(We added a new top to this post at 12:40 p.m. ET to round up the latest developments.)
The White House did not insert politics into the process of determining what could be said about the Sept. 11 attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya, in the days immediately afterward, former CIA Director David Petraeus told Congress this morning, according to lawmakers who were inside closed briefings today.
Even though there were talks of a ceasefire to coincide with the visit of the Egyptian prime minister to Gaza, today, the fighting has instead escalated.
Avital Leibovich, a spokesman for the Israel Defense Forces confirmed that for the first time, rockets fired from Gaza hit an area outside Jerusalem. The Palestinian Authority president Mahmoud Abbas, who leads the West Bank, said that the "escalation is at its peak," both in Gaza and out of Gaza.
Good morning. I'm Steve Inskeep. People trying to help victims of Hurricane Sandy have hit bottom. People sent clothes but did not think to send underwear. Apparently this is a regular problem for people in need. Enough so that a Colorado nonprofit called Underwearness exists to send underpants to the needy. They raise money with an annual race, which people run without any pants. This nonprofit is sending 2,500 pairs of kids' underwear to storm-soaked Staten Island. It's MORNING EDITION. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.
Good morning. I'm Linda Wertheimer. A Japanese spa resort made quite a splash yesterday in a pool spiked with Beaujolais Nouveau, the first vintage of the season from the famous French wine region. The fresh and fruity drink was released yesterday. The spa near Mt. Fuji celebrated with wine in glasses, as well: sips and dips for spa customers. The spa also promised beautiful, smooth skin. It's MORNING EDITION. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright National Public Radio.
The two biggest fears of the fiscal cliff are defense cuts and tax hikes. The nation's mayors say the devastating effects of automatic cuts reach further than the Defense Department — right into their own cities. Steve Inskeep talks to the Democratic Mayor of Charleston, S.C., Jospeh Riley and Republican Mayor Scott Smith of Mesa, Ariz., about the impact sequestration could have in their cities.
Israel's neighbor Jordan had largely avoided the unrest sparked by the Arab Spring until now. Jordan's king has outlasted protests that have been much smaller than in other nations, but a government move to raise fuel prices sparked fresh protests and even calls for King Abdullah to step down. A protester who died in a clash with police has become a symbol of protesters' fury. NPR's Leila Fadel has the story.
Listen carefully to both President Obama and Republican leaders, and you hear hints of room for compromise. They're talking of taxes and spending as a deadline approaches, December 31st, when higher taxes and spending cuts would take effect. That would reduce the federal deficit, but also damage the economy, according to forecasters.
NPR's business news starts with more mortgage problems.
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INSKEEP: Independent auditors released a report this morning, showing that the Federal Housing Administration is facing a shortfall from losses on the mortgages it insures. The Obama administration says it's going to take steps to prevent a taxpayer bailout.
As NPR's Ailsa Chang reports, the FHA has been struggling since the foreclosure crisis hit four years ago.
It's MORNING EDITION, from NPR News. I'm Steve Inskeep.
LINDA WERTHEIMER, HOST:
And I'm Linda Wertheimer. Former CIA Director David Petraeus is testifying before two congressional committees today. He's been called to discuss the CIA's role in the attack at the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, back in September; an attack that took the lives of four Americans, including Ambassador Christopher Stevens. This also happens to be General Petraeus' first public appearance on Capitol Hill since he resigned over an extramarital affair.