Today's news stories: stopping West Bank settlements, America's waning mobility, and Guatemala's embattled leftist president
Here are some of the stories our reporters are covering today:
• Meanwhile, correspondent Ezra Fieser and staff writer Sara Miller Llana report on the mounting calls for the resignation of Alvaro Colom, Guatemala's first leftist president in more than 50 years, after a video surfaced that blames him for the murder of a prominent lawyer.
• As Sri Lanka's government basks in its newfound victory against Tamil Tiger rebels, Anuj Chopra details how United Nations and other aid agencies are clamoring for unfettered access to the war zone.
• Scott Baldauf reports that Ethiopian troops have been sighted across Somalia's border. In 2006, they marched to Mogadishu to oust the Islamist government with US backing, but an insurgency forced them out earlier this year. Now, as militant Islamists are poised to take over Somalia, are the Ethiopians gearing up for another US-backed incursion?
• Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu left Washington with a clear demand from President Obama Wednesday: Put a stop to Jewish settlements in the West Bank. But Israel has never managed to do this, even under previous Labor governments. Joshua Mitnick asks, how feasible is it?
In US news ...
• Republican National Committee chairman Michael Steele is rebranding the GOP, but Patchwork Nation's Dante Chinni reports that hardly anyone is listening– the recession is all anyone is thinking about.
• Dan Wood asks whether California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger has any political capital left after voters rejected five out of six ballot measures that were intended to put the state on firmer financial footing.
• Meanwhile Ron Scherer explores why a usually nondescript federal entity called the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corp. is in the hot seat over its wavering ability to cover the employee pensions of bankrupt companies. Did the corporation make some bad investments just before the housing downturn? And who's on tap to pay if PBCG can't?
• As President Obama prepares to speak to the Arab world, he'll have his work cut out for him, reports Howard LaFranchi. A recent poll shows only a small percentage of Arabs have been won over by America's new president.
• Democratic lawmakers' apparent decision to leave President Obama hanging on closing the Guantánamo detention camp seems to be an attempt to hang onto their newfound status as the "national security" party. But bucking a popular president is a risky move. Gail Russell Chaddock delves into how the Democratic leadership's political calculus came to pass.
• Amid a recession, people need to go to where the jobs are. But the drastic loss in home values is, instead, leading many Americans to stay put rather than risk taking a bath on their real estate investments. Mike Farrell asks whether mobility – a signature characteristic of people in this "land of opportunity" – is on the wane, at least for now.