RSS
10 things you need to know today: November 29, 2012
Obama predicts a fiscal deal by Christmas, two winners hit the Powerball jackpot, and more in our roundup of the stories that are making news and driving opinion
 A sign outside the One Stop Mart in Chicago displays the record Powerball jackpot.
 A sign outside the One Stop Mart in Chicago displays the record Powerball jackpot. Scott Olson/Getty Images

1. OBAMA HOPES FOR FISCAL CLIFF DEAL BY CHRISTMAS
President Obama, who heads to Pennsylvania on Thursday to stump for his plan to avoid the fiscal cliff, said he hoped to reach a deal with Republicans before Christmas. Obama urged Americans to use Twitter to pressure lawmakers to compromise on a deficit reduction plan to prevent punishing automatic tax hikes and spending cuts from taking effect Jan. 1. GOP unity against Obama's call for raising tax rates on the wealthy has begun to falter — conservative Rep. Tom Cole (R-Okla.) said Wednesday he'd back an agreement to raise rates on the rich but extend tax cuts to the 98 percent of Americans making less than $250,000. "Why make the American people wait through 30 days of this, wondering — 98 percent of them — if their taxes are going to go up," Cole said. [Reuters]
………………………………………………………………………………

2. TWO HIT $580 MILLION POWERBALL JACKPOT
Powerball officials said early Thursday that two people (or groups) had all six numbers correct to win the record $580 million jackpot. The winning tickets were purchased in Missouri and Arizona, and state officials said they would disclose where the lucky buyers struck gold later in the day. The winning numbers were 05, 16, 22, 23, 29, and a Powerball of 6. Before today, 16 consecutive drawings were held since Oct. 6 without a jackpot winner, leading to the massive pot and massive interest in the game — players spent more than $1 billion wagering. Only one lottery haul, March's $656 million Mega Millions award, has topped the current prize. [USA Today]
………………………………………………………………………………

3. REPORT SAYS U.S. PRISONS COULD REPLACE GITMO
A newly released congressional report says that federal prisons in the U.S. could safely absorb the terrorism suspects being held at the controversial Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, detention center, which is at a U.S. Navy base. The investigative report found that there are six Defense Department detention centers and more than 2,000 facilities that might be able to take in the 166 Guantanamo detainees, but all of the prisons would require major operational changes to accommodate the suspected terrorists. Still, says Senate Intelligence Committee Chairwoman Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), "this report demonstrates that if the political will exists, we could finally close Guantanamo without imperiling our national security." [CNN]
………………………………………………………………………………

4. ISRAEL WARNS THAT PALESTINIAN VOTE WILL BACKFIRE
Israeli officials are downplaying the significance of a looming vote at the United Nations General Assembly on Palestinians' bid for recognition as a non-member state. The U.S. and Israel oppose the move, but some of their allies, including France and Spain, have said they would support it. Israeli Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon said that proclaiming the West Bank, Gaza Strip, and east Jerusalem to be "Palestine" would constitute a "serious violation" of peace accords, and that that a Palestinian state can only be established through negotiations with Israel, and that Israel might respond by withholding money or security cooperation the Palestinian Authority needs. "The Palestinians will come out the losers in the end," he said Thursday. [Associated Press]
………………………………………………………………………………

5. EGYPTIAN PANEL PREPARES VOTE ON CONSTITUTION
The assembly writing Egypt's new constitution prepared to hold a vote on the draft document on Thursday, as protests against President Mohamed Morsi entered their seventh day. Morsi granted himself sweeping powers last week, in part to prevent the courts from dissolving the Islamist-dominated panel, which is being boycotted by Christians and liberals. Morsi extended the deadline for the adoption of a constitution from December to February, but leaders of the assembly decided to rush to finish their draft after the constitutional court suggested that it would rule on Sunday on whether to dissolve the assembly. Opposition leaders said the approval of a constitution now would only deepen the political crisis that erupted when Morsi issued a decree last week barring the courts from challenging his actions. [BBC]
………………………………………………………………………………

6. FORMER KOSOVO LEADER ACQUITTED
A United Nations war-crimes tribunal has acquitted Kosovo's former prime minister, Ramush Haradinaj, of murdering and torturing Serbs in Kosovo's war for independence. Haradinaj and two others were acquitted in 2008, but appeals judges ordered a retrial, saying prosecution witnesses had been intimidated. Before his 2005 indictment, Haradinaj was considered a unifying figure in Kosovo, and he could now return to politics in his divided nation. "With the consent of the people," his lawyer, Ben Emmerson, said after the verdict, "he will soon be resuming his rightful position as the political leader of the country." [Associated Press]
………………………………………………………………………………

7. CHINA RAISES TENSIONS IN DISPUTED ASIAN SEAS
New rules will permit Chinese police to board and search ships in disputed South China Sea waters, potentially pushing Asia's most explosive trouble spot closer to war. The new rules, which take effect Jan. 1, allow authorities in China's island province of Hainan to seize foreign ships that "illegally enter" the area, China Daily reported. The Philippines and Vietnam, emboldened partly by increasing attention on the region from the Obama administration, are pushing back harder than ever against China's claims to disputed islands in the region, which is rich in oil and gas. They say China is violating international maritime law by asserting control over international waters. [Reuters]
………………………………………………………………………………

8. U.S. MULLS DEEPER INTERVENTION IN SYRIA
The Obama administration is considering getting more deeply involved in helping the rebels fighting to overthrow Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, The New York Times reports. With the opposition gaining ground, the White House is weighing several options, including directly providing arms to some of the rebels, or even sending in CIA or other intelligence operatives. The first decision could come next week, when the U.S. and its allies decide whether NATO will deploy surface-to-air missiles in Turkey. The missiles would be intended to defend Turkey from neighboring Syria's missiles, but they could also provide critical protection for rebels who control territory along the border. [New York Times]
………………………………………………………………………………

9. OBAMA AND ROMNEY DO LUNCH
President Obama and his defeated GOP rival, Mitt Romney, on Thursday will continue one of the most awkward rituals of presidential politics — the post-election meeting to put campaign-season sniping in the past. Obama and Romney will talk over lunch in the president's private dining room — no press allowed. Neither side said what they planned to discuss. "The president noted that Gov. Romney did a terrific job running the (2002 Winter) Olympics," White House press secretary Jay Carney said. "That skill set lends itself to ideas that could make the federal government work better, which is a passion of the president's." [USA Today]
………………………………………………………………………………

10. LINDSAY LOHAN ARRESTED, AGAIN
Troubled actress Lindsay Lohan was arrested at 4 a.m. Thursday after she allegedly got in a fight with a woman at a New York City nightclub. Law enforcement sources said Lohan and the other woman were sitting near each other in separate booths, TMZ reported. At one point, Lohan told the woman, "Give me my space," and later allegedly punched her in the left side of her face. [TMZ]

EDITORS' PICKS

THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER

Subscribe to the Week