Pakistan's Strained Relationship with American Diplomats

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Thursday, December 17, 2009

Pakistan's Strained Relationship with American Diplomats

Attitudes towards Americans and American diplomats in Pakistan have become so hostile they border on harassment, according to a new report from The New York Times.  From refusing to approve visas for over 100 U.S. officials, to what some describe as an unreasonable uptick in vehicle searches, relations between Pakistan's military services and Americans are unraveling at a crucial moment for security in the region. We talk about these strained relationships with Marvin Weinbaum, scholar at the Middle East Institue, and Shuja Nawaz, director of the South Asia Center at the Atlantic Council.

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Takeouts: Debt Ceiling, Scandal Insurance

  • Washington Takeout: Todd Zwillich joins us to describe efforts by Congress to finish the year's work, including raising the nation's debt "ceiling" by a mere $300 billion. (To put the debt ceiling into context, see our previous Debtor Nation numbers segment.)
  • Business Takeout: LeConte Moore, managing director at DeWitt Stern Group, is about to offer a new type of insurance to companies who want to protect themselves from a Tiger Woodstype backlash.

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Exxon Buys XTO; Is Natural Gas The New Oil?

This week, Exxon acquired XTO Energy, one of the largest domestic producers of natural gas. Natural gas is considered a cheaper and greener form of energy due to its somewhat lower carbon footprint... but the companies who may own the natural gas market may wind up being the same oil giants we already know. Daniel Yergin, chairman of IHS Cambridge Energy Research Associates, is joined by Lisa Margonelli, from the New America Foundation, to explain what these developments in the natural gas market signify.

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PETA, Ringling Bros. Clash Over Elephant Treatment

A decades-experienced elephant trainer with Ringling Bros./Barnum & Bailey's left a notarized letter and photos to be opened after he died, documenting long years of elephant treatment that troubled him and his wife. David Montgomery wrote the story for yesterday's Washington Post; he takes us inside the story PETA calls abuse and Ringling Bros. calls responsible training methodology.

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Improve Your Passwords to Better Protect Your Identity

Passwords were once the stuff of play, humor and childhood rites of passage.  How did they become the rather boring key to protecting our bank accounts, intimate communications and identities?  Are passwords inadequate to the task of protecting anything truly valuable? And can we find some fun as we improve our passwords and better protect ourselves from 21st century thievery?  Takeaway Tech contributor Baratunde Thurston says yes.

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Copenhagen Summit Heats Up in Final Days

The UN's historic climate change conference in Copenhagen wraps up tomorrow. There are persistent fears that the end could come without a major, binding climate change agreement between the 193 countries. “The next 24 hours are absolutely crucial,” warned UN climate change official Yvo de Boer. (...continue reading)

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Takeouts: FTC & Intel, Sotomayor, Colts/Jaguars

  • Business Takeout: Louise Story tells us why the Federal Trade Commission has filed a complaint against Intel, just as Europe has dropped their anti-trust suit against Microsoft.
  • Supreme Court Takeout: Carole King takes us through Justice Sonia Sotomayor's first visit to Puerto Rico since becoming a Supreme Court justice.
  • Sports Takeout: Ibrahim Abdul-Matin says it would be a mistake if the undefeated Colts benched their starters in tonight's game. His suggestion? Play hard, all the way!

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Children's Insurance May Change with Health Reform

The State Children’s Health Insurance Program, also known as SCHIP, has been a very popular health care program for children since its inception back in the late '90s. The program may face changes soon, however, as the House plans to repeal it entirely in their version of health care reform. The replacement plan would have kids participating into the new insurance exchanges. Some ask, though: if ain't broke, why fix it? Marian Wright Edelman, president of the Children's Defense Fund and a lifelong activist for children and disadvantaged Americans, joins us to explain why we might (or might not) want to consider these changes.

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Facebook Group Tries to Foil Simon Cowell's Top Pop Choice

Music producer and talent show host Simon Cowell is used to dominating the pop charts at Christmastime. His hit British television show, the X Factor, (roughly speaking, the U.K. version of American Idol), churns out chart-topper after chart-topper annually as the winners are chosen at the end of each year. But music fan Tracy Mortar has started a grassroots campaign to take a few potshots at the Cowell's dominance of manufactured pop music. She's formed the Facebook group Rage Against the Machine for Christmas No. 1, and nearly 60,000 fans of that group are pushing to push RAtM's 1992 song, "Killing in the Name," to the top of the charts. Chris Hawkins, DJ for the BBC's 6Music, joins us to play some tracks and handicap the outcome.

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Life in Fine Print: Understanding Your Student Loan

All week we've been following the ways in which our lives have become inundated with fine print. For the fourth segment in our series, Takeaway contributor Beth Kobliner, author of "Get a Financial Life: Personal Finance In Your Twenties and Thirties," looks at why more people are defaulting on student loans than ever before and how you can avoid being buried by the fine print.

Click through to read Beth's five points to consider when applying for (or paying down) your student loans.

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