World

3:22pm

Tue January 31, 2012
National Security

U.S. Officials Point To Iran As Growing Threat

Originally published on Tue January 31, 2012 12:51 pm

FBI Director Robert Mueller, Director of National Intelligence James Clapper and CIA Director David Petraeus appear before the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. on Tuesday.
Win McNamee Getty Images

Iran is moving toward a nuclear capability but its intentions are unclear. Al-Qaida is weakened but remains dangerous. In Afghanistan, the Taliban are a determined adversary, but it may make sense to negotiate with them.

These were the highlights of the annual assessment of threats to U.S. security, delivered Tuesday on Capitol Hill by the nation's intelligence agencies.

The director of national intelligence, James Clapper, was also able list some accomplishments, beginning with the big triumph — tracking down and killing Osama bin Laden.

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3:22pm

Tue January 31, 2012
Middle East

In Israel, A Non-Stop Debate On Possible Iran Strike

Originally published on Tue January 31, 2012 3:20 pm

Israeli soldiers take part in an exercise at the Shizafon army base, in the Negev Desert north of the southern city of Eilat, on Tuesday. There are growing signs that Israel may be planning a strike against Iran's nuclear facilities.
Jack Guez AFP/Getty Images

In Israel, there is daily speculation over whether Israel will attack Iran's nuclear facilities in the near future. The debate is not only over whether Israel should strike Iran, but what the costs and benefits might be from such a strike.

Israel believes that Iran is working to build a nuclear bomb, and dismisses Iran's assertion that its nuclear program is solely for civilian purposes.

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2:29pm

Tue January 31, 2012
The Two-Way

Clinton Calls On Security Council To 'Stand With The People Of Syria'

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton during her address to the U.N. Security Council this afternoon.
Mario Tama Getty Images

Saying "we all have a choice — stand with the people of Syria and the region or become complicit in the continuing violence there," Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton just urged the U.N. Security Council to support an Arab League call for "a negotiated, peaceful political solution to this crisis and a responsible, democratic transition in Syria" that would lead to the end of President Bashar Assad's regime.

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1:54pm

Tue January 31, 2012
Europe

For Hungarian Borrowers, A Mortgage Nightmare

Originally published on Tue January 31, 2012 6:16 pm

A woman passes by a real estate agency in Budapest, Hungary, in January. As the Hungarian currency plunges to new lows, ordinary citizens are struggling to repay foreign-denominated loans.
Laszlo Balogh Reuters/Landov

Since the U.S. housing bubble burst, many Americans have found themselves struggling to pay off mortgages that are worth more than their homes.

Now, imagine if those mortgages were in a foreign currency that has soared in value compared with the domestic currency — the one in which paychecks are issued.

As Hungary's currency plummets to record lows, this is exactly the plight of some 1 million Hungarians, who, during better financial times, took out mortgages and consumer loans in Swiss francs.

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10:50am

Tue January 31, 2012
The Two-Way

U.S. Intelligence Chief: Iran Is More Willing To Launch Attack On U.S.

From left, FBI Director Robert Mueller, Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, and CIA Director David Petraeus take their seats on Capitol Hill in Washington on Tuesday, prior to testifying before the Senate Intelligence Committee hearing.
Jacquelyn Martin AP

As part of his yearly report to the Senate's Select Committee on Intelligence, the United States' intelligence chief said that depending how threatened Iran feels, it may be more willing to launch an attack against the U.S.

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