Bucharest, Romania

NATO rejects Bush’s pleas for Ukraine, Georgia

President Bush suffered a painful diplomatic setback Wednesday when NATO allies rebuffed his passionate pleas to put former Soviet republics Ukraine and Georgia on the path toward membership in the Western military alliance.

The decision, to be made final on Thursday, was sure to be cheered by Moscow, which heatedly opposes NATO’s eastward expansion.

In another sign of discord, Greece blocked Macedonia’s request to join the 26-nation alliance because of a dispute over its name. Only Croatia and Albania will be invited as new members.

It was a sour outcome for Bush at his final NATO summit as he sought to polish his foreign policy legacy. Instead, he wound up sidetracked by opposition and splits among European allies.

Troy

Stabenow’s husband admits to sex with prostitute

The husband of Michigan Sen. Debbie Stabenow told authorities that he used the Internet to arrange a $150 sexual tryst with a prostitute at a metropolitan Detroit hotel, police said.

Thomas Athans, 46, co-founder of the liberal TalkUSA Radio network, was stopped by police who were investigating Internet-based prostitution at the hotel, according to a police report obtained yesterday by The Associated Press under the state Freedom of Information Act.

Athans, in a statement issued by his attorney, apologized and said he “fully cooperated with law enforcement. My family and I are dealing with this matter in a personal and private way.”

Dublin, Ireland

Irish PM Ahern to resign, denies corruption rumors

Prime Minister Bertie Ahern, the common-touch Dubliner who tended Ireland’s economic boom and the blossoming of Belfast peace, announced his resignation yesterday under a darkening cloud of financial scandal.

The announcement stunned Ireland and much of his Cabinet, whose members stood by Ahern during an 18-month battle against allegations he accepted secret cash payments from businessmen in the 1990s.

Ahern, who governed Ireland through 11 years of growing prosperity at home and peace in Northern Ireland, maintained his innocence.

“I have never received a corrupt payment, and I’ve never done anything to dishonor any office I have held,” Ahern told a hastily called news conference.

WASHINGTON

Bernanke says recession possible

For the first time, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke acknowledged the U.S. could reel into recession from the powerful punches of housing, credit and financial crises. Yet, he was coy about the Fed’s next move.

With home foreclosures swelling to record highs and job losses mounting, Bernanke on Wednesday offered Congress an unflinching – and more pessimistic – assessment of potential damage to the national economy.

“A recession is possible,” said Bernanke, who is under immense political and public pressure to turn things around. “Our estimates are that we’re slightly growing at the moment, but we think that there’s a chance that for the first half as a whole there might be a slight contraction.”

– Compiled from Daily wire reports

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