The Top 10 Stories of December 17, 2012
Quote of the Day
"Our first task, our first job: caring for our children. If we don't get that right we don't get anything right."President Barack Obama on the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School where twenty children and six adults were killed.
1. Egyptian constitution wins backing in first round.
The Muslim Brotherhood, which propelled President Mohammed Morsi to power earlier this year, urged voters to approve the draft constitution in a two-day referendum, which will continue Dec. 22.
2. Gun control debate begins to simmer after massacre.
Democrats say meaningful action in the wake of the school shootings in Connecticut must include a ban on military-style assault weapons and a look at how the nation deals with individuals suffering from serious mental illness.
3. Obama, Boehner: movement along the fiscal cliff.
Sources say House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, has offered to raise the top income tax rate, affecting Americans who make more than $1 million annually. President Obama, however, wants to raise the top two tax rates, covering taxpayers who make more than $250,000 a year. He says the government needs more revenue to help reduce a national debt that now exceeds $16 trillion.
4. Rise in renewable energy will require more use of fossil fuels.
One of the hidden costs of solar and wind power — and a problem the state is not yet prepared to meet — is that wind and solar energy must be backed up by other sources, typically gas-fired generators. As more solar and wind energy generators come online, fulfilling a legal mandate to produce one-third of California's electricity by 2020, the demand will rise for more backup power from fossil fuel plants.
5. To start immigration reform, study Texas solution.
A good starting point for a legislative package is the so-called Texas Solution. Although I don’t agree with all points on the list, it’s a start. And, importantly, it includes a verifiable, temporary guest worker program. In addition, we should start a documentation process that includes a photograph, biometric data like a fingerprint and other identifying information.
6. U.S. plans for possibility that Assad could lose control of chemical arms cache.
As Bashar al-Assad’s hold on power steadily weakens, U.S. officials are increasingly worried that Syria’s weapons of mass destruction could fall into the hands of Islamist extremists, rogue generals, or other uncontrollable factions.
7. A Syrian airstrike kills Palestinian refugees and costs Assad support.
Government forces for the first time hit Syria’s largest Palestinian refugee neighborhood with airstrikes on Sunday, killing at least eight people in the Yarmouk district of Damascus and driving dozens of formerly pro-government Palestinian fighters to defect to the rebels, fighters there said.
(New York Times)
8. Obama expected to nominate Kerry to head State Department.
U.S. President Barack Obama is expected to nominate Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman John Kerry to succeed Hillary Clinton as secretary of state, sources familiar with the process said on Saturday.
9. EPA cracks down on soot pollution.
Over objections from the oil industry and power companies, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency issued new air quality rules today to slash the amount of fine-particle soot allowed from smokestacks, wood-burning stoves, and diesel vehicles.
10. Syrians sounding alarm over growing food shortages.
With bread scarce in major cities and towns, infant formula in extremely short supply, and fuel costs skyrocketing, civilians in war-ravaged Syria face an acute food crisis that might end in starvation for many, according to activists from around the country of 22 million.