Today's Takeaway: Should the US Care About Saving the Euro?

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Thursday, December 08, 2011

After Evictions, Occupy Movement Looks Toward 2.0; 'Occupy Our Homes' Spreads Throughout the Country; A Closer Look at Syrian President Bashar al-Assad; Health Secretary Overturns Plan B Decision; Southern Cities Become Less Segregated; Should the US Care About Saving the Euro?; What Congress thinks of Newt Gingrich; The 'Sesame Street' of Afghanistan

Top of the Hour: Putin Accuses Clinton of Instigating Protests, Morning Headlines

Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin accused U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on Thursday of encouraging and supporting protests over alleged fraud in last weekend's parliamentary elections. Putin claimed Clinton "set the tone for some opposition activists," and warned of a wider crackdown on the demonstrations. BBC correspondent Steve Rosenberg reports on the latest from Moscow.

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Evicted From Camps, Occupy Moves Into Homes

Occupy Wall Street encampments have been disappearing across the country. But after seeing seeing their presence steadily diminish in recent weeks as cold weather and police-led evictions have cleared camps, Occupy has found a new rallying cry. "Foreclose on banks, not people" is the maxim of a new viral video from Occupy Our Homes, the next iteration of the movement. Occupy Our Homes began a major campaign Tuesday, staging marches in 25 cities, and taking over foreclosed properties for homeless families.

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Occupy Our Homes Spreads Throughout the Country

The impact of the Occupy Wall Street demonstrations around the country is difficult to see in raw numbers. But the way in which the national discourse has been moved, and how individual lives have been changed tells another compelling story of the movement's potential. The families in millions of households across the nation who are fighting to hold onto their homes against banks, authority, and the much reviled "1 percent" may have a powerful new ally. Occupy Our Homes, the latest incarnation of the OWS, is seizing foreclosed homes and claiming them for families in need.

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A Political Psychologist's Take on Syrian President Bashar al-Assad

"We do not kill our people," a defiant President Bashar al-Assad of Syria told ABC News's Barbara Walters in a rare interview broadcast on Wednesday. Assad refused to take responsibility for ordering the bloody crackdown on the protest movement calling for his ouster, which the United Nations estimates has taken the lives of 4,000 people. The increasingly isolated Assad claimed most of the deaths were his own supporters. Now in their ninth month, the Syrian government continues to stubbornly insist the uprisings are fueled by foreign governments like the U.S. and Israel.

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Health Secretary Overturns Plan B Decision

Heath and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius rejected a decision by the Food and Drug Administration to make the "morning after" birth control pill widely available over the counter on Wednesday. The emergency contraceptive, called Plan B One-Step, was available to women over 17, but would have been available to women 16 and under had the decision not been overruled. The initial decision by the FDA was sure become a political football during the campaign season.

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Southern Cities Become Less Segregated

Census data from last year showed more African-Americans from Northern metropolitan areas like New York and Chicago are moving to Southern cities like Atlanta and Kansas City. It’s what’s known as reverse migration. And new analysis done on that census data led by Brown University, shows that a consequence of reverse migration is desegregation, as suburban neighborhoods in some Southern cities become more racially integrated.

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Top of the Hour: EU Leaders Meet in Brussels, Morning Headlines

European leaders meet in Brussels on Thursday for a two day summit on the continent's debt crisis. French President Nicholas Sarkozy and German Chancellor Angela Merkel are hoping to convince other nations to agree to changes in the European treaty. Meanwhile, ratings agency Standard and Poor's says the E.U.'s credit rating is on watch.

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Should the US Care About Saving the Euro?

European leaders meet in Brussels on Thursday for the start of a two day summit in what many are hoping will be a turning point for resolving the euro zone crisis. Expectations are high that a deal can be brokered by Germany and France to overhaul economic rules and create confidence in the beleaguered currency. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner met with European officials earlier this week, a sign of American interest in reaching a resolution. But some economists and politicians are beginning to question whether, from the U.S. perspective, the euro is really worth saving.

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Death Sentence Dropped for Former Black Panther Mumia Abu-Jamal

He has been described as "the world's most famous death-row inmate," but that description is no longer true. On Wednesday, prosecutors in Philadelphia said they were dropping the state's efforts to execute former Black Panther and journalist Mumia Abu-Jamal. His sentence will be converted to life in prison, without parole. District Attorney Seth Williams said it was "time to put the case to rest" for the city of Philadelphia. It was 30 years ago this week that Mumia Abu-Jamal, former journalist, was arrested for shooting a police officer Daniel Faulkner.

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Capitol Hill: GOP Blocks Cordray From CFPB; Gingrich's Popularity in Congress

Takeaway Washington correspondent Todd Zwillich looks at two major stories playing out inside the halls of Congress this week. The White House is attempting to push recalcitrant Senate Republicans to confirm former Ohio Attorney General Richard Cordray as director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. Forty-five Senate Republicans signed a letter in May vowing to block any nominee unless Congress was given more oversight of the bureau. Zwillich also spent time on Capitol hill talking to lawmakers about GOP frontrunner Newt Gingrich. 

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Remembering 'M*A*S*H' Star Harry Morgan

Character actor Harry Morgan died Wednesday morning in Los Angeles. In a career that spanned over a hundred movies and numerous television shows, Morgan was best known to audiences for his definitive role as Colonel Sherman T. Potter in the long-running series "M*A*S*H." Morgan was 96, and had recently been treated for pneumonia.

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'Sesame Street' Goes to Afghanistan

Afghani children can now watch their own version of "Sesame Street."  The new children’s series hit the screens across that country this month. The producers of the original American version of "Sesame Street" have partnered with two popular Afghan television stations to produce "Sesame Garden," or "Baghch-e-Simsim" in the local languages of Dari and Pashto. Like its American counterpart, "Sesame Garden," has a progressive message along the way. The show aims to challenge gender barriers and expand roles for women and girls. Show segments feature young girls going to school, and emphasize female role models in a variety of careers, including as doctors and engineers.

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Corzine to Testify Before Congress

Former MF Global CEO Jon Corzine will testify before the House Committee on Agriculture on Thursday to discuss his leadership of the bankrupt brokerage firm. The former Democratic governor and senator released testimony in advance of the hearing, saying he does not know where $1.2 billion in missing client money went. Michael de la Merced of The New York Times' Dealbook reports on the latest.

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