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Oct. 25, 2012 at 5:51 PM   |   Comments

Obama votes early

CHICAGO, Oct. 25 (UPI) -- U.S. President Barack Obama in the midst of a 48-hour, cross-country campaigning marathon, detoured to Chicago Thursday to participate in early voting.

Republican rival Mitt Romney campaigned in Ohio.

Obama had to show official identification to vote in Cook County although voters on Election Day will not have to do so at their home precincts, County Clerk David Orr said. Obama whipped out his Illinois driver's license.

"I voted," Obama said as he finished up, becoming the first president ever to cast an in-person ballot before Election Day.

"For all of you who have not yet early voted, I wanted you all to see what an incredibly efficient process this is ... All across [the country] ... we're seeing early voting. ... If something happens on Election Day, you won't get wet."

He smiled and added: "I can't tell you who I voted for. It's good to be back in the neighborhood."

He then took pictures with those in the polling place before heading back to his limousine en route to the final stop of the day in Cleveland.

Obama took a red-eye flight aboard Air Force One from Las Vegas to his first stop of the day in Tampa, Fla. He also attended a rally in Richmond, Va., before heading for Chicago.


Clinton may remain at State after election

WASHINGTON, Oct. 25 (UPI) -- U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton may stay in her post for a while if President Barack Obama is re-elected, she suggested in an interview.

"A lot of people have talked to me about staying," Clinton, 64, told The Wall Street Journal.

She did not indicate how long she might stay in the Cabinet, saying it was "unlikely" recent events would delay her departure.

The Sept. 11 death of U.S. Ambassador to Libya Christopher Stevens and three other Americans at the consulate in Benghazi have left a cloud on Clinton's tenure at the State Department, the Journal said Thursday.

Her job approval rating was near 70 percent before the consulate attack, now acknowledged as an act of terrorism, and there had been speculation she might run for president in 2016, when she will turn 69.

Clinton has taken responsibility for what she called the "terrible events" in Benghazi but Obama said during his debates with Republican nominee Mitt Romney the buck stopped at his desk.


Syria accepts cease-fire

DAMASCUS, Syria, Oct. 25 (UPI) -- The Syrian military Thursday said it would accept a cease-fire to run through Monday for the Eid al-Adha Muslim holiday.

The military issued a statement through state television saying its operations would cease at 6 a.m. Friday and stand down through Monday.

The cease-fire was brokered by U.N.-Arab League envoy Lakhdar Brahimi.

"Syrian armed forces will, however, reserve the right to reply to terrorists attacks, attempts of armed groups to reinforce or resupply, or attempts to infiltrate from neighbouring countries," the BBC quoted the statement as saying.

Eid al-Adha begins Friday.

The government promoted several goodwill gestures as precursors to its announcement. State-run television showed video of men walking out from behind bars as part of the government's latest amnesty program for criminals, a commentator said.

"When [Brahimi] left Damascus, he didn't have a very solid agreement, but he did call on the government to start to initiate the ceasefire. He said the government should announce that it is halting its fire on its own, and the opposition would reciprocate -- and that is exactly what has happened," al-Jazeera reported.


Russian craft delivers space station crew

KOROLYOV, Russia, Oct. 25 (UPI) -- A Russian spaceship with three new crew for the International Space Station docked with the station Thursday, Russia's Flight Control Center said.

"The docking went ahead by command from Earth at the designated time in automatic regime," a source from the center in the city of Korolyov near Moscow told RIA Novosti.

After the successful docking, a hatch between the Russian Soyuz TMA-06M capsule and the station was opened at 11:30 EDT.

Joining three crewmembers already on the station are Russian cosmonauts Oleg Novitsky and Yevgeny Tarelkin and NASA astronaut Kevin Ford.

The new crew will conduct scientific experiments on the station and participate in handling several cargo craft, including the undocking of the privately built American Dragon capsule Oct. 28 and a Russian Progress ship on Oct. 31.

Greeting the arriving crew were Russian cosmonaut Yury Malenchenko, U.S. astronaut Sunita Williams and Japanese astronaut Akihido Hoshide.


Hurricane Sandy eyes Bahamas

MIAMI, Oct. 25 (UPI) -- Hurricane Sandy, blamed for two deaths, bore down on the central Bahamas Thursday after slamming Jamaica, forecasters said.

Weather advisories were posted for many Caribbean islands and portions of Florida, and officials were keeping watch along the U.S. East Coast.

Sandy, a Category 2 hurricane with maximum sustained winds of 105 mph, was about 60 miles southeast of Eleuthera and 125 miles east-southeast of Nassau in the Bahamas, moving north at 20 mph, the National Hurricane Center in Miami said in its 5 p.m. EDT advisory.

Sandy is blamed for one death in Jamaica and one death in Haiti, CNN said.

Jamaican broadcaster TV J reported 70 percent of the island's residents were without power and 1,000 people were in shelters.

A hurricane warnings were in effect for the Ragged Islands in the southeastern Bahamas, the central Bahamas and the northwestern Bahamas. The remainder of the southeastern Bahamas was under a tropical storm warning.

Florida's east coast from Ocean Reef to Flagler Beach and Lake Okeechobee were under a tropical storm warning while the area north of Flagler Beach to Fernandina Beach and the Upper Keys from Ocean Reef to Craig Key and Florida Bay were under a tropical storm watch.


Big U.S. missile defense test a success

WASHINGTON, Oct. 25 (UPI) -- The largest test of the U.S. missile defense system conducted over the Pacific was carried out against five targets, the Pentagon said Thursday.

The Missile Defense Agency said Army, Air Force and Navy units took part in the test, simultaneously engaged the incoming ballistic and cruise missiles over the western Pacific and apparently knocking out all but one of the targets.

"Soldiers, sailors and airmen from multiple combat commands operated the systems and were provided a unique opportunity to refine operational doctrine and tactics," the MDA said in a written statement. "Program officials continue to assess and evaluate system performance based upon telemetry and other data obtained during the test."

The test was centered off Hawaii and the Reagan Test Site on remote Kwajalein Atoll, and involved a mix of cruise missiles plus medium and short-range ballistic missiles. The goal was to intercept the missiles using the sea-based Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense and land-based Patriot and Terminal High Altitude Area Defense systems.

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