10 things to know today

Your daily look at late-breaking news, upcoming events and the stories that will be talked about Friday:
AP Wire
Dec 13, 2013

1. AP REVEALS MISSING AMERICAN'S BACKSTORY

Robert Levinson, who vanished seven years ago in Iran, was working for the CIA on an unapproved spy mission, an AP investigation finds. It's a secret the U.S. has long sought to keep.

2. KIM JONG UN'S UNCLE PUT TO DEATH

North Korea's stunning announcement comes just days after Jang Song Thaek — long considered the country's No. 2 power — was charged with corruption and removed from all his posts.

3. EVEN MOST GOP LAWMAKERS BACK BUDGET DEAL IN HOUSE

Lopsided majorities of Republicans and Democrats alike vote in favor of the legislation, which now goes to the Senate.

4. INQUIRY LAUNCHED INTO FAKE SIGN LANGUAGE INTERPRETER

South African officials are scrambling to determine how the man was hired for Mandela's memorial.

5. MEXICO VOTES TO OPEN OIL INDUSTRY

Opponents say they fear the dramatic move will allow multinationals, especially from the U.S., to once again dominate the country's oil.

6. WHO'S STILL ON THE LOOSE — DESPITE WORLDWIDE ALERT

Briton Samantha Lewthwaite, a suspected terrorist known as the "white widow," somehow eludes authorities, even as she has traveled through Africa with four small children.

7. LUKEWARM REPORT FOR ARCTIC CLIMATE

While temperatures weren't as warm as last year, long-term problems like shrinking snow, ice and reindeer populations persist, NOAA says.

8. WHY MEGA MILLIONS JACKPOTS ARE SWELLING

Officials have significantly lowered the odds of winning the multi-state lottery — thereby increasing the chances of each jackpot rolling over.

9. 'KING OF SANDS,' UNFLATTERING LOOK AT SAUDI FOUNDER, OPENS IN SYRIA

The movie is seen as a jab at the kingdom for its support of rebels seeking to topple Assad.

10. WHICH FILMS ARE FRONTRUNNERS FOR OSCARS

Golden Globes voters install "American Hustle" and "12 Years a Slave" as the early favorites.

Comments

Vladtheimp

11. Banana Republic continues unabated:

· Insurers will be required to accept payment for policies beginning Jan. 1 as late as Dec. 31, and they will be “encouraged” to accept payment after that. In response to a question, HHS says that at least one insurer, Aetna Inc., has agreed to take payments as late as Jan. 8.

· The high-risk pools that were established to cover people with pre-existing conditions in the transition will be extended through the end of January for people who haven’t already selected a plan.

· Insurers are being “strongly encouraged” to treat out-of-network doctors as in-network doctors for acute-care episodes, or if the provider was listed in the plan’s provider directory when the patient enrolled.

· Insurers are also being “strongly encouraged” to refill prescriptions in the month of January, even if they aren’t covered under the new plan, if they were covered under the patient’s old plan. http://www.bloomberg.com/news/20...

Woody Allen got Obama down pat http://youtu.be/6Dnm8N9JbvU

12. Feinstein to make $1 Billion on sale of US Post Office Buildings http://www.huffingtonpost.com/20...

Lanivan

11.) Lots of news about ALEC: The American Legislative Exchange Council is a group that brings together state legislators and representatives of corporations. Together, they develop model bills that lawmakers introduce and try to pass in their state legislatures. Through these model bills, ALEC has worked to privatize public education, cut taxes, reduce public employee compensation, oppose Obamacare and resist state regulations to reduce global warming gas emissions.

Leaks coming from a recent ALEC pow-wow, as reported by The Guardian:

Over the coming year, the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) will promote legislation with goals ranging from penalising individual homeowners and weakening state clean energy regulations, to blocking the Environmental Protection Agency, which is Barack Obama's main channel for climate action. http://www.theguardian.com/world...

The American Legislative Exchange Council may be hemorrhaging members and grappling with a funding crisis, but that hasn't hampered its ambitions. In 2013, the conservative outfit, which specializes in generating state-level legislation, launched a multi-front jihad on green energy, with more than 77 ALEC-backed energy bills cropping up in state legislature. Among the most prominent were measures to repeal renewable energy standards and block meaningful disclosure of chemicals used in fracking. Most of these bills failed. But as state lawmakers and corporate representatives gather in Washington this week for the group's three-day policy summit, ALEC is pushing ahead with a new package of energy and environmental bills that will benefit Big Energy and polluters. http://www.motherjones.com/mojo/...

And then there is this: ALEC is sort of almost a dating service between politicians at the state level, local elected politicians, and many of America's biggest companies. It brings them together much as a dating service would do. It sits them in rooms behind closed doors where three times a year they come together to think about what should be the next wave of state-based legislation and they have presentations from the companies that say what they would like to see done legislatively in states right across America. Then they have a vote and the legislators begin. Hundreds of state legislators across America belong to ALEC and come to these meetings.

They begin to have a vote on what they'd like to do in the next state assembly session. And after the legislators have voted the companies get to vote and essentially they have a veto. If they don't vote by at least 50 percent to approve a piece of legislation going forward, it doesn't happen. If they think they do approve of it, it goes ahead and becomes a model bill, which is like a blueprint for a piece of legislation that ALEC wants to see spread across America. http://www.npr.org/2013/12/10/24...

Would someone please show me where in the Constitution it states that our legislators must get a vote from corporations on proposed legislation, acting as representatives of the citizenry, before said legislation is proposed to the citizenry.

Or - Is Corporate-Run Government a better alternative to Big Government?

bigdeal

Jeopardy theme...

deuce liti

2) He first heard of his uncle's plot on X-Box live.

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