In Wordpress (3..1), basically make use of the GUI to update the Primary Menu to incorporate a product known as News:

**

URL: /news/
Navigation Label: News
Title Attribute: news

**

this news item turns up during my menu. Great. However when I click it and visit the /news/ page, WordPress doesn't give a current_menu_item class towards the <li>.

Nor will it provide the <li> food selection an id or perhaps a title of "news" - rather it's known as something unhelpful like "menu-item-899".

Why does not WordPress just add the present_menu_item class? Surely it's all the details it must do that? </grumble>

And because of the above, how do i style the <li> item to exhibit that it's the current item? I truly don't wish to need to use jquery to check out the page title and match it to randomly-named ids... is the fact that my only option?

You could utilize this CSS Style :

/*.current-menu-item controls active state on nav menu */
#primary-menu ul li.current-menu-item a, ul li ul li.current-menu-item a {
 color:#663;

 }