- Associated Press - Monday, November 15, 2010


Obama to convene with tribal leaders

President Obama will play host to American Indian leaders at a White House conference on Dec. 16.

The president has invited the leaders of each of the 565 federally recognized tribes to the event, the White House announced Monday. It would be Mr. Obama’s second conference with American Indians. Mr. Obama first met with tribal leaders last November.

The president says he wants tribal leaders to be able to interact with him and with top administration officials.

Last year’s event drew leaders from 386 tribal nations and was the first meeting of its kind in 15 years.


Salazar orders land conservation

Interior Secretary Ken Salazar is ordering federal land managers to consider conservation as the primary focus of some 27 million acres of public lands in the West.

Environmental groups had been seeking the secretarial order to further protect the conservation lands, including Nevada’s Red Rock Canyon. The order was signed Monday.

Mr. Salazar’s order clarifies that the Bureau of Land Management should treat conservation as a top priority in managing the 27-million-acre National Landscape Conservation System. The bureau also promotes grazing, energy development and tourism.

The Clinton administration created the system in 2000 to protect and restore nationally significant landscapes, mostly in the West. Congress formally approved the landscape system last year.


Candidates sought for vacancies

Virginia Republicans have begun their search for a successor to U.S. Rep.-elect Robert Hurt in the state Senate, the Roanoke Times reported.

The party has scheduled a Nov. 23 canvass, or firehouse primary. Gov. Robert F. McDonnell then will put the name of the winner on a special-election ballot.

The Times reported that the Senate seat has attracted five contenders so far.

Republicans Bill Stanley, Fred Shanks, Brenda Bowman and Melvin Adams plan to run in the canvass. Democrat Hank Davis, meanwhile, plans to seek the legislative seat for his party.

Republicans are also holding a Nov. 23 canvass for the House of Delegates seat of U.S. Rep.-elect Morgan Griffith.


Manufacturers told to fix defibrillators

Federal health officials are calling on manufacturers of heart-zapping defibrillators to fix long-standing problems with the emergency devices that have triggered dozens of recalls and led to injuries and deaths.

Defibrillators use electric shocks to jolt the heart back to normal after patients collapse from cardiac arrest. The devices save hundreds of lives each year and are found in emergency rooms, airports and other public locations.

But the Food and Drug Administration said the devices have been plagued for years by problems that include faulty circuitry and confusing design and instructions. In 2009, the FDA issued 17 recalls on the devices, up from nine in 2005.

On Monday, the agency sent letters asking all manufacturers to meet with government officials to discuss fixes and improvements to external defibrillators.


Officials defend security methods

Officials are defending new anti-terrorism security procedures at the nation’s airports that some travelers complain are overly invasive and intimate.

Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano said in a USA Today opinion piece that body scanners used at many airports are safe and the images viewed in private.

She says pat-downs have been used for years at airports and measures are in place to protect travelers’ privacy.

The head of the Transportation Security Administration, John Pistole, said Monday on NBC’s “Today” show that “everybody wants the best possible security” and the TSA is looking for a balance between security and privacy.

Some travelers fear the scanners may produce unhealthy radiation and complain the pat-downs, which can include touching the inside of travelers’ thighs and feeling their buttocks, are too personal.


Murkowski: Palin lacks tools to be president

JUNEAU | Republican U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski says she doesn’t think Sarah Palin has the leadership qualities to be president, nor the “intellectual curiosity” needed to make good policy.

Mrs. Murkowski also told Katie Couric of the “CBS Evening News” that she doesn’t think Mrs. Palin enjoyed governing.

An e-mail sent Monday from the Associated Press to Mrs. Palin’s media team wasn’t returned.

Mrs. Palin, a former vice presidential nominee, resigned midway through her first term as Alaska’s governor last year. She’s seen as a potential 2012 presidential contender, though Mrs. Murkowski has said she wouldn’t support a Palin run.

Mrs. Murkowski is seeking to defeat Palin-backed candidate Joe Miller in the still-undecided Alaska Senate race. Mrs. Murkowski ran as a write-in candidate after losing the primary to Mr. Miller.

A total of 8,707 votes were added in the race Monday. It gave write-in votes the lead, with 102,028 votes cast. Mr. Miller had 90,448 votes.

Mrs. Murkowski continues to hold 89 percent of the undisputed write-in vote, as the process of hand counting those ballots continues. If that trend holds, she could pull ahead by a few hundred votes.

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