The Week: Most Recent from Harold Maass recent posts.en-usThu, 18 Dec 2014 08:00:00 -0500http://theweek.com Recent from Harold Maass from THE WEEKThu, 18 Dec 2014 08:00:00 -050010 things you need to know today: December 18, 2014<img src="" /></P><p><strong>1. Obama announces historic diplomatic thaw with Cuba</strong><br />The U.S. and Cuba announced Wednesday that they would reestablish diplomatic relations after a half-century rift that began in the Cold War. "Isolation has not worked," Obama said. "It's time for a new approach." The decision followed 18 months of secret talks, and Cuba's Wednesday release of U.S. aid contractor Alan Gross, who had been held by the communist Caribbean government for five years. Conservatives in Congress vowed to fight the easing of sanctions. Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) said the rapprochement amounted to "coddling dictators." ...</p> <a href="">More</a>By <a href="/author/harold-maass" ><span class="byline">Harold Maass</span></a>Thu, 18 Dec 2014 08:00:00 -050010 things you need to know today: December 17, 2014<img src="" /></P><p><strong>1. Widely criticized Congress wraps up its work</strong><br />The 113th Congress, which was panned as the least productive in modern history, came to a close late Tuesday. Democrats in the Senate, on their last day in control of the upper house, wrapped up by approving at least six dozen of President Obama's judicial nominees and extended several tax breaks that had been scheduled to expire in 2015, but failed to renew a terrorism insurance program supported by corporations and major sports leagues. "Thank God it&rsquo;s over!" Sen. Joe Manchin III (D-W. Va.) said. [<em>The Washington Post</em>]</p><p >&hellip;&hellip;&hellip...</p> <a href="">More</a>By <a href="/author/harold-maass" ><span class="byline">Harold Maass</span></a>Wed, 17 Dec 2014 07:59:00 -050010 things you need to know today: December 16, 2014<img src="" /></P><p><strong>1. Over 100 children die in Taliban attack on Pakistani military school</strong><br />Taliban militants killed at least 126 people, the overwhelming majority of whom were students and teachers, in an attack at an elite public high school run by Pakistan's army on Tuesday. Eight to 10 terrorists wearing military uniforms entered the school, which is on a Pakistan military installation, and began "indiscriminate firing," said Pervez Khattak, chief minister of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Province. Two or three terrorists were killed, another blew himself up, but up to five were still in the school, holding scores hostage...</p> <a href="">More</a>By <a href="/author/harold-maass" ><span class="byline">Harold Maass</span></a>Tue, 16 Dec 2014 07:58:00 -050010 things you need to know today: December 15, 2014<img src="" /></P><p><strong>1. Five hostages escape Sydney cafe as standoff continues</strong><br />Five people escaped the popular Lindt Chocolate Cafe in Sydney, Australia, on Monday, six hours after a gunman walked in during rush hour and took an undetermined number of people hostage. Two people inside the cafe reportedly were forced to hold up a black sign saying, "There is no God but Allah," in Arabic. Police locked down the blocks surrounding Martin Place, a plaza in the heart of Australia's largest city, as negotiators worked to get the rest of the hostages freed. [<em>Reuters</em>]</p><p >&hellip;&hellip;&hellip;&hellip;&hellip;&hellip;&hellip...</p> <a href="">More</a>By <a href="/author/harold-maass" ><span class="byline">Harold Maass</span></a>Mon, 15 Dec 2014 07:58:00 -050010 things you need to know today: December 12, 2014<img src="" /></P><p><strong>1. House approves spending deal, preventing a shutdown</strong><br />The House narrowly approved a $1.1 trillion spending bill on Thursday, just hours before a midnight deadline. The Senate passed a two-day extension so it would have time to approve the package, which funds most of the government through the fiscal year, without the threat of a government shutdown. House Democrats nearly derailed the deal, even though it was backed by President Obama, over provisions tucked inside that roll back Wall Street regulations and ease campaign finance laws. [<em>The Washington Post</em>]</p><p >&hellip;&hellip;&hellip;&hellip;&hellip...</p> <a href="">More</a>By <a href="/author/harold-maass" ><span class="byline">Harold Maass</span></a>Fri, 12 Dec 2014 07:59:00 -050010 things you need to know today: December 11, 2014<img src="" /></P><p><strong>1. Police clear main Hong Kong protest camp</strong><br />Hong Kong authorities on Thursday cleared the main pro-democracy protest site, where thousands of people had gathered for more than two months demanding free elections in the Chinese-controlled city. Police removed protesters one by one from the area next to government headquarters. The demonstrations marked one of the most serious challenges to Chinese rule since the 1989 protests in Beijing's Tiananmen Square. Activists did not resist police, but many chanted, "We will be back," as they left. [<em>Reuters</em>]</p><p >&hellip;&hellip;&hellip;&hellip;&hellip;&hellip...</p> <a href="">More</a>By <a href="/author/harold-maass" ><span class="byline">Harold Maass</span></a>Thu, 11 Dec 2014 07:55:00 -050010 things you need to know today: December 10, 2014<img src="" /></P><p><strong>1. Torture report slams the CIA</strong><br />The Senate Intelligence Committee on Tuesday released a highly critical report on the CIA's secret interrogations of terrorism suspects after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. The five-year investigation found that agency medical personnel warned of "a series of near drowning by waterboarding." The report also rejected claims that torturing detainees helped find Osama bin Laden. The CIA pushed back, saying that so-called enhanced interrogations were effective in foiling al Qaeda plots. [<em>The Washington Post</em>, <em>ABC News</em>]</p><p >&hellip;&hellip;&hellip;&hellip;&hellip;...</p> <a href="">More</a>By <a href="/author/harold-maass" ><span class="byline">Harold Maass</span></a>Wed, 10 Dec 2014 07:55:00 -050010 things you need to know today: December 9, 2014<img src="" /></P><p><strong>1. American embassies tighten security ahead of torture report</strong><br />The U.S. beefed up security at embassies and military posts overseas ahead of the expected Tuesday release of a report on CIA terrorism techniques, including torture, after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. The Pentagon placed 2,000 Marines on alert to respond to any threats in the Persian Gulf or Mediterranean. Republicans have criticized the decision by the Democratic majority on the Senate Intelligence Committee to release the report, the first public review of secret post-9/11 CIA interrogation centers overseas. [<em>The Associated...</em></p> <a href="">More</a>By <a href="/author/harold-maass" ><span class="byline">Harold Maass</span></a>Tue, 09 Dec 2014 07:54:00 -050010 things you need to know today: December 8, 2014<img src="" /></P><p><strong>1. The U.S. officially ends Afghanistan combat mission</strong><br />The U.S. and NATO formally ended their combat mission in Afghanistan on Monday, with a ceremonial lowering of the flag at NATO's International Security Assistance Force Joint Command. It has been 13 years since the invasion to topple the Taliban and rout al Qaeda after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. The coalition will still keep 13,000 troops &mdash; down from the 2011 peak of 140,000 &mdash; in the country after January 1 to train and support Afghan security forces, who have led the fight against Taliban insurgents since mid-2013. ...</p> <a href="">More</a>By <a href="/author/harold-maass" ><span class="byline">Harold Maass</span></a>Mon, 08 Dec 2014 08:00:00 -050010 things you need to know today: December 5, 2014<img src="" /></P><p><strong>1. House GOP slams Obama over immigration in symbolic vote</strong><br />House Republicans on Thursday passed a bill chastising President Obama for his executive order potentially shielding more than 4 million undocumented immigrants from deportation. The legislation, drafted by Florida Tea Party star Rep. Ted Yoho, was symbolic, as the Democrat-controlled Senate will ignore it. But House leaders reportedly hoped the 219-197 vote would soothe conservatives enough that they won't block a spending bill over the issue next week and force a government shutdown. [<em>The Washington Post</em>]</p><p >&hellip;&hellip;&hellip;&hellip...</p> <a href="">More</a>By <a href="/author/harold-maass" ><span class="byline">Harold Maass</span></a>Fri, 05 Dec 2014 07:54:00 -050010 things you need to know today: December 4, 2014<img src="" /></P><p><strong>1. New Yorkers protest decision not to charge officer for chokehold death</strong><br />Protests broke out in New York City on Wednesday after a Staten Island grand jury decided not to indict a white police officer in the July chokehold death of Eric Garner, an unarmed black man who was being arrested for allegedly selling loose cigarettes. Demonstrators chanted, "Black lives matter," and, "I can't breathe" &mdash; one of the last things Garner said. The officer, Daniel Pantaleo, has said he didn't mean to hurt Garner. Attorney General Eric Holder promised an investigation into whether Garner's civil rights were...</p> <a href="">More</a>By <a href="/author/harold-maass" ><span class="byline">Harold Maass</span></a>Thu, 04 Dec 2014 08:00:00 -050010 things you need to know today: December 3, 2014<img src="" /></P><p><strong>1. Obama to nominate former Pentagon official Ashton Carter to replace Hagel</strong><br />President Barack Obama has picked Ashton Carter, a former high-ranking Pentagon official, to replace Chuck Hagel as Defense secretary, Obama administration officials said Tuesday. Hagel got the job over Carter in 2013, and later in the year Carter left due to a rift between the two. This time he was the last top prospect not to drop out of the running. A formal announcement is expected in days, after Carter is vetted. Carter is respected by Republican hawks, which is expected to help in confirmation hearings. [<em>Politico...</em></p> <a href="">More</a>By <a href="/author/harold-maass" ><span class="byline">Harold Maass</span></a>Wed, 03 Dec 2014 07:55:00 -050010 things you need to know today: December 2, 2014<img src="" /></P><p><strong>1. Obama to form task force on policing</strong><br />President Obama announced Monday that he would establish a task force on improving local policing as part of an effort to reduce the "simmering distrust" between police and minority communities. Obama said the problem went beyond the anger over the shooting of an unarmed black teenager, Michael Brown, by a white officer in Ferguson, Missouri. Obama's plan includes spending $263 million on community policing &mdash; $75 million of it for 50,000 body cameras to be worn by officers &mdash; and restrictions on transferring military-grade equipment to police. ...</p> <a href="">More</a>By <a href="/author/harold-maass" ><span class="byline">Harold Maass</span></a>Tue, 02 Dec 2014 07:42:00 -050010 things you need to know today: December 1, 2014<img src="" /></P><p><strong>1. Obama gathers leaders in White House to address Ferguson</strong><br />President Obama is holding White House meetings on Monday to discuss the backlash over the fatal August shooting of unarmed black teenager Michael Brown by a white police officer, Darren Wilson. Obama and his cabinet will meet to discuss programs providing police with military-style equipment, like the weapons Ferguson officers carried when protests erupted. Later, Obama and civil rights leaders will discuss "mistrust between law enforcement and communities of color," a White House official said. [<em>The New York Times</em>]</p><p >&hellip;&hellip;&hellip...</p> <a href="">More</a>By <a href="/author/harold-maass" ><span class="byline">Harold Maass</span></a>Mon, 01 Dec 2014 07:55:00 -050010 things you need to know today: November 28, 2014<img src="" /></P><p><strong>1. OPEC rejects pressure to reduce production, sending oil prices plummeting</strong><br />Oil prices dropped by 7 percent to $69 per barrel on Thursday, the lowest level since May 2010. The dive came after OPEC announced that it was leaving production levels unchanged, dashing expectations that the group of leading oil exporters would slash production to boost prices. Saudi Arabia pushed to keep production levels steady despite pressure from Russia, Nigeria, and Venezuela, which need higher prices to bolster their economies. [<em>CNN</em>]</p><p >&hellip;&hellip;&hellip;&hellip;&hellip;&hellip;&hellip;&hellip;&hellip;&hellip...</p> <a href="">More</a>By <a href="/author/harold-maass" ><span class="byline">Harold Maass</span></a>Fri, 28 Nov 2014 09:25:00 -050010 things you need to know today: November 27, 2014<img src="" /></P><p><strong>1. Justice Ginsburg undergoes heart procedure</strong><br />Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg underwent heart surgery early Wednesday, the Supreme Court announced. Doctors put a stent in her right coronary artery, a procedure called a coronary catheterization, after she experienced discomfort while exercising the night before. She was expected to leave the hospital within two days and return to the bench on Monday. Ginsburg, 81, has survived colon and pancreatic cancer, and recently vowed to stay on the court "as long as I can do the job full-steam, and that, at my age, is not predictable." [<em>The New York Times</em>]</p><p >&hellip...</p> <a href="">More</a>By <a href="/author/harold-maass" ><span class="byline">Harold Maass</span></a>Thu, 27 Nov 2014 09:42:00 -0500