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Friday, December 13, 2013

Mexico Planning to Open Oil Companies to Foreigners

Mexican president President Enrique Peña Nieto is in the process of amending Mexico’s constitution to allow foreign investment to its state-owned oil corporation. The deal could bring in $20 billion in additional revenues, although the nationalist parties of the Mexican political system opposed the measure.

The Nieto administration claims the amendment is proposed with the intention of stimulating Mexico’s faltering oil production. Foreign investment could prod the Mexican oil industry into finding oil deep in the sea. However, Mexican oil has been autonomous since 1938. Cuauhtémoc Cárdenas, a Mexican politician, says, “to all Mexicans, and we must not allow it to go private.”

Obama Panel Urges NSA Curbs

An Obama administration advisory panel has recommended safeguards against N.S.A. spying. The report, which has not been released but has been partially leaked, suggests that the N.S.A. should curb the collection of all Americans’ data and instead should pressure telecom companies to store data for a period longer than 18 months.

In response to requests to curb spying, Gen. Keith Alexander said that such a cutback would be naive. Caitlin Hayden, spokeswoman for the National Security Council, said, Our review is looking across the board at our intelligence gathering to ensure that as we gather intelligence, we are properly accounting for both the security of our citizens and our allies, and the privacy concerns shared by Americans and citizens around the world. We need to ensure that our intelligence resources are most effectively supporting our foreign policy and national security objectives — that we are more effectively weighing the risks and rewards of our activities.”

North Korea Executes Dictator’s Uncle

North Korea’s government executed Kim Jong Un’s uncle Jang Song Thaek, marking the first time that a member of the Kim family has ever been executed by North Korean authorities. The official explanation of his execution is that he was plotting a military coup, and reasons for his firing included womanizing, gambling, and alcoholism.

The execution is likely to cause a rift in the dictatorship. Many individuals supported Mr. Jang, and they are likely to face retribution in the coming months.

GOP Obstructs Nominees

The Senate has been moving at a slow pace as G.O.P. senators obstruct nominees in the wake of the Democrats’ decision to set the voting threshold at 51 rather than 61, as the previous rules stated. Republicans have been using every method available to delay the Senate nomination hearings.

Meanwhile, Sen. Harry Reid threatened to keep the Senate in session until Christmas Eve if necessary. As of Friday, neither party showed the willingness to budge even an inch.

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