— The Washington Post reports that Iran’s leaders are currently locked in a debate about whether to engage in one-on-one talks with the United States over the Islamic Republic’s disputed nuclear program. The Russians are now publicly urging Iran and the U.S. to come to the table.
— The Senate passed a bill yesterday that gives nearly 4 million veterans and survivors a 1.7 percent increase in their monthly benefit payments next year.
— The New York Times reports that now that President Obama has been re-elected, the Russians are seeming a bit friendlier to Americans in their midst. Yet at the same time, President Vladimir Putin continues to crackdown on internal dissent, signing a law that broadens the definition of treason.
— The Syrian Red Crescent has said that at least 2.5 million Syrians have fled their homes due to the ongoing civil war there, a figure that more than doubles previous estimates.
— The U.S. military will station a powerful radar and a space telescope in Australia as part of its strategic shift towards Asia. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta described the deal as a “major leap forward in bilateral space cooperation and an important new frontier in the United States’ rebalance to the Asia-Pacific region.”