News in Brief: Key Pakistani Party to Quit Cabinet on Tuesday, and More

Key Pakistani Party to Quit Cabinet on Tuesday

A secular party in Pakistan’s ruling coalition said it would quit the cabinet on Tuesday, according to Talking Points Memo. Facing political pressure to respond to violent insurgency and an economic crisis, two members of President Asif Ali Zardardi’s government, the Muttahida Quami Movement, have turned in resignation letters, threatening the fragile stability of a US-allied system. Political turmoil could have a negative impact on US efforts to convince Pakistan to take further action against al-Qaeda groups hiding near the border, especially as Pakistani residents attempt to recover from this year’s devastating flood, which left many to face persistent electricity outages. A fallen government would most benefit the more religiously conservative party, Muslim League-N, led by Nawaz Sharif.

US Companies Hiring Overseas

US business is booming overseas as American companies hire employees in countries with growing markets, AP reports. While unemployment remains high in the United States at 9.8 percent, big companies continue to increase profits by creating 1.4 million jobs overseas this year, compared with less than one million domestically, according to a study by the Economic Policy Institute. Among the companies taking advantage of the favorable economic climate abroad are UPS; Coca-Cola; Caterpillar, Inc.; and DuPont. Economist and Columbia University Professor Jeffrey Sachs told the AP that international corporations have no choice but to seek employees overseas as global work force improves, and that the US should focus on higher education instead. “We are not fulfilling the educational needs of our young people,” Sachs said. “In a globalized world, there are serious consequences to that.”

Anti-Earmark Lawmakers Finance Pet Projects Through Similar Process

After vocally criticizing President Obama and Congressional Democrats for their economic stimulus plan last year, anti-earmark lawmakers like Sen. Mark Kirk (R-Illinois) have turned to a less-well-known process to fund projects in their home districts, said The New York Times. The process, known as lettermarking, involves sending written requests for funding to various government departments. Kirk wrote to the Department of Education in September 2009 asking it to release money “needed to support students and educational programs” in the Woodland School District, which later received over $1 million in stimulus money.