News in Brief: Ivory Coast Near Toppling Leader, and More …

Ivory Coast Near Toppling Leader

Rebels in the Ivory Coast are near to overthrowing the president, reports The Guardian UK, after his top general deserted and rebel forces advanced into his seat of power. Laurent Gbagbo had refused to cede power to the new presidential claimant, Alassane Outtara, and French troops had been deployed to the area. Aid workers have estimated hat casualties from the four-month political crisis run into the thousands.

Six US Soldiers Killed in Afghanistan

Six US soldiers have been killed in heavy fighting in Afghanistan after a large-scale assault near the border with Pakistan. The Washington Post reports that the soldiers clashed with both Afghan and Pakistani insurgents, with one Afghan soldier also killed in the assault. The remote border region of Kunar, where the battle took place, has been one of the most violent areas of Afghanistan since 2005.

Wisconsin GOP Won't Enforce Anti-Union Law Following Injunction

Wisconsin Republicans have backed off from enforcing the state's new anti-union law following the ruling by a local judge that the bill has not yet taken effect. Dane County Circuit Judge Maryann Sumi issued a restraining order against the measure last month, blocking its implementation, ruling that GOP lawmakers were most likely in violation of open meeting laws when the legislation was pushed through. Earlier, Republican state officials said they were going to ignore the judge's order and enforce the law's provisions regardless, reported DemocracyNow!.

Report Critical of Executive Pay Practices at Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac

According to a report by the inspector general of the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA-OIG), the heads of the mortgage finance giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac recieved large salaries without proper analysis or procedure. The two heads received a total of $17.1 million in 2009 and 2010. The companies were under government ownership for both those years, reported Reuters. According to the report, the housing regulator Federal Housing Finance Agency didn't consider factors that may have led the heads of bailed-out companies to receive reduced executive compensation.

Microsoft Files Complaint Against Google

In a major escalation of the battle between the two tech titans, Microsoft called for European regulators to go after Google on antitrust grounds. Microsoft accused the search engine of attempting to “entrench its dominance” on the web by moving into multiple markets, including advertising and mobile phones, to stunt competition in the industry, reported Politico. Google, for its part, has said it is under siege from Microsoft's “anti-Google industrial complex.”