Friday News and Notes

Fiscal Cliff Failure As House Cancels Vote On Plan B
Unable to gain enough votes for passage, House Speaker John Boehner postponed a vote on a proposal, tagged as Plan B, to avoid the fiscal cliff. Boehner met with his caucus to inform them that a vote would be cancelled, which left some surprised and unsure about where the talks move from this juncture.

It is clear, however, that the failure to reach an agreement increases fiscal uncertainty and will cause unease on Wall Street as the markets await a Plan C, which will not come under after the Christmas break.

African Troops Heading To Mali
The United Nations Security Council voted to approve a resolution dispatching African troops to embattled Mali. The resolution is a rare sign of cooperation on the Council, but few specifics were outlined. The resolution does not specify a time frame for the first deployment of foreign troops, nor does it explain precisely how the military expedition will be funded. In fact, it merely calls for voluntary contributions from member states into a trust fund to be created by Secretary General Ban Ki-moon.

France, which sponsored the resolution, expressed confidence that any concerns held by the US could be ironed out in coming weeks.

UN Peacekeeping Efforts In The Next Five Years
The Center for International Cooperation issued a report previewing what the next five years will bring for UN peacekeeping efforts.

The report projects that UN missions in the Middle East will continue to shrink, possibly to fewer than 8.000 troops by 2017. However, it did note that conditions in Syria may warrant the deployment of a 20,000-member force to Syria. Forces also are expected to decline in West Africa, but the report was issued before the UN approved the deployment of African troops to Mali.

Germany Facing Challenges Posed By Economic Refugees
With thousands of workers from economically ailing nations flooding into Germany, tensions are on the increase.

“The movement into Germany — a flow that has become so intense that the country has halted a decade of population decline — is just the latest development in a process that has seen Europe’s richer countries strengthen even as the poorer ones become increasingly hollowed out,” reports The Washington Post.



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