port of shanghaiOakland Officials Reject New Tactics to Combat Protests – Council members rejected calls for stronger tactics to prevent protests from shutting down the Port of Oakland.  In November, and then again in December, protestors from the Occupy movement were able to shut down port operations in Oakland.  The second action was part of a broader push to close all West Coast ports.  Partially due to a much smaller police presence than other ports, Oakland was among the hardest hit by the protests.  Port officials estimated that the December shutdown alone cost the local economy $4 million. Council members are looking for more specific information on the cost of additional police presence before voting again on the matter.

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EU Courts Uphold Airline Carbon Rules – Europe’s highest court dismissed a lawsuit by North American airlines that challenged the European Union’s (EU) new cap-and-trade program.  The program begins on January 1st and is designed to reduce the industry’s carbon emissions.  Under the plan, each airline is issued pollution credits at a rate lower than their historical output.  If an airline exceeds their allotment, they must purchase additional credits; providers that operate under their allowance can sell their excess credits.   According to experts, air traffic is the fastest growing source of carbon emissions.

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Kim Jong-il Death Prompts Questions for Isolated North Korea – The death of North Korean leader Kim Jong-il and transition of power is being watched closely by the world.  The former leader’s youngest son is set to be the successor of one of the most isolated countries in the world.  Neighboring South Korea and China will perhaps be keeping closest tabs on leadership transition.  Most international trade to North Korea passes through China.

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NORAD Continues 50+ Year Tradition of Tracking Santa – What began as a misprinted telephone number for Santa Claus in a 1955 Sears advertisement has turned into a 56 year tradition of tracking Mr. Claus. The original mistake directed children to call a number that was actually an operations hotline for the Continental Air Defense Command (CONAD). Then Director of Operations, Colonel Harry Shoup, ordered his staff to update kids on Santa’s progress throughout the night and the tradition stuck. Today, the program’s successor, North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) is a joint US/Canadian organization that provides air defense support for the two countries. The Santa tracking program now boasts Facebook and Twitter pages as well as a mobile app.

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