Tough fight ahead
Digging in for a fight, President Barack Obama riled Senate Republicans and some Democrats, too, Monday by nominating former senator and combat veteran Chuck Hagel to lead the Pentagon and anti-terrorism chief John Brennan as the next director of the Central Intelligence Agency.
Hagel and Brennan, in separate Senate confirmation hearings, will face sharp questions on a range of contentious issues, including U.S. policy about Israel and Iran, targeted drone attacks and harsh interrogation tactics. Of the two men, Hagel is expected to face a tougher path, though both are likely to be confirmed.
Chardon trial delayed
Because “voluminous” new evidence has emerged, a judge agreed Monday to delay indefinitely the murder trial of an 18-year-old charged in the high- school shooting deaths of three students.
The nature of the evidence wasn’t disclosed as prosecutors and attorneys for T.J. Lane jointly asked Geauga County Common Pleas Judge David Fuhry to postpone next week’s start of the trial.
The judge agreed during a brief hearing and said he would schedule another hearing in late January to discuss a new trial date for the case in this tight-knit community east of Cleveland.
Assad speech assailed
U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on Monday expressed disappointment with Syrian President Bashar Assad for rejecting the most important elements of an international road map to end the country’s civil war — a political handover and establishment of a transitional governing body.
Assad, in a rare speech Sunday, outlined his own vision for ending the country’s conflict with a plan that would keep him in power. He also dismissed any chance of dialogue with the armed opposition and called on Syrians to fight what he called “murderous criminals.”
The West, including the U.S. and Britain, denounced Assad’s speech.