Week in review



NATION: Authorities investigating a brazen attempt to bring down a trans-Atlantic airliner said the suspect tucked a small bag holding his deadly concoction on his body, using an explosive that would have been easily detected with the right airport equipment.

health care: Two House Democrats who favor a government insurance plan acknowledged it might have to be sacrificed as negotiators work out a final agreement with the Senate. Rep. James Clyburn of South Carolina he could support a compromise that meets the objectives of the "public option."

ENVIRONMENT: Augusta-based Savannah Riverkeeper Inc. will open a second office in Savannah in the spring. The environmental group says the office is needed to accommodate a growing number of issues on that end of the river.


nation: President Obama called the Christmas Day attempt to blow up a Detroit-bound airliner "a serious reminder" of the need to continually adapt to the terrorist threat. He vowed to use "every element of our national power" to keep Americans safe.

SCHOOLS: Replacing 158 windows shattered Christmas Day at Copeland Elementary School will cost Richmond County about $16,000. Police still hope security video will shed some light on the crime.

metro: The locks at New Savannah Bluff were closed to all boat traffic. Repairs are being evaluated and will be managed by the Army Corps of Engineers, which owns the 72-year-old site near Augusta Regional Airport.

metro: Since a new policy banning "saggy pants" at extracurricular Richmond County school events went into effect more than a month ago, officials say they've issued only warnings. In about another month, though, safety officers say they will begin full enforcement of the policy, including removing people who won't comply.


Nation: President Obama told reporters the intelligence community had pieces of information they should have put together to trigger "red flags" and prevent the attempted attack on the Detroit-bound flight. He demanded a preliminary report on what went wrong by Thursday.

metro: News that Augusta's Law Department ran up a bill of nearly $5,000 on its Sam's Club account in 2009 led Joe Jackson to be the second commissioner to say he'll vote to fire General Counsel Chiquita Johnson. Ms. Johnson's card was used to buy office decorations, snacks and sanitizers.

metro: Democrat Earnie Smith was sworn in to his House 122 seat, which he ran for unopposed.


aiken county: The Aiken County Sheriff's Office praised the actions of a 10-year-old boy in helping save a 5-year-old girl being attacked by a pit bull in North Augusta.

afghanistan: A suicide bomber detonated his explosive vest at a military base in the east , killing seven American CIA employees, the worst loss of life for Americans in the country since October and one of the worst attacks in CIA history. Sources said the man had been courted as a possible informant and had been invited onto the base without being searched. Both the Afghan and Pakistani Taliban claimed responsibility, with the Pakistan group claiming the bomber was a CIA turncoat.

iraq: A British contractor was freed in good health more than two years after he was abducted, apparently the only survivor of a group of five Britons abducted in a daring raid outside Iraq's Finance Ministry in 2007.

economy: The government gave GMAC Financial Services an additional $3.8 billion in cash and took a majority stake in the auto lender, aiming to stabilize the company as it struggles with big losses in its home mortgage unit. The fresh infusion came on top of $12.5 billion in taxpayer money Detroit-based GMAC has

already received from the government.

world: Yemeni forces raided an al-Qaida hideout and set off a gunbattle as the government vowed to eliminate the group that claimed it was behind the Christmas bombing attempt on a U.S. airliner.


nation: The Montana Supreme Court said nothing in state law prevents patients from seeking physician-assisted suicide, making it the third state that will allow the procedure.

Georgia: Gov. Sonny Perdue intends to name state Rep. Jim Cole as the next secretary of state, two officials said.

nation: Citing repeated government missteps, a federal judge dismissed all charges against five Blackwater Worldwide security guards accused of killing unarmed Iraqi civilians in a crowded Baghdad intersection in 2007. The Iraqi government vowed to pursue the case, which became a source of contention between Iraq and the U.S.

Sports: AT&T Inc. said it would no longer sponsor Tiger Woods, joining Accenture in dropping support for the world's top golfer, who is taking a break from the sport after his admitted infidelity.


georgia: Drivers now face higher speeding fines as part of a new law targeting "super speeders." Any driver traveling 75 mph on two-lane roads or 85 mph on any road over two lanes will be charged $200 on top of the normal speeding fine.

pakistan: A suicide bomber detonated his explosives-packed vehicle in a crowd of people watching a volleyball tournament Friday in northwest Pakistan, killing 88 people in the deadliest attack in the country in more than two months.

iraq: December was the first month since the Iraq war began in which there were no American combat deaths, military officials said.

Metro: At 5 pounds and 8 ounces, Avery James Palmer was the first Augusta-area child born in the new decade.