If sequestration takes effect next week, the Defense Department won't be able to choose which programs will be cut, according to the White House Office of Management and Budget. Agencies have to apply the cuts at the "program, project and activity" level, which means the Pentagon would have little flexibility in protecting specific programs.
The first months of next year are critical to Somalia, observers say, as Somalis are looking for tangible proof that the installed government is better than al-Shabab militants routed from much of the country by African Union forces. Conditions are expected to continue deteriorating in Mali.
Chinese authorities vowed crackdowns on food safety violators following a report from China Central Television that Shanghai suppliers to Yum! Brands were incorrectly using antibiotics. A subsequent test of raw chicken from the KFC arm found antibiotic levels within government limits but high levels of an antiviral drug with no government limit.
Poverty, not violence, is the chief concern in East Timor, where high rates of joblessness, malnutrition and maternal mortality continue as United Nations peacekeepers prepare to withdraw after 13 years. Still, observers say the pull-out marks significant progress.
Mike Scialabba, pilot and owner of East End Helicopter LLC in South Setauket, N.Y., saw the damage created by Superstorm Sandy and decided to lend a hand. It wasn't the first time Scialabba donated his time -- he has donated both time and money to the FealGood Foundation in support of victims of 9/11.