The French parliament is expected next week to vote on the bill, which has exacerbated an already frosty relationship between the French and Turkish governments. While Armenians consider the killing of up to 1.5 million Armenians in 1915 as genocide, Turkey contests the scale of the losses and says they were casualties of war.
"This issue is a sensitive, a serious one. Common sense should be held above political calculations. In the light of all these reasons, I sincerely hope you will keep your word that these kinds of laws would not be finalized, and that you will prevent steps that have irreparable (consequences)," Turkey's Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan wrote in a letter to the French president, according to Anadolu news agency.
U.S. drones allowed in Iraqi skies
American troops are almost gone from Iraq, but that doesn’t mean the U.S. military will cease its operations there entirely.
Baghdad has given Washington permission to keep flying Predator drones on surveillance missions over northern Iraq, Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta said Friday. The unmanned airplanes, which operate out of Incirlik Air Base in Turkey, are being used to look for fighters from the Kurdistan Worker’s Party, or PKK.
The U.S. military had flown the Predators on anti-PKK missions since 2007 from Iraqi bases, but had to move them out of the country this fall as part of the American withdrawal from Iraq. U.S. defense officials had previously acknowledged relocating the drones to Turkey, but Panetta’s statement was the first confirmation that they were still authorized to fly in Iraqi airspace.
The U.S. government officially labels the PKK a terrorist organization, although the group has not targeted American interests. Turkey is a key NATO ally of the United States.
NEW YORK TIMES
Newt, Mitt, Bibi and Vladimir
By THOMAS L. FRIEDMAN
I love both Israelis and Palestinians, but God save me from some of their American friends — those who want to love them to death, literally.
That thought came to mind last week when Newt Gingrich took the Republican competition to grovel for Jewish votes to a new low by suggesting that the Palestinians are an “invented” people and not a real nation entitled to a state.
US’s role is to just applaud whatever Israel does, serve as its A.T.M. and shut up. We have no interests of our own. And this guy’s running for president?
As for Newt, well, let’s see: If the 2.5 million West Bank Palestinians are not a real people entitled to their own state, that must mean Israel is entitled to permanently occupy the West Bank and that must mean that Israel’s choices are: 1) to permanently deprive the West Bank Palestinians of Israeli citizenship and put Israel on the road to apartheid; 2) to evict the West Bank Palestinians through ethnic cleansing and put Israel on the road to the International Criminal Court in the Hague; or 3) to treat the Palestinians in the West Bank as citizens, just like Israeli Arabs, and lay the foundation for Israel to become a binational state. And this is called being “pro-Israel”?
I’d never claim to speak for US Jews, but I’m certain there are many out there like me, who strongly believe in the right of the Jewish people to a state, who understand that Israel lives in a dangerous neighborhood yet remains a democracy, but who are deeply worried about where Israel is going today. My guess is we’re the minority when it comes to secular US Jews.
The marriage gap presents a real cost
By Ruth Marcus
If current trends hold, within a few years, less than half the U.S. adult population will be married. This precipitous decline isn’t just a social problem. It’s also an economic problem.
Specifically, it’s an income-inequality and economic-mobility problem. The steadily dropping marriage rate both contributes to income inequality and further entrenches it.
The latest numbers, from the Pew Research Center, are startling and disturbing. In 1960, nearly three-fourths of those 18 and older were married. By 2010, that number had plummeted to a bare majority, 51 percent. Four in 10 births were to unmarried women.
In 1960, the most- and least-educated adults were equally likely to be married. Now, nearly two-thirds of college graduates are married, compared with less than half of those with a high school diploma or less. Those with less education are less likely to ever marry and more likely to divorce if they do.
“Family structure is a new dividing line in American society,” Isabel Sawhill of the Brookings Institution told me.
As marriage increasingly becomes a phenomenon of the better-off and better-educated, the incomes of two-earner married couples diverge more and more from those of struggling single adults. There is a chicken-and-egg conundrum at work here: Did lack of financial stability contribute to the decision not to marry, or did the decision not to marry contribute to financial instability? Either way, the phenomenon is self-reinforcing.
Iraqis Who Helped U.S. War Effort Must Not Be Left Behind: View
By the Editors
“You stood up for America, ”President Barack Obama said on Wednesday at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, to troops returning from Iraq. “Now America must stand up for you.”
It’s a promise that must be kept with all those who risked their lives in the U.S. cause -- be they American or Iraqi.
For many of the estimated 146,000 Iraqis who worked for the U.S. government, contractors, nongovernmental groups and news media organizations during the conflict, the final pullout of American troops could spell disaster. Viewed as traitors by many of their countrymen, these Iraqis and their families face ostracism, harassment and death. Programs to help them find sanctuary in the U.S. are bogged down in red tape.
The Refugee Crisis in Iraq Act of 2008, a bipartisan effort led by former Senators Edward Kennedy of Massachusetts andGordon Smith of Oregon, was supposed to fix the problem. It created two new avenues for resettlement of Iraqis affiliated with the U.S.
First, the law mandated 25,000 new “special immigrant visa”slots over five years for those who had spent at least a year working for the U.S. or its contractors, and who experienced an“ongoing threat.” Second, it exempted Iraqis who had worked for the U.S. from the usual requirement that they receive a United Nations referral before applying for the standard refugee admissions program.
Senate leaders reached an agreement Friday to extend the payroll tax cut for two months, averting a New Year’s tax increase for millions of workers. The agreement also will require the administration to decide quickly whether to allow construction of a controversial transcontinental oil pipeline.
President Obama had demanded that Congress extend the tax holiday, but Republicans had refused to go along unless the White House agreed to an accelerated decision on the pipeline.
WALL STREET JOURNAL
The Obama administration said Friday it would shift to states the decision about what treatments many insurance plans must cover under the health-care overhaul, sidestepping contentious fights with Republican state officials and patient-advocacy groups.
The move—a departure from the way the administration had been expected to implement the provision—disappointed some disease-advocacy groups that had hoped federal regulators would spell out exactly what services insurance policies for millions of Americans will have to cover to be sold in state-run insurance exchanges that open in 2014.
California's use of a three-drug combination in executing prisoners was declared invalid last Friday by a Marin County judge, who ruled that a one-drug method should have been considered.
"The failure to discuss the one-drug method is a particularly significant omission, since use of a barbiturate-only protocol was raised by at least one commenter," wrote Marin County Judge Faye D'Opal in a nine-page ruling, referring to concerns raised during a public-comment period.
FOOD FOR THOUGHT
The secret of life is not to do what you like but to like what you do.
WORD OF WISDOM
Do exactly what you would do if you felt most secure.