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News in Brief: Ivory Coast on “Brink of Genocide,” and More

Ivory Coast on “Brink of Genocide”

Ivory Coast on “Brink of Genocide”

The Ivory Coast is on the “brink of genocide,” according to the West African country’s new ambassador to the UN, and the world must take action immediately, reported The Guardian UK. Youssoufou Bamba’s plea claimed that houses in the area were being marked according to the tribe of those who lived inside, while the UN accused the security forces of President Laurent Gbagbo of blocking access to what investigators believe are mass graves. Gbagbo has refused to step down in favor of Alassane Ouattara, who is widely considered to have won last month’s elections. Calls for intervention have received some traction among African leaders – a Nigerian government official said Friday that West African countries are considering a military option to force Gbagbo to cede power.

WikiLeaks Cable Dump Reveals Flaws of State Department’s Information-Sharing Tool

A bureaucratic and obscure information-sharing initiative, Net-Centric Diplomacy, was a database so obscure that few diplomats were aware of it until the WikiLeaks State Department cable dump revealed its contents. An investigation by The Washington Post has found that the system played a critical role in the most sensitive heist of information in modern times. Due to Net-Centric’s design and confusion among users, the database became an inadvertent and accessible repository of the US’s most private discussions with foreign leaders and diplomats.

Financier Steven Rattner to Pay $10 Million in Settlement

Steven L. Rattner, an American financier and private equity investor put in charge of overhauling the auto industry by President Obama, has agreed to pay $10 million to New York state’s pension fund to settle charges that he engaged in a kickback scheme. In addition, New York Attorney General and soon-to-be


governor, Andrew M. Cuomo, has barred Rattner from appearing before a public pension fund within the state for five years. In their very public feud, Cuomo originally fought for a $26 million settlement and a lifetime ban for Rattner from the New York securities industry, reported The New York Times. Rattner did not admit any wrongdoing.

Filibuster Reform Introduced, With Uncertain Future

Sen. Tom Udall (D-New Mexico) has introduced a package of filibuster reforms to be considered for the Senate’s first session in the new year, including an end to secret holds, banning the minority party from blocking debate entirely and forcing senators who want to obstruct legislation to argue their case on the Senate floor. But Talking Points Memo reports that Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nevada) may be working with Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky) to replace Udall’s proposal with more modest reforms.

As Frustration Grows, Airports Consider Ditching TSA

Sixteen airports in the country, since 2002, have hired private firms to replace the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), reports The Washington Post. Responding to recent public outrage over invasive security screening, airports including San Francisco and Kansas City International Airport, say that the unwieldy size and bureaucracy of the federal aviation system is much of the reason for their switch. However, their request must be approved by the TSA.

Facebook Passes Google as Most Popular Site on the Internet

Pegged by The Washington Post as the year that America’s favorite online pastime became social networking, not searching, 2010 became the year Facebook first pushed past Google to become the most popular site on the Internet, according to web tracking firms.