Leading Off: UN Votes On Palestinian Statehood
Vote For Palestinian Observer Status To Be Held Today
The United Nations will hold a vote on limited statehood and is expected to gain a moajority of its support from Europe. If observer status for Palestine is affirmed (as it is expected to be), the question remains what happens next.
“The Palestinian leader has hinted at a couple of different and contradictory courses. One would involve immediately entering into direct peace negotiations with Israel — something Mr. [Palestinian President Mahmoud] Abbas has refused to do for almost all of the past four years,” notes The Washington Post, which adds that this is one of several options being considered.
Despite Regional Conflicts, Asia Seen As Rising Giant
A top Asian diplomat believes that conflicts in the South China Sea could escalate into a situation akin to the contentious battle over Palestine.
Surin Pitsuwan, the outgoing secretary-general of the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations, has expressed great concern that it could become “Asia’s Palestine,” but he says that despite disagreements between China and Japan and other regional actos, the Asian-Pacific area is on the rise.
Federal Reserve Sees Moderate Growth As Food Stamp Usage Rises
In its newly-released its Beige Book, the Federal Reserve said it found consumer spending “grew at a moderate pace in most districts, while manufacturing weakened,” but also warned that a number of districts expressed concern and uncertainty about the federal budget and the fiscal cliff.
The release of the Beige Book coincided with newly-released data from the Census Bureau, which found that the number of American households on food stamps increased 11 percent in 2011. As many as 15 million households at some point in 2011 were on food stamps – up from 13.6 million in 2010. That’s an increase to 13%, up from 11.9% in 2010.