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Japan officials draw up Tepco breakup plan: report

TOKYO (Reuters) – A group of Japanese government heavyweights have written a secret proposal to break up Tokyo Electric Power Co and nationalize its nuclear operations, a newspaper said on Sunday. The plan, drawn up by Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshito Sengoku, would force Tokyo Electric sell its power distribution…

Congress begins action on Bush-era trade deals

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – President Barack Obama’s controversial plan to win approval of free trade deals with South Korea, Colombia and Panama faces its first test on Thursday as the Senate Finance Committee takes up the bills. Republicans typically supply most of the votes for free trade agreements, but at least…

‘Probably inevitable’ a country will exit euro: Soros

VIENNA (Reuters) – Billionaire investor George Soros thinks a country will eventually exit the euro zone and urged policymakers on Sunday to come up with a “plan B” that could rescue the European Union from looming economic collapse. Soros, famous for making $1 billion by betting against the British pound…

Greece ‘confident’ over austerity vote: spokesman

ATHENS (AFP) – The Greek government is confident parliament will pass an austerity plan next week needed to unlock crucial EU-IMF aid in order to avoid default, a government spokesman said on Saturday. “We are totally confident,” government spokesman Ilias Mosialos told AFP. Parliament is scheduled to vote on the…

Commanders say Obama overruled them on Afghanistan

WASHINGTON (AFP) – US President Barack Obama’s military commanders have said he ignored their advice for a more modest drawdown from Afghanistan and warned his decision carries risks for the war effort. Both General David Petraeus and Admiral Mike Mullen, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said Obama’s…

Britain ‘to work on military drone with France’

PARIS — France and Britain plan to set up a joint team to oversee the possible development of an unmanned military aircraft, French Defence Minister Gerard Longuet said on Monday at the Paris Air Show. The team will be based in Britain and charged with drawing up requirements for a…

Weapons smuggled in U.S. sting linked to deaths: report

WASHINGTON (AFP) – Weapons smuggled into Mexico as part of a US sting operation — and then lost — have been linked to numerous killings, including that of an American federal agent, a congressional report disclosed Wednesday. The report found that the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms (ATF) lost…

Fox News host questions realism of Pawlenty’s economic plan

Republican presidential candidate Tim Pawlenty struggled to come up with an answer Sunday after a Fox News host pointed out that the five percent growth required by his economic plan has only historically come after tax increases. In a speech at the University of Chicago Tuesday, Pawlenty revealed an economic…

Obama meets crown prince of Bahrain at White House

WASHINGTON — US President Barack Obama met the crown prince of Bahrain Tuesday, as Washington backed the Sunni royal family’s national dialogue to ease the political crisis in the Shiite majority kingdom. Obama dropped by a meeting between Crown Prince Salman bin Hamad al-Khalifa and US National Security Advisor Tom…

Schumer: Medicare benefit cuts are off the table

WASHINGTON – A key Senate Democrat said Monday that his party is willing to make a deal on reducing Medicare expenses but drew a hard line in the sand on benefit cuts as part of the debt limit negotiations. “We’re not going to go along with any cuts to beneficiaries…

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