Democrats have begun lining up behind Rep. Ed Markey as the party's nominee in a prospective U.S. Senate race. He received endorsements from the Senate Democrats' fundraising arm, former Sen. Ted Kennedy's widow and the lawmaker he hopes to succeed, John Kerry. The backing came a day after Markey, first elected to the House in 1976, announced his candidacy for the Senate seat that Kerry will vacate if he is confirmed as U.S. secretary of state.
George H.W. Bush's condition continued to improve, prompting doctors to move him out of intensive care, a spokesman for Methodist Hospital in Houston said. Bush was hospitalized Nov. 23 for treatment of a bronchitis-related cough. Bush, the 41st president, is the country's oldest living former president by a few months.
A woman accused of pushing a man to his death in front of a subway train was charged with murder as a hate crime. Police arrested Erica Menendez after a passer-by on a street noticed she resembled the woman seen in a surveillance video. A spokeswoman for the Queens district attorney said Menendez told authorities she hates Hindus and Muslims. The victim, Sunando Sen, was from India, but it's unclear if he was Muslim or Hindu. Witnesses said a muttering woman pushed Sen onto the tracks as a train entered a Queens station and then she ran off.
The Constitutional Council struck down the Socialist government's plan to impose a 75 percent marginal income tax rate on the wealthy, a measure that figured prominently among the campaign promises of President Francois Hollande. The ruling said the measure did not tax affected households equally. The tax would have garnered a few hundred million dollars, little more than a bucket of water in France's deficit sea; the deficit is about $112 billion this year.
Philippines President Benigno Aquino signed legislation that will provide modern contraceptives to the nation's poorest people and mandate sex education in public schools. Leaders of the Roman Catholic Church immediately vowed to challenge the new law in the nation's Supreme Court and rally demonstrations in the streets. "The fight is far from over," Archbishop Ramon Arguelles said.
Three Al-Qaida militants were killed in a suspected U.S. drone strike in southern Yemen, Yemeni security officials said, the fourth such attack this week and a sign attacks from unmanned aircraft are on the upswing in the country. According to statistics gathered by the Long War Journal before Saturday's attacks, the United States "is known to have carried out 41 airstrikes" this year against Al-Qaida in Yemen.
Egypt's Islamist president used his first address before the newly convened upper house of parliament to warn against any unrest that could harm the country's battered economy, as he renewed calls for the opposition to join in a national dialogue. In the nationally televised speech, Mohammed Morsi said the nation's entire efforts should be focused on "production, work, seriousness and effort" now that a new constitution is in effect.