Quote of the day.
"I welcome this order. Justice has been done and the law of the land has been upheld by the court. It will send out a positive image of Pakistan in the international community that there is justice for all and that society has risen up for justice and tolerance." Paul Bhatti, the only Christian member of Pakistan''s federal cabinet, on the news that a Pakistan court has thrown out charges against a young Christian girl accused of blasphemy.
1. Church of England votes against allowing women bishops.
The Church of England has been plunged into its gravest crisis in decades after legislation that would have allowed female clergy to become bishops, and swept away centuries of entrenched sexism, was rejected by just six votes.
2. Rough start for fiscal cliff talks.
The opening round of negotiations this week between White House and senior GOP congressional staffers left both sides pessimistic about their ability to reach a quick deal on averting the fiscal cliff, according to sources familiar with the talks.
3. Administration defines benefits that must be offered under the health law.
The Obama administration took a big step on Tuesday to carry out the new health care law by defining “essential health benefits” that must be offered to most Americans and by allowing employers to offer much bigger financial rewards to employees who quit smoking or adopt other healthy behaviors.
(New York Times)
4. The biggest challenge to immigration bill may be guest workers.
That debate, over how to manage future flows of legal immigration, particularly the size and scope of some kind of temporary worker program, could just as easily derail any type of immigration overhaul.
5. Food banks alarmed as drought dents supplies.
The worst drought in more than half a century has weakened the safety net for the 50 million Americans who struggle to get enough to eat, and the nation''s food banks are raising the alarm as the holiday season gets into full swing.
6. Fewest vets in Congress since 1940s.
A decade of wars abroad has not reversed the decline in military veterans serving in the U.S. Congress. When the next session convenes in January, the two chambers will have the fewest number of veterans serving since World War II.
7. Amid Gaza diplomacy, bomb blasts Tel Aviv bus.
A bomb exploded aboard an Israeli bus near the nation''s military headquarters in Tel Aviv on Wednesday, wounding 27 people, delivering a major blow to diplomatic efforts to forge a truce to end a week of fighting between Israel and Gaza''s militant Hamas rulers.
8. With Clinton’s dash to Middle East, Obama signals a shift in his approach.
President Obama’s decision to send his top diplomat on an emergency Middle East peacemaking mission Tuesday marked an administration shift to a more activist role in the region’s affairs and offered clues to how he may use the political elbow room afforded by a second term.
9. New H.I.V. cases falling in some poor nations.
New infections with H.I.V. have dropped by half in the past decade in 25 poor and middle-income countries, many of them in Africa, the continent hardest hit by AIDS, the United Nations said Tuesday.
(New York Times)
10. Congo rebels ready to march on Kinshasa.
The rebel group M23 has said it is ready to march on the capital city of Kinshasa and take control of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), having captured Goma, the main city in the east of the country.