Today’s Top World News from The Washington Post

Today’s Top World News from The Washington Post  

- New Chongqing scandal erupts as past victims await redress--BEIJING — China’s newly-installed Communist leaders face the immediate and vexing question of what to do about complaints from thousands of people who claim they were unfairly jailed in Chongqing during ousted party chief Bo Xilai’s aggressive four-year-long crackdown on crime. But Communist Party General Secretary Xi Jinping — who in his first days has pledged to tackle corruption and the lack of discipline in the ranks — has just been confronted with a new Chongqing headache: One local Party official was sacked last week for appearing in a raunchy five-year-old sex video that was recently posted online, and a citizen journalist says he has more juicy tapes exposing the hijinks of other Chongqing cadres cavorting with their mistresses, reports Keith B. Richburg:

- Pair of car bombs kills at least 30 in Damascus neighborhood--BEIRUT — Two car bombs blasted crowds in a neighborhood in southeast Damascus on Wednesday, killing at least 30 people and injuring dozens of others, according to opposition activists and state media. The neighborhood, called Jaramana, is a mixed area of mostly Christian and Druze residents that is generally viewed as supportive of the Syrian government and has been the target of several attacks in recent months. One 50-year old man working at a business in Jaramana, who asked not to be identified for his safety, said his employers had to replace the glass in the windows three times in recent months due to explosions. “I don't see the point of replacing it anymore,” he said.State TV aired footage of pools of blood in the street and demolished cars at the explosion site, reports Babak Dehghanpisheh:

- WikiLeaks suspect Manning expected to testify for the first time--The Army private accused of leaking hundreds of thousands of military and diplomatic documents to the anti-secrecy group WikiLeaks is expected to testify in court for the first time as early as Wednesday, part of an attempt by his attorney to convince a judge that his earlier pre-trial confinement was unlawful. Supporters of Pfc. Bradley Manning, 24, have alleged that he was mistreated while held at a Marine Corps brig in Quantico, Va., where he was kept in solitary confinement for more than eight months beginning in August 2010. Manning faces 22 charges, ranging from the use of unauthorized software on a classified computer to aiding the enemy. If convicted on all counts, he could be sentenced to life in prison, reports Julie Tate:


- Obama public relations effort aims to avoid ‘fiscal cliff’--The White House signaled Tuesday that it will try to marshal the momentum from President Obama’s reelection triumph into another victory at the negotiating table, launching a full-fledged public relations effort to avoid a “fiscal cliff” that could jolt the nation back toward recession. Administration officials said Obama will hit the road this week for a campaign-style series of events with ordinary Americans, including a visit to a toy manufacturer in suburban Philadelphia on Friday. That trip and others will be aimed at increasing pressure on Congress to reach an agreement on heading off a series of automatic spending cuts and tax increases that are scheduled to begin in January, reports David Nakamura and Zachary A. Goldfarb:

-The Fact Checker: Newt Gingrich and ‘lobbying’: a deeper look (Fact Checker biography) by Josh Hicks-

-The Root: -Susan Rice: 1st Black Female President?--It seems that the U.N. ambassador, having endured GOP attacks, could have what it takes to lead America.  What a difference some Thanksgiving turkey and time off can make. Apparently the downtime worked wonders on the moods of certain members of Congress, namely Sen. John McCain. Just weeks ago the man said [7] of United Nations Ambassador Susan Rice, "I will do everything in my power to block her from being the United States Secretary of State," in response to her comments regarding the attack in Benghazi, Libya. By Sunday, McCain had this to say [8]: "Sure, she can give everyone the benefit of explaining their position, and the actions they took. I'll be glad to have the opportunity to discuss these issues with her," reports Keli Goff:

-Taxing the rich remains popular--Raising taxes on income over $250,000 remains a broadly popular approach to dealing with the country’s budgetary woes, according to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll.  Sixty percent of all Americans back higher taxes on higher incomes in the new Post-ABC data. Earlier this month, an identical 60 percent of voters in the presidential election said income taxes should be raised on income over $250,000, according to the national exit poll. In the new poll, 73 percent of Democrats support such tax hikes, including a majority, 57 percent, who do so “strongly.” Among political independents, 63 percent back an increase, while 59 percent of Republicans oppose such a move, reports: Jon Cohen, Peyton M. Craighill and Aaron Blake:

2chambers: What is the ‘Gang of Eight’ (and who’s in it)?--Lawmakers eager to tackle a serious policy issue — and to perhaps boost their profile — often find that it’s best to join a gang. In the current debate over how to avoid a series of automatic spending cuts and tax increases, a bipartisan gang of senators has met occasionally for almost two years to work on proposals to restore the nation’s fiscal health. The clique began with six members, briefly shrank to five and has since grown to include eight — earning it a nickname, the “Gang of Eight.” There is a rich history of congressional gangs, including the “Gang of Seven” freshmen House Republicans who made hay of the House banking scandal in the early 1990s and forced long-sought ethics reforms, reports Ed O'Keefe:

- What’s holding back the economy, in 10 charts--Lately, there has been quite a bit of excitement that the big overhang of debt left over from the financial crisis may be starting to ease. Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner has noted that there’s been a “significant reduction” of debt, and a number of indicators point to American households getting their finances in better shape. But there’s still big debate between the world’s top economists and President Obama about whether more should have been done to address the debt overhang. Here’s the story of that overhang – in 10 charts. When the housing market collapsed, Americans were left with all the debt they had taken on during the housing bubble. But their homes were worth much less, leaving families buried in debt, reports Zachary A. Goldfarb:
- ‘Do Not Track’ Internet privacy initiative struggles to keep momentum--The two-year-old drive to give consumers a simple way to block companies from tracking their behavior as they move across the Internet has faltered, say participants in the process who are struggling to reconcile privacy concerns with an advertising model that pays for many free Internet services. The friction puts in peril the “Do Not Track” initiative that appeared to have widespread support at a White House event in February, when industry officials endorsed it in concept. Federal Trade Commission Chairman Jon Leibowitz, who also embraced the idea as central to the independent agency’s push for protecting personal data privacy, had predicted a deal by the end of the year, reports Craig Timberg:

- Obama calls for new stimulus in the form of small-business tax breaks--President Obama made a fresh call Tuesday for another round of economic stimulus, proposing to spend more than $25 billion to offer tax breaks to companies to hire workers or pay them higher salaries. The measure is Obama’s first proposal aimed at addressing the still-weak economy since his reelection and an acknowledgment that though it is no longer a political threat, the nation’s unemployment rate of 7.9 percent remains a significant problem. The tax breaks would target small businesses and refund 10 percent of the cost of new payroll — in the form of new hiring or new wages — up to a total of $500,000 next year, reports Zachary A. Goldfarb:

- Americans continued paring household debt in third quarter--Americans continued cutting back on household debt in the third quarter of the year as declining mortgage balances outpaced rising student and auto loans, the Federal Reserve Bank of New York said Tuesday. The data suggest that households are taking a judicious approach to their finances by whittling down their largest source of debt, while slowly increasing more limited types of borrowing. Household debt fell by $74 billion, to $11.3 trillion, in the three months ending in September. Mortgage debt, the largest component of household borrowing, shrank by $120 billion, to $8.03 trillion, the lowest level in six years. The decline reflects a reduction in home loan balances, foreclosures and home equity lines of credit, reports Danielle Douglas:


Copyright 2007