- Most Americans back path to citizenship for illegal immigrants - poll
- North Korea issues fresh threat to U.S., South probes hacking
- Australian PM Gillard calls leadership vote
Posted: 20 Mar 2013 09:16 PM PDT
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The majority of Americans favour giving millions of illegal immigrants a way to earn citizenship, according to a survey released on Thursday, highlighting public support for efforts in Congress to reform immigration law.
In the Public Religion Research Institute poll, 63 percent of Americans said they supported a path to citizenship for undocumented foreigners if they meet certain requirements.
Seventy-one percent of Democrats and 53 percent of Republicans backed eventually allowing illegal immigrants to become Americans.
The path to citizenship idea is the centrepiece of both a bipartisan immigration plan in the Senate and President Barack Obama's immigration reform proposals.
This week, Republican Senator Rand Paul, a libertarian and favourite of the conservative Tea Party movement, called for legalization of the 11 million undocumented foreigners, the majority of who are from Latin America.
He stopped short of specifically urging a path to citizenship but his statement nonetheless represents a shift in thinking for many conservatives, many of whom used to advocate deportation.
"In many ways, we are seeing the leaders in Congress catching up to where rank and file Republicans are on this issue," said Robert Jones, the CEO of the Public Religion Research Institute.
"Republicans, a couple of years ago, were holding the line against a path to citizenship... Now, there have been more Republican (lawmakers) talking about a middle option," he said.
Republicans have been forced to retool their message to non-white voters after Hispanics and other minority groups threw their support behind Obama in the November presidential election.
The poll found that fewer Americans thought that the best way to solve the country's immigration problems was to secure U.S. borders, and arrest and deport everyone living in the United States illegally. This year, 29 percent of those surveyed said that was the best policy, down from 36 percent in 2011.
The survey, conducted between March 6 and 10, was based on 4,465 Spanish and English telephone interviews with adults. The margin of error is plus or minus 1.7 percentage points.
The poll was conducted in partnership with the Brookings Institution think tank.
(Reporting by Rachelle Younglai; Editing by Alistair Bell and Cynthia Osterman)
Copyright © 2013 Reuters
Posted: 20 Mar 2013 09:09 PM PDT
SEOUL (Reuters) - North Korea said it would attack U.S. military bases on Japan and the Pacific island of Guam if provoked, a day after leader Kim Jong-un oversaw a mock drone strike on South Korea.
The North also held an air raid drill on Thursday after accusing the United States of preparing a military strike using bombers that have overflown the Korean peninsula as part of drills between South Korean and U.S. forces.
North Korea has stepped up its rhetoric in response to what it calls "hostile" drills between South Korea and the United States. It has also been angered by the imposition of fresh U.N. sanctions that followed its February 12 nuclear test.
Separately, South Korea said a hacking attack on the servers of local broadcasters and banks on Wednesday originated from an IP address in China, raising suspicions the intrusion came from North Korea.
"The United States is advised not to forget that our precision target tools have within their range the Anderson Air Force base on Guam where the B-52 takes off, as well as the Japanese mainland where nuclear powered submarines are deployed and the navy bases on Okinawa," the North's supreme military command spokesman was quoted as saying by the KCNA news agency.
Japan and U.S. Pacific bases are in range of Pyongyang's medium-range missiles.
It is not known if North Korea possesses drones, although a report on South Korea's Yonhap news agency last year said it had obtained 1970s-era U.S. target drones from Syria to develop into attack drones.
"The (drone) planes were assigned the flight route and time with the targets in South Korea in mind, Kim Jong-un said, adding with great satisfaction that they were proved to be able to mount (a) super-precision attack on any enemy targets," KCNA reported.
It is extremely rare for KCNA to specify the day on which Kim attended a drill. It also said a rocket defence unit had successfully shot down a target that mimicked an "enemy" Tomahawk cruise missile.
North Korea has said it has abrogated an armistice that ended the 1950-53 Korean War and threatened a nuclear attack on the United States.
Although North Korea lacks the technology to carry out such an attack, Washington said it would deploy more anti-missile batteries in Alaska to counter any threat.
PYONGYANG HAS HACKED SOUTH KOREA BEFORE
The hacking attack brought down the servers of South Korean broadcasters YTN, MBC and KBS as well as two major commercial banks, Shinhan Bank and NongHyup Bank.
South Korean communications regulators said the attack originated from an IP address based in China.
An unnamed official from South Korea's presidential office was quoted by the Yonhap news agency as saying the discovery of the Chinese IP address indicated Pyongyang was responsible.
Investigations of past hacking incidents on South Korean organisations have been traced to Pyongyang's large army of computer engineers trained to infiltrate the South's computer networks.
At least one previous attack was traced to a Chinese IP address.
South Korea's defence ministry said it was too early to blame the North but said such a cyber capability was a key part of its arsenal. Experts say thousands of North Korean engineers may have been recruited for the purpose.
"Throughout the world, states that create cyber warfare and engage in those types of activities are precisely the same countries that develop nuclear weapons," Defence Ministry spokesman Kim Min-seok said.
"North Korea has strongly stepped up development of asymmetrical strategy with nuclear development and many types of ballistic missiles as well as a special forces of 200,000 strong."
(Additional reporting by Ju-min Park. Editing by Dean Yates)
Copyright © 2013 Reuters
Posted: 20 Mar 2013 09:06 PM PDT
CANBERRA (Reuters) - Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard called a leadership vote on Thursday after party rivals urged her to step aside and for former leader Kevin Rudd to head the minority government, in an attempt to stave off election defeat.
Gillard's leadership has been under threat for most of the past two years as voters desert the Labour government, leaving it facing defeat in a September 14 general election.
However, if Gillard is replaced as leader, key independents who back her government may withdraw their support, possibly prompting an earlier election.
Gillard announced the leadership vote, scheduled for 4.30 p.m. (0530 GMT), during parliament's question time, shortly after a senior minister called for her to step aside for a leadership ballot.
"This is not personal. It's about the party, the future of the country," said senior Labour minister Simon Crean, a former strong supporter of Gillard who has shifted to back her chief rival, Rudd.
Gillard, Australia's first female prime minister, replaced Rudd in a party coup in June 2010. The dumping of Rudd, an elected prime minister, angered many voters who have never forgiven Gillard for the way she became leader.
Gillard has since failed to arrest a slump in opinion polls, which predict a major defeat in September, with Labour losing about 20 seats in the 150-seat parliament. Despite 21-years of economic growth, Gillard's government has failed to win over voters who believe her economic management is flawed.
There is very little difference in economic policies between the government and conservative opposition. But opposition leader Tony Abbott has promised to scrap a 30 percent tax on coal and iron ore mine profits, and to scrap an unpopular tax on carbon, if it wins power.
Financial markets had little reaction to the news. The Australian dollar was a shade firmer on the day thanks mainly to a surprisingly strong reading of manufacturing from China, Australia's biggest export market.
"If there is a new leader, they might decide to bring the election forward which could actually help limit any political uncertainty," said Michael Turner, a strategist at RBC Capital Markets.
The currency was at $1.0380 and holding in a very tight range. Government bonds hardly budged, with investors assuming future borrowing needs would be much the same whichever leader or party was in power.
A switch to Rudd would also mean a likely shakeout of senior ministers including Treasurer and Deputy Prime Minister Wayne Swan, who openly criticised Rudd during a previous, failed leadership challenge by Rudd in February 2012.
But Rudd is unlikely to have any major policy differences from Gillard if he returns as prime minister.
Abbott moved to take advantage of the turmoil by seeking to move a motion of no-confidence in parliament in Gillard, but the motion lost because it failed to attract the 76 votes needed for an absolute majority although it had 73 votes to Labour's 71.
Copyright © 2013 Reuters
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