Morning Buzz: April 1, 2008

Will Ukraine and Georgia become the next countries to gain NATO admission? President Bush, who is Romania bound for the NATO summit opening tomorrow, said today that both countries are "ready and worthy" to join NATO. But Russia, claiming "sphere of influence" rights, is scowling at the proposal, and France and Germany are intimating opposition. "France will not give its green light to the entry of Ukraine and Georgia," French Prime Minister François Fillon said today. "We are opposed to Georgia and Ukraine's entry because we think that it is not the correct response to the balance of power in Europe and between Europe and Russia."

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Will Ukraine and Georgia become the next countries to gain NATO admission? President Bush, who is Romania bound for the NATO summit opening tomorrow, said today that both countries are "ready and worthy" to join NATO. But Russia, claiming "sphere of influence" rights, is scowling at the proposal, and France and Germany are intimating opposition. "France will not give its green light to the entry of Ukraine and Georgia," French Prime Minister François Fillon said today. "We are opposed to Georgia and Ukraine's entry because we think that it is not the correct response to the balance of power in Europe and between Europe and Russia."

Senior executives from the top five U.S. oil companies are meeting with frustrated lawmakers today on Capitol Hill, where they will defend the government's billions in federal subsidies while the companies rake in massive profits. The companies, which include ExxonMobil Corp., Shell Oil Co., BP America Inc., Chevron Corp., and ConocoPhillips, together earned about $123 billion last year because of soaring oil and gasoline prices. Oil industry leaders have previously argued in Washington that tax breaks are needed to ensure continued investment in exploration, production, and refinery expansions. President Bush has pledged to veto any bill that singles out the industry.

Of the nation's 50 largest cities, 17 had high school graduation rates lower than 50 percent, including Detroit, Indianapolis, and Cleveland, a new report revealed today. The report, issued by America's Promise Alliance, found that students in rural and suburban public schools were more likely to graduate than students in urban ones. Altogether, about 70 percent of students in the country graduate on time, and about 1.2 million drop out each year.