News in Brief: Clinton Tells Taliban to Cut Ties to al-Qaeda, and More …

Clinton Tells Taliban to Cut Ties to al-Qaeda

According to Reuters, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said that the death of Osama bin Laden shows the Taliban that it cannot defeat the US in its war in Afghanistan, and that the regime should abandon its ties with al-Qaeda. “In Afghanistan we will continue taking the fight to al Qaeda and their Taliban allies while working to support the Afghan people as they build a stronger government and begin to take responsibility for their own security,” Clinton said in a brief speech at the State Department after the announcement that bin Laden had been killed in a US raid on a compound near Islamabad, the capital of Pakistan. “Our message to the Taliban remains the same … you cannot wait us out, you cannot defeat us, but you can make the choice to abandon al Qaeda and participate in a peaceful political process,” Clinton said.

Poll: Majority of Voters Reject Medicare Cuts, Support Raising Taxes on Wealthy

A new poll conducted for The Hill shows that 53 percent of likely voters say they do not want their existing or future Medicare benefits to be cut, even if it would help reduce the federal debt. Close to half of survey participants also rejected raising the Social Security retirement age, with 47 percent saying they would oppose the suggestion for people who are now 55 years old or younger. The findings show the difficulties that Republicans face in passing their version of Medicare reform; the popular plan crafted by Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wisconsin) would have seniors buying private insurance plans, with the government subsidizing a portion of their bills. Poll respondents also highly favored raising taxes on the wealthy in order to reduce the deficit, with 64 percent saying they support increasing taxes on people earning more than $250,000 a year.

States Consider Utah's Four-Day Workweek Style to Cut Deficit

Since 2008, many non-emergency state workers in Utah have been fitting 40-hour workweeks into four days and enjoying three days weekends in an attempt to trim their deficit, The New York Times writes. Now, states such as Texas and Oregon have begun looking at Utah's model, known as the 4/10 system, as a possible solution to close budget gaps. Managers say one benefit is that Friday closings have compelled Utah to improve government web sites, so that residents in need of services such as unemployment benefits did not need to visit the state office to file paperwork; reduced commutes and fewer trips to government buildings contribute to energy savings. Having Fridays off also allows Utah's high number of volunteers to contribute even more to their communities.

Native Americans Protest Development Plans in Burial Ground

New America Media reports that a group of Native Americans in Vallejo, California, have begun protesting a proposed development on 15 acres of land, where city officials want to build a new park over the site of an Ohlone burial ground. Native American activists say that too many other sacred areas have been desecrated for the sake of urban development in the Bay Area, and protesters have set up a sustained prayer vigil on the land for two weeks to oppose the plan and have promised to stay there until the Greater Vallejo Recreation District agrees not to develop the park. “We've been battling the city of Vallejo for 12 years,” said resident Norman “Wounded Knee”” DeoCamp, a descendant of the Miwok tribe. “We're saying no more and taking a stand for our sacred land.” Steve Pressley of the GVRD said the city wants to compromise on the proposal to take in “everybody's concerns from activists to local homeowners.”