CHICAGO _ A defiant Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich names a black political trailblazer to Barack Obama's Senate seat, a surprise move that puts the governor's opponents in the uncomfortable position of trying to block his choice from becoming the Senate's only black member. By Deanna Bellandi. AP Photos.
CRAWFORD, Texas _ President George W. Bush and his top advisers conducted an urgent round of telephone diplomacy Tuesday to help end the deadly conflict between Israel and Hamas, but insisted that if any new cease-fire is to work, it must be honored by the Islamic militant group. By Deb Riechmann. AP Photos.
UNITED NATIONS _ Key world powers trying to promote Mideast peace urged Israel and Hamas on Tuesday to immediately stop fighting in Gaza and southern Israel, the United Nations announced as international efforts to calm the conflict picked up pace. By Edith M. Lederer. AP Photos.
WASHINGTON _ When the first of many loud alarms sounded on the space shuttle Columbia, the seven astronauts had about a minute to live, though they didn't know it. The pilot, William McCool, pushed several buttons trying to right the ship as it tumbled out of control. He didn't know it was futile. By Seth Borenstein. AP Photos. AP Graphic.
HONOLULU _ President-elect Barack Obama's top asset in pushing his agenda will not be his Cabinet secretaries or aides, but rather his online network. Obama's political e-mail list tops 13 million names, a digital force that the incoming White House can tap to push for his legislation, tamp down critics or bolster popular support. It's also a way for Obama to reach into every state, every city, and every neighborhood. Moved. By Philip Elliott. AP Photos.
CANADA-ORDER OF CANADA
OTTAWA _ The first black player to compete in the National Hockey League receives Canada's most prestigious award. Willie O'Ree, 73, who was a player for the Boston Bruins, was awarded the Order of Canada. Canadian singer Celine Dion was among the 42 others who were awarded the Order of Canada.
BOGOTA, Colombia _ Colombia's peace commissioner says once FARC guerrillas name the place where they intend to release six hostages, the government will clear the area of military operations. By Cesar Garcia. AP Photo.
CHICAGO _ A murder indictment was issued Tuesday against the man charged with killing the mother, brother and nephew of Oscar-winning actress Jennifer Hudson. By Sophia Tareen. AP Photo.
NEW YORK _ Lark Previn, an adopted daughter of actress Mia Farrow whose sister Soon-Yi Previn was at the center of Farrow's messy breakup with Woody Allen, has died. She was 35. By Karen Matthews.
SANTO DOMINGO, Dominican Republic _ A passenger jet bound for Toronto makes an unscheduled landing in the Dominican Republic after an agitated passenger tries to tamper with an emergency door, a company official says. By Dionisio Soldevila.
NEW YORK _ U.S. consumer confidence hit an all-time low in December, dropping further in the face of rising layoffs, in yet another sign that consumer spending is unlikely to pull the U.S. out of a yearlong recession any time soon. Moved. By Ellen Simon. AP Photos. AP Graphic.
NEW YORK _ Investigators may get a clue into how much money might be available for victims in the Bernard Madoff scandal. The fallen investment guru is scheduled to submit a list of his personal assets to the Securities and Exchange Commission by the end of the year, including property that could be tapped to make restitution to victims of what authorities say was a $50 billion Ponzi scheme. Expected by 0600 GMT. By Stephen Bernard.
CUBA-WHERE REVOLUTION BEGAN
SIERRA MAESTRA, Cuba _ Juan Gonzalez loves Fidel Castro, but he is also a realist. In his neighborhood, he says, people "don't just sit around and wait for the government to give them everything." It sounds like the kind of rugged individualism that would resonate with Americans, but this is the Sierra Maestra, the mountainous cradle of the revolution that brought Castro to power on New Year's Day 50 years ago. Here, far from Havana, people speak their minds more freely, even grumble openly. By Will Weissert. AP Photos XJG101-105
GONAIVES, Haiti _ Olisten Elerius is preparing to rebuild his house for third time. First he lost it, along with relatives, to Tropical Storm Jeanne four years ago, and then to Tropical Storm Hanna in late summer. And there's no guarantee it won't happen again. While more than $70 million in U.S. and U.N. aid after Jeanne went to immediate relief such as food, medical aid and jobs, little went to flood control, according to an Associated Press review of spending. By Jonathan M. Katz. AP Photos XRE301-309.
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