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Editor's Blog

Today's news stories: Troops in Iraq, graduation mayhem in France, and limiting youth access to credit

By / May 19, 2009



Here are some of the stories our reporters are covering today:

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Overseas ...

• In Iraq, Jane Arraf asks, When is a city not a city? As the June 30 deadline for US troop withdrawal from Iraqi cities nears, there are no plans to relocate some 3,000 US troops in south Baghdad. That's just one example of the complexities facing US and Iraqi leaders attempting to adhere to the Status of Forces Agreement.

• Meanwhile, Don Kirk explores the complex world of bribes in North Korea, where the man in charge of relations with South Korea was just executed. Did he take too many bribes, or was the execution a message to South Korea's hard-line president?

Susan Sachs reports on the graduation anxiety gripping France, where 50 colleges and universities have been embroiled in a month-long student revolt. When President Nicolas Sarkozy decided to allow universities to directly recruit professors, determine their own budgets, and raise money from the private sector, protests, sit-ins, and even hunger strikes threw the system into turmoil.

• From Pakistan, reporter Ben Arnoldy is keeping an eye on efforts to keep the Taliban out. Pakistan hasn't been too successful in the past – will things be different this time?

Jerusalem's new mayor may not be the the moderate force he's touted to be after all, reports Ilene Prusher from Israel. On Day 2 of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's visit to Washington, a human rights report reveals home demolitions and land seizures are rising.

• Now that the civil war is over, will Tamils return to Sri Lanka? Anuj Chopra speaks with Tamils at home and abroad.

In US news ...

• No more fast cash? Reporter Gail Russell Chaddock explored how pending credit card legislation may hit young people the hardest, limiting access to credit precisely when many need it the most.

• Consumers and automakers may see red over Obama's tighter regulations on vehicle emissions, reports Mark Trumbull. While helping the environment and US energy independence, new regulations could add some $600 to the cost of a new car, and demands investments from automakers already near bankruptcy.

• Ever heard of the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corp.? It's a federal corporation established to ensure pensioners get their pensions – even if a company goes bankrupt. The usually nondescript entity faces a Congressional hearing tomorrow over its wavering ability to cover the claims, and whether it made some bad investments before the housing downturn. Ron Scherer reports.

--- Compiled by Sarah McCann

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