- - Wednesday, December 8, 2010


Ruling due soon in disputed election

JUNEAU | An Alaska judge will decide by Friday a case that will determine the fate of Republican Joe Miller’s challenge to how write-in ballots were counted in the U.S. Senate race.

Judge William Carey heard arguments for nearly two hours Wednesday. He has been asked to decide whether to grant the state’s request to dismiss Mr. Miller’s lawsuit or grant the candidate’s request to strictly enforce election law.

A decision favoring Mr. Miller could result in thousands of challenged write-in ballots for Sen. Lisa Murkowski being discarded and lead to a recount. The current unofficial tally shows Mrs. Murkowski ahead, and the state argues that the math isn’t in Mr. Miller’s favor regardless.

But Mr. Miller has raised questions about voting irregularities that he says put enough ballots in dispute to possibly sway the election to him.


Vote on military gay ban is delayed

A proposal by Senate Democrats to repeal the military’s 17-year-old ban on openly gay troops stalled Wednesday after a key Republican refused to sign on and Democrats feared a critical test vote would fail.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid continued to talk with Republican Sen. Susan Collins of Maine about how he could win her support, Reid spokesman Jim Manley said. Miss Collins’ vote is considered critical to the monthslong effort by Democrats to repeal the 1993 law known as “don’t ask, don’t tell.”

“We’re getting close, but negotiations are still ongoing,” Mr. Manley said.

A provision that would overturn the law contingent upon certification by the president and the Pentagon that doing so won’t hurt military effectiveness is included in a broader defense policy bill.


House asks China to free dissident

The House of Representatives called on China on Wednesday to release imprisoned dissident Liu Xiaobo, the human rights activist who is due to receive the Nobel Peace Prize later this week.

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