The Top 10 Stories of December 14, 2012

By Duane Shank 12-14-2012

 Quote of the day.
“I’ve been called names all my life from the ultraconservative reactionary position, but this is a level of demeaning that I’ve not seen before. Demeaning not just of me, but of the Muslim faith, of this organization, the Prophet Muhammad and the Koran.” Rev. J. Edwin Bacon Jr., rector of All Saints Church in Pasadena, Calif., on the criticism he’s receiving for allowing the Muslim Public Affairs Council to hold its annual convention at the church.
(New York Times)

1. Susan Rice withdraws candidacy for secretary of state.
U.N. Ambassador Susan E. Rice withdrew her name Thursday as President Obama’s leading candidate for secretary of state, saying the administration could not afford a “lengthy, disruptive and costly” confirmation fight over statements she made about the extremist attack in Libya that killed four Americans.
(Washington Post)

2. With gap wide and time short, Obama and Boehner meet.
With time running short to work out a deal to avert a year-end fiscal crisis, President Obama called Speaker John A. Boehner to the White House on Thursday evening to try to move talks forward even as pessimism mounted that a broad deal could be struck that bridges the substantial gap between the parties on taxes and entitlements like Medicare.
(New York Times)

3. Texas judge lifts order that halted work on Keystone XL pipeline.
A Texas judge has lifted a temporary restraining order that had stopped oil company TransCanada from building a portion of the controversial Keystone XL pipeline through the eastern part of the state.
(Chicago Tribune)

4. One-party dominance grows in states.
Beginning in January, 46 states will have one-party control of their legislatures, the highest number since World War II, and in many of those states the majorities are now big enough to sweep aside any objections from the other party.
(USA Today)

5. People live longer, but with more disability.
The health of most of the planet’s population is rapidly coming to resemble that of the United States, where death in childhood is rare, too much food is a bigger problem than too little, and life is long and often darkened by disability.
(Washington Post)

6. Pentagon to send missiles, 400 troops to Turkey.
The U.S. will send two batteries of Patriot missiles and 400 troops to Turkey as part of a NATO force meant to protect Turkish territory from potential Syrian missile attack.
(Associated Press)

7. Progress on Iran nuclear program.
A senior U.N. official announced progress Friday in long-stalled efforts to resume a probe of suspicions that Iran may have worked to develop nuclear arms, saying the investigation could be restarted by early next year.
(Associated Press)

8. Rival rallies as referendum looms.
Supporters and opponents of Egypt''s president are staging final rallies ahead of a referendum on a draft constitution, due to start on Saturday.
(BBC)

9. Taliban release helps Afghan-Pakistani ties and raises hopes for peace deal.
Afghan officials say Pakistan has released a new batch of Taliban prisoners, in the latest of a series of concessions to Kabul that could signal greater Pakistani support for a peace deal in Afghanistan.
(Guardian)

10. Hunger spreads through Syria as war intensifies.
Desperation for food is growing in parts of Syria, where fist fights or dashes across the civil war front lines have become part of the daily struggle to secure a loaf of bread. 
(Reuters)

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