December 2013

Dec 31, 2013

U.S. Capitol to get $59 million facelift

By Susan Davis, USA Today

Congress is falling apart. Literally.

A two-year restoration project will find the iconic U.S. Capitol dome covered in scaffolding by spring 2014 for a laborious project to repair more than 1,300 cracks in the structure.

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Egypt arrests Al Jazeera journalists, alleges ties to Muslim Brotherhood

By Nancy A. Youssef, McClatchy Newspapers

The Egyptian government has broadened its campaign against the Muslim Brotherhood with the arrest of the entire Al Jazeera news team here, prompting fears that reporting anything other than the government’s views could trigger reprisals.

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Management experts knock Obama

By John F. Harris and Elizabeth Titus, Politico

After the HealthCare.gov debacle first exploded three months ago, President Barack Obama pleaded for people to cut him a little slack: “I wanted to go in and fix it myself, but I don’t write code.”

At his year-end news conference recently, he struck a different tone: “Since I’m in charge, obviously, we screwed it up.”

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Obamacare enrollments surpass 2 million mark

With John Harwood, CNBC

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Dec 30, 2013

Kerry’s Energizer Bunny Diplomacy Takes Risks for Wins

After less than a year as secretary of state, John Kerry has emerged as a relentless evangelist for can-do -- or try-to-do -- diplomacy who’s taken risks, veered off-script and notched some tangible if tentative wins.

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Jobless Benefits Halt May Be Key Issue in Midterms

By Alexis Simendinger, Real Clear Politics

If lawmakers decide next month to end a high-stakes impasse over extending long-term unemployment insurance benefits that expired Saturday, an estimated 1.3 million jobless Americans may receive compensation for three additional months or longer.

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A Beltway pundit's cloudy crystal ball

By Doyle McManus, Los Angeles Times

To err is human. To err twice a week, you have to be a columnist.

In 2012, I cemented my reputation as a pundit by making some notable blunders — predicting, for example, that the presidential election would be too close to call. The race was "unpredictable," I wrote, "razor close."

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Red, blue states move in opposite directions in a new era of single-party control

By Dan Balz, The Washington Post

Political polarization has ushered in a new era in state government, where single-party control of the levers of power has produced competing Americas. One is grounded in principles of lean and limited government and on traditional values; the other is built on a belief in the essential role of government and on tenets of cultural liberalism.

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What to expect from DC in 2014

With John Harwood, CNBC

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Health-insurance sign-ups on U.S. exchange top 1.1 million in initial enrollment period

By Juliet Eilperin and Sarah Kliff, Washington Post

More than 1.1 million Americans signed up for an insurance plan through the federal health-care marketplace during its initial enrollment period, with more than 975,000 enrolling in December alone, the Obama administration announced Sunday.

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Dec 24, 2013

Korea Execution Is Tied to Clash Over Businesses

By Choe Sang-Hun and David E. Sanger, The New York Times

The execution of the uncle of Kim Jong-un, North Korea’s leader, had its roots in a firefight between forces loyal to Mr. Kim and those supporting the man who was supposed to be his regent, according to accounts that are being pieced together by South Korean and American officials. The clash was over who would profit from North Korea’s most lucrative exports: coal, clams and crabs.

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Obamacare Good Enough for Obama?

With Julianna Goldman, Bloomberg News

Bloomberg’s White House Correspondent Julianna Goldman reports on President Obama signs up for a bronze plan on the D.C. Health Exchange.

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