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

Northeast digs out from Blizzard; new storm brews in Plains

(Reuters) – The Northeast started digging itself out after a blizzard dumped up to 40 inches of snow with hurricane force winds, killing at least nine people and leaving hundreds of thousands without power.

US Air, AMR near $11 billion merger, deal seen within week: sources

(Reuters) – US Airways Group Inc and AMR Corp are nearing an $11 billion merger that would create the world’s largest airline and could announce a deal within a week, after resolving key differences on valuation and management structure, people familiar with the matter said.

Among U.S. evangelicals, surprising support for immigration reform 

(Reuters) – Thou shalt compromise, at least on immigration reform.

Mahmoud Ahmadinejad says Iran ready for nuclear talks with US

Iran‘s president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, said Sunday that he is ready to have talks with United States if the West stops pressuring his country.

China tightens concert rules after Elton John’s ‘disrespectful’ Beijing show

Chinese authorities have hardened their line on foreign musicians, after Elton John infuriated them by dedicating a performance to outspoken artist and activist Ai Weiwei, according to industry sources. Police arrived to interview the singer shortly after he announced that the performance, which took place in Beijing last November, was dedicated “to the spirit and talent of Ai Weiwei”, according to two sources. One said officers wanted John’s manager to sign a statement saying the dedication was inspired only by admiration for Ai’s art. John’s spokesman declined to comment when contacted by the Guardian.

Egypt bans Youtube over Innocence of Muslims trailer

YouTube has been temporarily banned in Egypt for carrrying an anti-Islamic documentary that triggered deadly riots across north Africa and the Middle East in September.

Horsemeat scandal blamed on international fraud by mafia gangs

Organised criminal gangs operating internationally are suspected of playing a major role in the horsemeat scandal that has seen supermarket shelves cleared of a series of products and triggered concerns about the contamination of the UK’s food chain.

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