Sunday, December 21, 2008

NATIONAL & WORLD DIGEST December 21, 2008

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New York Times
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-China to the Rescue? Not!
The partnership between Chinese and American enterprises is about to undergo a radical restructuring as a result of the current economic crisis.

-How to Pay for a 21st-Century Military
A list of what could be cut back or canceled from the defense budget in order to pay for new equipment and other reforms that are essential to keep this country safe.

-Data Show Steady Drop in Americans on Move
Only about one in 10 Americans moved in the last year, roughly half the proportion of as recently as four decades ago.

-4 Top Science Advisers Are Named by Obama

Washington Post
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-Obama Bolsters Jobs Goals for Stimulus Plan
As outlook grows more dire, president-elect expands stimulus package goals, aiming to create or preserve at least 3 million jobs over two years.

-The Pentagon is muscling in everywhere.
It's time to stop the mission creep.
By Thomas A. Schweich
We no longer have a civilian-led government. It is hard for a lifelong Republican and son of a retired Air Force colonel to say this, but the most unnerving legacy of the Bush administration is the encroachment of the Department of Defense into a striking number of aspects of civilian government. Our Constitution is at risk.

-The Clinton Conflict
The former president's fundraising invites trouble. THERE IS no getting around the uniquely difficult issues posed by the dual roles of Hillary Rodham Clinton as future secretary of state and former president Bill Clinton as the head of a foundation that raises money from foreign governments. Mr. Clinton's foundation does valuable work around the world on issues such as HIV/AIDS, climate change and economic development. Foreign governments provide critical support; Australia, Ireland, Great Britain, Sweden, Canada, France, Denmark, Norway and the Dominican Republic, among others, support the foundation's HIV/AIDS initiative, while Australia contributes to the climate change program. But Mr. Clinton's good works also fall squarely within the future domain of Ms. Clinton, and his commitment to continue to raise money for these programs while his wife is in office presents inevitable opportunities for conflict of interest and other difficulties down the road. Ms. Clinton and the future Barack Obama administration would be better served if Mr. Clinton were to direct his prodigious energies elsewhere for the duration of her service.

-Taking Command
Actually, Democrats and the military can get along. Here's how.
By Wesley K. Clark
The last time the United States elected a Democrat as its president to govern with a majority-Democratic Congress, an immediate fracas arose over gays in the military, reinforcing a partisan story line that Democrats can't be trusted with the nation's security. Sixteen years later, some will certainly be watching how deftly President-elect Barack Obama salutes, or how House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid say the Pledge of Allegiance.

-A Chance for Consensus on Iraq
By John McCain, Joe Lieberman and Lindsey Graham
After our visit to Iraq this month, it is clear that what was once unthinkable there is now taking place: A stable, safe and free Iraq is emerging. Violence has fallen to the lowest level since the first months of the war. The Sunni Arabs who once formed the core of the insurgency are today among our most steadfast allies in the fight against al-Qaeda. A status-of-forces agreement between Iraq and America will take effect next month, providing for the withdrawal of U.S. troops and a commensurate increase in Iraqi self-defense. And Iraqi politics is increasingly taking on the messy but exhilarating quality of a functioning democracy. While uncertainty and risk remain high, and the gains made are not irreversible, the situation in Iraq has improved dramatically since the dark days before the surge.

-Outrage Over CEO Pay Simmers
Despite an epic destruction of investor wealth, don't bet on a deflation in executive compensation. Angelo R. Mozilo, whose Countrywide Financial came to symbolize the failings of the mortgage industry, took home more than half a billion dollars from 1998 to 2007, including $121.7 million from cashing in options last year alone. Charles O. Prince, who led Citigroup to the brink of disaster, was awarded a retirement deal worth $28 million. Now, in a show of purported restraint, top Wall Street executives are going without bonuses.

-Shareholders Seek More Say on Pay
By Heather Landy
So you're a shareholder in a company you believe pays its top executives far too much. What can you do about it? Well, not much -- for now. But the deepening financial crisis -- and the growing outrage over executive pay packages and the arrival of a new White House administration -- are breathing new life into the "say on pay" movement, which aims to give shareholders a stronger voice on corporate compensation.

-Terrorism Extradition Efforts Stall
Britain, other allies block U.S. attempts to bring suspects held abroad to trial in federal courts.

Wall Street Journal

-Egypt Faces Mass Internet Outage
CAIRO, Egypt -- Egypt's communications ministry says Internet cables in the Mediterranean Sea have been cut, causing massive Internet outages. The ministry says three Internet cables running through the Mediterranean were cut Friday morning. Throughout the country the Internet is almost completely down or working sporadically.


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