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News in Brief: Jobless-Benefits Bill Rejected, and More …

Jobless-Benefits Bill Rejected

Jobless-Benefits Bill Rejected

House Republicans torpedoed a bill to extend jobless benefits for the long-term unemployed for three months, demanding that the $12 billion cost to continue the program is offset rather than being added to the deficit. Current benefits for people unemployed more than 26 weeks are set to expire on November 30, reports The Boston Globe. Though Democrats failed to get the two-thirds majority needed to extend the benefits, they can still take a more arduous route to securing the benefits by floating the bill under regular debate rules. Most analysts say the Democrats anticipated that the bill would fail, but tried it anyway in an act of political theater guaranteed to make the Republicans look bad: “The message to four million Americans will be the Republican Party doesn’t care whether you have a Christmas or a way to fund your mortgage or a way to put food on the table for the next three months,” said Rep. Jim McDermott (D-Washington).

House Ethics Panel Seeks Censure for Rangel

Rep. Charlie Rangel may have the honor of being the first representative to be censured by the House of Representatives in 27 years – the House ethics committee recommended in a 9-1 vote that Rangel be censured for ethical misconduct. The representative of New York’s Fifth Congressional District was found guilty on 11 counts of violating House rules, including neglecting to pay rent on a villa he owned in the Dominican Republic and setting up his campaign quarters in a rent-controlled apartment in New York, reports The Boston Globe. Censure is the worst punishment the ethics committee can mete out short of expulsion.

Cholera Protests Reach Haitian Capital

Large-scale protests in Haiti against a cholera outbreak that has killed more than 1,100 people and infected 17,000 others have spread to the capital Port-au-Prince, where demonstrators clashed with UN troops. The Nepali United Nations soldiers are blamed for bringing in the cholera strain, which is foreign to Haiti, and the protesters called for the withdrawal of UN forces, reported Democracy Now!. The US Center for Disease Control and Prevention warned that Haitians have no preexisting immunity to cholera, and that public awareness that treatment options are available needs to be increased.

India Microlending Faces Collapse From Defaults

Microloans, once thought to be the paving stones out of poverty, are facing a backlash in India: angered by the hundreds of millions of dollars raked in by for-profit microlending companies have led some local leaders in India to encourage their constituents to default on their loans. As a result, payments on nearly $2 billion in loans have ceased, with less than 10 percent of borrowers having made payments in the past couple of weeks, reported The New York Times. Officials now fear a repeat of the American subprime mortgage debacle.

Fox Boss Apologizes for Calling NPR Execs Nazis

Fox News chief Roger Ailes has apologized for calling NPR executives “Nazis” over their firing of Juan Williams – Ailes says that he should have called them “nasty, inflexible bigots” instead, reports CBS. Ailes called NPR the left wing of Nazism before apologizing in a letter to the Jewish Anti-Defamation League, saying he was “ad libbing.” Ailes also called for federal funding of NPR – which only makes up 1 percent of their budget – to be discontinued.

New Zealand Miners Missing After Explosion

Twenty-seven miners are missing after an explosion at a coal mine in New Zealand, reported the BBC, with rescuers concerned about another explosion delaying attempts to enter the mineshaft. New Zealand has not seen a mining disaster since 1967, but both the United States and Chile have recently experienced mine collapses or explosions.

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