Quote of the day.
"He's doing very, very well. And it is important to keep him in our prayers and also to be as calm as possible and not cause a state of panic because I think that is not what all of us need." Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula, South African Defense Minister, after visiting Nelson Mandela in the hospital where he is undergoing a third day of tests.
1. President Obama, Boehner meet on ‘fiscal cliff.’
President Obama and House Speaker John A. Boehner (R-Ohio) met Sunday afternoon at the White House to continue discussions over how to avert the “fiscal cliff,” their first in-person gathering in nearly a month as the deadline to avert a massive tax hike is fast approaching.
2. Jobless rate edges down to lowest level in 4 years.
Unemployment dropped to 7.7 percent as the economy continued to recover in spite of the lingering budget stalemate and the damaging effects of Hurricane Sandy.
(New York Times)
3. Homeless rate steady.
The federal government and local communities have greatly increased the number of beds available to the homeless over the last four years, either through emergency shelters or through government-subsidized apartments and houses. But the struggling economy contributed to the number of homeless people in the United States remaining stable between January 2011 and January 2012.
4. Troop deaths continue decline.
The number of U.S. deaths in Afghanistan is on track to decline sharply this year, reflecting the drawdown in U.S. forces and an expanded Afghan army that is playing a larger role in fighting the Taliban.
5. Doha climate change deal clears way for 'damage aid' to poor nations.
Poor countries have won historic recognition of the plight they face from the ravages of climate change, wringing a pledge from rich nations that they will receive funds to repair the "loss and damage" incurred.
6. Afghanistan peace plan would increase Pakistan’s role.
The Afghan government is pursuing an ambitious new peace initiative in which Pakistan would replace the United States in arranging direct talks between the warring sides and the Taliban would be granted government posts that effectively could cede to them political control of their southern and eastern strongholds.
7. Opponents of Egypt's leader call for boycott of charter vote.
The political crisis over Egypt’s draft constitution hardened on both sides on Sunday, as President Mohamed Morsi prepared to deploy the army to safeguard balloting in a planned referendum on the new charter and his opponents called for more protests and a boycott to undermine the vote.
(New York Times)
8. War brewing on the latest front line against terrorism in Mali.
The next war against terrorism is taking shape in this West African country, as African nations backed by the United States and France are readying a force to recapture Mali’s north from extremists linked to al-Qaeda and prevent another haven for jihadists from taking root on the continent.
9. Chavez's cancer relapse has Venezuela on edge.
Thousands rallied in the capital Sunday in support of ailing President Hugo Chavez, whose ongoing battle with cancer has cast a shadow over Sunday's regional elections and the comandante's ability to begin a new term on Jan. 10.
10. U.N. nuclear inspectors to press Iran on military site access.
U.N. nuclear inspectors will press Iran this week for a long-sought green light to visit a key military site, although suspected clean-up work may make it difficult to find evidence of any illicit atomic bomb research there.