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World/nation briefs

  • January 3, 2013 - 11:16 PM

LOUISIANA

Feds, Transocean reach $1.4B deal over spill

The Justice Department reached a $1.4 billion settlement with Transocean Ltd., the owner of the drilling rig that sank after an explosion killed 11 workers and spawned the massive 2010 oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. The settlement, which requires a judge's approval, would resolve the department's civil and criminal probes of Transocean's role in the Deepwater Horizon rig disaster. It requires the Switzerland-based company to pay $1 billion in civil penalties and $400 million in criminal penalties and plead guilty to a misdemeanor charge of violating the Clean Water Act.

WASHINGTON, D.C.

Hillary Clinton to resume work next week

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton is "raring to go" and plans to return to work next week after medical setbacks that kept her out of view for more than three weeks, a spokeswoman said. Clinton's return to work will probably be brief. The White House has already picked Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., to succeed her and is expected to formally nominate Kerry within days. Clinton was released from a New York hospital on Wednesday evening, three days after a blood clot was discovered inside her skull. Her doctors predict a full recovery from the clot and a concussion she suffered in a fall last month.

Obama signs defense bill, rejects stipulations

President Obama set aside his veto threat and signed a defense bill that imposes restrictions on transferring detainees out of military prisons in Afghanistan and Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. But Obama attached a signing statement claiming that he has the constitutional power to override the limits in the law. The bill extended and strengthened limits on transfers out of Guantanamo to troubled nations like Yemen, where the bulk of remaining low-level detainees cleared for repatriation are from. It also, for the first time, limited the Pentagon's ability to transfer 50 non-Afghan citizens being held in Afghanistan.

SYRIA

Rebel area shows limits of push for Damascus

Airstrikes by government jets on a rebel-held suburb of Damascus sheered the sides off apartment towers and left residents digging through rubble for the dead and wounded. The bombing of Douma illustrates why the opposition's advance on the capital has bogged down. Despite capturing territory and setting up committees to provide basic services, the rebels lack the firepower to challenge President Bashar Assad's forces and remain helpless before his air force. That stalemate suggests the war will not end soon.

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