Woman held for train push killing

New York police arrest a woman over the death of a man pushed in front of a subway train, and allege the motive was her hatred of Hindus and Muslims.

Former President George H.W. Bush moved out of intensive care

HOUSTON (Reuters) – Former President George H.W. Bush’s condition improved enough for him to be moved on Saturday out of the intensive care unit and into a regular room at the Houston hospital where he was admitted last month for respiratory problems, a spokesman said.

Bolivia takes over Spanish firms

President Evo Morales signs a decree nationalising subsidiaries of Spanish energy giant Iberdrola, saying they overcharged consumers in rural areas.

Fiscal Cliff Debate Will Lead To More Battles

By David Lawder and Fred Barbash

WASHINGTON, Dec 29 (Reuters) – Whether or not the U.S. “fiscal cliff” impasse is broken before the New Year’s Eve deadline, there will be no post-cliff peace in Washington.

With the political climate toxic in Congress as the cliff’s steep tax hikes and spending cuts approach, other partisan fights loom, all over the issue that has paralyzed the capital for the past two years: federal spending.

The first will come in late February when the Treasury Department runs out of borrowing authority and has to come to Congress to get the debt ceiling raised.

The next is likely in late March, when a temporary bill to fund the government runs out, confronting Congress with a deadline to act or face a government shutdown. The third will possibly be whenever the temporary bill replacing the temporary bill expires.

While Congress is supposed to pass annual spending bills before the start of each fiscal year, it has failed to complete that process since 1996, resorting to stopgap funding ever since.

Influential anti-tax activist Grover Norquist predicted in an interview with Reuters that conservatives would wage repeated battles with President Barack Obama to demand budget savings every time the government needs a temporary funding bill or more borrowing capacity.

The so-called “continuing resolutions” to which a divided Congress has increasingly resorted to keep the government operating, provide a “very powerful tool” to pry out spending cuts, said Norquist, president of Americans for Tax Reform.

Republican Senator Bob Corker of Tennessee said he will not be satisfied until there are substantial cuts to federal retirement and healthcare benefits known as entitlements, producing savings in the $4.5 trillion to $5 trillion range.

“Unfortunately for America,” said Corker, “the next line in the sand will be the debt ceiling.”

Most observers see the $16.4 trillion debt limit as the true fiscal cliff in the new year because if not increased, it would eventually lead to a default on U.S. Treasury debt, an event that could prove cataclysmic for financial markets.

The Treasury Department said on Wednesday it would start taking extraordinary measures by Dec. 31 to extend its borrowing capacity for about two more months.

‘POISONOUS CLIMATE’

It was a deadlock over raising the debt ceiling in August 2011 that prompted a deficit reduction deal that led to a key fiscal cliff component, the $109 billion in automatic spending cuts on military and domestic programs.

If the fiscal cliff’s spending cuts or tax increases are left even partly unresolved on Dec. 31, the political combat over them will carry over into the new Congress, possibly simultaneously with the debt ceiling debate.

“We would be pessimistic of a quick fix” if the deadline is missed, Sean West, head U.S. analyst at Eurasia Group, a political risk consultancy, said in a note to clients. “The political climate will be poisoned. The new Congress will need time to settle in.”

“We are concluding one of the most unsuccessful Congresses in history,” Democratic Representative John Dingell of Michigan declared in a statement on Saturday, “noteworthy not only for its failure to accomplish anything of importance, but also for the poisonous climate of the institution.”

Dingell, 86, is the longest serving member of the House, elected first in 1955.

Historically, bitter struggles in Congress like that over the fiscal cliff lead to further resentment and strife in a cycle of cumulative grudges that now spans nearly 30 years.

Many analysts and lobbyists in Washington believe the strife could get even worse because the new Congress convening on Jan. 3 will include fewer members from moderate or swing districts and more from districts tilted heavily to the left or the right.

Republicans in particular are likely to face their most serious re-election challenges in 2014 not from Democrats but from conservative Republicans challenging them in primary elections.

“Ironically,” said a post-election analysis published by the law firm Patton Boggs, “the voters have elected a 113th Congress that may be even more partisan than the 112th.”

(Reporting By David Lawder and Fred Barbash; Editing by Eric Beech)

Death of India rape victim stirs anger, promises of action

NEW DELHI/SINGAPORE (Reuters) – A woman whose gang rape provoked protests and rare national debate about violence against women in India died from her injuries on Saturday, prompting promises of action from a government that has struggled to respond to public outrage.

Kidnapped Pakistan troops killed

Militants in north-west Pakistan have killed at least 20 of the paramilitaries they seized from checkpoints near Peshawar, officials say.

Insert Coin: Engadget Is Looking For Some Cool Crowdfunded Projects

submissions-expand-insert-coin-new-challengers-open

Our brothers and sisters over at Engadget are holding their first red hot, super exciting conference called Expand in SF in March. The event will feature all the boring old commercial hardware you could imagine, including the latest from all the hardware greats but, more important, they’re also reaching out to a contingent dear to my heart: crowdfunded gadgets.

Having a brilliant idea isn’t always enough. Bringing a product to market requires support, marketing and above all, funding. Lots and lots of funding – but don’t worry, we might be able to help you get there.Engadget is proud to announce the launch of Insert Coin: New Challengers, a new competition aimed at helping to make those dream gadgets a reality. If you’ve seen our long-running series about the most promising crowd funded hardware, you can imagine that concept taken to the stage for a live competition between the best of the best new inventions.

Remember: this is for unlaunched products only and, knowing the field, this will be pretty competitive, so those with solid sterling-silver iPad stands will have to take a seat. If you’re ready to run with the big dogs, pop over here and submit and let us know how it goes. You know I love the smell of fresh crowdfunded projects in the morning.