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10 things you need to know today: December 5, 2012
The GOP is split over tax hikes, Egypt's Morsi returns to his palace after fleeing, and more in our roundup of the stories that are making news and driving opinion
 
Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi claimed sweeping new powers on Nov. 23.
Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi claimed sweeping new powers on Nov. 23. Mark Wilson/Getty Images

1. REPUBLICANS SPLIT OVER TAX HIKES
Leading conservatives are blasting House Speaker John Boehner for including $800 billion in revenue hikes in his counter-proposal to President Obama's plan to reduce deficits and avoid the fiscal cliff. Obama has already rejected the plan, in part because it doesn't increase income tax rates for the super-wealthy. Conservatives, however, say Boehner's $2.2 trillion deficit-reduction package breaks a standing GOP promise not to raise taxes, by raising new revenue through the elimination of deductions and other loopholes from the tax code. Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) said the "offer of an $800 billion tax hike will destroy jobs and allow politicians in Washington to spend even more." In a further sign of eroding GOP unity, four Republicans who opposed Boehner on spending and budget issues are being bumped off the Budget or Financial Services committees when the new Congress begins in January. [CNN]
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2. MORSI RETURNS TO PALACE AFTER PROTEST
Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi returned to work on Wednesday, a day after fleeing the national palace as thousands of people protested at the gates, demanding his resignation. The demonstrators, 200 of whom camped out in front of the palace overnight, clashed violently with police, who fired tear gas as some of the protesters breached barricades and tried to reach the palace walls. Morsi's critics accuse him of making a dictatorial power grab to force through a new constitution written by an assembly dominated by his fellow Islamists and boycotted by secularists and Christians. Morsi has scheduled a referendum to approve the constitution on Dec. 15. "Our marches are against tyranny and the void constitutional decree, and we won't retract our position until our demands are met," said Hussein Abdel Ghany, an opposition spokesman. [Reuters]
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3. GOP SINKS U.N. TREATY ON DISABLED RIGHTS
The Senate fell five votes short of ratifying a United Nations treaty promoting the rights of the disabled. Democrats — joined by eight Republicans — voted in favor, but 38 Republicans voted "no," which was enough to defeat the measure as international treaties require a two-thirds majority. The treaty, modeled after the Americans with Disabilities Act, has been signed by 155 nations and ratified by 126. Dissenting Republicans argued that the treaty could violate U.S. sovereignty and should be considered in a regular session of Congress, not the lame duck session. Supporters said the agreement merely encouraged other nations to emulate the landmark 1990 U.S. law. "It really isn't controversial," says Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) "It just says that you can't discriminate against the disabled." [Associated Press]
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4. NATO AGREES TO PUT MISSILES ON SYRIA-TURKEY BORDER
The North Atlantic Treaty Organization on Tuesday agreed to deploy U.S.-made air-defense missiles to the Turkish-Syrian border, a strong show of support for Turkey, the NATO member most directly affected by Syria's civil war. NATO officials insist that the deployment is not a precursor to a broader military intervention in Syria, and that the arsenal of Patriot missiles is intended to be used solely for Turkey's self-defense. However, analysts noted that the missiles could easily be repurposed to support a no-fly zone or other air campaigns. [Washington Post]
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5. DEAL ENDS LOS ANGELES PORT STRIKE
Longshoremen and harbor clerks are returning to work at the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach on Wednesday, after a tentative deal between unions and management ended an eight-day strike. The labor clash had halted work at most of America's biggest cargo-shipping complex, costing the struggling Southern California region an estimated $8 billion in lost wages and the value of cargo that had to be rerouted elsewhere. [Reuters]
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6. TYPHOON DEATH TOLL RISES IN THE PHILIPPINES
Rescuers are trying to reach remote villages in the southern Philippines on Wednesday, seeking survivors of a powerful out-of-season typhoon. The storm, Typhoon Bopha, hit Tuesday with torrential rains and winds of up to 100 miles per hour. The violent weather destroyed entire villages, leaving thousands homeless and killing at least 274 people. Hundreds more were injured, and 279 people are missing. [New York Times]
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7. MCAFEE ASKS GUATEMALA FOR ASYLUM
Anti-virus software pioneer John McAfee is seeking asylum in Guatemala after sneaking into the Central American country from neighboring Belize, where he is wanted for questioning as a "person of interest" in the murder of neighbor and fellow American expatriate Gregory Faull. McAfee, who has hired a former Guatemalan attorney general to represent him, spent three weeks on the run, hiding and, he says, disguising himself as a drunken German tourist and a Guatemalan curio vendor, among other things, to avoid capture. McAfee, who allegedly quarreled with Faull, says Belizean authorities are trying to frame him. Belizean Prime Minister Dean Barrow said last month that McAfee is "extremely paranoid — I would go so far as to say bonkers." [Telegraph]
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8. DISNEY DEAL LIFTS NETFLIX
Netflix shares soared by 14 percent Tuesday on the news that the video-rental and streaming service had bought exclusive rights to show Walt Disney Studio movies shortly after their cinema runs. The three-year deal takes effect in 2016, when Disney's current partnership with the pay channel Starz ends. The news was a major blow to Starz, which saw its stock sink by 5 percent. Industry analysts said it would push the online video-on-demand service of Netflix, which will get immediate, non-exclusive access to old Disney films such as Dumbo and Pocahontas, into a league with TV powerhouses HBO and Showtime. [Los Angeles Times]
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9. U.K.'S TESCO LOOKS TO SELL U.S. FOOD SHOPS
British supermarket chain Tesco said Wednesday that it is considering selling its Fresh & Easy food shops in the U.S. because they're failing to make a profit and meet sales targets. The company also announced that Fresh & Easy CEO Tim Mason would be leaving. Tesco renewed its focus on restoring profits in its home market by investing $1.6 billion there, as critics complained that the company's expansion into the U.S. and other countries wasn't paying off. [New York Times]
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10. MAN IMPLICATES HIMSELF IN FATAL NYC SUBWAY PUSH
A suspect, reportedly a 30-year-old street vendor, has "implicated himself" in the death of a man pushed onto subway tracks in New York City near Times Square this week. The case attracted national attention after the New York Post published a controversial front-page picture showing the doomed man, 58-year-old Ki-Suck Han, desperately looking at an oncoming train just before it hit him, pinning him against the platform and killing him in front of horrified commuters. The photo was snapped by a freelance photographer who happened to be on the platform. [Reuters]

 

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