Sunday, January 13, 2013

Published:

After extraordinary steps to avoid debt limit, US would face uncharted territory to pay bills

WASHINGTON (AP) -- In the summer of 2011, when a debt crisis like the current one loomed, President Barack Obama warned Republicans that older Americans might not get their Social Security checks unless there was a deal to raise the nation's borrowing limit.

After weeks of brinkmanship, Republicans consented and Obama agreed to a deficit-reduction plan the GOP wanted. Crisis averted, for a time.

Now that there's a fresh showdown, the possibility of Social Security cuts --and more -- is back on the table.

The government could run out of cash to pay all its bills in full as early as Feb. 15, according to one authoritative estimate, and congressional Republicans want significant spending cuts in exchange for raising the borrowing limit. Obama, forced to negotiate an increase in 2011, has pledged not to negotiate again.

Without an agreement, every option facing his administration would be unprecedented.

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'Les Miserables' wins musical-comedy prize at Globes; Affleck earns best-director award

BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. (AP) -- "Les Miserables" was named best musical or comedy at Sunday's Golden Globes, while Hugh Jackman and Anne Hathaway claimed acting prizes, honors that could boost the lush stage adaptation's prospects at next month's Academy Awards.

Ben Affleck won the best-director Globe for his Iran hostage thriller "Argo," a prize that normally bodes well for an Academy Award win -- except he missed out on an Oscar nomination this time.

Affleck's now in an unusual position during Hollywood's long awards season, taking home the top filmmaking trophy at the second-highest film honors knowing he does not have a shot at an Oscar.

Other acting prizes went to Jennifer Lawrence as best musical or comedy actress for the oddball romance "Silver Linings Playbook" and Christoph Waltz as supporting actor for the slave-revenge tale "Django Unchained."

The musical based on Victor Hugo's classic novel earned Jackman the Globe for musical or comedy actor as tragic hero Jean Valjean. Hathaway won supporting actress as a single mom forced into prostitution.

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10 Things to Know for Monday

Your daily look at late-breaking news, upcoming events and the stories that will be talked about Monday:

1. THE LATEST TURN THAT COULD STIR UPHEAVAL IN EGYPT

An appeals court overturns Mubarak's life sentence, orders retrial of the ousted leader in killings of hundreds of protesters.

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French planes bomb north Mali city of Gao as more countries join battle against Islamists

BAMAKO, Mali (AP) -- French fighter jets bombed rebel targets in a major city in Mali's north Sunday, pounding the airport as well as training camps, warehouses and buildings used by the al-Qaida-linked Islamists controlling the area, officials and residents said.

The three-day-old French-led effort to take back Mali's north from the extremists began with airstrikes by combat helicopters in the small town of Konna. It has grown to a coordinated attack by state-of-the-art fighter jets which have bombarded at least five towns, of which Gao, which was attacked Sunday afternoon, is the largest.

More than 400 French troops have been deployed to the country in the all-out effort to win back the territory from the well-armed rebels, who seized control of an area larger than France nine months ago. What began as a French offensive has now grown to include seven other countries, including logistical support from the U.S. and Europe. The United States is providing communications and transport help, while Britain is sending C17 aircrafts to help Mali's allies transport troops to the frontlines.

French President Francois Hollande authorized the intervention after it became clear the swiftly advancing rebels could break Mali's military defenses in Mopti, the first town on the government-controlled side, located in the center of this African country. The move catapulted the world into a fight that diplomats had earlier said would not take place until at least September.

"French fighter jets have identified and destroyed this Sunday, Jan. 13, numerous targets in northern Mali near Gao, in particular training camps, infrastructure and logistical depots which served as bases for terrorist groups," the French defense ministry said in a statement.

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A month after massacre, Newtown considers what to do with Conn. school where gunman killed 26

NEWTOWN, Conn. (AP) -- Newtown residents are divided on what to do with the school building where 26 people were killed, with some favoring demolition and construction of a memorial and others encouraging renovations.

Many passionately gave their opinions at an emotional public meeting Sunday about the fate of Sandy Hook Elementary.

"I have two children who had everything taken from them," said Audrey Bart, whose children attend the school but weren't injured in the shooting. "The Sandy Hook Elementary School is their school. It is not the world's school. It is not Newtown's school. We cannot pretend it never happened, but I am not prepared to ask my children to run and hide. You can't take away their school."

But fellow Sandy Hook parent Stephanie Carson said she can't imagine ever sending her son back to the building.

"I know there are children who were there who want to go back," Carson said. "But the reality is, I've been to the new school where the kids are now, and we have to be so careful just walking through the halls. They are still so scared."

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Egypt's Mubarak to get a new trial over killing of protesters in 2011 uprising

CAIRO (AP) -- An Egyptian appeals court on Sunday overturned Hosni Mubarak's life sentence and ordered a retrial of the ousted leader in the killing of hundreds of protesters, a ruling likely to further unsettle a nation still reeling from political turmoil and complicate the struggle of his Islamist successor to assert his authority.

The court's decision put the spotlight back on the highly divisive issue of justice for Mubarak and his top security officers, who were also ordered retried, two years after the revolution that toppled him.

The ruling poses a distraction for President Mohammed Morsi as he tries to restore law and order, grapple with a wrecked economy and deal with the aftermath of the worst political crisis since Mubarak's ouster.

A new trial is virtually certain to dominate national headlines, attracting attention away from a crucial election for a new house of deputies roughly three months from now. Morsi and his Islamist allies are determined to win a comfortable majority in the new chamber, allowing them to take the helm of the most populous Arab nation.

The ailing 84-year-old Mubarak is currently being held in a military hospital and will not walk free after Sunday's decision. He remains under investigation in an unrelated case.

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AP PHOTOS: Life from the stage and the red carpet at the Golden Globes

Jennifer Lawrence, Anne Hathaway, Ben Affleck and "Girls" were big winners at the Golden Globes, one of Hollywood's favorite parties and a frequent predictor of next months' Oscars. Highlights from Sunday night's ceremony and the red carpet:

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SHOW BITS: No retirement in sight for Foster

BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. (AP) -- Show Bits brings you the 70th annual Golden Globes awards through the eyes of Associated Press journalists. Follow them on Twitter where available with the handles listed after each item.

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QUICKQUOTE: "I could never stop acting. You'd have to drag me behind a team of horses. No, I'm not retiring from acting." -- Jodie Foster, speaking to reporters after accepting the Cecil B. DeMille Award for lifetime achievement from the Hollywood Foreign Press Association.

-- Anthony McCartney -- Twitter http://www.twitter.com/mccartneyAP

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With Stingray looks and a high-tech engine, the next Corvette races onto the road

DETROIT (AP) -- When General Motors engineers and designers started work on the next-generation Corvette, they drew up the usual requirements for the star of American muscle cars.

Killer looks. Big engine. Handles like a race car.

But topping the list back was something at odds with the roar of the car's big V-8: Gas mileage.

The new Corvette could not be a gas guzzler. Stricter government rules were forcing a leap in fuel economy. If the car burned too much gas, it would trigger fines from regulators and never get built.

"There won't be a Corvette if we don't care about fuel economy," said Tadge Juechter, the car's chief engineer.

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Red-hot stars, delicate pink ladies, sexy sirens make lasting impressions at Golden Globes

Jennifer Lawrence and Marion Cotillard were Dior Haute Couture twins on Sunday night's Golden Globe red carpet.

Lawrence wore a strapless coral organza gown and metallic belt, and Cotillard was in an orange velvet bustier dress with a silver belt.

With all the pressure to strike the right style note at this kickoff to the Hollywood award season, Lawrence broke the ice: "I don't really know what 'haute' means," she told E!

Hal Rubenstein, editor-at-large of InStyle, said designer Raf Simons did enough to differentiate them. Cotillard's had an asymmetrical hemline and was more ethereal, while Lawrence's was a more structured ball gown.

There were many stars in fiery hues as they chatted through chattering teeth at the Beverly Hilton Hotel. Temperatures were in the 50s, hardly the norm in Beverly Hills, Calif.