Top Stories: Worldwide

The following are the day's top general news stories:

1. Democrats Are Seeking Changes to Tax Agreement With Republicans, Reid Says 2. India Raids Ex-Minister's Home as Corruption Focus Moves Beyond $11 Bribes 3. Obama Proposes Easing Export Controls on Technology Products for 37 Allies 4. Jim Morrison to Be Pardoned for 1969 Florida Indecent-Exposure Conviction 5. New York Yankees Make First Formal Offer to Free-Agent Pitcher Cliff Lee

1. Democrats Are Seeking Changes to Tax Agreement With Republicans, Reid Says

Senate Democrats are seeking changes to a tax-cut agreement President Barack Obama reached with Republican lawmakers, said Majority Leader Harry Reid, who hopes to bring the measure to the floor this week. Some changes "would make the bill much better, and I´m going to work on those," Reid of Nevada told reporters after meeting with members of his party today to discuss the plan. He said he hopes the Senate would take the measure up "in the next day or two." Asked whether the Senate would have the votes to pass the measure, he said, "I hope so." The proposed two-year extension of Bush-era tax cuts for all income levels has prompted division among congressional Democrats. Vice President Joe Biden, who met with Senate Democrats yesterday to try to sell the proposal, conducted a session with House Democrats today. "The vice president said this is the deal, take it or leave it," said Representative Henry Waxman of California.

2. India Raids Ex-Minister's Home as Corruption Focus Moves Beyond $11 Bribes

News photographers climbed walls and passersby gawked as officers from India´s Central Bureau of Investigation searched for clues yesterday in a $31 billion probe at the government-issued bungalow of ex-Telecommunications Minister Andimuthu Raja in New Delhi. In Mumbai, packaging company Uflex Ltd. completed a 33 percent two-day slide after Chairman Ashok Chaturvedi was convicted in a separate land allotment investigation carried out by the CBI, India´s federal anti-corruption agency. The high-profile cases may bolster the graft-busting credentials of an agency that lists an $11 bribe as one of its most important convictions and was criticized by the Supreme Court for inaction in the telecom probe. Corruption and bureaucratic inefficiency help make India the riskiest country in Asia for investors, according to this year´s survey by Hong Kong-based Political & Economic Risk Consultancy Ltd. "Without convictions, and a powerful and effective anti- corruption agency, corruption remains a low-risk and high reward proposition in India," consultant Jon Quah said in a telephone interview from Singapore, where he works with Asian governments and the United Nations on corruption-related issues. "If the incumbent government is not committed in curbing corruption, the `big fish´ or rich and powerful are usually protected from investigation and conviction."

3. Obama Proposes Easing Export Controls on Technology Products for 37 Allies

Export controls for technology items with military uses would be eased on sales to 37 allies, including Canada, Japan, Germany and France, under an Obama administration proposal being published today. The Commerce Department is asking U.S. industry groups to review plans to relax limits on sales for a number of products. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke proposed eliminating export controls for sales to close allies a year ago, and has pushed to get the rules released. "Conceptually this is a very important move forward," Catherine Robinson, the director for high-technology trade policy at the National Association of Manufacturers, a Washington-based industry trade group, said yesterday. The U.S. requires exporters to obtain a license to sell civilian technology, such as aircraft parts and encryption software, that also can be used for military purposes. The restrictions vary based on U.S. relations with the government, and those rules are administered by the Commerce Department and State Department.

4. Jim Morrison to Be Pardoned for 1969 Florida Indecent-Exposure Conviction

Breaking news, story to follow

5. New York Yankees Make First Formal Offer to Free-Agent Pitcher Cliff Lee

Breaking news, story to follow

-0- Dec/09/2010 00:35 GMT

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