE CHANGE


APRIL 24 -United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon speaks during the Paris Agreement on climate change UNITED NATIONS— The historic agreement on climate change marked a major milestone on Friday with a record 175 countries signing on to it on opening day. But world leaders made clear more action is needed, and quickly, to fight a relentless rise in global temperatures. With the planet heating up to record levels, sea levels rising and glaciers melting, the pressure to have the Paris Agreement enter into force and to have every country turn its words into deeds was palpable at the UN signing ceremony. “The world is in a race against time,” UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said in his opening speech. “The era of consumption without consequences is over.”   “Today you are signing a new covenant with the future. This covenant must amount to more than promises,” he said. The agreement will enter into force once 55 countries representing at least 55 percent of global emissions have formally joined it, a process initially expected to take until 2020. But following a host of announcements at the signing event, observers now think it could happen later this year. China, the world’s top carbon emitter, announced it would “finalize domestic procedures” to ratify the agreement before the G-20 summit in China in September. The United States, the world’s second-largest emitter, reiterated its intention to ratify this year, as did Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and the leaders of Mexico and Australia. READ MORE...

ALSO: Puerto Princesa declares state of calamity due to El Niño


APRIL 24 -Puerto Princesa City is now under a state of calamity due to El Niño. AP
Puerto Princesa City has been placed under a state of calamity due to El Niño after an emergency session called by the Sangguniang Panglungsod last Friday.
During the emergency session, Task Force El Niño reported its findings to the members of the Sangguniang Panlungsod. The task force reported that an estimated 90 percent of Puerto Princesa’s 66 barangays are experiencing the effects of drought. The dry spell has left more than a hundred farmers in the city seeking the city government’s help since they can no longer plant on their land until the rainy season. Aside from the agricultural land affected, the water level in the Irawan Water Shed in Barangay Irawan was also reported to have reached the third alarm level, according to Puerto Princesa City Water District. City Information Officer Richard Ligad said the water alarm means the water from the dam in Irawan is no longer sufficient for consumers despite an ongoing water rationing. Ligad said that, to mitigate the effects of El Niño, the Sangguniang Panlungsod will use P20 million as calamity fund and for the purchase of two lorry trucks as support to the PPCWD in rationing water. The fund will also be utilized to support the Bureau of Fire Protection and the Health department. — Rosette Adel FULL REPORT

ALSO: Fishermen also need aid from drought


APRIL 25 -Pamalakaya secretary general Romy Antazo said that since the onset of El Niño, a fisherman’s catch has declined from the usual 10 to 15 kilos to only about three kilos. File photo
SAN FERNANDO, Pampanga, Philippines – Even fisherfolk are not spared from the drought induced by El Niño.
The Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya) yesterday urged the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) to immediately release its P673-million calamity fund for drought-stricken fisherfolk in the country. “The fisherfolk are now suffering from diminishing catch due to the dry spell,” Pamalakaya said, as it lashed at BFAR for its alleged “failure to immediately provide adequate relief and assistance to them.” Pamalakaya secretary general Romy Antazo said that since the onset of El Niño, a fisherman’s catch has declined from the usual 10 to 15 kilos to only about three kilos. “At times,” he added, “there’s only an empty net to bring home.” “Fishing during El Niño is more difficult than usual because fish and other marine species migrate and move to deep waters to find cooler temperature. Worse, the El Niño triggers ecological disturbances resulting in massive fish kills and then there is also the problem of red tide,” he explained. He said “El Niño starves rural people, especially the fisherfolk and farmers as they are the frontline casualties of this prolonged dry spell.” THE FULL REPORT.

ALSO: Solar-powered plane completes journey across Pacific Ocean


APRIL 24 -The Solar Impulse 2 solar plane flies into the sunrise out of Kalaeloa Airport on Thursday, April 21, 2016, in Kapolei, Hawaii. AP/Marco Garcia, file
  MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif. — A solar-powered airplane landed in California on Saturday, completing a risky, three-day flight across the Pacific Ocean as part of its journey around the world. Pilot Bertrand Piccard landed the Solar Impulse 2 in Mountain View, in the Silicon Valley south of San Francisco, at 11:45 p.m. following a 62-hour, nonstop solo flight without fuel. The plane taxied into a huge tent erected on Moffett Airfield where Piccard was greeted by project's team. The landing came several hours after Piccard performed a fly-by over the Golden Gate Bridge as spectators watched the narrow aircraft with extra wide wings from below. "I crossed the bridge. I am officially in America," he declared as he took in spectacular views of San Francisco Bay.
Piccard and fellow Swiss pilot Andre Borschberg have been taking turns flying the plane on an around-the-world trip since taking off from Abu Dhabi, the capital of the United Arab Emirates, in March 2015. It made stops in Oman, Myanmar, China, Japan and Hawaii. The trans-Pacific leg was the riskiest part of the plane's global travels because of the lack of emergency landing sites. READ MORE...

ALSO: Tales from Kidapawan
[The potency of Philippine craftsmanship, design innovation, and artisanship takes the spotlight again at Manila FAME 2016]


APRIL 25 -Detainees (now on bail) from Kidapawan City Jail
Singer and composer Aiza Seguerra and wife Liza Diño were on their way to Singapore when the news about the dispersal of Kidapawan farmers and Lumads came out. The celebrity couple learned through social media that the protest turned into a violent conflict between the policemen and the demonstrators. The authorities opened fired on the protesting farmers and lumads in Kidapawan City, North Cotabato, killing two and injuring over 30 farmers. Apart from this, the police arrested about 70 protesters including three pregnant women and six elderly who were charged with direct assault—all these because they were asking for help from the government on account of the drought. CONTINUE READING...

ALSO: Overseas, Obama begins the long goodbye


APRIL 24 -President Barack Obama and his wife first lady Michelle Obama are greeted by Britain's Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Phillip -
LONDON — Back home, President Barack Obama has eight months, a dogfight over the Supreme Court and scores of campaign speeches for a successor ahead of him. But overseas, the president already has begun a long, slow goodbye. As Obama wrapped up his valedictory trip to London on yesterday, he looked very much like a president on his way out the door, reflecting on his tenure and eager to shape how he is remembered. At a town hall with young people, he was asked to look back far more than forward — and he readily obliged. He offered advice for the next president, whoever that is. And then he carved out an afternoon to get out on the links with Prime Minister David Cameron, one of the few world leaders he's made a point of describing as a close friend. "I think that I have been true to myself during this process," Obama said, reflecting on his presidency and his accomplishments. Obama said he was proud of his health-care overhaul, the Iran-nuclear deal, his handling of what he described as hysteria around the Ebola crisis and "saving the world economy from a Great Depression." "That was pretty good," he said. The president acknowledged his victory lap was premature, saying, "I don't think that I'll have a good sense of my legacy until 10 years from now." But it is hardly too soon for the presidential farewells to begin. Presidents regularly use their last year of foreign travel for sometimes sentimental stopovers in international capitals. The trips can be a way to attract attention while voters at home are distracted by the race for the next president. For Obama, they provide a last chance to capitalize on his relatively resilient popularity abroad. READ MORE...


READ FULL MEDIA REPORTS HERE:

175 states sign landmark Paris deal on climate change


United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon speaks during the Paris Agreement on climate change

UNITED NATIONS, APRIL 25, 2016 (MANILA BULLETIN) by AP April 24, 2016 — The historic agreement on climate change marked a major milestone on Friday with a record 175 countries signing on to it on opening day. But world leaders made clear more action is needed, and quickly, to fight a relentless rise in global temperatures.

With the planet heating up to record levels, sea levels rising and glaciers melting, the pressure to have the Paris Agreement enter into force and to have every country turn its words into deeds was palpable at the UN signing ceremony.

“The world is in a race against time,” UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said in his opening speech. “The era of consumption without consequences is over.”

 “Today you are signing a new covenant with the future. This covenant must amount to more than promises,” he said.

The agreement will enter into force once 55 countries representing at least 55 percent of global emissions have formally joined it, a process initially expected to take until 2020.

But following a host of announcements at the signing event, observers now think it could happen later this year.

China, the world’s top carbon emitter, announced it would “finalize domestic procedures” to ratify the agreement before the G-20 summit in China in September. The United States, the world’s second-largest emitter, reiterated its intention to ratify this year, as did Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and the leaders of Mexico and Australia.

READ MORE...

Maros Sefcovic, the energy chief for another top emitter, the 28-nation European Union, has also said the EU wants to be in the “first wave” of ratifying countries.


GRANDPA KNOWS BEST – US Secretary of State John Kerry has his granddaughter sitting on his lap as he signs the Paris Agreement on Climate Change Friday at the United Nations headquarters in New York. A record 175 countries signed the deal, making it clear that more action would be needed to fight the relentless rise in global temperatures. (AP)

Congo’s President Joseph Kabila, speaking on behalf of the world’s 48 least-developed countries, said all were committed to “to move in one irreversible direction to secure a safer climate.” Even though small emitters, he said they would take the steps required to ratify the agreement “as soon as possible,” a reflection of the wide reach of the agreement.

The Washington-based World Resources Institute said that at least 25 countries representing 45 percent of global emissions had either joined the agreement Friday or committed to joining it early.

French President Francois Hollande, the first to sign in recognition of his key role in achieving the December agreement, said he would ask parliament to ratify it by this summer.

US Secretary of State Kerry said the signing of the agreement had to be followed by a recommitment by world leaders to actually win the “war” against carbon emissions that are making the world hotter every year.

Academy Award-winning actor Leonardo Dicaprio, a UN messenger of peace and climate activist, captured the feelings of many when he said: “We can congratulate each other today, but it will mean absolutely nothing if the world’s leaders gathered here go home and do nothing.”

“No more talk, no more excuses, no more 10-year studies,” he told the VIPs. “The world is now watching. You will either be lauded by future generations or vilified by them.”

BRAZIL


Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff speaks during the Paris Agreement on climate change ceremony, Friday, April 22, 2016 at U.N. headquarters. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)

After he spoke, leaders and diplomats from the 175 countries were called to the front of the chamber to sign the agreement. Kerry carried his granddaughter in his arms, a symbol of the future generations the agreement is aimed at protecting.

The ceremony, held on Earth Day, brought together a wide range of states that might sharply disagree on other issues.

Under the agreement, countries set their own targets for reducing emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases. The targets are not legally binding, but countries must update them every five years.

Already, states face pressure to do more. Scientific analyses show the initial set of targets that countries pledged before Paris don’t match the agreement’s long-term goal to keep global warming below 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit), compared with pre-industrial times. Global average temperatures have already climbed by almost 1 degree Celsius. Last year was the hottest on record.

PH: COMMIT TO ACTION

Having signed the historic Paris Agreement along with over 160 countries, the Climate Change Commission (CCC) of the Philippines urged member-states to turn commitments into individual and concerted actions to combat the ill-effects of climate change.

Secretary Emmanuel De Guzman, vice-chairman of the CCC, said the signing of the deal comes at the most appropriate time when impacts of global warming are becoming fiercer, harsher, and more dangerous especially to highly vulnerable countries like the Philippines.

It is also a crucial tool for the Philippines, as it will provide for the country the mechanism to obtain resources to fully support its climate change adaptation and mitigation efforts.

De Guzman however noted that commitments to the new climate accord should not stop with the mere signing and must usher in revolutionary, concrete and decisive actions from member-countries.

“We must all look beyond the signing of the Paris Agreement. For it is now time to walk the talk; we cannot afford any more delays in carrying out concerted action to combat climate change and its impacts,” he pointed out.

De Guzman and Department Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Secretary Ramon Paje led the Philippine Delegation to the signing ceremony of the Paris Agreement.

President Aquino designated Paje to sign the Paris Agreement on behalf of the Philippine government.

The signing of the Paris Agreement paves the way for member-countries to respectively ratify it and integrate environment and climate change programs to their specific national development policies in order to deliver commitments to keep global temperature increase to, at best, well below 1.5 degrees Celsius. (With a report from Ellalyn B. de Vera)


PHILSTAR

Puerto Princesa declares state of calamity due to El Niño (philstar.com) | Updated April 24, 2016 - 2:01pm 2 2 googleplus1 0


Puerto Princesa City is now under a state of calamity due to El Niño. AP

MANILA, Philippines - Puerto Princesa City has been placed under a state of calamity due to El Niño after an emergency session called by the Sangguniang Panglungsod last Friday.

During the emergency session, Task Force El Niño reported its findings to the members of the Sangguniang Panlungsod. The task force reported that an estimated 90 percent of Puerto Princesa’s 66 barangays are experiencing the effects of drought.

The dry spell has left more than a hundred farmers in the city seeking the city government’s help since they can no longer plant on their land until the rainy season.

Aside from the agricultural land affected, the water level in the Irawan Water Shed in Barangay Irawan was also reported to have reached the third alarm level, according to Puerto Princesa City Water District.

City Information Officer Richard Ligad said the water alarm means the water from the dam in Irawan is no longer sufficient for consumers despite an ongoing water rationing.

Ligad said that, to mitigate the effects of El Niño, the Sangguniang Panlungsod will use P20 million as calamity fund and for the purchase of two lorry trucks as support to the PPCWD in rationing water. The fund will also be utilized to support the Bureau of Fire Protection and the Health department. — Rosette Adel


PHILSTAR

Fishermen also need aid from drought By Ding Cervantes (The Philippine Star) | Updated April 25, 2016 - 12:00am 0 0 googleplus0 0


Pamalakaya secretary general Romy Antazo said that since the onset of El Niño, a fisherman’s catch has declined from the usual 10 to 15 kilos to only about three kilos. File photo

SAN FERNANDO, Pampanga, Philippines – Even fisherfolk are not spared from the drought induced by El Niño.

The Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya) yesterday urged the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) to immediately release its P673-million calamity fund for drought-stricken fisherfolk in the country.

“The fisherfolk are now suffering from diminishing catch due to the dry spell,” Pamalakaya said, as it lashed at BFAR for its alleged “failure to immediately provide adequate relief and assistance to them.”

Pamalakaya secretary general Romy Antazo said that since the onset of El Niño, a fisherman’s catch has declined from the usual 10 to 15 kilos to only about three kilos. “At times,” he added, “there’s only an empty net to bring home.”

“Fishing during El Niño is more difficult than usual because fish and other marine species migrate and move to deep waters to find cooler temperature. Worse, the El Niño triggers ecological disturbances resulting in massive fish kills and then there is also the problem of red tide,” he explained.

He said “El Niño starves rural people, especially the fisherfolk and farmers as they are the frontline casualties of this prolonged dry spell.”


PHILSTAR

Solar-powered plane completes journey across Pacific Ocean (Associated Press) | Updated April 24, 2016 - 3:28pm 1 4 googleplus0 0


The Solar Impulse 2 solar plane flies into the sunrise out of Kalaeloa Airport on Thursday, April 21, 2016, in Kapolei, Hawaii. AP/Marco Garcia, file


MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif. — A solar-powered airplane landed in California on Saturday, completing a risky, three-day flight across the Pacific Ocean as part of its journey around the world.

Pilot Bertrand Piccard landed the Solar Impulse 2 in Mountain View, in the Silicon Valley south of San Francisco, at 11:45 p.m. following a 62-hour, nonstop solo flight without fuel. The plane taxied into a huge tent erected on Moffett Airfield where Piccard was greeted by project's team.

The landing came several hours after Piccard performed a fly-by over the Golden Gate Bridge as spectators watched the narrow aircraft with extra wide wings from below.

"I crossed the bridge. I am officially in America," he declared as he took in spectacular views of San Francisco Bay.

Piccard and fellow Swiss pilot Andre Borschberg have been taking turns flying the plane on an around-the-world trip since taking off from Abu Dhabi, the capital of the United Arab Emirates, in March 2015. It made stops in Oman, Myanmar, China, Japan and Hawaii.

The trans-Pacific leg was the riskiest part of the plane's global travels because of the lack of emergency landing sites.

READ MORE...

The aircraft faced a few bumps along the way.

The Solar Impulse 2 landed in Hawaii in July and was forced to stay in the islands after the plane's battery system sustained heat damage on its trip from Japan. The team was delayed in Asia, as well. When first attempting to fly from Nanjing, China, to Hawaii, the crew had to divert to Japan because of unfavorable weather and a damaged wing.

A month later, when weather conditions were right, the plane departed from Nagoya in central Japan for Hawaii.

The plane's ideal flight speed is about 28 mph, though that can double during the day when the sun's rays are strongest. The carbon-fiber aircraft weighs more than 5,000 pounds, or about as much as a midsize truck.

The plane's wings, which stretch wider than those of a Boeing 747, are equipped with 17,000 solar cells that power propellers and charge batteries. The plane runs on stored energy at night.

Solar Impulse 2 will make three more stops in the United States before crossing the Atlantic Ocean to Europe or Northern Africa, according to the website documenting the journey.

The project, which began in 2002 and is estimated to cost more than $100 million, is meant to highlight the importance of renewable energy and the spirit of innovation. Solar-powered air travel is not yet commercially practical, however, given the slow travel time, weather and weight constraints of the aircraft.


MANILA BULLETIN

Tales from Kidapawan by Ieth Inolino April 24, 2016 Share564 Tweet0 Share0 Email0 Share566

The potency of Philippine craftsmanship, design innovation, and artisanship takes the spotlight again at Manila FAME 2016


Detainees (now on bail) from Kidapawan City Jail

Singer and composer Aiza Seguerra and wife Liza Diño were on their way to Singapore when the news about the dispersal of Kidapawan farmers and Lumads came out. The celebrity couple learned through social media that the protest turned into a violent conflict between the policemen and the demonstrators.

The authorities opened fired on the protesting farmers and lumads in Kidapawan City, North Cotabato, killing two and injuring over 30 farmers. Apart from this, the police arrested about 70 protesters including three pregnant women and six elderly who were charged with direct assault—all these because they were asking for help from the government on account of the drought.

CONTINUE READING...


Liza with Lola Valentina before the senate hearing

 “We kept ourselves updated with what was happening. I did my research and I’ve been very vocal on social media. It has become a personal cause for Aiza and I when we found out that there were Lumads involved in the protest. Lumads have a special place in our hearts because we’ve been supporting their cause since last year. We support them with what they are fighting for,” shares Liza.

Aiza and Liza learned about the detained farmers through Cristina Palabay of Karapatan, an alliance of individuals, groups, and organizations working for the promotion and protection of human rights in the Philippines. They were told that the farmers needed help on their bail. Initially, Aiza asked Liza if they could donate money to help raise the amount the farmers needed. But Liza thought of asking other people for help since they could not shoulder the entire amount.

At first, the farmers needed a total of R168,000 hoping that the motion for a reduction of bail from R12,000 per person could be reduced to R2,000. At that time, there was still no word whether the motion would be granted. “We were just seeking for that amount. There was no fund raising event or activity that took place. We just posted a message in a Viber group made up of other celebrities and asked if anyone was interested to help out,” says Liza.


Union of People's Lawyers, and Integrated Bar of the Philippines

As soon as the message was sent out, support started pouring in. Liza posted it to the group on a Sunday, and come Monday, the support of the celebrity members of the Viber group was enough to cover the target amount. But on the same day, the motion to reduce bail was denied. This was when the couple starting asking for pledges. “Everyone readily gave their support. We gave our bank accounts and they all made their donations. Aiza and I went to Kidapawan the following Wednesday to assess the situation. We wanted to know how we could help and how much money we needed to bail out the farmers.”

The two got connected with the legal team, the National Union of Peoples’ Lawyers, who was flying to Kidapawan to represent the farmers. They coordinated with the team so that they could join the court hearing. That day, they took the first flight to Davao at 4 a.m. and drove to Kidapawan for two and a half hours. As soon as they got there, Aiza and Liza met the lawyers and attended the hearing. This was whenthey found out that the motion to reduce the bail was for half the amount, which was R6,000 for each case.

“After the bail hearing, we assessed how much money was needed and it was around R546,000 to R559,000. We put together the amount needed, but it wasn’t only us who donated. There were also donations from Urgent Alert Fund and Robin Padilla’s group, All for Peace, which had a representative present at the hearing. Vice Ganda pledged her own donation and so did many other celebrities. The whole thing happened so fast. By 11 in the morning, after the hearing, we were able to complete the amount needed to bail out the farmers. I would like to thank our fellow artists and personal friends for being able to donate and really come up with the money. They just deposited their donations. It was a simple text message to them. But they eagerly helped without having second thoughts.”


Inside the Kidapawan City Jail; and Aiza and Liza with the human rights defenders from National Union of People's Lawyers

During their trip to Kidapawan, Aiza and Liza went to the prison cell of the farmers. They first went to where the wounded farmers were. This was where they met 19-year-old Victor. He was shot from behind and the bullet went through his throat. He was in the intensive care unit for several days and he was just transferred to the prison cell that day. “He can’t speak Tagalog so we were just listening to the interpretation of one of the lawyers who also spoke Bisaya. We felt bad for him [and the others]. We know that these are farmers. They weren’t members of the NPA or MILF. But no, these are farmers. It’s sad that their unity to ask for help ended in tragedy and injustice. Then we went to another jail cell where 27 women were imprisoned. They had a lot of personal stories on how they were illegally arrested. They said that the police promised to give them food and they would be brought home to their own barangays. But they were all taken to the convention center where they were kept in custody. Then charges were filed against them and they were eventually brought to prison.”

The battle of the farmers is not yet over. Right now, the motion to quash the case due to lack of probable cause was dismissed by the court on the spot. “The day they filed for motion, it was denied on the spot. That’s infuriating. There is now a motion for reconsideration of the said decision. There is going to be a court hearing for a possible arraignment. And once it goes to arraignment, it would be hard to prove the innocence of the farmers.”

With everything that’s happening, the farmers now have to worry about their freedom aside from their empty stomachs. Liza encourages everyone to, like Aiza and she are doing, lend their voice to the plight of the Kidapawan farmers. Being active in social media by sharing the situation in Kidapawan will encourage others to empathize with the farmers. And maybe, that post or message could turn into action and make a difference.


PHILSTAR

Overseas, Obama begins the long goodbye By Kathleen Hennessey (Associated Press) | Updated April 24, 2016 - 4:09am 0 0 googleplus0 0


President Barack Obama and his wife first lady Michelle Obama are greeted by Britain's Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Phillip -

LONDON — Back home, President Barack Obama has eight months, a dogfight over the Supreme Court and scores of campaign speeches for a successor ahead of him. But overseas, the president already has begun a long, slow goodbye.

As Obama wrapped up his valedictory trip to London on yesterday, he looked very much like a president on his way out the door, reflecting on his tenure and eager to shape how he is remembered. At a town hall with young people, he was asked to look back far more than forward — and he readily obliged. He offered advice for the next president, whoever that is. And then he carved out an afternoon to get out on the links with Prime Minister David Cameron, one of the few world leaders he's made a point of describing as a close friend.

"I think that I have been true to myself during this process," Obama said, reflecting on his presidency and his accomplishments. Obama said he was proud of his health-care overhaul, the Iran-nuclear deal, his handling of what he described as hysteria around the Ebola crisis and "saving the world economy from a Great Depression."

"That was pretty good," he said.

The president acknowledged his victory lap was premature, saying, "I don't think that I'll have a good sense of my legacy until 10 years from now."

But it is hardly too soon for the presidential farewells to begin. Presidents regularly use their last year of foreign travel for sometimes sentimental stopovers in international capitals. The trips can be a way to attract attention while voters at home are distracted by the race for the next president. For Obama, they provide a last chance to capitalize on his relatively resilient popularity abroad.

READ MORE...

There are limits to what Obama can accomplish on his farewell tour.

"I can give you one iron law: The president cannot shape his legacy. And he certainly can't shape it on the basis of trips, public relations and White House press statements in this last year in office," said Anthony Cordesman, a foreign policy analyst at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. "But every president I can think of during my adult life has tried."


SHAKING HANDS WITH PRICE GEORGE IN PAJAMAS.

The White House tested its playbook in London.

While the president arrived to lend a hand to Cameron, who is bogged down in a campaign to keep Britons from voting to leave the European Union, that was only a slice of his trip.

Obama's political intervention was wrapped in appeals to British sentimentality. On Friday, Obama filled his day paying social visits and making memorable snapshots with the next generation of British royals, including 3-year-old Prince George.

The toddler got to stay up late in his bathrobe to meet the American president and first lady Michelle Obama.

On yesterday, Obama stopped at the Globe theater on the 400th anniversary of William Shakespeare's death. He toured the replica of the open-air playhouse the Bard designed in the 16th century and listened to Hamlet's "to be or not to be" soliloquy.

Obama's visit took a relatively leisurely pace. His days have started later and ended earlier than they used to. His golf outing at The Grove with Cameron marked the first time he'd managed to exercise his golf obsession abroad.

GERMANY

Obama is due Sunday in Hannover, Germany, a trip that is also viewed as a political favor for a close ally. Obama is expected to defend Chancellor Angela Merkel against criticism on trade and her stance on refugees. It will likely be his last trip to Germany, as well.

At his London town hall, Obama fielded a question from a woman who came out as "non-binary" — identifying as neither exclusively male nor female — who pressed Obama on transgender rights. A Sikh man asked him about US policies on religious profiling and discrimination. But largely the group wanted him to reflect on his tenure and offer advice.

Obama passed up the chance to comment on the fierce campaign to succeed him. He said he'd love to see the next president focus on early childhood education, something his administration has not made a top-tier priority. He told young activists to eschew purity for practicality, specifically directing his comments at the Black Lives Matter movement.

But Obama made no reference to his current battle with Congress over his nominee to the Supreme Court. His longest discussion of pressing policy matters was on trade. The president noted he'd not yet passed the Trans Pacific Partnership, a massive trade deal with Asian-Pacific nations, and that the Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment pact remains unfinished.

But Obama made no promises about either deal's completion before he leaves office. He does, he noted, still have time to get more done.

"Eight months and 52 days — not that I'm counting," he joked. "I just made that up, I actually don't know. It's roughly something like that."


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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