"Breaking the Bubble" – Some top national and international headlines for this week

National:

– The sex abuse scandal continues to rock Penn State, as former defense coordinator Jerry Sandusky was charged with 40 counts of sexually abusing boys. Head coach Joe Paterno was not charged but was fired on Wednesday night.

– NBC News/Wall Street Journal survey shows that about 75 percent of respondents don’t like Obama’s economic policies and fear the country is headed in the wrong direction. In hypothetical match-ups, Obama leads Mitt Romney by six points and Herman Cain by 15 points.

– Dr. Conrad Murray was convicted of involuntary manslaughter for administering the drug that helped kill Michael Jackson in the summer of 2009.

-Voters across the country turned a skeptical eye toward conservative-backed measures across the country Tuesday, rejecting an anti-labor law in Ohio, an anti-abortion measure in Mississippi and a crackdown on voting rights in Maine. Even in Arizona, voters turned the chief architect of Arizona’s anti-immigration law out of office.

-Herman Cain held a news conference Tuesday to again deny sexual assault accusations, even as a another woman put her name to allegations that the candidate had approached her inappropriately.

-A powerful storm with hurricane-force winds slammed into western Alaska on Wednesday, causing widespread power failures in tiny coastal villages and warnings that the area could suffer major flooding. The National Weather Service described the storm as “extremely dangerous and life-threatening” and of “an epic magnitude rarely experienced.”

-A federal appeals court in Washington upheld the Obama administration’s health care law on Tuesday in a decision written by a prominent conservative jurist.

International:

– Greek leaders are still struggling to form a new government. Prime Minister George Papandreou and his chief rival agreed to create a new government, under a new prime minister, but have not yet disclosed a lineup.

– Iran is close to nuclear capability. Intelligence provided to U.N. nuclear officials shows Iran’s government has mastered the critical steps needed to build a nuclear weapon.

-Despite Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi’s pledge to resign, Italy’s borrowing costs crossed a key financial and psychological threshold of 7 percent, close to levels that have required other euro zone countries to seek bailouts. Italian lawmakers were frantically negotiating a way forward, while European leaders scrambled to forge a backup plan for a country too big to bail out.

-An Indian court found 31 people guilty on Wednesday of killing 33 Muslims during riots in Gujarat state in 2002. They were convicted of murder, arson, rioting and criminal conspiracy.

-Chinese solar panel manufacturers, which had virtually no presence in the U.S. market three years ago, now hold control of more than half of the market. Meanwhile, a new American trade group was formed this week, representing buyers and installers of solar-energy systems.

-Georgia and Russia signed an agreement on Wednesday that clears the path for Russia to join the World Trade Organization. This ended nine months of often rocky negotiations between the two countries on monitoring trade flows over the Georgian-Russian border.

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