Australia is the latest stop on President Obama's tour of the Pacific Rim countries that the president thinks should be the new focus of U.S. foreign policy. It is already the focus of a competition for influence with China.
Republican presidential hopeful Newt Gingrich is rising in the polls, but Rick Perry is back in the spotlight after some proposals he made in Iowa yesterday. The Texas governor wants Congress to take a 50 percent pay cut, as part of a sweeping plan to overhaul the government.
Let's remember a bit of very recent history. Back in August, Congress came close to defaulting on U.S. government debts. Republicans wanted big cuts in spending. They finally got some, but a deal with President Obama pushed more deficit reductions off to the future, to a bipartisan committee which has been meeting this fall, and now has one week left until its deadline to reach a deal.
And our last word in business today is save the tanooki.
(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)
MONTAGNE: The animal rights group People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals is attacking Nintendo's new video game "Super Mario 3-D Land." In the game, Super Mario sometimes wears the skin of a tanooki, which is a raccoon dog. Steve, you may have to finish...
STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:
Oh no, come, no, no. It's fine. Come on, it's a raccoon dog. It's a nice animal.
Police clash with workers of American mining company Freeport-McMoRan during a protest in Timika, Papua province, Indonesia, Oct. 10. Indonesian security forces fired on striking workers at Freeport-McMoRan's Grasberg gold and copper mine after a protest turned deadly.
Credit Environment Ministry, Rasio Ridhosani, HO / AP
The Grasberg mining complex in in Indonesia's remote Papua province is run by a local unit of the Phoenix-based Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold Inc. In recent days, thousands of miners have gone on strike for higher pay and several people have died in clashes with police.
Credit Environment Ministry, Rasio Ridhosani, HO / AP
Critics accuse Freeport-McMoRan not only of underpaying workers but also of destroying the environment in remote Papua and of decades of complicity in human rights abuses by the Indonesian military. Here, an aerial photograph of the Grasberg mining complex.
A foreign mining company, protected by hundreds of soldiers, extracts precious resources from a remote tropical forest. The mining enrages indigenous tribes, who resist.
It may sound like a movie script, but it is in fact the story of the world's largest gold mine, located high in the mountains of Indonesia's Papua province and owned by Freeport-McMoRan, an American mining conglomerate.
Windmills and solar panels in Atlantic City, N.J., power a wastewater treatment plant, with surplus energy going to the area power grid. Solar and wind energy companies receive $370 million in federal subsidies annually, which is less than 1 percent of what oil and gas industries receive.
When Energy Secretary Steven Chu appears on Capitol Hill on Thursday to defend the Obama administration's solar energy subsidy program, he will face questions about the solar panel firm Solyndra, which went belly up this summer.
The Energy Department has drawn stiff criticism over a government loan guarantee program that lent the company half a billion dollars, but the government has a long history of subsidizing many forms of energy.
Egyptians are seen working in a bakery in Cairo. The U.S. has been working on ways to help revive the economies of nations in transition, like Egypt, Tunisia and Libya, while having limited resources available during tough economic times.
Just as the Arab uprisings were getting under way, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was warning that the region's foundations were sinking in the sand and that governments needed to respond to the needs of a young, educated and underemployed generation.
Now, she's come up with a new catchphrase.
"As tens of millions of young people enter the job market each year, we recognize that the Arab political awakening must also deliver an economic awakening," Clinton said. "And we are working to help societies create jobs to ensure that it does."
Political parties, activists and Islamist groups in Egypt are threatening more mass protests in Cairo and other cities Friday against a document drafted by the interim government that would enshrine the powers of the Egyptian military.
It's the latest clash between Egypt's pro-democracy factions and the ruling military council, which is accused of clinging to power despite its pledge to cede control to an elected government.
The man said the advances began when he was 10 years old. He was a fourth-grader and an altar boy at a Catholic school in Hudson, Mass. He said the priest would try to touch the altar boys when they were putting on their robes, and he'd invite them to the rectory, one at a time.
"He'd want to show us pornographic magazines, and ask us to take our pants down, and he'd take his pants down and expose himself and things like that," he said.
Patricia Maisch, one of the people who helped halt the Tucson shooting that killed six and wounded 13, including Arizona Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, holds up a photograph of victim John Roll, a federal judge, while testifying before a Senate subcommittee on Tuesday. Maisch testified in support of legislation that would strengthen federal power over the states' handling of background checks.
Dozens of gun violence survivors and family members of victims traveled to Capitol Hill this week to try to convince lawmakers to pass a bill that would tighten loopholes in the background check system for people who buy firearms.