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

Obama Gives Republicans A Tough Ultimatum On Taxes

With the fiscal cliff rapidly approaching, President Obama was unflinching in his tax stance on Friday, threatening to use his leverage to force Republicans into an unenviable position if they fail to agree to a deal in time.

Dueling Filibuster Proposals Leave Reformers Scrambling

The two leading champions of weakening the Senate filibuster on Friday criticized a bipartisan proposal that was unveiled in the afternoon with scaled-back reforms, and they pushed for their own package to make more sweeping changes to the rules.

Suicide Hotline Fights To Keep Vets And Troops Alive

At a suicide prevention center in upstate New York, America’s troops and veterans are calling in for help.

And that help is needed more than ever. This past year witnessed a terrible death toll from suicide. For the first time in a decade of war, more active-duty troops have taken their own lives this year than have died fighting in Afghanistan.

Activists voice dismay as Senate renews government surveillance measure

Civil rights campaigners voiced dismay on Friday over the US Senate‘s re-authorization of the government’s warrantless surveillance program, and the defeat of two amendments that would have provided for basic oversight of the eavesdropping.

France’s constitutional council rejects 75% tax rate

The French constitutional council has rejected a government proposal to levy a 75% tax on high earners.

The tax on incomes over €1m has divided opinion in France and encouraged some to set up homes outside France.

Death of India rape victim stirs anger, promises of action

(Reuters) – A woman whose gang rape provoked protests and rare national debate about violence against women in India died from her injuries on Saturday, prompting promises of action from a government that has struggled to respond to public outrage.

U.N. confronts failure of diplomacy in Syria

(Reuters) – Attempts by the United Nations to end the bloody 21-month-old Syrian conflict through diplomacy have been a resounding failure and there is little reason to expect a quick change given the Russian-U.S. rift on Syria.

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