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Dec. 5, 2012 at 7:57 AM   |   Comments

Right assails Boehner for new tax revenue

WASHINGTON, Dec. 5 (UPI) -- Conservatives assailed U.S. House Speaker John Boehner for offering new tax revenue in "fiscal cliff" talks, as President Obama was to talk to a business group.

Sen. Jim DeMint, R-S.C., a leading member of the Tea Party movement, said the $800 billion in new tax revenue Boehner proposed to the White House "will destroy American jobs and allow politicians in Washington to spend even more."

Rep. Jim Jordan of Ohio, who heads the Republican Study Committee, an influential group of conservatives, said his fellow Ohioan's proposal on behalf of the GOP-controlled House amounted to a tax increase, "and I am not going to vote for a tax increase because it hurts economic growth."

Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., said on his Facebook page: "One party proposes 800 billion in tax increases. In an effort to counter them and continue to be the 'low tax, small government' party, the other party's leadership proposes ... wait for it ... 800 billion in tax increases."

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., declined to endorse Boehner's plan. Sen. John Thune, R-S.D., said, "I'm not prepared to come out and embrace it or support it, but simply at this point to say I think it is a good-faith effort."

Boehner had no immediate comment on the criticism. His proposal said the $800 billion in revenue could be raised without raising tax rates but by closing loopholes and deductions in a broad tax-code rewrite.

The White House quickly rejected Boehner's offer Monday in part because it does not include tax-rate increases on taxable income above $250,000.


Deal reached in LA, Long Beach port strike

LOS ANGELES, Dec. 5 (UPI) -- Clerical personnel at the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach settled a strike that idled the busiest shipping hub in the United States, officials said.

Leaders of the 800-member International Longshore and Warehouse Union Local 63 Office Clerical Unit reached a tentative accord late Tuesday and the clerical workers were to return to work Wednesday, the Los Angeles Times reported.

The union's full membership must ratify the deal before it becomes final.

Since the strike began Nov. 27, 20 ships went to rival ports in Oakland, Ensenada and Panama while others waited offshore for a resolution.


Morsi leaves palace as protesters sit in

CAIRO, Dec. 5 (UPI) -- Protesters hunkered down at Cairo's Tahrir Square and in front of the presidential palace Wednesday to urge President Mohamed Morsi to step down.

Some protesters have said they won't leave until Morsi rescinds a decree he issued last month granting him broad powers and exempting his actions from judicial review, Voice of America reported.

Riot police Tuesday lobbed tear gas outside the presidential palace where tens of thousands of protesters gathered while Morsi was inside. After trying to stop the demonstrators from storming the palace, police retreated and allowed marchers through a barrier and up to the palace walls.

Egyptian officials said Morsi left the palace.

Egypt Independent said photos broadcast on state television Wednesday showed protesters setting up tents. State news agency MENA said 24 tents were in place outside the palace.

Many marchers shouted anti-government slogans similar to ones used during the uprising last year that ousted former President Hosni Mubarak.


Rebels fight Assad army said to be fading

DAMASCUS, Syria, Dec. 5 (UPI) -- Syrian forces pressed a counteroffensive against rebel fighters near Damascus Wednesday as a report indicated the regime army was weakening against rebel gains.

Western officials and military analysts told The Washington Post the Syrian army was showing serious cracks as emboldened rebels notched new victories and regime forces retrenched.

Opposition troop successes stem in part from funding and weapons from wealthy Arab Persian Gulf donors and Syrian businessmen outside the country, the Post said.

They also reflect the degraded state of the Syrian army, which appears low on supplies and morale, analysts told the newspaper.

Troops loyal to President Bashar Assad and rebel forces clashed in several southern Damascus suburbs where rebels have scored several tactical victories in recent days, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.


Typhoon death toll soars in Philippines

MANILA, Philippines, Dec. 5 (UPI) -- Typhoon Bopha ravaged the southern Philippines Wednesday, sending the death toll soaring to more than 200.

The Philippine Star and GMA News reported the number of people killed by Bopha, also called Pablo locally, had soared to at least 238 as heavy rains accompanying the storm unleashed flash floods and landslides on southern Mindanao Island.

The extremely dense Category 5 storm, measuring more than 500 miles in diameter, roared onto the densely populated island Tuesday with sustained winds of 110 mph, forcing more than 50,000 people out of their homes and into shelters.

The storm sent roofs flying, uprooted acres of coconut trees, and sent rivers and streams bursting over their banks. Schools remained closed in many cities and dozens of flights were canceled.

Rescue officials said they feared many more bodies would be found in areas cut off from rest of the country by landslides, floods and downed communications, the Star said.

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