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Ad, letter campaign targets ‘fiscal cliff’

Fri., Nov. 23, 2012

WASHINGTON – The election may be over, but a new campaign is being waged in the nation’s capital as lobbyists, advocates and trade groups fight to shape the government’s response to the looming fiscal cliff.

This time around, the TV commercials, newspaper ads and letter-writing campaigns are directed at politicians rather than voters.

What do they want?

In this climate, many lobbyists and advocates are simply trying to limit the damage as Congress and the White House look to higher taxes and spending cuts to slow the government’s mushrooming debt.

In other words: Don’t raise my taxes; don’t cut my funding.

On the other side, members of President Barack Obama’s own deficit commission are lobbying him and Congress to reduce government borrowing by $4 trillion over the next decade.

Former BBC news chief named to top post

LONDON – The BBC has chosen a former head of its news division to lead the broadcaster as it struggles to recover from a child abuse scandal.

Tony Hall, currently chief executive of the Royal Opera House, was announced as the BBC’s new director-general on Thursday. Hall served as director of news for a decade before taking the Royal Opera post in 2001.

He succeeds George Entwistle, who resigned on Nov. 10 after just 54 days as director-general.

The BBC has been shaken by controversy over a decision not to run a report that one of its former stars, Jimmy Savile, was an alleged serial sexual abuser of young women. It also aired a report falsely linking a politician to child sex abuse.

EU takes major step to protect sharks

BRUSSELS – The European Union took a major step to protect sharks on Thursday, banning the brutal practice of hacking off their fins before throwing the fish back into the sea to die.

The European Parliament voted by an overwhelming 566-47 margin to force all boats in EU waters and EU-registered vessels around the world to land sharks with their fins attached and prove the animal had not been thrown back finless.

The practice of shark finning stems from the high price the body parts fetch in China for the shark fin soup, a specialty at high-class banquets, and the low value of the rest of the body. The consumption of fins has risen as China’s living standards have increased. Fins can sell for as much as $700 a pound.

The European Union has said that some 75 million sharks are killed for their fins only. Spain is the top fin exporter. The Oceana conservation group said the EU is the largest shark fishing power in the world with 17 percent of reported shark catches and the largest exporter of shark fins to Hong Kong and mainland China.


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