The Top 10 Stories of December 5, 2012

By Jessica Turner 12-05-2012

Quote of the Day.
“The economic rebound in Asia following the global economic crisis of 2008 has accelerated sales of both passenger and freight vehicles as well as power generation. This is putting pressure on urban air quality in the region.” Sophie Punte, Clean Air Asia’s executive director, on worsening air pollution in Asian cities.
(New York Times)

1. Typhoon kills hundreds in Philippines.
Rescue teams were trying to reach isolated villages in the southern Philippines on Wednesday after a powerful out-of-season typhoon tore through the region, leaving more than 270 people dead, officials said.
(New York Times)

2. Tax deduction limits may trim deficits, but not easily.
Behind President Obama’s insistence that tax rates must rise on higher incomes is a belief that Republicans cannot raise as much revenue as they claim, $800 billion in the first decade, simply by limiting deductions and loopholes. Yet in the past, Mr. Obama supported that option to collect even more.
(New York Times)

3. Syrian army weakening as rebels make gains.
After nearly two years of fighting, Syria’s vaunted war machine is showing serious cracks as emboldened rebels snap up more bases and airfields and force army units to retrench behind defensive lines in major cities, Western officials and military analysts say.
(Washington Post)

4. Obama urged by environmental groups to take on climate change in next term.
Campaigners handed Barack Obama a climate change to-do list for his second term on Tuesday, in an attempt to push the White House to live up to its environmental promises. Environmental groups are urging Obama to view his re-election, and renewed public attention to climate change after hurricane Sandy, as a historic moment.

5. Egyptian security forces clash with anti-Mohamed Morsi protesters.
Egyptian security forces have clashed with opponents of Mohamed Morsi who gathered outside the presidential palace in Cairo to protest against his assumption of new powers. The march came amid rising anger over decrees Morsi has passed that give him sweeping powers. Opponents say the drafting of a new constitution has been rushed and is a move towards dictatorial rule. Morsi has called for a referendum on the draft constitution on Dec. 15.

6. U.S. tells allies to make good on Afghan pledges.
The Obama administration pressed its European allies on Wednesday to follow through on their pledges to Afghanistan's security after most international troops withdraw in 2014, fearful of being left with the check in an era of austerity budgets and defense cutbacks.

7. Praising immigrants, Bush leads conservative appeal for G.O.P. to soften tone.
Looking for new footing on immigration before a debate on the volatile issue in Congress next year, Republicans and conservative leaders spoke out this week, raising arguments that immigration is good for the ailing economy and consistent with family values.
(New York Times)

8. U.S. gingerly expands security role in Central America.
Today, as the U.S. forges closer regional alliances, critics worry that it will again team up with unreliable governments and police and military institutions with troubling human rights records, a kind of rerun of the 1980s. Those concerns have served to limit the expansion of U.S. involvement. That, in turn, has prompted criticism that the U.S. is not doing enough, given the severity of the problems.
(Chicago Tribune)

9. Palestinians to U.N.: Stop two big Israeli settlements.
The Palestinians will ask the U.N. Security Council to demand a halt to construction of two large Israeli settlements near Jerusalem, a senior Palestinian official said Wednesday. The Security Council bid is part of an escalating international showdown over Israeli settlement building plans the Palestinians see as a final blow to Mideast peace hopes.

10. At Qatar climate talks, U.N. head rejects warming doubts.
Pointing to the destruction caused by Hurricane Sandy and other weather disasters this year, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon told an international climate conference Tuesday that it was time to "prove wrong" those who still have doubts about global warming.

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