The following are the day's top general news stories:
1. Senate Rejects Tax-Cut Plans as Negotiators Seek Compromise on Lower Rates 2. North Korea Condemns U.S., Japan, South Korea Creating `Military' Alliance 3. Spanish Flights Resume as Air Controllers End Strike After Arrest Threat 4. Israel Gets Firefighting Aid From Abroad to Help Quell Deadly Haifa Blaze 5. Jim Furyk Wins PGA Tour Player of Year Title as Tiger Woods Goes Winless
1. Senate Rejects Tax-Cut Plans as Negotiators Seek Compromise on Lower Rates
The U.S. Senate rejected two tax-cut extension proposals in procedural votes as talks continued that lawmakers say likely will result in renewal of lower rates for all taxpayers. The votes followed passage Dec. 2 in the House of a measure that would extend tax cuts only on the first $200,000 of individual income and $250,000 for a married couple, setting the stage for the emergence of compromise legislation. Senator Robert Corker, a Tennessee Republican, said today that congressional and administration negotiators likely will reach an agreement by the end of next week on tax-cut extensions. "There´ll be a deal by the end of next week," Corker said today. "It´ll be existing policy, in my opinion, and maybe some other attachments."
2. North Korea Condemns U.S., Japan, South Korea Creating `Military' Alliance
North Korea denounced the U.S., South Korea and Japan for "reckless moves" to create a military alliance that threatens peace in North Asia. "The situation on the Korean Peninsula is getting tenser as the days go by and the danger of a war is increasing hour by hour," the state-run Korea Central News Agency reported, citing a commentary in the Rodong newspaper yesterday. `The U.S. is giving spurs to an arms buildup and preparations for a war." Tensions on the Korean Peninsula have increased since North Korea´s Nov. 23 shelling of South Korea´s Yeonpyeong island that killed two soldiers and two civilians. South Korea´s new defense minister Kim Kwan Jin two days ago vowed retaliation that would include airstrikes if North Korea made another attack. The U.S. sent the USS George Washington to join South Korean naval forces in an exercise in the Yellow Sea at the end of November and the aircraft carrier is now taking part in drills with Japan involving about 400 aircraft and 60 warships. More than 40,000 Japanese and U.S. military personnel began a weeklong exercise on Dec. 3.
3. Spanish Flights Resume as Air Controllers End Strike After Arrest Threat
Air traffic in Spain resumed after the government declared a state of emergency and threatened to prosecute controllers whose wildcat strike had crippled aviation in the nation for a day. Flights took off from six airports including Madrid and the Canary Islands as controllers returned to work and Spanish air space opened in the late afternoon in the face of a government warning controllers could face prison sentences if they continued their walk out. "It will take up to 48 hours for flights to get back to normal," Industry Minister Jose Blanco said in a telephone interview with CNN Plus, "We have shown that you can´t play with fire when the interest of the public is at stake." The strike prompted the first state of emergency to be declared in Spain since the country returned to democracy 32 years ago and may be an indication of labor unrest to come as the government implements the deepest austerity measures in three decades in an attempt to slice the euro region´s third- largest deficit within two years.
4. Israel Gets Firefighting Aid From Abroad to Help Quell Deadly Haifa Blaze
More firefighting aircraft arrived in Israel today and will arrive tomorrow from Europe and the U.S. to help stop a forest blaze near the port city of Haifa that is spreading after killing at least 41 people and forcing 17,000 to flee their homes. The fire, described by Israeli officials as the worst in the country´s history, has forced the government to turn to the international community for assistance. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in a televised press conference that the aircraft Israel has received from the international community are crucial in stopping the blaze "This battle will be decided in the air, by airpower, and by the weather, the combination of the two," Netanyahu said. While describing the fire as a "difficult crisis," he said it made clear that "many nations of the world stand by the people of Israel - and that´s not a small thing." Since the blaze started two days ago, Israel has received 13 firefighting planes and helicopters from the U.S., U.K., Greece, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Turkey, France, Russia, Italy and Jordan. Another six planes and three helicopters are expected to arrive today from the U.S., France, Russia and Switzerland, and tomorrow nine more planes from the U.S., Spain and Germany.
5. Jim Furyk Wins PGA Tour Player of Year Title as Tiger Woods Goes Winless
Jim Furyk won the U.S. PGA Tour´s Player of the Year award, a title that had gone to Tiger Woods nine of the past 11 years. Furyk, 40, was the only player with three victories on the world´s top golf circuit this season. The 2003 U.S. Open winner captured the Transitions Championship in March, the Verizon Heritage tournament in April and the season-ending Tour Championship in September, a victory that secured his first FedEx Cup points title. Furyk became the third winner of the award in 12 years with fewer than five titles during the season. Padraig Harrington, the 2008 winner, captured the British Open and PGA Championship that year. Mark O´Meara won the Masters Tournament and British Open when he earned the honor in 1998. "Three wins might not look good against what Phil or Tiger or Vijay have done maybe in the past, but that was more wins than anyone else had last year," Furyk said at a press conference Dec. 1 at the Chevron World Challenge event in Thousand Oaks, California.
-0- Dec/05/2010 00:35 GMT