World News Brief, Wednesday July 20

Congressional leaders push ahead with US debt-cutting plans; August 2 is deadline that could see US default on debt obligations; Muslim activists attacked police station in Chinese province of Xinjiang; US holds talks with Qaddafi reps--says Libyan leader must step down; Clinton pledges to press Pakistan to give up on terrorism measures against India; Rupert and James Murdoch appear before Parliament; and more

Top of the Agenda: Debt Fight Shifts to Congress


With two weeks until an August 2 deadline that could see the U.S. default on its debt obligations, and talks over a deficit-reduction plan all but dead, congressional leaders (WSJ) in the House of Representatives and the Senate are pushing forward with last-minute, alternative legislative measures.

The House will vote on a "Cap, Cut, and Balance" bill (CNN)Tuesday--legislation that would cut government spending by $2.4 billion over ten years, set strict caps on future spending, and lift the debt ceiling, though only on the condition that Congress pass a constitutional amendment mandating a balanced budget. The legislation is expected to pass the House but not to make it through the Senate.  The White House has indicated that President Barack Obama would veto any such measure.

Meanwhile, the Senate is moving forward with a plan being drafted by Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid that would empower the president to raise the debt ceiling in tranches (WashPost), while only implementing around $1.5 trillion in savings already agreed upon by Republicans and Democrats. The plan would also establish a bipartisan congressional committee to draft a more comprehensive and long-term deficit-reduction plan.

The bipartisan Senate proposal has triggered infighting among the GOP (Politico), and it is still unclear whether House Republicans could ultimately support the McConnell-Reid plan.


McConnell's plan could lead to a "day of reckoning" for Republicans, giving them an opportunity to blame any future fiscal problems on President Obama and the Democrats, says this Reuters analysis.

The Tea Party, which is heavily influencing House Republicans in the debt debate, is promoting a form of constitutional fundamentalism that is very like religious fundamentalism, writes the Financial Times' Gideon Rachman.

With the deadline looming for resolving the U.S. debt standoff, concern is rising among international creditors and markets about the largest economy and home of the world's reserve currency, says this CFR Analysis Brief.


PACIFIC RIM: Clashes in China's Xinjiang Province


Activists from the Muslim minority Uighur community (BBC) in China's northwest Xinjiang province attacked a police station in the city of Hotan, killing four and taking others hostage in what Chinese officials called a "terrorist attack." Uighur activists countered that Chinese security forces instigated the violence by opening fire on a peaceful demonstration, killing at least fourteen and arresting seventy.

CFR's John B. Bellinger III and Vijay Padmanabhan, a visiting assistant professor of law at Yeshiva University, examine the legal questions surrounding detention for states engaged in conflicts with non-state groups in this article for the American Journal of International Law.

Philippines: A report by Human Rights Watch accuses Filipino President Benigno Aquino III (al-Jazeera) of failing to investigate and prosecute killings and abuses by the military of political opponents.


- U.S. Holds Talks with Qaddafi Reps
- Clinton Holds Talks in India
- Murdochs to Face Parliament


This is an excerpt of the Daily News Brief. The full version is available on