The United Kingdom will institute an additional 50% tax on any bonuses above 25,000 British pounds this year. The tax is intended to recoup taxpayer support to help the banks when they were failing earlier this year, BBC News. Bankers say the tax may make them consider leaving London, Bloomberg.
A split has emerged between smaller, developing countries and larger, developed countries at the Copenhagen climate change summit. Small island nations and poor countries in Africa are likely to be most affected by climate change and want stringent legal measures added to the agreement, BBC News. China is the world’s biggest emitter of greenhouse gases, but grassroots movements are trying to green the country, al Jazeera. Climate change is growing China’s Gobi desert, al Jazeera.The first decade of the 21st century, 2000-2009, was the hottest decade in recorded history, ABC News.
A tentative agreement in the U.S. Senate would drop a government-run healthcare plan from the Senate’s version of the healthcare reform bill and instead expand Medicare coverage, the government’s healthcare program for the elderly, to those over 55. The bill still needs to be reconciled with the healthcare bill from the U.S. House of Representatives and then signed by President Barack Obama, Wall Street Journal.
Confusion in the U.S. capital city as several news outlets are reporting a compromise has been reached in the Senate to drop the public option from the healthcare reform proposal. However, Reuters reports that, via Sen. Harry Reid, the public option is still on the table. More details to come.
President Obama met with Senate Democrats today as the chamber debated healthcare reform in a rare Sunday session. Obama’s spokesman said the President thanked the Democrats for their support and encouraged them to “continue forward on this historic opportunity.” The Senate is expected to heavily debate funds for abortion this week, CNN.
Over 20 mothers who were protesting the deaths of their children during post-election violence were arrested in Iran yesterday at an opposition rally. The mothers were taking part in the anti-government protest in Leleh Park in central Tehran. The government asked foreign news services to not cover the protest and affected internet service to hinder use, New York Times.
The University of Alabama and University of Texas at Austin will play for the college football national title on January 7, 2010 in Pasadena, California. Alabama will be trying for their 13th title and Texas for their fifth, ESPN.
Hot Topic: What Does Afghanistan Withdrawal Date Really Mean?
Guinea’s military leader, Capt. Moussa Dadis Camara, was shot and wounded by one of his aids today. Aboubacar “Toumba” Diakite is believed to be responsible for the attack and is said to have been arrested. Officials say Camara is doing well, BBC News.
The death toll from this morning’s bomb attack in Somalia has risen to at least 19. Four government ministers were killed in the suicide attack, which has been condemned worldwide. Government officials say they believe Islamist militants al-Shabab are responsible, BBC News.
Jewish organizations are siding with the Muslim world over the outrage caused by the Swiss ban on constructing minarets (architecture commonly seen on mosques). The ban was passed after 57 percent of the Swiss population voted in favor, but the country is receiving worldwide heat and many are saying the ban is discriminatory. Italy is also considering introducing a ban on minarets, Jerusalem Post.
The U.S. Senate has passed an amendment to the health care bill that expands women’s access to things such as mammograms, which are preventive services, CNN.
President Obama has asked House Democrats to pass the healthcare reform bill today in a rare Saturday session. The Representatives are still debating the bill, with a vote expected around midnight.
Watch the House debate live.
Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D -CA) says she believes she has enough votes to pass the bill. The legislation hopes to help 36 million uninsured Americans afford health insurance, but it is meeting fierce opposition from Republicans who want government to stay out of health insurance. If passed, the Senate will then debate the bill before to two chambers revise the bill together.
The Senate Finance Committee voted 14-9 today to approve the Democratic sponsored healthcare plan. The bill, which will cost an estimated $829 billion, seeks to provide insurance to 29 million uninsured Americans. Sen. Olympia Snowe of Maine was the lone Republican to vote in favor of the plan, Chicago Tribune.
Israeli President Shimon Peres has warned that Hezbollah has turned Lebanon into a “powder keg.” His accusation comes after an explosion at the home of a member of Hezbollah. One person was wounded in the explosion, but the UN is investigating whether the home was being used to store weapons. In 2006, a 34-day conflict between the two countries left 1,200 Lebanese dead, mostly citizens, as well as 160 Israelis, mostly soldiers, BBC News.
The UN says they have only raised a quarter of the donations needed to aid typhoon and landslide victims in the Philippines. The group had appealed for $74 million, but have so far raised only $19 million. At least 650 people were killed last week during the storms. The UN also stated that there is a risk of disease because of the large amounts of standing water still in damaged areas, BBC News.
Hot Topic: In New Orleans, Uneven Recovery Awaits Obama.
President Obama gave a rousing speech tonight in front of a joint session of Congress, but what is likely to be talked about the most from the event is Rep. Joe Wilson shouting “you lie!” at the President during the speech. Sen. McCain said on Larry King Live after the speech that the remark was “totally disrespectful” and that Wilson should “apologize immediately,” Talking Points Memo. Read excerpts from Obama’s speech here.
An Aeroméxico airliner on its way to Mexico City from Cancun was hijacked this afternoon. The hijacker’s name is José Flores, a preacher originally from Bolivia. Flores announced he had a bomb on board during the flight and wanted to speak to Felipe Calderon, Mexico’s president. The plane was grounded and all 112 passengers got off the plane safely, after which Flores was arrested without incident, WSJ.
England, Spain, and Paraguay all clinched spots in the World Cup today. The U.S. and Germany,won their games, as well, and are one game away from playing in the tournament. Shockingly, Argentina is on the verge of missing the World Cup, which would be the first time they don’t play since 1970, Yahoo! Sports.
Hot Topic: Taking Iran Seriously.
Police in Milwaukee, Wisconsin have arrested 49-year-old Walter E. Ellis, who is suspected of murdering nine women over a span of 21 years. Ellis’ DNA was found on all nine of the bodies. Eight of the women were prostitutes and the other was a runaway, BNO News.
A 6.2 magnitude earthquake hit the country of Georgia today. The quake was shallow at only 6.2 miles deep and there are no reports so far of damage or causalities, BBC News.
President Obama delivered an energetic speech today at the A.F.L.-C.I.O. Labor Day picnic in Cincinnati about healthcare reform. Watch part of the remarks:
Hot Topic: Analysis: Furor over [Obama’s education] speech typifies polarization.