The following are the day's top general news stories:
1. New Zealand Miner Families Hold Vigils, Grow Anxious as Gas Impedes Rescue 2. Japan Deployment Near Disputed Isles May Worsen Frayed Chinese Relations 3. Buffett Tells ABC Rich Americans Should Be Paying `a Lot' More in Taxes 4. Climate Talks Echo 50-Year `Bretton Woods' Process as Clean Energy Slips 5. Federer Defeats Ferrer, Murray Beats Soderling in ATP Finals First Matches
1. New Zealand Miner Families Hold Vigils, Grow Anxious as Gas Impedes Rescue
Families and friends of 29 men trapped in a coal mine on New Zealand´s West Coast are pushing for the start of a rescue operation three days after an explosion at the pit. Rescue teams late yesterday were waiting for air quality to improve before entering the Pike River Coal Co. mine about 50 kilometers (30 miles) north of Greymouth on the nation´s South Island. No contact has been made with the men since an explosion cut communications at around 3:50 p.m. local time on Nov. 19. "The longer they are there, what are their chances?" said Shayne Gregg, proprietor of the Ikamatua Hotel, 17 kilometers from where a police roadblock ensures only official access to the mine. "Everyone sort of knows it´s not going to be good," Thoughts have turned to a blast at the Strongman coal mine, also near Greymouth, in 1967 that killed 19 men. In 1896 an explosion at a mine near the town of Brunner, which is on the road between Greymouth and the Pike River site, killed 65.
2. Japan Deployment Near Disputed Isles May Worsen Frayed Chinese Relations
Japan may further damage already frayed relations with China if it moves military forces closer to a group of islets claimed by both nations, said Jeff Kingston, director of Asian Studies at Temple University´s Tokyo campus. The Defense Ministry will deploy as many as 100 personnel to Yonaguni Island, the Nikkei newspaper reported yesterday. That would put Japanese troops within 200 miles (330 kilometers) of waters where its Coast Guard in September seized a Chinese fishing boat after collisions near the disputed isles known as Senkaku in Japan and Diaoyu in China. "This ups the ante," said Kingston. "Deploying forces closer to the scene of the action won´t be interpreted positively in Beijing." China and Japan have yet to implement a 2008 agreement to jointly develop undersea natural gas fields in waters near the islands. Sovereignty over the rocky, uninhabited islets would extend either nation´s territorial claim to undersea resources. Japan´s Coast Guard on Nov. 20 warned two Chinese fishery patrol ships not to enter territorial waters after spotting them near one of the islands.
3. Buffett Tells ABC Rich Americans Should Be Paying `a Lot' More in Taxes
Billionaire Warren Buffett said that rich people should pay more in taxes and that Bush-era tax cuts for top earners should be allowed to expire at the end of December. "If anything, taxes for the lower and middle class and maybe even the upper middle class should even probably be cut further," Buffett said in an interview with ABC´s "This Week With Christiane Amanpour" that is scheduled to air on Nov. 28. "But I think that people at the high end -- people like myself -- should be paying a lot more in taxes. We have it better than we´ve ever had it." House Speaker Nancy Pelosi plans to take up President Barack Obama´s plan to extend some of the tax cuts enacted under President George W. Bush when the House returns after Thanksgiving. The legislation would retain lower tax rates and increased credits that apply only to the first $250,000 of a married couple´s gross income or $200,000 of a single person´s. Unless Congress acts, marginal income tax rates will rise across the board, tax credits that benefit families will be slashed, and tax rates on capital gains and dividends will increase. In addition, a federal tax on estates worth more than $1 million will be resurrected after expiring for 2010.
4. Climate Talks Echo 50-Year `Bretton Woods' Process as Clean Energy Slips
It took decades for negotiators to write treaties that curb nuclear warheads and settle trade disputes between nations, and by that measure, efforts to limit global warming may just be getting started. United Nations climate talks starting in Mexico next week will resemble "sitting in Bretton Woods in 1944," said Harvard University Environmental Economics Director Robert Stavins, referring to meetings that devised a new world financial system and envisioned an agency governing international trade. "Climate negotiations are going to be an ongoing process, much like trade talks, not a single task with a clear endpoint," Stavins said in a telephone interview. "It took 50 years to build the institutions that led to the World Trade Organization. It wasn´t something that was done in a moment." Momentum, even minimal, is needed to underpin global carbon-dioxide markets as well as the $5.7 trillion that should be invested in clean energy projects by 2035, according to International Energy Agency estimates.
5. Federer Defeats Ferrer, Murray Beats Soderling in ATP Finals First Matches
Roger Federer and Andy Murray started their group matches at tennis´s season-ending ATP World Tour Finals with victories. Federer defeated Spain´s David Ferrer for the eleventh straight time, 6-1, 6-4. The Swiss winner of a men´s record 16 majors is trying to join Ivan Lendl and Pete Sampras as the only players to have won the year-end championships five times. "It was a really tough match," Federer, the top seed in Group B, said in a televised interview immediately after the match at The O2 arena in east London. "It´s not fair for David, one-and-half hours for that kind of scoreline shows how tough it was. I´m happy I was able to come through." Federer, who is playing in the year-end event for a ninth time, started broke the Spaniard´s serve in the second game of the first set. It took Ferrer almost twenty minutes to get on the scoreboard, breaking back in the fifth game. Watched by Diego Maradona, Argentina´s 1986 soccer World Cup-winning captain, Federer took the first set as Ferrer hit a backhand into the net. The Swiss righthander won the match with an ace.
-0- Nov/22/2010 00:35 GMT