Nation and World 12/1/2010
Published: Thursday, December 2, 2010
Updated: Thursday, December 2, 2010 22:12
Overall U.S. high school graduation rate reported as rising
The nation's high school graduation rate has begun to rise, according to a report issued by a nonprofit group founded by former Secretary of State Colin L. Powell. The national graduation rate increased to 75 percent in 2008, compared to 72 percent in 2001, and high schools designated by researchers as "dropout factories" based on a formula decreased to 1,750 in 2008 from approximately 2,000 in 2002. However, though the report reveals that Tennessee and New York made impressive gains, in Arizona, Utah and Nevada graduation rates saw a significant drop.
President Obama announces federal worker pay freeze
President Obama announced Monday a two-year pay freeze for civilian federal workers, appealing to Republicans to begin a concerted effort to fix the national economy. This comes amid fears over high annual deficits. However, though the pay freeze acknowledges public concerns and frustration over sluggish economic recovery and increasing national debt, experts say the $5 billion that will be saved will not be enough to mitigate a deficit that has exceeded $1 trillion over the past two years.
Top Iranian nuclear scientists targeted by separate bomb attacks
Majid Shahriari and Fereydoon Abbasi, two of the country's top nuclear scientists were attacked in separate bomb attacks by unidentified assailants on Monday. Shahriari oversaw a project for Iran's Atomic Energy Organization, said Iran's nuclear chief Ali Akbar Salehi, and Abbasi was on the UN Security Council's sanctions list for his ties to the Iranian nuclear program. Though President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad claimed that the "hand of the Zionist regime and Western governments is involved," neither Israel nor the United States has acknowledged the pursuit of sabotage or assassinations, though both are widely believed to be attempting to disrupt Iran's nuclear program.
WikiLeaks' cables reveal Chinese frustation with North Korea
In cables released by WikiLeaks, a Chinese foreign ministry official is quoted as saying Pyongyang was acting like a "spoiled child." Furthermore, officials reportedly told South Korean officials that the Chinese government does not view North Korea as a buffer state, and suggested the peninsula should be reunified under Seoul. The content of the cables has been revealed while the region remains tense after North Korea shelled a South Korean island a week ago.