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Morning Briefing: Pass the salt: Barack and Mitt do lunch

Banners depicting Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas cover a wall during a rally in the West Bank city of Hebron, supporting the resolution that would change the Palestinian Authority's United Nations observer status from "entity" to "non-member state" Nov. 29, 2012.


A summary of what you need to know today, compiled by The Globe's news desk on Nov. 29, 2012

UN votes on resolution to upgrade standing of Palestinians

The UN General Assembly is expected to overwhelmingly approve a resolution to enhance the status of Palestinians – a powerful symbolic move that will give the Palestinians increased clout and is a setback for Israel that has vehemently lobbied against the move. Besides Israel, the U.S. and Canada are among a small group of nations opposing the resolution, which would upgrade Palestinians from observer status granted in 1974. The vote would be a significant victory for beleaguered Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas who was sidelined in the recent showdown between Hamas and Israel. Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird is making a trip to New York to vote against the resolution, and may address the assembly to explain Canada's position.

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Here is The Globe's Patrick Martin's report on the historic vote from the West Bank.

Egypt president to address divided nation

With protesters filling the streets, Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi will address a divided nation today in an appeal for calm and unity. The address, coming on the heels of a week of violent protests, will occur as the body charged with drafting Egypt's constitution appears set to vote on the document, marking a critical milestone as the country charts a new course in the post-Mubarak era. The assembly – now dominated by the Muslim Brotherhood after a raft of resignations – appears to be rushing to approve a draft ahead of a court ruling expected Sunday that may call for the dissolution of the group.

Here are The Globe's Omar el-Akkad observations from Cairo.

More bad press for the U.K. press

The scandal-plagued British press will come under renewed scrutiny today as the long-awaited Levenson inquiry into the media ethics is released. The inquiry – which provided months of high-drama putting journalists, politicians and victims of press intrusion on the stand – is to be released today amid a growing battle within Britain's coalition government about how to deal with the inquiry's findings. The report by Lord Justice Brian Levenson is expected to call for increased oversight of the media.

Quebec's Charbonneau inquiry takes a break

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France Charbonneau, the head of the Quebec corruption inquiry, is to read a statement today before the commission takes an extended break until Jan. 21. The commission has woven a still-incomplete canvas of collusion, price-fixing and kickbacks involving construction bosses and engineering firms, some with ties to organized crime. Montreal's mayor resigned as a result of testimony. However, there could be more revelations during the break: A parallel police corruption investigation continues. That probe has already forced the mayor of Laval out of power.

Excuse me Mitt, could you pass the salt?

Oh, to be a fly on the wall. President Barack Obama will host his vanquished rival Mitt Romney for a lunch at the white House today, the first time the two men have met since the Nov. 6 election. Mr. Romney, who has all but disappeared from public view in the wake of his defeat, will also meet with his running mate Paul Ryan, who is deep in negotiations to avert the so-called "fiscal cliff" of tax hikes and spending cuts set for the New Year.

Parliamentary budget officer releases report

Parliamentary budget officer Kevin Page is to issue a report today assessing Finance Minister Jim Flaherty's fall economic update. On Nov. 13, Mr. Flaherty released a fiscal update that pushed back his target for erasing the deficit to 2016-17.


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Some lucky folks in Arizona and Missouri won't have to worry about the mortgage any more. Officials with US mega-lottery Powerball say a record $579.9-million will go to the holders of two winning tickets were sold in the two states.

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