NATIONAL AND WORLD NEWS DIGEST: Amid snow chaos, UK offers troops
Amid snow chaos, UK offers troops
The snow was melting off London’s streets, but Heathrow Airport told infuriated passengers it won’t restore full service until Thursday — five days after a five-inch snowfall turned hundreds of thousands of holiday plans into a nightmare of canceled flights and painful nights sleeping on terminal floors.
Travelers’ anger boiled over into politics as Britain’s prime minister offered to put troops on snow-clearing duty and Europe’s top transport official threatened tougher regulation of airports unable to cope with wintry weather.
Obama locks up GOP votes for nuke treaty
President Barack Obama locked up enough Senate Republican votes Tuesday to ratify a new arms-control treaty with Russia that would cap nuclear warheads for both former Cold War foes and restart on-site weapons inspections.
Eleven Republicans joined Democrats in a 67-28 proxy vote to wind up the debate and hold a final tally today. They broke ranks with the Senate’s top two Republicans and were poised to give Obama a win on his top foreign policy priority.
Iraq seated a freely elected government Tuesday after nine months of haggling, bringing together the main ethnic and religious groups in a fragile balance that could make it difficult to rebuild a nation devastated by war as American troops prepare for their final withdrawal.
One of the government’s first priorities will be to decide whether to ask the Obama administration to keep thousands of U.S. soldiers in Iraq after their scheduled departure in December 2011.
Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki’s new government solidifies the grip that Shiites have held on political power since Saddam Hussein’s ouster. It leaves open the question of whether the country’s disgruntled Sunni minority will play a meaningful role.
California braces for more nasty weather
If six days of pounding rain wasn’t enough to dampen holiday spirits, a seventh could prove to be downright dangerous. Forecasters expected heavy rains across California going into today, while authorities kept a close eye on the first sign of mudslides in the wildfire-scarred foothills across the southern part of the state.
So far, the inconveniences have been relatively minor: Rescuers had to pluck some stranded motorists from rain-swollen creeks. Shoppers dodged puddles while buying last-minute Christmas gifts. Disney resorts canceled a plan to shower visitors with artificial snow.
“We’ll keep our fingers crossed, but the more rain that comes, the possibility of mudslides is definitely real,” said Jim Amormino, spokesman for the Orange County sheriff’s office.
Latest UK plot is called significant
A large-scale terror attack was aimed at British landmarks and public spaces, security officials said Tuesday as more details emerged and police searched the homes of 12 British suspects being held for questioning.
The men — whose ages range from 17 to 28 — were arrested Monday in the largest counterterrorism raid in nearly two years. At least five were of Bangladeshi origin.
Lord Carlile, the government’s independent watchdog for terror legislation, said Tuesday the alleged plot appeared significant and involved several British cities, but he did not identify the targets.