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14 theSun | FRIDAY DECEMBER 12 2008

news without borders

Obama urges Illinois

governor to step down
CHICAGO: President-elect Barack Obama to that Senate seat, any appointment by
called on the Democratic governor of you would raise serious questions,” the
Illinois to resign on Wednesday after he caucus wrote to Blagojevich. There were
was charged with trying to sell Obama’s US mounting calls within Obama’s home state
Senate seat and swap favors for money. to strip Blagojevich of the power to make
Obama spokesman Robert Gibbs said the appointment he allegedly tried to barter,
Gov Rod Blagojevich (pix) needed to either by driving him from office through
step down because “under the current legal means or letting voters fill the Senate
circumstances it is difficult for the governor seat with a special election.
to effectively do his job and serve the people Obama, who takes office on Jan 20,
of Illinois.” resigned from the Senate after winning the
Blagojevich left his stately brick house in Nov 4 presidential election. The two-term
Chicago on governor was arrested at home before dawn
Wednesday, on Tuesday and then released without
his 52nd having to post bail.
birthday, His office said Bob Greenlee, one of three
under siege deputy governors in appointed positions,
by news had resigned. No reason was given.
media Obama, who called the charges against
but said Blagojevich sobering and sad, has had a
nothing. cool relationship with the Illinois governor
He went to – who has been under investigation on
work and other issues for years – although both of
attended their political careers sprouted in the often
budget corrupt seedbed of Chicago politics.
meetings, his office said. His lawyer has In Washington, Jesse Jackson Jr, a
told reporters the governor denies any Democratic US congressman from Illinois
wrongdoing. who waged a public campaign to win
The 50 members of the Senate Obama’s seat, said he had done nothing
Democratic Caucus called on Blagojevich wrong.
to step down and refrain from naming His lawyer identified Jackson as the
Obama’s successor, even threatening to unnamed Senate hopeful in a government
refuse to seat any replacement chosen by wiretap whose “associate” Blagojevich
the Illinois governor. claimed was willing to raise US$1 million
“In light of your arrest yesterday on (RM3.6 millin) in exchange for a Senate
alleged federal corruption charges related seat. – Reuters

Auto bailout proposal passes

the House, shifts to US Senate
WASHINGTON: A proposal troit Three carmakers and avoid ment is already growing fast.
to bail out the big three US another jolt to a US economy But prospects for passage
automakers passed the House already in recession. in the Senate were grim.
of Representatives but its “This is too big a disaster for Democrats were short of the 60
prospects looked grim in the us to invite,” said Rep John Din- votes necessary to overcome
Senate where supporters faced gell of Michigan, a Democratic procedural hurdles. Without
an uphill struggle yesterday to ally of General Motors Corp, Ford the support of a dozen or more
keep it alive. Motor Co, and Chrysler LLC. Republicans the bill would fail, a
“Gonna be tough, but haven’t The White House publicly Democratic aide said.
lost all hope,” a Democratic aide endorsed the plan hoping to “The critics have been very
said of the plan to provide up win over Republicans skeptical vocal. The question is where
to US$14 billion (RM50 billion) of the rescue. are the (Senate Republican)
in loans to help avert possible “We believe the legislation supporters of the Big Three?”
collapse of one or more car- developed in recent days is another Democratic aide said.
makers. an effective and responsible The House and Senate must
The bill, negotiated by approach to deal with trou- pass an identical measure for
Democrats and the Bush ad- bled automakers and ensure President George W. Bush to
ministration, cleared the House the necessary restructuring sign into law. As written, the
by 237-170 but appeared to be occurs,” White House spokes- Senate bill differed slightly from
falling short of the 60 votes nec- woman Dana Perino said in a the House version on emission
essary to overcome procedural statement. and fuel standards. The three
obstacles in the Senate. Democrats fear government companies directly employ
Supporters say the measure inaction could lead to an indus- 250,000 people and another
is necessary to help prevent the try collapse that would cost 100,000 in related businesses.
threatened collapse of one or hundreds of thousands of jobs in The industry says it accounts for
more of the once vaunted De- an economy where unemploy- 10% of US jobs. – Reuters

President-elect names
energy, environmental team
WASHINGTON: US President-elect Barack Obama can to lead that agency.
will nominate Steven Chu (pix), a Nobel physics Earlier, a Democratic
laureate and advocate of alternative energy official said Obama had
research, as his energy secretary, a Democratic chosen Nancy Sutley,
aide said on Wednesday. a deputy mayor of Los
Chu, who would be the first Asian-American Angeles, to head the
to lead the department, would work closely with White House Council on
former Environmental Protection Agency chief Environmental Quality.
Carol Browner, who will head a new council co- Browner, a principal at strat-
ordinating White House policy on energy, climate egy firm The Albright Group LLC, heads Obama’s
and environmental issues. advisory team on energy and the environment.
Obama, who has said energy and environmen- During President Bill Clinton’s administration, she
tal matters would be important to his administra- became the longest-serving EPA administrator.
tion, is filling out the team that will oversee them. Chu shared the 1997 Nobel Prize in physics for
Lisa Jackson, the chief of staff for New Jersey’s developing methods to cool and trap atoms with
governor, will also be nominated to head the En- laser light and has been director of the Energy
vironmental Protection Agency, a Democratic aide Department’s Lawrence Berkeley National Labo-
confirmed. She would be the first African-Ameri- ratory in California since 1994. – Reuters