The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire


WASHINGTON (AP) – It will take more than one "car czar" to help get the embattled U.S. auto industry back on track, President Barack Obama has decided. Instead, his administration is establishing a presidential task force to direct the restructuring of General Motors Corp.,”Obama has auto recovery, stimulus bill, foreclosure plan on the agenda

WASHINGTON (AP) – It will take more than one "car czar" to help get the embattled U.S. auto industry back on track, President Barack Obama has decided. Instead, his administration is establishing a presidential task force to direct the restructuring of General Motors Corp. and Chrysler LLC, a senior administration official said Sunday night.

Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner and National Economic Council Director Lawrence Summers will oversee the across-the-government panel, the official said, speaking on the condition of anonymity because no announcement has been made.

GM and Chrysler are expected to submit restructuring plans to the government by Tuesday, the deadline for showing how they can repay billions in loans and become viable in spite of a huge drop in auto sales.

The auto industry task force is just one element of Obama's plan to revive the flailing economy. On Tuesday he's flying to Denver to sign the $787 billion stimulus bill into law, taking his economic message to the American people, who are giving him high marks for handling the crisis.

Obama will also be tackling the home mortgage foreclosure crisis. The direct appeals for public support follow scant GOP backing in Congress for his agenda and increasing partisan bickering.

Secretary Clinton visits Tokyo and warns North Korea about nuclear programs

TOKYO (AP) – Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, in Tokyo to begin her first trip abroad as President Barack Obama's chief diplomat, said Washington's alliance with Japan is a cornerstone for the U.S. and warned North Korea to live up to its commitments to dismantle its nuclear programs.

She arrived Monday in Tokyo to a large group of dignitaries, including two Japanese astronauts who flew on the U.S. space shuttle.

Clinton is in Asia to meet with the leaders of Japan, China, South Korea and Indonesia.

"The bilateral relationship between the United States and Japan is a cornerstone in our efforts around the world," she said. "We will be looking for ways to collaborate on issues that go beyond just our mutual concerns to really addressing global concerns."

Clinton said the main issues on her agenda included climate change, clean energy and nuclear proliferation, along with the global financial crisis.

Israel takes control of more West Bank land, paving way for 2,500 settlement homes

JERUSALEM (AP) – Israel has taken control of a large chunk of land near a prominent West Bank settlement, paving the way for the possible construction of 2,500 settlement homes, officials said Monday, in a new challenge to Mideast peacemaking.

Successive Israeli governments have broken promises to the United States to halt settlement expansion, defined by Washington as an obstacle to peace. Ongoing expansion is likely to create friction not only with the Palestinians, but with President Barack Obama, whose Mideast envoy, George Mitchell, has long pushed for a settlement freeze. Obama has said he'd get involved quickly in Mideast peace efforts.

The composition of Israel's next government is not clear yet following inconclusive elections last week. However, right-wing parties are given a better chance to form a ruling coalition, with hardline leader Benjamin Netanyahu at the helm.

Netanyahu supports settlement expansion and has derided peace talks with the Palestinians as a waste of time, saying he would focus instead of trying to improve the Palestinian economy. Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has dismissed Netanyahu's approach as a non-starter, and his aides said recently that peace talks can only resume after a settlement freeze.

At the center of the latest expansion plans is Efrat, a settlement of about 1,600 families south of Jerusalem.

Pakistan imposes Islamic law in parts of northwest to pacify Taliban

PESHAWAR, Pakistan (AP) – The government agreed to implement Islamic law across a large swath of northwest Pakistan on Monday in a concession aimed at pacifying a spreading Taliban insurgency.

The decision was announced after talks with a pro-Taliban group from the Swat Valley, a one-time tourist haven in the northwest where extremists have gained sway through brutal tactics including beheadings and burning girls schools.

Officials gave few details on the what kind of Islamic or Shariah law they were planning to implement in Malakand region, which includes Swat, but said laws that do not comply with Islamic texts had been suspended effective from Monday.

"This was the peoples' demand. There was a (legal) vacuum," said Chief Minister Amir Haider Khan Hoti, saying the change would not violate the constitution – which stipulates a secular legal system – or human rights in the region.

Several past deals with militants in northwest Pakistan have failed, including one in Swat last year. The U.S. has warned such pacts simply give insurgents time to regroup, but the country's civilian government insists force alone cannot defeat the extremists wreaking havoc in Pakistan and attacking U.S. troops in neighboring Afghanistan.

Illinois GOP leader calls on new Sen. Burris to resign after questions arise on his testimony

CHICAGO (AP) – One month after Roland Burris was sworn in to the U.S. Senate to represent Illinois and fill Barack Obama's vacant seat, he's hearing calls for his resignation.

"I can't believe anything that comes out of Mr. Burris at this point," state Rep. Jim Durkin said. "I think it would be in the best interest of the state if he resigned because I don't think the state can stand this anymore."

Durkin and House Republican Leader Tom Cross want an investigation of Burris for possible perjury.

Their statements come after Burris over the weekend released a Feb. 5 affidavit that he filed with the Illinois House committee investigating the impeachment of former Gov. Rod Blagojevich. The affidavit contradicts statements he made last month in front of the committee, before being sworn in Jan. 15.

The discrepancy could mean he perjured himself.

Iraqi officials say bombs targeting minibuses filled with Shiite pilgrims kill 8, injure 24

BAGHDAD (AP) – Roadside bombs struck two minibuses filled with Shiite pilgrims returning to Baghdad on Monday, killing eight people and wounding 24 others, officials said, in the latest of a series of deadly attacks targeting the pilgrims.

The first bomb rocked a minibus pulling into a busy square in the Shiite neighborhood of Sadr City in Baghdad, killing four people and wounding 11 others, a police official said. The driver, who refused to give his name, said his minibus was filled with pilgrims returning from the Shiite holy city of Karbala, about 50 miles (80 kilometers) south of the capital.

The second minibus coming from Karbala was attacked in the Shiite neighborhood of al-Kamaliya in Baghdad, killing four people and wounding 13 others, said the police official.

Medical officials confirmed the number of dead and wounded in the two attacks. All the officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to talk to the media.

The attacks followed a series of bombings last week targeting pilgrims on their way to Karbala that killed 60 people and wounded 170.


'Astonishing richness' as survey counts 13,000 species in Arctic, Antarctic oceans

BANGKOK, Thailand (AP) – The polar oceans are not biological deserts after all. A marine census released Monday documented 7,500 species in the Antarctic and 5,500 in the Arctic, including several hundred that researchers believe could be new to science.

"The textbooks have said there is less diversity at the poles than the tropics, but we found astonishing richness of marine life in the Antarctic and Arctic oceans," said Victoria Wadley, a researcher from the Australian Antarctic Division who took part in the Antarctic survey. "We are rewriting the textbooks."

In one of the biggest surprises, researchers said they discovered dozens of species common to both polar seas – separated by nearly 7,000 miles (11,000 kilometers). Now they have to figure out how they separated.

"We probably know more about deep space than we do about the deep polar oceans in our own backyard," said Gilly Llewellyn, leader of the oceans program for the environmental group WWF-Australia. She did not take part in the survey. "This critical research is helping reveal the amazing biodiversity of the polar regions."

Most of the new discoveries were simpler life forms known as invertebrates, or animals without backbones.

Nevada gambling regulators warn casinos about card-counting program on iPhones

LAS VEGAS (AP) – Nevada gambling regulators have warned casinos in the state about a card-counting program that works on Apple Inc.'s iPhone and iPod Touch that illegally helps players beat the house in blackjack.

Card counting itself is not illegal under Nevada gambling laws, but it is considered a felony to use devices to help count cards.

The Nevada Gaming Control Board sent a memo to casinos last week warning them of the program.

In blackjack, certain card counting techniques help players determine when they are likely to win a hand and adjust their bets accordingly.

Nevada learned of the program from gambling regulators in California, where officials at an Indian casino found customers using it and tipped state authorities.

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