Here are the stories we're covering today:
In world news ...
• US concerns over last year's questionable municipal elections in Nicaragua could become policy. Tim Rogers reports that US officials are considering canceling $64 million in development aid as punishment for Daniel Ortega's governance practices.
• Just as George Mitchell is arriving in Israel today, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's own interior minister is working on expanding settlements. Ilene Prusher looks at whether Netanyahu will be able to exert control over his own government.
• Jane Arraf reports that a major insurgent figure has been released by the US to the Iraqis, possibly paving the way for five kidnapped British to be released a year after their capture.
In US news ...
• Gail Chaddock reports that the old rules for assessing Supreme Court nominees are gone, with ideology now a reason for rejecting a nominee. Republicans argue Obama himself, during his time on the judiciary committee, set the stage for this.
• Some banks are begging to be allowed to pay back the government the TARP money they took during last fall's near-meltdown of the financial system. Treasury has announced which banks is has enough confidence in to allow that. Mark Trumbull explains.
• Gasoline prices have been on a steep climb – and a new forecast predicts that they'll keep going up, at least for a little while. But Ron Scherer reports that the peak is still expected to stay below $3 a gallon.
• An annual report compares all school districts based on a common high school graduation-rate formula, and shows national progress between 1996 and 2006. Stacy Khadaroo finds districts that have higher grad rates and improvement rates than would be predicted based on demographic factors.
• Environment editor Judy Lowe asks: How green are subways, trains, and hybrid cars? It depends.
And in other news ...
We have posted a report on the Annual Meeting of the Christian Science church, which publishes this newspaper.