Saturday, January 03, 2009

NATIONAL & WORLD DIGEST - January 02, 2009

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New York Times
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-Obama's View on Power Over Detainees Will Be Tested Early
Just a month after President-elect Barack Obama takes office, he must tell the Supreme Court where he stands on one of the most aggressive legal claims made by the Bush administration - that the president may order the military to seize legal residents of the United States and hold them indefinitely without charging them with a crime.

-In Obama's Team, 2 Camps on Climate
In the fall of 1997, when the Clinton administration was forming its position for the Kyoto climate treaty talks, Lawrence H. Summers argued that the United States would risk damaging the domestic economy if it set overly ambitious goals for reducing carbon emissions.

-Democrats Debate Methods to End Stem Cell Ban
Thwarted by President Bush in their efforts to expand federal spending on embryonic stem cell research, Democrats are now debating whether to overturn federal restrictions through executive order or by legislation when they assume full control of the government this month.

-Generation Faithful: Preaching Moderate Islam and Becoming a TV Star for Youths
JIDDA, Saudi Arabia - As Ahmad al-Shugairi took the stage, dressed in a flowing white gown and headdress, he clutched a microphone and told his audience that he had no religious training or titles: "I am not a sheik."

-Op-Ed Contributor: G.M.'s Secret Success
WITH billions of federal dollars flowing to General Motors, and with the incoming administration likely to discover that still more assistance is required, we can expect renewed calls for G.M.'s chief executive, Rick Wagoner, to lose his job as the price of failure. This view presupposes that Mr. Wagoner has not been willing to bring G.M. into line with the new global reality, that he has not designed cars Americans want to buy and that the company is a "dinosaur," to quote Senator Richard C. Shelby, Republican of Alabama.

-Egypt, Feeling Pressure From the Arab World on Gaza, Also Feels It From Within
CAIRO - Egypt is the crucial, if reluctant, intermediary between Israel and Hamas, which is no great friend of this moderate secular state. Still, a sustained Israeli ground operation in neighboring Gaza would sharply increase public pressure on President Hosni Mubarak of Egypt to do more to help the Palestinians there.

Washington Post
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-For Russia, A Dark Horizon
By Masha Lipman
MOSCOW -- Uncertainty is creeping up on Russia. For the first time since Vladimir Putin's rise to power, Moscow confronts the prospect of real political instability. One of Russia's savviest politicians, Anatoly Chubais, said last month that the likelihood of serious turmoil -- economic, social and even political -- is 50 percent.

-Mr. Sarkozy's Model
Is this how a real European president would behave? AS 2008 DREW to a close, French President Nicolas Sarkozy basked in a continental wave of praise for his service in the European Union's presidency during the past six months. The frequent rotation of the job (which now moves on to the Czech Republic) and the difficulty of coordinating common positions among 27 member countries have typically made the European president a feckless figure on the international stage. But Mr. Sarkozy was a bold blur of activity. Filling the vacuum left by the exhausted Bush administration and frequently overstepping his nominal authority, the French leader brokered the cease-fire between Georgia and Russia, presided over Europe's unusually quick and coherent response to the financial crisis and, at a final summit last month, pushed the union to adopt an aggressive plan for reducing carbon emissions.

-Six Vying To Become The Next RNC Chair
Party Has Much At Stake in Choice
By Perry Bacon Jr.
Following an election that has left Republicans with no clear vision about how to regain power, the normally low-profile race to head the GOP's national committee has turned into a six-man showdown that has opened rifts along racial, regional and ideological lines.

-Australia tells US it won't accept Gitmo detainees
CANBERRA, Australia -- Australia has told the United States for a second time that it will not resettle detainees freed from the Guantanamo Bay military prison in Cuba, the acting prime minister said Saturday.

Wall Street Journal

-Russian Gas Cutoff Results in Some EU Supply Disruptions
Countries in the European Union began to record slight natural-gas supply disruptions late Friday after Russia's OAO Gazprom halted deliveries to Ukraine, a key transit country, amid a price dispute. The developments came as Russia and Ukraine traded recriminations and lobbied to persuade the international community that the other was to blame.

-Time to Step Up for Credit Score
A Higher Number Is Needed for Some Loans; How to Improve Your Chances
It used to be that a 720 credit score or higher would get you the best interest rates. With lenders suddenly focused on credit risk, that isn't necessarily the case anymore.

-Harry Reid v. the Constitution
If Roland Burris isn't fit for the Senate, how is Chris Dodd? An Illinois court will eventually decide if Governor Rod Blagojevich is guilty of corruption. But on at least one issue he is more law-abiding than Majority Leader Harry Reid and fellow Democrats: the seating of Roland Burris to replace Barack Obama in the U.S. Senate.

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-Cuban-American Jorge Labarga of Palm Beach County named to Florida Supreme Court by Gov. Charlie Crist
Jorge Labarga, 56, wins out in process full of controversy
By Josh Hafenbrack
Veteran Palm Beach County Circuit Judge Jorge Labarga was elevated to the Florida Supreme Court Friday, becoming the second Cuban-American named to the state's highest legal panel.,0,5856050.story

Miami Herald
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`An experiment gone awry'
I hate to bring this up right now when the ink is barely dry on your New Year's resolution. But if history is any guide, you are likely to fall off the assorted wagons to which you are currently lashed. I don't say this to disparage your willpower. Hang onto that celery stick for dear life.

-Restore firearms ban in national parks
OUR OPINION: Administration uses waning days to pander to the NRA In addition to making it easier for coal miners to pollute rivers and streams, allowing more mining in lands adjacent to national parks and implementing rules that weaken the Endangered Species Act, the Bush administration this month gave the National Rifle Association a parting gift by lifting a decades-long ban on concealed weapons in national parks.


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