Washington

Bush names retired admiral to top intelligence spot

Retired Vice Adm. Mike McConnell, a veteran of more than 25 years in the intelligence field, will be named by President Bush to succeed John Negroponte as national intelligence director, a senior administration official said yesterday.

Negroponte will move to the State Department to become the No. 2 to Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.

The nominations of McConnell and Negroponte are expected to be announced by Bush today.

Mogadishu, Somalia

Kenya closes border, U.S. guards coast as Somalia fighting continues

Somali government troops backed by Ethiopian soldiers battled about 600 Islamic militiamen yesterday on the southern tip of this Horn of Africa nation, and U.S. Navy forces prevented the militants from fleeing by sea, authorities said.

A U.S. diplomat said she hoped peacekeepers from the region could be in place by month’s end in Somalia, where the Council of Islamic Courts militias were driven from the capital of Mogadishu and much of the south last week. But peacekeepers could face bloody reprisals from the militias, who want to rule by the Quran and have vowed to launch an Iraqi-style guerrilla war.

Somalia hasn’t had an effective central government in 15 years.

Washington

Head of nuclear agency leaving under pressure over security lapses

Energy Secretary Samuel Bodman yesterday dismissed the chief of the country’s nuclear weapons program because of security breakdowns at the Los Alamos, N.M., laboratory and other facilities.

Linton Brooks said he would leave in two weeks to three weeks as head of the National Nuclear Security Administration, a post he held since July 2002.

Bodman said the nuclear agency under Brooks, a former ambassador and arms control negotiator, had not adequately fixed security problems. “I have decided it is time for new leadership at the NNSA,” Bodman said.

Lansing

State regional jobless rates went up in November

Seasonally unadjusted unemployment rates in most of Michigan’s labor markets rose in November, state officials said yesterday.

Jobless rates increased in 16 of Michigan’s 17 labor market regions, compared with October levels. State officials said the changes were typical, such as the loss of seasonal tourism jobs in northern Michigan.

The only area with a lower unadjusted unemployment rate in November was the Monroe region in the southeast corner of the state. The jobless rate there was 5.9 percent in November, down from 6.3 percent.

Ann Arbor’s jobless rate rose from 4.1 percent to 4.2 percent.

– Compiled from Daily wire reports

Notable Number

488

Number of cities being put back on the Georgia highway map produced annually by the state department of transportation, The Associated Press reported. The towns, with names including Hopeulikit and Po Biddy Crossroads had been removed to make the map clearer.

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