Washington

Republican calls for Gonzales’ dismissal

Sen. John Sununu of New Hampshire yesterday became the first Republican in Congress to call for Attorney General Alberto Gonzales’ dismissal, hours after President Bush expressed confidence in his embattled Cabinet officer.

Gonzales has been fending off Democratic demands for his firing in the wake of disclosures surrounding the ousters of eight U.S. attorneys – dismissals Democrats have characterized as a politically motivated purge.

Support from many Republicans had been muted, but there was no outright GOP call for his dismissal until now.

9/11 mastermind confesses to plot

Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the suspected mastermind of the Sept. 11 attacks, confessed to that attack and a string of others during a military hearing at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, according to a transcript released yesterday by the Pentagon.

“I was responsible for the 9/11 operation from A to Z,” Mohammed said in a statement read during the session, which was held last Saturday.

The transcripts also refer to a claim by Mohammed that he was tortured by the CIA, although he said he was not under duress when he confessed to his role in the attacks.

In a chilling list of attacks – some of which were carried out, some not – Mohammed claimed responsibility for planning, financing and training others for plots ranging from the 1993 truck bombing of the World Trade Center to the attempt by would-be shoe bomber Richard Reid to blow up a trans-Atlantic flight with explosives hidden in his shoes.

Detroit

General Motors reports profit

General Motors Corp. accomplished something in the fourth quarter of 2006 that domestic automakers have been unable to do for some time: it reported a profit.

For the quarter, the world’s biggest automaker reported yesterday a net income of $950 million due to the benefits of cost cuts, higher automotive revenues and a gain on the sale of its finance division. It was a turnaround from a $6.6 billion loss in the same period a year ago.

GM, which is undergoing a massive overhaul that includes shedding thousands of jobs and closing plants to become more competitive with Asian automakers such as Toyota Motor Corp., wound up with a loss of $2 billion for all of 2006 compared with a restated loss of $10.4 billion in 2005.

United Nations

Ambassadors agree on Iraq sanctions

U.N. ambassadors from six world powers agreed in principle yesterday on a proposed new package of sanctions against Iran and were expected to introduce a resolution to the Security Council today if their governments approve it, the U.S. ambassador said.

The package still needs to be considered by the 10 non-permanent members of the U.N. Security Council that haven’t been part of the negotiations.

However, an agreement by the five veto-wielding permanent members of the council and Germany would be a strong signal that they want to send a united message to Iran to suspend uranium enrichment.

– Compiled from Daily wire reports

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