Dec 20, 2011

Sarah Palin: It's Not Too Late to Run

Today: House Rejects Payroll-Tax-Cut Deal, China Endorses Kim Jong-un, Sunni Chief Denies Ordering Killings
The Daily Beast Cheat Sheet: Afternoon

December 20, 2011

The girl who cried "campaign!" is at it again. Not one to relinquish the spotlight easily, Sarah Palin insisted Tuesday—despite already saying she wouldn't run for president in 2012—that "it's not too late" to enter the race. When asked on Fox's Follow the Money whether she'd still consider running, the former vice presidential nominee said, "Who knows what will happen in the future."


Talk about a Grinchy measure. The House of Representatives on Tuesday rejected the bipartisan compromise to extend the payroll-tax cut—setting up a showdown with President Obama and the Democratically controlled Senate. The bill also would have extended unemployment benefits. The Senate agreed over the weekend to a two-month extension of the payroll-tax cut so the issues Republicans have been lobbying for Democrats to decide on would come up for debate by the end of February, but House Republicans were not happy with the compromise and showed it by rejecting the deal. Democrats blasted the GOP for rejecting the deal, while the House called for a formal conference with the Senate. The next step for lawmakers is uncertain, as Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has said he will not appoint any negotiators should the extension fail to pass the House.


China formally recognized Kim Jong-un, Kim Jong-il's youngest son and chosen successor, as the next leader of North Korea, the Chinese Foreign Ministry announced Tuesday. Foreign Ministry spokesman Liu Weimin said the Chinese government believes that North Korea will rally around the ruling Workers' Party and the man he called "Comrade Kim Jong-un." While Weimin said he does not know whether Jong-un will visit China, he said Beijing would welcome him. Meanwhile, South Korea showed few signs of caring about Kim Jong-il's death, despite the lengthy mourning in the North. For South Koreans, Kim Jong-il's death only further proved the point that the two nations now share only a peninsula and a language.


Iraq's political situation grew more chaotic Tuesday as Sunni leader Tariq al-Hashimi denied ordering the assassinations of government officials. The day before, the Shiite-led government had placed him under arrest and played videotaped confessions on television from three men who said they had been Hashimi's bodyguards. The men claimed he had given them orders to carry out assassinations and paid them to kill officials with roadside bombs. Hashimi said the confessions were forced, and accused Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki of using Iraq's security forces to persecute political opponents. "The accusations have not been proven, so the accused is innocent until proven guilty," Hashimi said. "I swear by God I didn't do this disobedience against Iraqi blood, and I would never do this."


Nearly 10 inches of snow had fallen in a major snowstorm in five states stretching from New Mexico to Kansas by Tuesday morning, as forecasters warned that holiday traveling might become difficult, if not impossible. The storm was blamed for at least six deaths Monday, including four people who were killed in a New Mexico crash on Monday. The blizzard shut down a major east-west route, Interstate 40, in what National Weather Service meteorologist Marc Russell called "major whiteout conditions." About 10 inches of snow had accumulated in western Kansas by Tuesday morning, and several more inches—as well as strong wind gusts—were expected. The storm slammed the Oklahoma and Texas panhandle Monday, with 1.5 inches accumulating in Oklahoma per hour and more than 100 emergency calls already in Texas.

Egyptian Women Rally Against Police
Hillary Clinton denounces "systematic degradation."
Bankrupt Irish Flee to U.K.
To escape harsh bankruptcy laws.
France Recalls Breast Implants
Up to 30,000 women may have faulty silicone.
Fans: 'Dark Knight' Villain Unintelligible
Studio pressures Nolan to adjust sound mix.
Scientists Discover Earth-Size Planets
950 light years away.
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