Obama plans to seek higher base tax rate for millionaires

President Obama is expected to seek a new base tax rate for the wealthy to ensure that millionaires pay at least at the same percentage as middle-income taxpayers.

A White House official said the proposal would be included in the president’s plan for long-term deficit reduction that he will announce Monday. The official spoke anonymously because the plan has not been officially announced.

The measure would be in addition to $447 billion in new tax revenue that Obama is seeking to pay for his short-term spending and tax-cutting plan to jump-start the economy.

House Speaker John Boehner said Thursday he would oppose tax increases to reduce the deficit. Boehner has urged Congress’ deficit “supercommittee” to lay the groundwork for a broad overhaul of the U.S. tax code.

The tax proposal was first reported by The New York Times.


Prime minister tries to calm tensions after bus massacre

Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki tried to ease sectarian tensions Saturday over the execution-style slayings of 22 Shiite pilgrims on a bus as authorities released four suspects.

The four were released because of a lack of evidence, said two senior Iraqi officials who spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to release the information.

Four others are still being held in Baghdad, the officials said.

In the attack Monday, gunmen stopped the bus at a fake security checkpoint in western Anbar province.  Witnesses said the gunmen ordered 22 men off the bus, walked them down the road and shot them .

The arrests stirred Sunni resentment when a prominent sheik in Anbar accused security forces of “abducting” the suspects as Shiite revenge for the massacre.

Al-Maliki, a Shiite, sought to tamp down sectarian anger.

“The crime was very ugly, and it caused great pain to the families of the victims, but this attack did not target a specific component of the Iraqi people,” he told reporters. 


U.S. ambassador cites link between insurgents, Pakistan

The U.S. ambassador to Islamabad said in remarks broadcast Saturday that there is evidence linking the Haqqani insurgent network to the Pakistani government .

The United States and NATO blame the Haqqani network for many of the attacks in Afghanistan, including last  week’s strike on the U.S. Embassy. The group – affiliated with both the Taliban and al-Qaida – and its army of several thousand fighters is widely assumed to be based just over the Afghan border in Pakistan.

U.S. officials have long suspected links between the Pakistan military and the Haqqani network. But needing Pakistani cooperation to beat al-Qaida and stabilize Afghanistan, they rarely say it as publicly and directly as Ambassador Cameron Munter did in an interview with Radio Pakistan.

“The attack that took place in Kabul a few days ago was the work of the Haqqani network,” Munter said. “And the facts, that we have said in the past, (are) that there is evidence linking the Haqqani network to the Pakistan government. ”

Pressed for evidence, Munter said, “Well, it’s just we believe that to be the case.”

A Foreign Ministry spokeswoman declined to comment until she had heard the interview.