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US fiscal cliff deal done, Senate to vote

Washington: US President Barack Obama and Republicans sealed a budget deal late Monday night to avert the fiscal cliff that would prevent a middle-class tax hike from hitting 98 per cent of all Americans, a senior White House official said.

The deal also delays for two months part of the USD 109 billion in spending cuts.

Following an agreement negotiated by US Vice President Joe Biden and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, the Senate was moving towards a vote on the deal either late night or Tuesday noon. This is because Senate, wherein the Republicans enjoy a majority, had been adjourned till Tuesday noon (IST).

As a result the US was all set to hit midnight, at least for a day. The fiscal cliff would have meant automatic tax increases for all Americans and deep cuts in military and discretionary spending.

The Senate Majority Leader, Harry Reid, said the Senate will vote on a fiscal cliff deal tonight. Emerging from a party caucus meeting, Reid said Senators were waiting for the final score from the bi-partisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO), which would prevent tax hikes on most of the Americans and put off for two months spending cuts scheduled by the sequester.

The Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, said that both sides were "very, very close" to an agreement and had, in fact, made a deal allowing taxes to rise on individual income over USD400,000 per year, and household income of USD450,000 per year.

"I can report that we've reached an agreement on all of the tax issues," he told reporters emerging from one of the negotiating sessions.

"It would extend our tuition tax credit that's helped millions of families pay for college. It would extend tax credits for clean energy companies that are creating jobs and reducing our dependence on foreign oil. It would extend unemployment insurance to 2 million Americans who are out there still actively looking for a job," he said.





Flights hit as dense fog envelopes IGI

New Delhi: Dense fog enveloped the Indira Gandhi International Airport here today, disrupting the schedule of around 30 flights.

Around 14 flights were cancelled and 15 were delayed as the visibility dropped to around 100 metres early this morning when dense fog descended on the airport, airport sources said.

Fog started to descend around 10.30 PM last night. Around 2.30 AM, the general visibility and runway visibility dropped to less than 50 metres on the third runway while it was around 200 metres on the main runway.

Though the main runway was in operation, there was not much affect on the flight operations barring delay in schedule of some flights.

Some of the flights were cancelled either due to operational reasons or bad weather conditions at the destination or due to late arrival of flights, sources said.

Flight operations were also affected yesterday due to which schedule of around 60 flights were affected. - PTI





Flying out of Delhi to be cheaper from today

New Delhi: Flying out of Delhi would become cheaper from Tuesday, with the development fee (DF) charged by the operator of IGI airport here being reduced by Rs 100 for domestic and Rs 700 per international passenger.

The decision of GMR-led Delhi International Airport Limited (DIAL) to slash the charges followed a directive by Airports Economic Regulatory Authority (AERA) for charging Rs 100 and Rs 600 per embarking domestic and international passenger respectively from January one.

Civil Aviation Minister Ajit Singh had earlier directed DIAL and Mumbai International Airport Limited (MIAL) to abolish DF at the two airports with effect from Tuesday.

Following this, DIAL had moved AERA, which, after consultations, decided to slash the rate which would remain effective till April 2016. Till today, DF being charged at Delhi airport was Rs 200 and Rs 1300 for domestice and international passengers respectively.

Welcoming the order, DIAL said in a statement the measure would "enable airlines to reduce the overall travel cost of passengers, thus giving a boost to the Indian aviation sector."




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