Marine Corps Commandant Gen. James Amos said “U.S. forces soon will begin winding down counterinsurgency operations in Afghanistan.” President Obama directed that 30,000 U.S. forces be withdrawn by September 2012, and Amos told the Hill that over the next 12 months, the military will create a “set of conditions” that will allow a transition from “classic counterinsurgency operations to…training and advising” Afghan forces.
Over 200 protesters were arrested in Manhattan alone yesterday, as protests linked to Occupy Wall Street took place nationwide. New York City Councilman Jumaane Williams was among 60 people arrested for blocking a roadway to the Brooklyn Bridge.
With countries crimped by a lagging global economy, the United Nations World Food Program is facing a $1 billion shortfall in 2012. The program hopes to feed 85 million people next year at a cost of $4.8 billion, but it anticipates only $3.75 billion in contributions, meaning the food crisis for some of the world’s hungriest people is likely to grow worse.
The White House said it would veto a bipartisan Senate compromise on detainees mandating “that people determined to be aiding Al Qaeda be detained by U.S. military rather than civilian authorities.” The administration says it infringes on the president’s power to make national security decisions.
The House and Senate Thursday passed a spending bill to avert a shutdown and keep the government funded until Dec. 16. The overall funding level is a 0.5 percent reduction and some programs saw funding increases. Others faced drastic cuts, including a $296 million cut to a program that funds local police departments.
Financial Services Committee Chairman Spencer Bachus (R-AL), who used information he received in private briefings for stock trades, announced Thursday that he will hold a hearing on proposed legislation about how insider trading laws apply to members of Congress. “Existing law clearly prohibits insider trading by members of Congress,” Bachus said.
The “birth rate among American teens fell to its lowest recorded level last year, according to a government report, a decline that experts attributed to more-effective sex education and the effects of a tough economy.” There “were 34.3 births per 1,000 people 15 to 19 years old in 2010, a 9% drop from 37.9 births the previous year.”
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will make a historic visit to Myanmar (Burma), the first time the U.S.’s top diplomat has visited the country in 50 years, after the government there announced reforms. Aung San Suu Kyi, “Myanmar’s most prominent democracy campaigner,” will “rejoin the political system of the military-backed government that persecuted her for more than two decades.”
And finally: Politicians are often good at politicking, but no so much at dancing. Nonetheless, they often display their two left feet in public, and Daily Intel has compiled a swing through political dance land, feature 16 politicians getting down with their bad selves. Watch it here.