A meeting is underway at the White House between Senate and House leaders at this hour, it’s a final step at trying to find a solution to avoid the looming fiscal cliff of automatic tax hikes and spending cuts. The president plans to offer a scaled-down package that would prevent tax increases on income of 400,000 dollars or less. Some Senators are optimistic about a deal. Democratic Senator Charles Schumer says he thinks it can be reached. Republican Senator Bob Corker agrees, but
Probably the worst-case scenario will come out of this meeting today,that is, we will kick the can down the road, Jeff, we will do some small deal, and we will create another fiscal cliff to deal with this fiscal cliff.”
Clarke was interviewed on CBS's "This Morning".
A threatened port strike that would have crippled the East and Gulf Coast has offered at least a month, a federal mediator says a contract for more than 14,000 longshoremen has been extended for 30 days. Economists had feared the strike would have crippled the US retail and manufacturing parts of the economy. Johnathon Gold with the National Retail Federation, he says the extension takes some of the pressure off both sides.
The pressure is gone, but at least the hope is that they can get a final deal worked out within the next 30 days, so we don’t have to worry about another strike or shutdown towards the end of January.”
The sticking point between the union and the dork workers has been over royalty payments to union workers based on cargo weight. Mediators say both parties have reached an agreement in principle over that issue, but not giving details.
The 23-year-old student, who was the victim of a gang-rape in India’s Capital is fighting for her life, according to doctors at a Singapore hospital where she is being treated. From New Delhi, NPR’s Julie McCarthy reports young woman remains on life-support and her condition is worsening.
The patient is just currently struggling against the odds, said Kevin Lou, the CEO of Mount Elizabeth Hospital in Singapore. He said that a multidisciplinary team of specialists have been working tirelessly to treat the young woman. Doctors are quoted saying, she has suffered significant brain injury, and that she has an infection in her lung and abdomen. Delhi police say the young student was beaten with iron rod, gang raped and thrown from a bus on December,16th. Her brutal case has ignited rage in the country, then boiled over into violence protests in the capital. The government has tried to stem rising public anger by promising safer streets, speeder trials of sexual crimes and the consideration of the death penalty for the crime of rape. Julie McCarthy, NPR news, New Delhi.
President Obama says he was an American original.
General Norman Schwarzkopf died yesterday from complications of pneumonia after a lung illness. Dubbed Stormin Norman, he led the successful US ejection of Iraqi forces from Kuwait which had invaded that country in 1990. It’s also a highly decorated Vietnam vet. General Schwarzkopf was 78.
On Wall Street at this hour, the Dow is down 92 points at 13,004; the NASAQ down 12; the S&P 500 is down nine. This is NPR .
Security is a top concern in the capital of Central African Republic. After the US ambassador and its diplomatic team were evacuated on fears rebels could try to take the capital. The president of Central African Republic is calling for international help to fend off those rebels who are quickly seizing territory in the country.
Russia has acquitted the only official charged in the death of Sergei Magnitsky. Jessica Gallaher reports from Moscow that the 37-year-old lawyer who died in jail pending corruption charges.
Jailed doctor Dmitry Kratov was found not guilty of negligence in causing the death of Magnitsky who passed away in jail in 2009 after his pancreatitis went untreated. An investigation by Russia’s Presidential Human Rights Council found that Magnitsky was denied treatment and severely beaten. The lawyer worked for Russia’s largest investment firm allegedly uncovered a plan by Russian officials to reclaim more than $ 200 million in taxes paid by that company. Magnitsky was later arrested by the same officials he accused of fraud. The case was widely criticized around the world. As a result, the United States Congress passed the so-called Magnitsky Act, which bars Russians' entry into the United States, if they are accused of violating human rights. In a tit-for-tat response, Putin signed a law banning Americans from adopting Russian children. From NPR news, I am Jessica Gallaher in Moscow.
The number of pending home sales rose to its highest level in 2.5 years last month. The National Association of Realtors says that seasonally adjusted index rose 1.7% in November from October. That is the highest since April of 2010 when the home buyer tax credit caused a spike in sales. Pending sales on houses under contract usually takes one to two months for a signing contract to close.