Noontime News is a snapshot of the news from the past 24 hours.  (More)

Hillary Clinton to visit Middle East over Gaza conflict

Hillary Clinton is en route to the Middle East to join efforts to broker a ceasefire in the war between Israel and Hamas, in a move that suggests a breakthrough is close.

Pakistan drops blasphemy case against Christian girl

A Pakistani Christian girl accused by her neighbours of burning sacred Islamic texts has had blasphemy charges against her dropped by the Islamabad high court.

Obama urges Asian leaders to step back from territorial disputes

Barack Obama urged Asian leaders to turn down the temperature on simmering maritime disputes as he wrapped up his tour of the region on Tuesday.

Housing starts hit four-year high in October

(Reuters) – Housing starts rose to their highest rate in more than four years in October, suggesting the housing market recovery was gaining steam, even though permits for future construction fell.

Britain recognizes Syria opposition coalition: Hague

(Reuters) – Britain has officially recognized the fledgling Syrian National Coalition opposition group, British Foreign Secretary William Hague said on Tuesday.

Some cities find small steps key to storm protection

(Reuters) – In the aftermath of the historic floods caused by Superstorm Sandy, some city leaders have begun to argue for the construction of sea walls capable of shielding the U.S. coastline from ever more intense storms.

Will U.S. Try To Snuff Out State Marijuana Laws?

The Justice Department has a big decision to make.

Parts of new laws in Colorado and Washington that legalize small amounts of recreational marijuana will take effect early next month. The Obama administration needs to choose whether it will sue to stop the legislation or let those states go their own way — even though the drug remains illegal under federal law.

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