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Attack On Syria Would Be Seen As Attack On Iran: Tehran

Source: Reuters

DUBAI | Sat Jan 26, 2013 2:32am EST
(Reuters) - Iran would consider any attack on Syria an attack on itself, a senior government official was quoted as saying on Saturday, in one of Tehran's most assertive defenses of its ally yet.

Iran is a key supporter of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad who is fighting a near two-year-long revolt. Tehran has already repeatedly warned the West against intervening in the conflict against Assad.

"Syria has a very basic and key role in the region for promoting firm policies of resistance ... For this reason an attack on Syria would be considered an attack on Iran and Iran's allies," said Ali Akbar Velayati, an aide to Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, according to the Mehr news agency.

Tehran sees Damascus as part of an axis of opposition to Israeli and Western influence in the Middle East.

Read more: http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/01/26/us-syria-crisis-iran-idUSBRE90P05620130126

27 Die In Egypt Riot After Soccer Violence Verdict

CAIRO (AP) — Angry relatives and residents rampaged through an Egyptian port city Saturday in rioting that killed at least 27 people after a judge sentenced nearly two dozen soccer fans to death for involvement in deadly violence after a game last year.

The unrest was the latest in a bout of violence that has left a total of 38 people dead in two days, including 11 killed in clashes between police and protesters marking Friday's second anniversary of the uprising that overthrew longtime leader Hosni Mubarak.

President Mohammed Morsi canceled a scheduled trip to Ethiopia Saturday and instead met for the first time with top generals as part of the newly formed National Defense Council.

The violence in Port Said erupted after a judge sentenced 21 people to death in connection with the Feb. 1 soccer melee that killed 74 fans of the Cairo-based Al-Ahly team. Executions in Egypt are usually carried out by hanging.



U.S. Weighing How Much Help to Give France’s Military Operation in Mali

Source: New York Times

WASHINGTON — The Obama administration is debating how much more aid it can give the French military forces who are battling Islamic militants in Mali, weighing the benefit of striking a major blow to Qaeda-linked fighters in Africa against concern about being drawn into a lengthy conflict there.

The immediate issue is whether and how to supply American aerial refueling planes that would allow French jets to provide close-air support to ground forces moving north into territory held by the extremists. French and American officials have been in discussions for days, according to American and European officials, and administration officials say they expect a decision soon.

All indications are that the administration is trying to find a solution, but that any refueling would probably be approved only with restrictions.

“The discussions center on cost, and the concern about whether this becomes an open-ended mission for the French in Mali,” one Defense Department official said. “What does that mean about our commitment?”

Read more: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/01/26/world/africa/us-weighing-how-much-help-to-give-frances-military-operation-in-mali.html?_r=0

Pentagon’s 46,000 Temporary Workers May Lose Their Jobs

Source: Bloomberg

The Pentagon has given managers authority to start firing some of its 46,000 temporary workers now in anticipation of across-the-board spending cuts set to take effect in March according to Deputy Defense Secretary Ashton Carter.

By mid-February, the Defense Department is also likely to begin notifying its 800,000 civilian employees that they face mandatory unpaid leave one day a week starting in April unless Congress and President Barack Obama agree on a way to avert the spending cuts aimed at reducing the federal deficit, Carter told reporters in a briefing at the Pentagon today.

“There will be 800,000 people subject to furlough all over the country who will not be getting a fifth of their paycheck” if the cuts take effect, he said.

Read more: http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-01-25/pentagon-s-46-000-temporary-workers-may-face-immediate-job-cuts.html

Dr. Cornel West: "MLK Today Could Be Taken to Jail Without Due Process Under the NDAA"

Just saw this on my local PBS...ponder!

FDA Panel Votes To Place Tighter Controls On Narcotics Like Vicodin

A U.S. Food and Drug Administration panel voted Friday to place stricter controls on popular narcotic painkillers such as a Vicodin.

The 19 to 10 vote, which is advisory, will help the FDA decide whether to recommend moving drugs such as Vicodin, which contain the opioid painkiller, hydrocodone, from Schedule III to Schedule II under the Controlled Substances Act.

Stricter Schedule II status means that fewer prescriptions can be written at one time. For each visit to the doctor, a patient can get up to six months of prescriptions of Schedule III opioids such as Vicodin, compared with up to three months for Schedule II drugs.

Schedule II drugs also have stricter handling and storage requirements.

It was not known when the FDA would make a final decision on the issue.



MORE from NYT:

The change would have sweeping consequences for doctors, pharmacists and patients. Under the new rules, refills without a new prescription would be forbidden, as would faxed prescriptions and those called in by phone. Only written prescriptions from a doctor would be allowed and pharmacists and distributors would be required to store the drugs in special vaults. The vote comes after similar legislation in Congress failed last year, after intense lobbying by pharmacists and drugstores.


Guest Lineups For The Sunday News Shows

ABC's "This Week" - Sens. Robert Menendez, D-N.J., and John McCain, R-Ariz.


NBC's "Meet the Press" - Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis.; Jim DeMint, president-elect of the Heritage Foundation; Ben Jealous, president and CEO of the NAACP.


CBS' "Face the Nation" - Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif.; New York City Police Commissioner Ray Kelly; Rep. Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn.; former House Speaker Newt Gingrich.


CNN's "State of the Union" - Retired Gen. Stanley McChrystal; former CIA Director Michael Hayden; Govs. Bob McDonnell, R-Va., and Scott Walker, R-Wis.; Mia Love, mayor of Saratoga Springs, Utah.


"Fox News Sunday" - Sens. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., and Bob Corker, R-Tenn.; retired Air Force Col. Martha McSally; retired Army Lt. Gen. Jerry Boykin, executive vice president of the Family Research Council.

Report: Stephen Lynch Will Launch Bid For Kerry's Senate Seat

Rep. Stephen Lynch (D-Mass.) is planning to challenge Rep. Edward Markey (D-Mass.) for the Democratic nomination in the special Senate election slated to fill Sen. John Kerry's seat (D-Mass.).

According to the Boston Globe, "people with direct knowledge of his decision" say he will announce his run soon after Kerry is confirmed as secretary of State, a timeline he has previously said he had hoped to follow. Kerry is expected to be easily confirmed in the coming days.

The Globe reports that a poll conducted by the National Association of Government Employees helped convince Lynch he should run, as it showed the likely Republican contender, former Sen. Scott Brown (R-Mass.), posting a 9-percentage-point lead on Lynch, a slightly better showing than Markey, who lagged Brown by 10 percent in the same poll.

Read more: http://thehill.com/blogs/ballot-box/senate-races/279339-report-lynch-to-launch-bid-for-mass-senate#ixzz2J1QWc0Bj

Rachel Maddow Rips Harry Reid For Filibuster Reform

Rachel Maddow railed against Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) on her MSNBC show for the filibuster reform he passed with Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) on Thursday.

Liberal senators were let down by Reid and McConnell's reform as it fell short from the reform they called for. According to The Huffington Post's Ryan Grim, Sam Stein and Sabrina Siddiqui:

The deal will address the filibuster on the motion to proceed by changing the amount of debate time that would follow a cloture vote from 30 hours to four, speeding up Senate business and allowing more legislation to reach the floor. But the deal still requires Democrats to muster 60 votes to invoke cloture on that motion, despite Reid's earlier suggestion that he would bar a filibuster on that motion entirely.

Maddow was unenthused with Reid. She replayed comments he made about the specific changes needed for filibuster reform, contrasted with Thursday's deal.

More with segment video:


Sales Of New Homes Fell In December, But Were Up Sharply In 2012

Source: NPR

Though there was a 7.3 percent drop in sales of new homes in December from November, sales were up a healthy 8.8 percent from December 2011, the Census Bureau and Department of Housing and Urban Development report.

Homes sold at a annual rate of 369,000 last month.

Over the whole year, the agencies estimate, there were 367,000 new homes sold — up 19.9 percent from the 306,000 sold in 2011.

Reuters says that despite the dip in December from November, housing "still appears set to be a bright spot in the country's economic recovery." And, it notes that:

Read more: http://www.npr.org/blogs/thetwo-way/2013/01/25/170249488/sales-of-new-homes-fell-in-december-but-were-up-sharply-in-2012
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